Recently in Divorce Procedure Category

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

March 25, 2014

Guardian ad litem

A Guardian ad litem is usually appointed by the court in a dissolution of marriage action. Florida statute 61.401 provides that in an action for dissolution of marriage or the creation, approval, or modification of the parenting plan, if the court finds it is in the best interests of the child the court may appoint a Guardian ad litem to act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate.

A Guardian ad litem is generally an attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar. A Guardian ad litem may also be an individual certified by the Guardian ad litem program.

A Guardian, when appointed by the court shall act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate but shall act in the child's best interest.

The Guardian once appointed is giving certain powers, privileges, and responsibilities, as follows:

The Guardian ad litem may investigate the allegations of the pleadings affecting the child

The Guardian ad litem, through his attorney, may petition the court for orders to obtain various records concerning the child or either of the parents

The Guardian ad litem may request expert examinations of the child or the child's parents

The Guardian may help the court in obtaining impartial expert examinations

The Guardian ad litem can address the court and he or she can make a written report to the court. A written report has to be provided to everybody 20 days before any scheduled hearing

A Guardian ad litem is presumed to be acting in good faith and therefore a Guardian who was participating in a court proceeding is immune from any kind of liability, civil or criminal.

March 25, 2014

How to pay for a lawyer in a divorce case

Both the husband and the wife should be entitled to have equal access to the court system when proceeding with a divorce.

Often times, one spouse controls substantially most of the financial wealth that has been accumulated during the marriage. This makes it difficult for the other spouse to retain and seek the advice of a lawyer.

There is a remedy available to a spouse who has little or no access to funds, but who still requires an attorney. The remedy is found under Florida statute 61.16, which provides for the award of attorney's fees, suit money, and costs.

The statute general generally provides that the court may from time to time, after considering the financial resources of both parties, order a party to pay a reasonable amount for attorneys fees, suit money, and the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending any proceeding under this chapter, including enforcement and modification proceedings and appeals.

Don't become a victim simply because you do not have the financial resources immediately available to hire an attorney. I would urge you to call me and schedule a free consultation, so that you can be educated as to what your rights are in your divorce case, and to further discuss options available to you in the engagement of a competent, family law attorney to handle your case.

I have offices located in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale Florida. You have nothing to lose by calling me and scheduling an appointment for a free consultation.

March 25, 2014

Distributing marital assets before the case includes

If you can show "good cause" to the court, you may be entitled to an interim partial distribution of marital assets.

Good cause is defined as extraordinary circumstances that require an interim partial distribution. In order to obtain this type of relief, you are required to file a sworn motion setting forth specific factual basis for the relief that you are seeking. You would have to demonstrate to the court good cause as to why the court should not defer its ruling until the final hearing.

As just one example, employing this technique for an interim partial distribution of marital assets can be extremely helpful if one person is in need of immediate funds,

There are many, many situations that would require the necessity of seeking an interim partial distribution award. The point to note here is that you do not have to wait until you your case concludes in order for you to receive money or other marital assets.

August 5, 2012

Divorce, a private matter

Generally speaking, a divorce should be a private matter. The proceeding often times involves sensitive and personal issues, which should not be made public. However, in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and in other courtrooms throughout south Florida, contested divorce proceedings are conducted everyday.

1267479_broken_heart_pic.jpgMany times someone will say something, in a fit of anger or for other reasons, and then their statement comes back to haunt them in court. Never say anything that you do not want repeated in open court.

Not only are your statements admissible in court, but all of your postings, photographs and comments that you place in the public arena on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, become open game. Be careful what you say or do during a divorce....it could harm your case and significantly impact the outcome.

Most recently there has been a barrage of public divorce cases and separations involving celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Stevie Wonder, and Kristen Stewart, just to name a few.

You do not want to achieve your notoriety in the context of your divorce case.

August 4, 2012

Does the length of my marriage make a difference when I get divorced?

The length of a marriage becomes one relevant consideration for the court to consider in a divorce case if alimony is an issue in the proceedings.

The Florida legislature has attempted to bring some standardization to the awards of alimony in divorce proceedings. Alimony has historically been that unknown "wild card" in contested divorce cases.
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Permanent alimony is now reserved primarily for long term marriages, which by statutory definition, is now defined as a marriage in excess of 17 years. A short term marriage is one under 7 years. Anything in between is a marriage of moderate length.

Bridge-the-gap alimony can be awarded to a spouse in a short term marriage, and it may not exceed 2 years. Bridge-the-gap alimony is not subject to modification.

After bridge-the-gap, you will see rehabilitative alimony and durational alimony awards. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to assist the recipient in either re-establishing the skills to be financially self sufficient, or to obtain the skills to do so. This type of alimony may end with non compliance with a proposed plan of rehabilitation on the part of the recipient.

Durational alimony may be awarded for up to a maximum number of years equal to the length of the marriage. The number of years is discretionary, based upon other factors which the court may consider.

You can read the Florida alimony statute by clicking the link attached. All of the factors which the court will consider are included within the statute.

Having appropriate, competent representation in a divorce proceeding is important, and becomes ever more so important when the duration of the marriage increases.


August 2, 2012

What does it take for a marriage to become irretrievably broken?

In Florida, no grounds for divorce are required other than the fact that the marriage must be irretrievably broken.. As a matter of fact, you can find this provision under Florida Statutes 61.043, which indicates that all one need do in a petition for dissolution of marriage is to assert that the marriage is irretrievably broken. No other grounds are required.

Over the years, I have had many people tell me that their "spouse has abandoned them", or "deserted them", or engaged in "acts of either mental or physical cruelty against them". They want a divorce and want to know if these are sufficient grounds.

The reality of the situation is that all of these reasons, although valid reasons to seek a divorce, are not a prerequisite or requirement for obtaining a divorce. All one need do is to allege that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."
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What makes one couple's marriage broken may be very different than for another couple. Sometimes people grow apart; sometimes they engage in mental abuse, and sometimes......

Well, you decide. Is the victim of a knife wielding spouse involved in a marriage which you would consider to be irretrievably broken? This was a story recently reported in the Huffington Post. Check it out!

March 26, 2012

Zealous divorce attorney representation

We all know that divorce is an extremely difficult time for people to experience. Emotions run high, and often time, all sense of reason and reasonableness vanish during divorce proceedings.

Some people like to amicably resolve their differences, and move on with their lives. Others, however, would prefer to make their soon to be ex-spouse's life a miserable experience for months and years ahead.

600957_hulk.jpgLawyers have an ethical obligation to represent their clients as zealously as possible, within the bonds of the law. Apparently one divorce attorney in New Mexico decided that there were no boundaries under the law, and that he was at liberty to take matters into his own hands in a divorce proceeding. He gives no meaning to zealously representing his client.

Aggressive representation was given a whole new meaning when this attorney took control of his client's affairs. This is not the best way for an attorney to proceed in a divorce case or any other case for that matter.

Check it out! Watch the New Mexico divorce attorney go to work. You will be shocked.

January 3, 2011

Is a hearing required before a court can vacate temporary injunctions against domestic violence?

The issue of vacating temporary injunctions against domestic violence was dealt with in Schock v. Schock, 979 So.2d 1201 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008).

In this case the father had obtained injunctions against his child's mother, along with another one against her boyfriend. The allegations made included neglect and abuse against his daughter. The duty judge found the allegations appropriate for the issuance of an injunction, that the child involved was the victim of domestic violence, and was in immediate and present danger, and he issued the orders accordingly.

In response to all this, the mother filed an Emergency Motion For Return of Child and Change of Custody in the dissolution of marriage action that had been filed. Two days after the mother had filed her motions, the trial judge assigned to the divorce case entered two orders vacating the injunctions that had been previously entered by the duty judge.

The judge decided on his own that the allegations made by the father in his application for an injunction against the child's mother were conclusory, and those which were made against the boyfriend were based upon hearsay.

On appeal, the trial judge was reversed. The appellate court stated that once an injunction is issued under Section 741.30, Florida Statutes, the injunction cannot be vacated without a hearing. Sanchez v. State, 785 So.2d 672, 676 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001).

As a result of this ruling, the temporary injunctions were re-instated, and the trial court was instructed to conduct an evidentiary hearing before ruling on the motions filed by the mother. See also White v. Cannon, 778 So.2d 467, 467-68 (Fla. 3rd CA 2001).

For further information, advise, or any questions on this topic, please click the following link: www.alanburtonlaw.com

September 13, 2010

Your divorce file is a matter of public record!

spying desktop.jpgWere you aware that everything that you file in your divorce case is a matter of public record? Were you aware that your life is "an open book", for anyone to read? Well, it is.

Every single pleading and all its contents is readily available for anyone to read, including your children. It is especially important to try to refrain from filing pleadings that contain scandalous material, which may very well come back "to haunt you" at some point in time in the future.

I recently came across an article dealing with another divorce for the actress we all know and love, Sandra Bullock. This was not her divorce however, but her father's. The court pleadings that someone got their hands on contained less than flattering comments about the behavior of John Bullock, Sandra's father.

The article, published on September 10, 2010 at NDTV.com, alleges the abuse his first wife (not Sandra's mother) was subjected to at the hands of John Bullock.

We are all very aware of the recent high profile divorce of Sandra Bullock, and the gracious manner in which she conducted herself through those difficult times. She, as well as her child, will look back at some time in the future, and see the dignity in which her divorce proceedings were conducted.

Court records are permanent. They illustrate who you are. It is best to rise above the name calling, blame, and slanderous allegations. Look back upon that chapter of your life with integrity.