Florida Family Law Attorney
Florida Family Law is much more than just getting people divorced. Steven D. Miller, P.A. Florida family law attorneys represent clients, whose needs range from preparing to get married, preparing to dissolve the marriage and legal issues that arise after the final judgment of dissolution has been entered.
With divorce rates in Florida and the rest of the country as high as they are, many people prepare for marriage with the preparation of a prenuptial agreement; an agreement prepared in anticipation of marriage with the a very specific purpose – how to deal with property and spousal support issues in the event that the marriage does not work out. How will you protect the property that each spouse brings to the marriage? For instance, if you have a savings account that you worked hard to acquire and want to “protect” it as your own in the event of a divorce proceeding, a prenuptial will do the trick. Do you combine income or keep it separate? How do you intend to pay bills? What about the condo you owned before marriage? A pre-nuptial agreement can address all those issues and more.
A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract regarding financial issues. When negotiating a contract regarding financial issues, both parties are entitled to the other’s financial information. How much disclosure is required is an interesting question. Unlike the divorce process where each party is obligated to make full and fair disclosure, such is not the case when preparing a pre-nuptial. Instead, each party must disclose enough information so that the other party has a general understanding of your current financial situation and are either satisfied by that disclosure or are put in a position that they choose to make further inquiry. Don’t sign anything unless you are satisfied with the disclosure made by your fiancé. Provisions can be made for spousal support upon dissolution and is generally tied to the duration of the marriage (i.e., if we stay married for “X” years you will get “Y” dollars).
Timing of execution of the pre-nuptial is critical. You can’t make an informed decision if you’re “under the gun.” Making financial decisions of any sort when faced with the pressure of a marriage within hours, days or weeks of the big day may not be in your best interests. How much time is enough time? The longer, the better. A reasonable amount of time under the circumstances. Like most major decisions in life, don’t rush into signing a pre-nuptial agreement.
Family Law Divorce Attorney
The big day has come and gone and it just isn’t working out. “Time to leave . . . Call Steve.” Look, if you’ve given it your best shot and need to get out, do it. Florida is a no-fault state meaning that you do not need to allege any specific reason, just that the marriage is irretrievably broken and you want to dissolve the marriage. If you meet the jurisdictional requirement of being a Florida resident for at least 6 months, you can get divorced.
Should you make the decision to get divorced, you and your spouse must address the following issues: division of property and debt; child related issues including, but not limited to, child support; child custody and spousal support. How you both chose to resolve these issues will determine whether your case is an uncontested or contested dissolution. Should you and your spouse resolve all issues and sign all required documents prior to filing the case at the courthouse – Florida uncontested divorce. If you are not able to resolve all issues prior to filing, you are the contested divorce case.
Regardless of your situation, the issues remain the same but the process changes and will take a longer to conclude your case. How much longer? Depends on the issues, the desire of both sides to get the issues resolved – it takes two to tango – and the lawyers, yes the lawyers. Look, most lawyers charge by the hour so, from an income standpoint, the longer the case drags on, the more time the lawyer spends on the case, the more motions, hearings and depositions that are scheduled makes the monthly bill increase very fast. It’s easy to sign on the dotted line under the stress of starting the process.
Here’s what I know – a good Florida divorce lawyer should be able to tell you, within a reasonable degree of certainty the outcome of a case whether it settles on day one, at mediation or at trial. Yes, we need a certain amount of information to formulate an opinion; that said, you will have most of the information necessary for me to form and render a reasonable opinion about the resolution of all issues. It’s not rocket science; instead, it’s about understanding the issues and how they get resolved. Yes, sometimes motions, hearings and depositions are necessary but not most of the time. If there are significant property issues; businesses that need to be evaluated; income that needs to be imputed because one spouse chose to voluntarily withdraw from the work force then yes, it takes more time and costs more money. However, most people don’t have those issues and just want to get their cases settled, get a final judgment of dissolution and move on with their lives.
Post Judgment Issues
Divorce is final and life has been moving along without incident. Suddenly, child support or alimony is paid sporadically; your spouse misses a couple weekends of visitation, fails to send payment for extracurricular activities or unpaid medical expenses for the children. What now? Depending on the “violation” you may need to file a motion to enforce the agreement or seek an order of contempt against your ex. Under certain circumstances, waiting too long to enforce a legal right – “laches” – may act as defense to your motion. If you think an agreement has been violated, call us for a free consultation. We would need to see the agreement or final judgment and then we can talk about the facts and let you know your options. Regardless of the issue, we only charge a flat fee.
Understand Your Divorce | Steven D. Miller, P.A.
Here’s the bottom line about Florida family law and the lawyers that practice in this area – you are entitled to understand the issues and how to get them resolved; your questions should be answered – a good lawyer, family law or otherwise, should tell you what you need to know NOT what you want to hear – usually two very different things and, most importantly, you should be charged a fair fee. Steven D. Miller, P.A. represents clients throughout Florida always for a flat fee. We take advantage of all rules of court to keep the costs and fees to our clients at a minimum. Our goal is simple – get you in and out of the Florida divorce or other family law process as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
“When it’s time to leave . . . Call Steve.”