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 Custody Attorney Discusses Changes Of Child Custody Due To School Performance

If you believe a change of custody is warranted, you can ask the court for a modification in the child custody order. That involves both parties going back to court and presenting a strong case in front of a judge about why custody should be changed. If you can prove to a judge that it would be in your daughter’s best interests to change the child custody arrangement, you may be successful.

However, in order to be successful in your case, you must show that there has been a change since the original order was issued. School performance is significant, of course, but a change in school performance alone, without additional facts, will most likely not be enough to necessitate a change in the custody arrangement.

To make a strong case, you would need to compare her grades over a longer period of time, and get evidence from teachers about why her grades have declined. You will need to know why her grades have declined as well in order to make a strong case – maybe she has a learning disability that has not yet been diagnosed, or maybe she needs to see a counselor to help her with her feelings. If you can discover why she is having a problem and offer a solution to the court, you may be in a good position to make a change.

Custody fights are never fun, but having a good advocate by your side can make the entire process easier. If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He works with child custody cases, and can help. Call him to schedule a consultation on your case.


Will I Be Able To Get A Mortgage After My Florida Divorce?

Florida Family Law Attorney Discusses Obtaining A Mortgage After A Divorce

If you have split with your spouse and you need to qualify for a mortgage, there are some financial steps you can take to make getting that mortgage a little easier. The biggest factor banks consider is your income. If you were in a household with two incomes before the divorce, obviously you will be losing the other spouse’s income when you are ready to qualify, which likely means you will need to look at less expensive houses.

There are ways you can help offset your loss in income. If you are receiving child support and alimony in the divorce, and you are able to show the lender that these payments will be continuing into the future, you can factor those payments into your income in order to qualify. If, on the other hand, you are the person providing the child support or alimony, but it will be ending soon, you can ask that the payments be excluded from the calculations, which can help.

Banks also look at your assets and your reserves, which are funds you can use to make a mortgage payment. Many banks require applicants to have two months in reserves, along with a down payment.

Finally, banks also look carefully at your credit score. In many cases, married couples will have joint credit cards and joint loans, and your credit score could actually go down once those joint accounts are gone. Therefore, it’s important that you establish credit in your own name as soon as possible after the divorce.

Finances during and after a divorce can be a tricky topic. If you have any questions about the divorce process in Florida or the aftermath, 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 on your case.


Division of Debts In A Florida Divorce Are Detailed By A Family Law Attorney

There are many ways to divide debt in a divorce. The easiest way for many couples is to split the debt between each spouse. However, this is not always fair – the debt may have been incurred because of the reckless spending habits of one spouse only. You may consider using any marital assets to pay down the debt so that it’s not an issue going forward.

Unfortunately, in many divorces, one spouse will use the credit cards of the other spouse just before or after the divorce process begins. As part of the divorce process, you can ask your spouse to agree to do a balance transfer from your credit card to his. If you cannot agree and the issue goes to court, you need to present clear evidence that the credit card debt your ex accrued was to purchase items for his benefit and was done without your permission.

If you are stuck with some credit card debts after the divorce, there are some financial steps you can take. Send as much money as possible towards the debt to pay it off quickly. You could consider doing a home equity line of credit in order to pay off the credit cards. Although that will result in a much lower interest rate, if you fail to make the payments you could lose your house. You could also work with your creditors to settle your debt for less than is owed by entering into a repayment plan. If none of those options work and you are in over your head, it may be time to consider a bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws can help consumers make a fresh start. However, bankruptcy will not discharge your alimony or child support, taxes, student loans, or certain other type of debts.

If you have questions about how to divide your credit card debt in a divorce, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He helps clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties and can help you with your divorce. Call today to learn more.


Divorce And Custody Attorney Discusses Instances That Support Modification Of Alimony And Child Support In Florida

No, whether or not your ex-spouse gets remarried should not affect what he has to pay you. However, if your ex had additional children with his new wife, he could ask for the court to order his child support obligation, and the court may agree, since he would have additional children to support financially.

On the other hand, if you were to get remarried, it’s likely that your alimony would stop and your child support could possibly be readjusted. Typically, alimony ends upon the receiving spouse’s remarriage. Child support is based upon the income of the parents, and if one parent gets remarried, child support may be readjusted due to a change in the household income.

In order for child support to be modified, your ex would need to go to court. In court, he would have to prove that you will have more income after the marriage, and the judge would have to agree to modify your child support. If that happens, you can present a strong case about why child support should not be modified because of your remarriage. You could show that you and your fiancé plan on keeping your finances separate, or that your income after expenses will not be affected that much by the remarriage.

If your ex is attempting to modify child support in Florida, 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 present a strong case before the judge. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.


Child Custody Issues Facing Military Parents Who Are Divorcing Are Discussed By A Florida Family Law Attorney

Unfortunately, women serving in the military often find it tough to obtain custody of their children. If they do not have custody of their children, they may have problems enforcing their visitation rights. Legally, judges are not supposed to look at military service when deciding custody issues, but they often do anyway.

Sadly, it’s common for fathers or other family members to go to family court and point out that the mother will be gone on deployment for months or even a year at a time, or to be on the field for weeks at a time. It’s also common for other family members to allege that the mother does not have a stable residence, since she is likely to move a lot.

In a divorce case, a military woman must make it clear that her job is no different than a civilian job, and that it’s common for other types of jobs to transfer employees frequently. She should also point out that there are child care centers on base that will help with the odd schedules that military personnel often have to deal with.

If a military mom has visitation rather than primary custody, that visitation can be very expensive and difficult to enforce, especially if you are hundreds or thousands of miles from your children. If your ex simply refuses to work with you, you may have to file a court motion with your divorce court, or even to sue your ex.

If you are a woman in the military and are facing child custody and visitation issues in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties in Florida.


Divorce Lawyer Discusses Protecting Your Business During A Florida Divorce Case

If you are a business owner, particularly if your business is well-established, you should develop a plan to protect your business in the event of a divorce. In the best case scenario, you entered into a prenuptial agreement regarding how to divide assets like the business in the event of a divorce. If not, and if your spouse is willing, you could consider a post-nuptial agreement that would cover how to divide the business in the event of a divorce.

If you decide not to sign a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, you can still take some steps that would help protect your business in the event of a divorce in Florida. First, you should keep good financial records, and get an appraisal of what the business was worth as of the date of the marriage (if you owned it prior to marriage). You should try to cut down on the personal expenses that you pay for out of the business.

In addition, keep the amount that your spouse works in the business to a minimum. If your spouse works in the business regularly, he or she can claim that they were an integral part of building the business and are entitled to it in a divorce. You should also pay yourself a good salary, which can help prevent the spouse from saying there is a lot of excess money left over for him or her. Finally, try to avoid borrowing from your personal assets to fund the business – this can lead to the argument that the business is marital property.

If you are a business owner and you do end up divorcing, choose your divorce attorney carefully. Your attorney should have experience in dividing businesses as well as complex divorce issues. If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties in Florida, and you are going through a divorce involving a business, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help advise you on your case. Call to learn more or to schedule a consultation.


Florida Divorce Attorney Discusses Custody Of Pets

Child custody is often very hotly contested in divorces, but many divorces also involve a heated debate about the custody of pets. Although there are numerous laws regarding how child custody is determined, the same is not true of pets.

Under the laws of Florida, and almost every other state, pets are viewed as property. As such, they are divided in a divorce like any other property. However, increasingly, judges are allowing testimony about the pets and may even make rulings involving visitation with the pets. If a court does take the time to consider who should receive the pet or how time with the pet should be shared, the court will care who cared for the pet, spent the most time with the pet, and how the pet was cared for.

However, the court may not allow testimony about a pet dispute at all – many courts simply do not have the time to involve itself in a dispute over a pet. It’s best if you and your ex can work out a plan to share time with the pet. You should also keep a regular schedule for the pet so that everyone, including the pet, can easily adjust. Also, you should expect that if your pet is going to stay at a new home, there will be a period of adjustment.

If you do decide to share the pet, you should also share expenses. If the dog is older or has special medical issues, the expenses could be significant. You may consider apportioning the expenses in the same way you share time with the dog.

If you are in Florida and are considering divorce, but have questions, including custody of your pets, 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 or to schedule a consultation.


Florida Mediation Process Is Detailed By Experienced Divorce Attorney

In general, a mediator can help you work through issues with your spouse without involving the courts. A mediator is a neutral party, and you and your former spouse can work with the mediator to get through issues like child support, child custody, alimony, and property division. Typically, each side has his or her own attorney to help through the process as well. During the process, your attorney can consult with you about how your case would fare in the courts.

The mediation process is not binding. Instead, it’s designed to help both parties come to an agreement, which can then be put into an agreement that can be approved by the court. If you two cannot agree, the issues are generally then decided by a court.

Using mediation can help resolve conflicts without an expensive court battle. Many courts now require mediation before a divorce case proceeds to trial. However, for mediation to work, both parties have to be willing to actively negotiate the terms of the settlement. If there’s a history of intimidation or domestic violence, mediation may not be appropriate. Also, if one spouse is suspected of lying about finances, mediation may not work.

If you are interested in using mediation to help with your divorce, you still need an attorney, and your attorney can refer you to a mediator. The mediator can help settle all issues of a divorce, so you need to take some time to consider what you really hope to achieve. You should make a list of everything you two have already agreed on, and what still needs to be settled.

If you are interested in learning more about mediation in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in the divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more or to schedule your consultation.


Rebuilding Credit and Sharing Debts Is Discussed By A Florida Divorce Lawyer

It’s common for credit scores to be damaged during a divorce for a number of reasons. First, there are now two households to support on what is probably the same amount of income, which can make it difficult to keep bills paid on time. Also, it may be unclear which spouse is liable for which debts. Finally, one spouse may have not had a chance during the marriage to establish credit in his or her own name.

Protecting your credit during a divorce is critical. It’s likely you will need to use your credit later to purchase a house, a vehicle, or another major purchase. In order to protect your credit during the divorce, you should make a list of debts that are in your name and make sure those payments are current, even if your spouse is ordered to pay them. If your divorce is an ugly one, and you suspect your spouse could try to take out debts in your name, you should consider checking your credit report, as well as signing up with a credit monitoring service.

After your divorce, if you need to rebuild your credit, the first thing to do is to find out where you stand. Get a report from the three credit bureaus, review the information, and make sure none of your ex’s information is on there. If you do find errors, contact the credit bureaus and ask them to fix the errors. Finally, start out slowly and make your payments on time, which will help establish your credit worthiness.

If you are going through a divorce and have questions about debts and the division of debts, 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.


Obtaining Permission For Relocating Out Of State With Your Children Discussed By Florida Custody Lawyer

Getting your ex to agree to allow you to move out of state is a huge benefit for you. It is common for spouses to refuse to allow their ex-spouses to move away with the children, which can result in a legal battle.

However, in order to protect yourself, you should have that put in writing and file it with the court, which will either approve it or reject it. It would be extremely rare for a judge to reject a decision that both parents have mutually agreed upon. That would likely only happen if the judge felt that the decision was not in the best interests of the children. In some cases, a former spouse may agree verbally to allow the former spouse to move with the children, and for the spouse to later claim he or she did not consent, which is another reason to file the documentation with the court.

If your ex does not give his or her permission, you have a couple of options. The easiest is to get him agree to the move. You could consider agreeing to extra visitation with the kids over the summer and holidays in exchange for allowing the move. If he does not agree, you can go to court and ask for permission. You will need to show what’s in the best interests of the children, and how you can make sure your ex has enough contact with the children. If you move without the court or your ex’s permission, you are in violation of the court order.

If you want to learn more about how you can relocate with your children after a divorce, call Dale Bernstein, Florida family law attorney, at 727-478-3250. He can help you learn more about your legal options. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to learn more