Category Archives: Divorce Law
Divorce is a life altering experience that results in a number of changes for both you and your spouse’s lives, but also in the lives of your children. With divorce comes the added process of making sure that the children are provided for not only mentally and emotionally, but also financially. To do so a child support agreement may be put into place by the court. No two child support agreements are the same, but in the state of Florida there are several things that you can expect when entering into one of these agreements – no matter which side of the situation you are on.
It’s important to note that nothing is permanent and just like a custody agreement, child support agreements can be updated if there are new circumstances like a change in income whether its an unexpected drop or substantial increase. This is a matter that would need to be taken to court and often the assistance of a family law attorney is needed.
Here are 4 things to keep in mind when it comes to child support in Florida:
- The custody agreement will be taken into consideration – One of the biggest factors when it comes to determining child support is how much time the child(ren) will be spending with each parent. The number of overnight visits per year will help decide what the additional financial responsibility will be. The more overnights, then the less one would have to pay as its assumed they are responsible for all finances while taking care of the child. If there is a 50/50 custody arrangement in place and both parties make roughly the same amount of money, chances are no one will be paying child support in this instance. Typically, whichever parent makes more money, or has them less would be the one to pay child support.
- Net income will be a major deciding factor – When it comes time for the courts to calculate what the dollar amount will be net income for each parent will be taken into consideration. This means the amount of income after monthly taxes, health care, and any retirement payments, etc. This will show the true income that each parent has available to handle their actual finances each month.
- Don’t forget to include any daycare or health care costs – While figuring out what your child’s monthly expenses are the usual suspects like food, clothing, and shelter are important but don’t overlook things like daycare costs or medical expenses. Be sure to calculate what is needed on a regular basis, as well as what could be needed in case of an emergency. Keep track of these costs in case a change needs to be made to the agreement in order to cover such expenses at a later date.
- Consider an Income Withholding Order – In the state of Florida, when it comes to court ordered child support, it’s possible to have an Income Withholding Order put into place that would automatically deduct the child support payment from the payer’s paycheck, within each pay cycle through their employer. Sometimes this is mandated by the courts and usually makes things easier on both parties as it allows for a paper trail and there are no missed payments or opportunities to forget to make a payment.
If you are currently working through a child support agreement, whether you’re the one requesting the payments or the one making the payments, consider hiring a family law attorney to help you through the process. Someone like Russell Spatz can help you to understand the court’s process and to calculate an amount that works for you and your child’s needs. Give him a call today at (305) 442-0200.
No one gets married with the intention of ever having to file for divorce. We all want to believe in happily ever after, but unfortunately, life happens and people grow apart or circumstances happen that make it difficult to continue being married. If you and your partner are starting to grow restless and no longer feel happy with one another or any of the following appear to be hindering your relationship, then maybe it’s time to consider filing for divorce.
Cheating – When getting married you vow to stay loyal, but that doesn’t always happen. Infidelity, whether physical or emotional, in a marriage can cause unrepairable damage. While it‘s something that can be overcome, many marriages do not survive when a spouse cheats. This is the cause of 27% of divorces.
Lack of communication – Being married is all about compromise. In order to have a healthy marriage you have to be able to talk things out with your partner and find a resolution to issues that make both parties happy and comfortable. If you and your partner aren’t communicating and working with each other there’s a large chance your marriage won’t survive.
Loss of own identity – Your relationship with yourself is just as important as the one you build with your partner. Over the years, it’s easy to “lose yourself” and this feeling can lead to depression or anger that can consume ones marriage and lead to major problems and resentment.
Abuse – Abuse can come in many forms. Physical and emotional abuse from one spouse to another is a major factor in causes of divorce. Drug abuse also plays a factor in the ending of a marriage. If you are being abused or your spouse is abusing drugs or alcohol, and counseling isn’t able to help, then divorce may be the best option.
If any of these any of these resonate with you in terms of your marriage, it may be time to consider a divorce. When looking for legal counsel, you’ll want an attorney with experience and compassion. Russell Spatz is a dedicated family law attorney who always puts the needs and feelings of his clients first.
Co-parenting is one of the hardest parts of most divorces. Having to create a schedule and new routine that keeps children comfortable and happy in both homes can be a challenge. Add a global pandemic that closes schools, parks, restaurants, and most public places and everyone’s world – including your children’s is turned upside down all over again. Being able to maintain some sense of normalcy for your children during a crisis like COVID-19 is tough, but not impossible.
Here are a few tips for successfully co-parenting during a crisis:
Try to follow a regular routine – Make an attempt at sticking to the court orders and custody agreements that you usually have in place. Even though circumstances are different and many are uncontrollable, these agreements are still mandated and have been put into place for a reason. Continuing to follow the schedule that your child is used to will help keep the flow during an uncertain time.
Over communicate with your ex – Yes, there’s a reason you got divorced and maybe you and your ex-spouse aren’t on the best of terms, but in times of a crisis, keeping open lines of communication is imperative for the well-being of your child. Make sure to keep them in the loop with any changes to your schedule, finances (that have to do with the child), and health. By being open and sharing information you’ll both be able to put figure out what is best for your child during this time.
Be extra understanding – These are tough times for everyone. From businesses closing, whether temporary or not, to school lessons happening at home – this is a time that’s going to spark change in everyone’s life. There will be economic hardship that can lead to lost earnings for many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances.
Try to remember that your children come first today and always. While it is recommended to try and work directly with the other parents on small issues, sometimes it’s understandable to have the need to turn to someone else for assistance in custody issues. Russell Spatz is an advocate for families and has decades of family law under his belt. Call him today at (305) 442-0200 to see how he can help you come to an agreement when it comes to your child’s custody and well-being.
No one gets married and starts a family with the intention to get divorced, but sometimes a divorce is an unavoidable part of life. While divorce isn’t easy on anyone, it can be made enough harder when there are children involved. It’s not rare for children to be caught off guard when a divorced is announced. This is a change in dynamic that can cause emotions to erupt as their parents are suddenly living in different homes with different lives.
Divorce agreements typically involve a custody arrangement that will dictate which parent is the primary parent and which one has visitation rights. Legally, the parents must follow this agreement, but what happens is the child doesn’t want to partake in the way the courts have approved?
Reasons Why a Child Might Refuse Parental Visitation
There are several reasons why a child might not want to abide by a scheduled visit.
- Overwhelmed by the changes of a new home
- Stressed by a new forced routine
- Interference with school schedule or planned activities
- Fear of missing out when it comes to their friends and what’s happening at “home”
- A parent having a new partner that the child isn’t ready to accept
- A parent is too strict or harsh (sometimes even abusive)
What are the Legal Obligations of Parents When It Come to Visitation?
When a child refuses to take part in the court approved visitation schedule, it puts the primary parent in a tough spot. Of course, the first thought from the parent is to protect their child and not force them into a situation where they might feel uncomfortable. But one must remember that the other parent has the right to see and spend time as it’s their child as well. By not complying with the visitation schedule it can be considered a custody order violation and legal consequences may follow. Ultimately, a judge is the one to decide is the custody order must be forced. The goal is always to try to have the child establish a well-balanced relationship with each parent. Changes to the custody order, whether requested by a parent or the child, must go through the courts and be approved by a judge after proving why a new arrangement would be a better fit for the child.
What Parents Can Do To Ease the Situation
A simple talk with your child about their feelings and their fears when it comes time to visit their other parent can make a world of a difference. Let them know you support them and are there for them, but remind them that their other parent loves them and supports them as well. You might not be a normal family anymore, but that doesn’t mean they are loved any less.
If you are doing through a divorce and are in need of a family attorney to help settle your affairs, such as a custody agreement, consider giving Russell Spatz a phone call at (305) 442-0200 today to see how he can help you. With decades of experience, he’s handled all types of family law cases and will always have his client’s best interest in mind.
The unthinkable can happen at a moment’s notice. Going through a divorce is a tough and tumultuous time for those involved. What if your spouse passes away during the divorce, leaving so many issues unresolved? While your grief may be mixed with an odd sense of relief, it does lead to changes in the process that could make finalizing the divorce more difficult.
How Do Divorce Proceedings Change After One Spouse Passes Away?
Often times the courts will decide that there is no longer a need to grant a divorce after the passing of one of the parties involved, as the marriage has now ended in death. However, even without the divorce, some states will still have jurisdiction over marital property. This means that the courts will use its power to decide what will happen to the assets acquired during the marriage. The judge has the ability to divide marital assets and debts between the living spouse and the decedent’s estate according to the state’s family law code.
If there is no estate in place, you will typically become the owner of all community property. If there are any marital debts, those will also become your responsibility as well.
What Happens to the Children if One Parent Passes Away During a Divorce?
When it comes to child custody and child support, the surviving parent will gain full legal custody unless it is deemed that the children are unsafe with the surviving parent. If child support was being determined during the divorce proceedings and the spouse who was to assume the role of paying monthly child support is the one who passes away, the surviving parent may be entitled to death benefit or a life insurance payout through your spouse’s employer. These assets and funds can make up for the financial support you should have received if your spouse hadn’t passed away.
If you are currently in the middle of a divorce and are experiencing the pain and suffering of having your spouse pass away during the process, having an experienced attorney who knows their way around family law is necessary to not only keep your divorce on track, but to help ease the worry and stress involved during this life changing period. Russell Spatz has decades of experience and always puts his clients and their needs first. Call him today at (305) 442-0200.
Maybe you tried everything you could to make your marriage work, but the unfortunate reality is that it is not. Sometimes, couples feel as though the only way to create a happier life each partner is to separate and move on with their lives apart. While this may make each spouse more comfortable in the long run, during the short-term, you still have to deal with the day-to-day of going through a divorce. If you have children, this can be even more complicated. You may be wondering how to tell your kids about divorce.
How to Tell Your Kids About Divorce
As scary and disrupting as divorce can be, the fact of the matter is that it is pretty common. According to the American Psychological Association, 40-50% of married couples in the U.S. divorce, and the rate increases for subsequent marriages. Even if you have not been through a divorce before in your family, the chances are that if you have older children, half of their friends have been through the divorce process in their families. Therefore, older children may be susceptible to rumors or negative stories from their peers regarding the process of divorce.
Each separation is different than others, and people divorce for all sorts of reasons. Therefore, when speaking to your children, make sure to be very clear without giving away too many details. The line of communication between parent and child should remain open throughout the process. Additionally, the age of the child should be considered when having this conversation, so it is best to speak with a child specialist before diving into this complicated conversation.
Here are a few general tips for telling your kids about divorce.
- Do not tell your kids that you will be divorcing until it is really going to happen. Many couples may go back and forth trying to decide if it’s right to separate, and it may be tempting to tell the kids in order to get their reaction early on, but this is a mistake. Children need stability in their lives for proper growth, so any disruption in the family will be a challenge. Therefore, you don’t want to send them on an emotional rollercoaster if you can prevent that from happening. Wait until you are sure to have any conversation.
- Don’t go into details about why the divorce is happening, especially if it paints one of the parents in a particularly bad light. It may make you feel better to tell your child the divorce was a result of the other spouse’s infidelity, but this will not help your child. Keep adult issues between adults, and let your child enjoy their childhood without taking on the burden of the problems of your marriage.
- Have the conversation as a family unit. If you have multiple children, make sure that all of them are present for the talk. The last thing you want to do is put one child against the other if he or she feels that he gets information first or last. Additionally, make sure that both parents are present for the conversation so that the children understand that this is a family decision and that both parents care for them deeply. This will also help keep gossip among parents and children to a minimum if the conversation happens out in the open together as a family.
- Try as much as possible to keep a routine for your family throughout the divorce. This may be difficult if parents begin to live in separate homes, but as much as you can do it, stick to the routines that your children know in order to reassure them that their lives will remain steady, simply with mom and dad living in different locations.
- If possible, connect with a child psychologist or therapist early on in the process to help you and your family emotionally through the separation. By opening up early on, you may be able to help your children move through the divorce and past it without a large amount of emotional damage.
- As with any change in your child’s life, make sure that you are paying close attention to their moods, and any changes in behaviors or school performance. Significant shifts in life circumstances can cause children to act out in different ways. Parents should pay attention to these changes to help their child cope with divorce in a healthy way.
Divorce is never easy on a family, but it’s imperative that you work with an experienced family law attorney who has your best interest in mind throughout the process. Your attorney will work with you on issues related to asset separation and child support, which can be complicated and require someone with legal knowledge. Your lawyer can also be a great source of advice for handling the intricacies of a family separation.
Marriage and Divorce. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/
Heidelberger, E. (2019, February 06). How to gently talk to your kids about divorce. Retrieved from https://www.mother.ly/life/how-to-gently-talk-to-your-kids-about-divorce
The decision to get a divorce is extremely difficult. When two people decide that their marriage is no longer working, it can signal the beginning of a long and stressful process of separating two lives that have lived as one. If there are children involved in the marriage, this process can be even more difficult and emotionally draining as the family navigates a life that will be very different from what they are used to. When the decision is made to get a divorce, each spouse should meet with a family attorney to assist them through the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind about your first meeting with your divorce attorney.
Before the Meeting
Before you meet with an attorney, it’s important to do your research. Take some time to find an attorney that is competent in family law, and who has a track record of success for his or her client. Read reviews or ask for a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member. It’s essential that you pick a credible and experienced attorney to assist you through the most challenging time in your life.
You should also make sure that you are prepared before your meeting. Write out questions you want to ask, and have all documentation ready to show your attorney. Your first meeting will contain many questions on both sides as your attorney gets to know you and your marital situation, so it’s crucial that you come prepared to give him or her as much information as you can about your marriage. You must be prepared and focused for this important meeting.
During the Meeting
Your attorney should make you feel comfortable and at ease. If he or she does not, then maybe it is not a good match. It’s important that you trust the person advising you through the divorce proceedings because you don’t want to make the process any longer or main painful than it already will be.
Make sure you take notes during the meeting and ask for a recap or next steps. Your lawyer will charge by the hour, so you want to make sure that you are using your time wisely. Having as much information ready to go and asking for specific instructions on how to proceed will save you time and money moving forward.
The circumstances of your marriage will determine how the meeting will go. If you and your spouse have agreed to an amicable divorce, the meeting may be very different than if the divorce will be contentious. It’s important that you tell your attorney everything that you and your spouse have discussed and agreed upon prior to the meeting. Your attorney should also ask a lot of questions about the state of your marriage and your finances. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal and important when decided alimony and child support or any other separation of assets.
During the meeting, you should be prepared to discuss alimony, child support, and any division of property, assets, or debts. These issues will all be determined over the course of the divorce proceedings, so it’s important that you have an understanding of what should be expected.
Documents to Bring to Your First Meeting with Your Divorce Attorney
Make sure that you bring all financial documents to your first meeting with your divorce attorney. Any documentation that describes the current status of assets owned by you and your spouse should be brought with you. Your financial situation and the status of your marital finances will all be used to determine alimony and child support and other asset and liability distribution following the dissolution of the marriage.
These documents include:
- Tax Returns- at least three years worth
- Pension Plans/401(k)s/IRAs
- Bank & Investment Statements
- Pay Stubs from the last three paychecks
- Real Estate documentation such as deeds or mortgages
- Any other documents that you think would be essential and necessary related to your marital finances
At the end of the meeting, you should feel confident in your attorney’s ability to support your best interests through the divorce proceedings. If this is not the case, it may be a good idea to find a different attorney before you are too far along.
If you are in the process of considering a divorce, it’s important that you contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
Lowenstein, M. S. (2012, February 08). What To Bring to Your First Appointment. Retrieved from https://www.wife.org/lowenstein-002.htm#wrap
Guillen, L. (2013, April 03). Your First Meeting With A Divorce Attorney. Retrieved from https://www.divorcenet.com/states/massachusetts/your_first_appointment_with_your_divorce_lawyer
When two people decide to enter into a marriage, what they are really doing is signing a legal contract of marriage. Though the hope is that they maintain the contract until death, the reality is that many couples that get married also get divorced. Because divorce can be messy, and a separation of assets does not always leave each spouse in the same place or better than, many prospective spouses choose to sign a prenuptial agreement in Florida.
Why Sign a Prenup?
Spouses may want to sign a prenup if one or both of them has a large number of assets that they want to protect in the event of a divorce. If there are children from a previous marriage, the parent of those children may also want to protect their inheritance in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Additionally, a prenuptial agreement may be in place to pre-determine which spouse will be paid alimony and for how long if the marriage contract is broken.
What Can be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement in Florida?
Usually, a prenup will cover the financial rights of each spouse. This includes the ability to manage property and who gets what property in the event of a divorce, as well who will be in charge of the property in the event of a death or other disability.
A prenup will also state what assets will remain with the spouses following a separation or divorce. For instance, if one spouse enters the divorce with significantly more assets than another, he or she may want to protect those assets from being separated if the marriage dissolves.
Life insurance policies, retirement plans, and alimony are also topics that can be included in a prenuptial agreement. However, it’s important to note that the issue of child support cannot be pre-determined through a prenuptial agreement. The courts will calculate Child support at the time of divorce depending on the financial status and ability to care for the children of each parent at that time. Custody of the child will also be determined by a judge based on the child’s best interest at the time of divorce or separation.
A prenuptial agreement must be in writing, and both spouses must sign it. If it is found that one spouse did not sign voluntarily, or was threatened by physical or psychological punishment, the courts may find the agreement void. Additionally, if one spouse was not given fair and responsible disclosure of the other spouse’s financial assets and debts at the time of signing the agreement, the spouse may challenge the validity of the agreement.
Even if the agreement is unfair, it may not be ruled void unless it can be proven that one spouse did not receive accurate and fair information regarding the finances of the other prior to the marriage and signing of the agreement. It’s important that at the time of preparing the prenuptial agreement, both spouses disclose their finances in full.
Changing or Canceling the Agreement
If the spouses want to change or cancel the prenuptial agreement at any time during the marriage, they may do so as long as they put the changes in writing and both sign the document.
It may be sad to think about what would happen in the event of a divorce prior to a marriage, but it is important that each spouse protect themselves financially, especially when it comes to assets that were acquired prior to the marriage. At every step of the way, it would be beneficial to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney who can help you through the process of preparing a prenuptial agreement.
Thomas, A. (2015, March 27). Prenuptial Agreements in Florida. Retrieved from https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/prenuptial-agreements-florida.html
Losing the custody of a child can be the most devastating time in someone’s life. Having time with both parent important for the mental and emotional growth of a child, and also contributes to family happiness. When a family goes through a divorce, everyone loses, but many times fathers lose more than mothers when it comes to having an active role in their child’s life. This may be partly due to a father’s lack of understanding of the law, or fear of going to court to fight for equal custody of their child.
Fathers should know that during a divorce they have the same legal rights to the child as the mother does, meaning they have equal rights to custody of the child. Each parent has equal standing under the law until there is a signed legal document containing the custody agreement, or the judge hands down his or her opinion on custody. However, if a father does not know this and gives up his full custody rights, he may lose them before he had the opportunity to fight for them.
Equal rights means that if the mother takes the children away from the father, he has just as much right to bring them home. He also has the right to know what is going on with the children at school or at the doctor’s office. Until there is a signed custody agreement, both parents have equality when it comes to matters of the child.
Fear of Fighting
There may be a lot of fighting during a divorce about everything from the family home to special heirlooms. Fathers may feel that they don’t want to drag the subject of custody through the courts for fear of eventually losing out to the mother. Therefore, many fathers may even allow the mother to dictate when he can see the child before a court-ordered custody agreement is in place. This behavior can be detrimental to a father’s ability to gain custody because the longer that a father allows his ex wife to dictate the child’s schedule, the more he may lose favor in the courts, which is why it’s very important for fathers to know that they have equal rights.
Custody and the Courts
According to divorcepeers.com, many custody agreements are decided without ever going to court, and most of them are in favor of the mother. Meaning, there are many men who are giving up their rights before giving themselves a fighting chance.
It’s important that any father who is going through a divorce hire a family law attorney who will fight for his equal rights for custody. Fathers have a right, and arguably an obligation to fight to be a part of their children’s lives on a consistent basis.
If you are a man with children who is going through a divorce, do not let your ex-wife dictate when you can see your children before a custody agreement is signed. Just because someone you know was not granted equal custody by the courts, it does not mean that you will not be given equal custody. Don’t agree to any custody document without consulting with an attorney and fighting for your right to be in your child’s life.
In the end, the man goal is to do what is best for the child. If you believe that you at risk of losing you parental rights during a divorce, contact me to learn more about how you can remain in your child’s life.
Meyer, C. (n.d.). What Custody Rights Do Fathers Have? Retrieved from https://www.liveabout.com/a-fathers-legal-rights-to-child-custody-before-and-during-divorce-1103351
Anytime there is a dispute within a family, whether it has to do with a divorce or child custody issues, emotions can be high, and it can be difficult to come to an agreement that works for each party. Many times, this is when the courts get involved. Family members may have to present to a judge, and in some cases, may be subject to the decision of a judge or jury.
However, there is one way that disputes can be resolved that gives more decision-making power back to the people who are having the conflict. If conflicting parties are ordered to or choose to go to mediation, it is possible to settle a family dispute outside of the courtroom.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way for people to discuss their dispute in the presence of an impartial party. In certain cases mediation is court-ordered while in other cases the two parties can choose to go to mediation. The neutral mediator is often chosen by the courts in issues of family law. He or she must be certified by the Florida Supreme Court, but is not allowed to give legal advice, or provide therapy or counseling. The mediator may help the discussion along by providing ideas of ways that the disputing parties can come to an agreement.
Whenever there are issues involving the family, it may be difficult for opposite parties to operate without being emotional, and it can often be hard for each person to see the issue any other way. A mediator’s job is to spark ideas that may lead to an ultimate agreement, or simply the agreement that a mutually satisfying resolution cannot be made.
Once there is an agreement in mediation, both parties will be asked to sign a document that explains the details of the agreement, which becomes a contract. At this point, the terms of the contract are legally binding and must be followed by all parties involved. If an agreement cannot be made, then the issue may be sent back to the courts for a judge or jury to ultimately decide.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation is a way to keep a dispute out of the courts, and may save time and money. It is an opportunity to resolve conflict with an impartial person who can offer up suggestions that may not have been considered by either party. Additionally, the mediator can help overcome communication obstacles or emotional barriers that have stalled the issue from being resolved or moving forward. He or she can assist with listening and help each party stay focused on the real issues that need to be discussed
Perhaps the biggest benefit to mediation is that it keeps the decision-making power with the parties involved in the dispute as opposed to a judge or jury. An agreement established in mediation is one that is created by the people who will be affected the most by any terms, and therefore, it may be appealing to some to have the power to make that ultimate decision.
Mediations are also private and confidential, which is different than public hearings that wind up on the record. There are no judges or juries involved in the mediation process, and attorneys are not required, but advised.
Tips for a Successful Mediation
Any time that you will be going to mediation, you should absolutely consult the advice of a family law attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you understand what terms would be most beneficial to you.
Make sure you are prepared and arrive on time. If you are ill prepared for the mediation, you may end up agreeing to something that does not work in your favor.
It’s important to also arrange for childcare if needed. Children are often not allowed in the mediation room.
Mediation in family law cases may last an hour or several days, depending on the time it takes both parties to agree on terms to a resolution. In the event that you are going to mediation or feel that you may need to in order to resolve a legal conflict, contact an experienced family law attorney who can properly advise you through the mediation process. The Spatz Law Firm can be reached at (305) 442-0200.
Mediation in Florida. (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2018, from https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Alternative-Dispute-Resolution/Mediation-in-Florida