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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Florida Divorce Attorney Discusses Restraining Orders

Whether or not you are required to give your ex your home address depends on whether or not you are ordered to by a court. I’m assuming that you obtained a restraining order because of his violent behavior or threats of violent behavior against you or your children. Your safety must be the top priority.

Until a court orders you to give him your home address, you do not need to do so, and in fact, you should not do so. However, in today’s world it is increasingly difficult to keep information like your address private. This is especially true if you have children. Your children could tell him where you live, even inadvertently, or he could find out through many other means.

If you two have children together, and you have to drop the kids off with him for court-ordered visitation, there are other options than letting him come to your house. Talk to your attorney about requiring drop-offs at a neutral location, such as a police station. Set up an alternate mailing address, such as a post office box.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250 if you have any issues involving a restraining order in Florida. He can help. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.

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Florida Divorce Lawyer Discusses Ways To Split Home Equity

What will happen to the marital home in the event of a divorce is one of the top concerns of divorcing couples, according to a recent survey done by the legal website Avvo.com. If a couple has sufficient other assets and only one of the spouses wants the home, the other spouse can buy out the interests of the other spouse using other assets. Or, if neither spouse wants the home, it can be sold and the equity split.

When dividing a house gets tricky is if both spouses want to remain in the home, or if the home is the only asset, and the spouse who will not remain in the home wants his or her share of the cash. It can also be challenging if the home cannot be sold at a profit.

If both spouses want to remain in the home after the divorce, normally the judge will decide who gets to keep it. There are a number of factors that will be considered, primarily how any minor children will be affected. The court may also look at whether or not one party is better able to afford to keep the home.

If the spouses agree on who will keep the house, but it is the only asset, the best solution is to do a refinance. The spouse remaining in the home will get a new mortgage and will pay half of the equity in the home to the other spouse. If the spouse remaining in the home cannot qualify for that loan on his or her own, the loan may be obtained in both spouses’ names, with an agreement to redo the loan later. If the spouses cannot agree on a value for the home, it’s best to get a professional appraisal of the home done.

Finally, if the marital home does not have any equity in it, and it appears that the home will be sold for less than is owed on it, there are a few options. The spouses could sell the home and take a loss. One spouse could agree to stay in the home until it appreciates enough to sell at a profit. The home could also be rented out until some point in the future.

If you have any questions about how to divide a home in a divorce, call me, 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 about your options.

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That’s a difficult situation. Your child may seriously need prescription medication and benefit from that medication. However, your ex may either prefer a more natural, holistic approach. Your ex could have read articles about the over-prescription of medications for hyperactivity, and concluded that your child does not need and will not benefit from the drugs.

It’s important to keep in mind that while you know your child, have talked to his doctors, and have seen what he’s like with and without the medication, your ex may not have. Your ex may not have had the opportunity to speak with your child’s doctors, and may not have seen the changes in your child’s behavior when given the medication. Your ex may assume that because some health experts worry that these drugs are over-prescribed, that your child doesn’t need them.

If your ex either does not believe the medication is beneficial or will not give it to your child because of either laziness or to spite you, you should act. You should document what is happening – the dates on which your child did not receive the prescribed medicine as well as the consequences. You can then go to court, and ask the judge to modify the custody order to require that both parents follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250 if you want to take your ex to court over a failure to follow the orders of your child’s doctors. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to schedule your consultation.

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Completely discontinuing all use of social media during your divorce may be a bit extreme. Divorce can be a lonely time, and social media is a good way to make connections with others at a time you may be feeling isolated.

However, it’s a good thing that you are thinking about how to limit your social media usage. While you probably don’t need to completely quit social media, you do need to think carefully about what you post during and after your divorce, especially if you are going through a heated divorce or custody battle.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to think before you post. Is there any way possible this post could be used against you in court later? For example, maybe you and a friend went to a strip club to blow off some steam, and you posted something about the outing. While that may not have had anything to do with your parenting abilities and may have occurred at a time when you didn’t have the children, it could show poor judgment and could be used against you in court.

You should also avoid saying negative things about your ex. It’s understandable to want to vent, especially when your ex is being a jerk. It can make you feel better to let others know what you are going through. However, this will never help your divorce case and can only hurt. Also, this should be common sense, but you should also not say anything bad about the judge. The judge will find out about all of your negative comments, and this could sway the judge’s decision.

Finally, you should check your privacy settings on all social media accounts. Don’t assume that the general public won’t be able to see what you post if you adjust your settings, but at the same time you should adjust your settings so that you can attempt to have more privacy.

If you have questions about social media use 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 schedule your consultation.

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You are in good company – divorce filings typically surge in January. People often want a clean start in the new year, and also may want to wait until after the holidays to file for divorce in order to make it easier for their kids. Planning ahead always makes any divorce easier.

You should never file for divorce without researching the implications. You will want to talk to both an attorney and a certified financial planner. Your attorney can tell you what you are likely to be awarded in the divorce, including property, alimony, and child support. A certified financial planner can examine your budget and, using numbers provided by your attorney, help you figure out a financial game plan moving forward. In addition, you may also want to speak with a counselor, particularly if children are involved. Although it can be tempting to file quickly based on emotion, you may change your mind once you examine the facts.

If, after speaking to the experts, you are determined to move ahead, you should begin gathering your financial records. This will include documentation on your joint and individual bank accounts and brokerage accounts, 401k’s and IRAs, social security statements, life insurance policies, real estate, and other assets.

You should also make sure to get rid of any embarrassing information that could be used against you in a divorce, especially if you anticipate the divorce becoming hostile. This could include incriminating messages via text, email, or Facebook, files on your computers, letters, or anything else that could lead to trouble in the divorce proceeding.

Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250 if you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida and are contemplating divorce. He can help walk you through the process. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

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No, this does not mean he forfeits his Christmas visitation with the kids. It’s common for the non-custodial parent to miss visitation frequently, but to insist on taking the kids for the major holidays. This can be maddening to the custodial parent. It can be hard to make plans when your ex is unreliable and you don’t know if you will have the kids or not, only for him to turn around and insist on taking the kids at times when you would like to have them.

However, the visitation schedule can only be changed by the agreement of the parties, or pursuant to a court order. If one parent misses visitation, that does not mean that he or she forfeits his or her rights to the children in the future. It also does not mean that he or she can take the kids extra time to make up for the missed time without your permission.

You have a choice to make. You can choose to go along with his plan, under which he misses visitation whenever he chooses, but also takes them when he chooses. That can be hard on the kids, who may feel unwanted and abandoned by him. You could also choose to take him to court to revise the visitation schedule. This is usually not easy or inexpensive, and whatever relationship you may have with your ex could be seriously harmed as a result of you taking him to court. You could also choose to work out something with him, which is probably the best choice if you two can work together and have an amicable relationship.

If you want to take your ex to court to get your visitation schedule revised, and 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 get your visitation schedule revised in court. Call today to learn more.

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The holiday season can be an extremely frustrating time for divorced parents. It can be difficult enough to schedule family get-togethers with extended family members, but when you also have to coordinate your plans with your former spouse, the situation can be even more difficult.

If your ex is refusing to abide by the terms of your visitation schedule, you can take him to court. The court can enforce visitation rights. If your ex consistently refuses to follow the terms of the visitation schedule, the court may ultimately decide to change the custody arrangement.

However, taking your ex to court over the holidays is usually not an ideal situation. In addition, courts are usually very full during this time of year, which can make it very tough to get a court date. It’s usually much better to see if you can work something out. Agreeing to alter your visitation schedule once for this holiday season may go a long way towards establishing some goodwill and may make it easier to work with him in the future. If you cannot agree, you can threaten to take him to court, which may be enough of a worry that he will agree to abide by the terms of your custody arrangement.

If your ex is going overboard on presents for your kids for Christmas, there’s normally not anything that you can do about that. A court normally would not step in in that situation. Although you may not like your children being showered with gifts, and you may feel that he is trying to buy their love away from you, remember that in the long run, who buys what is not important to children. If you have an amicable relationship, you may consider bringing up the gifts, but ultimately there is nothing you can do about that.

The holidays can present all types of stressful challenges for divorced parents. If you are in a situation in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties in Florida that involves divorce, child custody, or child visitation, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help you work through a plan, which may involve taking your ex to court. Call to schedule your consultation.

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There is no one-size-fits-all answer about when to file for divorce. Instead, you should carefully evaluate all of your options and decide what works best for you.

There are some great reasons to wait until next year to file. First, in many cases the holidays can bring couples together. If the holidays do not lead to reconciliation, at the least waiting will allow you to have one more holiday season together for the sake of the children. Also, the holidays are an extremely busy time of the year for most people. Adding a divorce to the mix usually ends up making an already-hectic period even worse. Finally, postponing the divorce until after the holidays will give you more time to gather and prepare information you will need for a divorce – including financial statements, tax returns, and other documentation.

However, there can be some drawbacks to waiting to file for divorce. Your current living situation may be absolutely intolerable. In that case, there may be no reason to postpone the inevitable. If you are planning a divorce without your spouse’s knowledge, the longer you wait, the more likely it is your spouse will find out your plans, which could lead him or her to conceal assets or file divorce before you. Finally, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that your spouse could become ill, lose his or her job, or face a variety of other problems that will compromise your divorce plans.

Ultimately, most divorce cases are filed early in the year, because spouses may want to keep their families together for one last holiday season. If you are considering divorce and live in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help with your case. Call to schedule your consultation.

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Health insurance can be complicated to figure out, but it’s also necessary to avoid financial ruin, as well as legally required. If you are in an unhappy marriage, and truly the only reason you do not want to divorce is because you want to remain on your spouse’s insurance plan, there are other steps you can take to find coverage post-divorce.

The first thing you should do is plan for health insurance before you get divorced. You will most likely be dealing with a lot of issues all at once during and after your divorce, and if you don’t plan ahead you may find yourself without coverage or paying very high premiums. There are also very limited open enrollment periods, which are narrow windows of time during which you have to apply for insurance. While you are planning, you also need to assume that your health insurance costs will increase five percent a year when making a budget.

Also, you need to look at all of your options before you make a decision. After your divorce, you will be eligible for COBRA coverage, which means you can stay on your spouse’s plan for three years after a divorce. However, you will have to pay the full amount of the premiums. You may actually be able to find a more affordable option that is better for you if you start planning early.

Finally, seek help. If you can’t get health insurance easily from your employer, call an independent health insurance broker. The broker can help work with you to find the coverage you need at an affordable price. This can take a lot of the burden off of you.

It’s hard to remember what all you have to do to prepare for a divorce. Divorce can be a scary time, but with the proper team helping you through the process, it can be easier than you think. If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help you through the divorce process. Call today to learn more.

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Florida Divorce Lawyer Discusses Mortgages and Their Impact On A Divorce Case

If a couple shares a house as their major asset, and the house has a mortgage, figuring out what to do with the house can be a major issue if the couple divorces. Normally, if there is equity in the home (meaning the home can be sold for more than what is owed on it), each spouse wants a portion of the equity as part of the settlement. However, if one spouse wants to keep the home, that spouse will most likely need to qualify for a mortgage in his or her individual name.

If a spouse chooses to stay in the house after the divorce, the spouse may have to refinance the current mortgage in order to get enough equity out of the home to pay off the ex-spouse. In some cases, the spouse may have enough other assets to be able to pay off the spouse without touching the home equity, but even so, the spouse not remaining in the home will probably want his or her name off the mortgage as soon as possible, which requires a refinance.

It’s important for both spouses to figure out what their expenses will be early on during the divorce negotiations. This will determine whether or not they can actually afford to stay in the house after the mortgage is adjusted. The spouses may agree to allow the spouse who is choosing to remain in the home extra time to increase his or her income or to find a way to qualify for a mortgage. If a spouse wants to count alimony and child support as income in order to qualify for a mortgage, he or she should know that lenders will require proof of at least six months’ receipt of that income before closing.

If you are considering a divorce in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida, and you are uncertain what to do about your shared home during your divorce case, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients to help them figure out solutions during the divorce process. Call today to learn more.

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