About Our Firm

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Since 1997 we are experienced and knowledgeable Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Stepparent/Relative Adoption, Consumer/Personal Bankruptcy & Mediation. We practice primarily in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, Carrollwood, North Tampa, Plant City and all of Hillsborough County,Polk, and Pinellas Counties. Our lawyers have experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions and name changes. We offer a free consultation and we are happy to discuss your case. Call or email to schedule a consult. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Financial problems are often a complication that may have added to the stressful causes of a divorce. Divorcing couples who are deeply in debt may wonder whether they should file for bankruptcy before or after they dissolve their marriage. There is no “one size fits all” answer because there are so many factors that need to go into the decision. There are advantages and disadvantages regardless of when you decide to file for bankruptcy. However, it is best to understand your options by discussing the details of your case with a qualified divorce/bankruptcy attorney prior to making any decisions.
Filing during a Divorce
Filing for bankruptcy in the middle of a divorce can be tricky. When one spouse files for bankruptcy alone, the result could be that only his or her portion of the debts are discharged. This could leave the other spouse with quite a bit of debt to resolve. Furthermore, under divorce law you may still be responsible for your share of the debt to your spouse.  For this reason, it is best to come to a bankruptcy decision jointly, whenever possible. If you are having financial difficulties it is imperative that you let your divorce attorney know immediately, as it could affect the decisions of the divorce. 
Automatic Stay
When a bankruptcy is filed during a divorce, it puts an automatic stay, or hold, on the division of property. It does not impact the issues of child support or custody. The hold will lengthen the time it takes to obtain a divorce, since the financial debt matters must first be sorted out. This could take considerable time, in some instances. However, it may be beneficial to resolve debt problems rather than allowing them to have a negative influence on your long-term money situation.
Bankruptcy after Divorce
If you wait until your divorce is final to file for bankruptcy, you could still run into trouble. When a former spouse files bankruptcy after the divorce, creditors do not have to follow the divorce decree where debts were distributed. Instead, they will pursue collection of the debt with the spouse who did not file bankruptcy. Therefore, it could be beneficial to deal with the bankruptcy before finalizing the dissolution of marriage.
Careful Consideration
Since everyone’s marital and financial situations are unique, there is not one correct solution. As with most of the divorce decisions, the choice to file bankruptcy is filled with advantages and disadvantages. There are many important consequences of bankruptcy that need to be weighed before an informed decision can be made. An experienced divorce attorney is essential, especially in cases where there is a potential for bankruptcy.
Fresh Start
As you divorce you are likely looking forward to having a fresh start. You want to put your divorce and all of its baggage behind you. If you are struggling with debt before the divorce, it will probably still haunt you afterwards unless you take the steps necessary to resolve it. The decision to file bankruptcy is one of the most important choices that can be made as part of the divorce. However, it can be a new beginning, which would not be possible otherwise. Trust that your divorce and bankruptcy attorney will assist you in getting the new beginning you deserve. If you are about to go through a difficult divorce, count on the experienced legal team at our firm to assist you during this difficult time. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grounds for Divorce in Florida

In Florida, as in other states, state law provides for dissolution of marriage between couples. In order to be granted a divorce, the marriage must have suffered an “irretrievable breakdown” or there must be incapacity of one of the spouses. By far, the most common grounds for divorce in Florida is referred to as the existence of “irretrievable differences.”
Irretrievable Breakdown
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage means that the parties are not able to maintain the marriage. They are no longer able to live together in a marriage and are no longer able to work things out. When the respondent does not deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and there are no minor children, the court will enter a divorce judgment. However, if there are minor children, the court may order the couple to seek counseling prior to granting dissolution of marriage.  That this will happen is extremely rare, although it is allowable in the language of the Florida Statutes. 
Incapacity
Incapacitation of one spouse may occur due to a number of reasons. Incapacity generally means that the person is unable or unwilling to make logical decisions or has a problem which is debilitating. The spouse must be deemed incapacitated based on the provisions of the law (s.744.331) for a time period of a minimum of 3 years. The divorce proceeding must be served to the incapacitated spouse along with the guardian. If the person does not have a guardian, the court will appoint one for the purposes of the divorce. It is imperative that the person be properly represented in order to understand the divorce proceedings.
What the Court May Require
Rarely, if ever, the court may not agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, although it is possible under the Florida Statutes.  If this were to happen, the judge may require the parties to seek counseling in some form or fashion. For example, the judge may require parties to spend time working with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, or rabbi, or other professional that is acceptable for consultation. Other actions may be required as well, especially if they are in the best interest of the minor child or children. A continuance of the proceedings will thus be put on hold for a period of not more than 3 months. This is considered time to allow for a possible reconciliation.  Again, this is extremely rare.
Help From a Qualified Divorce Attorney
Not all divorces are easy. In fact, many of them are quite complex and each has its own set of circumstances which must be reviewed and resolved.  However, it is important to note that the court will proceed with a divorce regardless of whether both parties agree that there are irretrievable differences, and which irretrievable difference do not have to be proven, just alleged. If you are about to go through a divorce, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family law lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Florida Divorce Modifications – How to Make Changes After a Divorce

Divorce can be a difficult process for families to go through. And, of course, there are many issues to review and resolve – many of which involve child custody and visitation. The finalized divorce will provide a court order that indicates the many terms of the divorce, including such things as division of assets and debts, alimony, child custody and parenting plans. Generally, these issues are settled during the divorce – but sometimes they may need to be revisited.
Reasons for Modifications
There are many reasons why a divorce order may require a modification. Sometimes the changes are granted and other times they are not. Generally, the change must be necessary and in the best interest of the child. In other words, making changes simply to satisfy the parent’s wishes are not usually considered necessary and may not be granted. Since children respond best to stability, especially after a divorce, big changes may not always be best for the child. If you are considering a modification request it is best to speak with a qualified divorce attorney to determine whether you have a legitimate request.
Modification Process
Modifications or changes to the divorce order must be made through the family court system. If you have a justifiable need for a modification you must request a hearing. At the hearing you must present evidence that justifies the need for the changes. In situations where the children were very young at the time of the divorce, the court will usually understand that some changes to the parenting arrangement may be required as the child grows and as the circumstances of the parents evolve. However, substantial changes must be proven necessary.
Parental Agreement
The hearing process allows both parents to provide evidence regarding the proposed request. In many cases, if your former spouse agrees to the changes there will be little to discuss with the judge. In some instances, however, parents are not in agreement as to the proposed changes. Both parents should have legal representation at the hearing to assist in providing evidence to support his or her position on the matter. If the child is now older, his or her desires may be taken into consideration as well. It is best to prepare well ahead of the hearing to ensure a smooth and fair outcome.
Fighting Modifications
Sometimes one parent proposes modifications that the other parent does not agree with. For example, one parent may wish to relocate and bring the child along. This would be a significant change to a shared parenting plan that may have been in place for years. While the parent who wishes to move will need to prove that this is in the best interest of the child, the other parent may need to provide evidence of the opposite. A custody challenge such as this one could arise at any time. Whether you need to make some changes to the divorce order or wish to fight a modification request, you will need the help of a skilled divorce attorney. Your lawyer will help you throughout the process and protect your rights. If you are in need of modifications, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family law lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Resolving a High Net Worth Divorce

Going through a divorce is never easy. However, it often becomes much more complex and difficult when the couple has a high net worth. A high net worth divorce is usually complicated because the parties may have many investments and other assets that need to be accounted for and possibly divided in the divorce process. In Florida, assets that the couple has accumulated during the marriage are generally considered marital property and, as such, must be distributed equitably between both people.
Asset Distribution
Married couples with a high net worth often have a large number of assets. Some of the most common assets include:
  • Bank accounts;
  • Money market accounts;
  • Pensions;
  • IRAs;
  • Trusts;
  • Stocks and bonds;
  • Investments;
  • Property;
  • Marital home;
  • Vacation property;
  • Vehicles;
  • Jewelry;
  • Antiques;
  • Artwork; and
  • Furniture.
It is important to create a complete list of all assets that are owned together. In general, the value of the assets at the time the couple separates or when one of the party’s files for divorce may be used to determine value. In these types of complex cases it may be necessary to get appraisals completed. This is particularly helpful when the current value of an item is not known. For example, a work of art may need to be appraised to determine the current market price.
Finding Hidden Assets
Those involved in complicated divorces with a large number of assets may need help making sure that they are all uncovered. In some cases one spouse may have a hidden account or property that has not been disclosed to the other person. A specialist may be needed to assist in locating all assets of the couple, regardless of where they are located. It is important to realize that you should not hide assets as you begin the divorce process. These issues will likely surface and the situation could backfire. Always discuss your financial decisions with your attorney immediately in order to protect yourself and your assets.
Non-Marital Assets
There are few items that may not be considered marital assets. Anything that you owned prior to the marriage may be considered your property alone. Gifts that you received during the marriage may be yours to keep and are probably not considered marital property. The same goes for any inheritances that you received during the marriage. However, if you do have an asset that was acquired prior to marriage, as well as gifts and inheritances during marriage, the asset will stay non-marital if it is not comingled with your spouse.  For example, the asset would be considered comingled if you put your wife or husband’s name on a non-marital bank account or his or her name on a deed for non-marital real property.  Otherwise, money and assets that were obtained while you were married generally belong to both spouses, regardless of which person actually earned them. If you have questions about marital assets your attorney will be happy to review the situation and help answer them for you.
Divorce Settlement Terms
Divorce requires both parties to try to resolve and agree on the major settlement terms. These include issues of distribution of assets and allocation of debts, alimony, child support, and custody. When couples have been together a long time or have a high net worth they are likely to have quite a complicated situation. Even so, these are decisions that must be made. The best resolutions are those that are made with assistance from a qualified divorce attorney. A skilled lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected so you achieve a fair settlement. To learn more about high net worth divorce contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family law lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+