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Florida Family Lawyer Blog

The posts in this blog focus on Florida family law issues including divorce , child custody/time-sharing, child support, mediation, domestic violence, parenting coordination, parenting rights of same-sex couples, and other family law topics. The posts discuss these topics under Florida law, and also focus on the family law local rules in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

I hope the information here is helpful for you.

Preparing for Your Florida Divorce Mediation (Part II)

Continued from Part I. For issues regarding the children, you can think about the type of time-sharing you want in the case, that you think is best for the children, and works for you and the other parent. For overnight time-sharing, relevant issues include being sure there’s a place in the home, apartment for the child to sleep, and the work schedule for each parent. Safety for the child, and for one or both parents is an issue in some cases. You’ll have to decide on how you want to handle the time-sharing exchanges and transportation, as well as money issues such as paying for extra-curricular activities, and medical, dental, vision expenses that are not covered by insurance, and who is going to get the health insurance for the child. The cost for health insurance is almost always added into and apportioned between the parents as part of the child

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Preparing for Your Florida Divorce Mediation

Mediation is available for you at different stages of the process of your pursuing your Florida divorce or other family law case. For a Broward County Divorce and for most other family law cases in Broward, Dade or Palm Beach county, you will be required to attend mediation before you can go to trial and finish your case, if you have not been able to settle the case on your own with the other side. You can also use mediation as a way to try to resolve you divorce, before filing suit in court – i.e. you and the other party to the case go to mediation and try to settle rather than litigating the case in court. Whatever route to mediation you take, there are some things you can do before the mediation to prepare – to help the mediation be as successful as possible and to help be

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Revisiting Florida Divorce Mediation

I wanted to return in this post to a topic I have discussed before — the benefits of mediation for a divorce or other Florida family law case. It has been about a year since my last post about mediation, and in that time I’ve continued to become more and more convinced that mediation works, as a way of resolving family law cases. As an example, a case of a couple who came in for mediation to attempt to settle the divorce action they wanted to file. Neither spouse had filed for divorce yet. In many respects this was a case in which a positive result in mediation was likely – the spouses were getting along well enough to be able to discuss the issues they needed to settle, and both wanted to settle the case without litigation. There were issues to address however. No agreement was reached after an

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Maternal Rights of Same-Sex Partners – T.M.H. v. D.M.T (Part II)

Continued from Part I. The Court ruled in T.M.H. v. D.M.T, that Florida’s statute prohibiting gay or lesbian prospective parents from adopting a child, does not operate to take away the maternal rights of a biological or birth mother. That seems like a common sense ruling, like the ruling that TMH was clearly not a “donor”, but both were major issues in the case. There was a dissenting Judge in the case who wrote an opinion stating that under Florida law, TMH — the biological mother, had lost her rights as a parent. Another important issue in the case was whether TMH had waived her rights as a parent, by signing a waiver form at the reproductive clinic — the form basically provided that TMH waived any rights she might have as a parent regarding any child resulting from her donation of her ova. The court ruled that this waiver

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Maternal Rights of Same-Sex Partners – T.M.H. v. D.M.T, A Florida Case of “First Impression”

The Fifth District Court of Appeals in Florida – the appeals court covering the north/central part of the State, recently decided T.M.H. v. D.M.T, 79 So. 3d 787 (Fla. 5th D.C.A., December 23, 2011), a case dealing with the parental rights of lesbian partners. In this case the partners decided to have a child together – one partner, TMH’s egg was fertilized and implanted by in-vitro fertilization in DMT. The child was born in 2004; the parties lived together for approximately 2 ½ years and raised their child together, and separated in 2006, but continued co-parenting for another 1 ½ years. The parents’ relationship deteriorated, and DMT moved out of the country and cut off TMH’s contact with the child. The Court described the case as a case of “first impression”, i.e. an issue that had not been decided yet by Florida’s appellate courts, and ruled that both parents –

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Navigating A High Net-Worth, Contested Florida Divorce

A contested, high-net worth divorce in Florida involves an interesting combination of a transaction or case that in many ways resembles any complicated business matter, but in the context of a divorce, where emotions run strong, and where the the legal standard for deciding the property and alimony issues, are basically – what’s “fair” or equitable. The business or property issues in your divorce will be decided in family court, usually in the Judge’s Chambers where family law cases are typically heard, and most likely during the same hearing or trial where children’s issues are decided also. So, the litigation factors of adequately presenting your case to your Judge, and explaining why the positions you are taking on business or money issues are fair or equitable, are important. A second important component of a contested, high-net worth divorce, is doing the ground work to be prepared and take the guess

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Different Ways To Receive Florida Child Support (Part II)

Continued from Part I. Some of the terms used in this post are described in Part I, and it will probably be easier to read Part I first. One of the advantages of having payments go through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) or depository, is that it limits interaction with the other parent which some parties very much want. Also if payments are made through the SDU or local depository, it’s more “official” in the sense that the depository keeps track of what is paid and owed, so there is a government agency tracking that. If the child support is going through the SDU or depository and the payee doesn’t make the payments, the depository will take steps to generate a delinquency judgement against him or her – i.e. a court order that says the payee is delinquent and owes you the amount of the delinquency as “arrears”. Also, when

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Different Ways To Receive Florida Child Support

This post and Part II will focus on some of the nuts and bolts of setting up a child support account with the State once you have your child support order, and some of the different ways or options for receiving the payments. One issue to consider when you get your Broward County Child Support order, or order in another county in Florida, is the method you want to use for receiving the payments. You can receive the payments directly from the other parent, or have the other parent pay the support through the “State Disbursement Unit” (SDU) in Tallahassee or your local Clerk of Court Child Support Depository. Another decision is whether you want an “Income Deduction Order”. First to explain some of the terms: The State Disbursement Unit (“SDU”) is an office/agency in Tallahassee which handles receiving and then disbursing child support payments, and the County Depository is

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Enforcement of a Florida Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence

As a Broward County Domestic Violence attorney, one issue that arises in some cases and that is good for you be informed about ahead of time, is how to enforce a Domestic Violence Injunction. Although an Injunction is more than just a piece of paper because it does carry with it some important enforcement powers, in another respect it is just a piece of paper. If you are confronted by a violent spouse or significant other and no law enforcement or other source of safety is around, the Injunction is not going to provide protection, other than whatever concern the perpetrator may have regarding the consequences of violating the order. There are links here to domestic violence programs which can help with guidance, and also a domestic violence shelter when needed. Law enforcement can arrest and take someone into custody for violating a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. If someone subject

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