Articles Posted in Family Law

jacksonville divorce attorneyEnding a marriage is a hard choice to make, and unfortunately, it is not always a mutual decision. When one party wants a divorce, and the other does not, it can be an incredibly frustrating situation. In Florida, only one spouse has to want a divorce for a request to be granted, but it does create a few complications. If you find yourself in this position, here are the steps you and your Jacksonville divorce attorney will go through to complete the process.

Filing for divorce.

If your spouse does not wish to sign a petition for an uncontested divorce, you will need to file for a contested divorce. You will then need to have your spouse served with papers. This should be done by a sheriff’s deputy in the county in which your spouse lives or by a professional process server. This way it is clearly documented that the petition has been delivered in case you need to request a default judgment after 20 days without a response. In a contested divorce, it is very wise to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce due to the complexities of the type of situation. The emotional and financial consequences are too high to risk not having professional representation.

family law attorney in JacksonvilleChild support can be a difficult and emotional issue to navigate. The main purpose of child support is to ensure that the needs of children of divorced parents are being met. If you’re going through a divorce you may be confused about how child support figures are calculated, and it may be a major source of conflict between you and your former spouse.

Parents facing a divorce are often concerned about the amount they should expect to pay or the amount which they will receive. It’s important to know that each state has its own guidelines, and your family law attorney in Jacksonville can help you understand these.

Florida law uses an “Income Shares Model” for determining child support, which attempts to calculate how much would have been spent on raising the child if the parents were not divorcing. That amount is then divided between the parents based on their income. To determine this, an income affidavit must be filed by each parent listing their gross income. Gross income includes but is not limited to:

jacksonville divorce attorneyDividing assets in a divorce can be a very difficult process. Things become even more complex when there are significant assets involved or if the couple divorcing is at all hostile. Since all states have different laws regarding the division of assets, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your state’s specific laws. You may want to seek the expertise of a Jacksonville divorce attorney to guide you through Florida’s specific laws.

In a divorce, only marital assets and liabilities are divided. This refers to all property acquired during the marriage, regardless of ownership or title. One of the first things you should do together is complete a list of all marital assets. If you can do so amicably, it makes the entire process faster and easier. Items that must be on this list include: your home, joint property such as land or vacation homes, any vehicles, valuables like jewelry and artwork, household belongings such as furniture and appliances, bank accounts, securities and retirement plans.

In the state of Florida, the law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. A judge will set aside all non-marital property, also known as separate property. This is any property that each spouse previously owned and brought into the marriage. But be aware that this is not always so straight-forward, as some non-marital assets can become mixed with the marital property. An experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney can advise you on the technicalities of separate assets.

visitation during paternity actionWhen a man is not named on a child’s birth certificate, a paternity action is needed to determine that the man is the child’s biological father and to establish his rights and responsibilities. A paternity action is the legal process used to establish the paternity of a child. This is most often done by using DNA analysis of a swab test or a blood test. In the state of Florida, a paternity action may be filed by the child’s mother, the man involved or even by the child.

Some of the reasons a paternity action may be needed include:

• To verify a child’s identity or to give a child a needed identity.

divorce disclosuresIn a divorce or family law case, people are often concerned that their former spouse or significant other will not be entirely straightforward with their financial information. Through a procedure called mandatory disclosure , the state of Florida mandates that each party is fully informed about the other party’s financial situation.

In simple terms, a mandatory disclosure means that the financial information of both parties in a divorce or other family law case are required to be disclosed. It specifically requires that financial affidavits be exchanged, and this requirement is not able to be waived. Mandatory disclosures must be filed within 45 days of the case being served. They must also be continually updated whenever there is a substantial change in one of the party’s financial circumstances.

On top of the financial affidavit, there are additional documents required which help demonstrate the debts and assets of each party. These documents are furnished as a way to support the numerical figures on the affidavit. Some of these documents may not always be necessary and can potentially be waived if agreed upon by both parties.

refuses to pay child supportDealing with a former spouse who is not paying their court-ordered share of child support can be an unfortunate hassle. Left with this financial and emotional burden, you may feel like you’ve made every attempt to collect but just aren’t getting anywhere. You may even be at the point where you’re asking yourself, “is withholding visitation an option?”

The answer to that question is no. You cannot refuse visitation if your ex is not paying child support. While you may be able to have your ex-spouse’s visitation rights modified in court, withholding visitation rights is considered custodial interference. Child support and visitation rights are two separate issues that should not be confused.

  • Child support is determined in court, and must follow the guidelines of the Child Support Enforcement Act. These guidelines vary from state to state. The factors that are looked at include the child’s needs (health care, education, child care, etc.), the income and needs of the custodial parent, the paying parent’s income and the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.

It depends. In the Sorgen case the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal tackled this issue. In this case, prior to the marriage, the wife had inherited a home with her sisters. Subsequent to the marriage, she bought her sisters out and used marital funds to pay taxes on and to renovate the home. The appellate court found the home was a marital asset because the asset had been “comingled.” The moral of the story is to be careful with inherited funds or assets. Depositing inherited funds into a joint account, where such funds become untraceable, can make those funds a marital asset subject to division by the court. Using marital funds for the benefit of an inherited asset might also cause an asset to be considered marital. If you are divorcing and you have inherited assets, you should consult with a qualified attorney regarding these issues. At Parker & DuFresne, P.A. we can guide you and advise you through a divorce involving complicated issues. Don’t short-change yourself, call us for a consultation today at (904) 733-7766.

Yes the number of overnight visitation exercised may affect what you pay in child support! A New Florida Statute on overnight visitation went into effect on May 12, 2014. Prior to this statute, only overnight visitation exercised pursuant to a court approved parenting plan could be counted in making a child support calculation. Now overnights exercised pursuant to an agreement by the parents can be counted for child support calculations. Get advice from an experienced attorney about your child support obligation and your overnight visitation. Contact Parker & DuFresne, P.A.. You can’t afford not to.