What to Do Before You File for Divorce in Florida

We all know that divorce is a complicated, emotional and stressful process. Even the most amicable of divorces can still be a difficult matter. Before you file for a divorce in the state of Florida, there are a few things you are going to need to do to get prepared. These steps will help lessen the trauma for all parties involved, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

Stabilization Courses

The State of Florida requires all parents with children to undergo special stabilization courses. These courses are designed to help the parents find a way to make the process less traumatic for the children involved.

Some of these courses are available online, but in most cases, you will need to attend an actual class before you can proceed. These classes will also help parents put their children’s needs first, and help both parties decide what type of custody arrangements are going to be best for everyone involved.

Your attorney can assist you in setting up attendance in these courses and provide you with guidance on how to arrange custody that suits the best interests of the children involved.

Equitable Distribution

The State of Florida practices what is called equitable distribution of property in divorce cases. Unlike other states that simply divide assets down the middle, the state will determine what is fair and balanced when it comes to the division of property.

It is vital to have an attorney who is well qualified to assist you in this process. While it would be ideal if all parties are treated fairly, in many divorce cases, this just doesn’t happen. It is helpful to make a list of all of your current assets, both joint and single, to determine just what is going to be on the table. A divorce arbitrator can be helpful in this situation, particularly if it is an amicable divorce. However, if it is a contested divorce, or both parties cannot come to an agreement on equitable property distribution, this is a where an attorney is a vital part of the process.

Financial Preparedness

Divorce can easily cause havoc in both party’s financial lives. In order to minimize the impact, it is best to begin splitting up your finances as soon as you can in the process. Determine who owns what in your shared accounts and withdraw the agreed upon amount and place it in new accounts that the other party cannot access. We all like to think that we know our partners and that they wouldn’t be tempted to drain a joint account, but it happens all too often.

Shared utility bills will also need to be split. If you have your partner as a beneficiary on a life policy, now is also a good time to start the process to change the beneficiaries.

This is not an easy process, and it can be emotional. However, if both parties can realize it is for the greater good in the end, typically, it can be easier to get your financial affairs in order.

Finding the Right Divorce Attorney

You will need to have proper representation during your divorce proceedings. Many people make the mistake of thinking that in a relationship where there are no children that they don’t need an attorney, but end up finding out too late they should have had representation.

Look for a divorce attorney with a proven track record in handling many different types of family law cases. If you are a man, look for an attorney that specializes in the rights of the man during the divorce process. All too often, these cases are skewed in favor of the woman, particularly when custody battles are raging. You will need to find someone who can defend you and what is best for your children.

Irretrievably Broken

Florida law states that divorces will only be granted if the marriage is proven to be “irretrievably” broken or if one of the parties is diagnosed as mentally incapacitated. Unlike a “no-fault” state where reasons for the divorce do not have to be given, you will need to prove to the court that your marriage is over and there is no hope for reconciliation.

Your attorney will be able to present your case to the State to show that the marriage cannot be repaired and begin the process of equitable distribution, while making sure your best interests are being served.

About the author:
James M. Burns of the Law Office of James M. Burns has served clients in Florida and Alabama for nearly two decades and brings a wealth of experience and legal savvy to your side when you need a staunch supporter and smart legal representation.

What We Can Learn From Celebrity Divorces

Celebrity DivorceThese days, it seems as if more and more couples are getting divorced. This is especially true when it comes to celebrities, whose marriages—and break-ups—are often front-page news. While some individuals believe that celebrities serve only as a form of entertainment, others suggest that couples may be able to learn something from their frequent divorces. In fact, celebrities may not only teach us how to keep a marriage stable, but also how to separate in a peaceful and respectful manner.

Communication is Crucial

If celebrities have taught us anything when it comes to maintaining a happy marriage, it is that communication is crucial. Proper communication not only helps individuals teach their partner about their wants and needs, but also assists when it comes to the development of stronger listening skills. Unfortunately, celebrities—and for that matter, non-celebrities—have the habit of demanding their desires, without considering those of their partner. Talking each and every day with one’s husband or wife is a must when it comes to managing expectations and maintaining a long and happy marriage together.

Take Your Time

There is no question that the prospect of getting married can be very exciting—especially when one believes that they are deeply in love with their partner. However, it seems as if many celebrities choose to “jump into” marriage before they have a strong understanding of the traits and personalities of their partner. Most marriage experts agree that men and women should take their time when it comes to getting to know their significant other before choosing to pursue a legal commitment. When it can be difficult to prolong the dating process, it may be crucial when it comes to avoiding divorce in the future.

Know When It’s Over

Despite the best efforts of many celebrities, some marriages simply weren’t made to last. And when a couple agrees that the end is near, they may also benefit by looking to celebrities for some tips and recommendations. While many celebrities do try to put on a good front for the sake of their fans and children, this may not be the best plan when it comes to the health of their family. In fact, the Huffington Post suggests that trying to keep a marriage together simply for the sake of children may actually do more harm than good in the long run.

Lawyers Aren’t All Bad

Finally, celebrity divorces have shown us that—despite their less than stellar reputation—many lawyers are not as bad as they are depicted. In fact, experts agree that having an experienced lawyer who is familiar with family law is crucial when it comes to surviving and thriving during the divorce process. Individuals who have never worked with a lawyer in the past may want to consider speaking with friends and family to identify a skilled and professional legal team. Interviewing a lawyer before making a financial commitment can be useful when it comes to finding the right professional for the job.

Divorce Basics

Divorce is never easy for you or your family. At the end of the day you are divorcing your spouse; not your home, kids, or bank accounts. Here is a little foundation on what is needed to begin the steps of divorce in Alabama.

 Starting the process

Once you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, where do you go from there? The Birmingham attorney’s at Parkman & White are experienced Alabama divorce lawyers and will help you through this life event.

The Requirements

In order to get a legal divorce in the State of Alabama at least one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of Alabama for a minimum of 6 months prior to filing for the divorce.

 Legal ground for divorce

Alabama requires that the filing party list a reason for the termination of the marriage or divorce. In Alabama spouses can file a “no fault divorce” where the marriage was bound to end on its own terms. Or a party can list that the divorce is due to the other party’s fault, this requires the filing party to present evidence of the fault.

  • Adultery
  • Crimes against nature
  • Spouse has been out of the home for at least 1 year
  • Spouse has been in jail for over two years
  • Physical abuse
  • Confinement to a mental hospital for over 5 years
  • Wife was pregnant at the time of marriage without the husbands knowledge
  • Drug or alcohol addiction

 How long does the process take?

Divorce can be a long and painful process. Thankfully the Birmingham divorce attorneys at Parkman & White have lots of successful divorce law experience and can help you navigate through the process. No-fault divorces are generally a shorter process than contested divorces. Marriages with children and considerable assets also extend the process period. Each divorce is unique if the divorce is a faulted one; there are a number of children, and a high amount of assets the divorce period can extend several months.

A Tampa Collaborative Divorce Can Save You Money

When most people think of divorce, they envision scenes from War of the Roses or Kramer vs. Kramer. Yet more people in Tampa Bay are learning that there is another way, collaborative divorce, which is just a sensible method to resolve private family disputes. However, just as mediation was characterized in the 1980’s and 1990’s as a rich person’s option, many people think that the collaborative process is only for the very wealthy. Not only attorneys, but also a collaborative facilitator and financial professional are retained, so only the very rich can afford the collaborative model, right?

Wrong.

A four year study conducted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals found that 87% of female participants and 47% of male participants of collaborative family law cases had an annual income of less than $100,000.

Though the collaborative process may not be the cheapest in all cases, it has a substantial opportunity to save you money as compared to the courtroom battles we have all come to associate with divorce.

First, child issues, such as custody schedules and decision-making authority, are some of the most emotional and costliest issues in family law matters. Lawyers in courtroom cases tend to prepare interrogatories (questions) to be answered under penalty of perjury, set depositions, conduct opposition research to put the other spouse in the worst possible light, and prepare for trial. Attorneys’ invoices pile up along each stage of this process. Alternatively, these fees and costs can be greatly reduced in the collaborative process where facilitators, who usually are licensed mental health professionals, can cut through the clutter of emotionally-charged issues and bring the clients (and lawyers) to focus on the future and best interests of the children.

Similarly, a financial professional (who is usually either an accountant or financial planner) adds cost-saving value to the process. In litigated cases, lawyers prepare “requests for production of documents and things” that demand reams of financial documents which could conceivably be relevant. Searching for those documents cost clients tremendous time and money while, when received, the requesting attorney will spend countless billable hours meticulously combing through the documents. In the collaborative process, on the other hand, the financial professional will only request documents that are necessary to make an informed settlement option. His or her expertise in finances enables the financial professional to review and assess the documents and develop settlement options more quickly (and often times at a lower rate) than attorneys.

Finally, the dirty little secret in family law is that the vast majority of litigation cases eventually settle. However, because having a judge decide on the parties’ personal matters always remains a threat, in traditional courtroom divorce the attorneys will always work on two tracks: (i) attempt to settle the case while (ii) conducting opposition research and preparing for the courtroom battle in case the parties cannot come to an agreement. In the collaborative process, attorneys are retained solely for the purpose of settlement and are contractually barred from taking disputes to be decided in court, and so they are not racking up those billable hours planning to fight it out in court.

Now, back to the question, is collaborative divorce only for the wealthy? Absolutely not, and I would be happy to speak with you and talk more about how the process can help your family.

If you have questions regarding how a Tampa Bay collaborative divorce process can help you, schedule a consultation with attorney Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.

Adam B. Cordover is Vice President of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Adam spearheaded the taskforce that drafted the Hillsborough County collaborative family practice administrative order signed by Chief Judge Manuel Menendez.

Solve Your Divorce Issues by Choosing the Best Family Lawyer

Divorce and other family issues can get very frustrating and messy. Whether you are going through an uncontested or contested divorce, some matters will arise that will need an expert to resolve them. Some couples may consider representing themselves during the divorce proceedings, but the presence and services of a family lawyer can significantly reduce the stress and problems that might occur during the procedure.

Family lawyers can not only represent you in the court but also provide legal assistance and advice to both parties in order to settle divorce issues. Simply put, the services of a family lawyer can help ensure that all decisions pertaining to the divorce are made properly and with the acceptance of both parties.  Here are some ways in which family lawyers help:

Providing legal advice on annulments and divorce

A family lawyer can offer legal advice and explanations of the circumstances under which a couple may seek divorce after a separation. Some states have laws that require for the filing of annulment under certain situations and within a certain period of time after the marriage, and a family lawyer’s advice and services are needed to understand and follow these laws.

Making all the courthouse presentations and filings

There are various laws at federal, state, and municipal levels regarding divorce proceedings and filings, and a family lawyer can ensure that the necessary pleadings and documents are filed properly. They can also represent you in court and put in favorable light through beneficial evidence and testimony, as well as prevent your spouse from presenting irrelevant, false, or misleading information.

Assistance during property division proceedings

It helps to maintain separate debts and accounts as some amount of protection during a divorce, but it is not enough. There are several federal and state laws that define marital property and the separation of this property, and your family lawyer can not only explain these laws but also tell you how it applies to your particular situation.

Helping through child custody and visitation proceedings

Child custody and visitation issues are determined by the various laws and procedures in various states, and family lawyers can explain the procedure in your state, what the laws are, and what your parenting rights are after entering a court order.

Guiding you through child support issues

Once again, the rules and procedures for determining the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent can vary with each state. Your family lawyer can advise about the procedure in your state and the calculations used to determine child support obligations. He or she can also explain the additions and deductions that can be expected to your child support obligation.

About the author: Guest post from a family law blogger – find services of a family lawyer here

4 Ways for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

Guest family/divorce blog post.

Parenting after divorce can be quiet confusing, frustrating, and complex. But, it is not that difficult to raise children, coping with various challenges, making them well-adjusted and educated citizens. There are a quite a few aspects that affect your value as a single parent. Taking care of small kids is never easy, particularly for a new parent as they won’t know how to handle the little kid after separation. Many people are unsure how to be a responsible parent after divorce as they would no longer be in the same home to handle all the problems.

How Does the Court Decide the Custodian?

The court gives the decision in the child’s favor, after determining whether its future with new parent is firm or not. Considering aspects like the relationship that a kid shares with each parent and their earning capabilities, the court gives the judgment without affecting the child’s future. The following are some guidelines for co-parenting and dealing with child custody and support after divorce. These helpful tips are the major aspects of post-divorce parenting success.

Attitude Matters the Most

Your attitude plays a major role in the success of any child’s custody; if you follow your divorce case with thecommitment to make it a positive experience for the kid you love, then you’re heading down the right path. The attitude that you have, towards your post-divorcelife, is going to matter a lot. If you’re filled with negativity and poor state of mind, then you may not only lose the case, but also the custody of your ward. It is time for a change to bring in your attitude and thinking. No matter how many weeks or months you take, the decision that you make, is certainly going to affect the relationship for decades to come. So, if you want to be a successful parent after the divorce, then you must be prepared to face whatever difficulties come your way.

Perceptions

If you think that you’re a victim in the process, you should try to show that you are innocent and your claims are true. You can learn many values and benefits from divorce, while you experience the pain at the same time.

You’ll also have to accept your mistakes, and be willing to explore new ways to live your future in a positive manner. You have to take a firm decision as it would affect your child’s behaviour too. But, your perception of life after divorce will greatly determine if you’d eventually become a successful parent or not.

Take Divorce as a Positive Lesson

Many things can be learnt from a painful and excruciating experience of divorce; if you notice those thoughts as ‘gift’ to you, opportunities and wisdom you’ll never have otherwise understood,then you can move forward in life after divorce to become a wiser, stronger, and better person in life. Consider it as an opportunity to overcome your drawbacks, and don’t repeat the same mistakes while raising your child.

Respectful Parenting

Working through the difficulties and challenges of building successful communication with your ex-wife or husband is a goal, which must be performed continuously. Keep your kid in mind before coming to any final decision. Since you and your ex will be parenting your kid in case of co divorce, you’ve to start with the best possible way. Maintain a respectful relationship with your former spouse with level of dignity and awareness in all your communication.

Whatever the reason behind the separation is, try your best not to bring in your kids into the disputes, and be a good parent even after the divorce.

Author Bio

Ira Hopkins has authored many articles on choosing attorneys for co divorce, and often gives suggestion to parents to handle kids after the divorce.

A Reputable Divorce Barrister Can Ease the Trauma of Separation

Guest blog post from a lawyer regarding the advantages of divorce barristers.

Divorce is a reality that many couples experiencing trouble in a marriage are staring at.

While it is always better, both emotionally and financially, to look at other means of resolving marital disputes, divorce remains a final solution that requires the services of a reputable divorce barrister.

Finding the Best Divorce Barrister

Divorce has become so common in the modern world that there are legal practitioners who are specialists in this form of judicial requirements. A reputable divorce barrister can even act as a mediator and help couples to arrive at solutions that need not have the finality of a divorce. Such barristers can also help to provide support from the emotional trauma that divorce can subject couples to.

It is always easy to go through the yellow pages or search over the Internet to find a good divorce barrister. However, it makes more sense to ask among friends and acquaintances that have gone through these actions as their personal experience will be something that can be easily related to. Legal advisors can also be a source of finding the best divorce barrister who can take a couple through the proceedings.

The experience of the chosen barrister can go a long way to easing the problems that come with divorce. Quite often, property, businesses and children can become the messy part of a divorce which needs extreme patience and time to sort out – and this is where an experienced lawyer will be of enormous help and will be able to steer you through the pitfalls and quagmire of divorce.

The divorce barrister you choose must be trained to practice so ensure that he or she has the right qualifications, certifications and licenses.

Ensuring You Get the Best from a Reputable Divorce Barrister

It is quite often necessary for both parties in a divorce suit to appoint their own lawyers or barristers. It is necessary to ensure that the chosen legal help has only your interest at heart and is in no way connected or known to the opposing parties. Discuss all aspects of the case with the barrister, especially those dealing with property division and child custody.

It is necessary that the attorney who has taken up your case is completely aware of all the facts of the case. This will enable the barrister to draw up ways to fight the case and also be sure that he or she is fully aware of the likely defence of the opposing counsel.

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Keith Cronin is a lawyer with a passion for sharing his knowledge. Keith has contributed this guest article on behalf of Stobart Barristers.

Post-Recession Surge in Divorces Expected, Say Lawyers

With reports suggesting that the UK may be moving out of recession, many lawyers are predicting a big spike in the amount of divorces they will have to invigilate. Some firms are indicating that they have seen up to a 30% increase in the amount of divorce cases they have to deal with, this could be due to the fact that many couples were putting off a split due to the negative financial implications.

Huge Divorce Drop Back in 2008

The recent rise mirrors a huge drop that occurred just over four years ago when the economic downturn really took hold. With money being too tight to mention and other seemingly more important things on their mind, it appears that couples have just been too busy or broke to consider parting ways, but this looks set to change as the nation starts to look at the possibility of some more stable times ahead.

The official figures actually show that the number of divorces in the United Kingdom dropped for the first two years of the recession and then rose again in 2010 to around 119,00 when the outlook started to look a little bit better.

Equity

Another factor that is seen as fundamental is the fact that couples may have been waiting for the price of their property to creep back up again. As the recession worsened, it seems that people became increasingly concerned about their lowered incomes and how much they would get back if they sold their house. Many divorce lawyers believe this led to many couples postponing their plans to split until they could both walk away with a decent return.

Evidently, not many couples predicted that this would actually be the worst recession in modern times and that the financial doom and gloom would continue for so long.

Larger Rise Could Be On The Way for 2013

Now that many believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and property prices may start to rise very soon, a lot of solicitors are seeing a noticeable rise in divorce proceedings and this is set to gather real pace over the next 12 months.

The figures echo predictions from a number of the United Kingdom’s divorce solicitors and represents some of the first clear cut evidence that an even larger spike in divorce applications could be on the way.

Popular Myths about Divorce

There is a popular myth among divorcing couples, which has the mother automatically gaining custody of the children. While this myth is simply not true, it is relatively prevalent among couples and can lead to serious challenges in the preparation of a case. Because a divorce is a time of trouble and considerable emotional hardship it becomes vital to understand all your rights and the actual content of the law before making snap decisions, which is why an attorney is critically important.

Laws today are very different and do not seek to favor one or the other party, especially with regards to child custody. Here are some things that the court does look at; versus the popular urban legends about divorce floating around the water cooler.

Myth: Mothers are automatically favored and will by default be awarded custody of the children, especially if they are young.

Fact: The fact is that mothers are not directly favored, neither are fathers. The law, in states like Florida, spells out very specifically that neither party will be favored and that the law cannot act in the best interest of one or the other party.

Myth: The one making the most money will have to pay a great deal of support and maintenance to the other party because they are not making as much. It is better to have no income or lower income during a divorce.

Fact: The court looks at a variety of factors to make sure the division of assets is equable. This means that income is certainly a factor. However, if one partner is not working or is under employed voluntarily the court will account for income to that person depending on what they are capable of making. This may seem unfair at times, but it is the only way the court can prevent manipulation of the system by voluntary unemployment or underemployment.

Myth: Divorce decrees are written in stone and once they are written there is no going back to change or modify them.

Fact: Circumstances change, often significantly, which allows one or the other party to go back and request the court to change the divorce decrees. Typically courts will not change a property distribution that has been set out but other parts can be changed depending on the circumstances. These include, and are not limited to, child support, alimony, and visitation.

Myth: Lawyers cost an arm and a leg, so it is better to try and represent your own interests in the court. There are many resources to help you and you will be just fine by yourself. Aunt Betty represented herself and was awarded everything but the kitchen sink, so it behooves you to try the legal justice wheel of fortune by yourself.

Fact: The legal justice system is complex and riddled with policy and procedures. Failure to follow the proper process can lead to significant losses. There are many resources available, but often the resources will only show you the exact law which can lead you to more confusion when you try to interpret it. Lawyers are trained for years to ensure that they can follow the correct procedures, understand the laws and statutes fully, and guide you in the best possible manner. Divorces can be expensive, even more so if your former significant other has a lawyer and you are going it alone. Finding out the cost of an attorney and ensuring that you have the right representation are critical in safeguarding your rights.

Andrew Miller is an avid legal blogger and manager of over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of Charles R. Ullman & Associates : A Divorce attorney located in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Divorce and Facebook

The following is a guest post regarding divorce and social networks such as Facebook. For specialist advice from divorce lawyers in Edinburgh, see http://www.familylawedinburgh.co.uk/.

Whilst the Internet and social media are becoming useful tool for dating and relationships (it is estimated that 17% of recently married couples met online) there is a dark side to the Internet’s impact on relationships and it is called Facebook. Research has shown that the world’s largest social media website was implicated in a third of last year’s divorce filings. In fact Facebook has such a stronghold over relationships in general that it is not uncommon for one half of a couple to find out that the relationship is over via Facebook, usually by the other half changing his or her relationship status.

Whilst blaming Facebook for divorce automatically gives the impression of infidelity, this is not necessarily the case. Many of those who filed for divorce are not getting divorced because of Facebook, it may simply be the case that Facebook is sighted in a divorce filing to show the bad behaviour of a spouse for example as evidence of rude or offensive messages. What is certain though is that Facebook and social media as a whole are playing a bigger role in divorce proceedings, either as a cause or as a form of evidence.

Generally speaking there are five grounds for divorce: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion without consent for more than two years, desertion with consent for more than two years and separation for more than five years. When looking at these grounds it is easy to see how Facebook could be responsible for at least two of the grounds: adultery and unreasonable behaviour.

Why is this so? There are a number of hypotheses and the simplest reason is that Facebook makes communication so easy. For example, what could start out as an innocent conversation with an ex could lead to something not so innocent and this ties in nicely with another reason – Facebook makes it easier to give in to temptation. Whilst it may not seem fair to blame Facebook for temptation, particularly as it does not force you to do anything, it does nevertheless make it easier to do things you know you should not be doing.

Another reason is that Facebook can change people. The ability to connect and see information so effortlessly can make ordinary people paranoid and this in turn leads to many relationship problems. The problem with Facebook and in fact most social media is that what is said and done is often just a snapshot and taken out of contexts something quite innocent can be taken completely the wrong way.  Arguably the most common reason is that Facebook leaves a trail. Once something is said or done on Facebook there is an ever present risk of it being placed in the public domain.

In fact Facebook has become such a big problem for relationships that it is not uncommon for couples to deactivate their Facebook accounts to save their relationships. When you really think about it, what may seem like a drastic step could actually be quite sensible and could in fact save many a relationship.

Even if the relationship cannot be saved, Facebook can help with other matters such as maintenance and child custody. Any behaviour on Facebook could be used against one spouse to show what their behaviour in general is like which may be used to determine parenting skills or whether the lifestyle of the spouse is (or is not) suitable for children.

If you are considering divorce proceedings because of something you have seen on Facebook (or otherwise) then you should speak to a divorce solicitor who can advise you on the legitimate grounds for divorce. Divorce can be both emotionally and financially taxing and can result in a number of ancillary issues and therefore it is important to ensure that you appoint an experienced divorce solicitor to represent you.

Once piece of advice any divorce lawyer is almost certain to give you is to refrain from messaging your ex partner or saying anything about them on Facebook during divorce proceedings. Whilst people will be used to sharing their feelings online, once in the public domain this information cannot be recalled. This on its own could make the simplest and most amicable of divorces into the most complicated, contentious and expensive.