What you Need to Know about Family Law in the Fort Lauderdale Area
The lawyer-client relationship is an ultimate show of trust. When you trust me to handle your case, you put your future in my hands. I take this responsibility seriously, and you will receive the personal attention you deserve.
Family law requires that emotions be put aside so that the issues surrounding your case can be resolved quickly and according to the law. To that end, I want to talk about some of the things you’ll need to know before hiring any Florida family lawyer.
If you are divorcing in Florida, you must be a resident of Florida for at least six months. If there are children involved, the jurisdiction of the case must be where the children reside. My practice serves Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding counties.
If you have been served with divorce papers, do not let the language in the papers throw your emotions off-kilter. The language in divorce papers is often very aggressive, and it may not reflect the true emotions of your partner. They have been written by a lawyer using language necessary for court proceedings. Have a family law attorney interpret your divorce papers for you so you can understand what they mean in clear English.
Above all, do not get physical with your partner. Don’t even touch them. In Florida law, merely touching your partner is enough to get charged with domestic violence battery. You do not have to injure them. If you touch them, they can call the cops and you will go to jail. That puts your chances of a divorce in your favor at risk, and will play heavily in any child custody questions.
Most divorce case questions boil down to two topics: money and children. Here’s what you need to know about money. It will greatly help any attorney you speak with if you get a list of all of the current assets in the home as well as who owns them. Put all your finances in order, including your credit report and any back taxes, before pursuing divorce. Absolutely do not go on a spending spree.
Locate any ownership documents like deeds or titles and get copies for yourself. If you owned something prior to your marriage, such as a house or a vehicle, you will need to prove to the court that your spouse did not contribute to its purchase or do ongoing work on it. Otherwise they might be able to claim they have partial ownership. This can even apply to inheritances. The best thing to do with inheritances is to place it all into a separate account in your name only.
If you have a joint account, keep an eye on it in case your partner goes on a spending spree after divorce papers are served. Log everything that your spouse does involving your joint finances, and keep records of your own spending as well. All of this information will help speed your court proceedings.
In short, you want to give your lawyer and the court as complete of a picture of your current financial state as possible, including who owns what and who owes what.
Questions about Children and Child Support
In the State of Florida, what is commonly known as child custody is called time sharing. The parent of primary custody is the parent with “majority time sharing.??? It is the current view of Florida courts that both parents should receive equal time sharing. If you believe that you deserve more time, or should gain sole custody, you will need to provide the court with proof. This could be tangible evidence, such as photos of child abuse, financial evidence that they cannot provide, or some other piece of evidence.
The courts are also savvy of many tactics parents try to do to maintain custody. If you are caught using your children as tools, the courts will find out and you will be punished for it. If you are currently separated, there are additional gotchas you must be aware of:
- Try to ensure that you have equal time with your kids, and that they sleep over at your house 3-4 times a week. If they do not sleep at your house or don’t see you often, your spouse can make a claim that they are offering more for their upkeep.
- If you are separated and your children live full time with the other parent, you will be liable for child support for every month they didn’t live with you unless you can prove otherwise. If you are giving money to help out, it must be CLEARLY labeled child support. Giving money otherwise or buying supplies for them is considered a gift, not child support.
Contact Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Every family law case will have its own peculiarities. While this overview covers many of the basics, you will need a lawyer for specific information. If you are considering a divorce, or have been served with papers, gather the documentation described above and then call my law firm for a free consultation.
Going through a family divorce is never easy, especially when there are children involved.MY IMMEDIATE STEPS