Saturday, December 20, 2008

Divorced and Still Together

One of the common things that I am seeing in my practice as a result of the economy and poor housing market is people stuck with homes that they cannot sell. Some people choose to let the home foreclose, others choose to remain in the home together, even after a divorce. Some people are able to amicably live with one another after divorce with few issues and problems, others find themselves fighting over everything from who is going to get the master bedroom to whether they can bring dates home with them. Its hard to move on emotionally if you are still living with your ex, but it can be a solution to financial woes, so long as it doesn't result in long term emotional trauma.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Divorce and Christmas

As Christmas approaches, I'm sure there are many families out there who are dealing with their first Christmas without the traditional family Christmas. There are usually arguments and fights as to where the children are going to go and how the holiday will be split. I usually encourage my clients to put their children first and think about what they may want. I don't like to give children false illusions that their parents will be getting back together, but sometimes deciding to try to do the holiday together can be good for your children to show them that even though mom and dad are getting a divorce, they are still able to be together for the sake of their children. If that is simply not an option, remember that its important to start new traditions with your children so they can help assimilate to how life and holidays are going to look when your divorce is final. If anyone has any suggestions on how to help children with their first "divorce" Christmas, I encourage you to post those suggestions here for all other readers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How To Find A New Girlfriend After A Divorce

Have you recently been divorced and looking to find a date? If so, you may be able to convince your mom to place an ad in the paper for you to find a new person to date. It appears a Tampa mother has done just that. I find it hard to believe that a grown man would be okay with his mother placing an advertisement for him to find him a girlfriend, but I guess, "to each his own".

To read about the mom looking for a good mate for his son, see:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

20/20/20 Rule In Military Divorce

I have had the pleasure of having quite a few military clients over the past few years, some serving here in the United States, others serving over in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other military bases around the world. I've also represented spouses of military men and women who have many questions about what military benefits they may or may not enjoy when their divorce is finalized. Almost always, a military spouse will be entitled to a portion of military retirement, and how much a spouse is entitled to is based on a calculation which takes into account the years of military service, the years of the marriage, and how many years of service overlap your marriage.

Another major concern for military spouses is whether or not they are going to be entitled to health insurance after their divorce is finalized, and the answer to that is also based upon a calculation called the 20/20/20 Rule. If you have been married for 20 years, your spouse has been in the military for at least 20 years, and you have 20 years of marriage overlapping your 20 years of marriage, then you are entitled to the same benefits as your soon to be ex-spouse meaning health care and full commissary benefits. Another rule is the 20/20/15 rule which means if you have been married for 20 years, your spouse has been in the military for 20 years and at least 15 years of your marriage has overlapped his/her military service, you are entitled to health care benefits for a year after your divorce is finalized. There are other rules and benefits to be aware of if you are getting a divorce and your spouse is in the military and I encourage everyone who is getting a divorce to do your research and find out what you are entitled to before you sign any divorce paperwork or go into a courtroom. To learn more about the rights and benefits of former spouses of servicemen and servicewomen, see:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Novel About Divorce in 1864

Divorce always makes for good stories, but they made even better stories in the mid 19th century, mostly because divorce was a rarity and when there was a divorce that had sordid details or from a prominent family, it most certainly made news. The public has always been fascinated with divorce, especially divorces that are mired down in scandal or divorces of public figures. A new novel by Emma Donoghue called "The Sealed Letter" recounts the facts and people surrounding a sensational divorce in 1864. I always think that its a good idea to escape your own life and into another person's life especially when you are going through rough times, so I recommend this book so you can see that divorce facts haven't changed all that much, but we have become desensitized about divorce in general.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stricter Punishment for Bigamy

A con man pleaded no-contest to bigamy in Tampa a few weeks ago and was sentenced to 27 months in a prison and this sentence is in conjunction with federal bank fraud charges which he also plead guilty to. Basically, this man will spend just over two years in a minimum security/white collar prison for defrauding a few woman for years and claiming to be something that he was not. Is this a harsh enough sentence? I would like to think not and believe that there should be some harsher sentences for people who literally commit fraud. What are your thoughts, please share them here.

The article that this blog is based upon can be found at:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Should It Matter That Adoptive Parents Are Gay?

The following article addresses a recent Florida case where a gay couple were taking care of two children as a result of them coming into their care through the Department of Children and Families and their desire to formerly adopt the children after they had been in their care for a long period of time. I raise the question here, should it matter that the couple wishing to adopt these children are gay, and do you buy the arguments that were made to stop the adoption from happening?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Engagement Ring

Every few months a story pops up about a couple of decides not to get married and a demand made by the man requesting return of the engagement ring. Most states consider an engagement ring a conditional gift, meaning that if the marriage didn't happen, then the woman has to return the ring. In theory I agree with this legal argument, but I question whether fault should some how play into the return of the ring. For example, if the man is the cause of the demise of the relationship, does that still mean he should be entitled to the return of the ring? Is there no consolation prize for not marrying the wrong guy? I'm curious to know other people's thoughts on this subject. Should fault come into play when a legal determination is being made about who is entitled to the engagement ring?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disillusioned Teenagers

I always say that teenagers at their best are still difficult, but what are you to do with a teenager that is out of control or acting out because of turmoil in their life, including a reaction to their parent's divorce? What are the signs that your teenager is not acting out in a normal manner, but is a danger to him/herself or others? The following article addresses how to deal with difficult teenagers and how to notice the warning signs that your child may not be going through typical teenage angst.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Teenagers and Time Sharing Question

When Judges impose time sharing for children who are young, these types of rulings are very easily enforced and its likely that the children aren't really given a choice as to whether or not they should visit with one of their parents. With teenagers, this is a much more grey area. Teenagers have busy schedules, often times have anger issues towards one parent, and/or are easily manipulated into feeling a certain way towards one parent. What do you do if your teenager refuses to spend time with you doing your designated days? As a parent, how can you encourage your teenager to spend time with a parent when they say they have no interest in doing so? I have the following suggestions:

1. Be flexible. If your teenager primarily resides with you, you have the benefit of spending time with this child during the week. Encourage your child not to make plans that will affect their ability to spend time with the parent who only sees their children during the weekend. If plans are made during their visitation with the other parent, be open to switching weekends so that the other parent doesn't go weeks without any quality time with their child.

2. Don't speak negatively about the other parent or project your own angry feelings towards that parent onto your children. Often times a teenager will feel protective towards one parent and may decide that they don't want to spend time with their other parent in order to protect the parent they feel is being wronged. Remember that your child deserves to have a loving relationship with both parents and its your job, no matter how hard, to insure that this happens.

3. Always keep the other parent informed about extracurricular activities so that the non-custodial parent can be actively involved in your child's life and be afforded the opportunity to see the child even when its not their designated time sharing days.

4. Encourage family therapy if there are issues and problems that preclude the child from wanting to spend time with either their mother or father. Family therapy can be tremendously helpful to a child who feels they don't have the ability to communicate with their non-custodial parent.

5. Don't allow your child to make too many decisions about visitations. Remember that you are the parent and that there are many things that you "make" your children do that they don't want to do, like homework, cleaning their room, etc. One of the things that you should make your child do is spend time with their mother or father.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Same Sex Marriage Black List

While driving home from the office today, I was listening to the CBS evening news and heard a piece about how the ban on gay marriage in California that recently passed is affecting local businesses. It seems that if you contributed to the campaign to ban gay marriage, this fact is part of the public record, so proponents of gay marriage have created a black list encouraging people to black list those businesses that contributed to the campaign to ban gay marriage. Is this right? Should your political and social views be part of the public record and should people be able to publish those views and encourage people to hurt these people's businesses? I would love to hear people's thoughts on this subject. Please post your opinion here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stand By Housing

Every now and then I come across a website that I feel is so helpful to the community that I need to pass it on. During a divorce, many couples do not want to live in the same home, but also don't want to lock into long term leases if they don't really know where they are going to be financially and emotionally in a few months. A website by the name of is a website devoted to providing information to people in divorce or people new to an area, information about short term housing. It also provides you the ability to list your property for rent in the event neither party wishes to live in the marital residence, but given the market conditions, you can't sell. Right now there doesn't appear to be a huge amount of listings, but they are growing every day and hopefully this website can help those people going through a divorce with their housing needs and provide them with one less stressful decision to worry about.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Financial Issues in Divorce

Properly planning your financial future when you are deciding to divorce and during the divorce process may be the most important key to financial security when your marriage is dissolved. Many people make emotional decisions in a divorce which effect their finances. This is not smart. Do not let emotions rule you when you are trying to determine your financial future. The following article gives some helpful advice on how to deal with your finances in a divorce:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Are Personal Injury Awards Considered Marital Asset?

Many people want to know whether contingent personal injury claims are considered marital property, subject to equitable distribution in Florida. The following article explains the "yes, but" answer to this question.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Should You Apologize?

There are many reasons for divorce, and sometimes the blame for the divorce falls more on one party than the other. I've said in other blogs that there are two "divorces" when a party legally terminates their marriage, the legal divorce and the emotional divorce. The legal divorce is sometimes the easier part. I've always thought that in order to get through the emotional divorce you have to accept accountability for your actions, and apologize when you have been the person who has committed some wrong doing. It is the only way that you and your ex-spouse can move on. I know that this is easier said than done, but accepting accountability and apologizing can help you let go of your own anger and help you heal. I hope that the Normans can do that, because it appears there are still some bitter feelings.

To read the latest about Greg Norman, his affair with Chris Evert and his divorce, see:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cohabitation and Alimony Payments

When one party is awarded permanent alimony, generally speaking those alimony payments will continue until death of either party or remarriage. Some people put language in their marital settlement agreements that states that alimony will conclude when the recipient of the alimony cohabits with a member of the opposite sex. The question then becomes what is the definition of "cohabitation". In Florida, I believe that most of the courts have stated that cohabitation would have to include a sharing of finances. The New York courts are dealing with this issue, and I'm sure its just a matter of time before all courts in all states set forth a clear definition of "cohabitation" so that people are not litigating this issue in the future.

To read about New York's take on this issue, see:,0,5977746.story

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Refinancing Mortgages in Divorce

In a divorce, its usually the case that the parties' major asset, or in many circumstances right now, their biggest liability is their home. If one party is keeping the home, the other party may request that the party keeping the home refinance the property and get the mortgage in their own name. More often than not, this is easier said than done. Its a misnomer to state that you want them to refinance, because what you are actually requiring them to do is qualify for a new loan, and with the market the way it is today, this is harder to do and the new loan terms may not be as favorable as the existing mortgage terms. I'm a fan of putting into marital settlement agreements the requirement to refinance a mortgage to get the other party's name off the debt, but unfortunately this is sometimes an impossibility. Therefore, you have to plan for this contingency and realize that your only remedy may be to force a sale, which could take months or even years. When it comes to divorce settlements, you have to make sure what you are asking someone to do is actually possible. If its not possible, you should look for other options to resolve that particular issue.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Divorce & ADHD

Whenever a couple has a special needs child, it can put a strain on a marriage, sometimes such a strain that the couple ends up in divorce. A new study links couples who have an ADHD child to divorce. The following article explains the link and the possible causes of marital stress when a couple has an ADHD child:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Virtual Divorce

I've heard about marriages breaking up over one spouse's addiction to certain online games, but when I ran across the following article, it was the first time that I heard of anyone getting divorced IN a video game. The game that I am talking about is a game called Maple Story where players create and manipulate avatars that represent themselves in relationships, social activities and fighting monsters and other obstacles. A woman became enraged when she was divorced in this game. What she did in retaliation may cause her to have to pay over $5,000.00 in fines. Yes, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

This blog is based on the following story:,25197,24544795-12377,00.html

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Forced to be a Father?

I have been reading a lot about father's rights, in the context of custody and adoption. While searching on the web for articles about father's rights, I came across what is going to be on the Dr. Phil show tonight which is "forced to be a father". The premise of the show is whether or not a father can sign away his paternity rights and therefore escape any responsibility to a child born out of wedlock. Some people believe that engaging in sex puts you on notice that you could be fathering a child and therefore you have knowledge that you could potentially be responsible for that child. Men who don't want that child often feel like victims because they are being forced to be responsible for a child that they didn't want. Perhaps its the child that is the victim in this circumstance. Attached to all of this is the notion that men don't have any rights in the abortion debate. Generally speaking if a woman becomes pregnant and does not want that child, there is absolutely nothing that the father can do to legally stop the woman from having the abortion. The woman actually is under no obligation to even tell the father that she is pregnant. Is this fair? Some people would argue that it is, some people would argue that it isn't. Either way it adds one more element to the paternity and abortion debate. I'm interested in anyone's thoughts on this subject and/or comments on the Dr. Phil show on this issue.

Dr. Phil Show:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Better After Divorce?

One of the polls on my blog spot is a question about whether you believe that your life is better after divorce. I think that most people's lives are better after divorce, but they are saddened by the affect their divorce has on their children and finances. The following article is about one person's personal journey and what their decision to divorce did for their life. Please feel free to post your own personal stories about life after divorce here on this blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Divorce and Adoption

Everyone who is tuned into entertainment tabloids right now is aware that Madonna and her husband, Guy Richie are in divorce court. Many of you may remember that about two years ago, the couple adopted a little boy from Malawi. What does Madonna's divorce have in common with other less high profile divorces? Well, one thing comes to mind is what happens when a divorce happens shortly after an adoption of a child? Should the divorce help annul the adoption? From a legal perspective, I believe that once an adoption is final, there is nothing that can overturn the adoption absent fraud, however, there begs the question, if you are aware that your marriage is unstable at the time that you are adopting a child, and you divorce shortly after the adoption is finalized, is this something that should help determine whether the adoption should be overturned? Its an interesting question, and one that I'm sure many people have dealt with. My suggestion is that if your marriage is unstable, you should not bring a child, adopted or biological, into the marriage. It is unfair to the child and certainly unfair to the consenting biological mother or father who thought their child was being adopted by a stable, happy couple.

To read about the issues surrounding Madonna's adopted child and her divorce, see:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Helping Teenagers with Divorce

Teenagers, especially teenage girls, definitely have a tough time with their parents' divorce. They often act out and may have a difficult time understanding what went wrong and some teenagers will place blame on one parent which can cause a breakdown in their relationship with that parent. How you deal with your teenager during your divorce can very well set the tone for the relationship that you will have with your child when they become an adult. The following "Dear Amy" question and answer addresses this very issue:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Healing After Divorce

Many people who continue to live in the marital home after a divorce are concerned about whether or not they can cope emotionally with living in the same home that was the "scene of the crime". Redecorating can be one way that you can turn your home back into a positive place that you love coming home to, but often times redecorating becomes a question of money. The following article gives some helpful suggestions on how to redecorate on a budget after a divorce.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Service Heads Up

Contested divorce litigation can be one of the most animosity filled procedures that a person can go through in their life, and sometimes how you start off your divorce case can help dictate the tone of your divorce case. Here are some does and don'ts to follow when you are about to service your spouse with divorce paperwork to insure your divorce case is set with the most positive tone possible.

1. Do give your a spouse the heads up that you are filing for divorce and that they will be served with papers.

2. Don't serve your spouse at work, unless absolutely necessary to effectuate service.

3. Do give your spouse a general idea of what is in the paperwork.

4. Don't serve your spouse in front of your children.

5. Don't serve your spouse at a counseling session (I've actually seen this happen).

6. Do expect your spouse to have a negative reaction to being served with divorce papers.

7. Do leave your home if you are fearful that your spouse will have a hostile reaction to being served with papers.

If you follow these simple rules, you can insure that your spouse will be prepared when they are served with divorce papers and may insure that they appreciated that you respected them enough to give them the heads up that it was happening and that you used your best efforts to insure that the service is effectuated in a private fashion.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gay Rights to Adoption in Florida

The Florida Adoption Statute precludes people from adopting if they are gay. This statute has been on the Florida books for 31 years and has not been overturned. There is currently a case in Miami, Florida where a gay man is attempting to adopt two boys who are in his custody as the boys' foster parent. One month ago, a Key West Judge declared the statute which disallows a gay man or woman from adopting unconstitutional. This case is unlikely to carry any weight because it has not been appealed to a higher court. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and whether there will be any cases before the Florida Supreme Court that will assist this man in his plight to adopt or whether his case will be the one that gets there. Many states allow people who are gay to adopt and there are now a handful of states that allow gay marriage or civil unions. It is just a matter of time before this issue gets before the Supreme Court and we have a ruling on it one way or another.

To read the story upon which this blog is based, see:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Protecting Father's Rights

Every now and then I have a man come into my office who is aware that there is a woman who may be pregnant with his child and he wants to know how to protect his parental rights. In order for an un-wed father to protect his parental rights, he needs to do the following:

1. Register with the Florida Putative Father Registry ; (
2. Assist the mother as much as he can emotionally and financially during her pregnancy; and
3. When the child is born attempt to enter into a Shared Parenting Agreement so that he can insure contact and each parties obligations to the child financially. If that fails, he should file a Paternity Action.

In the State of Florida, if you do not register with the Putative Father Registry, your child can be put up for adoption without your consent, therefore it is essential that you register with this entity in order to protect your rights. However, even if you properly register, you still need to make efforts to assist the mother, so it is important that you do what you can to stay involved. Unwed fathers are at a disadvantage in the State of Florida so it is important to know how to protect your interests. The good thing about the Putative Father registry is that you can register with it prior to the birth of the child, and it is cheap to do it. Knowing how to protect your rights is the best way to insure that your child is not adopted without your consent or knowledge and that if the mother is attempting to block you from having contact with the child after it is born, it insures that the courts will see that you are serious about wanting to establish a relationship with your child.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Normally I look through all the headline to find Florida family law stories to blog about. I attempted to find a new story, but unfortunately, today in Orlando, the big news surrounds Casey Anthony's arrest for 1st degree murder, among other things, in connection with the disappearance of her 3 year old daughter. This case has gotten more exposure on a local and national level and I loathe being anywhere near the courthouse when there is breaking news on this story. My schedule precludes me from avoiding the courthouse tomorrow morning, so I will wind my way through security and attempt to avoid all the press that is there to catch a glimpse of Casey Anthony. I wonder as we are focusing on this case whether anything could have been done to avoid this whole tragedy in the first place. Ms. Anthony was a young mother who obviously had trouble looking after the best interests of her daughter. I pose the question to you now, when is the appropriate time for the state to step in to insure that children are being properly cared for? Why didn't the grandparents call the authorities when they went weeks without seeing their grandchild? There are so many questions that surround this case and we can only hope that all of these questions will be answered now that Ms. Anthony will be facing a trial.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Housing Market Affecting Divorce

Everyone is aware that the housing market right now is terrible and people are having a tremendous amount of difficulty selling homes. People are upside down on their mortgages and foreclosures are happening at a more rapid rate than any other period of time in history. These facts are having an affect on people's divorces, and also hindering people from starting the divorce process, despite the fact that they are in an unhappy marriage. The following article addresses how the housing market is affecting divorces here in Florida:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Constitutional Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage

I like many other Americans, received my sample ballot in the mail a few days ago in preparation for this year's election. While I am interested in the Presidential election, there are many other things on the ballot that will affect Floridians. There are, of course, the election of various government officials, judges and legislators, but there are also amendments to the Florida Constitution and County Charters. This year, we are voting whether or not to ban gay marriage. More specifically, ...."protect marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized". As a Northerner by birth, I don't remember ever voting for Constitutional Amendments and I'm always shocked how often an amendment to the Constitution of Florida shows up on a ballot. It'll be interesting to see whether this amendment to "protect" marriage will pass. If it doesn't pass, I'm sure it won't be long until we have a vote on whether or not gay marriage should be recognized in Florida. If there ever comes a time when gay marriage is recognized in Florida, this will affect divorce laws here in Florida and may open up a brand new area of expertise which does not currently exist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Divorce Rates Remain High for Baby Boomers

Some studies have shown that divorce rates have started to decline, however, it appears that divorce for Baby Boomers remains high. The Baby Boomers were the first to start the divorce boom and that trend has not stopped. There are many theories over why people divorce late in life, whether people who divorce late in life are likely to remarry, and the affect that divorce has on adult children. The following article is an interesting discussion on all of these issues and the trend of Baby Boomer divorce.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Telling Your Teenage Children About Your Divorce

What you tell your children about your decision to divorce varies depending on your children's age. I generally encourage my clients to keep the children out of their marital decisions as much as possible, but at the same time give them information about what is going on and how it is going to affect them. With teenagers this can be especially difficult because they are old enough to understand the implications of divorce and may want to save their parents' marriage. The following article addresses how you should approach your teenage children in the event of a divorce. The main focus is remaining a united front.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Should You Leave Him?

There is a new movie coming out this weekend called "The Women" which is a remake of a 1939 movie where a woman finds out that her husband has cheated and she contemplates whether she should stay or whether she should go. I've heard one of the Judge's in Orange County, Florida state that cheating is a character flaw and not any one's fault. While I'm not sure whether I believe that or not, there is something to be said for whether cheating is a character flaw or a symptom of a bad marriage. Divorce has grave consequences, financially and emotionally, however, do those consequences outweigh the emotional toll of "letting them get away with it"? I'm not sure that I personally know the answer to that question, but what I can tell you is that as a family law attorney, one of the most common reasons why people divorce is infidelity and it is usually infidelity that has occurred on more than one occasion. Does forgiveness allow someone permission to cheat in the future? The following article talks about whether or not you should divorce someone if they cheat and has several comments after the article from people who voice their opinion on what they would do. What would you do?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Adultery and the No Fault State

It looks like A Rod is going to be yet another Florida philanderer who will not pay a financial penalty to his wife for his cheating ways. I've written many other times about the no fault state policies, but the following article is about how you are never compensated for being married to a man or woman who cheats.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Photo Rights

Greg Norman's ex-wife is asking the courts here in Florida to enter an order demanding that Mr. Norman turn over all documents which pertain to monies that he received from the sale of the photos from his wedding to Chris Evert. While I am sure that any monies he received are non-marital in nature, what I'm not sure about is whether Norman's ex-wife is entitled to that information. Norman's lawyer seems to think that its harassment and an invasion of his privacy, but is he right? The much publicized divorce between Norman and his wife made his marriage to Chris Evert much more news worthy. Therefore, perhaps the ex-wife has a right to the information and possibly a civil suit against the Great White Shark in order to receive some of the proceeds from the sale of the photos. I think its a long shot and also believe that sometimes people fight for the sake of fighting even when there are no merits to their claims, it'll be interesting to hear how a Judge will rule on this issue and whether Norman's ex-wife seeks any type of financial payout for the information she receives.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bad Economy Keeping Families Together?

You always hear that money and finances is a major reason why couples get a divorce. Well it appears that the current bad economy and the terribly housing market is actually keeping couples together. Divorce is without question expensive, and with filing fees going up around the state, a couple can pay over a $1,000.00 in filing fees and court costs before they ever get to a judge or mediation. The average contested divorce that does not go to trial and settles at mediation can easily cost $10,000.00 in attorneys fees, mediation fees and court costs. With no money to save a home from foreclosure, it is understandable that some couples will stay together because they can't afford the financial cost of a divorce. The question then becomes whether or not the financial decision to stay together is the right emotional decision. The following article discusses the dropping divorce rate in Southern Florida and what impact the current economy has on that statistic:,2933,381981,00.html

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jilted Woman Wins $100,000 Lawsuit

While watching the Today Show the other morning, there was a news story about a woman who sued her ex-fiance after he broke off their engagement. The jury heard the evidence and she was awarded $100,000.00. I cannot find the story anywhere on the Internet, so if one of my readers finds any online article about this case, please post the link here. I'm not sure what the basis of the lawsuit was, but I'm sure that it had something to do with broken contracts. The woman claimed that she left a good paying job and moved to where her fiance was based upon her belief that they would be getting married. I am sure that the decision will be appealed and we may hear more about this. What concerns me is whether a decision like this could possible affect divorce law in states that are no fault. If you allow someone to be sued for a broken engagement, there is an assumption that someone is at fault and should be monetarily punished for that fault. In no fault states, fault almost never comes into play when you are dividing assets or awarding alimony. I'm sure we'll hear more about this case in the future, but it is interesting that a jury would award someone money damages for a broken engagement.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Long Term Marriage and Equitable Distribution

I recently received a comment from a reader with some questions about equitable distribution and alimony in a long term marriage in Florida. I thought I would respond in this blog, because I think her worries were consistent with some other worries that I have heard before.

When a couple has been married for 20 years or more, this is considered a long term marriage. If there is a large discrepancy in incomes you can expect an alimony award, however, the amount of that alimony is something that is left up to judicial discretion and in some circumstances, there are judges that rarely award large amounts of alimony. If a party hasn't worked outside the home, there is a good chance that a judge would require you to be partially responsible for your own financial needs, and the judge will also look to see what type of equitable distribution you received in the divorce to determine what your actual need is. Alimony is an area of law where judges have broad discretion and you are going to get different outcomes depending on what judge you are in front of. There are some judges where I know that they will award descent, if not overly generous, alimony to a spouse and then again there are other judges who may not award any alimony at all. Therefore, equitable division of property becomes very important and therefore, it is equally important to insure that you have competent legal representation who knows all of the discovery tricks to uncover all assets that are held jointly or individually in one parties name. This process can sometimes be tedious, but if there is an asset out there that is partially yours, you should leave no stone unturned.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Filing Fee Changes

Seems like the price of gas isn't the only thing that is getting to be outrageously expensive. Governor Crist just signed into law a change for many court filing fees. For example, a step parent adoption in Orange County used to cost you $255.00 to file, starting June 1, 2008, the price is going to be $300.00. These fees were hefty to begin with, but now a simple traffic ticket, or name change can end up costing you hundreds of dollars more than what you anticipated, especially if you choose to get an attorney, especially because most attorneys do not have filing fees incorporated into their retainer fees.

If you would like to learn more about these filing fee changes, see the following:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dos and Donts in Orange County Divorce

There are plenty of articles on the web about the dos and donts in divorce, but rarely do you get an article that is straight from family lawyers and judges that are in your particular state and county. The following article is from the Orlando Sentinel which contains horror stories and "fyis" from Orange County judges and family lawyers.,0,1009600.story

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Divorce and the Lottery

Florida is an equitable distribution state which means in the event of divorce, the parties' assets are divided equitably. This does not always mean that the assets are going to be divided equally, but it usually ends up that way. A Miami woman wants to make sure she gets her equitable portion of lottery winnings that her husband received during the course of their marriage, and it is likely that she will win. If the parties were still married at the time that the lottery winnings came into existence, they are marital assets, and are subject to equitable distribution unless there is proof that the ticket was bought with non-marital funds. To read the story upon which this blog is based, see:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gay Marriage In California

The California Supreme Court recently struck down a ban on gay marriage. In an opinion that analysts say could have nationwide implications for the issue, the seven-member panel voted 4-3 in favor of plaintiffs who argued that restricting marriage to men and women was discriminatory. This leaves the door open for gay couples to marry in California, one of the most populous states here in America. It'll be interesting to see whether the rest of America follows suit and whether this hot button issue comes back to the forefront in the race to the White House in the fall.

To read the story upon which this blog is based, see:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is This Good For My Children?

It is unbelievably hard to separate the emotional from the rational in a divorce especially when there is adultery or other perceived deceptions involved. Often times when hurt feelings are involved a normal rational person becomes irrational and does and/or says things which can potentially hurt them in a custody battle. Whether that behavior is moving out of the marital home or arguing and fighting in front of the children, such conflict can hurt you in a custody battle. I always have the same advice for all of my clients when these issues come up and that is to think to yourself "will this help me get custody with my children" if the answer to that question is no, you shouldn't do or say what you want to say or do. While this is easier said than done, it is important to put your children first and to not act on emotion. Acting emotionally in a divorce does nothing but prolong the process and potentially hurt your chances of obtaining custody of your children.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Divorce As a Blessing

Sometimes its not a divorce that causes children to have problems, but the way in which the children's parents handle themselves after the divorce. Some people argue that staying in an unhappy marriage causes more harm to children then deciding to divorce. I think the jury is still out on that one, but the following article talks about the blessing that a divorce can be on a family:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What About the Pets?

With more and more couples choosing to have pets rather than kids, the question of what happens to the pets, comes up often. Because Florida considers pets to be personal property, this issue is something that Judges don't like to decide, and furthermore something which should not be brought before a Judge. If you and your soon to be spouse are fighting and arguing over who gets to keep Fido, the following story can provide you with some helpful advice to straighten out this messy issue in divorce.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Tube and Divorce

Would you post your marital problems on You Tube? With the ability to post anything about yourself all over the Internet, it was just a matter of time before a person posted rants about their divorce on You Tube for all the world to see. I originally saw the story of Tricia Walsh-Smith and her divorce on The Today Show, and then out of my own curiosity checked it out on You Tube. I'm not sure what she was trying to accomplish by posting this web blog, but it created quite a stir and also encouraged a judge to rule that she couldn't video her web blogs in the apartment in which she shared with her husband. I'm sure there will be many more rants from Ms. Walsh-Smith and even more people airing their dirty laundry all over the Internet.

To read the story upon which this blog is based, visit:,21985,23536595-663,00.html

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gay Divorce

One of the problems with the fact that gay couples can get married in some states, but can't get married in others is that they can only dissolve their marriages or unions in a state that recognizes that they have a union to begin with. In order to dissolve a marriage, you usually have to satisfy a state's residency requirement, which means in some situations, its impossible to formerly dissolve a civil union or gay marriage unless you live in a state that recognizes the union. The following article addresses this issue:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Those Financial Cheating Hearts

There is no question that financial infidelity can lead to divorce. I'm always shocked by the number of people who either hide financial indiscretions from their spouse, or the number of people who are totally unaware of debt and/or assets until there is financial disclosure in divorce. The following article addresses the dangers of not being fully truthful with your finances with your spouse:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Should We Get A Guardian Ad Litem?

I often times have clients request that a Guardian Ad Litem be appointed for their children in a divorce. Sometimes there are disputes between the attorneys' as to whether or not they are necessary. In case you are unaware, a Guardian Ad Litem ("GAL") is an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent the children in a divorce or other case involving children. Their job is to independently review the case, gather information, and speak with the children. Once they have conducted their investigation, they submit their report and recommendations to the Court, and generally speaking the Court's give great weight to the report of the GAL. Therefore, if a GAL report is not in your favor, it could mean the end of your custody fight. Therefore, if you wish to have a GAL appointed, you should be forewarned that if you are alienating your children from your spouse, do not have a proper living environment or have made attempts in the past to put the children in the middle of your divorce or custody battle, a GAL will definitely pick up on this and it can work against you. I would hope that all parents keep their children's best interests in the forefront of their thoughts when going through a divorce, however, I am not naive enough to believe that this is always the case. So, the question about whether or not a GAL is necessary in a custody dispute is whether you believe that your children's rights are not being recognized or you feel that the court needs an independent third party opinion to ensure that you get the custody results you want. GAL's are tremendously helpful in custody disputes, but an unfavorable GAL report is detrimental to a custody case. While I am always in favor of a GAL in custody disputes, when I am slightly fearful that a GAL report may not come out in favor of my client, I advise my client about this before we agree or request a GAL.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Florida Information

The Florida Bar website is a wonderful place for you to go to if you are looking for information concerning an attorney that you are getting ready to hire, or have already hired. In addition, the Florida Bar offers a series of pamphlets about divorce, adoption, guardianship and other popular areas of law. If you are looking for general information about divorce, guardianship, adoption, wills, etc., follow this link:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Signer Beware

The following article is about a couple's divorce and the aftermath of not making good on the terms of the settlement. Before you sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, make very sure that intend to follow through with the terms of the Agreement or you may wind up in jail.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Free Legal Advice

Free Legal Clinic To Help Eligible Residents
By Dan Fearson of Highlands Today
Published: March 27, 2008
SEBRING — Receiving legal advice and consultation is expensive for everyone, but it's especially tough for those with low incomes.
Today, Florida Rural Legal Services Inc. will hold a free legal clinic for the economically disadvantaged, allowing citizens to receive legal advice and consultation.
It's the first time FRLS, a non-profit organization, has offered a free clinic in Highlands County."We will have seven or more attorneys on site (for the clinic) that would typically offer advice and counsel that could cost a substantial amount of money," said Doris Dunn, of FRLS.
The clinic will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the Highlands County Children's Advocacy Center, 1000 S. Highlands Ave., in Sebring.To qualify to receive help, people have to meet income eligibility requirements.
Dunn said that as of Thursday, 10 people had qualified for the session. Walk-ins are also welcome but they would first have to fill out a questionnaire detailing their eligibility.
A diverse group of attorneys, with expertise in different areas –– including bankruptcy law, property law, family law, consumer law and criminal law –– will be available.
"During past clinics, we've had a number of people seeking advice when it comes to family and divorce issues," said Dunn. "Often, they purchase divorce paperwork from courthouses and have no idea how to fill it out; this clinic can help with those types of issues."
Dunn also said foreclosure issues and elderly credit issues have been popular during past clinics."We've had a number of elderly people come in who don't understand credit issues and don't understand consumer issues," said Dunn.
Dunn said that the FRLS often ends up working with people who don't meet eligibility requirements by finding income deductions.
"It's just free advice," said Dunn. "People are not going to walk out of the clinic with an attorney provided by us."
The Highlands County branch of the FRLS operates out of a Lakeland, which also services Hardee and Polk counties.
For information about the clinic, call 1-800-277-7680 or 863-688-7376.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Make Sure To Show Up For Court!!

One of the major things that you have to do in order to protect your legal rights and interests when you are going through a divorce or attempting to get an injunction (i.e., restraining order) is show up for Court!! Seems that Ms. Donaghy filed a request for an Injunction and the Judge appears to have denied it because she failed to show up for Court. This will affect her ability to get the injunction put into place for past abusive behavior and surely will affect whether she she gets an injunction in the future if she makes further claims of abuse.

To read the story upon which this blog is based, see:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blogging About Divorce

I just received a comment on one of my previous blogs from a reader who has started a blog for children who are going through a divorce. I'm not sure whether the blog is from an actual child or not, so I have no listed it here, but it brings up the question of how do you help your children through your divorce, especially when there is a custody battle that is on the brink. The following link provides some helpful tips, and some common sense advice on how to help your children cope with your divorce:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Difference Between Fault and No Fault States

There are many differences between fault and no fault states when it comes to divorce. One of the major differences is that the reasons behind a parties' divorce in a no fault state are virtually irrelevant. When it comes to emotionally cruelty and the like, those issues are rarely ever a factor in equitable distribution, alimony and child custody issues in no fault states. However, in fault states, these factors come into play. See the following story regarding New Jersey's ex-governor to see how fault can come into play.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Take On Fresh Start After Divorce

A man in Australia is selling his life on eBay. Seems that he recently got a divorce and wants a fresh start. Many people move, get a haircut, have a makeover or do other small things to signify a fresh start and a new life after divorce. This man is taking this concept to a whole other level by selling his life, including his home and job in order to pick up the pieces and move on. I'm not sure whether this person will have any bidders, but its an interesting concept.

Enjoy the story!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Using Divorce As A Reconciliation Tool

Most people who come to my office for an initial consultation are ready to file for divorce. Sometimes, a party comes to my office because they are simply attempting to find out what their legal rights are in the event they do file for divorce, but they still think that they may be able to work things out with their spouse. Sometimes people want to file for divorce to try to "scare" their spouse into working out their marital problems. I rarely see this as an effective tactic in reconciliation. However, it still happens. Seems like Linda Bollea. Hulk Hogan's wife, may be using this tactic to attempt to reconcile with her husband.

To read this story, see:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Health Insurance and Divorce

Once you are divorced, under most circumstances, you are not going to be able to continue to have your spouse under your current health insurance policy. If you fail to inform your employer that you are no longer married, its possible that may have to repay the company and the insurance company for a sort of insurance fraud. Read the following story and remember to remove your ex-spouse from your health insurance after you are divorced.

Friday, March 14, 2008

McCartney Divorce Settlement

It looks like the Judge that is presiding over the Heather Mills v. Paul McCartney divorce is about to make a decision and Ms. Mills may be receiving 25-30 million pounds in her divorce decree. It is reported that this amount was what was originally offered by McCartney, but with the offer also came a confidentiality clause. Therefore, if Ms. Mills wishes to not appeal the Judge, it seems that she went through close to two years of fighting and being crucified by the press so that she can publish a book about her marriage to McCartney. It seems crazy to me that you would not settle a case that would give you over $50 million just so you can blab your story to anyone who will listen, but I guess it'll be worth it for Ms. Mills. Hopefully there are no appeals, and everyone can move on with the rest of their lives.

To read more about this story, visit:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

You Heard It Here!!

Every now and then I come across an article that is so strange that I feel the need to share it with my readers. It appears that a woman was allowed to annul her marriage after she divorced because she found out that her husband used to be a woman. In fact, the husband in question was still physically a woman, but had changed his/her name. In most states, same sex marriage is not allowed, so I'm not sure how you annul a marriage that was never legally binding, but it seems that you can in this particular state.

To read the article upon which this blog is based see the following:,2933,337531,00.html

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Men and Cheating

I'm sure most everyone is aware of the problems that are facing the current governor of New York, Elliott Spitzer. If you are living under a rock and haven't heard, there are accusations about him using high end prostitutes and possibly facing criminal charges for transporting a prostitute across state lines. While watching the news yesterday on The Today Show, in conjunction with this newsworthy item, there was a statistic that stated that 1 in every 5 men cheat. I was flabbergasted by that statistic and it got me thinking of why would that number be so high. If anyone out there can shed some light on why men cheat, please post to my blog so that I can enlighten myself and my readers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Divorce Parties

I've blogged in the past about divorce parties and how more and more people are finding ways to celebrate their divorce. Whether you wanted to plan a party for your closest friends or throw a shindig for a large group of divorced strangers, there was a reason to let loose down in Fort Lauderdale recently. A bar owner in Fort Lauderdale opened up his club to 400 or so divorced people looking to party and commiserate. I'm still not sold on the idea that a divorce should be celebrated, but I definitely understand the relief that many people feel after their divorce is finalized, and that in some circumstances a party may be appropriate.

To read the article upon which this blog is based, see:,0,1866345.story

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Speaking About Divorce With Children

I often have to tell my clients that it is 100% not appropriate to speak with their children about any of their divorce proceedings. Children, no matter whether they are 1 years old or 21 years old, should not have to involve themselves in their parents' divorce case. They should not have to run interference, nor should they be the bearers of messages between one parent or the other. The court can look unkindly upon a party who is using their children as a way of communicating to their soon to be ex. The following article about the divorce between Hulk Hogan and his wife is a prime example of what can happen if you involve your children in your divorce.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Budget Cuts Affecting Florida Courts

The following article addresses budget cuts and how those cuts will affect the Florida courts, including courts here in Central, Florida:,0,5907779.story

Saturday, March 1, 2008

End In Sight

It looks like the McCartney v. Mills divorce drama is coming to an end. There is a target date of March 17, 2008 for a final ruling in their case to decide who gets what and how much. If either party decides that they are unhappy or not in agreement with the judge's ruling, they can appeal. However, if they appeal, their divorce proceedings will no longer remain private and all prying eyes are going to be able to see exactly what happened in their divorce. I'm not sure whether Ms. Mills cares about their proceedings going public, but based upon all that has been written, it seems clear that Mr. McCartney wants the proceedings to be sealed and kept confidential. I hope for the sake of their daughter that this divorce drama finally comes to an end.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Internets Affect On Divorce

The birth of Internet means that everyone has information at their fingertips. This also means that people have access to chat rooms, pornography sites, and other ways to cause problems in a marriage. The following article addresses the affect that the Internet has had on divorce.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Viagra and Divorce

It seems that Viagra is now jumping into the blame game for divorce. Prior to the birth of Viagra and other male impotence pills, couples were faced with serious problems in the bedroom, which often times meant the road to divorce. Now, it seems that men who are taking this "miracle" drug, are leaving their wives because they have found their sexual stride in old age. While I don't know whether there is truly a tie between divorce and Viagra, I feel that it is troubling to know that some couples are replacing one problem just for another and still ending up in divorce court.

To read the article upon which this blog is based, please see the following:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting A Good Divorce

Every now and then I come across articles that provide really good information and advice on how to help people get through a divorce with the least amount of angst. The following article provides practical advice on this very subject and is worth the read.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sex and Divorce

A South Florida pastor seems to believe that there is a link between divorce and the lack of sex in some marriages. He has challenged his married members to thirty days of sex in order to help couples reconnect and avoid divorce. Its interesting that a member of the clergy is devising such a challenge, and I'm curious to know whether this actually helps troubled marriages. To read about this pastor and his mission, see the following:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Gay Marriage and Value Voters

I have recently written that Floridians will be voting in November about whether or not to ban gay marriage in our state. This is a controversial subject and most conservative people are for the ban on gay marriage. The following article discusses whether or not true value voters should be supportive of any marriage.,0,5164987.column

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Emails As Evidence In Divorce

With the electronic age, more and more people are using emails to check up on their spouses and using emails and other electronic proof in their divorce proceedings. The following article addresses the pitfalls and warns people to be careful what you put in an email because it can be used against you in a divorce proceeding.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Claiming The Kids On Your Taxes

One of the issues that arises in divorce, no matter what tax bracket you are in, is who is going to get to claim the kids on their taxes. The person paying child support believes that they should be entitled to that deduction and the person who is the primary residential parent for the child also believes they are entitled to that deduction. Who is right? Well, according to Federal Law, the person who is designated as the primary parent, or the person with whom the children primarily reside, is allowed the dependency exemption. However, this is always subject to negotiation, and more often than not, the parties agree to alternate the deduction on an every other year basis. This is always used as a negotiation tool and can be used as leverage for other things that you may want in the divorce. Before you stall the divorce process because you want the dependency exemption and your spouse is refusing to give it up, you may want to see whether the exemption is actually going to be beneficial to you or not. The following blog from a Pennsylvania Family Law website explains how the exemption and the child tax credit works. However, as in any major financial decision, you should consult with a financial planner or CPA before agreeing to waive any right to a dependency exemption.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gay Marriage Ban In Florida

It looks like Florida voters are going to be able to vote on a State Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage in November. Many other states have attempted to pass this type of amendment as well, and with a heated presidential election to be on the ballot this fall, people may be coming out in droves to vote on this contested issue.

You can read about this at the following link:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pastors Getting Divorced

Married pastors who founded the Without Walls International Church in Tampa, Florida have announced that they are getting divorced. The decision to get a divorce does not come lightly for any couple, but it is probably even harder for people whose job may be affected by their divorce. Whether it is appropriate or not, our communities hold our leaders, both spiritual and social, to higher standards than the average American. The following article addresses the repercussions of the decision of these pastors to get a divorce.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Groom Taking Bride's Last Name

Its not often that a groom wants to take a bride's last name in marriage, and in Florida, it requires a judicial order rather than just filling in the blanks on a government form and showing proof of your marriage. The following question and answer article discusses groom name change and also a quick little lesson on the rules of "fault" in divorce here in Florida.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Divorce Cake

Many people consider their divorces something to be celebrated and there is a growing trend to actively celebrate the finalization of a divorce. There is a baker here in Orange County, Florida who makes divorce cakes, similar to wedding cakes in taste, but not in style. I feel the need every now and then to turn our attention towards the lighter side of divorce. Enjoy the following article and corresponding picture.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Are My Alimony Payments Taxable?

I recently received a phone call from an individual wondering whether alimony payments are taxable when there is no language in the Marital Settlement Agreement that states that the payments are to be taxable to the recipient. If you are having questions about whether your alimony payments are taxable or whether you can deduct the payments you make from your gross income, I suggest you speak with independent tax counsel who may be better versed in this area. However, if you are wondering what the rule is with respect to whether or not your alimony is taxable, I have the following information for you.

Rykiel v. Rykiel, 838 So.2d 508 (Fla. 2003). This case stated that gross income is taxable and that gross income includes alimony, therefore, alimony is taxable. Alimony is defined as "monetary payments made to a spouse pursuant to a divorce instrument, unless that instrument says that the payments are not includible in gross income and not allowable as a deduction". Further, it stated that if a divorce instrument stated the payments are not deductible and not includible in gross income, then the payments are not alimony and not included in gross income.

The usual treatment of alimony is for it to be taxable to the recipient and deductible to the payor. Based on the Rykiel case above, it seems absent language stating that the payments are not taxable or deductible, any payments received pursuant to a divorce instrument will be considered alimony and therefore taxable to the recipient. Therefore, it seems that if you are trying to avoid a tax liability on your alimony payments, you must specifically spell out that the payments are not taxable or deductible.

If any of my readers is an expert on this subject and has a different interpretation of the law, I welcome any comments or clarifications on this issue.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Florida Parenting Course

One of the requirements to get a divorce here in Florida, if you have children, is to complete a parenting course. The goal of the course is to provide people with helpful information and advice on coping with visitation and parenting problems that sometimes arise after a couple decides to divorce. I often times wonder how useful this parenting course is and whether or not the parties actually gain any knowledge from the course. From time to time, a Judge will ask one of my clients whether they thought that the course was useful, and my clients always say yes. I'm not sure whether this is because they are afraid to tell a Judge that they don't think the course is useful, or whether they actually believe that the course provide them with some insight. For anyone who has taken the mandatory Florida parenting course, please let me know whether you found the course useful and that it should continued to be required in order to obtain a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Divorce and the Cinema

Divorce and bickering couples have been the fodder of Hollywood films for years. From Kramer v. Kramer and Irreconcilable Differences to The War of the Roses couples have fought it out on film. Another film staring Kate Hudson has recently been released named Fools Gold that again centers around a couple fighting it out in the midst of a possible divorce. Many of these films are terribly off base with the realities of divorce or simply poke fun at the realities that couples face when they are dissolving their marriage. It appears that Fools Gold again has missed the mark. I invite any feedback from my readers as to what movie they feel their divorce is most similar to and/or which movie they feel realistically portrays the divorce process.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Importance of Realistic Expectations

The reality of divorce is that no matter whether you choose to settle your divorce without the assistance of a Judge, or whether you take all of your issues before a Judge, you probably won't be 100% happy with the result. Whether you are in a no fault state like Florida, or whether you live in a state that takes adultery or other faults into account when determining alimony and equitable distribution, at the end of the day, everyone is going to be giving something up. Keeping that in mind, you must prepare yourself with realistic expectations when it comes to the financial side of divorce. If you do not have realistic expectations and your divorce attorney does not prepare you for the financial reality of divorce, you will be shocked and ill-prepared when you don't get what you "want" out of your divorce settlement or decree. Being prepared and planning accordingly can help you get you into the financial mindset that you will need once your divorce is finalized.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Web Site To Help Women Through Divorce Seeks Funding

Getting through a divorce and learning how to pick up the pieces emotionally and financially after your divorce is finalized can sometimes leave someone feeling desperate for direction and assistance in how to move on. This is especially true for some women. Dawn Haynes, a woman here in Florida, is trying to get a website up and running called ReDesigning Women that will be a site for women to look to when figuring out the piles of "to dos" which are involved with divorce. The site has not yet been launched, but they are seeking funding in order to make this website concept a reality. I cannot speak to the content of the site, or the credentials of the people who are trying to get the web site up in running. What I can speak to is that the more credible, helpful and accurate information that is out there concerning divorce, the better.

To read about this new website, see the following article:,0,5091170.story

Friday, January 25, 2008

Injunctions To Freeze Assets

There are very few issues when presented to a court in Florida that are considered an emergency when a couple is going through a divorce. Generally you have to go to mediation before a Judge will hear any of the issues in your divorce. However, if you have clear evidence that your soon to be ex-spouse is hiding marital assets or funneling off assets to another unknown place, you can file an emergency motion for temporary injunction to freeze assets or request that certain assets are not dissipated or moved. It appears that Hulk Hogan's wife has filed such a motion. To read about this news item, see the following:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Careful What You Sign

Many people decide to enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement to resolve all the issues that arise out of their marriage. Often times a settlement comes as a result of mediation or a settlement conference and you sign something quickly believing it to be your understanding of what you have verbally agreed to. It is important that both you and your attorney read the agreement thoroughly to insure that there is nothing in there that you haven't agreed to, or that there are no errors in the terms. Once a Marital Settlement Agreement is signed, its very hard to undo that agreement, therefore READ what you are signing. The following story is about a person who signed a settlement agreement thinking that he agreed to pay $14,000.00 per month for child support, when in fact he had agreed to pay $14,000.00 per child. The case is still in litigation.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Remaining Friends with an Ex's Family

Divorce is something that effects not only the husband, wife and children, but in-laws and extended family. People often times become close to their in-laws and although the legal ties are severed by divorce, people try to keep the emotional ties together. The following article talks about the benefits and pitfalls from remaining close with your in-laws.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Don't Ruin Your Credit In A Divorce

One of the main concerns that people have before deciding to file for divorce is how that divorce is going to affect them financially. In cases where you and your spouse have a tremendous amount of debt, it is doubly concerning when the issue of whether your credit will be ruined comes into play. The following article gives some helpful suggestions on how to insure that your credit isn't negatively affected in a divorce:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Failure to Sign Prenup Reason Not To Get Married

There are many reasons why someone may decide not to get married. When someone has a large estate or children from a previous marriage, it may be a good idea to discuss the possibility of entering into a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets and/or children. What happens when you don't want to sign a prenuptial agreement and your soon to be spouse will not marry you without one? This is something that many couples face especially as more and more people are waiting until later on in life to get married or have children from a previous relationship. The best idea is to make sure that you understand what you are signing and that the Agreement is fair and reasonable. Whether or not you are willing to sign a Prenup or are going to require someone to sign a Prenup before you get married is a decision that only you can make. For some people, it is a deal breaker, as it seems to be with actor, Eddie Murphy and his girlfriend Tracey Edmonds.

If you would like to read the article about Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds, please see the following:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Beware of Quickie Divorce Scams

I am always wary of websites or people who claim they can get your divorce pushed through the courts quickly. However, I never thought that the clerks in the court would take advantage of people to scam them out of money. The following story is about a clerk in the domestic court in Miami who charged people money and made promises that they would get their divorce through the court system quickly. This is illegal behavior and a lesson for all of you out there who may be trying to complete your divorce in the least costly manner.,court-clerk-charged-with-divorce-scam.html

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Divorce Literature

In my spare time, I try to read and often times people give me books to read that I may relate to. This year I was given, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had seen the book in Borders and Barnes & Noble, but for some reason, I never picked up this book or gave it any thought. Through some of my blog research, I learned that this book is about a woman's journey after a difficult divorce. It is next on my stack of books to be read and I promise to give the book a review after I have finished it. If anyone has any suggestions for good fiction or non-fiction books which deal with the issue of divorce, please post your suggestions.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Keeping An Eye on Child Welfare System

Every now and then I come across an article about someone who abuses a state's adoption or foster care system in order to obtain money from the state. What always baffles me is how things can get so bad, that a person is making the news because of the frauds they have committed on the state and/or the abuse that a child had to suffer before people take notice. The following article is about a women who adopted many children to collect child welfare checks, and she may be responsible for killing one of the children that she adopted. While I understand that the state is heavily bogged down with issues related to children who are abused, neglected or abandoned by their natural parents, there must be a way to insure that a child is safe when they are released to the care of a third party.

The following article concerns a former Queens woman charged in an adoption scam who may have killed one of the 11 children she took into her care:,0,6228311.story

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reasons for Divorcing

The following article contains information taken from a National Poll siting the reasons why couples want to divorce. Its interesting to see the differences between the reasons men divorce and the reasons women divorce.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Is Your Marriage Broken?

I have written before on this blog about the difference between the emotional divorce and the legal divorce and how many times they are separate and apart from one another. Because Florida is a no fault state, a couple need only show that their marriage is irretrievably broken and that one or both of the parties has been a resident of the state of Florida for the six months prior to the date of filing. Generally speaking if one party doesn't believe that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may order counseling or possibly continue the divorce proceeding for a maximum of three months to enable the parties to reconcile. This allows the parties time to reconcile, or in some cases allows time to insure that the marriage is indeed broken. If you believe that your marriage can be saved, and your spouse has already filed for divorce, upon your statement that the marriage is not broken, the court may order that you obtain marriage counseling which could provide you with some time to determine whether your marriage is indeed irretrievably broken.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Should You Stick It Out?

The week after Christmas is historically a very busy year for divorce attorneys as people have gotten their families through the holidays and decide that there is no time like the present to get out of a bad marriage. I've read many articles about how too many couples are throwing in the marriage towel too soon and how more couples should try sticking it out. How do you know if your marriage is worth saving? Unfortunately, as an attorney and not a trained marriage counselor, I don't have an answer to that question. Although, from my experience, once someone has made the decision to seek the counsel of a divorce attorney, the wheels of progress are not often reversed. Knowing when it's "truly over" is trickier than it looks. In The Case for Marriage, Americans Linda J Waite and Maggie Gallagher (Doubleday 2000), quote from the American National Survey of Families and Households in which 86% of unhappily married couples who "stuck it out" found that five years later their marriages were "happier". Only 15% of those who initially said they were unhappily married continued to say their marriages were very unhappy. Whether to stick it out is a personal decision that should not be made lightly.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Government Helping to Stop Rate of Divorce

Divorce continues to remain prominent in our American society and there are some government officials who are thinking of ways to try to curb the rate of divorce. In Mississippi, discouraging divorce is what is high on his agenda list for Lt. Gov.-elect Phil Bryant. To read the story about what Mr. Bryant is attempting to do in order to try to save marriages, see the following:

Friday, January 4, 2008

Britney's First Meltdown of 2008

It seems that Britney Spears is again making headlines with a standoff concerning visitation and her refusal to return her children to their father. Yesterday I made some predictions about Hollywood divorces that would continue to make headlines in 2008, and has promised Ms. Spears has not disappointed. To read about Britney Spear's latest antics, see the following:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008 Predictions

In light of the new year, I thought it would be fun to acknowledge some Hollywood divorce headlines which are most likely to endure through 2008 and into 2009.

BRITNEY SPEARS AND KEVIN FEDERLINE- It seems that Britney has recently fired her current attorneys, and its likely that her deposition will be taken early on in 2008. However, since she still has supervised visitations, and her life still seems to be on the verge of total disaster, its unlikely that her custody battle will come to an ultimate conclusion in 2008. The amount of publicity that this litigation will get is unlimited.

HEATHER MILLS MCCARTNEY AND PAUL MCCARTNEY- This case has been pending for a long time, and with the latest firing of attorneys and public slandering of Paul McCartney by Heather Mills, an end to this bitter divorce is not likely in 2008 without some major movement to be reasonable by Ms. Mills.

DENISE RICHARDS AND CHARLIE SHEEN- I would be surprised if this celebrity custody battle ended in 2008. This couple has been battling over their children since before their second daughter was even born. It seems unlikely that they will be able to work out their differences and I predict at least 3 headlines concerning this matter in 2008.

KIM BASINGER AND ALEC BALDWIN- They divorced over five years ago, yet their battle over their 11 year old daughter seems to persist. I predict that their battles will continue until their daughter reaches the age of eighteen. Why settle and move on after five years when you can fight an argue your kid's childhood away??

Let's hope that some of the newest celebrity couple break-ups do not have the enduring power of those listed above.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year, New Blog, Same Stories

It has been exactly one year since I posted my first blog here on this blogspot. In 2007, I provided readers with over 300 different blogs on various issues that arise in family law matters from child custody to protecting assets in divorce. Over the past few months I have seen an increase in the amount of traffic that this site gets, and have also seen more and more people posting their comments on the different things that I have written about. I hope to continue to provide my readers, new and old, more information and insight into all things family law in 2008. Thank you for your continued interest and feel free to forward me any stories or interesting sites you may come across on family law and divorce. Happy New Year to you all!!!