Family – Criminal
Every day, Madelyn M. Pittman helps people just like you with a variety of family law problems, including:
In Florida, the state’s Supreme Court has eliminated terms such as “custody” and “visitation.” “Time share” is the new term designated for the time each parent is entitled to spend with their child(ren).
The best interests of your child(ren) is the State’s primary consideration.
In Florida, a child has the right to time with both parents. However, the courts can condition this time-sharing with supervision depending on circumstances that may or may not include drugs, alcohol, instability, and/or mental disorders.
If your former spouse is keeping you from your child(ren) despite a court order, they may be in contempt of that document.
In Florida, the amount of child support is based upon the amount of overnights the child(ren) spends with each parent, and each parent’s income and childcare expenses. A formula makes it easy to compute once accurate income is established for both parties.
However, when individuals are self-employed and have a fluctuating income annually, disputes arising from possible hidden income or exaggerated expenses may arise. This can be complicate, especially to fight alone.
Paternity can be an especially sensitive legal problem.
If you are the mother, the paternity of the father must be established before you can prove the support that your child is entitled to.
If you are the father, paternity must be established in order to later establish a parenting plan that would designate you the time-share needed to maintain a relationship with your child.
Before a divorce can take place in Florida, a few things must be proven: that the marriage exists; that one party has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A marriage may also be dissolved for reason of one marital party’s mental incapacity.
In Florida, fault is not considered in whether to grant dissolution.
A divorce can either be contested or uncontested. If your divorce is contested, the case can become complicated due to the other legal issues that may arise including custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
Uncontested divorces can be a less stressful form of divorce for both parties and the child(ren) involved if the parties are able to work together to come to a marriage settlement agreement. Either party can hire an attorney to draft the agreement to present to the other spouse. The signed agreement is then presented to the Judge who may dissolve the marriage if the terms are fair and sufficiently agreed to by both spouses.
In determining whether to award spousal support or “alimony,” the court must first make a specific determination as to whether one party has an actual need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony.
In Florida, different types of alimony exist for a divorced spouse depending on the length of the marriage; the standard of living during the marriage; each parties’ contributions to the marriage; financial sources of income for each party; each party’s age and physical and mental condition; and the responsibility each party will have with regard to the children in the future. The court may consider other factors if equitable as well.
Depending on these factors, you may be entitled to spousal support temporarily, permanently, durationally, to rehabilitate, or to “bridge the gap.”
Domestic violence is a growing problem in this country responsible for the serious injury and death of thousands every day. Our office takes every threat of domestic violence seriously and will diligently fight for the safety of you and your family. If you are facing an immediate threat of domestic violence, call your local police department right away.
While domestic violence is a serious problem, abuse of the legal system is also ever present. Every day, attorneys see unsubstantiated allegations and spitefully drafted petitions in an effort to assert revenge on estranged spouses or to disrupt family court proceedings and current custody arrangements.
Domestic violence temporary and permanent injunction orders can have serious consequences including loss of gun rights and/or your time-share with your child(ren). Once an injunction is entered, it is often hard to get vacated and/or set aside.
In addition, many domestic violence injunctions are based on incidents or acts that are not sufficient to amount to domestic violence under the statute, or the allegations are made against someone who is not someone of a “domestic” relation to the Petitioner. In those cases, we seek dismissal.
Division of Assets
In Florida, each party is entitled to equitable distribution of all marital assets and debts.
Homes and other assets purchased prior to the marriage are not considered marital, unless made marital by: interspousal gifting; intermingling; maintaining the items using marital funds; or if the benefits accrued during the marriage.
The Court may deviate from equitable distribution when circumstances arise that would make equitable distribution unfair for a party who contributed substantially more to the marriage. Deviation from equitable distribution may also be appropriate when one spouse spitefully tries to deplete assets.