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Since 1997 we are Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Adoption, Bankruptcy & Mediation Services: practicing in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia and all of Hillsborough County as well as for bankruptcy in all counties in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florda: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Hernando, Polk, and Pasco 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.

Friday, April 3, 2015

High-Profile Divorce Attorney Discusses Bigamy

recent divorce hearing involving Florida U.S. Representative Alan Grayson and his wife of 35 years Lolita Grayson captured the attention of media outlets not only because of Rep. Grayson’s vast fortune (approximately $30 million) but also because of allegations of bigamy leveled against Ms. Grayson. Ms. Grayson is seeking a part of Rep. Grayson’s fortune as alimony. Rep. Grayson, through his attorneys, is claiming Lolita is a bigamist and was legally married to another man at the time she and Rep. Grayson married. This would enable Rep. Grayson to be granted an annulment and deny Ms. Grayson any alimony at all.
Bigamy – What is Florida’s Stance?
A person who, while legally married to another, marries a second spouse is guilty of bigamy under Florida law. The former spouse must be living at the time the second marriage takes place, and in order to be prosecuted as a crime the second marriage must usually take place in Florida. There are several exceptions to the bigamy statute; namely, a person is not guilty of bigamy if he or she reasonably believes the first spouse has died or reasonably believes he or she is legally eligible to be remarried.
Aside from being a criminal act, a spouse who marries another while he or she is still legally married to the first spouse has entered into a void marriage. This type of marriage is not valid from the outset and the legality of the marriage can be challenged at any time. As illustrated in the Grayson case, a void marriage can result in an innocent spouse being denied spousal support even if the two parties have been together for decades.
What Should I Do if I Believe My Spouse is a Bigamist?
Claiming that your spouse is a bigamist is a serious allegation that can have equally serious legal and financial ramifications for you and any children you and your spouse had together. It is best to consult with an experienced family lawyer before proceeding to court, especially if you are the “second spouse,” because:
  • If your marriage is found to be void, you will lose any alimony and other benefits you would otherwise be entitled to; and
  • Children born in a void marriage are not considered “legitimate” children since the marriage was never valid. The father will have to go through a “paternity action” to be legally considered the father and which action will establish timesharing and child support. If the mother wants to receive child support and other benefits for the children, then she would have to pursue a paternity action.
Bigamy in a marriage is rare; however, it does happen with and without the consent of all the parties. Before you take action yourself, contact a Tampa divorce attorney at All Family Law Group, P.A. We can examine the facts of your particular situation and advise you as to whether your spouse has committed bigamy and what this means for you. We will help you take the best steps for your future and the future of your children. Contact our offices in Tampa Bay at 813-321-3421 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Saturday, March 28, 2015

In Sickness and in Health? Think Again.

Think that your marriage can survive a prolonged or significant illness? A new study suggests that, for women aged 51 and over, a serious health complication can increase the chances that their marriage will end in divorce. The study found that there was no significant increase in the risk of divorce if the husband became ill. The study examined over 2,700 marriages involving individuals aged 51 and older and found that there was a six percent increase in the chances of divorce when the wife comes down with a serious illness. The study did not examine which partner initiated the divorce under these circumstances, nor did it ask the specific reason why the couples divorced.
A Serious Illness Followed by a Divorce Creates a Perilous Situation
It is no secret that a divorce can ruin a person’s personal finances. This becomes even more likely when a divorce is preceded by a long or significant illness. It is during these times that retaining the help of an experienced Florida divorce attorney can make all the difference. While it may seem like an expense you cannot afford during this time, it should be remembered that one party can ask the court to order the other party to award him or her attorney’s fees at the conclusion of the divorce. In some cases, a court can even order one party to pay the other’s attorney’s fees on a temporary basis while the divorce is pending.
What Can a Florida Divorce Attorney Do for Me in This Situation?
Some may wonder what good an attorney can do for them when the filing of a divorce is preceded by their own illness. After all, an attorney cannot prevent one spouse from filing a divorce petition against the other spouse any more than an attorney can prevent an illness. But an experienced Tampa, Florida divorce attorney can help you obtain alimony, or spousal support. In certain cases, one party can be ordered to pay some or all of the living expenses of the other spouse. An alimony award is typically entered as part of the court’s final divorce decree, but an attorney may be able to help you obtain spousal support while the divorce is pending.
While permanent alimony – that is, alimony that continues until the recipient either remarries or dies – may soon be a thing of the past in Florida, a spousal support award can help the spouse who was ill make ends meet and get back on his or her feet.
Contact the Tampa Divorce Lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. for Assistance
The laws governing alimony are complicated. Beyond needing to show that you have a need for the alimony, you must also show that the other party has an ability to pay alimony (amongst other things). When a serious illness has led to an unexpected divorce, do not leave your financial future to chance. A Tampa divorce attorney can help ensure you receive the alimony you need to get your life back in order. Contact our offices in Tampa Bay at 813-321-3421 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

By: Lynette Silon-Laguna  Google

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Amount Child Support Can I Expect to Receive?

Recently, divorcing couple Kenneth Griffin and Anne Dias Griffin of Illinois gained some measure of notoriety after Dias Griffin’s recent court filings were made public. Those filings include a request from Ms. Dias Griffin for over $1 million per month in alimony and child support to support herself, the couple’s three children, and four nannies. The request includes $300,000 for a private jet, $160,000 for vacation accommodations and hotels, $60,000 for office space and a professional staff, and $14,000 for groceries and meals. (Each of these amounts represents monthly amounts requested.) Lawyers for Mr. Griffin claim that Ms. Dias Griffin had unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a similar amount as an alimony award and is now attempting to obtain the amount as a child support award.
Can I Get $1 Million in Child Support?
Most divorced parents who are the primary caregivers for their children do not expect $1 million per month in child support. But some such parents depend on the monthly child support check in order to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Budget-conscious and newly-divorced parents in particular may be unfamiliar with how a Florida court establishes a child support order.
Courts in Florida are required to follow the Florida Child Support Guidelines when calculating a child support order. These guidelines direct the court to consider the net income of the parents as well as the number of children and the healthcare and childcare costs of the child. Florida law sets out a formula that must be used by the court to calculate the child support amount based on this information. The resulting child support amount is a presumed amount, meaning that a court is obligated to order that specific amount unless special circumstances exist. If no such special circumstances exist, the amount is presumed to be enough to support the parties’ children.
What if the Presumed Amount is Not Enough to Cover My Child’s Expenses?
Sometimes the costs of raising a child are greater than the presumed amount of child support. For instance, a child with a medical condition may require routine and expensive procedures or medicines. In such cases, the parent providing care for the child can ask the court to award more support than the presumed amount. A court is able to do so only if it makes specific written findings that show why the court believes the presumed amount of child support is not enough to provide for the care of the child.
We Can Help You Make Sense of Florida Child Support
There is no such thing as a “typical” child support calculation, as each calculation needs to take into account the specific situation of the parties. The experienced divorce and family law attorneys at All Family Law Group can evaluate your particular facts and circumstances and help you understand what child support amount is presumed in your case. Where this presumed amount is inadequate, we will aggressively fight for the child support you need to provide for your children. Contact our offices in Tampa Bay at 813-321-3421 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

When a Parent Becomes a Kidnapper

Police in Massachusetts are searching for a Quincy-area mother for allegedly “kidnapping” her five children. Unfortunately, this mother is neither the first nor will she be the last parent to face accusations of “kidnapping” their own children. Although it may seem counterintuitive, Florida and other states allow a parent to be charged with kidnapping his or her own child. According to the U.S. Department of Justice and a 2002 study from its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an estimated 203,900 children were the victims of parental kidnapping in 1999. Fifty-three percent of these children were abducted by their father, while 25 percent were abducted by their mother. Twenty-one percent were missing or gone for one month or longer.
What Constitutes Parental Kidnapping?
While some divorcing parents are able to put aside their differences and feelings for one another and cooperate for the benefit of their child or children, other parents use children as a means of controlling or punishing the other parent. In general and regardless of the reason, any attempt by one parent to deny the other parent reasonable parenting time with the childwithout either an emergency or court order can be considered “parental kidnapping.” Common parental kidnapping scenarios include:
  • Failing to follow a court-ordered parenting plan by failing to return the child at the conclusion of the parent’s parenting time;
  • Moving out of state (or to another country) with the child without the approval of the other parent and/or the court;
  • In the absence of a court-approved parenting plan, refusing to allow the other parent to exercise reasonable parenting time with the child.
Not all actions by a parent that deprive the other parent of parenting time will result in criminal sanctions. For instance, a parent charged with parental kidnapping can show that he or she deprived the other parent of parenting time because doing so was necessary to protect the welfare of the child.
What Should I Do if I Believe the Other Parent Will “Kidnap” Our Child?
If you believe that the other parent is likely to abduct or kidnap your child, you must be proactive. You do not necessarily need to wait for the other parent to actually kidnap the child in order to act; however, you may find a court is not able to help you if there is no evidence a kidnapping is about to take place. For instance, the fact that the other parent has relatives that live in another country may not be enough to convince a court to enter protective orders or award you sole custody. Conversely, relatives who live in another country coupled with texts, e-mails, or phone messages in which the other parent threatens to take the child away can influence a court to take protective measures.
As with any other custody-related issue, an experienced Tampa divorce attorney is useful in ensuring the proper motions are timely filed and decided in order to protect your child. At the All Family Law Group, P.A., we are here to help you. Contact our offices in Tampa Bay at 813-321-3421 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+