The collaborative divorce process is confidential and based on the transparency of both spouses. The collaborative team is made up of two attorneys, a mental health neutral, and a financial neutral to guide you and your spouse through the divorce process. Each spouse set goals with the support of the full team. Then, financial information is gathered so the financial neutral can assess the assets and liabilities, with full transparency. The mental health neutral can work with the parties to develop a parenting plan and work through any emotions the spouse may feel during the process. Through team meetings and individual meetings, a resolution is reached and ultimately filed with the court. Through this process you decide the outcome with your team, not a judge, and your private financial information will stay out of the court file. Contact me for more information on the collaborative process, the time commitment, the cost, and low-cost collaborative options offered in Central Florida. Only attorneys who are collaboratively-trained can practice in this niche of the law.
In Florida, the law allows for a contested divorce or uncontested divorce. A dissolution of marriage by way of a contested divorce means that the court will decide issues such as division of assets, time-sharing, parental responsibility, division of debts and property as well as the award of alimony and child support. The process begins with one spouse filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court. If you are served with divorce papers you only have 20 days to respond. Contact us immediately if you have been served with papers.
An uncontested divorce means the parties agree on all issues such as division of property, assets, and debts, alimony, child support, and time-sharing schedule. Our firm would capture the agreement of the parties in a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) and a Parenting Plan which would be filed with the court. Depending on the County, the parties may not even have to attend a final hearing.
Flat fee divorce is designed for couples who have decided to divorce and wish to do so amicably. They have decided on how to settle issues such as division of assets and liabilities, child support, time-sharing, etc. I will assist you in finalizing your agreements into a final marital settlement agreement and handle the court filings. I will be with you every step of the way through the final hearing. By engaging me under the flat fee structure, the stress of unknown legal expenses is removed from the process. Cases must meet certain criteria to be accepted under the flat fee structure.
Flat Fee Pricing:
No minor children and no property to be divided: $2,500
No minor children and agreed property division: $4,000
Agree on child issues and no property to be divided: $4,500
Agree on child issues and agree on property division: $5,000
A Paternity Action is the legal process where a court determines the legal father of a child. It is where a court establishes child support and a time-sharing schedule for the parents.
Most paternity cases involve parents who were not married when the child or children were born. Although a court can establish child support and time sharing, other issues often present in dissolution of marriage cases are not available in a paternity action, such as support for the other parent (palimony) and distribution of assets. Until a child’s paternity has been legally established, a child’s father has no legal right to have contact with his child or children. Due to the possible consequences on time sharing and child support, unmarried parents should legally establish paternity as soon as possible after birth.
Both parents have an obligation to support their children (Child Support), generally until they turn 18 or graduate from high school. But, there are specific circumstances that may require payment past that time. Child support is calculated based on a statutory guideline, utilizing factors such as time-sharing, income, health insurance costs, and child care expenses to name a few. Florida Law allows parties to modify child support, alimony, and even timesharing plans, the party requesting a modification must prove a “substantial change in circumstances" (Fla. St. § 61.13).
I work with couples to draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that protect each party’s legal and financial rights in case the marriage dissolves later. I recommend contacting us at least three months prior to your date of marriage to allow sufficient time for both parties to contemplate and negotiate the agreement. Postnuptial agreements are created after the marriage but provide protection in the event of a future divorce.
Dependency cases are civil actions brought in court based on allegations of child abuse, neglect or abandonment under 39 of the Florida Statutes. In order for proceedings to initiate, there must be allegations that were communicated to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Once DCF determines your case is serious enough to investigate, an investigator will begin an inquiry into your family’s situation. Depending on the severity of your situation, a DCF agent may take emergency custody of your child and place them in a secure location. I have represented hundreds of clients who have had their children removed by DCF. I have also represented children as an Attorney ad Litem and a Guardian ad Litem.
It is a good idea for everyone to do some basic estate planning—that is, planning to make sure that your wishes are followed after your death, your family is spared unnecessary expense and delay, and that someone you trust will be in charge if you ever become unable to manage things on your own. We help you plan and draft the key Estate Planning documents. These include a will, to leave your assets and name your executor, a durable power of attorney for finances, to name someone to take care of your finances if it’s ever necessary, a living will, to spell out your wishes for end-of-life medical care, and a designation of health care surrogate, to name someone to make sure your health care wishes are honored. My people skills will make the uncomfortable discussion of Estate Planning comfortable for you during the entire process.