Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer Blog
Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer Blog
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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.

Marriage

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.

Divorce

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.

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The Florida Department of Health released information recently indicating that, while the marriage rate in Florida is rising, the divorce rate fell to the lowest it has been in decades. Per every 100 marriages, there were 54 divorces finalized in Florida last year. This is the lowest divorce rate since 1960. In contrast, the number of marriages per year increased in 2014 for the first time after declining each year for the past ten years.

Divorce Rate in Florida Higher Than the National Rate

Even though the percentage of marriages that ended in divorce last year hit a long-time low, the divorce rate for the state of Florida is still higher than the rate for the entire United States. People are still filing for divorce on a regular basis and still face all of the legal issues that can be related to a divorce case. Only some of the legal issues in a divorce include as follows:

  • Division of property — Florida law requires that all marital property must be divided in an equitable manner between the spouses. Identifying all marital property and deciding on a fair way to divide it can be complicated.
  • Custody and parenting agreements — Courts are expected to seek out a custody and parenting arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. An agreement must be signed that sets out many details of parenting, including time spent with each parent, who will make certain decisions, and more.
  • Child support — In most cases, one parent will have to provide child support to the other based on a specific formula set out by law. The formula takes into consideration the respective income and expenses of the parents as well as the necessary expenses for each of their children.
  • Spousal support — In some instances, one spouse may have to provide alimony to the other depending on the length of the marriage, their respective contributions to the marriage, and their respective ability to support themselves immediately following the divorce.
  • Enforceability of a premarital agreement — If the spouses signed an agreement prior to marriage regarding the division of property and alimony in the event of divorce, one spouse may claim that the agreement is not enforceable for a variety of reasons and the other spouse will have to defend the enforceability of the agreement.

Some divorces can be more complicated and have unique issues based on the circumstances of the marriage. It is important to have an attorney on your side who can identify and handle any issues that may arise in your divorce case.

A Skilled Family Law Attorney in Boca Raton Can Help You

If you are facing a divorce, child custody issues, child support disputes, or any other family law-related legal matter, you should not wait to consult with qualified family lawyer Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton today. Mr. Burton has extensive experience handling a wide array of divorce and family-related cases and will always stand up for your best interests throughout your case. Your family is important, so call today at 954-229-1660 for assistance.

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Celebrity divorces can be difficult, not only because of extensive media coverage but also because one or both of the spouses may have a significant amount of wealth. In one recent divorce, a wife is attempting to obtain a large portion of her husband’s $85 million fortune as well as a large amount of additional ongoing support.

The wife of songwriter, singer, and successful music producer Timbaland filed for divorce at the end of June. She previously filed in 2013 though that case was dismissed as they attempted to reconcile. Apparently that attempt at reconciliation was not successful, as now she has not only filed again but requested many different types of financial support, including the following:

  • Child support for both their biological daughter and her son from a prior relationship
  • Support for private schools, summer camps, and vacations
  • Life insurance
  • Lump sum financial award
  • Spousal support while the divorce is pending
  • Rehabilitative alimony
  • Permanent alimony
  • Attorney’s fees

Because of the amount of money that she is seeking, it is likely that the couple did not sign any type of premarital agreement limiting the support she would receive in the event of divorce.

The amount of support she may be granted will depend on many different factors. For example, reports indicate that she does not have assets of her own, so she has no way to immediately support herself and her family. It will also depend on the amount of money Timbaland actually earned during the marriage and how much will be considered separate property if it was amassed prior to their wedding in 2008. The division of property will also depend upon state laws because, unlike Florida’s equitable division law, California is a community property state and has different methods of property distribution in divorce.

In regard to child support, Timbaland will likely be required to provide a substantial amount for their biological daughter. His wife claims that, even though he is not the biological father of her older child, Timbaland claimed the child “as his own” both privately and publicly. It remains to be seen whether or not the family court will find enough evidence to require Timbaland to provide support for a child that is not legally his own.

Overall, it seems that the divorce will involve complex issues and may require extensive negotiation and court intervention to settle them.

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Today

Any divorce can have legal issues arise. However, divorces involving parties with significant assets, children, and no premarital agreement can become particularly complicated and costly. If you have a substantial financial fortune, it is imperative that you seek help from a divorce lawyer who knows how to handle this type of case. Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton has extensive experience handling all types of divorce cases, including those with a lot of money at stake. Mr. Burton will protect your best interests, so call today at 954-229-1660 for help.

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During a marriage, a couple can amass a wide variety of assets and accounts. Additionally, they can take on a significant number of debts such as mortgages, loans, or credit accounts. Before a divorce can be finalized, a court must decide how these assets and debts are going to be divided between the spouses in accordance with Florida property division law. In order to do so, a court must be aware of all of the applicable financial accounts and properties that may exist. Therefore, spouses are required by law to submit Mandatory Disclosures regarding their finances within 45 days of the filing of the initial divorce pleading.

The following are financial documents that must be exchanged in mandatory disclosures:

  • Financial affidavits — A spouse can use a shorter form if their income is under $50,000 per year, though must use the long form if it is more than $50,000. Exchanging affidavits is mandatory in every case and cannot be waived.
  • All federal, state, personal property, and gift tax returns filed in the last three years. If a tax return has not been filed, 1099, K-1, and w-2 forms are required for that year.
  • Pay statements or other proof of income for the past three months before the filing, including statements of the source of the income.
  • All loan and credit applications prepared in the last 12 months.
  • All current leases, deeds (for three years), or promissory notes (for 12 months), whether they are individual or jointly owned.
  • Statements for brokerage accounts currently owned or owned in the last 12 months, either individual or joint.
  • Statements for retirement accounts, pension plans, profit sharing plans, or deferred compensation plans.
  • Statements and certificates for all life insurance policies.
  • Cards for any medical or dental insurance plans covering the spouse or their children.
  • Tax returns for any corporations, trusts, or partnerships for the prior three years if the spouse is at least 30 percent owner of the entity.
  • Statements for all credit card account or other debts for the last three months.
  • Any premarital agreements signed or agreements entered into by the spouses during their marriage, including any modifications.
  • Any court orders requiring a spouse to receive or pay child support or spousal support.

In addition to this long list of financial documents, if you are claiming that certain property is non-marital and should not be divided, you must provide evidence and documents in support of your claims. This can include proof of how and when the asset was acquired or why it should be considered individual property.

A Qualified Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Can Help You

Meeting the requirements of mandatory disclosures in Florida can be a daunting task in a short amount of time and it is easy to forget something. It is important to have an experienced divorce lawyer guiding you through the process to ensure you receive the best results possible. If you are facing a divorce, your first call should be to family law attorney Alan R. Burton at 954-229-1660 for a free consultation.

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Situations change and individuals can go through unexpected periods of financial downturn. Losing your job, having a medical emergency in your household, and many other similar events can make it difficult to cover your bills. In such times, you may also struggle to make your court-ordered child support payments.

The court orders a certain amount of child support based on your situation at the time of the ruling, and the courts do not attempt to anticipate your future financial circumstances. Therefore, if you lose income or your other expenses increase, it is understandable that paying child support may become challenging or even impossible in the future. Unfortunately, failing to pay child support can have serious consequences in Florida, but you have legal options to try to make your child support more manageable to avoid these consequences.

Possible Actions Against You

The Florida Department of Revenue has a Child Support Enforcement team that can take various actions if you are not making your payments on time. This department can take the following actions against you:

  • Wage or bank account garnishments
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Suspension of a professional or business license
  • Interception of your tax refund
  • Interception of any lottery winnings over $600
  • Withholding of a certain amount from worker’s compensation or unemployment benefits
  • Liens on your personal property
  • Reporting the late payments to your credit bureau
  • Disallowing you from receiving a passport
  • Requesting that the civil court enforces the order and hold you in contempt if you do not comply
  • Seeking assistance from the Office of the Inspector General to impose fines and/or jail time

Child Support Modifications

Fortunately, you have other options when you cannot pay your child support than simply facing the above consequences. If you have had a substantial change in circumstances, Florida law allows you to petition to court to modify the amount of support ordered in light of the change. This will require you and the other parent to go back into court, however, and the other parent will have the opportunity to argue that the support should not be lowered. Additionally, you should note that, if you have quit your job or are underemployed by your own choice, the court will likely not approve a modification. However, if your new circumstances are beyond your control, you will likely be eligible for a modification so that you can resume making payments.

Call an Experienced Boca Raton Child Support Attorney to Discuss Your Situation

If you realize that you cannot afford to pay your full child support payments, you should never simply stop paying and ignore the situation, as that can result in serious, often irreversible consequences. Instead, your first call should be to a qualified family lawyer who can help you explore your options for making your payments more manageable. Attorney Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton understands Florida laws and how to best apply them to your situation to protect your best interests. Please call our office for assistance at 954-229-1660 to learn how we can assist you.

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Child custody is often a complex and hotly contested issue in family law cases. In many situations, parents involved in a custody case are getting divorced or ending a dating relationship and, too often, one parent may want to limit the custody of the other. One parent may allege that the other engages in misconduct or is otherwise unfit to parent the child. Though Florida law presumes that joint custody and relationships with both parents is preferable, the courts will look into such allegations to ensure that the custody determination is truly in the best interests of the child. In these situations, the court may order a custody evaluation.

Custody evaluations involve the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to protect the rights and best interests of the child. A forensic psychologist may also be appointed to help evaluate the situation. These professionals are expected to remain impartial regarding the two parents and focus solely on what type of custody arrangement may be best for the child.

An evaluation may include the following depending on the particular situation:

  • Interviews with the child
  • Interviews with each parent
  • Observing the way the child interacts with each parent
  • Interviewing doctors, teachers, or others who may help shed light on the parent-child relationships
  • Psychological testing
  • Alcohol and drug evaluations

When the evaluators feel they have gathered enough information to issue a recommendation, they turn a report in to the court.

Custody evaluators can take many different factors into consideration when making their recommendations, including each parent’s background, approach to parenting, opinions of the other parent, position, mental health status, as well as any incidences or accusations of domestic abuse or alienation of affection. They can also recommend that one or both parents attend parenting courses or therapy sessions as part of the arrangement.

Consult With an Attorney Before Your Evaluation

It is only natural that you will be nervous and stressed going into any evaluation interviews. However, there are certain things you should remember in order to receive the most favorable custody determination possible. An experienced family law attorney who understands how the Florida family courts handle custody evaluations can help prepare you for your interviews or meetings. A lawyer can advise you of common questions so that you are not surprised in the interview and inadvertently make a comment that can hurt your case.

Contact a Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Assistance as Soon as Possible

Custody determinations are extremely important as they often directly affect your ability to develop and maintain a lasting relationship with your child. For this reason, you never want to go into a custody evaluation unprepared. Experienced family lawyer Alan R. Burton has helped numerous parents obtain positive custody arrangements that work for them and their children. Mr. Burton can also handle all other aspects of your divorce or family law case. If you are facing a divorce or custody case, you should not delay in calling our Boca Raton office at 954-229-1660 for help today.

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German media recently reported a story regarding an angry husband who decided to take the division of property into his own hands following a split with his wife of 12 years. The man posted a video on Youtube that showed him taking a chainsaw to many of his and his wife’s possessions and literally cutting them in half. The video shows the resulting half of a bicycle, a couch, a bed, a laptop, an iPhone, a teddy bear, and even their car. The husband claims he sent one set of halves to his wife and posted his own set on eBay.

While this husband’s video entertained millions of viewers and his actions garnered international attention, pulling such a stunt is not advisable in the face of divorce from a financial and legal standpoint. In fact, in a Florida divorce case, that husband would likely face financial consequences for destroying marital property in such a manner.

Property Division in Accordance with Florida Law

Florida law mandates that division of all marital property must be equitable. Equitable does not mean equal (and especially does not mean cutting everything directly in half), but instead means that the division should be fair. What is fair will depend on many factors including the nature of the property, the length of the marriage, contributions to the household, and much more.

Many angry spouses may have the desire to destroy some of their marital property simply to keep their spouses from having it. This can include spending lavish amounts of money or physically destroying personal property. However, courts will take such behavior into consideration when making other determinations regarding the divorce case. For example, if you waste money or property, a court may award your spouse more of the remaining property to make up for it. Courts may also award your spouse additional alimony due to your wrongdoing. Furthermore, vengefully destroying property can also affect how a court views your character when making custody determinations. The court can also take into account whether you seem to be uncooperative in the divorce process when deciding what is fair and equitable.

In short, while sawing your property in half may make for an entertaining viral video, it will likely cause difficulty in your divorce case. It is always important to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before taking any action regarding your property, especially before doing anything dramatic or impulsive that may affect your case.

An Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Can Help You

One of the main functions of a qualified divorce attorney is to advise you on what to do and what not to do throughout the course of your divorce case. A Boca Raton divorce lawyer will be able to provide an objective point of view with Florida’s divorce laws in mind to ensure you receive the most favorable outcome possible. If you are facing divorce or want to discuss any matter involving family law, call the law office of Alan R. Burton at 954-229-1660 for assistance today.