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 Tampa Bay. 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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Alimony in Divorce

Alimony is money that is paid by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. There are several types of alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance. Whether you will get paid alimony will ultimately be determined as part of your final divorce settlement terms. While alimony was often a common part of every divorce proceeding, today, this is not necessarily the case. With more dual-working couples, the need for spousal support has decreased. If you require alimony it is best to discuss your needs with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Alimony is decided on a case by case basis and there are many issues that will factor into the decision to pay alimony as well as the length of time the alimony will be paid and how much money will be provided. The general divorce settlement terms should be decided by both partners as part of the divorce – if couples cannot agree the courts will usually ask couples to go through mediation prior to ultimately making a ruling.
How Alimony is Determined
Many things are considered when determining the details of alimony. For example, if one partner worked while the other stayed at home to care for the children, the working partner may be required to provide alimony to the other. However, the terms of alimony will be decided by many different factors such as:
  • Length of the marriage;
  •  Assets and debts;
  • Current salaries;
  • Number and ages of children;
  • Ability of both parties to get future employment;
  • Educational background;
  • Age; and
  • Lifestyle.
Types of Alimony
There are various types of alimony in Florida. Each type is designed for a specific purpose. Some of the most common types of alimony include temporary, bridge-the-gap, and lump sum. Temporary alimony is intended to provide one party with money for immediate living expenses for a short period of time. This type of alimony will usually end at a specific time. Bridge-the-gap alimony is money paid for a period of time while the spouse does what is necessary to prepare to re-enter the workforce. This is specifically used for couples where one spouse may have been out of the workforce for some time and may now need to take classes or otherwise prepare to go back to work. Lump sum alimony is a specific amount of money awarded to one spouse as part of the divorce settlement. This one transaction will complete the alimony obligation.
Alimony in Settlement Terms
Alimony is just one of the various settlement terms that must be agreed upon by divorcing couples. Financial considerations, such as alimony, are often a point of contention. Your attorney has experience working through negotiations and mediation. You must supply all of the necessary financial information along with employment history and educational background.
Alimony is not designed to punish either spouse, but instead is supposed to provide equitable money distribution so both people continue to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed. The judge makes alimony part of the divorce settlement terms that will be ordered in the final judgment. An experienced divorce attorney will assist you through the entire divorce process and will advocate for your rights.
When you are seeking a divorce, count on our compassionate attorneys for the guidance and assistance you need. 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, December 6, 2015

Florida Military Divorce

The decision to divorce is never an easy and it may be even more difficult when one or both spouses are members of the military service. Divorce can be stressful and confusing, but it is especially complicated for members of the military. There are a number of concerns and considerations that can make divorce more complex in these situations. If you have decided to divorce it is best to speak with a reputable Tampa military divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Jurisdiction Concerns
One of the first questions that may come up in a military divorce is jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the location that governs the divorce case. While a military member may be stationed in Florida, the actual residence may be in another state. Conversely, military members may be Florida residents but are stationed elsewhere. It is important to note that Florida has special rules in place to handle these types of situations.
When the couple has minor children, issues that have to do with them are handled in the state where they have been residing for the past six months. Since service members may be deployed to another location after a divorce proceeding begins, the matter can become more complicated. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, a divorce may be postponed while one spouse is actively deployed out of the country. These issues must be discussed with a competent military divorce attorney.
Support Issues
Military branches each have their own guidelines regarding support, which would take effect in cases where there is no other agreement or court order. In addition to support, there are special issues that must be considered regarding military pay and allowances. While military allowances are often tax-free, military pay is not.
There are many types of pay and allowances. Some of the common types of pay include basic, combat, hazardous duty, and flight. Allowances may be made for housing, subsistence, disability, and per diem, among others. Your attorney needs to review the military member’s pay for support and other requirements.
Equitable Distribution of Property
In Florida, as in other states, marital property must be distributed equitably between partners in a divorce. This can be more complicated when it comes to members of the military. The spouse of a service member may be eligible for direct government payment if they meet the 10/10 rule. This states that payment is made if the spouse has 10 years of marriage that overlap with 10 years of active duty service.
Another important calculation must be made in regards to division of retirement pay. Since these issues can be complex they require an experienced military divorce attorney in order to be sure that the matter is properly handled. Otherwise, the circumstances could end up costing you quite a large sum of money.
Help from a Skilled Military Divorce Attorney
If you are interested in a military divorce, it is likely that you have many questions. Meet with a qualified divorce attorney with experience in military divorces. This can be essential in achieving an equitable divorce. Your attorney will guide you through the process from start to finish, ensuring that your rights are protected.
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+

Friday, December 4, 2015

Modifying a Finalized Divorce

The divorce process is often complex and lengthy and sometimes there are many issues that must be settled during the process. If the parties cannot agree upon the terms, then a hearing before the judge would be required and it would be up to the judge to decide the outcome. The terms of the judge’s decision will be included in a Final Judgment. Once the divorce is complete and the order is in place, if one of the parties wants a modification of the terms and the parties do not agree on the change, the only way to make a change is through a court hearing.  Normally, there has to be a substantial change not contemplated at the time of the divorce in order to modify the Final Judgment when the parties do not agree. If you want to make a change to your Final Judgment, it is best to speak with a qualified divorce attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will review your situation and help determine the best way to proceed.
Divorce Settlement Terms
Couples must make decisions, or the Court will decide, the resolutions of the issues in the divorce, called dissolution of marriage. Some of the settlement terms that must be determined include:
If the couple has difficulty coming to resolution of terms in a divorce, mediation is mandatory in Hillsborough County. The terms of the agreement or court order may include specific instructions as to how changes can or will be made in the future.
Child Custody and Visitation Changes
One of the most common reasons for requesting modification is to make changes to child custody or visitation orders. A parenting plan is part of the original divorce order and it contains details as to how custody and visitation is to be handled. It should also provide for a method for making future changes. Changes may be relatively minor or may be quite more complex. Regardless of the change requested, all modifications must be made through the legal process to be binding.
Moving Out of State
Many requests for modification come when one parent wants to move out of state or more than 50 miles away from the other parent. The other parent may not agree to the other relocating with the child. In this case, the parent who wishes to move with the child will need to get permission and a court order or modification of the order that is in place, if the judge agrees that relocation and believes that relocation is in the best interest of the child.
Making Modifications
Not all changes are allowed and modifications as to division of assets and debt are not modifiable without the agreement of the other party. Furthermore, the court will not even address changes that are not properly requested. Meet with your attorney to determine whether your proposed change meets the criteria necessary to be heard by the court. If so, you must file a supplemental petition for modification and proceed through the process. If a hearing is necessary, both parties must attend the hearing and each will have a chance to present his or her case. Your attorney will assist in preparing for the hearing and will attend it with you. The judge will listen to the case and make a ruling. Keep in mind that if children are involved, the courts are instructed to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Once the ruling is made it is the new effective court order.
If you are in need of a modification or must attend a modification hearing, 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+

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Child Relocation in Florida

Divorced parents often wonder if it is possible for them to relocate with their child. The Petition to Relocate must be made in accordance with the law and must contain the correct information in order to be deemed legal. The court will schedule a hearing date at which time both parents will be present unless the non-relocating parent consents to the relocation. Relocation may be across the state or out of state. If you are moving within a 50-mile radius of your home it is not necessary to request permission from the court. However, many parents find that they need to relocate out of state, often in order to take a better job. The Florida relocation statute provides guidelines on how to legally relocate with a child after divorce.
Relocation with a Child
The law regarding relocating with a minor child is a complex one. It is necessary to review it completely when determining how best to proceed in your situation. The statute may not apply to your case so it is best to speak with an experienced divorce attorney before making any decisions regarding relocation. Parents who want to relocate with their child are able to do so in one of two ways:
  • Both parents may consent to the relocation of the child. The consent must be in writing and be approved by the court before relocation takes place.
  • When parents are not in agreement regarding the relocation request, the parent who wishes to relocate must file a petition in court, called a Petition to Relocate.
The Petition to Relocate must be made in accordance with the law and must contain the correct information in order to be deemed legal. The court will schedule a hearing date at which time both parents will be present.
Parenting Plan
When parents divorce they must include a parenting plan in their divorce order. The plan addresses many issues regarding custody and visitation of the child. Parents must address the specific parenting plan or custodial order that is in place. Issues of relocation may be addressed in this plan. Additionally, parents may have already agreed as to the way relocation and other issues will be handled should they occur later on. Always refer to your original divorce order to learn information regarding relocation. In most cases, relocation will need to be handled through the courts with a modification and petition to relocate.
Failure to Comply
Parents who fail to comply with Florida law are subject to legal action. A parent who relocates a child without compliment could be found in contempt. The child could be returned to the other parent or the relocating parent could lose custody of the child. The time-sharing schedule must be properly modified through a court order for it to be considered lawful. In addition to the possibility of losing custody, the relocating parent may be responsible for attorney’s fees for the other parent and for travel costs to return the child. Because of the serious nature of these issues it is strongly advised that you go through proper channels for relocation and modification of child custody issues.
Whether you are considering relocation with a child or want to fight a relocation request by your former spouse, it is best to speak with a family law attorney as soon as possible. These cases can take some time and you must have a court order before moving with the child. To learn more about child relocation in Florida, 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+

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?

Divorce is never easy but it can become more complicated with there is property at stake. The home is a place that should be considered a safe haven, yet it could become a sticking point in a divorce settlement. In Florida property and assets that were acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and are to be divided equitably between spouses. All too often, couples disagree about what to do with the home after the divorce. The situation can become more complex if the couple bought the home together prior to getting married.
Equitable Property Distribution
Equitable property distribution means that both parties must split their assets and property so that both receive the same value in the settlement. There are some considerations that may be given to how property is divided but in most marriages, especially with couples who have been married a long time, the split is approximately equal. The marital home is just one part of the property owned by the couple that must now be divided. There are several options that are generally available:
  • One spouse may buy the other out and own the home. This requires that the spouse relinquish other assets that total half the value of the home;
  • The couple may sell the home and split the profits; or
  • Both parties may continue to own the home together until a later date. In this case, the person living in the home may need to pay rent along with a share of taxes and maintenance costs.
The choice to sell the home may be a difficult one but ultimately may be the best option, particularly if the divorce is acrimonious. In situations where there are minor children living in the home, the couple may decide that it is best to allow them to stay in the home with one parent so they can continue to attend the same school and keep the same friends and activities.
Preparing for Divorce
If you own a home, or other property, there are a couple of things that you must do immediately when you decide to divorce. If the home is mortgaged you will need to determine the amount that is still owed on the home as well as how much equity you have in the home. Divorcing couples must find out the current value of the home. This is best accomplished by having an appraisal completed. Once you know what the home is worth you can determine the amount of equity you have in it. This will help couples make the decision as to how to proceed. For example, if you owe more than the home is worth it may be advantageous to keep the home until the market value increases and you have more equity in the property.
How a Divorce Attorney Will Help
Couples in Florida are encouraged to come to an agreement as to the major divorce settlement terms. This is often done with help from an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer. Your attorney guides you through the process and works to assist when there are disagreements. You will learn what your options are when it comes to your home so you can make the decision that is best in your situation. Some divorces are more complex than others. Count on your attorney to answer your questions and work to achieve a fair and equitable divorce for you and your family. 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+