What is Mandatory Disclosure?

Mandatory disclosure is a Florida family law term referring to the production of a financial affidavit and financial documents required pursuant to Florida Family Law Rule 12.285. The rule applies to most initial and supplemental family law actions like divorce, paternity, and modification actions. Mandatory disclosure is not required in adoption actions, simplified dissolution cases, contempt cases, domestic violence cases, and cases where a divorce is by publication. The parties or court may modify these requirements, except a financial affidavit must always be filed in cases as to which the rule applies, and a child support worksheet must always be filed in cases involving children and child support.

A party must gather and provide to the other party each of the types of documents required by the mandatory disclosure rule and provide a certificate of compliance with mandatory disclosure. Required documents include things like pay stubs, tax returns, deeds, bank statements, account statements, and promissory notes. In an initial or supplemental proceeding the rule requires that mandatory disclosure be completed within 45 days of service of the initial pleading unless there is an objection to the disclosure, agreement or motion for extension of time to do so. The requirements of mandatory disclosure vary where temporary financial relief is being sought within 45 days of the filing of a petition. The parties have a duty to update their financial affidavit and documents whenever there is a material change in their financial circumstances.

If you have questions about your family case or the requirements of mandatory disclosure contact us and we can schedule a consult to help you.

What is Shared Parental Responsibility and What is Sole Parental Responsibility?

“Shared parental responsibility” is where both parents retain full rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined together. Shared parental responsibility is what is usually ordered by the courts. If the parties have shared parental responsibility but can not agree they can ask the court to decide the issue or potentially change parental responsibility.

“Sole parental responsibility” means only one parent makes decisions regarding the minor child. Where warranted by specific facts a court can order ultimate decision making authority or sole parental responsibility be given to one party concerning a child or specific issues concerning a child like, for example one parent could be awarded decision making concerning education. To award sole parental responsibility the court must make a determination that shared parental responsibility would cause detriment or harm to the child. Sole parental responsibility is not usually order by the courtsand is only awarded where warranted by the specific facts of the case.

If you have questions about shared or sole parental responsibility in your case please call our office for a consultation.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An “uncontested divorce” is as the name suggests a divorce without a contest, an unopposed divorce or a divorce based upon an agreement. If a Husband and Wife can reach an agreement concerning the issues in their divorce case, and the agreement is consistent with the requirements of the law, they can pursue an uncontested divorce using a divorce agreement or through the Respondent filing an Answer and Waiver to the Petition. This is not the same things as a “simplified divorce” which has its own set of additional requirements such as both the Husband and Wife having to attend the final hearing.

If the parties go the uncontested divorce route, they can usually avoid the extra expense and extra stress commonly associated with a contested divorce and can usually get divorced from one another much more quickly than in a contested divorce case. In an uncontested divorce the parties can also benefit from being able to agree to terms that fit their lives best and their best interests rather than having terms that may not fit their lives so well imposed upon them by the Court.

If you are able to agree with your spouse on the issues in your divorce case such as: the distribution of marital assets and debts, alimony or the lack of it, children’s’ issues like time-sharing, parental responsibility, and child support calculated pursuant to the guidelines, you may be good candidates for an uncontested divorce. If you would like more information on the uncontested divorce process and to find out if it may be right for you please contact us to arrange a consultation.

Wrongful Detainer, When a Person Who is Not an Owner or a Tenant Will Not Leave Your Home

It came as a complete surprise to me how frequently people try to stay in other peoples homes without a legal right to be there, and how the police may not to be very helpful in resolving the situation, and may even assist the person without ownership or tenancy in the home to gain access to it or remain there. It seems horrific that someone who forced their way into your home or whom you invited in may refuse to leave, and that the police might not assist you in having them removed, and may even tell them they have some right to be there. For instance, a friend who stays at your residence, overstays their welcome, and then refuses to leave.

If you are faced with such a situation you need to consult with an attorney to evaluate your options, determine if you are able to complete an affidavit based upon which an illegal occupant can be removed by the police, or if you do not qualify for the affidavit and need to file a wrongful detainer action to get the illegal occupant out.

A wrongful detainer action is for when you are trying to remove someone from your home; when you are the owner or legal tenant; the person you are trying to remove is not a tenant or legal owner; and there is no agreement for rent. Wrongful detainer is a distinct and separate cause of action from eviction and ejectment. It is important to file the correct cause of action to prevent unnecessary delay in getting the person illegally occupying your home out. If you have a person illegally occupying your home who is neither an owner or a tenant without an agreement for rent you scan contact us for a consultation about getting your home back.

“We Want Prenup, We Want Prenup”, Prenuptial Agreements Are Not Just For Celebrities

“We want prenup” was a term thrown into the popular culture of the time by Kanye West’s song “Gold Digger”. While people often think of a prenuptial agreement as reserved for celebrities and the mega rich any couple can benefit from one.

Prenuptial and premarital agreements are agreements entered into by parties contemplating marriage that set forth the rights and obligations of each party in the event of death, divorce, and even during the marriage. They can be used to delineate the assets, debts, and income that may be marital and divided should the marriage fail, and those that may remain separate and not be divided in the event of divorce. There are only a few things that they can’t be used for which mostly relate to child issues, like determining child custody, a parenting plan, or child support.

Nobody goes into a marriage thinking it will fail but its best to plan for contingencies, just like we get insurance to protect things we own. Prenuptial agreements can offer certainty and help to reduce the transactional costs should the worst happen and the marriage result in a divorce, leaving less to fight about and with both parties knowing where they will stand. While it can be a little uncomfortable discussing a prenuptial agreement with a fiancé, having a prenuptial agreement can help people stay friends down the road if the relationship results in a divorce by taking the acrimony out of the divorce process itself. If you think it’s hard to talk about consider it may be easier to negotiate with a party that loves you and wants to marry you than one that wants to leave you and divorce you already. If you are losing the relationship with the person you thought was the love of your life you may thank yourself and they may thank you also for not adding a fight in divorce court to the process. For the frugal among you, the cost is likely to be much less than a divorce with contested financial issues.

If you want to talk to us about a prenuptial agreement please contact our office to arrange a consultation on (786)539-4935