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Legally speaking, you are permitted to move in with a new partner even before your divorce is final. Whether you should do that or not though is another matter. Normally, it’s best to wait on that until after the divorce is final.

One reason not to move in with a partner is it will reduce your odds of receiving alimony, or will reduce the amount you receive. Under Florida law, if a person is living with someone in a “supportive relationship”, alimony can be reduced.

If you move in with your new partner before your divorce is final, the court may find that you have less of a need for alimony. However, if you wait until after the divorce is final and then choose to cohabitate, the alimony could be reduced at that time anyway.

If you choose to live with someone else during your divorce, that will not affect your child support award at all. Child support is based on the incomes of both parents, the number of children involved, who has primary custody of the kids, and a few other factors. Living with a partner is not taken into account in the child support calculation.

One big reason not to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend during the divorce process is that if minor children are involved, this new arrangement can be very tough on them. The kids will likely be confused and upset with the situation during an already tough time in their lives.

If you are going through a divorce, it’s likely that your financial situation is worse than before the divorce, and moving in with a partner may sound financially appealing. However, it’s best to hold off as long as possible, preferably until after the divorce is final.

If you have questions about divorce and living arrangements in Florida, call New Port Richey, Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He helps clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call him to schedule a consultation.


When a client visits with an attorney and wants a divorce handled quickly and inexpensively in Florida, and the attorney recommends a mediator, a private investigator, an accountant, and a financial planner, and potentially other professionals, the client may feel overwhelmed.

All of these professionals take extra time to work with, as well as extra fees. The client may wonder if these people are even needed.

In some cases, divorces can be fast and inexpensive, and extra professionals are not needed. If there are no children, few or no assets, and no disagreements about any fundamental issues, it’s possible the attorney is the only professional you will need to help with the divorce.

However, if your attorney is recommending that you work with those professionals, there is a reason. It’s because you need services beyond the scope of what any attorney can handle.

Mediators can help in your divorce, and can actually make the process less expensive. A mediator will help couples work through their issues to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. The mediator will remain neutral and will help keep negotiations flowing.

Mediators can help make the divorce less expensive, because mediation may mean that couples do not have to fight these issues out in court, which can be extremely expensive and time-consuming.

Private investigators are definitely not needed in every divorce, but they can be invaluable in some situations. If a spouse believes the other spouse is cheating and committing adultery, and he or she needs proof for the divorce, a PI can help. A PI may help a spouse determine if the other spouse is hiding assets. A PI can investigate to see how the children are being treated when they are with the other spouse.

Financials professionals, such as accountants and financial planners, can also provide a great deal of help. Accountants can help with tax issues or can help examine the financial records of a spouse for a variety of purposes. Financial planners can help the spouse figure out a financial plan going forward, after the divorce.

While it can be frustrating to use several professionals during what you believe should be a simple divorce, if your attorney says they are needed you should take that advice seriously. Your attorney can help you locate high-quality professionals with experience in divorce issues.

If you are going through a divorce in Florida and you are seeking a professional to help with the process, call New Port Richey, Florida, divorce attorney Dale Bernstein. You can reach him at 727-478-3250. He works in the divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida. Call him to schedule a consultation.


In Florida, a person who is the victim of domestic violence or is in immediate danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence can get a restraining order (also called an injunction for protection against domestic violence).

The judge will consider the history between you and the abuser, what type of actions the abuser has taken against you, any threats that have been made, the criminal history of the abuser, and any other actions of the abuser.

When you file for a restraining order in Florida, the court will consider two types of restraining orders: temporary, and permanent. The temporary order gives you immediate protection from the abuser.

As soon as you file the petition, the clerk gives the petition to the judge, and the judge will grant the temporary order as long as your paperwork is correctly filled out. The victim does not have to testify, and the abuser is not present.

The temporary injunction only lasts for a certain number of days, but no longer than 15 days.

Normally, before the temporary order expires, there will be a hearing about a final order. The final order will provide the victim with more protections, and will last longer than the temporary order. The final order may or may not have an expiration date – if it does not, either you or the abuser can ask to dissolve the restraining order.

If you have moved to Florida to get away from your abusive husband, you should immediately file a petition with the court asking for a restraining order. After that is granted, you may want to consider divorce proceedings.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He helps clients with restraining orders in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call to schedule your consultation.


This is a common question at tax time. In most instances in New Port Richey and elsewhere in Pasco County, the parent who gets to claim the children for income tax purposes will be listed in the divorce decree.

If the divorce decree is silent on the issue, normally the parent with whom the child spends the most number of nights during the year is the one who gets to take the deduction.

In some cases, the exemption may only benefit one parent, and in that case it is possible to change who takes the exemption by filling out a form with the IRS.

If your custody arrangement is later modified, the person who gets to claim the exemption is still the person listed in the divorce decree, unless it has been changed. If it’s not in the divorce decree, the custodial parent for that filing year is the one who gets to take the exemption.

If you don’t agree with the current tax arrangement, you have a couple of choices. You can either reach an agreement privately with your spouse about who will get to claim the kids each year. This is the best way to solve the issue.

If you two can’t agree, you will need to go back to court. In some cases, the court costs and attorney’s fees will make taking the case to court more expensive than the value you will be obtaining from the income tax exemption, especially if your child is older and is close to no longer being able to be claimed on your tax return anyway.

If one spouse would not benefit at all from claiming the child on his or her tax refund, but is entitled to claim the child, that spouse may work out an arrangement with the other spouse to give up the exemption for that particular year. The spouse who is giving up that right may ask for financial compensation in exchange for allowing the other spouse to use the exemption.

Neither taxes nor divorce are simple matters. If you have a question about taxes and child custody issues, you may need to speak with a Florida divorce attorney.

Call New Port Richey, Florida, divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He serves clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida. Call today to set up a consultation.


Long-distance visitation can be done a number of ways. If the children are small and cannot travel on an airplane alone, one of you or a trusted family member would have to accompany them. You can ask that your ex pay that expenses or agree to share it. You can fly to where the children are and stay with them. You could agree to drive and meet halfway.

You will need to work out a plan you are both comfortable with. If your ex is asking you to allow them to move out of state, you may ask for a large chunk of time in the summer and on other school breaks. You can ask for virtual visits on a regular basis using Skype or web cams, as well as phone calls.

However, you do not have to agree to let the children move away with your ex. Although you may get to spend large amounts of time with them in the summer, not seeing them in person or spending time with them in person may be damaging to your relationship.

You may feel that if they start a new life in another state that they will not consider you a regular part of their lives anymore. Although it’s important to maintain an amicable relationship with your ex for the sake of the children, you do not have to agree to a request that will separate you from your children.

If you do not agree, your ex will be forced to go to court to prove why the move would be in the best interests of the children. You will need to present a strong showing about why the move should not be allowed and would be damaging. For that hearing, you need an attorney who can evaluate your case and help you make a strong showing.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help divorced parents in relocation hearings in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more about what steps you should take.


Once a couple’s relationship has started going downhill and divorce is becoming a real possibility, some people start getting rid of assets. They may assume that if they can get assets out of their name, they will not be subject to division in the divorce. Some spouses will choose to sell assets to friends or family members for a low price or give them away and intend to get those assets back later after the divorce is final.

However, it’s not that easy to hide your assets from the divorce court. Everything that you two bought or earned during the marriage is marital property, and will be considered in the property settlement. If any of those assets were sold, the value of those assets will be included in what has to be divided.

If you haven’t even filed for divorce yet and your spouse is already hiding assets, it’s critical that you hire an attorney immediately. Although there’s still a possibility you could work things out, it’s important that you have someone in your corner that is looking out to protect your interests. If you wait until the divorce has been going on a while to hire an advocate for your interests, it can be more difficult for the attorney to undo what’s been done.

If you are contemplating a divorce in Florida and you are concerned that your spouse is beginning to hide assets, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to schedule a consultation on your case.


In some cases, divorces involving children that should be amicable turn ugly. One example is when parents refuse to do what they had originally agreed to in the divorce. A common example is when one parent, who agreed to do some or all of the driving to facilitate the custody agreement, later refuses.

Hopefully, in your situation your court order says that your ex must drive halfway for visitation with the children. If you do not have a court order or a signed agreement from him that says your ex has to drive halfway, legally he has no obligation to do so.

In that case, the only way you can make him drive halfway is either to get him to agree to do so voluntarily, or by taking him to court, which may not be easy. If you do have a court order, or another writing signed by him, which states he is to drive the children halfway, and he refuses to do so, you can take him to court for violating the order.

It would be easier and less expensive to get him to agree to begin driving the children than it would be to take him to court. A court hearing can be not only expensive but also time-consuming and emotionally wrenching. If you tell him that he is in violation of the court order and you are going to take him to court if he doesn’t start driving immediately, that may be the incentive he needs to start driving as he is supposed to.

I’m sorry to hear that you are having these issues with your ex. Divorce is almost never easy, and it becomes more difficult when children and an uncooperative ex are involved.

If you believe that your former husband or wife is in violation of your divorce decree, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida. Call to learn more.


Normally, if you move away without getting your child’s father to agree, you are in violation of the court’s order. You are essentially kidnapping your child, which can have very negative consequences for you.

You could face criminal charges, as well as lose custody of your child as a result of your actions.

If you want to move away from Florida, and the other parent of your child has not agreed, you have a couple of options. First, you can get him to agree. This may be difficult – he may not want his child to move away, or he may not care but may refuse to agree to make your life difficult.

It’s much easier if you can get him to agree. You may offer to reduce his child support payment. You may also agree to let your ex have more time with the child at other times, such as over summer break when the child is out of school.

If the other parent simply refuses, you will have to go to court. You would need to show the court why the move would be in the best interests of your child. The court will not be concerned with whether the move is in your best interest, but instead what is best for the child.

You could show that the move would allow your child to be surrounded by extended family members, or that it would allow you to take a better-paying job, which would provide more financial security for the child.

If you wish to move away and the other parent will not agree, it’s important that you present a strong case in court showing why you should be allowed to move. An experienced Florida custody attorney can help you present a strong case.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He helps clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call to schedule a consultation on your case.


Is Cheating Illegal In Florida?

Believe it or not, yes, it is illegal in Florida to cheat on your spouse. Florida law provides that adultery is a second degree misdemeanor, and is punishable by law.

However, as you can imagine, although that law is still on the books, it’s not enforced. Many people have cheated on their spouses in Florida, including Tiger Woods, and have not been convicted of a crime.

Cheating can make a difference in the divorce though. In order to get a divorce in Florida, you do not have to prove that any infidelity took place – you just have to tell the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

You can’t allege that the infidelity was the reason for the divorce. Instead, you will introduce evidence of your spouse’s adultery when it is time to divide the assets and award child custody and alimony.

In Florida, judges cannot award one spouse a larger share of the marital property because one spouse cheated. However, if one spouse used marital assets on his or her lover, the court can take that into consideration when dividing the property, and can award the wronged spouse more of the marital assets.

In general, cheating will not affect whether or not a spouse gets visitation with the children. It can, however, affect who gets custody.

If your spouse cheated, you may introduce evidence to the court showing how the cheating affected your children in a negative way, and the court may decide the adulterer should not have primary custody.

The court can take cheating into account when awarding alimony. The alimony award is not designed to punish the cheating spouse, however.

If you have been cheated on in New Port Richey, Florida or elsewhere in Pasco County, and you are considering divorce, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call him to learn more about your options.


Unfortunately, for some spouses, just because the divorce is finalized doesn’t mean they are in any hurry to leave the marital home. If your divorce is not final yet, normally your spouse has the legal right to stay in the home unless the judge has ordered otherwise. This is true even if only your name is on the deed to the home or the mortgage.

Normally, the ownership of the house is decided as part of the divorce process. If the house has been awarded to you, the judge will normally give your ex a set period of time in which to leave the home and get all of his possessions out of the home. If your ex is still there after that period of time has expired, it’s time to take action. First, tell your ex that the divorce decree states that he has to be out of the home by the date in the decree. If he refuses, you can call the police to have him removed.

If the divorce decree does not state that your ex has to be out by a certain date, or if the divorce decree does not clearly state that you have exclusive residency of the home, and your ex won’t leave, you need to go back to court. You could mention to your ex that you will ask the court to award you court costs and attorney’s fees. That threat may serve as a motivation to your ex to get out.

Unfortunately, some ex-spouses do everything they can to make the divorce process as difficult as possible, even after it’s over.

If your ex-spouse is violating your divorce decree, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works in the courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, and will provide you with a consultation on your case. Call to learn more.