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Since 1997 we are Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Adoption, Bankruptcy & Mediation Services: practicing in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia and all of Hillsborough County as well as for bankruptcy in all counties in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florda: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Hernando, Polk, and Pasco Counties. Our lawyers have experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions, and name changes. We offer a free consultation and we are happy to discuss your case. Call or email to schedule a consult. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Uncontested Divorce in Florida

Divorce can be an emotional and difficult time in your life. Once the decision to divorce has been made, the legal process must be followed. Divorce in Florida is also known as dissolution of marriage. The easiest and fastest divorce option is an uncontested divorce. When a couple can agree to the terms of the divorce, it is said to be uncontested. If one or the other party does not agree to the divorce or accept the settlement terms, the divorce becomes contested and therefore more complex. While uncontested divorce is fast and easy, it is still best to seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney.
Criteria for an Uncontested Divorce
There are a number of qualifications that must be met in order to qualify for an uncontested divorce. These include:
  • Both parties agree that they want the divorce;
  • Parties agree about the division of property;
  • If the couple has minor children, a parenting plan must be put in place;
  • Child support is agreed upon;
  • Alimony is not disputed;
  • There are no unsettled issues; and
  • Both parties agree to sign the necessary documents.
Generally, an uncontested divorce can be utilized in situations where both parties are in agreement. When issues are disputed or go unresolved, the divorce is contested and proceeds in that manner. A contested divorce often signals a litigious situation and one that may require negotiation and possibly mediation.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
There are many benefits to choosing an uncontested divorce. The uncontested divorce is typically much easier to complete and therefore is much less expensive. It is still in your best interest to have representation by a divorce attorney; however, the process is less complex. Another advantage to an uncontested divorce is that the time necessary to finalize it is less than a contested divorce. A simple uncontested divorce could take just a couple of months to complete while a contested divorce could drag on for many months or even years. Probably the most significant benefit of an uncontested divorce is that the marriage is dissolved in an amicable manner. This relieves stress on everyone in the family, including the children. A more relaxed situation sets the stage for a better relationship as the family moves forward in a new configuration.
Is Uncontested Divorce My Best Option?
In Florida, as elsewhere, property and assets that have been acquired during the marriage belong to both parties and are to be divided equitably upon divorce. This means that both people should receive about an equal portion of assets in a settlement. In situations where the couple agrees the division of assets and there are no complications, the uncontested divorce is a very good choice. Every divorce is different and a unique set of circumstances. When determining how to proceed with a divorce it is helpful to speak with a reputable divorce attorney to answer your questions and assist in determining the options available to you. Contact the Tampa divorce and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Getting Through a Contested Divorce

Divorce is never easy, even in situations where both parties are in agreement. However, when one party does not agree to the dissolution of marriage or settlement terms, the result is a contested divorceIn a typical uncontested divorce the couple is expected to come to a reasonable agreement as to the terms of the settlement. When one person contests the divorce it means they do not agree to the terms and therefore the divorce is headed towards trial. A contentious divorce can make the process longer and, as a result, more difficult and expensive.

Terms for Divorce Settlement
When a couple divorces in Florida they need to work to come to an agreement as to the major settlement terms. These settlement terms cover such topics as:
In Florida, as in other states, marital assets and liabilities must be distributed equitably in a divorce. Assets that were attained during the marriage are included in marital property with few exceptions. Distribution of assets can become complicated, particularly when the both husband and wife have been working, have pensions or retirement accounts, and have been married for a long time. It is best to discuss these issues with a qualified divorce attorney as soon as possible so concerns can be cleared up quickly.
How to Resolve Differences
When your divorce is acrimonious it requires special treatment. An experienced divorce attorney assists in resolving the major problems and restoring agreement. Many times, emotions take over, especially when it comes to finances and issues regarding the children. When this happens, it is helpful for you to have assistance from your attorney, who is able to see the situation from a more objective position. It is important to ensure that your rights are protected while allowing for some compromises that will make the divorce process smoother and less stressful.
Speeding Up the Divorce Process
A contested divorce can take longer to complete and becomes more expensive, time consuming, and stressful. If your divorce is contested it will take an emotional toll on the entire family. It is often best to try to resolve the differences without having to go to trial. As the divorce progresses you may realize that it is becoming difficult. Often, the judge sends couples back to try to resolve their own issues. The judge may even require mediation before making a final determination, which is done in a hearing. To avert this situation, your attorney will help guide you through the resolution process with as few problems as possible.
Contested Final Hearing
If, after all possible options have been exhausted, the couple is still unable to agree to the divorce issues, there will be a final hearing. In the contested final hearing, also called a trial, both parties present evidence and testimony to the judge, who will make a final decision. Your divorce attorney will prepare you and guide you through the entire process to achieve your desired outcome.
If you are facing the possibility of a contested divorce, it is important to reach out to skilled counsel immediately. Contact the Tampa divorce and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Supreme Court of Florida Weighs in on Waivers in Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch - Pre Nuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement can be an effective tool for two people to settle the division of assets upon the dissolution of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements can be complex agreements that should be approached with great care and diligence. Both parties to the agreement should have a full understanding of the subject of the agreement and retain counsel to advocate for their interests. One common element of prenuptial agreements is a waiver and release of claims, which can vary in specificity. In Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch, the Supreme Court of Florida determined the validity of general waivers as they relate to certain marital property and claims.
Issue of the Case
In Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch, the husband and wife executed a prenuptial agreement before marriage, which lasted for 22 years and produced two children. The prenuptial agreement contained:
  • a general waiver and release that barred the wife from asserting any claim to the husband’s property, and to any rights she otherwise accrued as a result of the marriage, such as alimony, support and maintenance, equitable distribution, division of property, or attorneys’ fees;
  • a provision that each spouse shall keep sole ownership of their respective property that was acquired before or after the marriage, and that each waived all right to the other’s assets; and
  • a presumption that property titled in one spouse’s name was deemed to be that spouse’s property.
Upon their divorce, the wife claimed that the general waiver did not apply to her right to her share of her husband’s earnings, assets purchased with those earnings, or any appreciation or enhanced value of her husband’s assets as a result of marital efforts. Before the Hahamovitch decision, Florida courts were split as to whether a general waiver as described above is a valid means to waive a spouse’s right to such assets.
The Court’s Ruling
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Florida settled an important legal issue in Florida divorce law. The court held that prenuptial agreements that contain a general waiver that provides that each spouse:
  1. disclaims all interest in the other spouse’s property;
  2. will be the sole owner of property purchased in their own name; and
  3. waives all claims that they may have as a result of the marriage, e.g., alimony;
…are valid and will prevent each spouse from claiming a share of property owned and titled in the other spouse’s name, regardless if that property was purchased with marital assets or appreciated in value because of efforts by the non-owner spouse.
Impact on Prenuptial Agreements
Before Hahamovitch, Florida courts varied on the specificity required for waivers for certain marital assets, such as a spouse’s earnings. The court’s decision brings clarity in that a properly drafted waiver can serve to preclude claims otherwise allowed under Florida law.
Considering or Need Help with a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are complex and require careful consideration, especially when they contain a broad waiver and release of claims. The divorce attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. have the knowledge and skill necessary to protect your interest in entering and exiting a marriage. If you need help or have questions about your divorce or prenuptial agreement, contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Timing of Marriage and Baby Doesn’t Affect Divorce Rate

In the past, research showed that cohabitating couples who had a baby prior to getting married consistently faced a higher divorce rate than those who married first and had a baby later. In fact, a study by the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) claims that there was no increased risk of divorce for those who chose to marry first, as opposed to those who chose to have a baby first and then get married.
The study analyzed data from couples who had their first child between 1985 and 1995 and those who did so between 1997 and 2010. Researchers found that unmarried couples in the first group were 60% more likely to divorce than those couples who married before having their first child. Only 10 years later, however, this difference disappeared. Couples from the second group who remained unmarried before the birth of their first child were no more likely to divorce than those who were married first.
Why is This the Case?
Researchers attribute this drastic change in statistics to a number of different factors. On the whole, American society, as well as that of other industrialized countries, is more accepting of unmarried couples who live together. These days, there is little societal pressure to immediately marry if a pregnancy occurs. Children born of out wedlock are commonplace in most areas of the country, and the stigmas that were attached to unmarried couples sharing a household and children born outside of marriage no longer really exist. Rather, couples who share a child take their time in deciding whether and when they will marry.
In fact, the only group who had a significantly higher chance of splitting up after their first child was comprised of those couples who never married. Thirty percent of those cohabitating couples who never married split up within five years. However, this statistic may have been skewed by the fact that cohabitating couples tend to have less income and education that those who marry, which may contribute to an eventual split.
Whether parents are married or not, however, a separation is likely to increase the need for court orders regarding custody, visitation, and child support. These options are equally available to children born during marriages and those who are not. While some separations occur amicably, and parents are able to compromise and reach an agreement on these important issues, others are much more complex, and may require extensive litigation.
It is in these situations that an experienced Tampa family law attorney can be most helpful to you. When you are going through the emotional struggle that often accompanies a bitter break-up, the last thing you need is to try and navigate the minefield of child custody and visitation on your own. This is where we can be of assistance to you. Contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+