Family Law

Divorce- Contested and Uncontested, Equitable Distribution, Parenting Plans, Time Sharing, Child Support, Paternity, Modifications, Relocation,   Domestic Violence Injuctions and more.

It's not just a family law case, it's your life. We never lose sight of the fact that we represent individuals and families whose lives have been seriously impacted by legal events, which are often not of their own making. While the legal issue may be a contested divorce, a disagreement about child time-sharing, or negotiating alimony and child support — we know that we’re dealing with sensitive issues involving the most important people in your life, your family. We treat every client with respect, dignity, and compassion. We will diligently work to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

If you are struggling with questions such as:

  • How will I financially survive?

  • How will my children cope, and what parenting plan is the best for our family?

  • Who will get the house and how will I split the other assets?

  • How will I be responsible for family debt on one income?

  • How will I deal with the social stigma of a failed marriage?

 

Even in the best possible situation, when you and your spouse agree that divorce is the best solution to the problems you have been facing, the dissolution of your marriage can be very stressful and feelings of loss and fear of the future can accompany your well thought out decision.  It's important that your interests and the interests of your family are protected.  Your divorce doesn't have to be a battle. Your situation may be one that we can resolve amicably while we ensure your rights are protected.

Whether your case can be resolved amicably through a means of alternative dispute resolution, or mediation, or whether it requires aggressive litigation, we’re ready to stand beside you. Family law disputes can become heated, and that’s why you need an attorney who can handle the heat.   We’ll stand up for you and your rights.

 

Family law matters are amongst the most complex and emotionally exhausting legal matters that you can be faced with. You may feel overwhelmed, angry, fearful, shocked, in denial and resentful. In many cases our clients have come to us after being subjected to verbal and emotional abuse and in many cases, physical abuse. They feel they have been brain-washed, alienated, sabotaged, and manipulated by their partner. In situations like these, it is probably impossible to make the calm, rational, and business-like decisions to guarantee the most beneficial outcome for you and your children without the proper legal advice. It is why we strongly advise you to retain the immediate representation of our firm. We know how to achieve your goals and will exhaust every effort in order to do so. 

A divorce typically consists of a variety of matters, all of which require a great deal of attention. They include:

  • Child custody, in Florida it is now known as time sharing

  • Child support

  • Alimony/spousal support

  • Property division/equitable distribution

Our mission is to ensure that you are aware of your rights and legal options every step of the way. We will fully educate you about the laws surrounding your case, keep you up to date and help you successfully navigate through the complexities of the legal system with a sense of confidence.

At the heart of many divorce cases is the question of child time sharing arrangements. Are you in a custody battle that you're afraid you're not going to win? Child custody, now known as time-sharing, is one of the most contested issues in divorce or paternity cases, especially when you have more than one child If you would like to have a knowledgeable, compassionate, and resourceful legal team on your side during this difficult time, you have come to the right place.

You want what is best for your child. Your former spouse may not see things the same way.  What time sharing arrangements do you believe would be best for your child? We will help you sort through the possibilities, including joint time sharing, sole time sharing, physical time sharing and legal time sharing. We will explain the relationship between time sharing and child support and guide you as you determine the right time sharing plan for you.   In many cases, these matters become quite complicated. If your situation is or becomes complicated, we will help you get through contested child time sharing disputes.

In Florida, a “custody agreement” is called a parenting plan. A parenting plan is a binding document that governs the relationship between the parents pertaining to the decisions to be made concerning their child(ren).  Florida child custody laws are designed to favor the best interests of the child in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and require divorcing parents to create a parenting plan that includes:

  • How you and the other parent will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of your child.

  • The time-sharing schedule arrangements that show the time your child will spend with each of you (weekdays, weekends, holidays, etc.)

  • A designation of who will be responsible for health care, school related matters (including which address will be used for

        school-boundary determination and registration), and other activities.

  • The methods and technologies (eg. phone calls, texts, emails, etc.) that each of you will use to communicate with your child, and the frequency of such communication.

 

Relocation with a Child

Parental relocation in Florida can be a very contentious and complex issue. Therefore, you need a family lawyer who can present your case to the court in the most effective way possible. We  represent parents who wish to relocate with the child beyond 50 miles and parents who oppose the relocation.One thing you need to understand is that generally, under Florida law, you can't move the child's principal residence address more than 50 miles away without the other parent's consent or the court's authorization.

About Relocation in Florida

If the other parent consents to the relocation, an oral agreement will not suffice. The agreement must be in writing and must reflect the other parent's consent to the relocation, define his/her access or time-sharing schedule, and describe the transportation arrangements related to the time-sharing.

If the other parent objects to the relocation, then legal documents must be filed and served upon the other parent. A hearing will be held and  the court will determine whether the proposed relocation is in the best interest of the child. In reaching its decision regarding a proposed temporary or permanent relocation, the court will evaluate all of the following:

  • The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child's relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate

with the child and with the non-relocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child's life.

  • The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child's physical,

        educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child. 

  • The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent or other person and the child through substitute

  • arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent or other person;and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court.

  • If the child is old enough, the child's preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.

  • Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking the relocation and the child, including,

        but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.

  • The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation.

  • The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child.

  • That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations.

  • The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs.

  • A history of substance abuse or domestic violence by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation.

  • Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.

Please call us at (321) 690-2363 to schedule a free 30 minute case evaluation.

​Obtaining a Fair Child Support Order

Every child deserves to be cared and provided for by both parents. Regardless of your income, you may be entitled to child support payments from the other parent. We are here to explain your rights and responsibilities, to help you explore your child support options,and to help you obtain a fair child support order. Whether you're concerned about your right to receive child support or your obligation to pay child support, we can help.

 

How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?

Child support is calculated pursuant to the Florida child support guidelines. These guidelines take into consideration the

following factors:

  • The income/earning capacity of each parent

  • The existing or proposed custody agreement

  • The number of minor children involved

  • The cost of daycare and insurance each parent pays for the children

We will work closely with you to resolve your child support issues. We can help you obtain a fair child support order, modify your child support order, or enforce your child support order. We will make sure that the numbers entered in the calulations are correct and that all of the facts are brought to light and considered to ensure fair child support payments.

 

Contact us today at (321) 690-2363 to learn more about how we can assist you.

 

ALIMONY

A divorce can wreak havoc on your life in a number of ways, whether or not you were the one who initiated the divorce process. Even if you and your spouse agreed that it was better off for you to split up, a divorce can affect your finances, your children's lives, and more. In some circumstances, if you were dependent on your spouse during the marriage, you may suffer financially unless you're awarded alimony (also known as spousal support).

It is highly advisable that you have a lawyer represent you and protect your rights and best interest throughout the divorce proceedings. We work to help you ensure that you receive, or pay, a fair amount of alimony.

 

How is Alimony Decided in Florida?

If you believe that you should be paid spousal support from your spouse after the divorce, you will need to show the court that you are in need of these payments and that your spouse is able to make them. If your case goes to trial, the judge will decide the fate of your alimony claim. However, you can rely on our firm to do whatever is necessary to gather evidence and present a a very strong case on your behalf.

There are several factors a judge may consider when making a decision about alimony, such as:

  • The duration of your marriage

  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage

  • The income and earning capacity of each spouse

  • The lifestyle each spouse is used to

  • Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties

 

Types of Alimony in Florida

  • Temporary Alimony: This type of alimony may be awarded after filing the petition for dissolution of marriage and before inalization of the final judgment.

  • Bridge-The-Gap Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded to help a struggling spouse make a transition from being married to being single and to assist said spouse with short-term needs. An award of Bridge-The-Gap Alimony may not exceed 2 years  and will terminate upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.

  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony may be awarded to a lesser-earning spouse for a period of time necessary to  redevelop previous skills or credentials, and to acquire education, training, or work experience necessary for today’s job market.   An order awarding Rehabilitative Alimony must include a defined rehabilitative plan.

  • Permanent Alimony: This type of alimony may be awarded to the lesser-earning spouse until the death of the payor, or the death or remarriage of the recipient. It may be awarded when the couple has been married for at least 17 years and there is a substantial difference in incomes.

  • Durational Alimony: This type of alimony may be awarded following a marriage of short or moderate duration. It is similar to ehabilitative Alimony except that an award of Durational Alimony does not require a “rehabilitative plan.”

  • Lump Sum Alimony: This type of alimony may be awarded when recurring monthly payments are impractical. An award of  Lump Sum Alimony can be in the form of property or money judgment.

 

Contact us today (321) 690-2363 to find out more about how we can help.

 

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

When you find yourself in the middle of a divorce, there are likely a number of different concerns on your mind.

Financial issues and matters relating to your property can be very stressful, especially if you are unwilling to let go of certain assets.

 

HOW ARE ASSETS AND LIABILITIES DIVIDED IN A DIVORCE IN FLORIDA

The division of your property is an important and complex part of your divorce proceedings. There are many factors which are taken into account, such as the length of your marriage, the contribution each spouse had to the marriage, and how much debt or assets are involved.In Florida, the court divides the parties' marital assets and liabilities based on what the court sees as fair, a concept known as "equitable distribution". Our firm is prepared to handle all of the complexities involved with the equitable distribution in your divorce.

 

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property in Florida

  • Marital property: Anything which was acquired by you or your spouse during the marriage, including physical property, financial assets, and debts.

  • Separate property: Anything which was owned by you or your spouse before the marriage, or anything, which was acquired by you or your spouse during the marriage as a gift or inheritance.

 

MODIFICATIONS

If your life circumstances (major health issues, loss of a job, increase or decrease in income, etc.) significantly change, the Florida courts will generally modify your alimony, child custody, or child support order to reflect your new situation as long as the change is substantial, permanent, and involuntary.

Transition is never easy, but if handled appropriately, it leads to a new life with freedom and fresh opportunities. This is one of the leading reasons why you need a dedicated family lawyer to guide you through the daunting legal process.

Gavel and paperwork Florida

       Arna D. Cortazzo

Protecting Floridians' Rights for over 30 years.