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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Preparing For Divorce – First Steps You Can Take

Preparing For Divorce – First Steps You Can Take

After deciding to divorce from your spouse, you must begin the divorce process. To some, going through a divorce seems difficult at first, since it is unfamiliar territory and appears to be complex legal process. However, there are certain things you can do to make the process faster, easier, and less stressful for everyone involved, and that you should consider before separating.
Get Your Finances in Order
When you are going to seek a divorce you will need to access all of your financial information including checking and savings bank statements, retirement and pension accounts, money markets, credit card statements, loans, and mortgages. You may also need to get your home appraised so you can make important decisions about whether to keep or sell your house.
Keep Communications Open
It is helpful to keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse. While there is probably some tension, it is always a good idea to try to remain on good terms whenever possible. This will certainly help keep the process moving along and ensure a smooth resolution to settlement terms. Do not make any agreements until you first speak with your divorce attorney.
Continue Routines
If you have children, you will need to remain focused on maintaining the same routines to keep things easier for them. Children thrive on daily schedules. Try to get their routines back to normal as quickly as possible. Introduce a visitation plan that can be implemented during this interim period. Avoid discussing divorce topics in front of the kids. Instead, set up a time to speak on the phone when the children are not present.
Make Lists
One of the functions you will need to accomplish during the divorce process is to come to an agreement as to the disbursement of assets as well as debts. A good way to begin the process is to make a list of your important assets. Then, you can begin to consider the best way to divvy them up. Keep in mind that in Florida marital property is to be divided equitably between both parties.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
You have a lot to worry about during this difficult time and your emotions may be running high. Try to relax and remember that most of the small details of the divorce are going to work themselves out. You can count on guidance from your attorney who will act on your behalf and will always keep your best interests in mind. This may be your first divorce, but a qualified divorce attorney works to resolve these issues every day for their clients.
Focus on the Children
Parents who are divorcing have a whole host of issues that must be considered. These include where the children will reside, whether you will share parenting responsibilities, and how visitation will work. Florida requires a parenting plan, which details all of the specifics of child rearing for divorced couples. Begin to review these decisions so that you can more easily address them as part of the divorce process.
Seek Legal Help ASAP
Both you and your spouse may need to hire attorneys for your divorce. The best results will come from quickly consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in divorce. Your lawyer will review your situation and provide you with answers to your questions. The compassionate attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. are here to help you through the process. 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+

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tips for Avoiding a Lengthy Divorce

Tips for Avoiding a Lengthy Divorce

Going through a divorce can be stressful, and will likely be especially traumatic when the divorce process takes a long time. A divorce can be easier and less upsetting for everyone involved if the situation can be resolved quickly. Typically, a faster divorce marks a more harmonious uncoupling, which can be beneficial for the entire family. Transitioning to a new way of life means that adjustments must be made by everyone. A prolonged divorce can drag on, making the family hang in limbo for a much longer period of time than is healthy. Fortunately, there do exist some tips for avoiding a lengthy divorce, which you may wish to follow if you are separating from your spouse in Florida.
Divorce Settlement Terms
In Florida, as in other states, the family courts prefer that couples work through the major terms of settlement in a divorce. These may include issues such as division of assets, distribution of debts, child custody and visitation, and alimony. Generally, property and other assets that have been accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property and must be divided equitably. This can get difficult when couples are in discord. However, a reasonable settlement can be achieved and will be resolved before the divorce is granted, and if not, then the judge will decide your fate. To ensure that the divorce doesn’t stall you will need to have some flexibility while making certain that you get your fair share.
Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is one of the best ways to instill harmony in a divorce. When both people agree to the basic settlement of the divorce the situation can proceed much faster and easier. Keep in mind that the end result is to achieve a divorce where both people come away with about the same net value in assets when all is said and done. This may mean that some compromise is necessary. It may be a good idea to make a list of the important or valuable assets and establish an approximate dollar assessment. Let your attorney know the items or property that you want to be sure to keep as well as those that are less important to you. This will help to make negotiations simpler.
It is also important to note than an uncontested divorce is not possible for all spouses; as such, you may wish to consult with your Tampa divorce attorney to discover whether or not an uncontested divorce is a possibility in your case.
Resolution of Disagreements
When disputes arise they can cause even a simple divorce to stall. It is essential to identify the points of dispute so that they can be quickly dealt with and resolved. The longer a problem is left to fester, the more difficult the issue will become, which can spill into all aspects of the divorce. A skilled divorce attorney is often your best option when problems occur. Your lawyer knows how to negotiate on your behalf to achieve the best possible results. When a resolution is not forthcoming it may be necessary to seek mediation.
Choose an Experienced Divorce Attorney
When you want to be sure that the divorce process is as fast and easy as possible, choose an attorney with expertise in handling divorces. Divorce requires not only knowledge of the laws and legal system governing divorce, but also negotiation and litigation skills that are essential in difficult situations. A good divorce attorney can diffuse a potentially volatile condition before it gets out of hand or threatens to make the divorce acrimonious. Count on the compassionate Tampa divorce attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. to help make your divorce as easy and stress free as possible.
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, January 26, 2016

Paternity – Child Support and Timesharing

Paternity – Child Support and Timesharing

Parenting brings many pleasures as well as responsibilities. When parents are married to each other when the child is born, paternity is not typically an issue. However, when a baby is born to unmarried parents, paternity is not definite until it is established legally. If both parents agree, they can sign a form called a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This form, once properly completed and notarized, must be submitted to the court. If parents are not able to agree as to this solution, either parent may take the matter to court to establish paternity.
Establishing Paternity
The mother, alleged father, a legal representative, or the Florida Department of Child Support Services may start the legal process of establishing paternity. The process begins by filling out and filing a petition to determine paternity. When a case is started the court will order DNA testing for the mother, father, and child. In a situation where the child is not yet born, the case can be started but cannot be completed until after the birth. Once paternity is established the court may also make decisions regarding other issues such as custody, child support, visitation, and health insurance.
Paternity Rights and Responsibilities
Both parents have the right to spend time with their children, unless there is some situation preventing it. In addition to spending time with the children, parents are able to make important decisions regarding such things as medical care, education, and religion. Additionally, both parents must provide for their children. Under Florida law, when a paternity case is settled in court the judge has the ability decide issues related to custody and visitation. If these are not part of the order the mother has full legal custody of the child. For this reason it is important for fathers to take part in these proceedings and gain visitation and the ability to make decisions for the child.
Child Support and Timesharing
Once paternity is established it comes with obligations by both the mother and father.  Child support and timesharing are two separate issues that must be resolved either by the agreement of the parties or by order of the court.  A Parenting Plan must be filed in all cases involving children.   Furthermore, it is important to initially set up a timesharing arrangement that allows both parents time to spend with the child, as modification of a timesharing schedule may be difficult once a final judgment is entered.
Paternity Disputes
With today’s technology, paternity can be more easily established and is less likely to be wrong. Sometimes, fatherhood may be disputed. When this occurs it is usually necessary to seek guidance from a qualified paternity attorney. The court requires DNA testing be done according to strict standards and if not properly followed, the case could become lengthy and expensive. If you are not certain that you are the father of a child it is best to find out as soon as possible. You will be required to respond and provide proof in court, if the mother disputes that you are the father. These issues can be complex and emotional so they are best handled quickly and as early in the life as possible.
If you need to establish paternity or defend claims of paternity it is helpful to seek guidance from a qualified attorney. 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, January 24, 2016

Creating a Parenting Plan that Works

Creating a Parenting Plan that Works

A divorce is never easy for families and can be particularly difficult for children. Parents need to take time to make sure that the children’s issues are addressed and that they will have as little disruption in their lives as possible. Florida family courts ensure that the best interests of the children are always first and foremost in a divorce. To make certain that parents take the time necessary to consider their children in a divorce, the parenting plan is essential.
The Parenting Plan
In Florida, divorcing couples who are parents of minor children are required to submit a parenting plan to the court. The plan details the issues that will affect the children now and in the future. A good parenting plan is as thorough as possible to prevent future problems and to establish a balanced life for the children. Creating the best possible document will eliminate many of the potential areas of dispute that may occur later on. Most importantly, the plan is designed as a tool to assist parents in providing the best care possible for their children as they transition into a new family routine.
Essentials of a Parenting Plan
There are several issues that must be included in a parenting plan. These include:
  • Time-sharing schedule;
  • Designation of responsibility for health care and education issues;
  • Daily custodial distribution; and
  • Communication methods
Most parents today provide a shared parenting arrangement with their children. Sometimes children will live primarily with one parent and visit with the other. The time-sharing schedule outlines when each parent will spend time with the children on a daily or weekly basis. Parents must agree as to how they will handle the educational, health, and religious choices that must be made in a child’s life. Finally, the plan should provide the method for which communication will take place as parents continue to work together over time.
Creating a Comprehensive Parenting Plan
The best parenting plans are those that are as complete as possible. In addition to the essentials that are required in a plan, it is extremely helpful to include other details as well. Remember that the more detailed the plan the better structure your family will enjoy through the coming months and years. Include a schedule for holidays, vacations, and summer breaks to ensure that there is an equitable split between parents. Detail the days and times for pickup and how that will take place. In addition to these important matters, it is also a good idea to include how changes are to be made if and when the need arises. Remember that both parents may end up with new partners and one or the other may want to move. The plan should take these possibilities into consideration.
Help With the Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is not difficult to put together, however, it is important to be sure that it is as inclusive as possible. This is where an experienced divorce attorney will help. Your attorney will assist you in putting together a plan that includes everything that it should and addresses the potential issues that could arise later on. By making sure that the plan is complete you will be laying solid groundwork that will make things easier for both the children and the adults. 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+

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stepparent/Relative Adoptions

Stepparent/Relative Adoptions

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Today, many children have divorced parents, or parents who were never married. Parents often remarry, creating a blended family. Blended families are wonderful, but sometimes a stepparent wants to become the legal parent. This can be achieved through adoption. An adoptive stepparent has the same legal parental rights as a biological parent. Adoption can make a family feel complete and create a loving environment for all family members.
Adoption Process
A legal adoption must be completed through the court system. The stepparent who wishes to adopt the child is considered the petitioner and thus files the petition. In addition to the joint petition for adoption by stepparent, there are some other documents that must be submitted to the court. Consent must be signed by both parents. Once all the proper forms have been completed and notarized, if needed, a final hearing will be set. Legal notice of the hearing must be given to the birth parent. This can be completed through personal or constructive service.
Parental Consent
Both birth parents must consent to a stepparent adoption, unless the other parent has abandoned the child. Florida statutes require consent be obtained from the child’s mother and father. The father must provide consent if he was legally married to the mother at the conception or birth of the child, he had legally adopted the child or paternity was legally established. In some cases, the parent may not be required to provide consent. In the case of an absent father, for example, the court mandates that you to make an effort to locate the parent to obtain consent.
The law requires that in cases of an unmarried biological father, the Florida Putative Father Registry be searched prior to adoption. This can be done only with a court order from a judge. You must file a motion requesting a search in order to get the order granted. However, this can be a complex issue and should be reviewed with an attorney to determine how to proceed.
Additional Adoption Information
In stepparent adoptions where the child is over 12 years old, the child is allowed input into the decision. Sometimes the child’s name will be changed as part of the adoption. If this is requested, name change forms must be submitted as part of the adoption paperwork. Once the court order is complete the stepparent is the legal parent and remains so, even if a divorce occurs at a later time. The records of the adoption are sealed and require a court order for review. Your lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure that all the proper documents are prepared in order to complete the adoption.
Help from a Compassionate Lawyer
The legal process to adopt is a complex one and is best made with help from a skilled lawyer. Each case is different and has a unique set of circumstances to review. You likely have many questions and concerns that can best be answered by your attorney. The decision to adopt is an important one and one that will have a life-long impact on the entire family. The Tampa attorneys at our firm are highly experienced in handling litigation of adoptions 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+