Frequently Asked Question's

    Florida Divorce

  • What should I do if I want a divorce? (Dissolution of Marriage)
  • One of the parties in a Dissolution of Marriage must reside in Florida for at least the last six months. Get all your financial documents together regarding assets, income, and liabilities. This includes any retirement accounts, IRA’s, 401K’s, bank account statements, billing statements, IRS Tax Returns for last three years, and Investment statements. It is also recommended that you obtain your most recent credit report. All of this information can be helpful during your initial consultation with an attorney, however it is not required.
  • Who pays for the cost of the divorce?
  • In most instances each party will pay their initial retainer. However, both parties have the ability to ask the other party to reimburse and pay attorney fees. Typically this would be in cases where one of the parties did not work and cared for the children, or there is a significant difference in the income of the parties. There are other circumstances where you can ask that the other party pay attorney fees. There is no guarantee on a dollar amount that a judge will grant for attorney fees and cost.
  • If the other party has had an affair how does that affect the divorce?
  • Whether an extramarital affair has occurred has no affect on the divorce proceedings. However, if marital money was used to fund the affair, ie: rent an apartment or buy a car with marital monies, these funds can be recouped in the disbursement of marital funds.
  • What if the other party does not want to get a divorce?
  • Florida is a No‐Fault Divorce state. Meaning you need to only swear that the marriage is irretrievably broken in your petition
  • How long does it take to get divorced?
  • There are many considerations in answering this question. If you are in an uncontested divorce and have an agreement ready to sign and submit you could be looking at 30‐45 days (depending on court availability) If you are in a contested divorce it can take longer than that. Many times the parties themselves can determine the length of time. For example, turning in all requested documents in a timely manner make the process move along smoothly. If not, then you will have issue with trying to get the other party to respond and produce. This can add unnecessary delays. If the divorce is complex and you have many assets or businesses that may require appraisals and experts you can add more time. A lot will depend on how the two parties cooperate with each other.
  • What if my spouse does not live in the state of Florida?
  • When filing for divorce only one of you has to live within the state for the last six months. If you and your spouse have not resided in Florida for a period of at least six months, you must wait until that time period has passed prior to filing.
  • We have children, how does child support, custody & visitation work?
  • When filing for divorce only one of you has to live within the state for the last six months We have children, how does child support, custody & visitation work?

    In most cases both parents will remain in active roles with the children, sharing in decisions, medical appointments, school decisions etc. Children should never be used as a pawn in a divorce proceeding. If it is possible for the two parents to come to an agreement on the timesharing this is the most advantageous. Otherwise you will have a decision made by the court. In some cases a Guardian Ad Litem can be appointed to help determine the needs of the child(en). In regards to child support, there are Child Support Guidelines that apply for all cases. These guidelines will evaluate the parents’ combined income and payments will be determined based on this. Child support can be modified in the future if there is a change of circumstances, ie: loss of job, lowered income etc. Child support typically is not inclusive of college cost or future expenses for the child(en) and will be paid until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

  • Can I collect Alimony?
  • There are several types of alimony available. The determining factors will be based on several different things including but not limited to the length of the marriage, and income of both parties etc. The types available are temporary, transitional, bridge the gap, lump sum, rehabilitative and permanent.
  • How do we divide our property?
  • First it is decided what is marital property and what is non-marital property. The marital property will typically be divided 50/50 no matter. Regarding a home, the home may be sold and the proceeds divided equally or one of the parties may “buy” out the other party for the residence


     

    Paternity in Florida

  • What is Paternity?
  • Paternity is defined as fatherhood.
  • How do we determine if I am the father or not?
  • DNA Testing is how to accurately determine fatherhood.
  • Why do you need to know who the father is?
  • There are many reasons that you would want to know who your child’s father is.
    1) Children do well when they have both parents active in their life
    2) Social Security Benefits – Military Benefits
    3) For the purpose of child support and benefits
    4) It is important to know family medical history
  • If I don’t want to establish paternity am I required to?
  • If the mother of the child wants to collect child support she can request a DNA test to prove paternity through the courts and Child Support Enforcement.
  • When it has been determined I am the Father, how does child support, custody & visitation work?
  • In most cases both parents will remain in active roles with the children, sharing in decisions, medical appointments, school decisions etc. If it is possible for the two parents to come to an agreement on the timesharing this is the most advantageous. Otherwise you will have a decision made by the court. In some cases a Guardian Ad Litem can be appointed to help determine the needs of the child(en). In regards to child support, there are Child Support Guidelines that apply for all cases. These guidelines will evaluate the parents’ combined income and payments will be determined based on this. Child support can be modified in the future if there is a change of circumstances, ie: loss of job, lowered income etc. Child support typically is not inclusive of college cost or future expenses for the child(en) and will be paid until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.
  • We have a child together and agree to the paternity, what is the quickest way to establish paternity?
  • Sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This document will need to be signed by both parents and notarized.


     

    Florida Foreclosure

  • What is Foreclosure?
  • Foreclosure is the legal process that the mortgage company takes, when the payments have not been made on a mortgage. The mortgage company in Florida must file a lawsuit and serve you with the lawsuit. If you receive any papers from a mortgage company, you should contact an attorney immediately, to make sure that you take the steps necessary to protect your house.
  • What defenses are available for foreclosure?
  • Currently, there are a number of defenses available. The news is constantly reporting all the problems that the mortgage companies are having with foreclosure cases. There may be serious problems with the mortgage foreclosure case. The mortgage company must prove that it is allowed to bring the action, that you are past due, and that the mortgage company has complied with all of the mortgage and litigation rules and regulations.
  • Will I be able to obtain a loan modification?
  • There are federal programs to help people stay in their homes. You may be eligible if your mortgage is behind, and you owe less than $729,000.00 on your mortgage. We work with people every day on loan modifications. We may be able to help you with a loan modification even before a foreclosure law suit is filed.
  • How long will it take?
  • Initially, you will have to file a response within twenty days of the date that you receive the lawsuit for mortgage foreclosure. Please make sure that you have taken the steps to protect your rights in that time period. Once your rights are protected, the process may take substantial time. This substantial time will give you time to consider all possible options, which may include a loan modification, a short sale or bankruptcy to save your house.
  • Is bankruptcy an option to save my house?
  • If you are behind in your mortgage payments, you may be eligible to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will make your mortgage payments, and pay off the arrearage over a period of time. Please see our information regarding bankruptcy for more information on bankruptcy as an option.
  • What is a short sale?
  • A short sale is an agreement by the mortgage company to accept a sale of your house for a certain price. The short sale price is often substantially less than the amount you owe on your mortgage. By accepting the short sale price, the mortgage company agrees that you do not have to pay the balance of the mortgage. Our law firm works directly with an experienced real estate professional, who works with many different loan companies to approve short sales.


     

    Florida Bankruptcy

  • What is bankruptcy?
  • Bankruptcy is a federal court process to help people and businesses eliminate debts in some cases. In other cases, debts are repaid in full or in part over time.
  • How do I file bankruptcy?
  • You must file a Petition asking for bankruptcy protection. You will also have to file detailed schedules of your assets, your debts and your financial arrangements.
  • What is Chapter 7?
  • Chapter 7 cancels many debts, so that you have a fresh start. In Florida, you may be able to keep some property, which is called “exempt property” that creditors cannot take from you. In some cases, you may be able to keep your car and home if your loans on them are current and you keep paying your loans. A trustee is appointed to take over your property that is not protected from creditors. Any property of value will be sold or turned into money to pay your creditors. There are income limits to qualify for a Chapter 7. If you do not qualify, you will have to file a Chapter 13 case and repay some or all of your debts over time.
  • What debts can I cancel in Chapter 7 case?
  • In a Chapter 7 case, most unsecured debts, like credit cards and medical bills, will be cancelled. Car loans or mortgages will be cancelled if you don’t keep the property.
  • Is bankruptcy an option to save my house?
  • If you are behind in your mortgage payments, you may be eligible to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will make your mortgage payments, and pay off the arrearage over a period of time. Please see our information regarding bankruptcy for more information on bankruptcy as an option.
  • What debts cannot be cancelled?
  • • Most Taxes
    • Child Support
    • Alimony
    • Most Student Loans
    • Court Fines and Criminal Restitution
    • Personal Injury caused by driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.
  • When is my Chapter 7 case over?
  • A Chapter 7 case is over when the Court enters the Discharge Order.
  • What is Chapter 13?
  • Chapter 13 allows you to pay part or all of your debts over time. You can usually keep your property, but you must agree to pay part of your income to your creditors. If mortgage is behind or in foreclosure, you may be able to pay back the past due amount over time. You will make a written plan to repay your debts and past due amounts. The Trustee will collect the payments from you, pay your creditors and make sure you comply with you repayment plan. The Court must approve your repayment plan and your budget.
  • When is my Chapter 13 case over?
  • A chapter 13 case is over when you have made all the payments in your payment plan.
  • What debts can I cancel in a Chapter 13 case?
  • In Chapter 13 cases, only part of some debts will be cancelled.