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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If you do not have full custody, your ex will most likely not be turned away from Pasco County schools if he or she shows up to pick your kids up.

If your ex has some visitation rights, that gives him or her the right to pick your kids up, unless you have a court order that prohibits him or her from picking up the kids.

If you do not want your ex picking up the kids, you need to let the school know who can and cannot pick up your children from now on.

You should attach paperwork from the court showing that your ex is not allowed to pick up the children, or if your divorce decree doesn’t specify that, just let the school know that it is your preference that your ex not be allowed to pick up the kids.

If your ex is showing up at your child’s school unannounced and picking up your kids, it also sounds like you need to work on a visitation plan. The visitation plan should clearly list who picks up the kids from school and where they go, so that there are no more surprises.

This will also help the kids to have a more stable schedule. If you two can’t agree, a mediator could help with the process. As a last resort, you could consider going back to court to work on your visitation plan.

If your ex has been showing up unannounced at school, or taking other actions that are not in line with what the two of you have agreed to, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

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


If you have visitation rights with your children, your ex-spouse cannot leave the Pasco Couny area with the children without your permission. If your ex has sole custody of the children, he or she can move away without your permission.

If you find out that your ex has plans to move away, you can file a petition in family court asking to prevent the move. He or she would have to prove in court that the move would be in your children’s best interest, and that you would have enough access to your children to be able to continue your relationship. The court would then decide to either allow the move or prohibit the move.

If your ex has already moved away with the kids without your permission, your ex could be in legal hot water. You will have to file an emergency petition in court and ask that your ex be forbidden from leaving the state. If your ex leaves with your children without your knowledge or permission, that can be considered kidnapping, and you could wind up with full custody of your children.

If your ex has threatened to move away with the kids, or has already moved away, you need an attorney right away. An attorney can help with preventing the move or with petitioning the court to get your kids back. Now is not a time to attempt to serve as your own attorney.

If you are facing an issue like this with your ex, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works in the divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to schedule your consultation.


When a married couple discovers they don’t want to be married anymore, it’s not uncommon to look for a way out of the situation without a divorce. Some people have religious or moral objections to divorce.

Others may fear that a divorce is too expensive or that they will be stuck paying a large amount of alimony. The couple may decide to look back at the circumstances under which they got married in order to see if there’s an easy way out of the situation.

In most cases, there is not an easy way out of the marriage. If you have a minor mistake on your marriage certificate, such as a misspelling of a name, that is not enough to make your marriage invalid.

If there was a major problem with how the marriage occurred, however, you may not be legally married. For example, if you got a marriage license but never performed the ceremony, you are not legally married. If the person who married you was not licensed to perform weddings in your state, you are probably not legally married.

In some cases, you may be able to get an annulment. An annulment is a legal procedure that dissolves a couple’s marital status by showing that a valid marriage never existed. Some people think that annulments can be done in cases involving short marriages but the length of the marriage does not affect whether or not you can get an annulment.

To get an annulment, generally you must prove that one of the parties was underage or legally married at the time of the marriage, that one of the spouses entered the marriage under duress or did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage, or that the marriage was entered into fraudulently.

Annulments are much less common than divorces, because the grounds for an annulment are so narrow.

If you have questions about whether or not your marriage is valid, call New Port Richey, Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.


Yes, you can reopen your case if your ex lied about his property. In every divorce, both spouses are required to make a complete financial disclosure.

If your spouse lied, that is a very serious infraction that most judges would highly disapprove of. You can reopen the property division aspect of your case.

In order to do so, it would be best to hire an attorney. It’s highly possible that the judge would order your ex to pay your attorney’s fees, since his malfeasance necessitated the case being reopened.

In other cases, if your divorce is final and you don’t like the outcome, you must appeal. You can appeal any ruling, but strict time limitations apply, so it’s best to make a decision about the appeal quickly.

In order to appeal, there are complicated, technical procedures that must be followed. In order to successfully appeal, you must show there was some mistake of the law or procedure that was not filed, or there is some information that was not considered.

Just because you did not like the outcome of the divorce does not mean that you can successfully appeal the judge’s ruling.

Most people are excited to put a divorce behind them, and do not relish the thought of opening it again. If your ex lied about his property during the divorce, in most cases it will be worth the effort of reopening the case in order to get property to which you are entitled.

If you are facing a divorce in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough County, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can advise you on the best course of action to take in regards to the property. Call to learn more.


It’s fairly common for parents to agree in a divorce to split the driving in a custody swap, which usually means they meet halfway, or take turns driving the kids to each other’s houses. They may agree to split the driving or share the travel expenses as part of the divorce agreement.

When one spouse moves, however, sometimes he or she thinks that the other spouse can continue to be forced to share the driving or travel expenses, even though the expenses and time involved would be much greater because of the increased distance. However, you don’t have to agree to this.

Things changed when he decided to move. You can negotiate a new plan – for example, you may agree to pay a little more in travel expenses than before, or you could agree that the kids would take fewer trips to see him in order to save money, but they could stay longer.

It’s best if you two can work something out in this situation. It would be easier on both of you and the children if you can agree to a new travel arrangement or change in visitation. If you can’t agree, you will have to go to court.

The judge will decide what is in the children’s best interests, not in the best interests of either of you, and will make a decision on the travel expenses.

If your ex is moving and travel arrangements for the kids can’t be agreed upon, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties to help them fight the court for the visitation or custody they desire. Call to learn more.


It’s normal for grades to fluctuate somewhat, depending on the age of your child, his or her prior academic performance, and a number of other factors.

Often, when parents are divorcing, a child’s grades may suffer for a short period of time due to the stress of the situation, only to rebound when life becomes normal again.

If you want to get custody of your children, you will have to file for a modification to the custody order. In order to get your custody order modified, you must show there has been a change in the situation since the order was issued.

If your child’s grades have dropped, that may or may not be sufficient for a change in custody. The issue will probably depend on what your child’s teachers say, and how the grades have been in the past.

If a child who is known for straight A’s suddenly brings home D’s and F’s, there’s definitely a cause for concern, and the underlying issues about why the grades have dropped could end up resulting in a change in custody.

It would be in the best interests of your child to get to the bottom of the problem, and then to come up with a solution, which could be a change in the living situation or may be something else.

If you discover your child’s grades are so low because he can’t sleep at night because his mother and her new boyfriend are partying all night, this is definitely a situation where you may ask for a modification in the custody arrangement.

If your child has an undiagnosed learning disability, the child may just need extra academic help and may not need a change in the living arrangements.

It would be best to talk through the situation with an attorney. An experienced divorce attorney can help you analyze the situation and can suggest some ideas.

If you are in Florida, in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties, call New Port Richey, Florida, divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help you figure out the issues and suggest your next legal steps. Call to learn more.


Custody, visitation and child support issues can be sticky in any divorce situation, but when one of the children is adopted, that may present some special challenges. Divorce can also be tougher on an adopted child than a biological child.

Legally, if you and your spouse both adopted the child, the fact that the child was adopted will not change custody, visitation or child support. This is also true if one of you did a stepparent adoption. You have all the same legal rights concerning the child as if you were the biological parents.

If one of you is the biological parent though, and the other parent is an adoptive stepparent, that may come into consideration when the judge makes his or her decision. It’s unlikely that a judge would award custody to a stepparent over a biological parent unless that was proven to be in the best interests of the child.

If only one of you is the adopted parent of the child, the spouse has no legal interests to the child. The spouse would not be entitled to custody or visitation, and would not have to pay child support.

Many adopted children have attachment issues. Even if the child is raised in a loving home, it can be tough for them to accept the adoption and the fact that he or she lost his or her biological family. The divorce is now another loss, which can cause the adopted child to regress.

It’s normal for all children of divorce to react with anger, sadness or confusion, but it can be especially tough for adopted children. It’s a good idea to consider therapy in that situation, as well as for you to reassure the child that you are not moving out of his or her life.

If you are going through a divorce in Florida involving an adopted child, call New Port Richey, Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call to learn more about your options.


Many of the parents I represent in Pasco County divorces, don’t want their children to see the other parent engaging in overnight visits with a boyfriend or girlfriend to whom they are not married.

In that case, if the parties agree, a “morality clause” can be inserted into the custody agreement. The clause usually prohibits cohabitation or overnight visits with the opposite sex when the children are present until the parent is remarried.

In most cases, if this type of clause is included in the agreement, both parents have to agree, and both parents have to abide by the terms of the clause. If the clause is violated, it can be tough to enforce, however.

First, you would have to actually prove that your ex was living or engaging in overnight visits with the opposite sex. It may not be that difficult to prove a cohabitation arrangement, but proving overnight visits happened could be tricky.

Even if you could prove the visits occurred and your child was aware of the arrangement, that alone may not accomplish much. If you asked for a change in custody or visitation, you would have to go back to court. In court, you would probably be required not just to show that the agreement had been broken, but also that the child was harmed by it.

That could be difficult. If your ex had several different female overnight guests in a week, the custody arrangement may be modified, but it’s probably unlikely it will be changed because of a few overnight visits.

It can be extremely maddening when you agree to something in a divorce and your ex doesn’t live up to his or her share of the deal.

When that happens, call New Port Richey, 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.


I can sympathize with your situation. When a person is in the process of a divorce and feels like he or she was treated horribly, all kinds of ways to get revenge frequently come to mind. This is often true in cases where the divorce blindsided one spouse, or where one spouse wanted it and the other didn’t, or especially in cases where a new boyfriend or girlfriend is involved.

Although revenge on the spouse who did you wrong may be a satisfying thing to fantasize about, it rarely works out well in real life. In reality, most of the tricks that one spouse pulls in a divorce will end up backfiring.

And if the two of you have children together, even if they are grown, you most likely will be involved in each others lives at some point in the future. The scars of a nasty divorce will end up harming your children and making a cordial relationship very unlikely.

Let’s examine some of the revenge you may be thinking of, and why it will only end up hurting you.

Cancelling his credit cards may seem like a good idea, but you will only make him mad, he will get new credit cards, and what could have been a somewhat amicable situation will turn nasty.

Cleaning the money out of the bank accounts could cause your spouse to file for emergency support, and you may be stuck with the bill for courts costs and attorney’s fees for the hearing.

And I’ve even seen angry wives go so far as telling their husbands boss what he has done and it causes him to lose his job. If that happens, will he be able to provide alimony and/or child support without an income?

It’s normal for divorce to be contentious, but taking extra steps to make it even more so almost never end well. Instead, focus your efforts on getting the largest settlement you can in your divorce, and using that to help you rebuild a new, happier life without your spouse.

If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough County in Florida, I can help you obtain that to which you are entitled. Call New Port Richey, Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250 to schedule a consultation.


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.