November 12, 2019

Rachel K. Samek, P.A

Areas of Practice

Dissolution of Marriage and Divorce Proceedings

When a marriage comes to an end, parties need to address issues of equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, alimony, timesharing, parenting plans, child support, and attorneys’ fees. In Florida, either party may file for divorce as long as one of the parties has been a resident of the State of Florida for at least six months immediately preceding the filing of the divorce action.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony is a monetary award paid from one spouse to the other spouse during the divorce action and/or after the entry of a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Alimony or spousal support is awarded when one spouse establishes a need for financial support and the other spouse has the ability to pay. Currently, Florida law provides for five types of alimony: temporary, permanent periodic, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, lump sum and durational. The amount of alimony and length of time it is paid depends upon the length of the marriage and the financial circumstances of the parties.

Distribution of Assets and Property

When a divorce occurs, parties must distribute their assets and liabilities. Florida law provides for a starting point of equitable distribution, unless there is just cause for distribution to be unequal. Non-marital assets and liabilities are generally excluded from equitable distribution.

Relocation Matters

If a parent desires to relocate with a minor child, that parent must comply with Florida Statutes. Currently, Florida law provides that a parent may not relocate more than 50 miles from his or her location at the time of the last court order establishing residence unless the parent desirous of relocation obtains the court’s consent or the agreement of the other parent. Courts consider numerous statutory factors to determine if relocation is in the best interest of the child.

Paternity Matters

When a child is born outside of a marriage, either parent may file a paternity action to determine the legal and biological father of the child, establish a parenting plan including timesharing and parental responsibility, and determine child support.

Child Custody

In either a divorce or paternity proceeding, a parenting plan must be created to outline timesharing and parental responsibility for a child. A parenting plan can include weekday, weekend and vacation timesharing schedules, how parents communicate with each other and how parents can work together for the benefit of the child. In the event that parents are unable to work together to create a parenting plan, the courts will assist in doing so.

Child Support and Enforcement

When parents are not living together, either due to divorce or when parents are not married, child support must be determined. In Florida, both parents are required to contribute to the financial support of a child. Under Florida law, child Support is calculated based on each parent’s income, health insurance and child care costs for the child, and the number of overnights a child spends with each parent. In the event that a child support order is already in place and child support is not being paid, enforcement of the order becomes necessary.

Modification, Contempt and Enforcement Proceedings

When a party is not abiding by an existing court order, contempt and/or enforcement proceedings are means to obtain compliance. A court has the ability to enforce its prior rulings and impose sanctions and penalties should a party fail to comply.

In other circumstances, a prior order or final judgment may no longer meet your current situation. Under Florida law, a prior order may be modified in the event of a substantial change in circumstances, or in the event that both parties desire for a modification to all or part of a prior agreement.

Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract prepared, negotiated and executed by both parties prior to their marriage. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to define the rights and obligations of each party in the event of divorce or death if the parties desire for the terms to deviate from statutory law. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement except it is completed after the parties are married.

Adoptions

Adoption is an exciting time in a family’s life. Adoption services include identified adoptions, step-parent adoptions and grandparent and family adoptions.