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

Protection From Default

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

Property Division and Support Issues

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

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

Other Florida Divorce Laws Apply as Usual

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

An Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Can Assist You

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

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

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

Cooperation Can Make the Divorce Process Easier

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

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

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

Contact a Qualified Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Assistance

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

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

Questions of Fault

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

Alimony

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

Child Custody Determinations

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

Division of Property

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

Call a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for Help

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

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

Get Your Finances Organized

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

Have a Place to Stay

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

Design a Plan for the Children

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

Stay off Social Media

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

Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation

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

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

Rothstein Divorce Finalized

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

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

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

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

An Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney Can Assist You

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

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

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.