If you have a question about divorce, child custody, alimony or other family law issue, we’ve answered hundreds of common questions we’ve been asked over the years right on this website.

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The court wants children to have a relationship with both parents, if possible.

The court will examine the entire situation, including the father’s history with the children, and why he was gone for so long.

A court normally will encourage the father to have visitation with the kids.

If you are concerned about these visits being too much, too soon, you need to address that with the court.

If you feel that your ex is not able to properly care for the children, you need to be prepared to show why.

Be ready to put forth a strong case about why visitation should not be allowed, or should be curtailed.

It’s likely that the court will order a schedule that allows your ex to get to know your children again over a period of time.

Visitation will probably start gradually, and then build up to a normal visitation schedule.

You can ask the court that no overnights be allowed for a period of time, or that the visitation be supervised.

You could also ask that you be present at the visitation at the beginning.

However, the court is unlikely to order supervised visitation for any extended period of time except in extreme circumstances.

Whatever visitation the court decides to order, it is up to you as a parent to show your children that you are ready to accept the situation.

If you are apprehensive, this can make your children nervous about the visits and could harm their relationship long-term.

If your ex has suddenly asked for visitation, you should speak with an attorney.

You need to present a strong case in court about why such visitation would be detrimental to the children.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250 to learn more about how to fight for your legal rights in court.

He works in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call his office today to schedule a consultation.


Are Prenuptial Agreements Upheld In Florida?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts that govern which spouse gets what assets in the event of a divorce.

But because they are marriage contracts, they are considered a special type of contract and have a lot of complex requirements that are not normally part of an ordinary contract.

If prenuptial agreements are carefully drafted, they can be upheld in Florida. They must be drafted and signed with extreme attention to detail.

Often, if a couple does divorce with a prenuptial agreement, both sides will spend large amounts of money either trying to throw out the prenuptial agreement or to uphold the agreement, especially if a significant amount of money is at stake in the divorce.

Therefore, it’s extremely important for each party to hire an attorney to carefully draft the prenup in accordance with Florida law.

In some cases, if only one party has an attorney, the prenuptial agreement may not be upheld later.

In addition, it’s likely that if you try to do your own prenuptial agreement, you will save some money at the beginning of the process, but you will spend a great deal more than you saved if the prenup is every challenged.

It’s also important that each side fully disclose their assets as they stand at the time of the agreement.

If one partner is not truthful about their assets or liabilities up front, before the agreement is signed, the prenuptial agreement may not be upheld.

Also, if one spouse expects to earn a high income, that fact should be disclosed as well.

The more complete the disclosure, the more likely the prenuptial agreement is to be upheld later.

Finally, the prenuptial agreement should be completed well before the marriage.

If one partner presents the other with a prenuptial agreement one day before the wedding, and demands that it be signed, it’s unlikely to be upheld later, since it was entered into under duress.

If you are engaged and are interested in talking about a prenuptial agreement in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.

Call him today for your free consultation.


It sounds like you have already moved away, which is normally not the best way to handle the situation.

If your ex-husband has custody rights and did not agree to allow you to move to another state, you could be forced to come back or to give up custody.

Even if your ex is not a great parent and your children hate visiting with him, he has legal rights and by taking the children without his permission, you violated those legal rights.

It will usually not look good for you in court if you moved away without arranging visitation, getting his permission, or seeking the permission of the court.

It’s likely that moving away will not solve the problem of visitation being traumatic for your kids anyway.

Unless your husband no longer wants to see your children after the move, which is doubtful, the court will award visitation to him, possibly for long periods of time since you will be out of state, which can make travel easier.

The better course of action would be to take your children to a therapist to deal with the issues and to see what can make the situation easiest for the kids.

You can then ask that the visitation be modified as recommended by the therapist.

If you do find yourself in court over the visitation issue, you need to present a strong showing about what arrangement will be in your children’s best interests.

You may choose to produce evidence about the visits with their father being traumatic for the children.

You should also be prepared to show why the move will be in the best interests of your children.

If your children are being traumatized by visits with their father or mother, and you wish to have more custodial time and fewer visits for the other parent, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He can help you work out a visitation agreement, and if an agreement cannot be reached, he can help you present a strong showing in court.

He works in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call him today to learn more.


Credit scores can take a nose dive during the divorce process for several reasons.

There may not be enough money there to pay for the expenses associated with a divorce, including two separate residences, and debt obligations can get ignored.

Unfortunately, after the divorce you may need good credit to be able to purchase a new home or vehicle.

If your credit score is harmed during the divorce, you may not be able to make those purchases.

When you first begin seriously thinking about divorcing, that’s the time to start taking steps to protect your credit score.

The first step to protecting your credit score is discovering which debts are yours, which are your spouse’s, and which you are jointly responsible for.

You can discover this by ordering a credit report. You may also consider signing up for a credit monitoring service so that you will be notified if there’s a change to your creditor history.

If possible, you should close all joint credit accounts that do not have a balance.

Tell the bank or creditor that you will not be responsible for any charges after that date.

Follow up with a letter, and keep a copy of it.

If a joint account does have a balance, request that a freeze be placed on the account to prevent future charges.

On all joint accounts, it’s important that you make sure that those accounts get paid on a regular basis.

If your payments are late during the divorce, this can hurt your credit score a lot.

Even if your spouse is responsible for the debt, your credit score will be hurt if the account isn’t paid.

Also, you should close joint bank accounts. You will most likely have to give your spouse half of the proceeds in the account – check with your attorney.

If you are concerned about protecting your credit during your divorce, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more.


Until you are ordered by the court to do otherwise, you can put your money into any account you please.

You should be aware (and you probably are) that if you take the money from the joint account that was presumably used to pay family bills, and you start putting it into another account, but don’t use that money to pay the mortgage and other bills, you could end up with a mess on your hands.

It’s common when a divorce is filed for a court to put temporary orders into place that will direct how a couple’s finances are to be handled while a case is pending.

The court may require temporary spousal support and/or child support, which could include an obligation to make payments to the spouse, as well as possibly responsibility for certain bills.

In some cases, the court may not do any of this.

If you are in the process of a divorce and your spouse has decided to keep his or her money, and you are stuck with bills that you have no way of paying, it’s important that you ask the court for temporary spousal support.

If your spouse’s income was used to pay all or some of the bills during your marriage, it’s likely that he or she will have to continue to pay those bills.

Also, if you are a spouse in the process of divorce and you wish to not deposit your money into a joint account for fear that your spouse will take it and hide it, you can ask that the court not award spousal support, and make a good case about why you should not be required to pay.

In either of those situations, you should seek the advice of a qualified divorce attorney.

An attorney can help advise you on the best arguments to make in court, and can be invaluable during the entire divorce process.

If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough County, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He is an experienced divorce attorney who can help you with your case.


A military no contact (also called a military protective order) is the military equivalent of a restraining order.

It is issued by a military member’s command. It basically says that the military member can have no contact with their spouse or children without being escorted by someone in their chain of command.

A military protective order can also order the military member to stay away from the children’s schools, move back into military housing on the post, attend counseling, surrender his or her weapons, or to take or stop taking other actions.

The individual’s commander can tailor the order to meet specific needs.

You can ask for a military protective order against an active duty member of the military, if he has abused you or your children, and is your spouse or ex-spouse, an intimate partner, or someone you have children in common with.

The military member’s commander has to agree to the order, and it will be issued.

Victims in same-sex relationships can also receive help. The order is generally only valid for a short period of time.

To get a military no contact order, you do not have to attend a trial or a hearing, or appear in front of a judge.

You will not even have to be in the same room as the abuser – you only have to speak to the person’s commander.

Although this is an easy process for the victim, these orders can be used unfairly against the military member, and can be issued without any real evidence of wrongdoing.

They can be used to gain the upper hand in a divorce, such as by giving the spouse the opportunity to move all children and possessions from the residence during the period of no contact.

If you have questions about military no contact orders, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He can help you with your divorce questions, and works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call to learn more.


In Florida, with a large number of elderly retirees, this is a common issue. However, it’s also legally tricky.

Some individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who want a divorce can file. Just because a person has been diagnosed does not mean they are mentally incompetent yet.

If a person who has been diagnosed with one of those diseases files for divorce and he or she is able to communicate during the procedure and make sound decisions, the divorce should not be any different than any other person’s divorce.

However, if a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia and is starting to show serious signs of mental issues related to the disease, divorce can be harder. In order to sue for divorce, a person must be mentally competent.

In many cases involving a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia who is starting to slip, a loved one will step in and ask the probate court to declare the individual as incapacitated, and to appoint a guardian.

This is called a guardianship proceeding. A guardianship takes away the legal rights of the individual whom is declared incapacitated.

In most cases, if a guardian is appointed, the incapacitated individual loses his or her right to sue, including for divorce.

However, the guardian may be able to sue for divorce on the individual’s behalf.

One quirk in Florida law is that if a person has been declared incapacitated, there is a three year waiting period before the individual can be divorced.

The law is intended to protect a mentally incompetent person from being divorced by a competent spouse and leaving them no ability to defend themselves.

Any divorce involving a person who is mentally incapacitated is tricky, and it’s advisable to get legal counsel through the process.

If you have questions in Florida about divorce and Alzheimer’s or dementia, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today for your consultation.


No, your ex cannot change your children’s visitation schedule when he feels like it.

If the court order specifies specific times he is to have the kids and you are to have the kids, the schedule must be followed.

However, if you two can both agree on a schedule change, the visitation schedule can be revised.

The key is that you two both must agree. One of you cannot decide to change the schedule without an agreement from the other spouse.

If you two have an amicable relationship and have had no major problems with visitation, you can probably verbally agree to make schedule changes.

If there have been issues in the past with changes in visitation, if you two can agree to a change, it should be in writing.

Some parents will refuse to revise the visitation schedule at all, not for any good reason, but simply to be mean.

For example, one parent may have an important event coming up, and the other parent will refuse to switch weekends to allow the children to attend the event.

An emergency may arise, and one parent may refuse to help out with the kids so that the family emergency can be attended to by the other parent.

In a situation where you really want your kids to attend an important event, such as your remarriage, you may consider asking the court for a temporary order allowing the kids to attend.

If you need emergency help with the kids and your spouse will not cooperate, consider asking friends or family members to help out in the immediate future, and consider asking the court for a revised custody schedule if it appears that the situation will be ongoing.

It’s always great when parents can work together on the custody schedule for the benefit of the children.

Unfortunately, in some cases one parent may make custody issues a constant battle.

If you are in the middle of custody problems in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He works in the divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call to learn more.


This is a very difficult, but actually common issue.

Because a spouse of an American citizen is able to obtain a green card, people who are desperate to get into the United States may pretend to fall in love with an American citizen just long enough to get a green card, and then dump the spouse promptly afterwards.

The spouse who perpetrates the fraud could face civil and criminal penalties, as well as possibly deportation.

If you believe that your spouse wanted you only for a green card and never intended to enter into a valid marriage with you, you may be able to get an annulment instead of a divorce.

An annulment is a court order that declares a marriage invalid. Not only does it dissolve the marriage, it also says that a legal marriage never existed.

Although the prospect of an annulment instead of a divorce may sounds appealing, you should be aware that annulment cases can be complex, expensive, and you may go through the entire process only to have your request denied by a judge.

For many people, the expense and time involved in obtaining an annulment is worth it for religious or other reasons.

One of the grounds for annulment in Florida includes a sham marriage such as you described.

If the time frame is short between when the marriage occurred and when the marriage failed, the marriage could be considered fraudulent.

The facts of the case must show that there was no intent on the part of the wrongful spouse to live together as husband or wife.

If you want to get an annulment instead of divorce, you must speak with an attorney.

Annulments can be a tricky process, and an attorney can help.

If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough County in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help you with your case.


Legally, Florida grandparents have the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren in certain situations in Florida.

If they do have visitation rights under law, they could also object to their grandchildren moving away.

However, traditionally Florida has been hesitant to grant a grandparent visitation rights, especially if it is not something the parents want.

Currently under Florida law, grandparents can ask for visitation rights if the parents are divorced, if one parent has deserted the child, or if the child is born out of wedlock and the parents never marry.

A court can consider a number of factors in awarding visitation to grandparents, including the quality of the relationship between the grandparents and grandchildren before the divorce, the mental and physical health of the child and the grandparents, and the willingness of the grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parents.

If a grandparent does have visitation rights with a grandchild, and the grandchild’s parent wishes to relocate the children to another area, the grandparent can file an objection in court.

The grandparent could argue that the move will not be in the best interest of the child and that his or her relationship with the child would be seriously damaged by the move.

You would need to prove in court that the move is in the best interest of the child.

The best solution in this situation would be to work something out with the grandparents.

You can put together a visitation schedule, and let them know you will encourage phone calls, Skype calls, etc. You can file your schedule with the court, which may reassure them.

If you can’t work something out, the children’s grandparents already have visitation rights, and they are objecting to a move, you need to consult with an attorney. An attorney can help you present your case in court about why the move should occur.

If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough County in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He has a significant amount of experience in family law matters, and can help you with your case.