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Blog Categories: Business & Corporate Law | Criminal Defense | Divorce | General Law | Marital and Family Law | Real Estate | Wills, Trusts & Probate


Who gets the Family Dog in a Florida Divorce?
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulDivorce can be acrimonious. Spouses often wrestle over who gets the family home, the timeshare in the Keys or even the big screen TV. But, what about the family dog or cat?  If the parties are going to split custody of the kids, then why not share the family pet.
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What Is A Diversion And Am I Eligible
By Philip Bonamo - Partner

PhilOne of the first things I look at when I am retained to represent someone in a criminal case is whether they are eligible for what is referred to as a Diversion.  This can mean different things in different jurisdictions, but what I am referring to is whether the criminal case can be taken out of the regular court that it is pending and for a favorable result or outcome.
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Things to NOT Do If You Are Arrested:
By Philip Bonamo - Partner

PhilIt is very important to realize that if you are arrested for any crime, it can be tempting to do certain things due to being scared, upset, and confused about the situation.  When I am speaking with someone after they have been arrested (or if they have not been arrested, but are the subject of a criminal investigation), I find quite often that they have done one or more things that they should not have when dealing with law enforcement.
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Recent Court Case Rejects Husband’s Adultery Claim
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulIn an opinion issued on September 16, 2016, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected a husband’s claim that he should not be required to pay alimony due to his wife’s adulterous behavior. The Appellate Court, based in Daytona Beach, Florida, reasoned that while a trial court may consider evidence of adultery, such consideration would depend on the circumstances of a particular case.
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The storm may have passed, but who is going to pay for the damage?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattThe greater Daytona Beach area is a beautiful place to live and that is in large part due to its numerous trees.  Although a large number of individuals were fortunate enough not to have sustained extreme property damage due to Hurricane Matthew, many homeowners are currently dealing with fallen trees that have harmed their homes or are littering their lawns.
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Can I still get a divorce if my soon-to-be Ex has declared bankruptcy?
By Kayla Hathaway

Kayla HathawayMost people know if a party opposite you in litigation files for bankruptcy it would normally mean the litigation needs to cease at least until the bankruptcy case is over and possibly forever. A divorce proceeding creates some special exceptions to this normally rigid rule.
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Supportive Relationships in Florida and Effect on Alimony
By Philip Bonamo - Partner

PhilThe family law courts in our state over the last several years have been seeing a larger number of what is called 'Supportive Relationship' cases. When a spouse in a divorce case is awarded spousal support or alimony, the payment award is usually terminated, by operation of law, upon the remarriage of the former spouse.
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Why Should I Pay for an Initial Divorce Consultation if Other Attorneys Offer Them for Free?
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulThe old adage that “you get what you pay for” is never more true than in the legal field.  And, while I’m on old adages, don’t forget that Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying that “a lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.” In other words, all that we lawyers have to sell is our time and advice.
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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Retirement Accounts in Florida Divorce Cases
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paul1. Is my retirement account a marital asset? Answer: Any contributions to a retirement account during marriage together with the increased value of those contributions due to market gains are considered a marital asset. The fact that the account is just in one spouse’s name and further that the contributions were made by the employee spouse or his or her employer does not affect the marital character of this account.  
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Florida Divorce Procedure
By Elizabeth King

LizIn Florida, the legal term for a divorce is “dissolution of marriage.” The two simple requirements to dissolve a marriage are: 1) one party must be a Florida resident for more than six months prior to filing and 2) one party must allege under oath that the marriage irretrievably broken. Each divorce encompasses a different set of circumstances.
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What rights does a creditor have in a bankruptcy case?
By Kayla Hathaway

Kayla HathawayBankruptcy is a process by which consumers or businesses can eliminate or repay some or all of their debts under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court. If you’ve received a notice from a bankruptcy court that a person or business that owes you money has filed for bankruptcy, you might assume you don’t have any rights throughout the process but that is far from the case. 
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Appellate Court Rules Judge Can’t Choose One Parent’s Religious Beliefs Over the Other’s
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulThe parties, who are both Jewish, divorced in 2011. In 2015, the former husband moved to hold his ex in contempt for enrolling their children in an Orthodox Jewish aftercare program in violation of their shared parenting agreement, which required the parties to share in making such major decisions. 
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Debt Which Husband Obtained by Forging Wife’s Name was Declared His Non-Marital Debt
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulThe husband in a Florida divorce action versus Brevard County forged his wife’s name on a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to cover his obligation to invest $100,000.00 in a start up bank, where he sat on the board of directors. The wife later learned of the HELOC when the lender called threatening to foreclose on the home due to non-payment.
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Florida Court Rules Only One Parent Needs to Consent to Surgery on Child
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulIn what appears to be a case of first impression, a Florida Appellate Court recently ruled that state law only requires one parent to sign off on surgery for a child. The divorcing parents were separated and had equal custody rights to their children. The mother gave consent for their 3 year old child to have adenoid and ear-tube surgery.
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In What County Will My Lawsuit Be Filed?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattWhen someone believes they have been harmed they often turn to the judicial system for a remedy. But what happens if the potential defendant lives in another location? Although a person's first inclination may be to seek out the help of an attorney in their city, they must first determine whether it is even appropriate for the local court to preside over their case.
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How to Choose the Best Divorce Lawyer in Daytona Beach or Volusia County
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulChoosing a lawyer these days is much different than it used to be. Back in the day, communities were smaller and there were less lawyers from which to choose. Most people in town knew the names of the best lawyers or knew who to ask to find the names of the best ones. Over the past 20 years, law schools have sprung up all over the state of Florida.
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Abandonment of the Marital Home- is such a recognized theory in a divorce case in Florida?
By Philip Bonamo - Partner

PhilI am often asked when I consult and meet with people regarding a dissolution of marriage if he/she leaves the marital home are they abandoning the home or property, and as a result, will he/she lose their interest in the home? This is followed by the statement that their friend, family, and/or their spouse have indicated this to him/her.
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Primer on Government in the State of Florida
By Jim Rose

JimPrimer on Government: Florida has several layers of government. Below is the basic make up. Federal Government: Florida has two United States Senators of the 100 total, Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R). Florida has 27 United States Congressmen of the 435 total.
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Does Adultery Affect a Divorce in Florida
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulAs a divorce attorney with over 30 years of experience, I can tell you first hand that marital infidelity is the number one cause for the breakup of marriages. While a researcher might say my evidence is anecdotal, client after client appears for their initial divorce consultation asking, “Does it matter that my spouse is cheating on me?”  The short answer is no.
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Labor Department Announces Changes to FLSA White Collar Overtime Exemption Rules
By Kayla Hathaway

Kayla HathawayOn June 30, 2015 the Department of Labor “DOL” released their long awaited proposed rule changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act or “FLSA” white collar overtime exemptions. The FLSA requires most employers to pay their employees at least minimum wage for each hour worked and to provide overtime pay at the rate of time-and-a-half for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, with certain exemptions.
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An Important Condominium Issue To Be Aware Of - Florida Statute 718.110(13)
By Matthew Shapiro

mattFor some people the purchase of a condominium unit signifies a change in lifestyle.  They are moving from their detached home with its lawn and frequent maintenance to a relatively care free unit often overlooking the ocean, a river, or a golf course.  However, not everyone shares this vision.
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Florida Supreme Court Upholds Validity of Prenuptial Agreement
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulIn an opinion released on September 10, 2015, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of a prenuptial agreement were broad enough to waive a wife’s claim to any assets owned by husband at the time of the agreement or acquired in his name thereafter, including any enhancement of property titled in husband’s name that was acquired or enhanced during the marriage with marital labor or earnings. 
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Employee Handbook
By Kayla Hathaway

Kayla HathawayAn employee handbook is an important communication tool between an employer and their employees. Every employer, no matter the size, should consider implementing an employee handbook. A thorough and well written handbook sets forth the employer’s expectations and describes what an employee can expect from their employer.
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Divorce - A New Chapter In Your Life
By Elizabeth King

LizMy clients often report that they feel one hundred per cent better after their first consult.  The road to an appointment with a divorce lawyer spans many miles. During that first visit, we discuss exactly what to expect during a divorce.
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Let's Talk About That Mortgage!
By Elizabeth King

LizEquitable distribution is a mouthful that describes the division of the parties' marital assets and liabilities during a divorce. We divorce lawyers aim to protect our clients' assets. We also help divide up what has been accumulated during the marriage- the cars, the boats, the furniture, the bank accounts, the pensions, IRAs, jewelry, collections and electronics!
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Tenants in Foreclosure
By Matthew Shapiro

mattIt is the nightmare of every tenant.  You pay rent, don’t cause any trouble, and suddenly you learn that the property you live in is going through a foreclosure. Worse yet, some tenants do not become aware of the foreclosure until after it is completed and the new owner expects them to vacate the property. The question becomes, how fast must a tenant relocate?
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Does the Homeowners Association Have Teeth?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattA Homeowners Association, also known as an “HOA,” is an interesting creature of statute. When an individual buys a property governed by an HOA they automatically become a member of the association and their property is subject to the restrictions set forth in the Declaration of Covenants.
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Parental Responsibility
By Philip Bonamo - Partner

PhilUnder the dissolution of marriage statute in the state of Florida, when the parties have minor children, one of the first matters that must be decided and made part of what is called the Parenting Plan, is parental responsibility for their children.
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Unmarried Parenting Plans
By Elizabeth King

LizAccording to a recent poll cited in the New York Times, marriage is disappearing. More than 40 per cent of new mothers are unmarried. Many young adults find themselves drifting into parenthood unintentionally. 
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What About The House?
By Elizabeth King

LizOne of the many difficult decisions divorcing couples face, involves what to do with the  their single most valuable marital asset- the marital home. 
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Are You Prepared to File for Divorce
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulAccording to leading legal research website, Westlaw, March is the peak month for divorce filings.  Divorce filings uptick in January and reach a crescendo in March. This phenomenon is no doubt related to new year’s resolutions and people’s commitment to take action and make the changes they feel are necessary in their lives.
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Alimony Reform - Stay Tuned...
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilIn the next few weeks, our Florida Legislatures will be convening for their annual legislative session in Tallahassee. Hundreds of bills and legislative proposals on a variety of issues will be addressed in subcommittee meetings and by the State House and Senate as a whole during the session in March and April.
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Asset Protection – Avoiding the Fraudulent Transfer
By Matthew Shapiro

mattMost every lawsuit has two phases: obtaining a judgment and collecting on the judgment.  When an individual loses a lawsuit or is threatened with a lawsuit one of their first thoughts is how to shield their assets so as to prevent collection.
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Modification
By Elizabeth King

LizOnce your divorce or paternity action is final you may think you will never have to re-visit those issues again. The ink is dry on the Final Judgment! It has been filed with the clerk’s office! After all that time and trouble, everyone has adjusted to a new routine. But wait a minute!
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Relocation After Divorce
By Elizabeth King

LizWhen parents with minor children divorce, the court is required to enter an order  including a parenting plan with a timeshare schedule among other things. In the years that follow, it is likely that at least one of the parents will plan to move out of the geographic area.
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Same-sex Marriage in Florida Opens the Door to Same-sex Divorce
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulWhile hundreds of same-sex couples happily lined up this past Tuesday to get married after a federal judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, Florida divorce lawyers readied their practices for more business.
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End of the Year Legal Tune Up
By Jim Rose

JimAs we come to the end of 2014, it is a good idea to review the different aspects of your legal documents. Check your will and estate planning documents (will, trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will and Preneed Guardianship Designation).
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Anybody Home?
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilI read with interest a recent article from the Daytona Beach News Journal of a case where the court ruled that the State prosecutor’s office could not use any evidence in a case of drugs and contraband that were obtained by the police through the execution of a search warrant on a house.
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Will My Child Be Able to Testify in Court?
By Elizabeth King

Liz

We receive many questions about the age when a child may testify in court.  During a divorce proceeding- especially contentious ones- where the parenting plan is in dispute, the children wind up squarely in the middle. 


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Cell Phone Privacy
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

Phil

The Florida Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision last month, ruled on the side of privacy and personal protections, by holding that law enforcement/police in Florida must first obtain a search warrant before they can use a person’s cell phone information to conduct “real-time” tracking of someone and their whereabouts.


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When Someone Dies – The First 48 (Part One)
By Matthew Shapiro

mattWhen a death occurs the surviving family members are often faced with numerous questions and uncertainties as to their responsibilities.  One of the first issues that must be addressed is how the body will be cared for.

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Marriage and Divorce- It Isn’t That Easy In the Sunshine State
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilOver the last several months in Florida, there have been several interesting cases that have emerged in family court divisions around the state, which eventually will make its way to conclusions at the State’s Appellate Courts, and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Cyberstalking
By Elizabeth King

LizEmotions may run high between partners or spouses during or in the aftermath of a divorce. The temptation to lash out at one another using Facebook or Twitter should be avoided. Unfortunately, statistics demonstrate that incidents of cyberstalking are on the increase nationwide.
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Modifying Child Support
By Elizabeth King

LizA party who seeks to change in the amount of court ordered child support bears the burden of proving a substantial change in circumstances.  A substantial change in circumstances is defined as  significant, material, involuntary and permanent in nature.
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Stop, Collaborate and Listen: An Overview of Mediation
By Matthew Shapiro

mattDuring the 1980s, a scholar, poet, and overall gentlemen by the name of Vanilla Ice released the hit single, “Ice, Ice, Baby.”  For those who know the song, it opens with Vanilla Ice emphatically shouting, “stop, collaborate and listen.”
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Same Sex Divorce Action Dismissed by Florida Judge
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulA judge in Hillsborough County, Florida has refused to enter a divorce decree for a couple because the State constitution and its statutes do not recognize same-sex marriages. The same-sex couple was legally married in Massachusetts but now reside in Florida.
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Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex
By Elizabeth King

LizFlorida law favors shared parental responsibility after a divorce with minor children. Judges frown on parents who try to alienate one parent from another. Florida Statute §61.13 acknowledges that the parent who tries to facilitate a relationship with the other acts in the best interest of the child.
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Checklist for Drafting Commercial Leases
By Jim Rose

JimWhen negotiating a commercial lease, the below checklist will help identify issues that need to be addressed.
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Postnuptial Agreement Alive and Well...
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

Phil

I read with interest an article discussing the Iowa Supreme Court recently upholding as valid and enforceable in that sate a couple’s post-nuptial agreement that was entered into and signed by the parties in the State of Florida over 20 years ago.


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Evictions: How Fast Does the Clock Tick?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattWhen a property owner seeks to evict a tenant they always want to know how long the process will take.  For most, the initial impression is that the entire action takes approximately forty-eight hours, or that an eviction is as simple as changing the locks.
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Domestic Violence Injunctions
By Elizabeth King

LizAs society has developed  an increased awareness of domestic violence and its corrosive effect on families, our laws have become increasingly complex.  Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma and sometimes death.
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Buying A Home (Part 1)
By Jim Rose

Jim

Buying a home may be the biggest single investment of your lifetime.  A life’s savings may be invested in this one venture. Thus, it is extremely important that you, the prospective buyer, use the greatest caution in buying a home which will not only provide you with comfort, but will cause you as little trouble as possible while living in it and when you decide to sell it.


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The ‘Big Ticket Item’ in Most Divorces
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

Phil

For most couples ending their marriage, their home is usually the biggest asset.  For those lucky enough to have equity or value in the home, the question often arises as to how to distribute the value of the home’s net equity in a dissolution of marriage.


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More Moms Staying Home According to Pew Report, But Numbers Tell a Different Story
By By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulMore moms are staying home according to a recent study released by the Pew Research Center; however, those mothers are younger, poorer and less educated than their working counterparts.  Reversing recent trends, the analysis showed that 29% of mothers with children under 18 were stay-at-home moms compared to 23% in 1999. But, and it’s a big but, 34% of stay-at-home moms are in poverty versus only 14% in 1970. 
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Facebook and Your Divorce
By Elizabeth King

LizIt comes as no surprise that during a divorce emotions tend to run high. Very few of us, when faced with one of life’s most traumatic events are able to remain calm and detached at all times.  We all have a tendency to want to circle the wagons, round up our allies  and disparage those who may have hurt us.
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Is a Penny Saved Worth a Lawsuit Earned?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattIn the world of internet search engines, information “clouds”, and ready-made forms, I have increasingly noticed that individuals are attempting to self-draft their own legal documents.  As someone who prides himself on being cost-conscious, I do not begrudge people who are trying to save money in order to use it to grow their businesses or to invest it in other ventures. 
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Florida and Over-Criminalization
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilI read with interest the attached article from Daniel McCarthy, who is with the Center for Florida Tax Reform, Department of Social Justice. I encourage you to read it as well. In his article, Mr McCarthy highlights what many attorneys and others in the criminal court system in Florida have noted for years- that the Florida legislature has over the last decade expeditiously classified many low-level, non-violent actions as Third Degree Felonies.
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Divorce After 50: An Epidemic?
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulWhile the divorce rate of the entire U.S. population has remained fairly steady, the rate for the “over 50" set has risen dramatically.  In 1990, one in 10 people who got divorced was over the age of 50. In 2010, it was one in four.  A half century ago, less than 3% of Americans older than 50 were divorced. 
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The Role of Mediation in Divorce and Family Law Cases
By Elizabeth King

LizMost contested divorces and other types of family law cases resolve by informal or formal mediation.   Mediation is a confidential meeting between the parties, their attorneys and a neutral third party.  During mediation the parties attempt to reduce to writing an agreement that resolves either all or part of the disputed issues. 
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Another legislative session - here we go again with alimony reform
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilThe Florida Legislature will reconvene for it annual session on March 4, 2014.  As with every year, there will be a host of topics for the Florida state House and state Senate to consider- from education, to state health insurance coverage, and once again this year an attempt to revamp the alimony statute in Florida. 
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Picking Your Personal Representative
By Matthew Shapiro

mattWhen people make a will they generally focus on what they wish to have done with their property upon their passing.  Although that is certainly important, one of the most overlooked aspects of estate planning is choosing the right person to carry out your instructions.


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As a criminal defense attorney
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilAs a criminal defense attorney I hear the above statement at least a few times a week.  The truth of the matter is that if the criminal allegations and charges are dismissed by the prosecutor, that is great, but the information pertaining to the arrest and the nature of the charges are still part of the public record and able to be viewed and the records accessible.
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Text messaging during your contested divorce- Just Say No!
By Elizabeth King

LizSo you and your spouse have decided to go forward with the divorce. The time to disengage has finally arrived! Now would be an excellent time to change your text messaging habits. Text messages have become a favored method of communication across all ages and demographics.
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Can I file for a Divorce in Florida?
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilThe above question is really the starting point in all cases, including a family law case, such as a dissolution of marriage or otherwise known as a divorce.  When I am consulting with a person regarding a dissolution of marriage case, the first topic area I address is what is referred to as jurisdiction. 
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Who Pays for the Tab?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattVery few people would ever dispute that litigation is an investment.  Although some cases are for money while others are to achieve a non-monetary goal, all court related matters are about improving one’s quality of life or obtaining that which they deemed to be owed.  In other words, the key is a betterment of the status quo.


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Alimony and Taxes
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilA question I get often during consultations in dissolution of marriage cases is what are the tax implications for paying or receiving alimony or spousal support. The presumption under the IRS Regulations is that alimony paid is a tax deduction for the payer spouse or former spouse, and is taxable income for the recipient spouse or former spouse.
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Children First
By Elizabeth King

LizOne of the best things you can do for your family during a divorce is to think hard at outset about what it means to put your children first. Determine what changes you need to make in your own attitude and conduct to reflect that decision. This advice applies regardless of your spouse’s anticipated behavior in relation to the children.   Don’t get drawn into the blame game and the “tit-for-tat.”
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The Devil is Always in the Detail
By Matthew Shapiro

mattA will is the most common instrument associated with estate planning and is a document most people are familiar with due to movies, television, and other forms of media.  One question many clients have is how formal does a document have to be in order for it to be considered a valid will.  Technically speaking, any piece of paper can serve as a will so long as it satisfies certain requirement as to formality.


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New Rights for Homeowners and Associations.
By Jim Rose

JimThe Florida Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling that increased the potential liability of developers and home builders throughout Florida for shoddy infrastructure work.  A homeowner’s association in Orange County sued its developer, Maronda Homes of Florida, because of streets cracking, driveways sinking, storm drains collapsing, lawns eroding and retention ponds overflowing in its gated subdivision. 


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But Honestly Uncle Sam, I did not know...
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilFamily law is constantly evolving and embraces many areas of the law other than just matrimonial litigation and issues of support, parenting/timesharing, and equitable distribution. Tax issues often figure prominently in a divorce and include issues of misrepresentation of income and/or deductions by one spouse which may result in additional tax, penalties and interest for both spouses, usually to the shock of the spouse who trustingly signed the tax returns as presented.

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Paternity Settlement Agreements
By Elizabeth King

LizIt is no secret that times have changed for those of us who recall  when the vast majority of children were born to married parents.  Just as the divorce rate has risen over the past decade, so has the number of children born to unmarried mothers. 


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Who Gets the Engagement and Wedding Rings in the Divorce?
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulThe important distinction between wedding and engagement rings is that the engagement ring is considered a gift that occurs before the marriage whereas the wedding rings are viewed as gifts during the marriage. 


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“I now pronounce you judgment proof.”
By Matthew Shapiro

mattWhen many people picture the benefits of marriage they often envision companionship, financial security, and a partner with which you can share your life experiences.  While all of those are certainly true, there is one benefit that is often overlooked – creditor protection.
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Keep on Truckin’....
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilEffective July 1, 2013, Florida Law 322.2615 was amended and now provides that, in certain circumstances, a driver who is facing an administrative suspension of his or her driving privileges due to a first time arrest for a driving under the influence (‘DUI’), may now request what is referred to as a “Review for Eligibility for a Restricted Driving Privilege.” This is generally called a “hardship license.” This is an important change to the law and requires a prompt decision. 


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More Law Regarding Your Property
By Christene Ertl

ChristineOn July 1, 2013 new laws regarding landlord/tenants, renting your homestead property and as to squatters rights became effective in Florida. As to rights effecting landlords and tenants, Fla.Stat.§83.64 was amended to provide that residential landlords may not retaliate against their tenant if the tenant has paid rent to a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association after demand is made by the association in order to pay the landlord’s obligation to the association. 
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Residential Real Estate Contracts
By Jim Rose

JimA real estate contract is an agreement between the Owner/Seller of a house and a Buyer.  The parties have to agree on the following issues:   

1.  Price.  The parties have to agree on the price of the home.  Retaining a knowledgeable realtor is a good first step in determining the value of the home. 
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When is a Landlord Liable for Personal Injury?
By Matthew Shapiro

mattAbsent a contractual modification, the law generally holds that a Landlord is not liable for injuries sustained on a rented property during the term of the lease.  There are, however, a few exceptions based on the theory that at times the Landlord is in a better position than the Tenant to prevent a certain injury.


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To File or Not To File, That Is The Question...
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilIn my practice of family law, I am often asked during consults by prospective clients, who have been served with divorce papers, if they need to file a written response to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  My first and immediate response is always yes, and I then confirm when they have been served.  This is important, for the law in Florida is that the person served must file a written response within 20 days after the date of being served. 
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What Assets Are Subject to Distribution in a Florida Divorce Action
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulIn dissolution of marriage (commonly referred to as divorce) cases in Florida, the concept of equitable distribution is utilized as opposed to community property when distributing assets and liabilities.  Equitable means fair not equal.  The first step in the equitable distribution process is to identify all assets and liabilities of the spouses. Then those assets and liabilities are characterized as either marital, non-marital or a hybrid of both. 


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Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
By Matthew Shapiro

mattThe “Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act” governs the relationship between landlords and tenants when they enter into a residential rental agreement.  On June 7, 2003, Governor Scott approved CS/HB 77 which serves to change certain laws in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act as of July 1st.  Below are three of the major changes that recently became law. 


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Thank You For Your DNA
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilThe United States Supreme Court, in last month’s decision of King v. Maryland, ruled that law enforcement has the right, and it is not a violation of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, to take a  swab of DNA from a person arrested, without the necessity of first obtaining a search warrant from a judge.
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Understand What you Execute: An Overview of the Florida Power of Attorney
By Matthew Shapiro

mattA Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document which delegates authority from one individual to another.  Specifically, the maker of the power of attorney, also known as the “principal,” grants the right to act on their behalf to an “agent.”
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Guardianships In The State Of Florida
By Jim Rose

JimIf a resident of the State of Florida becomes incapacitated and no Power of Attorney or Trust has been set up, it becomes necessary to set up a guardianship.  A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit courts of Florida in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated person.


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A New Tool For Condos and HOAS
By Christene Ertl

ChristineThe days of a community association (condo, hoa or cooperative) waiting years for a bank to foreclose so that the association can once again begin to receive much needed due and owing assessments is now history (for the most part).  On June 7, 2013, Governor Rick Scott approved HB87, Relating to Mortgage Foreclosures. 
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Is a Medical or Other Professional Practice a Marital Asset and, if so, How is it Valued and Distributed in a Florida Divorce?
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulThe Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that if a husband's law practice had monetary value over and above the value of its tangible assets, separate and distinct from the reputation of the husband, then the practice had "good will," and the good will that accumulated during the marriage was a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. 


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"But I Need To Drive!"
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilOne of the most important aspects of being a criminal defense attorney is to make sure that my client is aware of and understands the collateral consequences a criminal conviction can have for them. It can have a ripple effect for many reasons, and  one of the most important, for many of my clients, is the effect such can have on their privilege to drive.   

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Proposed Law Ending Permanent Alimony in Florida Vetoed
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulFour hours before it  was to  automatically became law, Governor Rick Scott on May 1, 2013 vetoed a measure that would have ended permanent alimony in Florida.  In light of the overwhelming majorities in the House (85-31) and Senate (29-11) that approved the bill, Floridians should anticipate a similar debate in the next legislative session. 
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Nuts & Bolts of Mortgage Foreclosure - Part 2
By Jim Rose

JimMy previous blog posting dealt with the basic statistics and information about mortgage foreclosures.  Below are things that you and the Lender must consider in regard to how to handle a potential foreclosure situation.

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Home Co-Ownership - You May Need An Attorney!
By Matthew Shapiro

mattWhen it comes to owning a home, co-ownership is certainly not uncommon.  Even if one were to ignore co-ownership between a husband and wife, there are times when multiple siblings inherit a home from a deceased parent, or scenarios under which friends and family split the cost of a mortgage by jointly owning a home.


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“But I’m on the Birth Certificate, so my rights to the child as the Dad are protected, right?”
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilAs a family law attorney, I hear the above question in some form or fashion quite often, and the short answer is no. If you are not married, and you have a child as an unwed father, simply having your name on the child’s birth certificate as the biological father will not help you if your relationship with the mother goes south, and she plans on  leaving you and taking the child.
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Nuts and Bolts of Residential Mortgage Foreclosures
By Jim Rose

Jim1. WHAT ARE MORTGAGES AND PROMISSORY NOTES

a.  Mortgage- a document that places a lien on real property to secure the payment of a loan reflected in a promissory note;
b.  Promissory note- document reflecting the amount a borrower pays and the terms under which it is to be repaid.


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“Alimony, Alimony payin’ your bills”…or maybe not
By Paul E. Rice, Jr. - Board Certified Divorce Attorney

paulThe Florida Legislature probably didn’t have Led Zepplin’s 1969 song “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” in mind when similar bills recently advanced in both the House and Senate which would eliminate permanent alimony in Florida.  Opponents of the bills say that, like “Living Loving Maid,” the proposed law is misogynistic ( ie. characterized by a hatred of women.)  On the other hand, a group known as Florida Alimony Reform has compiled an impressive list of real life “horror stories” about spouses, more often than not men, who have been buried by alimony awards.
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Probate, It Doesn’t Have to be Problematic
By Matthew Shapiro

mattIf you ask most individuals to describe the function of a will, chances are the majority will be able to at least state that it is a document used to transfer property upon one’s passing. Ask those same individuals to describe “probate” and you will you most likely be met with an inquisitive stare.
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"Can the cops search my mobile device without a warrant?"
By Philip Bonamo - Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney

PhilOne of the cornerstones of our legal protections in our society, the right to be free from search and seizure by the government unless and until the issuance of a search warrant by the court upon a finding of probable cause, may soon have application and become the law in the state of Florida in relation to our portable electronic devices.
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Have your contract and your tort!
By Christene Ertl

ChristineYou may have heard change is in the air for 2013, and apparently the Florida Supreme Court got the message. Recently our Florida Supreme Court made a major change in what type of claims may be made in contract dispute cases by ruling that the economic loss rule now only applies in product liability cases.
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