Friedland & Associates is dedicated to working with our clients and fighting for the best possible outcomes for whatever their legal issues are. If you are dealing with a family law issue and you need help from a professional, experienced team of legal professionals, then contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation. We will use this opportunity to discuss the legal situation you are in, how we can help, and give you examples of past experiences and successes that we have had in cases that are similar to your own.
We understand that no two family law issues are alike, and we are determined to work with our clients to build a case that exactly suits their situation and gives them the best opportunity to achieve the outcome they are hoping for. Whether it is a divorce, an issue of child custody, alimony, or anything else related to family law in Fort Lauderdale, we are here to help as soon as possible.
Read more below about the different aspects of family law that we can help you with, and get a better sense of the general issues that the Florida family courts work with. No matter what your needs are, contact the team at Friedland & Associates as soon as possible to begin working on your case and developing a strategy that will maximize your chances of a positive outcome.
What Does Family Law Cover?
The term “family law” is a broad term that covers all practice areas related to family relations, including but not limited to divorce, child custody, paternity issues, adoption, and more. One important distinction between family law and other issues is that the family court takes a very sympathetic approach to anything involving child welfare, and the safety and health of everyone involved goes into consideration for the outcomes and rulings of the court.
As a “no-fault” state, Florida allows people to file petitions for divorce as long as they believe that the marriage is beyond repair. However, simply being a no-fault state does not mean that the actual divorce process is as simple as filing, and the process can be complicated and sometimes contentious. We work with our clients through every step of the divorce process to ensure that they are treated fairly and that their rights are upheld through the entire case.
There are many different things that need to be agreed upon or decided in order to finalize a divorce, some of which are more complicated than others. The main points that we will work through with our clients are:
In Florida, the first step to dividing property is to separate marital property from separate, or non-marital property. Marital property is any property that was acquired during the marriage by one or both of the partners. In cases where the spouses have a written, legal agreement that keeps any property acquired during the marriage, these particular properties may not be considered marital.
Non-marital property is any property that one of the spouses had possession of before entering the marriage, and maintained the payments and maintenance all on their own. Additionally, the other spouse can not have been added to the deed at any point, otherwise, it will be considered marital property.
Florida is what is known as an “equitable division” state when it comes to dividing property, which is not the same as 50/50 division. The equitable division takes each spouse’s financial situation into account and determines a fair and equitable way to divide the shared assets.
Asset and Debt Division
Much like with property, all assets and debts will be designated as either marital or nonmarital, and then divided accordingly. Depending on the financial situation that you and your partner have created for yourselves, this can be an extremely complicated process that requires a lot of tedious work to ensure that it is distributed properly.
Even during extremely cooperative mediations, the issue of property and asset division is uncomfortable to handle. However, we strongly suggest that you work it out with your partner either through mediation or direct negotiation before relying on the courts to determine the proper division, since you will essentially be giving up the right to make a decision about your own property.
Alimony is provided in divorces when one spouse is much more financially independent than the other. This maintenance is intended to give the spouse an opportunity to establish their new life and prepare for their new financial situation without worrying about losing all financial support that their lifestyle currently relies on.
Unlike some other states, Florida treats alimony as “rehabilitative” or durational, meaning that there is a set period of time at a set amount that the spouse will receive these payments. During this time, the will be able to plan accordingly, knowing that these payments will cease at a certain point and they will need to then be responsible for their own financial situation. In most cases, if the beneficiary of alimony is remarried then the payments will cease. There are a variety of situations that will be written into the alimony agreement that will either alter or void the payments, which we will work through before agreeing to anything final.
Child custody is determined in a variety of methods, and each decision depends almost entirely on the welfare of the child or children who will be affected by these decisions. It is one of the top priorities of a family court to ensure that any children involved in these cases are the top concern and that their future is the most important consideration of any decision.
Custody can either by physical or legal, and either sole or joint. Physical custody refers to the actual living situation of the child, whereas legal custody refers to the decisions regarding their education, healthcare, discipline, and religion. In either of these custodies, parents can either share responsibility with joint custody, or one parent retains all rights, which is called sole custody.
Child support is entirely separate from alimony because it is intended to provide financial support to the children of the divorce. Just because a couple decides to separate does not mean that the children must be subjected to changes in their financial stability, and most often the parent who does not take physical custody (or the parent who is more financially stable) will make payments to the parent who has physical custody.
There are a variety of different factors that go into determining the amount of child support that must be paid each month, and for how long, which will be discussed in great detail before finalizing the divorce.
If you have previously finalized a divorce and come to agreements regarding child custody but your situation has changed, you are not always bound by the original agreement. If you need to alter your child custody agreement, we will work with you to take the original agreement back to the family courts, present your case about why the agreement must be updated, and lay out each factor that needs to be altered to provide your children with the best possible situation.
This may take the form of requesting that the court revisit your visitation rights or custody rights if you were initially denied them. Additionally, this could involve requesting that the court reconsider the type of custody because the other parent has experienced changes in their living situation, their emotional or mental state, are abusing drugs or alcohol, or anything else that you believe is putting your children at risk.
Much like child custody, circumstances may change after the original divorce agreements are finalized. If you believe that the courts must revisit the child support that you have originally agreed to, whether you are making or receiving the payments, we will work to create a compelling argument as to why the situation requires that the agreement is updated to reflect the current situation.
This may even be something temporary, such as a parent being laid off or unemployed and unable to make the full payments for a short time until they are able to find a new job. There are many different situations that deserve to be reconsidered when it comes to child support, and it is important that you work with an experienced family law attorney who will be able to present a clear case to the courts.
Adoption in Florida is handled by the courts, whether you are deciding to give up your own child for adoption or if you are working towards welcoming a new member into your family. Adoption proceedings are designed to ensure that the adoptive child is given the best opportunity for a safe, productive, and supportive living in a family who can suit their needs and give them the opportunities that they deserve.
We work with parents on both sides of the adoption process and will be happy to help you navigate this often complicated legal landscape to ensure that you are working towards the best outcome you could hope for in your situation.
Family Law Methods
Regardless of the process that you are going through, there are a few options that you will have when it comes to settling these issues.
Mediation is a favorable way to reach an agreement with a family law issue because it requires collaboration and consideration. You and your spouse, or the other person involved in the issue, will work with a neutral third party who will guide you through each detail that you need to come to an agreement on. When working with a mediator, you can each be confident that the professional is not trying to “put one over” on either of you, and that while you will be required to compromise, it is a lot less contentious than working through attorneys. Mediation is non-binding, meaning that there is no “final decision” that you and your spouse are unable to work through.
Four Way Negotiation
If you do not believe that mediation is a good option for your situation, the next option that we will suggest is a four-way negotiation. In these situations, we will represent you in talks with your spouse and their attorneys, and attempt to reach agreements about the various issues that need to be addressed without relying on a trial and a judge to make the decisions. This is a better option than a trial because we are able to remain in control of your assets and personal life instead of leaving these things up to the state.
Family Law Trial
If we are unable to reach an agreement either through mediation or negotiation, then we may need to pursue a full trial in the family courts. When choosing this option, it is important that you understand you will be relinquishing control over your personal life, and instead allowing a judge to make these agreements for you. These decisions are binding and will require a lengthy appeals process if you disagree with the outcome.
Finding The Right Family Law Attorney
It is important that you are confident in the family law attorney that you choose to work with. There are many attorneys available in Fort Lauderdale, but not all will make you feel as comfortable as we strive to at Friedland & Associates. One of our top priorities, besides fighting for the best outcomes for our clients, is that our clients are able to avoid some of the stress that comes along with most, if not all of these legal cases. We use our experience to give our clients confidence that their situations are in the right hands, and will not stop fighting for you.
We offer a free initial consultation as a way for you to learn more about our law firm, understand more about our process, and ask questions that relate specifically to your case so you can understand how we plan to handle your situation. We understand that hiring legal counsel is an important financial decision, and we want to make certain that you have absolute confidence in our abilities before you decide to work with us.
Contact us as soon as possible to schedule your consultation, and get started on building a case that will help you move towards the outcome that you are hoping for.