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.

To find an answer to your question, go to the right of this page and type your question in the box then hit enter. Every answer related to that topic will then be presented for your review.

{ 0 comments }

Florida Child Custody Lawyer Discusses Proving Parenting Skills and Responsibilities

I’m sorry to hear that you may be going through a custody battle during your divorce. A custody battle can be extremely emotionally painful and also scary. It’s critical that you take actions at the beginning to protect yourself as well as your children during this difficult time.

The best way to maximize your chances of winning your custody case is to prepare a good case. It’s critical that you hire an attorney.

You need to start keeping a parenting calendar as well as a journal documenting your parenting. Use your calendar to try to recreate the past six months or so of your parenting, including what he has done and what you have done.

For example, who regularly took the children to school? Who scheduled doctor’s and dentist appointments? Who helped with homework? Who prepared meals and did laundry? Who arranged extracurricular activities and provided transportation?

In short, you need to be able to prove that you are the primary caretaker of the children and that you are capable of parenting on your own. Make a log of everything you do for your kids every day.

You also may need to subpoena school records, doctor’s records, and other documentation. You will need to show that you have a job and a stable place to live, as well as arrangements in place for schooling and child care.

You should also be able to show that you have ties in your community, such as through your church, friends, neighbors, and more. You will need to line up witnesses on your behalf who can testify about your parenting skills.

I’m sorry you are going through this difficult experience. You will be much more prepared and likely to win if you hire an attorney who can help you in your battle. If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help. Call today to learn more.

{ 0 comments }

Florida is one of the states that does not recognize legal separation.

In many states, couples can choose to file for legal separation, which allows those couples to reach agreements on issues such as child custody, child support, dividing assets, etc. without going through with a divorce. This can be done if a couple believes the marriage may be saved, if they want to avoid a divorce for religious reasons, or if they want to preserve certain marital benefits such as health insurance.

If a couple wants to separate in Florida without divorcing, they can still file in court to establish child support and child custody, draft a marital separation agreement, and in some cases establish alimony. This will provide many of the benefits of a marital separation without being legally separated.

In addition, Florida law allows for something called a limited divorce. A limited divorce is similar to a separation in other states. The three grounds for a limited divorce are cruelty, desertion, and voluntary separation.

In a limited divorce, the court decides the primary residence of the children and the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent. If a divorce petition is filed later, the court will decide other issues, such as division of property and alimony.

In a limited divorce, the couples remain legally married until they proceed to a divorce.

If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida, and you have questions about marital separations and limited divorces, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

{ 0 comments }

Yes, if you have a valid injunction for protection against domestic violence in Florida that meets federal standards you can get it enforced in another state. Under the Violence Against Women Act, all valid protection orders in the U.S. get recognition in all state courts within the U.S.

In order for your injunction to be good anywhere in the U.S., it must meet a few requirements.

First, it must have been issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or to prevent another person from contacting you or coming near you. The court that issued the order must have had the proper jurisdiction over the people and the case.

Finally, the domestic abuser must have gotten the proper notice of the order, and been given an opportunity to go to court, even if he or she chose not to appear.

If the protective order meets those requirements, it is valid in other states and must be enforced the same way that state enforces its own orders. If the abuser chooses to violate the out-of-state injunction, he or she will be punished according to the laws of whichever state you are in.

If you are in Florida and you believe you need a protective order against your spouse, or if you are in Florida and you have a protective order already but you have legal questions, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250.

He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation on your case.

{ 0 comments }

You should probably speak with a financial advisor about your divorce as well as your attorney about your decision. Choosing whether or not to keep a home is a big decision. Right now, your emotions are probably running high, which can be a bad time to make financial decisions. Getting solid advice from unbiased professionals can help you make a sound decision.

There may be legal reasons you may not want to keep the home in the divorce. It may make more sense to let your spouse keep the house, and you take some retirement assets, cash, or another asset instead. If the house does not have any equity in it, you may need to sell it in order to downsize.

In addition to the cost of the house itself, you should also think about the costs of running the house. If it’s a large home or an older home, it may be too expensive to heat and cool and keep maintained. You may be better off selling and downsizing the house, which may help you both keep some money now as well as cut your expenses in the future.

It’s important, as part of this process, to check your credit report, especially if you have not handled the money in the family for a while. It’s possible that you may have debt of which you are unaware. As you begin to rebuild your life, including your financial life, it’s critical that you have all the facts about your situation.

If you have questions about keeping the house in the divorce, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties and can help you with your case. Call today to learn more.

{ 0 comments }

What you are entitled to from his estate depends on the details of the separation.

If you were legally separated, and your property had been legally divided in accordance with a separation agreement, you may not be entitled to anything. In that case, it depends what the separation agreement provided.

If you two were separated, but not legally separated, you were still his wife and you would be entitled to a portion of his estate.

If he had a will, you would be entitled to what he left you under the terms of the will.

If he did not leave a will, you would be an heir of his through Florida’s intestate succession laws, and you would be entitled to a portion of his assets.

In this situation, it’s important that you speak with both a divorce attorney and a probate attorney. Both attorneys can help you obtain the assets to which you are entitled under state law.

In addition, it’s possible that another party could file a claim against you since you were separated at the time of his death, challenging your right to his assets. Experienced attorneys can help protect your rights under the law.

Call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250, if you are dealing with a situation involving the death of a spouse during a separation or a divorce. He can help.

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

{ 0 comments }

Increasing numbers of people over the age of 50 are deciding to divorce. In fact, divorce over the age of 50 has increased over 50 percent since 1990.

In many cases, these couples face financial hardships beyond what younger couples experience simply because of their age. Studies have shown that older women have a more difficult time recovering financially after a divorce.

When older couples divorce, the divorce can make retirement difficult. They may have lost half or more of the money they have saved, and it can be tough to make up those assets before a divorce.

In addition, many older women may have been out of the workforce for a number of years due to raising a family, which can make it difficult to find employment.

Many women make poor financial decisions during a divorce that can make a huge impact on their future. They may choose to keep a marital home in exchange for another assets, such as a retirement account.

Only after the divorce may the woman realize that she cannot afford the upkeep on the home. In many cases, it may make more sense to opt for another asset such as cash or a portion of your spouse’s 401k or IRA.

If you are divorcing at retirement age, it’s critical to gather a team of experts who can help, including a financial adviser and an attorney, who can help you in your divorce negotiations. With their help, you can plan the best strategy that will help you financially during your later years.

If you are in Florida and are seeking a divorce attorney, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He can help. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more.

{ 0 comments }

Florida Divorce Attorney For Parents Of Adopted Children

Legally speaking, no, your divorce is not handled any differently if you adopted your children, or if either you or your spouse did a stepparent adoption. By law, you are the legal parents of that child, and you are supposed to be treated the same as biological parents.

However, there are sometimes special issues that arise in divorces involving adopted children.

First, if either you or your spouse is the biological parent of one of your children, and the other spouse is the adopted parent, there is a very good chance the court will take that fact into consideration when making a decision about custody.

Also, many adopted children deal with attachment issues at some point in their lives. If your adopted child has attachment issues, divorce may be especially traumatic for that child.

The child may have had a hard time dealing with the adoption and the loss of his or her biological family, and now the adopted family is splitting up. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that all children who are going through a divorce deal with anger, sadness, and confusion.

If your adopted child is having special issues related to the divorce, it’s a good idea for him or her to speak with a therapist. A good therapist can help your child work through his or her emotions and find ways to cope with the divorce.

If you are dealing with a divorce and you have any questions related to your adopted children, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250.

He helps clients who are going through divorces in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to schedule a consultation on your case.

{ 0 comments }

Custody Lawyer Talks About How Living With A Significant Other Can Influence Custody Arrangements After Divorce

If you are considering moving in with someone after a divorce, and you have minor children, you should think seriously about the relationship before you decide to take the leap.

You should consider whether or not your boyfriend and your children have had a chance to get to know one another. They may not feel comfortable around each other, or he may not be a good role model for your children.

Also, any time that an adult moves in, he or she assumes a parental role with your child, even if that is not what you intend to happen. If the divorce happened fairly recently, or if your child does not know your partner that well, it can put your child in an awkward situation.

If your child and your new partner are on good terms with each other and you believe that the situation would be a positive one for your child, you also need to consider your custody agreement.

Your ex may have some concerns about how this new living arrangement will affect your child or children. If possible, allow your ex to meet your new partner so he can see that this new living arrangement will be a positive one.

However, if your ex is concerned about the situation, he can attempt to change custody because of the new living arrangements. If your new partner has a history of drug abuse, a criminal past, or anything else that would raise red flags for a court, that could negatively impact custody.

Also, if you move in together and your child’s life is disrupted, the court may decide your child needs a different living arrangement.

Call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250, if you live in Florida and are concerned about possible changes in your custody agreement. He works in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call him today to learn more or to schedule a consultation on your case.

{ 0 comments }

Family Law Attorney Discusses Mortgage Responsibility And Impact On Credit Score After Divorce

If you are listed as a borrower on a mortgage, and the mortgage is not paid, the lender can take a variety of measures against you. The lender does not care if your divorce decree says that your ex-spouse is responsible for paying the mortgage.

It is common for a spouse to remain on a mortgage after a divorce, even if he or she no longer lives in the property or has any financial interest in it. In many cases, it’s not possible for the other spouse to qualify for a refinance, so the other spouse will agree to stay on the mortgage until it can be refinanced at a later date.

If the lender does not receive the required mortgage payments, and you are listed on the mortgage, the lender may choose to foreclose. If the foreclosure sale does not bring enough money to cover the unpaid mortgage amount, the lender may choose to sue for the difference between what was owed and what the lender received at the foreclosure sale.

The good news is that if your divorce agreement says that your ex is responsible for paying the mortgage, and he failed to do so, you can hold your ex in contempt of court for failing to follow the terms of the divorce decree.

You may be able to collect money from him to satisfy the unpaid judgment. If that doesn’t work out, you can try to work something out with the lender. There may be steps you can take that may lessen the impact of the mortgage on your credit score after a divorce.

If you have questions about mortgages and divorce under Florida law, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He works in divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

{ 0 comments }

Should I Change My Last Name After A Florida Divorce?

Florida Family Law Attorney Discusses Name Changes After A Divorce

If you changed your name when you got married, you may have considered changing your name back after your divorce. That is a highly personal issue.

Many women, especially those with children or those whose marriages lasted a long time or have established careers in their married names, choose to keep their married names. Others decide that they want no part of their ex or his name and change their name.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s critical that you decide before your divorce is final. If you choose to change your name, that information needs to be in your divorce decree.

With the signed decree in place, you can change your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, etc. However, if you wait until after the divorce decree is finalized and then decide you wish to change your name, the process becomes more difficult and expensive.

At that point, you have two options. You can either go back to court to have your divorce decree modified, or you can choose to do a legal name change.

Most people choose to do a legal name change. A name change involves court fees, a waiting period, and typically a court hearing. On the other hand, if your divorce decree needs to be modified for another reason anyway, you may choose to simply place that language in the modified decree.

If you have any questions about divorce in Florida, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He can help. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

{ 0 comments }