June 2, 2014

Same-Sex Couple Denied a Divorce in Florida

In 2010, Keiba Lynn Shaw and Mariama Changamire Shaw married in Massachusetts, where their same-sex marriage was valid and lawful. The next year, the couple moved to Tampa, Florida and they separated in October of 2013.

In order to file for divorce in a state, one or both spouses must live within that state for a certain period of time, which is one year in Massachusetts. Neither spouse in the Shaw marriage was able to move back to Massachusetts for a year, so they would be unable to seek a divorce in that state.

For this reason, the couple decided to seek a divorce in Florida instead. They came to a divorce settlement agreement through a collaborative divorce process, and all they needed was for a judge to sign off on the agreement.

Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Laws


In 2008, Florida amended its state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage within the state. The amendment states that no union will be valid or recognized as a marriage unless it is between one woman and one man. Therefore, even though the Shaws' marriage was valid in Massachusetts, Florida courts will not recognize that the couple is married at all. Because there is no valid marriage, the court reasoned that no divorce could be granted. The family court judge dismissed their petition for divorce earlier in May. Many people are criticizing the denial of same-sex divorces in Florida, suggesting that it may deter same-sex married couples from moving to our state for fear they will not be able to end their marriage if they choose.

Mariama Changamire Shaw plans to appeal the decision, and hers would be the first divorce case to challenge the marriage ban in Florida. Similar challenges took place in Wyoming and Missouri, both in which same-sex couples did not wish to marry, but to instead end their marriage. Both states ended up granting the divorces while keeping their respective marriage bans intact. The ultimate decision in this case could have a significant effect on thousands of couples who may wish to divorce in Florida.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has also filed lawsuits on behalf of several same-sex couples seeking to have Florida recognize their marriages, though these couples are not seeking divorces. With all of the upcoming challenges to the same-sex marriage ban, and with the general trend toward acceptance of same-sex couples, we could be seeing the courts overturn the Constitutional amendment in the near future.

Contact a Florida Divorce Lawyer for Help


No two marriages are alike and, as a result, no two divorces are alike either. While some divorce cases are relatively straightforward and are quickly wrapped up, others may have complicated issues or unique questions of law. For this reason, it is always highly important to have a skilled family law attorney who can handle any issues that may arise. If you are facing a divorce in the Ft. Lauderdale or Boca Raton areas, experienced family law attorney Alan Burton can help you with every aspect of your case. Contact our office today for assistance.

May 30, 2014

Minor Children and International Travel Risks

The state of Florida and particularly South Florida, is a melting pot of many diverse individuals from all around the world.

Due to the great diversity of people, you frequently see many Americans marrying people from foreign countries. When these couples have children, divorce can bring about some serious issues regarding the stability of the minor children.

Divorce frequently creates a considerable amount of anger between the parents, and the minor children are often times used as pawns by the parents.

In happier days, family trips abroad were generally wonderful experiences for the family and particularly for the children. Now that a divorce proceeding has commenced, just the thought of a minor child traveling abroad with one of their parents can send shivers up the spine of the other parent.

Parental kidnapping is a real event and it happens every day across this country. Just the other day a child was recovered in Mexico, after having been unlawfully removed from central Florida to that country by her father. This is the story of Cara Cox, as reported by CNN.

These kinds of situations can be prevented, but early action and intervention is required. Passports for children should be promptly removed from the control of a parent who has ever made a threat about kidnapping. Any threat should be considered "real",

If a parent refuses to surrender a child's passport, you should seek immediate relief from the court for a turnover of the passport. Additionally, a court order for supervised visitation or time sharing should be considered if the facts support that relief.

Immigration should also be alerted and put on notice of the potential threat.

There are state and Federal laws designed to assist in the recovery of children taken abroad unlawfully. An example is found in the provisions of the Hague Convention, which purpose is to foster cooperation and assistance from foreign countries in returning children.

These laws can be complex and tedious, and could take years to implement and enforce.

The better course of action is to be preventive, and take all immediate precautions as the circumstances warrant. Be proactive, and trust your gut feelings. .

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney for Help


Family laws and court precedents can change on a regular basis. If you have any family law matter or concerns, you should always consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with Florida law and keeps up to date on any new changes. If you are facing divorce or any other issue in Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale, do not hesitate to contact experienced lawyer Alan R. Burton for assistance today.


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May 29, 2014

"Time-Sharing" and Other Florida Custody Terms

Traditionally, couples who were facing divorce with children regularly heard terms such as "sole custody" or "visitation." While these ideas often still apply in many situations, Florida law has been updated in recent years to change the way custody arrangements work.

Original Terms


Prior to 2008, one parent was often known as the "custodial parent" and the other as the "non-custodial parent." Other terms used included "primary residential parent" and "secondary residential parent," which meant the children lived with one parent most of the time and visited the other periodically. The timeline and frequency of such visits were set out in a "visitation plan."

Though not always the case, the "custodial parent" was often the mother, while the father was granted visitation rights. These old terms perpetuated the traditional--and old-fashioned--view that it was in the best interest of the children to live primarily with the mother.

New Terms of the Statute


In 2008, Florida legislators addressed the somewhat antiquated statute to respect the fact that both mothers and fathers have equal parental rights and responsibilities. Additionally, the updated law seems to imply that the default view should be that equal parenting is in the best interest of the child, unless evidence is presented otherwise.

The term "visitation plan" is no longer used in Florida, as it was replaced by both "parenting plan" and "time-sharing schedule." The emphasis is now not on a short visit with a father or non-custodial parent, but on the fact that both parents will share comparable time with their child. Additionally, instead of merely setting a schedule to shuttle children back and forth, parenting plans must take a much more in-depth look at how each parent will relate to the child and contribute to the care of the child.

In fact, under the law, a parenting plan must cover the following topics:

· How each parent will be responsible for and share in daily tasks relevant to the upbringing and care of the child;
· Which parent will be in charge of health care matters for the child;
· Which parent's address will be used for school and education purposes;
· How the parents will decide education and school-related issues;
· The technology and methods that will be used for each parent to regularly communicate with their child; and
· The time-sharing schedule.


Furthermore, there may be greater flexibility when the provisions of a parenting or time-sharing plan are not exactly consistent with the parent's or child's needs. In old laws, a modification by the courts was required to make any changes to the custodial arrangement. The updated law recognizes that situations may change and requires each parent to "be reasonable" if the other parent requires a change in the parenting plan.

Alan R. Burton is an experienced family law attorney dedicated to helping families and couples in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale. Mr. Burton understands the ever-evolving family laws in the state of Florida and can apply them to your case so you receive the best possible outcome. Contact his office today for help.

May 27, 2014

Would you like to have your Florida marriage annulled?

In Florida, there is no specific statute that deals with the annulment of a marriage. There is however, a body of case law, which has developed from the common law, and which provides a basis for the annulment of a marriage.

Generally speaking, you must either have the legal capacity to marry or you must consent to marry. If you can prove that you lacked the capacity or were unable to give your consent to marry, there is a strong probability that you will be successful in having your marriage annulled in Florida.

An example of lack capacity would be getting married, while you are still married to someone else. This is an example of bigamy, when you have more than one spouse. This is a crime in Florida, and is a perfect example of lack of capacity to marry.

You also must be at least 18 years of age to marry in Florida, subject to a few limited exceptions.

Another common exception, that most people are familiar with, is intoxication. If an individual is so intoxicated that he is he or she is incapable of confirming our ratifying a marriage, the marriage may be subject to annulment.

Aside from capacity, the parties must consent to the marriage. If fraud or deceit is committed by one party upon the other, the consent may very well be lacking, and could negate the validity of the marriage.

Annulment cases are extremely factually intensive, and there are a multitude of different circumstances and scenarios that one could conjure up as a basis for an annulment.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton


Experienced attorney Alan R. Burton is dedicated to helping individuals promptly get on with their lives, whether it be as a result of annulment of their marriage or divorce, so please contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to see how we can help you.


May 26, 2014

Enforcing Child Support Orders

If you have custody of your children following a divorce, chances are good that the Florida family court ordered your former spouse to pay you a certain amount of child support per month. Getting the order for child support is only the first step, however, as many parents unfortunately fail to make their required monthly payments. Raising children without the proper financial support is very challenging and can often hurt your kids. For this reason, there are different ways in Florida to enforce child support orders to make sure you get the support you and your children deserve.

Ways to Collect Child Support


There is no statute of limitations for child support actions in Florida, which means you may try to collect unpaid child support even many years after the payments were due. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you enforce child support orders and receive any overdue amount.

There are different ways that child support may be obtained, including the following:

· Wage garnishment;
· Seizure of federal tax refunds;
· Garnishment of unemployment or worker's compensation benefits;
· Seizure of lottery winnings;
· Liens against houses, cars, or other property;
· Suspension of their driver's license, professional license, or passport;
· Holding the parent in contempt of court, which could mean up to 179 days in jail; and
· Criminal charges and penalties, including jail time or probation.

Seeking your unpaid child support usually requires the assistance of the courts, therefore you should always contact an experienced Florida family law attorney for assistance in getting the amount you are owed.

Preventing Modification of Child Support Orders


If your child's parent is not paying, he or she may try to claim that they cannot afford the payments due to their personal and professional circumstances. They may try to ask the court to lower the amount of required monthly child support by having the original order modified. However, Florida law states that a court may only modify a child support if the parent can show a substantial change in circumstances. This means that small changes in their lives will not be enough to have an order modified. If the other parent is trying to get the child support payments lowered and has not, in fact, experienced a substantial change in circumstances, an attorney can help you fight against the modification in court.

On the other hand, if you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances that means you need to increase the amount of monthly support you receive, an attorney can help you present your case to the court.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton


Parents have a duty to financially support their children and there should be no excuse for missing child support payments. If you are owed money for child support, you should not have to simply accept it and you should take action. Experienced attorney Alan R. Burton is dedicated to helping parents receive the support they deserve, so please contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to see how we can help you.

May 25, 2014

Adoptions can be tricky

Thousands of adoptions occur across the United States every year. Most of them proceed very smoothly and without any unexpected surprises.

However, there are a handful of adoptions that do occur that involve unsuspecting problems, and result in heart wrenching stories.

One recent story involves Sonya, a young child adopted by a Tennessee couple. The biological father's rights were believed to have been terminated. The biological father received a 10 year sentence for illegally transporting firearms. State law provided for termination of his parental rights based upon the ten-year sentence that he received. This sentence paved the way for the adoption Sonya.

Unfortunately for Sonya, her biological father, whom she had never met, negotiated his ten (10) year sentence to 7 1/2 years, which resulted in reinstatement of his parental rights.

As you can well imagine, the outcome for Sonya has not been a pleasant one. The family court judge relied solely on biology, when he voided the adoption and placed Sonya with her biological father. The judge did not consider the best interests of the child, which should always be the paramount concern with this judge or any other judge.

The adoptive parents of bringing this matter back to the attention of the judge for him to consider the best interests of Sonya. You can read more about the story of Sonya by clicking on this link to CNN.

The primary concern for any family court judge should always be the "best interest" standard for the child. Biology, in many, many cases, standing alone, will not result in the "best interest" for a child.

If you are facing possible child custody or visitation issues, experienced Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton will help you stand up for your rights with your child. He knows how to fight for you and your child. Do not hesitate to contact our offices in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale for help today.


May 24, 2014

Same Sex Marriages in Florida

Same sex marriages are still not authorized under Florida law, but the national trend is heading in that direction.

There are now 17 states in this country which authorize same sex marriages.

Oregon has most recently overturned the previously existing ban on same sex marriages. Arkansas is one state struggling with this issue. A circuit Judge in Pulaski County, Arkansas recently over turned the ban on same sex marriages in Arkansas, and he was promptly overruled by the state Supreme Court. There is an ongoing battle in that state to put an end to the ban against same sex marriages.

What does all this mean to South Florida residents? Currently residents of Florida are not impacted by the other state rulings, however, the current trend across the nation is clearly for the constitutionally protected right of same sex individuals to marry.

These changes that will be coming will most certainly create a whole new body of interesting case law for South Florida Divorce Attorneys.

If you are dealing with difficult family law issues or any other custody or visitation issue, experienced Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton will help you stand up for your rights. He has over 30 years of experience and will fight for what is important to you. Do not hesitate to contact our offices in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale for help today.


May 19, 2014

Florida Child Relocation Law

Many divorced couples are able to agree on visitation and custody arrangements that allow both parents to continue to have a meaningful relationship with their child. Even if you do not have primary custody of your children, you have the right to regular visitation with them. Though many couples stick by their original custody and visitation agreement, sometimes circumstances change for one or both parents. One common change that may significantly impact custody and visitation arrangements is the need for the custodial parent to relocate to another city or state.

Relocation may be necessary or important due to professional or personal reasons. However, no matter the reason, relocation will almost always disrupt existing visitation and custody arrangements. Even if there is an extremely valid reason for the custodial parent to want to relocate, the non-custodial parent still has the right to have an ongoing relationship and contact with their child. If the parent of your child wants to move away, you should always consult with a Florida family law attorney to help protect your parental rights.

Florida Relocation Statute


The state of Florida recognizes the delicate situation that child relocation may present, and our state has a law specifically addressing any relocation over 50 miles away from the original residence. Under the law, relocation can happen in a variety of ways.

If you agree to the relocation and can agree on a new visitation schedule, both parents may draft and sign a written agreement agreeing to the relocation. The agreement must set out parameters for visitation and time-sharing between parents, and any transportation measures necessary for time-sharing.

If you cannot agree, the custodial parent may petition the court to allow them to relocate. This petition must contain certain information required by law. Once you are notified of the petition to relocate, you must file a response within a certain time frame, otherwise the court will automatically grant the relocation. For this reason, you should always call a Florida family law attorney as soon as you receive notice that a petition to relocate has been filed.

If you object to the relocation, the court must examine the following factors to decide whether relocation is in the best interests of your child:

· The age and needs of your child, and the effect relocation may have on them;
· The preference of your child (if they are old and mature enough to make that decision);
· The nature of the child's relationship with you and the practicability of continuing that relationship after relocation;
· Reasons for the relocation, including economic or employment prospects;
· Reasons for opposing the relocation;
· Any history of abuse that may exist.

These are only some of the factors the court can look at, and the court will ultimately try to make the decision that is in the best interests of your child.

If you are facing possible relocation of your child or any other custody or visitation issue, experienced Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton will help you stand up for your rights to foster a meaningful relationship with your child. He knows how to fight for an agreement that will work for you, the custodial parent, and - perhaps most importantly - your children. Do not hesitate to contact our offices in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale for help today.

May 16, 2014

Will I Receive Alimony in My Florida Divorce?

Your life will likely change significantly following a divorce. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to move to a different home, divide up some of your valued possessions, and have to share custody of your children. Florida courts recognize the difficulties divorce may present and try to make divorce as fair and equitable as possible for both parties, depending on the particular circumstances in each case. One tool the court uses to even the playing field after a divorce is alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance. Alimony is financial payment from one former spouse to another.

Many spouses sacrifice educational or professional opportunities for the sake of the marriage, family, and household. For example, a husband may decide to stay at home to take care of the children so his wife can pursue advanced degrees and high-paying jobs. If the couple gets divorced, he may have significantly fewer economical and professional opportunities than his wife due to his sacrifice, at least for a certain period of time. In such cases, the court may require the wife to pay alimony to the husband until he can adequately support himself.

Types of Alimony


Alimony determinations are regulated by law in the state of Florida. Under Florida Statute Section 61.08, a court may award one of four types of alimony:

1. Bridge-the gap: Short-term alimony for up to two years to make the married-to-single transition easier;
2. Rehabilitative: To help one spouse support themselves for a limited time while they take the necessary steps to support themselves, and the spouse requesting alimony must present a rehabilitative plan to the court, which may involve school or job training;
3. Durational: Support for a limited period of time, but does not require that one spouse submit a rehabilitative plan;
4. Permanent: Long-term payments, which are usually reserved for longer marriages; permanent alimony is used to allow a spouse to enjoy the standard of living experienced during the marriage. Permanent alimony is most often awarded to an older spouse, or a spouse who cannot work due to illness or other factors.

Factors for the Court


In order to decide whether to award alimony and which type to award, the law advises the court to consider numerous factors, including:

· The length of the marriage;
· Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
· Age, health, and abilities of the spouses;
· Division of assets in the divorce;
· Each person's contribution to the marriage, including both financial contributions as well as childcare, tending to the household, supporting the other party, and more;
· Custodial arrangements;
· The education, skills, employment prospects, and earning capacity of each spouse;
· Other sources of income, such as investments or insurance policies;
· Any other factor the court considers relevant for an equitable and fair determination.

As you can imagine, alimony requests are usually contested, so both spouses must argue their cases in court regarding the above factors. It is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to help handle alimony or any other matter that may arise during a divorce. If you are facing divorce in the Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale areas, call attorney Alan R. Burton today for help.

May 13, 2014

New Family Law Bill Passes in Florida Legislature

Florida has long been a destination for international travel and business. Many people moving from foreign countries to the United States choose to make Florida their home. For this reason, many law experts are critical of a new bill that recently passed through state legislature regarding the applicability of foreign law in Florida family law courts. The bill was introduced by Republican state Senator Alan Hays and passed in the Senate by a vote of 24-14, while the House companion bill passed by 78-40.

If signed by Governor Rick Scott, the new law would prohibit the application of foreign laws in certain family law matters and would give judges the ability to refuse to uphold agreements and orders from foreign courts if they violate American public policy. For example, if a couple moves to Florida from Mexico and had a premarital agreement, a court can decide not to uphold the agreement if the judge believes it goes against public policy. Six states already have similar laws in place regarding foreign laws--Kansas, Arizona, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Anti-Muslim Allegations


Though this bill has less severe anti-foreigner language than earlier versions, many people have criticized the legislation as alienating foreigners in a state that tries to welcome internationals. Specifically, critics have stated the bill is anti-Muslim and that it particularly intends to restrict Sharia religious laws from impacting family law matters in the United States. Florida reportedly has at least 150,000 registered voters who identify as Muslim, and that number is growing. Proponents of the bill point out that the law does not even mention religion and does not target any one specific minority group. Anti-defamation groups and Democrats plan on asking the governor to veto the bill.

Proponents also state that the law does not actually change anything significantly in the Florida family law courts. They say that judges already reviewed any foreign contracts for public policy violations, and this law simply would take court decisions and solidify them into legislation. However, no one knows what the full effect of the law will be and how it will affect residents who have foreign family law contracts or judgments. However it is clear that the law will only apply to family law cases and not real estate or business contracts or other types of agreements.

We will keep an eye on the progress of this new family law legislation and keep our readers up to date on any future implications of this new bill. In the meantime, if you have any family law issues regarding agreements or orders made by foreign courts, it is best to contact an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney for Help


Family laws and court precedents can change on a regular basis. If you have any family law matter or concerns, you should always consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with Florida law and keeps up to date on any new changes. If you are facing divorce or any other issue in Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale, do not hesitate to contact experienced lawyer Alan R. Burton for assistance today.

May 8, 2014

Florida Man Denied Request to Marry his Computer

Several same-sex couples have been involved in both state and federal lawsuits in Florida challenging our state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. As of now, Florida does not recognize any form of gay marriage or domestic partnership, no matter where the marriage took place, and the state constitution defines "marriage" as solely between a man and a woman. One opponent of gay marriage has taken a peculiar action in an attempt to derail one of the lawsuits.

Florida resident Chris Sevier filed a motion in one same-sex marriage lawsuit, attempting to intervene as another type of sexual minority. Sevier did not want to marry another man--instead he requested to marry his Apple laptop computer.

Sevier's motion states that he fell in love with the laptop after watching copious amounts of pornography on the machine. He claimed that since he prefers to have sex with his computer over anything--or anyone--else, he should be able to marry the computer. His attempt to secure a marriage license failed, however, and he filed the motion.

The motion argued that gay couples were considered a sexual minority, and that he is just another example of a sexual minority. Sevier argued that if homosexuals would be allowed to marry their chosen objects of desire, he should be able to marry his chosen object of desire, as well. Since Sevier openly opposes gay marriage, he is obviously trying to send a message to the courts by trying to foreshadow arguments that may arise should the constitutional amendment get overturned. It seems he is trying to warn the courts that if they allow gay marriage, Florida residents may try to marry anything--including inanimate objects or animals. Sevier mentions cases from foreign countries in which a man married a cardboard cutout and a woman allegedly married a dolphin.

Sevier was an attorney whose law license was taken away due to mental disability. He is attempting to intervene in a similar lawsuit in Utah, and has filed other bizarre lawsuits in the past. For example, he attempted to sue Apple for selling him the laptop without warning him about the evil nature of pornography he could watch on the computer. United States District Judge Robert Hinkle stated that whether this marriage motion was satirical or simply because Sevier is unhinged, the motion has "no place in this lawsuit." Judge Hinkle therefore denied Sevier's motion.

As the same-sex marriage debate continues in Florida, this is likely only the first of many attempts by opponents to make a statement against the cause.

Contact Family Lawyer Alan R. Burton Today


Though the request to marry his computer was likely simply to prove a point and did not stem from an actual desire to do so, the above case shows the wide array of family law cases that may come before the courts. No matter what kind of unique family law matter you may have, experienced attorney Alan R. Burton can provide assistance. We have offices conveniently located in both Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, so call today at 888-341-5223 to schedule your free consultation.

April 5, 2014

Are we all now familiar with the term "Conscious Uncoupling" ?

I know I am. Do we all know what it means? Do we know where the term originated? Do we know who created that term? The phrase is seen or heard almost on a daily basis.

I think by now we all know that Gwyneth Paltrow, the well known and talented actress, created it, or at least brought the term to the public forefront. Does the phrase actually have a clear defined meaning?

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What comes to my mind, as a divorce lawyer, is that the separation and split of the parties will be an amicable one. There will be no fighting and hostility. The parties will most likely conclude their marriage with an uncontested divorce proceeding.

Many of the articles I have read about the use of this phrase interprets it as some sense of superiority or pretentiousness. To me it simply signals the ability of the adults to consider their children's interests, and not to lay blame for the failure of the relationship to endure. It is the ability to understand that it is never just one person's fault, but a multitude of reasons, on the part of both parties.


Source:
The Huffington Post, "What the Hell is Conscious Uncoupling", Anyway?, Dr. Sonya Rhodes, PhD, April 2, 2014

April 5, 2014

Divorce Mistakes That Everyone Makes

Welcome to the 21st Century! With the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general, your life has become an open book. You may need to seek the services of a seasoned attorney when social media becomes a central issue in your case.

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Postings to your facebook page can become fodder for your spouse's lawyer, especially when there are minor children involved. Don;t be fooled thinking that what you are posting is off limits to your spouse. It's not. As equally important are postings by others, which may have a direct link back to you, whether you were aware of it or not. One such example may be a posting of your underage child under the "influence at a party". Who was the parent "on call" at the time?

Everything on-line becomes a record, which may be used either in your favor or against you, as the case may be. The electronic age is not limited to social media, but to all aspects of your life, including financial matters.

Banking records are easily reproduced, which will clearly document a trail of your finances.

Privacy today simply does not exist. Be careful what you say or do, as it will most surely be used against you in court.


Source: The Huffington Post, "The Divorce Mistakes You Don't Even Know You Are Making", Taryn Hillin, March 18, 2014

April 5, 2014

Law Prohibits Divorcing Couples From Having Sex

Incredible as it sounds, the Massachusetts legislature is considering such a bill. The proposal should not be considered in a vacuum however, as it applies only in specific situations, when minor children are involved.

The proposal was designed to promote and protect the best interests of the minor children, whose parents are in the midst of a divorce.

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Robert LeClair, a local Massachusetts lawmaker proposed the bill, after going through a bitter divorce himself. The specifics of the bill would be to prohibit the parent in possession of the marital home, from engaging in any type of sexual relationship with a new partner during the parties separation, and prior to the divorce proceedings concluding.

The bill would would have to be passed by the state legislature, and then approved by the governor.

The language of the bill reads as follows:

"In divorce, separation, or 209A( restraining order)proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts,"

The law, if passed, would raise some interesting questions about obtaining the necessary evidence to prove a violation of the law. Since children are generally not allowed to testify in court, absentee spouses will need to become quite creative in order to prove their case. This bill will most certainly keep the private detectives in Massachusetts quite busy.


Source:
The Huffington Post, "Massachusetts Bill Could Ban Sex During Marriage", Emily Thomas, March 24, 2014

March 25, 2014

Alternatives to divorce litigation

Attempting to bring resolution to your divorce case through nonstop litigation is not always the best route to take

Divorce litigation can become expensive. There are other options available to bringing finality to your divorce.

The divorce procedure can take a heavy toll on an individual, both emotionally and financially. If reconciliation is not a viable option, you may attempt to resolve your case through the process of mediation. Mediation can be considerably less expensive for you, rather than litigation. Mediation involves the process of meeting with an impartial individual, usually a certified family court mediator, who is most often times a member of the Florida Bar.

Everybody engaged in the process of mediation who comes with a positive attitude in attempting to resove their case, will obtain results much quicker and less costlier than litigating through trial.