Marital and Family Law

Marital and Family law practice attempts to apply legal solutions to often complex domestic relations problems.  Family law covers a broad range of topics such as divorce, alimony (spousal support), paternity, child support, timesharing (formerly known in Florida as child custody and visitation), property division, domestic violence and many other related topics. Family law is an important area of law since outcomes of cases, whether by judicial decision or private settlement agreements, will shape the future of the most fundamental building block of our society- the family.

 

Families have a profound impact on shaping the values and identity of the next generation in many visible and invisible ways. Parents are the most influential force on a child whether positive or negative. For example, how parents deal with conflict in their relationship is often shaped by how they witnessed conflict resolution in their own home growing up. It is important to keep in mind that how parents resolve conflict when it arises will impact the next generation. Sadly, sometimes unresolved conflict leads to separation and/or divorce. In my view, one of the important jobs of a family lawyer is to zealously advocate for the client's goals while also keeping in mind the impact of the conflict on children.

 

Our philosophy is to first attempt meaningful settlement negotiations with opposing counsel including the use of formal mediation. If settlement is not possible, which can be due to a myriad of reasons including opposing counsel's desire to generate fees by dragging out the case instead of reaching an early settlement, then we strategically deploy our litigation tactics to finish the case.  We believe that this approach will preserve client assets and more importantly will preserve a measure of civility for the sake of any children involved. If you are experiencing marital discord, we encourage you to seek counseling and pursue reconciliation. If you or your spouse are unable to resolve differences we can provide mediation services to help settle your case without the need for expensive litigation.  If mediation is not the right approach for your case due to circumstances beyond your control, we will litigate your case to the fullest extent of the law and protect your rights.  Call us today to schedule a consultation and we can review your case and determine your best options.

Divorce:

Florida is a "no fault" divorce state.  This means a married couple can file for dissolution of marriage on the basis of "irreconcilable differences" or if the marriage is "irretrievably broken."   It is not necessary to prove other grounds of divorce such as adultery, abuse or abandonment.  The divorce process can be simple or complex and involves dividing assets and debts, determining when each parent will spend time with children, establishing alimony and child support and resolving a wide range of other marital issues. Divorce is a life changing event, but with the right approach it doesn't have to define your future or drain your finances.  Every case is unique and we're here to listen and help you make the transition to your future.

Florida no longer uses the terms "custody" or "visitation" to describe a parent's time with children. Instead, Florida law utilizes the term "time sharing" to describe the time a parent has with his/her child.  The use of the term "time sharing" is more relational and eliminates the negative connotations that being "in custody" denotes.  Whether you are going through a divorce or need to establish paternity and time sharing rights with your children, we are here to help.  If you have a final judgment already in place and need to modify it due to a change in circumstances such as relocation or other significant change, we can assist you.

Time with Children:
Alimony and Support:

Florida alimony, unlike child support, does not use a set formula.  The legal standard is a spouse's "need" and the other spouse's "ability" to pay. The main determination of need and ability is a comparison of each party's Financial Affidavit which contains income and expense information and is required to be filed with the Court in every case.  If your case is contested, you will need an experienced attorney to make the case for or against alimony in your particular case. There are often many factual and legal points not considered on the face of the Financial Affidavit that need to be brought to the court's attention so that a fair decision is rendered.  

© 2016-2018 McDermott Law Offices, PLLC

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