Can I Still Get a Divorce In Miami During the Corona-virus COVID-19 Pandemic?

The short answer is: Yes, you can still get a divorce. The Clerk of Court is still accepting divorce filings and judges have established procedures to allow the cases before them to progress without in person appearances. Some judges have conducted hearings by zoom, and in uncontested divorces some have permitted the parties to submit affidavits rather than requiring the appearance of a divorcing party at a hearing as would normally have been required.

If you would like an attorney to assist you get a divorce during the Corona-virus COVID-19 pandemic we are here to assist you.

Can a Domestic Violence Injunction be Set Aside or Dissolved?

Th short answer is yes. Sometimes domestic violence injunctions are only entered for a certain period of time and expire automatically, obviously a one year injunction expires after a year. But sometimes a permanent injunction is entered with no set expiration date. Such an injunction stays in place through the passage of time and is an ongoing blemish on your record. Most people do not realize that a permanent injunction can still be dissolved or set aside in time, and/or under the right circumstances.

To dissolve an injunction against domestic violence the enjoined party must show changed circumstances and demonstrate that the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists so that continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose. In determining whether an injunction continues to serve a valid purpose the trial court must consider whether Petitioner reasonably maintains a continuing fear of becoming the victim of domestic violence. This determination can be fact specific but the more time that passes without anything happening that would lead anyone to reasonably believe an injunction is necessary the ore chance there is that it might be dissolved by a court upon the request of the enjoined party.

Once before the court on a motion to dissolve a domestic violence injunction the injunction should be set aside if the evidence presented is not legally sufficient to show that petitioner’s fear of domestic violence is objectively reasonable. The possibility of future contact between the parties is not, without more, sufficient to conclude that the circumstances underlying the injunction remain the same. Nor is a Petitioner’s speculative fear of future violence legally insufficient to justify the never-ending existence of injunction.

So if a domestic violence injunction has been entered against you, and you want to have it set aside or dissolved, contact us to arrange a consultation so we can discuss your circumstance with you and evaluate your options to do so.

The Corona Virus, Pandemic Influenza Benchguide

Did you know that there is a Pandemic and Influenza Benchguide addressing legal issues concerning quarantine and isolation in Florida?

There is! I certainly hope it never has to be used.

The Benchguide, designed for a Judge, addresses legal issues associated with quarantine and isolation. It provides links to relevant Statutes and Code. Additionally, it presents legal authorities that may be useful to judges in an influenza pandemic.

While we may watch what is happening in China and think that mandatory quarantine would never happen in the United States, nobody is going to be forcefully quarantined or dragged from their homes here, there is legal authority out there set forth in the Benchguide that may provide the framework for exactly that, and that is before the Courts are closed!

Here is the Benchguide:


Revenge Porn

Can you imagine someone distributing or displaying pornographic or sexual pictures of you through the internet? 

Revenge porn can be devastating to its victims lives and their emotional well being.

In Florida, there are very specific laws in relation to what constitutes cyber sexual harassment.  In layman’s terms, laws against revenge porn.

First, it can be criminally prosecuted.  It appears that there have been a small number of criminal prosecutions under the revenge porn law since it has been on the books, approximately half of which resulted in the dismissal of the case, and half of which lead to an adjudication. 

To address revenge porn criminally you will want to gather all the evidence you can and go to the police to make a report. Hopefully, the police will then conduct a criminal investigation which can lead to potential criminal prosecution by the State Attorney.

Under many circumstances a victim or effected person can also seek a civil injunction for protection against cyber stalking to address revenge porn similar to an injunction that would be available to a stalking victim.  An injunction to stop revenge porn acts like distributing or displaying pornographic or sexual pictures of you.

Florida statutory law defines cyberstalking as: 

1.Engaging in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person; or

2. To access, or attempt to access, the online accounts or Internet-connected home electronic systems of another person without that person’s permission, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.

While not all encompassing the statutory definition of cyberstalking is quite broad and has been found to include many types of revenge porn.

If you feel you have been the victim of cyberstalking or revenge porn and need an injunction to protect you please contact us to discuss the specifics of your situation and how we maybe able to help you.

Contempt For Failing To Pay Medical Expenses

Where an order or judgment in a divorce or paternity case requires a party to pay uncovered medical expenses one might think that to be enforceable by contempt.

Not necessarily.  Enforceability thorough contempt may depend on exactly what the order or judgment states and how specific it is.

For instance an order of contempt has been overuled on appeal where the order violated was not specific enough, stating only that the Former Husband bring current within 90 days those uncovered medical expenses for which he had received documentation.

While the trial court found the language sufficient to find the Former Husband in contempt when the Former Husband did not pay the 5th District Court of Appeals held that the language of the order was not sufficiently specific as to what the Husband was to pay to find the Former Husband in contempt for non payment.

If you have questions about contempt proceedings, an order, or judgment and enforceable please contact us to set up a time to discuss your specific circumstances.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Invalidated?

Yes, a prenuptial agreement and/or a provision of a prenuptial agreement can be invalidated by the court.

Courts invalidate prenuptial agreements for reasons like their violation of public policy, duress,  a lack of full financial disclosure, or fraudulent financial disclosure.

Section 61.079(7)(a), Florida Statutes (2019), in relevant part, provides: “A premarital agreement is not enforceable in an action proceeding under the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves that . . . [t]he agreement was the product of fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching.” Duress is defined as “a condition of mind produced by an improper external pressure or influence that practically destroys the free agency of a party and causes him [or her] to do and act or make a contract not of his own volition.” Herald v. Hardin, 95 Fla. 889, 891, 116 So. 863, 864 (1928) (citation omitted). In order to prove duress, “[i ]t must be shown (a) that the act sought to be set aside was effected involuntarily and thus not as an exercise of free choice or will and (b) that this condition of mind was caused by some improper and coercive conduct of the opposite side.”City of Miami v. Kory, 394 So. 2d 494, 497 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981).Thus, duress involves a “dual concept of external pressure and internal surrender or loss of volition in response to outside compulsion.” Id. (quoting 17 C.J.S. Contracts§ 168 (1963)).“It is not . . . duress for the proponent of the agreement to make it clear that there will be no marriage in the absence of the agreement.” Eager v. Eager, 696 So. 62d 1235, 1236 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997). Nonetheless, a party may not exploit another “for his [or her] own pecuniary advantage.” Berger v. Berger, 466 So. 2d 1149,1151 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985) (emphasis in original) (citing Paris v. Paris, 412 So. 2d 952 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982)).

For instance, in Zeigler v. Natera, the Third District Court of Appeals upheld a trial court ruling invalidating a prenuptial agreement where it was first presented to the fiance less than a week before the wedding date, signed on the eve of the parties wedding, and was not accompanied by a full and complete financial disclosure.

The parties planned to marry in Venezuela. Six days before their wedding, the husband presented the wife with a draft of an antenuptial agreement. At the time, the wife was four months pregnant with their second child. The only financial disclosures contained within the document were perfunctory references to the husband’s ownership of certain nominal non-convertible bearer shares with corresponding assigned nominal values. The agreement did not provide for equitable distribution or alimony. The husband allowed the wife to peruse the document and then assured her that he would furnish full financial disclosures prior to the wedding. The day before the wedding, having not yet provided any financial documentation, the husband threatened to cancel the ceremony if the wife did not.  Although it appears that the trial judge considered both unconscionability and duress in invalidating the agreement, as a finding of duress is amply supported by the record evidence, any error as to the unconscionability analysis does not dictate reversal. Dade Cty. Sch. Bd. v. Radio Station WQBA, 731 So. 2d 638, 644 (Fla. 1999) (“[I] f a trial court reaches the right result, but for the wrong reasons, it will be upheld if there is any basis which would support the judgment in the record.”).  The agreement did not contain an express waiver of any right to disclosure.

No two cases are identical and you will want to have your prenuptial agreement prepared and/or reviewed for validity and enforceability by a lawyer knowledgeable in the area.


National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Lawyer

To be compensated by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, you must file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.   Vaccine attorney, Robert Hanreck is admitted to practice in the United Stated Court of Federal Claims and has assisted clients with National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program claims.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program covers most vaccines routinely given in the U.S.

For a vaccine to be covered, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must recommend the category of vaccine for routine administration to children or pregnant women, and it must be subject to an excise tax by federal law.

A vaccine claim must usually be brought within 3 years in the case of personal injury or 2 years in the case of wrongful death.

An individual brings a claim by filing a petition.  It is important to gather up all of the medical records relating to the years immediately preceding the vaccination, the vaccination itself, and the injuries caused by the vaccination and resultant treatment to support the claim.

After an individual files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviews the claim to see if in their opinion it meets the required  criteria for compensation, and makes a preliminary recommendation.

The U.S. Department of Justice develops a report that includes medical recommendation of the Department of Health and Human Services, and their legal analysis and submits it to the Court.

The report is presented to a court-appointed special master, who decides whether the petitioner should be compensated, often after holding a hearing in which both parties can present evidence. If compensation is awarded, the special master determines the amount and type of compensation and orders the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to award compensation.

The special master’s decision may be appealed and petitioners who reject the decision of the court (or withdraw their petitions within certain timelines) may file a claim in civil court against the vaccine company and/or the health care provider who administered the vaccine.

If you have a question about the vaccine program or want to bring a vaccine injury claim contact our vaccine lawyer to discuss your situation.


How Do I Get Alimony?

If you have a need for financial support from your spouse to sustain the standard of living maintained during the marriage, your spouse has the ability to pay, and the marriage was of sufficient length to justify the type of alimony you are asking for, be it bridge the gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, or permanent alimony,  you start by asking the Court to award you alimony in your divorce petition or counter-petition.

You will then need to develop and present evidence to the court to support the statutory alimony factors in Florida Statute Section 61.08, and the factors applicable to the specific type of alimony you are seeking.

When trying to get alimony it is important to present the right evidence to support the specific type of alimony you are seeking.  For instance, you can not expect to get rehabilitative alimony without presenting a rehabilitative plan to the Court.

The facts of your case  determine what type of alimony you should ask for, what evidence needs to be presented in support of that type of alimony, how the other side will likely defend against your alimony claim, and the amount, and duration of an alimony award.

Depending on the facts of your case you may also be entitled to temporary support during the time the divorce case is going on.

If you have questions about alimony in your case contact us.


Florida Supreme Court Adopts the Daubert Standard for the Admission of Scientific Evidence To Replace the Frye Standard

Effective immediately the Daubert standard for the admission of scientific evidence has replaced the Frye standard in Florida.  The legislature previously attempted to do the same thing but it was decided by the Florida Supreme Court that for constitutional reasons it was within the Court’s rule making powers to change the standard for the admission of scientific evidence in Florida’s Courts and not that of the legislature.

The majority opinion of the Florida Supreme Court Opinion Stated in part as to the rationale for the replacement as follows:

“Additionally, as outlined in the Committee minority report, the Daubert amendments remedy deficiencies of the Frye standard. Whereas the Frye standard only applied to expert testimony based on new or novel scientific techniques and general acceptance, Daubert provides that “the trial judge must ensure that any and all scientific testimony or evidence admitted is not only relevant, but reliable.” Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589 (holding that the Federal Rules of Evidence superseded Frye). Moreover, also as argued in the minority report, the Daubert amendments will create consistency between the state and federal courts with respect to the admissibility of expert testimony and will promote fairness and predictability in the legal system, as well as help lessen forum shopping.”
The following is a link to the full opinion:

Florida Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act

deployed parent child custody What about time-sharing, visitation, custody ,and parental responsibility for a service member’s children when the service member is being deployed?

Florida has adopted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act.  Florida Statute Section 61.703 et seq.

The Act has sections that relate to giving notice of deployment, out of court agreements for the period of deployment, the possibility of a non-parent having temporary care-taking responsibility during a deployment, and expedited proceedings where agreements can not be reached out of court so an order can be entered prior to deployment and not during the deployment.

This Act serves to supplement the Service members Civil Relief Act, formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, which also provides some protections for service members.

If you or the other parent of your child are a service member who is being deployed and you have questions about your legal rights you are welcome to contact us to arrange a consultation with an attorney.