A divorce is not only the end of your marriage. The decision to dissolve a marriage is one of the most important decisions an individual can make and it has results that last years or even a lifetime. The matters determined in your divorce will affect the rest of your life and those you care about.
Your dissolution of marriage requires knowledge and thorough preparation throughout the entire process. You can benefit significantly from the guidance of a marital and family lawyer well who has experience practicing Florida family law. When divorces involve very complicated matters or when child custody is at issue, you are most in need of quality representation. Even when spouses have agreed on all of the issues, otherwise called an Uncontested Divorce, the law still requires the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, a Marital Settlement Agreement which resolves all issues, and a Final Hearing so that the Court can enter a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
At Tampa Bay Divorce Firm, we believe the best family lawyers provide their clients with comprehensive advice based upon years of experience. We are knowledgeable, skillful, compassionate divorce attorneys and are able to handle the most complicated and difficult cases. Our Tampa divorce attorneys provide legal representation and oversight for husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers in the greater Tampa Bay area. Our divorce lawyers work hard to ensure your rights are represented and that your financial issues are resolved equitably. We work hard to understand your concerns and help you close one chapter of your life peacefully and begin again with peace of mind.
In Florida, where the parents of a child were never married, either parent may obtain an Order for custody/timesharing and child support by seeking and obtaining an order establishing the paternity of the child.
If paternity is not contested, the parents may enter into a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity which will constitute a legal determination of paternity just as if the Court entered an Order of paternity.
Once paternity has been established, the Court can order child support, custody/timesharing, health insurance and reimbursement the children’s expenses. Without establishing paternity, however, a Court is unable to make decisions regarding these issues. For example, if one parent needs child support and the other will not pay, the Court cannot order child support until paternity has been established.
An Order of Paternity entitles the children to certain additional benefits which include:
• The right to inherit from either parent.
• Legal documentation identifying both parents.
• Health or life insurance from either parent, if available.
• The right to receive Social Security, veteran’s benefits and military allowances on the work record of a parent, if available.
• The names of both parents on the child’s birth certificate.
Establishing paternity can be tough, especially when paternity is unknown or disputed. If you live in the Tampa Bay Area and need assistance with a paternity case, please contact Green Law, P.A. to speak with an experienced Florida family lawyer.
Court orders and Parenting Plans establish the terms of ongoing interactions between parents and former spouses, including custody/timesharing, child support, alimony, and the division of assets. People’s lives, however, unavoidably change, and these orders may not be realistic years later. In other situations, parents and former spouses have the same uncooperative or controlling behavior as they did during the marriage or relationship, and violate the terms of agreements and orders.
Florida Law requires evidence of a substantial change in circumstances before modifying a previous order. When a proposed modification involves child custody/timesharing, it must also be in the best interest of the child.
Examples of potential changes in circumstances are:
• A child’s needs change, including cases in which a child develops or has complicated special needs.
• One parent chooses to relocate and move to a different state or far away from the other parent.
• One parent is interfering with a child’s relationship with the other parent.
• A former spouse is convicted of a crime.
• A former spouse remarries or begins to cohabitate with another person.
• A former spouse loses his or her job, or gains new employment or a promotion.
• A former spouse’s physical or mental condition has deteriorated, such as by drug or alcohol abuse.
The Florida laws that define what facts are adequate to meet this burden of proof are complex and vary according to what type of modification you are seeking. Please contact Green Law, P.A. to schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida divorce and family law modification attorney.
While no one wants to revisit litigation for enforcement issues, we are prepared to bring the violating spouse or parent back to Court for enforcement proceedings, such as wage garnishment, or modification of orders. Our attorneys have wide-ranging experience in all kinds of enforcement actions, including the failure of a parent or former spouse to comply with support orders, interference with custody/timesharing, refusal to complete a specific act, or violations of financial and property orders.
Please contact Green Law, P.A. to schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida divorce and family law enforcement attorney.
Our family lawyers have been on both sides when working on Tampa domestic violence cases, both when Domestic Violence Injunctions have been awarded and when defending individuals unjustly accused. Therefore, we understand that these matters are complex and not easily resolved by the Courts.
In situations where there are children living in the home, it becomes crucial to end the cycle of abuse. Regardless of the whether or not the children have been harmed, their world view is shaped by watching the relations between adults.
Our attorneys that specialize in domestic violence (Tampa) are here to assist you and your family in these cases of domestic violence and abuse, whether you have been accused of domestic violence or if you have a situation where you require emergency Court involvement. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or are facing allegations of domestic violence, please contact Green Law, P.A. You need experienced legal representation to ensure rights are protected.
The amount of time each parent will spend with the children can be the most acrimonious decision made during a divorce or paternity case. The care of minor children is always of chief importance to parents.
It is not always necessary for the Court to decide custody/timesharing if the parents can agree. Child custody/timesharing can be settled out of Court through a Parenting Plan. A Parenting Plan contains a custody/timesharing schedule that includes days of the week, pick up and return times, which holidays each parent gets, vacation days, and where the children may or may not travel. At Tampa Bay Divorce Firm, we are eager to help you prepare a Parenting Plan that meets the needs and best interests of your children. We believe that it is essential for the children’s sake to make an effort to come to an agreed-upon Parenting Plan without the influence of the Court. It creates a much better outcome for the children involved.
However, if harmonious discussions fail, a Parenting Plan will be determined by the Court. The Court will ultimately consider the children’s best interests when determining a Parenting Plan. Florida Statutes require the Court to evaluate the following factors when determining the best interests of the children:
At Tampa Bay Divorce Firm we can help ensure that a Parenting Plan is developed that fits the unique needs of your family and your children. Please contact Tampa Bay Divorce Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida child custody and timesharing attorney.
Florida has has adopted what is known as Equitable Distribution when dividing property in a divorce. This means that marital property is fairly divided between the parties.
All assets and liabilities must go through the same analysis for equitable distribution: identification, classification as non-marital or marital, setting aside of non-marital property, then valuation of the marital assets and liabilities, and distribution of the marital assets and liabilities. An overview of these steps is set forth below.
Identification and Classification of Assets and Liabilities: Identification involves determining when the asset or liability was acquired. Marital assets and liabilities include all assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly. Marital assets also include the increase in value of non-marital assets resulting from the efforts of either party during the marriage. All assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either spouse after the date of the marriage and not specifically established as non-marital assets or liabilities are presumed to be marital assets and liabilities.
For many married couples, retirement assets like pensions, 401(k) plans, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), profit sharing plans and deferred compensation plans are the largest assets after the marital residence. Even if the retirement account is earned as a result of one spouse only, the portion of it that was earned during the marriage is still marital property subject to equitable distribution.
Setting Aside of the Non-Marital Property: Next, the Court must set aside non-marital assets and liabilities before distribution of marital assets and liabilities. The assets and liabilities that are separate and are set aside are not included in the overall equitable distribution scheme.
Valuation of the Marital Assets and Liabilities: The Court must then assign a value to each marital asset and liability. The Court has discretion to choose a valuation date to value each asset and liability. Generally, the date of valuation is either the date the parties entered into a valid agreement or the date of filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Valuation of each asset and liability must be based on evidence and cannot be determined by splitting the difference.
Distribution of the Marital Assets and Liabilities: The Court will next designate which party will keep each asset, which party will be responsible for each liability, whether an asset or liability will be split, or whether an asset will be sold. It is not uncommon for parties to focus on a single asset or liability, for example the marital home. Remember that the Court must consider all of the marital assets and liabilities together when distributing the same.
If marital assets include business interests or other complex assets, we help ensure that the distribution of assets is handled properly by working cooperatively with forensic accountants, appraisers, and other financial experts.
Equalizing Payment: The Court starts with a presumption that assets and debts are split equally. However, sometimes there is not a simple way to make things come out equally. If this is the case, the Court may order an equalizing payment from one party to another to balance the equitable distribution scheme.
Although many other aspects of Florida divorce are modifiable, like alimony, child support and custody/timesharing, the equitable distribution of marital property is not modifiable in Florida.
If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about distribution of your assets, please contact Green Law, P.A. in Tampa, Florida. You need capable legal counsel to protect your assets, interests and future.
The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to a spouse if that spouse is in need of financial support. However, an alimony award will not be only based on the needs of one spouse. The ability of the other spouse to pay alimony will be considered as well.
When determining whether an alimony award is appropriate, first the Court must determine that a spouse needs alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony. Then the Court must determine the proper type and amount of alimony. In Florida, there is no formula used to determine the alimony amount. Instead, Courts rely on the following factors in determining the alimony amount:
The Court can order the spouse who pays alimony to maintain a life insurance policy to secure the alimony award should he or she die before the alimony period ends.
Similar to issues concerning child custody/timesharing and child support, the parties can agree upon the length and amount of alimony. Tampa Bay Divorce Firm has extensive experience representing spouses who are seeking alimony, as well as those who are challenging it. Please contact Tampa Bay Divorce Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida alimony attorney.
Central to any family law case involving children, aside from custody/timesharing, is the importance of supporting the children. Child support is the court-ordered financial maintenance of a child. Florida child support laws require both parents to support their children whether or not they have custody of them. These laws apply equally to children born in or out of marriage. Generally speaking, both parents are obligated to support their children until they turn eighteen, though exceptions do apply.
In Florida, the following factors are considered by the court when calculating child support payments:
Child support is a right that belongs to the minor children. Therefore, generally, child support cannot be waived parent on behalf of the minor children.
If you are considering a divorce where children are involved or a paternity action, be sure that you are represented by a qualified Florida attorney who specializes in child support. Please contact Tampa Bay Divorce Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida child support attorney.
Florida Law defines “relocation” as a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying custody/timesharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify custody/timesharing. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.
If a parent wants to relocate with a child, he or she must meet a very high burden of proof, proving the move is in the best interests of the child and that it will not damage the child’s relationship with the other parent. Obtaining the Court’s permission to move is generally difficult. Despite these challenges, we have helped clients obtain Court orders allowing for relocation. We have also helped clients stop the other parent from relocating with the children.
If you are considering a relocation, or if you are seeking to keep another parent from moving, be sure that you are represented by a qualified Florida lawyer who specializes in family law relocation matters. Please contact Tampa Bay Divorce Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida relocation attorney.
“Mr. Green is a very skilled family law attorney. He was professional, knowledgeable and thorough during all phases of a complicated post judgment settlement case. Mr. Green responded promptly to questions and concerns and made sure I was well informed at all times. I would highly recommend him counsel for family law cases.”
“Greg listened, set my expectations from the start about the process and talked about possible outcomes, cost, anticipated duration and the like. Then he set to work making the journey as painless as possible under the circumstances. And by the end of it, that very first consultation wound up rather prophetic.”
"I was referred to Greg by a good friend who had used him for a divorce case years ago. I had just been served with divorce paperwork and was able to schedule an initial meeting with Greg the same week I was served. I was impressed from the initial meeting. Greg was thorough and informative at the initial meeting. He made sure that I was aware and understood how the divorce process would proceed, and more importantly how the process would eventually conclude."
"I hired Greg to help me with a custody dispute that I was involved in with my ex. He told me from the beginning exactly what to expect and how the process would go. We made a total of 3 Court appearances together, and at every Court appearance I felt that we were more prepared than my ex and her attorney. In the end the case settled and I am very happy with the outcome. I would definitely recommend Greg to any of you looking for a family law attorney. He knows the law knows the process and knows how to treat his clients."
"Kathryn, was very thorough, patient and understanding. She was also knowledgeable and kept me going in the right direction at all times. I would highly recommend Kathryn to anyone."
"I truly am so thankful for my attorney Kathryn Ashley. She saw me through a very difficult and stressful divorce. Excellent job and professionalism, I would recommend Kathryn to anyone looking for a good Attorney"
"Katie was my attorney for my divorce case and did a fantastic job. She was knowledgeable, trustworthy and dependable. She was always able to answer any questions I had, completed athorough job and walked me through every step of the process navigating the different motions that were filed by my ex husband. She was present for every hearing and took the time to prepare for the hearings, motions and explained what was being filed, why and the possible outcomes. I would highly recommend her services to anyone and would use her again if needed."
"I hired Kathryn Ashley to represent me for my divorce. She is a very thorough and compassionate attorney that was always available whenever I would have a question or concern. The divorce was settled out of court, which saved me a lot of money. I would highly recommend Ms. Ashley!"
"At a difficult time in my life, Katie was very helpful, kind, and honest. She is great at what she does, and she aided immensely in successfully resolving any issues that came about, in the course of my case."
"You will never find an attorney that cares more about you and your situation. She guided me through each step of the process. Kathryn and her staff always kept me well informed of upcoming hearings and things of that nature. She is very professional and personable. I felt very comfortable working with her. All telephone calls and emails were returned promptly and I was kept informed as to what was happening in my case."