Family Law in Boca Raton

Family Law in Boca Raton

Contested Divorce

A divorce is contested if one, or both, of the parties cannot agree to the terms of the divorce. The terms which one or both Parties may be unable to agree include child custody / child visitation (now known as “Time-Sharing” in the State of Florida), child support, alimony and/or non-payment of alimony, and identification of and/or distribution of the marital assets and/or liabilities. A contested divorce is the most common form of divorce. In these cases, proceedings are filed and, if the Parties are unable to settle by negotiations and/or mediation prior to initiation of the action, the commencement of and/or continuation of litigation may be necessary. Here at SHAMY, EL FADEL & MAHONE, we will zealously advocate your position as to how to identify and fight for your rights to marital assets/liabilities, the valuing of marital assets/liabilities, division of marital assets/liabilities, and parenting plans for child custody and visitation (now known as Time-sharing in the State of Florida) with Minor Child(ren), child support, as well as, alimony, if applicable.

SHAMY, EL FADEL & MAHONE proudly represents men and women from all walks of life and serves the best interest of Minor Children throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties through trial in the family law legal process.

Uncontested Divorces in Family Law

Uncontested divorce means that both parties have agreed to the terms of the divorce. This includes the child custody, support and visitation, alimony, and distribution of the assets. In these cases, SEM Law Group will solely prepare an agreement that is filed with the Court once proceedings have been filed. This is the most cost effective form of divorce. SEM Law Group can offer flat fee retainers for this type of divorce.

Contested divorce means that one of the parties does not agree to the terms of the divorce. In these cases, proceedings are filed and litigation is necessary to advocate your position as it would apply to dividing the marital assets, child custody, child support, or alimony.

Florida has certain requirements to meet in order to initiate divorce proceedings. Affidavits regarding assets are required to be filed, as well as the threshold of “irreconcilable differences” to establish a basis for divorce. Additionally, Florida does not recognize legal separation. Contested divorces are expensive considering the likelihood of trial in most cases.

There is no state law that determines long term versus short term marriage and Courts assesses division of marital assets on a case by case basis since there is no direct or simple rule on what constitutes a long or short term marriage.

SHAMY, EL FADEL & MAHONE proudly represents men and women throughout the family law legal process. Serving Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach and Delray Beach residents.

Prenuptial Agreements In Family Law

Prenuptial, also known as antenuptial, agreements are contracts entered into by and between husband and wife that dictate how assets are distributed among the parties in the event of divorce. These agreements can be prepared at flat fee rates in most cases, and are crucial to fully protect any assets that may not have otherwise been considered marital property. In many cases, what husband or wife may have understood to not be subject to marital assets become a marital asset based on the duration of the marriage.

These agreements help to establish what is exempted from marital assets in the event of divorce. These agreements limit the scope of what constitutes marital assets in the event of divorce and are therefore exempt from proceedings, but on their own may not result in uncontested divorces. Additionally, these agreements have affect on limited any right to inheritance to a surviving spouse. Judges enforce validly executed prenuptial agreements, so having one in place will better protect assets unintended to be constituted as marital assets.

Child Support In Family Law

Notwithstanding the fact that custody has been granted to one of the parent, the non-custodial parent is responsible for child support. The difficult part is determining what amount is reasonable to be expected from the non-custodial parent. There are simple math formulas used to structure the amount that should be due and owing by the non-custodial parent. SEM Law Group has attorneys skilled in determining these amounts.

In the event child support is not paid, SEM Law Group is experienced in collecting child support from the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent has the right to have the non-custodial parent’s driver license suspended for failure to pay child support, as well as a right to revise visitation with post divorce proceedings. Similarly, the non-custodial parent may have rights in these situations. In either case, SEM Law Group is able to assist in these legal matters.

Custody and Visitation in Family Law

With all divorces, the issue of custody and visitation must be addressed when children are involved. This is of course a difficult and stressful experience for any parent; however, where children are involved this matter must be decided by the Court when not agreed upon by the parties.

The test to determine what parent receives custody is called, “Best Interests of the Child Test”. Although the wording of the test may seem simple and straight forward, there are many factors in determining what the best interests of the child are. Some of the relevant factors and issues used in the test are living conditions, work conditions, ability to financially support and provide a safe environment for your child, history of violence, keeping siblings together, as well as the child’s preferences, which is taken into consideration based on the child’s age and ability to make any such choice.

Notwithstanding the multiple considerations in divorces, custody issues are the primary concern of any Court, and much of the time is spent in determining custody. Considering in divorces, this is left up for the Judge.

Visitation Rights in Family Law

In the event the opposing spouse receives custody, establishing visitation rights is important to ensure you are able to participate in your child’s life or children’s lives. Visitation rights are also determined based on the factors of Best Interests of the Child. Considering children have the right to have both their parents in their life, custodial parents are not able to deny visitation by the other parent. Additionally, based on the changes of the factors levied to determine custody, visitation rights can be modified post divorce through filing Post Divorce Modifications.

The most important factor of visitation for non-custodial parents is having the Court Order that dictates visitation terms for the non-custodial parent. Only in very extreme circumstances can Court supervised visitation be ordered, and this generally occurs where there may be imminent danger to the child or health.

Post Divorce Proceedings

Custody/Visitation. Even though a parent may be awarded custody, this does not constitute a true permanent custody. Changes in circumstances that can affect the outcome of the “Best Interests of the Child” test can change visitation rights, or outright change custody, particularly if the custodial parent’s conditions negatively change.

Relocation. Most Court orders do not allow a parent with custody to move out of state. However, there are many situations where the parent with custody must leave the state for job or family, or other reasons. This will place strain on the right of the non-custodial parent for visitation. There is legal relief available to you in the event this should become an issue.

Child Support/Alimony. Upon completion of divorce proceedings, the Court Orders the distribution of assets, alimony, custody and support. Should one party fail to follow the Order of the Court, the party may be found in contempt of the Court’s Order. In this case, you have legal remedies available to you for the former spouses failure to follow the Court’s Order, whether that be failing to pay alimony, child support, or failing to follow Court Order for visitation rights.