Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Children's Divorce Classes

One of the biggest issues that couples face when they are going through a divorce is the effect that the divorce has on their children. I'm often asked whether I have any helpful tips for getting a child through a divorce in one piece. While I think the most important tip that I give clients is to keep your child out of the divorce process and do your best to co-parent your children in a friendly and civil manner, counseling and other programs are also helpful. I became aware of a program called Sandcastles which is a program for children to help them learn about divorce and to group a child together with other children who are going through the same thing that they are. Sometimes children feel all alone when their parents are divorcing and knowing that other children are going through the same thing can be very comforting. If you are interested in this program and how you can get your child involved, see:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Divorce Tips

There are many people out there who are going to be celebrating Christmas this year for the first time as a divorced couple. Creating ways to cope through the holidays can help make the time not only manageable, but enjoyable. This is especially true in the event that you have children. Here are a few helpful tips.

1. Make new traditions. There is no time like the present to create new traditions with your children, especially if it is not your year to have them on Christmas Day itself.

2. Surround yourself with family and friends. Now is not the time to be alone. Fill your calendar with events and don't pass up the opportunity to attend a party or two.

3. Make New Years Resolutions that you can actually stick to.

4. Don't make your children feel sorry for you if they are not spending the holiday with you. It will be hard enough on your children to be without both parents for Christmas, so its important not to project your feelings on them.

5. Don't spend money that you don't have. Retail therapy is not only a bad idea, it can provide you with a great deal of buyer's remorse in the new year in the form of high credit card bills.

6. Stay away from excessive eating and drinking.

7. Keep expectations reasonable.

8. Make time for yourself. Its easy to get caught up in what you can do for everyone else around the holidays. Taking some time for yourself can help you keep your sanity.

9. Take a break from the divorce madness. If your divorce is not yet final, take a break from litigation and animosity.

10. Remember that "this too shall pass."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alimony....Till Death Do Us Part?

In a long term marriage, when permanent periodic alimony is a given, we often speculate when someone can retire and possibly eliminate or severely reduce a monthly alimony amount. Often times, if someone retires at a normal retirement age, alimony can be eliminated or reduced at retirement. However, a judge in Massachusetts has ruled that a person may have to continue working or seek part-time employment even after retirement in order to satisfy an alimony obligation. Is this fair? Should someone have to continue to work well into his/her 70s or 80s in order to satisfy an alimony requirement? Shouldn't a person be allowed to retire? On the other hand, should someone be allowed to retire in order to escape the necessity of paying alimony? Alimony is one of those nasty words that causes heartburn for those who have to pay it and heartburn for those who are fearful of losing it. With people living longer and retirement ages still around 65, it'll be interesting to see how all courts handle this complex issue.

To read the article about the Massachusetts ruling see:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feline and Canine Victims in Divorce

There are always victims of collateral damage in a divorce, and sometimes the victims are the family pets. I have seen couples fight over who is going to get the animals in a divorce and in other circumstances, people decide to give their animals up because there is either too much going on and neither party can take care of them, or it is decided that it is too expensive to continue to care for the pets. If you are thinking about getting a pet and your marriage is in an unstable state, think twice before you make that purchase.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Divorce and Depression

I read an article online about a man in California who murdered his two children and then took his own life. He was going through a divorce and had recently lost his job. From the articles that I read, no one said whether there were signs that this gentleman was depressed, acting unusual or had a violent history. I see many people come through my office who are depressed, angry, lonely, or otherwise not acting like themselves. We in the family law world often say that criminal attorneys get to see bad people at their best and family law attorneys get to see good people at their worst. Its important that you find help if you are struggling with your new life and if you suspect that your soon to be ex-spouse is not emotionally stable. Seek help from local law enforcement and the courts or encourage those members of your family or friends who are struggling with the reality of their divorce to seek help from a mental health professional. Unfortunately tragedies like the one that happened in California may still happen, however, don't be afraid to seek help if you feel that you are emotionally in trouble.

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Does A Leopard Change Its Spots?

Every now and then, I come across an article that falls under the title "the truth is stranger than fiction". In Tysons' Corner, Virginia a man has chosen to wear a sandwich board stating that he's a cheater in hopes of winning his wife back after infidelity. Whether or not this is some sort of strange publicity ploy is still up for debate, but its an interesting tactic in winning your spouse back after being unfaithful. I would say that as much as 25% of our divorce clients have dealt with infidelity at some point in their marriage, and I don't think that most of them would take someone back just because they decided to publicly announce to the world that they cheated. Would this work if your spouse had cheated on you? Do you think that it would help your relationship and ensure a better marriage? I'm always interested to hear other people's perspective on the articles that I post to this blog. Let me know if you think that this guy and the parties' marriage has a chance of survival.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Divorce and Naked Pictures

Its no secret that many people do things in their marriages that they don't wish to become part of the public record when they divorce. This can be anything from tax fraud to extramarital affairs. Sometimes things as personal as naked pictures of private videos rear their heads in the midst of divorce to be used as leverage of blackmail. What do you do if your husband or wife threatens to post your private pictures and videos on the Internet for all the world to see? You can certainly file a motion for protective order to stop this from happening, but often times, the damage is done before your motion is even in front of a judge. There is a case here locally that is directly on point on this one, and its still unclear whose side the Judge is going to land. I provide everyone with this advice, be careful what you do even in the privacy of your own home, because you never know when it'll be used against you in a court of law.

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Divorce?

This week I had a question about whether you can divorce in Florida if you were married to your same-sex partner in another state and happened upon a story along the same subject involving Martina Navratilova. Ms. Navratilova is coming under a great deal of scrutiny from the gay community for hiding behind Florida's laws regarding same sex marriage in order to protect her assets. Florida does not recognize civil unions or gay marriages from other states, therefore, if you were married in a state that recognizes gay marriage or civil unions, you are not going to be able to file for a divorce in Florida. The Florida courts cannot dissolve something that the State does not recognize. What are you to do if you were married to your gay partner in another state? I have researched this issue, and unfortunately have not really found anything that could shed light on this topic, but for now, it appears that Florida would not recognize your marriage, therefore, you could not seek a divorce. You could file partition actions to split up joint property, but that may be your only legal remedy. If anyone has any comments or suggestions on this topic, please post your comments here for me to share with the rest of my readers.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Internet and Divorce

We are definitely in an information age where everyone seems to have a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Linked-In Account. I must admit I don't really understand Twitter but I am an actively involved member of the Facebook community. I always tell my clients that email, voicemail as well as Facebook and Myspace postings can all be used against you in a Courtroom, so before you post a status on Facebook or Twitter and before you post those pictures of you partying with your friends on Myspace, remember that all of this media can and often is used against you in Court. Everyone is watching and sometimes that means your soon to be ex spouse. When you are going through a divorce, it is important not to act emotionally, especially in Cyberspace. You never know when something you did impulsively ends up as Petitioner's Exhibit 1.

To read more about the Internet and divorce, see the following article:,9171,1904147,00.html?iid=tsmodule

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adult Children and Divorce

Almost every time that I do a search for articles about divorce and Florida, inevitably there is something that comes up about the divorce of Hulk Hogan. Recently, there was an article that addressed the hard time that Brooke Hogan was having with her parents' divorce. Brooke is over the age of eighteen and for all purposes an adult, yet she still cries over "the way we were". There is plenty of literature out there about the effect that divorce has on adult children and why it may be harder on them then their minor child counterparts. If you are used to your parents being together and then when you are an adult, you are forced to deal with divorce, there are a variety of different reasons why this can be hard to take. The following article addresses the issues that adult children of divorce have.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Parents of ADHD Children More Likely To Divorce

There is no doubt that there are many children these days that are being diagnosed with ADHD. A new study shows that parents of children with ADHD are more likely to divorce, due to the added stress that is put on the relationship. When a child has special needs, studies have shown that this puts an added strain on a marriage, especially if a child is not responding to treatment. The following article discusses this latest study:

If anyone has any helpful tips on what a couple can do to help their marriage when they have a special needs child, please feel free to post your suggestions here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Reality Television and Divorce

Its been some time since I have posted any blogs, and while I was searching online today for interesting and new topics to discuss, Kate and Jon Gosselin popped up more times than any other topic. I've being trying to avoid a blog on this subject, but when these folks came up numerous times when I searched "divorce", I have chosen to bite the bullet and write a blog on this subject.

In case you are not aware of who the Gosselins are, they are a couple who have 8 children, 6 of which are sextuplets. Their lives are being chronicled on a TLC reality television program, and Mr. and Mrs. Gosselin are being scrutinized because of allegations of affairs and Kate's alleged poor treatment of her husband and previous family helpers. I have no interest in scrutinizing the lives of these people, and further have no opinion on who is responsible for the alleged demise of their marriage. However, I think that most people will agree that marriage can be very difficult, and I often question why anyone, celebrity or not, would open up their lives to the public by putting their family on television. It seems that every couple who chooses to do this ends up in divorce court. Is this because the couple has always had problems or is it because negative and positive media attention leads people down the path of adultery, greed and different wants? I'm interested to know whether people believe that the reality TV families always had issues and were doomed for divorce and fame was just a catalyst, or whether other people believe its the media attention that caused the breakdown of the marriage.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Is Divorce Recession Proof?

I've read lots of articles and stories about how divorce rates are on the decline and the reason for the decline is the poor economy. I've been wary of this theory for quite some time given the fact that I haven't seen much of a decline in my own practice. In some cases, we are busier than ever. The issues that people are arguing over are different, meaning that people are fighting over who has to keep the house rather than who wants the home. However, we haven't seen much a decline in the amount of people who are coming in for consultations. The following article discusses whether or not divorce is recession proof.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Child Support Woes

I hear many complaints from people who are unable to collect their child support, do not get the remedies they are promised by the Department of Revenue for getting arrears paid, or in some cases, there are people who have been paying child support who are not getting their proper credits. This doesn't occur in every case, but in many cases, people are lost in the system and there are many questions about whether or not the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division is being properly managed. The following article addresses one local woman's problem with child support, specifically the Department of Revenue. If you have had similar problems, please let us know about them and/or contact your local congressman/woman. Perhaps with a little bit of effort we all can help make some changes.,0,6230693.story

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another Bad Effect of Poor Economy

As the economy has yet to show any signs of real recovery, there are numerous after shocks that have been trickling down into the family law arena that were not anticipated. One of the effects is an alleged rise in domestic violence. Recently I read an article about the rise of domestic violence as a result of the stresses that come with bad housing markets, high unemployment rates and the dissipation of assets by virtue of the plunging stock market. While I'm not sure that there is 100%correlation to the bad economy and rising domestic violence cases, I do believe that stress can have an impact on how people deal with difficult situations and children. If you are currently in a situation where domestic violence is threatened, or has occurred, I urge you to seek help. If you live in Orange County, Florida please contact Harbour House at (407) 886-2856.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Virtual Time-Sharing

Technology is a wonderful thing and there are many ways that people are using technology as a tool when it comes to issues related to their children in divorce. It seems that many states are recognizing virtual visitation and have included this in their divorce decrees whereby parents are able to "visit" with their children online. I don't believe that virtual visitation should ever be a substitute for actual contact, but I think when children live in a different state from their parents, or in some cases, are in the military and overseas, virtual time with a parent is far superior to a phone call. I also think it gives children an opportunity to have a face to face conversation with a parent and allow them to share pictures and other visual things that may help the parties connect when they can't be together in person.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Illegal Filing Fees in Divorce

Last summer there was an increase in court filing fees that occurred state wide here in Florida. What was more shocking for most of us was not that the courts were charging $408.00 rather than $363.00 for a new divorce filing, but that there would be a $295.00 charge for all counter-petitions. Seems like many people around the state are in an uproar over the charge for a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage. Some county clerks are continuing to charge this fee even after the Attorney General issued a formal opinion that stated that the filing fee for counter-petitions was not authorized in family law cases. Now the clerks of the court are subject to a class action suit which has been filed in Hillsborough County about the wrongful charging of these filing fees. It'll be interesting to see how this all pans out, but I would hope that the clerks would have to return these fees to the people who have already paid them and to stop collecting the fees from future counter-petitioners.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Much Money Does One Person Need?

I'm always shocked and appalled when I hear about people who ask the courts to provide them with unreasonably large divorce settlements, especially in what I consider to be a short term marriage. For most people, if you haven't been married for at least ten (10) years, alimony is the exception and not the rule and settlements are based strictly on what assets the marriage has obtained during the marital period. I was forwarded a story by one of my employees about a woman who was married in 2002 and is seeking to obtain a settlement that would support her need to have $53,000.00 per week for her living expenses. Her list of weekly expenses she has, among other things, $8,000.00 for travel expenses and $4,500.00 for clothing. The issue is that she signed a Post-Nuptial Agreement whereby she would get $43 Million and she wants to set that agreement aside. Some lawyers seem to think that she would get far less than $43 million if the agreement were to be set aside, and given the length of the marriage, I would tend to think that would be the case. Now I'm sure that this woman believes that she cannot live off of less than $53,000.00 per month and that she has a major concern about burning through her divorce settlement in 16 years. However, the real question is whether there are enough marital assets that entitle her to a $43 million settlement in the first place. If there are only $50 million worth of marital assets, she is arguably only entitled to $25 million in a settlement. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out, but I have a suspicion that Marie Douglas-David is going to wish that she had taken the first offer of settlement, because it is usually the best one in divorce. Be careful what you wish is a mantra that holds true often, especially in a divorce.

To read the article that this blog is based upon, see:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Key To A Happy Relationship

I may be a divorce attorney, but believe it or not, I am not an advocate for divorce. In fact, I wish that more people were able to make their marriages work and I am always on the look out for helpful advice for people who are in healthy relationships and are looking for ways to continue to stay happy. While I don't agree with all the advice that is in the article to follow, I do believe that this atricle has some good advice and tips for staying on the right track in your relationship.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Do, For the 23rd Time.

There is a woman in Indiana who holds the Guinness World Record as the most married woman and she recently wed for the 23rd time. Its reported that she have married so many man that she can't remember them in order, the longest marriage lasting 7 years and the shortest one lasting 36 hours. I am flabbergasted by this, for many different reasons, the most important reason being, why continue to get married if you have no intention of making the marriage work? The most I've known someone, client or otherwise, to be married was 6 times, and I thought that was an unbelievable amount of times to be married. 23 marriages is definitely something for the tabloid papers and for all of us to say, WOW.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Campaign to Strengthen Marriages

The Florida Family Policy Council is launching a new statewide campaign called, "Strong Marriages Florida." Its aim is to strengthen marriages and reduce the high divorce rate here in Florida. The aim is to teach people how to have healthy relationships in hopes that it will encourage strong marriages and less divorce. We'll see whether this newest attempt to reduce the Florida divorce rates will be successful.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

14 Kids and Counting

By now, I'm sure there are very few Americans who have not heard of Nadya Suleman. You may not know her name, but you may know her story. She is a 33 year old, divorced mom who just gave birth to octuplets in California. The kicker is that she has six other children and they were all conceived by invitro-fertilization. I'm sure that this story has left a lot of people scratching their heads for many reasons. The questions have abounded, how she is going to be able to afford and take care of her children. There are other questions that are being raised concerning whether there should be restrictions and regulations put in place for IVF. Should you have to show a W-2 that shows you can support your children before you are allowed to go through IVF? Should there be a restriction on how many children you are allowed to have when you use IVF? While I strongly believe that having 14 children, whether that is through natural or artificial means, is socially irresponsible, I wonder whether we need to be careful with the types of restrictions we put on IVF. We tell someone you can't use IVF because they have too many children or not enough income, do we have the same right to tell someone that they can't have children the old fashion way because they don't have enough money or already have too many children? My question is where do we draw the line, and have our legislatures thought about the constitutional implications on putting restrictions on IVF? With new technology comes new social and legislative challenges. Hopefully we are able to look at the big picture to insure that whatever restrictions are put in place are not over-turned for Constitutional reasons.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Book about Divorce and Fatherhood

Many people are aware of the bitter divorce battle between Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger, and now Mr. Baldwin has written a book about his experience with divorce where he vilifies his ex-wife and the legal system. While I agree with him that there are plenty of attorneys' out there who pillage their client's who have large bank accounts, I believe that it is slightly unfair to put all of us into that category. Many divorce attorneys do their best to get their client's to the other side of divorce emotionally and financially in one piece. However, sometimes it is hard to control the other side if they are filing pointless motions and creating legal fees. When this happens, the best advice that I can give to my clients is to try to remain calm, let the system run its course and know that if they can get into the courtroom with clean hands, it will be in their best interest. The process can destroy you if you let it, and I think that this is something that Mr. Baldwin and other non-celebrities can relate to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Escaping Death and Divorce

So many stories come out about people attempting to evade paying child support, alimony payments or splitting of marital assets. People will hide assets, fail to disclose income or simply hide cash under a mattress in order to escape these dirty words in divorce. However, rarely do you hear about someone faking his or her own death in order to escape these things. That's just what an Alabama may have done to escape divorce issues as well as other financial problems. Again, truth is stranger than fiction.

To read about this story, see:

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Want A Divorce, And My Kidney Back!!!

I always love hearing about all the crazy divorce cases out there in other states that have unique and news worthy aspects to them. The latest case is about a man in Long Island who is asking for a divorce and wants his kidney back that he donated to his Wife. You'd be surprised how often things like this come up in a divorce, most often I hear about men wanting restitution for the plastic surgery that their wives have had during a divorce, most commonly breast augmentation. Generally speaking, these requests don't have any bearing in a divorce case, but they do make the news. Chances are, this guy has no shot at getting his kidney back, but if New York is a fault state, and if his Wife is at fault for the divorce, he may be given some money for that kidney, if the Judge buys his argument. Again, the truth is always stranger than fiction.

Click on the link below to access the story:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Immigration and Divorce

There are many areas of law that are tied to family law, most common are bankruptcy, real estate and immigration. I am by no means an expert in immigration law, but often times I am asked about whether not an H-4 Visa is valid during and after a divorce. An H-4 visa is a dependent/spouse Visa that is issued when your spouse has a H-1B Visa. You cannot work with an H-4 visa but you are allowed to remain in the United States with your spouse. The H-4 visa is valid until it expires, and will also terminate when your divorce is finalized. It will remain in effect during your separation period, but upon your final divorce decree, it will terminate. Therefore, you must file paperwork to change your status and request a new visa with a new classification before the finalization of your divorce. If you do not do this, you can possibly be deported or required to leave the country on your own accord. If you are concerned about immigration issues in your divorce, I highly suggest that you meet with an experienced immigration attorney before starting the divorce process, or in the alternative, hire an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of immigration.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stress of Divorce

There was a story that hit the papers a few weeks ago about a man who shot his ex-wife and her family and then committed suicide. He was a churchgoing man, and every article on the Internet had statements from people in the community who knew him and stated that they had no idea who that man was, that the man they knew was gentle and would not hurt anyone. Divorce is extremely stressful, and the fall out after the divorce can be even more stressful if you don't take control of your life and take care of your emotional well being. Do not under estimate the toll that divorce can take on your emotions, don't be scared to ask for help, and surround yourself with a support system that will help you through tough times. Yes, divorce can be rough, but you can get through it. If you are harboring unresolved anger or feelings of violence towards your soon to be ex, I suggest that you seek the professional help that you need in order to let go of that anger. There are plenty of support groups and mental health professionals out there who can help, just don't be afraid to ask for it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Credit Card Debt and Divorce

One of the major issues that most people are facing in divorce these days are high amounts of credit card debt. Who is responsible, who is going to pay for it and how to pay it down are the major questions faced by all people going through divorce. Some people are forced into bankruptcy, others are saddled with the lion's share of the debt because their soon to be ex refuses to pay on the existing joint debt. The following article provides tips and helpful advice to people, both married and getting divorced, who are swimming in credit card debt.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year.....Can I Get Divorced Now?

January tends to be a very busy month for family law lawyers. Many people decide to wait until after the holidays to start the divorce process, some people decide the new year will give them the opportunity to start fresh. Our phones tend to be very busy the first week in January with people who are coming in for consultations and for people who have already met with us who are now ready to start the divorce process. I'm always curious as to the reasoning behind why people wait until January to get a divorce. Is January any better than December? If you get divorced around the holidays, does this scar the holidays for you for life? For all of you out there who have waited until January 1st to start your divorce, I invite you to post your comments here as to why you decided now is the time to start the process.