Adoptions are complicated. However, here are the answers to some common basic questions that clients frequently ask.
1. Every Family Law Courtroom is different. It is important to know how things work in your particular Courtroom. For example, some counties tend to be more formal than others. Also, each county has its own local rules.
Will I owe alimony? This is a question on the mind of many people who are considering making the decision to move forward with a divorce. Today, I had a call from a man who has been married for 20 years in a very unhappy marriage. Can he afford a divorce? That was his question. My answer was, the decision to get divorced or not, is not really a financial question.
Our firm handles many step-parent adoptions each year. There are a surprising number of circumstances which make a Step-Parent Adoption the right decision for your family. Most of the time a step parent adoption occurs between the Step-Father of the child and the child, but not always, we do handle step-mother adoptions too. When a step-parent has played a significant role in a child's life and the other parent has had limited or no involvement then a step-parent adoption may be the right choice for you. Depending upon the legal relationship the other parent has with the child, they may need to be significantly involved in the process or not involved at all. Having the other parent's consent is helpful and will certainly make for an easier, quicker and cheaper process. One reason a parent my chose to consent to the Adoption is child support, if their involvement with the child is limited already allowing a step-parent to adopt the child will terminate their child support obligation. There are other reasons as well, mostly centered around the well-being of the child. While consent makes things easier, it is not required in many circumstances. If the other parent has been largely absent from the child's life then it is possible to terminate their rights and have a step parent adopt through a Court Order without the parent's consent. Consulting with an experienced attorney is critical in evaluating your adoption options. We are happy chat for free on a free phone consultation.
Whether you are looking to change your own name or your child's name, unless you are getting married or divorced, you are going to need to file Petition for a Name Change in Florida. While the forms are not overly difficult to find or to fill out, there are several of them and it is imperative that they be completed correctly. The complete process of changing your name from drafting the forms, to filing them, to background checks, setting hearings and drafting Final Judgement and getting certified copies can be more complicated than it appears. We are frequently hired by those who attempted a DIY name change to step in an assist in completing the process.
Pet Law is evolving in Florida but for now, pets are considered property in Florida. Because of this they are treated like any other property. Which means, if you are married, they will be allocated to one of you in the divorce just like the couch, or TV. If you are not married and you are living together and split you are going to have a whole lot of problems when you split because there is no real standard for splitting ANY assets, particularly pets. In the end we have no current pet law in place that allows for "shared custody", "visitation" or "pet support". There is no equivilant of child support for pets. But these are all things that you can contract with your partner for. You can enter into an agreement that determines a schedule for joint ownership, or that determines one owner to be the sole owner and also make provisions for payments of bills and costs if you are going to "share custody". It becomes an enforceable contract, like any other that you can pursue in Court if not followed. These are thing that Judges lack the ability to do in divorce court or civil court (in the event you are not married). Even if the dog is registered, or was purchased with papers, if you are married, and you purchased the pet during the marriage the pet is likely considered a marital asset and will be treated as joint property whether you are the "true" owner or not. Also, many people who treat their pets as family set up pet trust to provide for their pets needs after their death. This is critical as we see so many instances where pets end up in shelters after an owners death because relatives are unable to care for them. Solaris law group can help with Pet Law issue, including pet pre-nups and pet trusts. Call us for a free consult.
There are several areas of law that have overlapping issues and various types of attorneys. As an example, if you and your significant other were to get into a physical altercation in front of your child, you would trigger several areas of law. It is very important to understand what kind of attorney you need so that you can find the right attorney for you.
At this point in time there are no set specific rules for an award of alimony in Florida. Frequently, I get calls from client and hear things like - there is no alimony if we have only been married for 3 years. Or, we have been married 9 years, if we don't get divorced now I will have to pay alimony. Neither of these statements is true. Of all of the areas of family law or divorce law, alimony is the most fact specific and the area that MOST requires a knowledgeable attorney to assess your case. To begin with, there are multiple types of alimony in Florida and each one is for a different purpose and would be applicable under different circumstances. The basic question in all alimony cases is does one party have an ability to pay alimony and does the other party have a need for alimony. Alimony, in general, is intended to help put people on somewhat equal footing. VERY generally speaking, alimony awards can be from 0% of the payor's income to 50% or more of their income depending on the facts. Many types of alimony are modifiable after they are entered in a divorce upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstance, some types of alimony are not modifiable. Alimony is typically taxable as income to the recipient and tax deductible for the payor. In brief, the types of alimony are:
In the midst of a divorce there are many words you have not heard before, have heard and not given much thought to or believe you know their definition but in reality do not. Here is a list of our top 10 vocabulary words for Florida Divorces.
Sometimes parents in Dependency Court get served with a Petition for Termination of Parental Rights. In Florida, there are 12 statutory grounds upon which the Court might terminate parental rights if proven by clear and convincing evidence. See Fla. Stat., s. 39.806.