About Our Firm

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Founded in 1997 we are experienced and knowledgeable Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Stepparent/Relative Adoption, Criminal Defense, & Personal Bankruptcy. We practice primarily in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, Carrollwood, North Tampa, Plant City and all of Tampa Bay. We have offices conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay. Our lawyers have extensive 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 also have attorneys who are very knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of criminal defense. We offer a free consultation to discuss your options. Please call us at 813-672-1900 or email us at info@familymaritallaw.com to schedule a consultation. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them. We look forwarding to hearing from you! Se habla EspaƱol.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Getting Through a Contested Divorce

Divorce is never easy, even in situations where both parties are in agreement. However, when one party does not agree to the dissolution of marriage or settlement terms, the result is a contested divorceIn a typical uncontested divorce the couple is expected to come to a reasonable agreement as to the terms of the settlement. When one person contests the divorce it means they do not agree to the terms and therefore the divorce is headed towards trial. A contentious divorce can make the process longer and, as a result, more difficult and expensive.

Terms for Divorce Settlement
When a couple divorces in Florida they need to work to come to an agreement as to the major settlement terms. These settlement terms cover such topics as:
In Florida, as in other states, marital assets and liabilities must be distributed equitably in a divorce. Assets that were attained during the marriage are included in marital property with few exceptions. Distribution of assets can become complicated, particularly when the both husband and wife have been working, have pensions or retirement accounts, and have been married for a long time. It is best to discuss these issues with a qualified divorce attorney as soon as possible so concerns can be cleared up quickly.
How to Resolve Differences
When your divorce is acrimonious it requires special treatment. An experienced divorce attorney assists in resolving the major problems and restoring agreement. Many times, emotions take over, especially when it comes to finances and issues regarding the children. When this happens, it is helpful for you to have assistance from your attorney, who is able to see the situation from a more objective position. It is important to ensure that your rights are protected while allowing for some compromises that will make the divorce process smoother and less stressful.
Speeding Up the Divorce Process
A contested divorce can take longer to complete and becomes more expensive, time consuming, and stressful. If your divorce is contested it will take an emotional toll on the entire family. It is often best to try to resolve the differences without having to go to trial. As the divorce progresses you may realize that it is becoming difficult. Often, the judge sends couples back to try to resolve their own issues. The judge may even require mediation before making a final determination, which is done in a hearing. To avert this situation, your attorney will help guide you through the resolution process with as few problems as possible.
Contested Final Hearing
If, after all possible options have been exhausted, the couple is still unable to agree to the divorce issues, there will be a final hearing. In the contested final hearing, also called a trial, both parties present evidence and testimony to the judge, who will make a final decision. Your divorce attorney will prepare you and guide you through the entire process to achieve your desired outcome.
If you are facing the possibility of a contested divorce, it is important to reach out to skilled counsel immediately. Contact the Tampa divorce and family 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+

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Supreme Court of Florida Weighs in on Waivers in Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch - Pre Nuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement can be an effective tool for two people to settle the division of assets upon the dissolution of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements can be complex agreements that should be approached with great care and diligence. Both parties to the agreement should have a full understanding of the subject of the agreement and retain counsel to advocate for their interests. One common element of prenuptial agreements is a waiver and release of claims, which can vary in specificity. In Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch, the Supreme Court of Florida determined the validity of general waivers as they relate to certain marital property and claims.
Issue of the Case
In Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch, the husband and wife executed a prenuptial agreement before marriage, which lasted for 22 years and produced two children. The prenuptial agreement contained:
  • a general waiver and release that barred the wife from asserting any claim to the husband’s property, and to any rights she otherwise accrued as a result of the marriage, such as alimony, support and maintenance, equitable distribution, division of property, or attorneys’ fees;
  • a provision that each spouse shall keep sole ownership of their respective property that was acquired before or after the marriage, and that each waived all right to the other’s assets; and
  • a presumption that property titled in one spouse’s name was deemed to be that spouse’s property.
Upon their divorce, the wife claimed that the general waiver did not apply to her right to her share of her husband’s earnings, assets purchased with those earnings, or any appreciation or enhanced value of her husband’s assets as a result of marital efforts. Before the Hahamovitch decision, Florida courts were split as to whether a general waiver as described above is a valid means to waive a spouse’s right to such assets.
The Court’s Ruling
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Florida settled an important legal issue in Florida divorce law. The court held that prenuptial agreements that contain a general waiver that provides that each spouse:
  1. disclaims all interest in the other spouse’s property;
  2. will be the sole owner of property purchased in their own name; and
  3. waives all claims that they may have as a result of the marriage, e.g., alimony;
…are valid and will prevent each spouse from claiming a share of property owned and titled in the other spouse’s name, regardless if that property was purchased with marital assets or appreciated in value because of efforts by the non-owner spouse.
Impact on Prenuptial Agreements
Before Hahamovitch, Florida courts varied on the specificity required for waivers for certain marital assets, such as a spouse’s earnings. The court’s decision brings clarity in that a properly drafted waiver can serve to preclude claims otherwise allowed under Florida law.
Considering or Need Help with a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are complex and require careful consideration, especially when they contain a broad waiver and release of claims. The divorce attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. have the knowledge and skill necessary to protect your interest in entering and exiting a marriage. If you need help or have questions about your divorce or prenuptial agreement, contact the Tampa family and divorce 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+

Timing of Marriage and Baby Doesn’t Affect Divorce Rate

In the past, research showed that cohabitating couples who had a baby prior to getting married consistently faced a higher divorce rate than those who married first and had a baby later. In fact, a study by the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) claims that there was no increased risk of divorce for those who chose to marry first, as opposed to those who chose to have a baby first and then get married.
The study analyzed data from couples who had their first child between 1985 and 1995 and those who did so between 1997 and 2010. Researchers found that unmarried couples in the first group were 60% more likely to divorce than those couples who married before having their first child. Only 10 years later, however, this difference disappeared. Couples from the second group who remained unmarried before the birth of their first child were no more likely to divorce than those who were married first.
Why is This the Case?
Researchers attribute this drastic change in statistics to a number of different factors. On the whole, American society, as well as that of other industrialized countries, is more accepting of unmarried couples who live together. These days, there is little societal pressure to immediately marry if a pregnancy occurs. Children born of out wedlock are commonplace in most areas of the country, and the stigmas that were attached to unmarried couples sharing a household and children born outside of marriage no longer really exist. Rather, couples who share a child take their time in deciding whether and when they will marry.
In fact, the only group who had a significantly higher chance of splitting up after their first child was comprised of those couples who never married. Thirty percent of those cohabitating couples who never married split up within five years. However, this statistic may have been skewed by the fact that cohabitating couples tend to have less income and education that those who marry, which may contribute to an eventual split.
Whether parents are married or not, however, a separation is likely to increase the need for court orders regarding custody, visitation, and child support. These options are equally available to children born during marriages and those who are not. While some separations occur amicably, and parents are able to compromise and reach an agreement on these important issues, others are much more complex, and may require extensive litigation.
It is in these situations that an experienced Tampa family law attorney can be most helpful to you. When you are going through the emotional struggle that often accompanies a bitter break-up, the last thing you need is to try and navigate the minefield of child custody and visitation on your own. This is where we can be of assistance to you. Contact the Tampa family and divorce 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+