If you have signed a prenuptial agreement, and you now believe that its provisions are unfair in light of what occurred in your marriage, you can choose to challenge the prenup. Florida prenuptial agreements generally provide for what happens if a divorce occurs with regards to dividing property and debt, and the payment of alimony.

In some cases, what the parties receive under a prenup is very different from what they would have gotten in the event of a divorce if there were no prenup. The marriage may have lasted a very long time, one spouse may make substantially more money than the other spouse, but the prenup may provide for no alimony. The prenup may also provide that one spouse will get a certain piece of property, even though in a divorce, the other spouse may have received that property.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of fights over prenups in Florida courts. The spouse who comes out better under the prenup will fight to uphold it, claiming that both parties knew what they were agreeing to and it would be unjust to overturn it simply because one spouse was unhappy with it.

The spouse who is unhappy with it may be able to challenge it on a couple of grounds – first, that they were coerced into signing it, or second, that the other party did not fully divulge their assets. In those cases, the prenups may be invalidated. They typically aren’t invalidated simply because one party is now not happy with the outcome.

Are you unhappy with the results that will occur if your prenup is upheld during your divorce? You should speak with a Florida divorce attorney who can examine the prenup to see if there are legal grounds upon which to challenge it.

If you are in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, call Florida alimony attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He is a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can walk you through your legal options.


Divorces in Florida don’t have to take a long time, but often they do. One party may be dragging his or her feet, the attorneys may be taking their time, or the negotiations may be at a stalemate. In the meantime, the spouses often feel that their lives are on hold until they get all of these issues resolved. It can be a very frustrating situation. In some cases, a spouse may need certain issues decided before the divorce is final. There are several types of temporary relief that can be requested from divorce court in Pasco County.

First, you can ask for temporary custody, temporary child support and temporary exclusive use of your marital home. If there are minor children involved, they need to be supported financially and have a designated parent in charge.

If you need money to pay your bills, or if you can’t financially afford an attorney during the divorce, and your spouse has the financial ability to give you money, the court could award temporary alimony and temporary attorney’s fees. This is based on the court’s discretion, and the person requesting it normally must show the need is there and that the other spouse has the ability to pay.

Divorces sometimes get nasty, especially where the kids and money are concerned. If you believe that your spouse will either spend or hide marital assets, you may be able to get certain assets frozen so that your spouse doesn’t have the ability to spend them or hide them. If you believe your spouse will take the children from the state or hide them, you may be able to get a temporary restraining order forbidding the spouse from taking the children out of the state or area.

The waiting process during the divorce is not easy. Spouses are usually in a hurry to get things resolved and the divorce over quickly, but that’s not always the case. If you believe you need temporary relief in your divorce case, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250.

He works in the divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties and can help you with any temporary actions you need to take. Call to learn more.


It’s typically a good idea to wait until your divorce is final before you begin dating, although legally it may not affect your divorce case a great deal. Florida is a no-fault state, so if you date after the divorce papers are filed, it won’t affect the legal outcome of your case typically. However, if you choose to spend a lot of marital money on a boyfriend or girlfriend, the court may award the same amount to your spouse in the divorce proceedings.

Some people feel that dating during the divorce can affect your divorce strategy. Experts have shown that usually during the divorce process your spouse wants to make sure that you are as miserable as he or she is. If you are dating and happy, your spouse may decide that you need to be punished in other ways, and may try to drag out the case by refusing to negotiate. Therefore, it’s typically better to wait to parade that new boyfriend or girlfriend around after the divorce is final.

Also, if children are involved, it’s typically better to wait until the divorce is final. You will want to maintain a pleasant relationship with your spouse through the divorce for the sake of your kids. Dating during a divorce can strongly negatively affect that relationship, as well as possibly upsetting your children, who are probably still dealing with their emotions about the divorce. Your spouse may bring up the new relationship in the divorce as evidence of why he or she should get more time with the children. The new boyfriend or girlfriend may also be scrutinized during the custody case.

It’s also a very bad idea to live with a boyfriend or girlfriend before the divorce is final. That fact could greatly impact your alimony award. You will not be seen as needing as much support because you have someone with whom to share expenses. If you were to break up later, and you needed alimony adjusted as a result, that would involve another trip to divorce court in Pasco County or Hernando County.

Finally, you probably are not emotionally ready to deal with a new relationship. There are issues involved that caused your divorce, and it may be best to deal with those as well as to make peace with the fact that the marriage is over. Although an ego boost in the form of a new boyfriend or girlfriend during a divorce is understandable, it’s better to wait until the divorce is finalized.

Do you have questions about divorce in Florida? Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, and can help with your divorce. Call today to learn more about his practice.


Florida is a state with “no-fault” divorce laws. In a no-fault divorce, a spouse can choose to end a marriage for a major reason, such as falling in love with another person, a minor reason, such as a small annoyance, or no reason at all. In Florida divorces, who is at fault is typically not an issue in most aspects of the divorce.

However, courts do have some leeway in awarding alimony, and courts may consider the adultery of either spouse as well as the circumstances in determining the amount of alimony to be awarded.

Some other factors divorce courts consider in determining alimony include both parties’ financial resources and income, each spouse’s earning capacity, the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, and each spouse’s age and physical and emotional condition. For example, in Pasco County Courts, when they do award alimony, it must include a statement showing which factors it found to support the award or denial of alimony.

When adultery is a factor, courts normally look to see if there was financial harm to the wronged spouse, such as if the adulterous spouse took his or her boyfriend or girlfriend on trips or bought lavish gifts, or paid for his or her living expenses. The wronged spouse may be able to show some financial harm and receive an increase in alimony as a result.

It’s understandable that you would want to seek revenge on your cheating spouse by making him or her pay as much alimony as possible. In order to do so, you must put forth a strong case about why you are entitled to a particular amount of alimony, and you must show that your spouse has the ability to pay that alimony.

If you need help with a divorce or alimony issue in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He is a skilled divorce attorney who works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call today to set up your consultation.


In many marriages, one spouse, typically the father, is the provider for the family, and the other spouse, typically the mother, stays at home with young children to care for them and does not earn an income. If the couple decides to divorce, in most cases that arrangement must change. The wife usually is forced to get a job and must make child care arrangements, such as daycare, for the children.

However, in some situations such as this when a divorce happens the mother (or father, if he is a stay at home parent) does not want to get a job. She may believe that the children are going through enough changes, and that to put them in daycare all day in addition to all the other changes going on at home would be damaging to them. The mother may argue that she could not make enough money to even cover the high costs of childcare, especially if several children are involved.

When calculating child support and alimony, courts take into account all economic factors at play, including each spouse’s income. If one spouse is capable of making more money than currently earned, the court may “impute” income to that spouse, which means pretending as if they are making that amount for purposes of the calculations, in order to make the alimony and child support award fairer. Imputed income is intended to prevent spouses from taking low-paying jobs in order to claim they don’t make enough to pay child support and alimony when they are capable of making a lot more money.

In Florida, divorce courts have the power to impute income to a spouse who is staying home with young children, but can also refrain from imputing income to that spouse. The court has discretion in that area. A husband may argue that his wife should get a job because a high-quality daycare is nearby that would do a good job with handling the children’s needs.

Imputed income and stay-at-home parents can be very sticky issues in a divorce. It’s critical that if you are going through a divorce, you obtain high-quality legal representation. Call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He helps clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in Florida, and will be happy to discuss your divorce case. Call to learn more.


When contemplating divorce, many spouses put a lot of thought into who should file for divorce. A spouse may believe that he or she gains the legal upper hand by filing for divorce first. This is usually not true. There are, however, several reasons it may be important to one spouse that he or she be the first to file in a divorce case.

If the divorce is not desired by both parties, obviously the one who wants the divorce will be the one who has to file. Also, if you suspect your spouse will hide assets upon learning of the divorce, if you file first you may be able to prevent that from happening. That will be something to discuss with a divorce attorney. You may also be able to be more prepared for the case if you file first.

If you suspect your spouse will begin running up large debts once learning of the divorce, it may be important to you that you file quickly so that the court may be less likely to hold you responsible for those debts. Finally, in some cases a divorce can be filed in more than one jurisdiction. It may be important for you to file so that you can pick the jurisdiction you believe will be more advantageous to you.

No matter who files first, the other person can file a response to the divorce petition, and can even file his or her own divorce petition as well. Both sides of a divorce will have the same opportunity to present his or her case to the court, no matter who files first. The child custody, child support, and alimony awards will not be affected by who files first (except, as mentioned above, if the divorce can be filed in more than one jurisdiction).

If you are seeking a divorce, but are unsure about what steps to take next, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He is a very experienced divorce attorney and can help you with your divorce in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Call to schedule a consultation.


This is an issue that arises more than you might think. It typically happens when the spouse who was ordered to pay alimony is self-employed. The payor spouse may claim that he or she is not making enough money in the business to continue paying alimony. The spouse may even go to court to get it reduced.

In some cases, that is true. The economy may have hurt the business, or the business may not be bringing in the money that it used to for other reasons. If that is the case, the court may possibly reduce the amount of alimony if the spouse requests it, depending on the situation.

However, in many cases it’s not true that the spouse is making less money. The spouse may have just gotten a little better at hiding it. This can be particularly true in a business that deals all or mostly in cash. If you believe that your spouse is hiding income in order to avoid paying alimony, you should talk to an attorney about your options. You may be able to obtain proof of what your spouse is doing which can be presented in court.

If your spouse is having financial issues and is unable (or simply unwilling) to pay alimony, you may wonder whether you can access his or her business accounts to pay the alimony. Although many assets can be seized to pay past-due alimony, if the business assets are handled separately from the personal assets, a court normally can’t take those business assets. However, if the spouse has an ownership interest in the business, such as stock, that stock can be taken to pay the arrears.

Alimony in Florida is nothing to take lightly. If you have a question about alimony payments in Florida, and how to handle unpaid alimony, call Florida alimony attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties on their divorce issues, and will be happy to help you with your case. Call today.


Same-sex couples who were married in another state but want to get divorced in Florida are in a legal mess. Eighteen states in the U.S. allow same sex marriages. The rest, which includes Florida, do not.

If a couple is married in another state, and want to get divorced in Florida, currently they cannot do so. Recently, a court in Hillsborough County denied a same-sex divorce case, saying that because the state doesn’t recognize the marriage, the court can’t dissolve it. The couple vows to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, same-sex couples in Florida who wish to divorce are stuck. In order to get a legal divorce, most states have a requirement that one spouse be a resident for a certain period of time before filing the divorce, often six months or a year. A couple who has set up a life in Florida will most likely not wish to uproot their life to move to another state just to get a divorce.

If you are a same-sex couple who was married in another state, and you are now living in Florida and wish to get a divorce, you have a couple of options. First, you can wait for the issue to work its way through the state court system, as well as the federal court system. Because of the prevalence of same-sex marriage in many states, it’s likely that many states, possibly including Florida, will either begin recognizing gay marriage or will allow same-sex couples to divorce in their state.

If you simply can’t wait, consider whether one of the spouses can move to another state simply to pursue the divorce. Some other states that do recognize gay marriage (and therefore will recognize the divorce) may have shorter residency requirements than Florida.

If you are in Florida and you have questions about divorce, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He has extensive experience working with divorce-related issues in Florida, and he currently works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Call today to schedule your consultation.


Are Common Law Marriages Legal In Florida?

by Dale Bernstein on June 24, 2014

in Divorce

Common law marriages are not that common anymore in today’s society. A common law marriage is a marriage in which the couple has not received a marriage license from the state, but has lived together for a certain period of time and holds themselves out as being married. In some states, common law marriages are legally binding marriages.

In Florida, before 1968, couples could enter into common law marriages. In 1968, a law passed in Florida that outlawed common law marriages. However, there are still two ways in which you could be considered to be in a common law marriage in Florida. One is if a couple entered into a common law marriage in Florida before 1968. The second is if a couple entered into a common law marriage in a jurisdiction that recognizes common law marriages, and later moved to Florida. In either of those cases, the couple is legally married in Florida.

If a couple is in a common law marriage, and the couple wants to get a divorce in Florida, they have the same rights as other couples who are seeking a divorce in Florida. They can ask the court for child support, alimony, an equitable property division, and everything else that any married couple could seek in a divorce.

If you believe you are in a common law marriage but aren’t sure, or if you are certain you are in a common law marriage, and you want to seek a divorce in Florida, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works extensively in the area of divorce and family law in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties and will be happy to speak with you about your case. Call to schedule a consultation.


In general, each party is responsible for his or her own attorney’s fees. The attorney’s fees can be significant, especially if the divorce is a contested one with a lot of issues to be ruled on by the courts. However, the court does have the power to award one spouse to pay the reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of the other spouse.

The award of attorneys’ fees is completely within the discretion of the court. Neither spouse should count on receiving an award of attorneys’ fees, and should plan on paying the fees himself or herself. Most divorce attorneys require that the client pay a retainer up front before even taking the case, because otherwise payment can’t always be guaranteed. In addition, the client must pay court costs in Pasco County & Hernando County.

Many clients believe that they can pay their attorney a percentage of the amount recovered, which is called a contingency fee. However, in Florida it’s illegal for attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis. Instead, divorce attorneys must bill hourly or charge a flat fee. In general, most contested cases are billed hourly, while many uncontested divorces are either charged either a flat fee or billed hourly.

If you are seeking a divorce in Florida and you hope that your spouse will be forced to pay your attorneys’ fees, it’s critical that you obtain a high quality attorney who can put forth a good argument before the court about why you should be entitled to attorneys’ fees. If you are seeking a divorce in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas or Hillsborough Counties in Florida, call Florida divorce and alimony attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He can help answer your questions about your divorce in Florida. Call to learn more.