Articles Posted in Divorce

Published on:

When a court issues an order for visitation and timesharing of children, it is common for one or both parents to be dissatisfied with some aspect of the parenting time arrangement. Even if you both agree to the arrangement at the time of the custody case, circumstances may change and may lead to conflicts regarding the custody and visitation schedule. In such cases, you may be able to request that the agreement be modified to better suit changed circumstances. This process can take time, however, and many parents may be tempted to take the matter into their own hands. Doing so can have serious consequences from the court, however, including fines or even jail time.

The following are some examples of actions you should never take on your own regarding child custody:

  • Withholding visitation or custody rights if the other parent fails to pay child support.
  • Refusing to adhere to the visitation schedule in the parenting plan. This includes both refusing to turn the children over to the parent during their allotted time as well as failing to take the children for your own visitation time.
  • Taking the children during the other parent’s custody time.

Even if you believe that the other parent is not fit to be alone with the children, you should still not refuse to follow a custody order. Instead, you can file an emergency motion with the court if you believe that the safety or wellbeing or your children is in jeopardy. If the other parent is refusing to comply with the custody order, you should file a motion with the court to enforce the order. The court can then issue sanctions if they still refuse to obey the order. Finally, if the custody arrangement is not working for you, you should request a modification from the court.

The one time you should act on your own is if your children disappear from your home during your parenting time. In such a situation, you should first call the authorities before the court. In a recent case out of Florida, two children who were in the custody of their grandparents disappeared from the home. An Amber Alert was issued and, later that day, authorities found the children with their mother in a motel room. The mother was then arrested and may be facing criminal charges of interference with custody or even more serious charges.

Consult With a Qualified Boca Raton Child Custody Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Whether your ex-partner is refusing to agree to with the custody agreement or you want the arrangement changed for your own benefit, you should never try to solve custody matters without the approval of the courts. Violating a court order can result in serious consequences, even if you believe you are acting in the best interest of your child. Instead, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in Boca Raton who can help you explore your options to resolve your custody conflict. Please call the law offices of Alan R. Burton at 954-229-1660 for help today.

Published on:

Many people believe that when they get married, their credit score will be combined with their spouse’s and that their credit will be intertwined. Therefore, many people may wonder what will happen to their credit if they later decide to get divorced. First, it is important to understand that your marital status does not directly impact your credit–not at the time of marriage nor at the time of divorce–since at no time does your credit fuse with your spouses. However, this does not mean that your credit score will not be affected due to divorce, as there are other factors that may cause some credit issues.

Joint Debts

Though your marriage does not affect your score, the non-payment of joint debts wil. If you have a mortgage, auto loans, or other credit accounts in both your and your spouse’s names, you and your spouse will have to agree how to continue paying these following separation. Your divorce decree should equitably divide your joint debts in accordance with Florida law, however, you may not be able to refinance certain debts to remove your name. This means that, if the court assigns certain joint debts to your ex-spouse and they fail to pay the debts, your score could be affected. While you may be able to dispute late payments by using your divorce decree or may be able to report the non-payment of debts to the court, this can be a complex process and may not necessarily raise your score. Continue reading →

Published on:

Divorce can involve many complicated legal filings and administrative tasks. One important task that should not be ignored is changing your name back to your maiden name if you wish to do so. While name changes have traditionally been associated with women, this is no longer the case since the legality of same-sex marriage and trends in recent years of combining last names or of husbands taking the last name of their wives.

Legally changing your name back can include many different steps, including the following:

  • Requesting an official name change in your divorce petition, so the final divorce decree includes a court order allowing you to change your name back;
  • If your divorce decree does not include a name change order, you will need to file a Florida Petition for a Name Change to get a court order by that method;
  • Collect the following documents in order to update your name on official documents:
    • A certified copy of the court order for the name change;
    • Proof of your identification (passport or state-issued ID); and
    • Proof of age (birth certificate, certificate of foreign birth, or adoption order).
  • Use the above documents to change your name on your social security card, driver’s license, passport, and any other necessary forms of identification.
  • Use your new documentation to change your name on bank accounts, credit accounts, with your employer for payroll, utilities, and any other relevant accounts.

Continue reading →

Published on:

The end of a long-term relationship can be emotionally difficult and can make people act in ways that may be out of character. Sometimes, people who are getting a divorce feel a newfound sense of freedom that allows them to pursue new social or romantic options. In other instances, a divorce can cause individuals to engage in emotional coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or overspending. While these are natural and human reactions to the end of a relationship, sharing this type of behavior on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram could have a negative effect on the way that certain issues in your divorce are resolved. Some of the ways that social media posts could affect your divorce are detailed below.

Sharing on Social Media Could Affect Child Custody Determinations

Under Florida Law, the guiding principle that courts must follow when making child custody determinations is the “best interests of the child.” In figuring out what type of custody arrangement is in a child’s best interests, courts may consider any factor that they deem relevant. For this reason, social media posts that indicate that a person is engaging in behavior that the court believes could affect a person’s ability to be an effective parent could potentially be introduced as evidence in cases in which child custody is disputed. Continue reading →

Published on:

With the start of a new year, many people will begin thinking about the annual dreaded tax deadline looming in April. If you are in the midst of a separation or divorce, taxes can be even more complicated, as many issues can arise. The following are only some considerations that may need to be addressed regarding taxes for divorcing couples.

Should You File Jointly or Separately?

Even if you still must file as “married,” you and your spouse still have the option of filing jointly or filing separately. Since filing together may seem less than desirable since it requires you to work together, many couples may be initially inclined to file separately, especially in contentious situations. However, there are some drawbacks to filing separately while you are married, including the following:

  • The IRS applies a higher tax rate to married couples filing separately;
  • Couples must divide up deductions such as mortgage interest or charitable donations;
  • Both individuals must either claim the standard deduction or itemize their deductions and the same approach may not be beneficial for both.

Despite the possible drawbacks, in some situations, filing separately may be beneficial. This may be the case if your spouse will have a higher tax liability than you will or if you are paying spousal support during the separation. Continue reading →

Published on:

When most people think of equitable distribution of property in a divorce, they likely think of houses and properties, investments, and other monetary assets. However, there is usually a significant amount of personal property to be divided and making decisions regarding this kind of property can raise disputes and cause issues in a divorce. Like real property and assets, Florida law requires that personal property is divided equitably between the spouses, and agreeing on what is equitable can be challenging. The following is some information regarding handling personal property in your divorce.

Disagreements Can Be Costly

In the popular movie When Harry Met Sally, a main character is discussing divorce and states, “This eight dollar dish will cost you a thousand dollars in phone calls to the legal firm of That’s Mine, This Is Yours.” While intended to be humorous, this concept is unfortunately a reality for many contemptuous divorcing spouses. When spouses refuse to agree on certain issues, those issues must be decided by the court and such litigation can be costly. In order to avoid spending $1,500 in legal fees determining what happens to $300 worth of holiday decorations, it is always best that you and your spouse attempt to agree on how the personal property will be divided. If there are certain items that cause particular sticking points, a mediator may be able to provide a more efficient resolution than taking the issue before the court. Continue reading →

Published on:

Divorces that involve child custody and child support can often be contentious and difficult. When two spouses cannot agree on a parenting plan, visitation schedules, or other issues, the case will come before the court and the resulting hearings can be stressful and costly. This is especially true when one parent is accusing the other of being unfit for parenting. In some cases, a parent may try to claim unfitness or make other arguments to try to get primary custody of the child so that he or she does not have to pay child support.

Generally speaking, child support is determined under the law by a specific formula based on each parent’s income and expenses. Under the law, a legal parent has the responsibility to financially support his or her child whether or not he or she has physical custody of the child. Due to the Florida child support formula, many support determinations are fairly straightforward and difficult to challenge. However, a recent case involving a television personality demonstrates how these cases can still be very complex.

Challenging Parental Responsibility for a Surrogate Child

Several news outlets reported a court ruling involving former host of The View Sherri Shepherd, her ex-husband, and a child born from a surrogate mother. While they were married, reports indicate that Shepherd and her husband contracted with another woman to have a child via surrogacy using her husband’s sperm and a donated egg. Unfortunately, the marriage was over before the pregnancy was and they filed for divorce. Continue reading →

Published on:

If you have married someone who has a child from a preexisting relationship, chances are that you want to form a bond with that child and play a substantial role in his or her life. Even if you grow close with the child, the marriage alone does not give you the legal right to make important decisions for the child regarding education or health care as a biological parent would have. In addition, if your marriage ends in divorce, you will have no rights to legally pursue custody or even visitation with the child. This means both you and the child could lose an important relationship if the biological parent so chooses.

In order to have full parental rights, a non-biological parent must legally adopt a child. For this reason, many people in the Boca Raton area decide to pursue a stepparent adoption. If successful, stepparent adoptions provide all the benefits of a traditional adoption without many of the requirements under Florida adoption laws, such as a waiting period, interviews and home visits, and other “red tape.” However, there is one specific requirement for a stepparent adoption that can cause complications in your case.

Consent From the Biological Parent

The main requirement for a stepparent adoption is that the biological parent (who is not in the marriage) must consent. Three people cannot have parental rights at the same time. This means that when a stepparent gains parental rights, the biological parent relinquishes them. For this reason, the biological parent must consent to the adoption and giving up their parental rights. This can be complex and one of three situations generally results: Continue reading →

Published on:

Dividing money and property in a divorce can always be complex. However, the process can become more complicated if one or both spouses have retirement accounts. Like any other assets, investments, or property, the state of Florida requires equitable distribution of the retirement accounts between the spouses. The process of dividing retirement accounts can require additional paperwork, calculations, and more, so it is important to have an attorney on your side who understands how to negotiate for the fairest division of these accounts in accordance with Florida law.

One important tool in dividing rights to retirement accounts is the Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly called the QDRO. When a person owns a retirement account, he or she will likely initially be the only payee who will receive the proceeds of that account. However, retirement funds saved and invested during a marriage are considered to be marital property, even if the funds only came as a result of the job of one spouse. In the event of a divorce, one spouse may obtain the rights to also be an alternate payee for the retirement account.

However, certain plans such as those under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) will not simply pay the funds to an alternate payee without the appropriate paperwork. In such situations, a QDRO is needed to ensure the divided funds go to the former spouse or other dependent. Continue reading →

Published on:

Divorce is always stressful, as it can mean many life changes. However, divorce can be especially stressful when there are business interests on the line. Owning their own business has become more and more popular for married couples, either due to the fewer job prospects in today’s economy, the flexibility that online businesses can now offer, or simply because they want to work for the good of their family and not for a corporation. However, owning a business can be complicated if two married owners decide to get a divorce.

What will happen to a business in a divorce depends on many different factors, including whether one spouse owned the business first and whether one or both spouses want to continue with the business after the divorce.

If You Owned the Business Prior to Marriage: If you came into your marriage with an established business, Florida would consider the business interests at the time of the wedding to be non-marital property and you would get to keep that. However, if the business increased in value during the marriage, your spouse will be entitled to division of the additional value. The same goes if your spouse came into the marriage with a pre-existing business. Continue reading →