Divorce & Family Law FAQs

Yes.  Contact us us today at 954-776-2320 (24 hour availability) to schedule your free consultation, with an attorney, to evaluate your legal needs.

We no longer call it custody in Florida. We refer to it as time-sharing: majority of time-sharing or equal time-sharing. The court utilizes many factors in determining what is in the best interest of the minor children. The court recognizes, absent abuse, addictions, etc., that children need time with both parents and will consider all the relevant factors currently in the statute. It is always hopeful that parents can agree on the issue regarding time spent with their children, but if they cannot agree, an attorney can guide you and the court can ultimately order the time-sharing parameters. There is also decision making authority, which is usually shared between the parents, regarding major decisions involving the health, education and welfare of children. In rare circumstances, sole decision making is awarded to one parent, usually in the event that one or both parents is/are incapable of co-parenting due to extreme circumstances.

Generally speaking, yes, however, there must be a substantial change of circumstances in your case, since the filing of the last order. Factors include things such as a parent not utilizing the time they are supposed to, changes in employment, changes in the costs of after-care/day care, illnesses, retirement, etc. An attorney can go over this with you more thoroughly.

More than likely you will get your children for the majority of the time and, depending on the severity of the problem, safety measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of the children when with the troubled parent, while still protecting the sanctity of the relationship between the children and both of their parents. In some instances, a restraining order between the parent and the children is appropriate.

Unfortunately, this is something that many people are doing these days, as they find it effective (if inappropriate) in harassing the other parent and interfering with time-sharing. As long as you are not placing your children in harm’s way (or allowing others to do so), you have nothing to fear. However, the mere presence of DCF coming to your home when you have the children is most likely causing trauma to the children. You should contact a lawyer who, after a full discussion on this issue, can give you guidance as to what steps you might be able to take, including bringing criminal charges against the harassing spouse.

If the other party is failing to comply with the parenting time agreement, you need an attorney who can help remedy this situation. It may be necessary to modify the agreement.

The court can resolve this issue. Yes, the father has rights if he invokes them through the court and as long as he will not harm the child and it is in the best interest of the child. Your child is entitled to the support and love from both parents. If the father has not seen the child for some time, the court will most likely grant a “sliding scale” time-sharing schedule to integrate the child into the parents’ life.

There is a relocation statute that requires consideration of many factors, as to whether or not you or your spouse can move with the children. Agreement of the parties or court permission is required. It is a complicated process and you should speak with an attorney.

See the previous question regarding the relocation statute. Not paying child support and not seeing the children, are issues the court can consider. Merely not paying child support is not enough. Again, it is very complicated, so consulting with an attorney is best.

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that many factors are considered so that there can be an equitable result to both parties. Factors, such as length of marriage, contribution prior to marriage, debt prior to marriage, dissipation of assets during the marriage (on something other than within the confines of a marriage, such as money spent on an affair), etc. This includes, but is not limited to, real property, vehicles, bank accounts, 401(k)s, pensions, jewelry, collectibles, furnishings, electronics, credit card debt, tax liens, student loan debt, personal debt, etc. In a long-term marriage, you are, more than likely, looking at a 50/50 split unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Title to property and/or debt does not usually matter, unless there is a prenuptial agreement that addresses the issue.

It depends on what you both want to do, or you can bring it to court and the court will generally order a sale and you and your spouse will divide the net proceeds. However, if the home was purchased prior to the marriage, there will be credit for that to the person who owned the home prior to the marriage, if appropriate. Additionally, if marital funds were used to improve the home and to pay down the mortgage, if any, over a period of years, the court will utilize a formula that is set forth in case law, to determine what percentage of the equity in the home, goes to which party. Distribution of real property is quite complicated and it is important to have legal guidance in this regard and it is recommended that you contact us so that we may guide you further, and help protect your interests.

Generally speaking, yes, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are valid in our state. However, there must have been full disclosure and no coercion (especially just days or weeks before the marriage).

First, neither party abandons their rights if they leave the home. In fact, sometimes it is wise for one of the parties to move out, especially if there are children and there is high conflict in the home. The one who leaves should be the one who has somewhere to go (relatives, friends, etc.). If neither of you can leave or will leave, then it is up to the court to tell you how to handle it and it can take quite some time to get in front of a judge, once something is filed with the court. If there is physical violence, you should get to the courthouse and file for a restraining order.

The court can “claw back” funds that were inappropriately removed and you can possibly get your portion of these funds back through a larger portion of another asset. Your attorney will file a motion to freeze spending, if that is a concern in your case, as soon as your case if filed. Time is of the essence.

You can contact the state attorney’s office for the crime that has been committed. You most likely will not have to pay it, pursuant to the criminal charges. In family court, the judge can order the responsibility to be that of your spouse. However, the company may still come after you, especially if your spouse does not pay. Criminal charges are important in this type of case. Fraud is fraud.

Yes, we can retain the services of a private investigator and your spouse can be tracked through a variety of ways. Contact us for more information.

The talk of alimony changing has been in the news a lot lately, but the law has not changed, as our governor did not sign the bill. So, we still have what has been known and remains to be known as permanent alimony. However, permanent alimony is rarely “permanent” as it is always modifiable upon a change of circumstances, such as retirement or the inability to work at the same level at the time the judgment was entered. Many factors are and will always be considered, such as the length of the marriage and the needs of one spouse coupled with the ability to pay by the other spouse. Alimony is complex. It is designed to assist the party with lesser income (if their own income is unable to meet their “needs”) and/or ability to earn income, to transition into their single life. It is not designed to equalize income of the parties. It is best to arrange a consult, with an attorney, to discuss your individual situation and the options regarding alimony.

There may be an entitlement to rehabilitative alimony to enable you (or your spouse) to become re-educated and to assist on living on your/their own, while going to school. However, there are many factors to consider and you must speak with an attorney regarding these factors. Keep in mind, that based on these factors, your spouse (or you) may or may not have to support (or receive support) for very long, if at all, as this was a short-term marriage.

The amount of child support is statutory and will be calculated based on many things, including but not limited to, net income of the parties, time-sharing, costs of health insurance, after care for children, etc. Alimony, if any paid/received, gets calculated into the overall income of the parties for purposes of calculating child support. Alimony is generally taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the payor.

Parents must contribute to health insurance for their children and it is calculated into the child support guidelines, as is the cost of their own personal insurance. Ex-spouses are not allowed to carry health insurance for the other spouse once divorced, through their “family plan,” except possibly through COBRA, if available for a short-period of time. However, they may be required, depending on the circumstances, to contribute funds to allow the other spouse to obtain health insurance on their own.

If there is an obligation of support and as long as obtaining life insurance is not cost prohibitive, there can be a requirement for the payor to carry enough life insurance to secure any support payments court ordered. There can also be an order for the nonpayor to maintain a minimal policy to protect the support of minor children, in the event of that parent’s untimely death.

Yes, we can certainly discuss all the parameters of a potential divorce, including but not limited to, issues regarding time-sharing, division of assets and debts, alimony, child support, domestic violence issues, relocation, etc. Please contact us so we can discuss this with you in more detail, depending on the facts surrounding your particular situation.

The laws are the same for gay couples as for heterosexual couples. Both parents, barring detriment or harm to the child, will have equal rights to parenting time.

Yes, we are able to prepare a will, living will and power of attorney for you and your spouse at any time. If you already have one, you do not need to change it. Contact us to learn more.

An adoption makes a person a legal parent of a child. This creates a permanent parent-child relationship and vests numerous legal rights in both the parent and the child. It puts the adopting parent, for all intents and purposes, on exactly the same legal footing as the biological parent. Parental rights can be granted to parents, but also to nonparents (grandparents or other relatives often have the children living with them for a variety of reasons). Shared parenting allows you to participate in certain decisions about the child. It will be unlikely that the child will qualify for certain government, legal, or military benefits or inheritance rights from you just because you have parental and/or time-sharing rights. It is important that you understand this distinction, so see an attorney for additional information.

Possibly. If you married prior to same-sex marriages becoming legal in Florida, you may need to update the deed to your home to hold title as “tenants by the entirety.” This is a form of ownership that reflects a full and indivisible interest in real estate, only available to married people like you. Contact our attorneys for information.

First of all, stop posting on social media during a divorce. All it can do is hurt you. Second, if you must post do so MINIMALLY, change your password and do so on a regular basis. Remember, everything you post lives forever and can come into court to haunt you, even if it was posted “innocently” and even if posted by others, so talk to your friends too. This is no time to go public with your life via the internet.

We utilize “forensic” accountants, “forensic” technology specialists and investigative services who are experts at retaining this information. There is an additional fee for these services but the information that can be obtained is very valuable and can yield a windfall to you, if it is discovered that certain inappropriate actions have taken place, many of which may have lead to your decision to divorce.

You need to find a time when you can contact us from a secure line. We will make arrangements to meet with you so that you are protected. We will then guide you to an “escape route” to get away from the abuser. There are many services and people available to help you. Just reach out and we will do everything we can to assist you while keeping you safe from harm. Of course, you should always contact law enforcement any time you are in physical danger and do so immediately.

It changes all the time. There are times when most of my clients seem to be women and other times when most of my clients seem to be men. I get a lot of referrals from clients, so if I am handling men, they usually refer other men. Contrarily, if I am handling women, they usually refer other women. It helps in my overall practice to work on both sides, as it assists me in understanding how both sides tend to litigate and prepares us on “what to expect” from the other side.

I pride myself on believing in everyone’s rights. I always diligently follow the law and act in the best interest of my client, while always keeping the children, if any, and their needs, in mind.

I am sure that the lawyer “attacking” you seems really mean, but most likely he or she is just “doing their job.” I can be and I am very aggressive when it is effective and is to your benefit. What you need most is someone who gets the job done in a cost-effective and efficient way and that is what we do. We fight when necessary and try to resolve things when it is beneficial to you. For example, it usually takes a while to get into court. If we have an urgent matter that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, it is in your best interest that you have an attorney with good negotiating skills who can pick up the phone and work something out with the other attorney — not just some bully who will file motions with the court, to be “mean” and then have us all sit around and wait three months for a hearing.

Our firm handles family law clients every day who are in other states as well as in other countries. After you provide certain information to me about your case so that I can ensure client confidentiality, I will be happy to arrange for a telephone conference to determine how the issues can best be handled and whether or not jurisdiction is proper here in Florida. So many things are done electronically today, that it is rare that you have to make an “in-person” appearance.

That is certainly your decision. I call it “penny wise and dollar foolish.” People will spend more money on a family weekend at Disney World than what a divorce lawyer may cost, because Disney is fun and divorce is not. While I understand that part of human nature, what I do not understand is why you would entrust someone who does not have the proper legal training to protect all of your rights regarding your children and property going forward for the rest of your life. We do not entrust a nonprofessional to work on the plumbing in our homes, yet we will do so with our entire lives. Keep in mind that a paralegal cannot go into court with you and may not cover all issues that need to be covered in your divorce. They have a certain “immunity” as to making mistakes because they do not have a law license to protect. Would you trust a “paradoctor” to perform surgery on you? Think about it. If you have property and/or children, use an attorney, who is licensed to practice law.

The short answer is “I have no idea.” It depends on many, many things. How long was your marriage (if you were, in fact married), how many children, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, how much property, financial assets/investments and/or retirement fundsdomestic violence issues, alimony issues, allegations of cheating, etc. I have many years of experience and will navigate through the complexities of our legal system for you, so that you may work on healing and moving on with your life.

The short answer is “no.” I handle all family law matters involving a wide variety of issues, from relatively short-term marriages, with or without children (which might be considered “lower cost”) to high-end divorces with a lot of assets, children issues, alimony issues, etc. If your only goal is low cost, feel free to call us and we will do everything we can to guide you through the self-help program at the courthouse.

The short answer is “no.” In extraordinary circumstances, we may be willing to accept your retainer in two installment payments, but that is usually the best we can do, as we “front-load” a lot of our work, so we must be paid at the beginning of the case. We recommend that you pay the retainer on a credit card, which can ultimately be marital or that you borrow the money from a family member and set up a payment plan with them. Contact us to arrange an initial consultation where we can discuss your payment.

That depends on the ability of the “other side” to pay and on your “need.” For example, if you work and make more than your ex, then no, we most likely will not get fees, unless they are litigating in bad faith, in which case, we may get an award of fees. On the other hand if you are the person who makes less money than the “other side” and they make enough money that they can still afford to meet their basic needs and contribute to your fees, then yes, you will get fees. It depends on a lot of factors. The court will help us decide and we can go over that with you more thoroughly at our initial consultation.

Did we answer your divorce FAQs? If you have any questions that weren’t answered, please contact us today at 954-776-2320 (24 hour availability) to schedule a FREE consultation.

The information provided herein is not to be interpreted or assumed as legal advice, and is simply offered as very general guidelines with the state of Florida. Individual circumstances must be factored into all answers.

Additionally, we represent international family cases. However, depending on the membership of the specific involved country with the Hague Convention, the answers to questions can be complex with many variables.

Contact Deborah Bianchi Tracht Today!

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Protect your rights and your future. Make a decision to improve the quality of your life today. Contact us today at 954-776-2320 to schedule your FREE Consultation with Ms. Tracht. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted. Learn about your legal rights and options, and how we can make a difference for you.

For compassionate, experienced representation, contact Deborah Bianchi Tracht, P.A. to schedule your free consultation.


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