Choosing a law firm to handle your divorce can be overwhelming. Whether your looking online, thumbing through the yellow pages, or jotting down a number from an advertisement for family law divorce attorneys. The bottom line is you need competent counsel who can get you through this difficult time of need. We hope that we can serve and assist you as your family law and divorce attorneys. Call our office today so that we can meet and discuss your case.

What is Family Law?

So what is Family Law? Since divorce a part of family law, why isn’t it called Divorce Law? Family law is comprised of many different aspects of law. Divorce really speaks to the separation and legal dissolution of the married couple and is really just one part of family law.

Family Law and Divorce Attorneys Tampa

Legal issues in family law include, dissolution/divorce, child custody, annulment, child visitation, parenting plans, alimony and spousal support, as well as child support. Additionally, family law addresses specific issues that involve children such as guardianship, adoption, and child protection services. Finally, adult issues including restraining orders as well as domestic violence are also included in family law.

In Florida, family law is made up of a frame work of statutes and case law precedents. Similar to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, family law has its own Family Rules of Civil Procedure and both bodies of rules are used in conjunction and govern family law cases. Family law cases typically include participants connected by marriage or blood, while on the other hand family law can have an effect on casual as well as more distant relationships. Because of the wide array of psychological and emotional feelings that encompass a large part of cases in family law, parties should retain legal counsel to help them get closer and quicker to the finish line.

In the majority of family law cases, it is the end or dissolution of the marriage that brings couples to these proceedings. Divorce and family law attorneys assist their clients in matters such as filing a divorce, alimony and spousal support, division of property, and child custody/child support. Couples who were married only briefly can pursue an annulment, while same sex couples might be entitled to certain special rights.

Dissolution of marriage proceedings or divorce proceedings are either contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses typically are in agreement and generally work out the differences relatively painlessly and therefore conclude the divorce quickly and with less cost, especially when represented by an attorney who can best advise them of their rights. In contested divorce proceedings, there is usually more disagreements and contention between the parties where a lawyer is almost always necessary. In a contested divorce it is highly advised to retain a competent attorney to assist you in the many complex issues that arise during a divorce. A skilled lawyer will be able to better advise you about property division, discover and in many cases recover income and assets purposefully hidden by the other spouse, help with spousal and child support, visitation, as well as represent you competently at trial if no settlement is reached.

Differences Between Divorce and Annulments

Divorce and annulment proceedings are two types of court actions that legally dissolve a marriage. Nonetheless, in contracts to a divorce, an annulment regards the marriage as if it never occurred. In Florida both actions are filed in circuit court, and the majority of the dissolution of marriage proceedings are divorce.

Determination of Child Custody and Visitation

In almost every jurisdiction the “best interest of the child” standard is used by courts in resolving child custody and visitation issues. This standard gives judges a lot of discretionary power. Here are just some of the factors that courts use in their consideration: minor child’s age, physical, health, sex, mental health, parents physical and mental health, emotional connection between child and parent, ability of parent to provide for the child’s welfare, as well as the stability of the parent’s daily routine, lifestyle and social components.

Child Support

Child Support is a sum of money that is calculated by a statutory formula that a parent is obligated to pay to the party that holds primary child custody. Typically, the parent that pay child support has a higher income than the other parent and has less time sharing with the child. Child support is considered the child’s money and solely intended for the child’s benefit to pay for things such as clothes, food, medical care, educational needs, and shelter.

Alimony/Spousal Support

In Florida, there are several types of alimony/spousal support that may be awarded. Spousal support or alimony is based on a party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay. There are many factors that a court uses to determine whether a party is entitled to receive alimony such as length of a marriage, education, health of the party, etc. Alimony may be available to a party even during the pendency of a divorce. The primary purpose of alimony is to help the spouse in need to attain financial independence and be able to successfully transition from marriage to being single.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a new and progressive type of dissolution procedure in family law. First introduced by a New Jersey divorce lawyer as a new type of ADR (alternative dispute resolution), collaborative law has grown in popularity in many states. The concept of this type of divorce is to avoid the typical adversarial divorce and have both parties working together with their respective counsel in a cooperative manner where the goal is to avoid litigation. At the onset of a collaborative divorce the parties, each of their respective lawyers, and anyone closely involved in the proceeding pledge to complete an agreed upon outcome where no litigation is to occur during negotiations.

The parties with each of their attorneys sign a contract called a Participation Agreement. This agreement states that the attorneys will withdraw from representation if a settlement agreement is not reached including the subsequent litigation. Another distinction of the collaborative divorce from a traditional dissolution proceeding is that the attorney retainers are restricted to settlement negotiations.

How Can Family Law / Divorce Attorneys Help Me?

Dealing with a family law issue in court is frequently unclear, especially when trying to tackle the issues by yourself without a competent lawyer. A skilled family law attorney at the least will be able to help you understand your rights and make a plan on how to help protect your interests.

Additionally, a lawyer will guide you through the complex legal process in at your side and assist you in any foreseeable and unforeseeable issues that may arise along the way. As stated earlier, both the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and Family Rules of Civil Procedure are used during the pendency of the family law or dissolution action. Complex discovery issues may arise where certain assets may have been hidden by a spouse so as not to be a part of the property distribution. There may be complications when dealing with retirement funds and where estate planning is concerned. Which spouse will get the marital home? What if there are other properties such as vacation homes in other states. What if the home is carrying a significant mortgage? How will the personal debt be divided for repayment purposes? What if one party is planning on going bankrupt during the divorce? Any one of these situations as well as others can happen and often do during the divorce.

Finally, there are almost always issues with alimony, child support, and child custody. Some types of alimony require a written plan by the receiving spouse and must clearly show how the alimony will enable the spouse to become self-sufficient. This usually involves continuing education or schooling and must carefully be planned out so as to meet all deadlines and expectations of the court.