Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer Blog
Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer Blog
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A child custody and parenting plan order will set out many different guidelines about how you and your child’s other parent should share parental rights and responsibilities while your children are still dependents. These guidelines can involve primary physical custody, visitation schedule, how you will share in making decisions for your child, and much more. However, there are situations in which the circumstances of one parent may change and the provisions of the custody agreement are no longer feasible. One common change in circumstances is the need or want to move the child to another area of Florida or even to another state. There are many legal issues involved in child relocation and you should always seek the assistance of an attorney if relocation has become an issue in your case.

If You Agree to Relocation

If a parent plans to take a child over 50 miles away for more than 60 days, Florida law states they must obtain permission to do so from the other parent. In some situations, the other parent may simply agree to the relocation. Even so, the parents must submit an agreement to the court for approval before the move can take place. This agreement must also set out the new visitation and time-sharing schedule for after the move.

If You Do Not Agree

Cases can become significantly more complex if the noncustodial parent does not give his or her permission for the relocation. In such situations, the parent wishing to move must petition the court for permission to do so. If the other parent does not respond to the petition, the court will generally approve the relocation. If the other parent opposes the petition, a hearing will be held for the court to decide what is in the best interests of the child.

Many factors may be considered when determining whether a relocation would be in the best interests of the child. Some factors include the following:

  • How the move will affect the child’s relationship with each parent, siblings, or others who are important to the child;
  • How the move would affect the child’s physical, emotional, and educational well-being and development;
  • What the child wants;
  • The chances of preserving a meaningful relationship with the other parent after the relocation;
  • The reasons the parent wants to relocate, including whether the reasons are valid and whether the move will increase the child and parent’s quality of life and financial circumstances.

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Child Custody Attorney for a Free Consultation

Many issues regarding child custody can arise in the months and years after an initial custody order is issued. While relocation is one of the most serious issues that can affect child custody, parents can have major disagreements about vacations, education, health care decisions, and much more. It is critical to have representation by an experienced family law attorney who thoroughly understands child custody matters in Florida both in your initial case and any subsequent issues that come up. If you are facing a child custody case, call the law office of Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton at 954-229-1660 for help today.

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Domestic violence or the threat of violence can endanger the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of you and your children. Many victims of domestic abuse from a spouse are hesitant to leave their marriages out of fear of the potential retaliation from their spouse. Anyone who is fearful should be aware of legal tools in Florida that can help to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. For example, a protective order will legally prevent a spouse from coming near or contacting you or your children or they may face serious legal penalties.

If a victim of domestic violence does decide it is time to leave a marriage, it is understandable that he or she would want to legally dissolve the marriage as soon as possible. Some individuals run into difficulties, however, if they have only recently moved to the state of Florida. This is because Florida law requires you to live within the state for six months before a family court judge will grant you a divorce.

Bill to Make an Exception for Domestic Violence Victims

A new legislative measure filed by state Representative Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) would carve out an important exception to the residency requirement for a Florida divorce if one spouse has been physically or emotionally abusive to the other spouse and/or their children. This would mean that, if a marriage is abusive, a spouse would not have to wait six months after moving to Florida for a divorce.

Often, abusive spouses want to move their families away from family and/or friends to isolate them. This often means that the domestic violence victim does not have as much of a financial or emotional support system in a new home state. If an abused spouse has nowhere to go and no way to support children in Florida, he or she may be essentially held hostage in the marriage until the six-month waiting period is over. The new law seeking to change these often dangerous circumstances is in its early stages, but we will eagerly watch its progress and post updates here.

In the meantime, if you have not lived in Florida for six months and are in an abusive marriage there are other legal options to pursue before you can actually file for divorce. You should discuss your case with an experienced domestic violence attorney in Florida as soon as possible to learn how you can protect yourself and your children.

Ask a Committed Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Help

Whether you are a victim of domestic violence, you want a divorce, or both, experienced Boca Raton family law lawyer Alan R. Burton can assist you. Our office represents individuals in a wide range of family law matters, including orders of protection, child custody cases, and the entire divorce process. We offer free, confidential consultations to evaluate your case and give you more information regarding how we can help in your individual situation. Please do not hesitate to call today at 954-229-1660 for assistance.

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If you are no longer married or in a relationship with the other parent of your child, you will need to make many legal decisions regarding time-sharing and visitation. These are the terms that have largely replaced the term “child custody” in Florida, since Florida law sets out that maintaining continuing and frequent contact with both parents is in the best interests of the child unless there is evidence to the contrary. No longer do the courts presume that the mother should automatically have full custody and the courts make this type of determination hoping to uphold both parents’ rights to share in raising their child.

Determining how to share time and legal custody of children is not a simple matter and many parents may consistently argue over specifics of the arrangement. To avoid this, parents who have joint physical and/or legal custody over children must have a parenting plan approved by the courts. It is always preferable for parents to agree to the specifics of a parenting plan and then have the court approve it, as they know their child’s schedule and specific needs firsthand. Unfortunately, in some cases, parents cannot agree on all of the specifics of a parenting plan and the court must intervene and decide for them. No matter who decides the specifics, however, a parenting plan must include certain provisions.

Necessary Provisions in a Parenting Plan

The following are some terms that must be decided upon and put into writing:

  • The schedule regarding when a child will physically reside with each parent;
  • A specific description about how you will share in raising your child on a daily basis and who will be responsible for specific tasks;
  • How the parents will communicate with each other and with the child when they are not physically together, such as text message or calling on the phone;
  • Who will make decisions regarding the child’s health care;
  • Whose address will be used to determine which school the child will attend and for registration at the school;
  • Who will be responsible for extracurricular activities and sports.

In addition to necessary provisions, parents can include other information to make future decisions easier and to avoid conflict. For example, they can decide in advance who will get to take the child on vacation during which time of the year. They can also set out instructions on how they will settle conflicts regarding parenting should they arise. Often, this can keep parents out of court in the future and avoid the cost and stress on themselves and their child of having a court resolve parenting and time-sharing issues.

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for a Consultation

If you are facing a time-sharing and visitation case, you should always have the guidance and representation of an experienced Boca Raton family lawyer. Attorney Alan R. Burton can assist you in coming to a favorable arrangement with only minimal involvement of the courts. Please call our office today at 954-229-1660 for assistance.

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Divorce can be a complicated matter for anyone. The process of dissolving a marriage can become significantly more complex if one of the spouses is a member of the military. This is because certain laws exist that apply to military marriages that do not apply to civilian marriages. The following is some information regarding military divorce in Florida.

Protection From Default

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects a military member on active duty from divorce proceedings to which they cannot respond. Often, when a spouse refuses to respond to a divorce filing, the spouse requesting the divorce can file a motion for default and have the marriage dissolved. This could result in a military member coming back to the United States or Florida and being surprised that they are divorced. For this reason, the law allows the proceedings to be postponed for the duration of their active duty and for an additional 60 days if needed. If the military member is okay with the dissolution, they can waive their right to postpone the divorce.

Property Division and Support Issues

Though real and personal marital property will still be subject to Florida’s equitable division laws, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) sets out how to divide military retirement benefits. For marriages that lasted over 10 years during the military duty, the USFSPA directs that a portion of the military member’s retirement benefits goes directly to the former spouse.

On the other hand, Florida law sets limits on the total amount of spousal support and child support that can come out of a military member’s pay. The support cannot equal more than 60 percent of the pay and allowances received by the military member.

Other Florida Divorce Laws Apply as Usual

When it comes to the other terms of a divorce, the general Florida divorce laws will apply to a military divorce filed within the state. For example, the grounds for divorce are the same for both a military couple and a civilian couple. Child custody determinations will be made according to law and, though active military service could be a factor considered in the custody and timesharing decisions, the overall decision will still be based on the best interest of the child. If both spouses are present in Florida, the process will be the same as any other divorce and both spouses should retain their own experienced attorneys for assistance.

An Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Can Assist You

Every divorce will be different and may have unique legal issues that may arise. Whether you are a member of the military, own a business, have a high net worth, or have children, experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer Alan R. Burton can help you. Mr. Burton has an extensive understanding of all applicable Florida divorce laws and will strive to handle your case in the most efficient way possible. If you are considering divorce, please do not hesitate to call our office at 954-229-1660 for a free discussion today.

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In recent months, a new trend related to divorce has been going viral on social media. Known as the “divorce selfie,” a photo will show couples together just after their divorce is finalized. Most couples who have posted these divorce selfies say that the photos are not intended to make light of divorce, but that they can serve many purposes to make post-divorce life easier.

First, if the divorced couple has kids and will share custody, these pictures demonstrate a united front and seem to indicate that the former spouses are willing to cooperate. Additionally, the photos can show family and friends that the couple is accepting of the dissolution of their marriage and still respect each other. This can make social interactions or events with mutual friends easier and less awkward in the future. While a divorce selfie will, of course, not solve all of the couple’s problems, it can represent a positive attitude toward the divorce process and moving on.

Cooperation Can Make the Divorce Process Easier

If a couple is willing to work together to come to mutually favorable agreements regarding the terms of their divorce, the marriage can often be dissolved in less time with less cost. Couples can reach agreements regarding division of property and debts, spousal support, child custody and parenting plans, and any other issues relevant to their particular divorce case. Once a court approves the terms of the agreement, the divorce can be finalized.

Some divorcing couples are not able to automatically cooperate on every issue. This does not mean that the divorce must be acrimonious, however. If a couple cannot agree on something, their attorneys can engage in negotiation or even use mediation to try to help the couple reach an agreement to avoid arguing the matter in court. Taking arguments to the courtroom can drag the process out significantly and can often drive up the expense of the divorce case.

While cooperation is always preferable for everyone involved in a divorce, there are cases in which this is simply not possible. In such situations, the family court will intervene and hear evidence in order to decide on the matter. If you believe your spouse will be adversarial during your divorce, it is important to seek representation from an attorney who can present arguments to the family court judge in the most efficient way possible while still striving for the best results for you and your children.

Contact a Qualified Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Assistance

Spouses who are able and willing to cooperate throughout the divorce process often save time, money, and emotional energy. Even if you have some disagreements along the way, an experienced divorce lawyer can help you find solutions and can work to facilitate communication and negotiation whenever possible. Alan R. Burton is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Boca Raton who seeks to obtain the most favorable and efficient outcome possible in your divorce case. Please call our office today at 954-229-1660 to find out how we can help you.

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With the recent breach and data leak regarding approximately 32 million subscribers to the “married dating” website Ashley Madison, many married couples have likely been facing difficult situations as news of possible infidelity became exposed. It would not be surprising, in fact, if numerous couples end up in divorce court over a leaked Ashley Madison subscription. This leads to the common question: What role, if any, does a spouse’s adulterous behavior play in a subsequent divorce case?

Questions of Fault

In Florida, you must file for divorce on a “no-fault” basis, which means that no specific reason–such as adultery–can be given for the divorce. Insteading of blaming one spouse, all divorces are based on the assertion that the marriage is irretrievably broken. For this reason, adultery has no effect specifically on basic questions of fault in a divorce.


Though adultery cannot be considered for fault purposes, it can be considered when the family court is making other determinations, such as whether to award alimony. However, the court cannot award alimony simply as a punishment for a cheating spouse. Instead, the court must further find that the adultery affected the non-cheating spouse’s need for financial support.

Child Custody Determinations

In addition to alimony determinations, a court may consider infidelity as a factor in deciding how to award physical and legal custody. For example, courts regularly examine the moral fitness of each parent when deciding what type of custody arrangement will be in the best interests of the child. Adultery, especially flagrant or particularly scandalous behavior, may lead the court to doubt the moral fitness of the spouse who cheated and may influence a decision to limit custody or timesharing if the court believes the affair had an adverse effect on the child’s well-being.

Division of Property

Florida law requires division of marital property to be equitable and fair based on the particular circumstances of the spouses. If the court finds that the unfaithful spouse spent marital assets on an affair that otherwise would have been divided, the court can award the other spouse more assets and property. Similarly, if the cheating spouse incurred debts to pay for an affair, the court may find that those debts are the sole responsibility of that spouse instead of dividing the debt balances between the two parties.

Call a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for Help

As you can see, adultery can play a role in a divorce case. If you suspect that your spouse has been unfaithful or if your spouse has accused you of adultery, it may cause a number of potential complications throughout the divorce process. It is important that you have the representation of an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer and keep your lawyer fully informed regarding any possible issues or accusations that may arise during your divorce. Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton understands how to face such issues head-on with your best interests in mind. Call our office today at 954-229-1660 to talk about your case for free.

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If you have decided to file for divorce or if your spouse plans to file soon, there are some steps you can take to not only make the process easier but also to protect your interests as much as possible. The following are only some examples of things you can do to improve your situation in this emotionally difficult time.

Get Your Finances Organized

If you get divorced, you will be on your own financially, whether or not you worked during your marriage. If you are awarded spousal support, it may likely only be for a limited amount of time. It is always wise to take inventory of your financial situation, including your income, debts, assets, and more to understand how much you will need to support yourself. If you are moving out, you will need to have a budget to know how much you will have to earn to cover all of your new bills and expenses on your own. Additionally, gathering and copying financial documents will make it easier when you have to present them during your divorce.

Have a Place to Stay

If you and your spouse are still living together, be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. When divorce is looming, emotions can run high and you need to have a plan if you must leave the house in a hurry. Have an overnight bag ready for you and your children, if necessary, as well as a safe place to go.

Design a Plan for the Children

If you are separating, you and your spouse should have a plan to tell the children about your breakup and to make the change as easy as possible for them. Coordinate schedules and determine what steps need to be taken to limit the negative effects on your children. Work out a visitation and custody plan if it is possible to agree. Having a plan will make designing your parenting plan in divorce that much easier.

Stay off Social Media

Anyone getting divorced should avoid being active on social media profiles as much as possible. You should never put down your spouse or air your grievances on social media, as it will get back to them and make the situation more contentious than it already may be. Additionally, if you post information or photos of you having a good time, they may be interpreted as insensitive or proof that you are making irresponsible decisions. For example, a picture of you having a glass of wine with a coworker of the opposite sex may be used to insinuate that you are drinking too much and dating around. It is always wise to simply resist the urge to post on your accounts until the divorce is final.

Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney

If you are getting divorce, it is imperative to have an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer handling your case, providing valuable advice, and protecting your best interests. Please do not hesitate to call the law office of Alan R. Burton today at 954-229-1660 today.

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In a divorce case, every individual wants to obtain a decree with the most favorable terms possible so that he or she may move on with financial stability and quality relationships with his or her children. Unfortunately, many people make mistakes during their divorce cases that hinder the outcomes. The following are only some of the errors that commonly affect the outcome of a divorce case.

Having unrealistic expectations — If you march into a courtroom demanding an exorbitant and unjustified amount of spousal support or sole custody of your children when shared custody is appropriate, your case may be affected in many ways. First, if you refuse to agree to reasonable terms, your case may be delayed and many issues may be placed into the hands of the family law judge, who may not find in your favor. An attorney can help provide a realistic view of the potential terms of your divorce decree.

Assuming your spouse will cooperate — Many people optimistically expect their spouse to be cooperative and fair when discussing and agreeing upon the many terms of their divorce. Unfortunately, the divorce process can incite a lot of negative emotions and many spouses become difficult and resentful before the divorce is finalized. You should never fail to have an attorney simply because you expect fairness from your spouse. Having the representation of an experienced divorce lawyer will ensure that you have the needed legal support if your spouse becomes unreasonable.

Accepting a settlement agreement without the advice of an attorney — The legal system can be intimidating and, too often, lead you to agree to divorce terms that are actually unfair. Your spouse’s attorney may try to deflect from unfavorable terms or insinuate that you will not be able to obtain a better offer in order to convince you to sign an agreement. Do not allow yourself to be bullied by your spouse into signing anything without the advice of a qualified divorce attorney who has reviewed your case.

Making false claims against your spouse — If you want to receive a more favorable child custody arrangement or spousal support order, you may be tempted to exaggerate the faults of your spouse to the court or even to fabricate details. This is never wise, however, as such allegations must be adequately proven for a court to consider them. If you do not have evidence to support your claims against your spouse, a court will view your allegations unfavorably and may take action against you.

Call a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation

There are many legal mistakes individuals can make throughout the divorce process that can have potentially long-lasting consequences. At times, these mistakes can be irreversible and can affect your finances and relationship with your family. To avoid such errors, you should always have the guidance of a highly experienced family law attorney throughout your divorce case. If you are considering or facing divorce, please do not hesitate to call the office of Boca Raton divorce lawyer Alan R. Burton for assistance today.

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Being convicted of a crime can have many adverse effects on an individual’s life and marriage. Crimes often involve deceptive behavior, which can lead to distrust between spouses, and jail sentences can separate spouses for an extended period of time. Understandably, these factors can all lead a spouse to file for divorce. Having a spouse in jail can cause complications for the divorce case, however, as one recent case out of Florida demonstrates.

Rothstein Divorce Finalized

Scott and Kim Rothstein were married in 2008 and lived a luxurious lifestyle. In 2009, however, Scott fled Florida for Morocco due to a federal investigation and the couple has been apart since. Scott was soon arrested and charged with allegations related to one of the most extensive Ponzi schemes ever to take place in Florida. Scott was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison. His wife, Kim, was also convicted of a felony for hiding jewelry from investigators and served a 15-month sentence. While her jail sentence was over in March, she had to wait until the end of July to have her divorce from Scott finalized.

Many aspects of their divorce were relatively simple–Scott did not contest the divorce filing and did not even have a lawyer representing him in family court. The couple had no children together and the criminal cases with a subsequent bankruptcy left them with very little property. As far as property division, the judge reportedly granted ownership of a single car to Kim as most of their other property had been seized.

There were some complications, however. The divorce was supposed to be finalized in late 2014, though difficulties arose because both spouses were in prison. Under Florida law, at least one spouse must state under oath that the marriage was irretrievably broken. While Kim was expected to testify via phone call from prison, no one could administer an oath and so the hearing had to be postponed. Additionally, Kim requested to switch from her married name back to her maiden name to try to stop constant association with Scott. However, because she is on probation for a felony conviction, the judge denied that request.

Though the Rothstein divorce was relatively simple considering their history, many divorces following crimes are more complex. For example, if a couple has children, a criminal history may significantly affect child custody questions because a court may believe that a relationship with that parent may not be in the child’s best interests. Additionally, if a parent is incarcerated and unable to earn a living, any child support or spousal support determinations may be affected.

An Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney Can Assist You

Divorce cases often involve unique issues and a criminal conviction can cause many legal complexities to arise. Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton understands how to efficiently handle any issues that may exist in your specific case, so please call today at 954-229-1660 for help today.

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Mental incapacity plays an important role in many different family law matters. Cases alleging mental incapacity of one of the spouses can become complicated and adversarial. Because you cannot actually get into someone’s head and know what they were thinking at a particular point in time, gathering and presenting evidence of mental incapacitation can be complicated. The following are some examples of when mental capacity may be at issue in a Florida family law case.


In order for a marriage to be valid, both individuals must be of sound mind, must understand the nature and effects of getting married, and must be mentally capable of agreeing to the marriage. Simply because one person has a mental condition does not automatically render them incapacitated for marriage purposes, but if a court decides one spouse did not have the capacity to agree to a marriage, that marriage will be deemed invalid.

Prenuptial Agreements

If you sign a premarital agreement, you must have the mental capacity to understand the provisions of the agreement and the effects of the agreement should you get divorced in the future. If you did not have the ability to understand what you were signing at the time you signed, the agreement may be declared invalid.


Mental incapacity is important in Florida divorce in more than one way. First, a Florida statute permits a spouse to get a divorce if they have been djudged to be mentally incapacitated for at least three years prior to the divorce filing. In such cases, the individual’s guardian or representative family member will be notified and will be able to appear in court on his or her behalf.

Additionally, Florida family courts will not grant a divorce that was filed by a mentally incapacitated person who does not understand the effect of a divorce. For example, a Palm Beach County judge recently ruled that an 87-year-old man with dementia could not be granted a divorce. His wife argued that his children are manipulating him for financial purposes to pursue divorce and that he would not actually want a divorce if he understood what was happening. The court agreed and dismissed the divorce case.

Child Custody

If one parent is mentally incapacitated, they will likely be unable to properly care for a child. Therefore, in such cases, the court may determine that it is in the best interests of the child to award full custody to the other parent or only provide for limited supervised visits with the incapacitated parent.

A Qualified Boca Raton Family Law Attorney Can Help

Having the requisite mental capacity is only one of many potential issues in marriage, divorce, and other family law matters. Each case will have unique legal questions and you always want to make sure you have an attorney handling your case who understands how to identify and address any potential issues. If you have any type of family law matter, you should not delay in discussing your situation with Boca divorce lawyer Alan R. Burton today. Call 954-229-1660 for a free consultation.