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.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Time Sharing After Divorce – How to Make it Work


Time sharing, also referred to as shared parenting, is the most common way for divorced parents to raise their children. It may seem difficult to understand how people who were unable to get along while they were married are expected to make decisions for their children together. Yet that is what time sharing is all about. There are some things you can do during the divorce process that will make parenting easier and less stressful for the entire family after the process is complete.
Accept Compromise
Going through a divorce is never easy and often comes with many difficult situations. Although you have been bruised by the process, it is necessary to keep a united front for the sake of the children. Most kids are quite resilient, but they are able to quickly sense a divide in parenting styles and will often use that to their own benefit. Instead, you and your ex need to take charge of the situation and make decisions together whenever possible. Remember that some compromises may be necessary but it is always important to refrain from making negative comments to the children about the other parent.
Create a Detailed Parenting Plan
Divorce in Florida requires the utilization of a parenting plan. The plan is designed to provide a detailed platform that will serve as the basis for all your future parenting decisions. It is best to create a plan that is as inclusive as possible. This will be of great benefit later on, after the divorce is over and day-to-day parenting kicks in. Spend plenty of time reviewing the options included in the plan and make sure that you don’t simply gloss over it quickly. Cover even the most difficult of choices now so that you have a roadmap to guide you more easily once the divorce is final.
Keep the Best Interest of the Child in Mind
It is of utmost importance that you always make decisions and choices that are in the best interest of the child. Florida family courts focus on this when making decisions regarding children in divorce. In Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties in particular, it is mandatory to take a divorce parenting class. After a divorce, the children are still the number one concern. When a parenting situation is no longer working it may need to be revisited. Keep in mind that any changes to a divorce decree must be made through a court-ordered modification. A hearing must be requested and both parents are required to appear to present their case to the judge. If you and your ex can agree to the changes, then you update the Parenting Plan to reflect the changes and obtain an order from the Court modifying the Final Judgment.
Choose an Experienced Tampa Divorce Attorney
The choice of divorce attorney can make a big difference in how well the post-divorce will be handled. An experienced lawyer will be helpful in answering questions and providing information that will help you make decisions that are going to work well for you and your family both now and in the future. Your lawyer will protect you from some of the major stresses of the proceedings and will assist you in creating a parenting plan that will help you avoid some of the common problems that can occur. Your attorney is also available to provide guidance when a modification is needed. If you have decided to 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+

Friday, February 19, 2016

Tax Concerns in a Divorce

Tax Concerns in a Divorce

Divorce is never an easy time and there are many issues that must be resolved throughout the process. And the issues don’t necessarily stop at the end of the divorce. To be sure, once the dissolution of marriage is finalized, both parties file taxes separately. There are several areas of concern that are best ironed out during the divorce settlement. Some of these include:
  • Dependency deductions for children;
  • Taxes on child support;
  • Alimony taxes; and
  • Property transfers.
Filing taxes will be different when you are divorced than when you were married. If you were recently divorced it is best not to wait until the last minute to file in order to ensure that you can comfortably reach the tax deadline.
Filing Status
Once you are divorced you are no longer legally able to file taxes as married. Your tax filing status in Florida is based on your legal marital status on the last day of the year. Therefore, even those who were married for 11 months but divorced in December are not allowed to file as married. Instead, you must file taxes as either single or head of household. In some cases it may be advantageous to remain married for the entire year and divorce in the beginning of the next year. This allows you to file as married status. It is important to note that you are not legally divorced until the court makes a dissolution decree.
Tax Deductions
The most common question facing newly divorced couples is who can take which deductions. Certainly deductions can be complicated and for this reason if you have any questions you should speak with your account or CPA before either of you complete your taxes.  Remember that only one parent can deduct any minor children as dependents. Generally speaking, any assets that you obtained in the divorce are not taxable. There are many matters that arise regarding child support and child care costs that should be resolved prior to filing taxes.
Tax Tips For after a Divorce
First, you will need to review and change your W-4 with your employer. Do this as soon as possible so the necessary changes will take effect quickly. If you have moved, you will need to file a change of address with the IRS. You can do this by submitting a Form 8822. You will also need to make any name changes to the Social Security Administration. This should be done prior to filling out and filing your taxes for the year. Alimony received must be reported as income and those paying alimony may take it as a deduction. Tax situations may vary greatly and each situation is unique. For these reasons it is best to discuss your concerns with a tax specialist or CPA before you complete your taxes. Making changes to your taxes after they are filed can be complex so it is in your best interest to get your questions answered prior to filing.
Divorce can bring many complex situations, including those regarding taxes. When you are seeking a divorce or have concerns regarding the terms of your divorce, 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, February 18, 2016

Collaborative Divorce or Mediation – Which is Best?

Divorce is never an easy time for couples. Very few couples are able to go through divorce without some disagreements. There are plenty of issues to iron out and no matter how well you prepare for it, handling the separation and dividing property can come with some acrimony. How you handle disputes can either help to resolve them or can make them worse. In Florida, couples are typically expected to resolve their differences whenever possible before a divorce will be granted. This can be accomplished with an experienced divorce attorney or with outside help.

What is Collaborative Divorce Law?
Collaborative divorce law is a special type of legal practice that occurs outside of the courtroom. Attorneys work together to assist clients in finding resolutions to their settlement disagreements. Collaborative divorce is often best for those who have high assets or those with serious child custody disputes. A collaborative divorce allows couples to work together to try to come to a resolution that is respectful of both parties. While this may be a trendy option, it may not be the best solution for many couples.

Mediation
Mediation is an option that is available to couples who are divorcing. A mediator is a professional who is not biased. The mediator works for neither of the parties directly but instead provides the support necessary to resolve the difficult issues of the divorce – issues the couple have not been able to resolve on their own. Both parties and their attorneys are present for the discussions, which may only be required to solve one or two of the most difficult areas of dispute. When couples are unable to come to a suitable agreement, the court may order them to seek mediation.

Disadvantages of Collaborative Divorce
While at first glance, collaborative divorce may seem like a good idea, there are some distinct disadvantages. Collaborative divorce is certainly not for everyone. One of the main drawbacks of collaborative divorce is that you must agree to resolve the issues without court intervention. If the negotiations are unsuccessful both attorneys must withdraw and new attorneys for both sides must be retained. This can be expensive and time consuming, and may be unnecessary. Sometimes a better approach is simply to work with your own attorney. Your attorney understands the details of your case inside and out and will always try to ensure that you are guided to an equitable result. It is in your best interests to discuss your options with your attorney and discover which one he or she sees as the best fit.

Achieving a Successful Divorce
A successful divorce can be achieved with help from a skilled divorce attorney. The divorce process can be stressful, but under the direction of your attorney, you can leave the stress behind and concentrate on the healing process. Your lawyer will advise you of the main issues of concern, will answer your questions, and work towards achieving a divorce that best meets the needs of your family. When seeking a divorce, 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+

Monday, February 15, 2016

Understanding a Simplified Divorce

Understanding a Simplified Divorce

In Florida, as in other states, the law provides a way to dissolve a marriage more easily, known as a simplified divorce. A simplified divorce is faster and easier than a standard divorce, however, couples must meet the stringent qualifications. Those who meet the criteria may save time and money with a simplified dissolution of marriage. And, to be sure, in order to file for any type of divorce in Florida at least one party must be a resident for the last six months.
Qualifications for a Simplified Divorce
In order to proceed with a simplified divorce couples must meet certain criteria. This includes:
  • both parties agree that the marriage cannot be reconciled;
  • the parties do not have any dependent children or any children under age 18;
  • the woman is not pregnant;
  • both spouses agree regarding division of assets and debts;
  • neither party is requesting maintenance;
  • both spouses agree to relinquish their right to a trial; and
  • both parties must attend a final court hearing.
Those who do not meet these qualifications cannot file for a simplified divorce and must instead file a standard petition for dissolution of marriage.
Submitting the Petition
A petition is necessary to begin the process of a simplified divorce. The application must be signed in the presence of the deputy clerk, at the clerk’s office. Both parties must sign the petition, although it is not necessary for both people to be present at the same time. In addition to the petition, each person must provide proof of identification with a photo id. Your driver’s license will be sufficient for this purpose. A fee must be paid at the time you submit the form. You will receive a court hearing date and time.
Marital Settlement
A marital settlement agreement is a written document that provides for how assets and debts are to be distributed as part of the dissolution of marriage. Both parties are required to come to an agreement as to how to distribute their marital property. Marital property consists of any assets that were acquired during the marriage. Generally, those who qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage are those who have few assets and debts to allocate. You can agree to the settlement orally, which should be noted on the settlement form.
How a Divorce Attorney Will Help
While the simplified divorce is designed to be easy to complete, it may be helpful to seek assistance from an experienced divorce lawyer. It is important to note that if you have someone other than an attorney assist with filling out the forms, this person must provide you with a disclosure from non-lawyer, a requirement by law. The person filling out the forms must provide his or her name, address, and telephone number on the last page of every form. Simplified divorce assistance may be provided by an attorney at a flat fee. To learn more about a simplified divorce and to begin the procedure, 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, February 14, 2016

Resolving Disagreements in a Divorce

Resolving Disagreements in a Divorce

When couples decide to divorce the process of dissolving the marriage begins. Many people try to maintain a cordial relationship, especially when there are children. However, even the most agreeable divorces can turn hostile once the many issues of the relationship must be resolved. Couples most often begin to have trouble agreeing to the terms of the settlement when financial issues come up.
Divorce Settlement Terms
Florida courts require couples to come to a reasonable agreement as to the settlement terms of the divorce. These include such items as:
Couples may need help when reviewing these issues. Your divorce attorney is the best source of assistance in these matters. While every situation is different, there are many similar circumstances that provide your lawyer with the experience needed to negotiate even the most complex matters. Keep in mind that very often, compromise is necessary in order to ensure a swift conclusion.
Marital Property
In Florida, as in other states, assets and other property that has been accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. Marital property must be divided in an equitable and fair manner. There are only a few exceptions to the marital property rules. Some of these exceptions are:
  • Property acquired prior to the marriage;
  • Inheritance by one party;
  • Gifts to one spouse; and
  • Assets not included per written agreement.
There are many circumstances that may require special consideration. For example, when one spouse hides assets, there may be reason to further review the distribution to resolve the inequitable situation. In the end, the property, money, and other assets must be separated reasonably.
How to Resolve Disputes
Disputes are quite common among couples who are divorcing. When disagreements arise they can cause the divorce to stall. Courts typically want couples to work out their disagreements before they get to court. Disputes can often be rectified with help from an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer will always work towards a fair resolution with your best interests in mind. A prolonged divorce can drag on for months causing more emotional turmoil than necessary. Additionally, when a divorce comes to a standstill it can become more expensive to resolve. Couples who are unsuccessful in reaching an agreement may be required to work with a mediator.
How a Divorce Attorney Can Help
Your divorce attorney is the buffer between you and your spouse. You can count on your lawyer to assist with negotiations and make sure that your concerns are considered. Sometimes your spouse may be unreasonable when working through a divorce – this is natural. When it happens, your lawyer will defuse the situation and work to bring the matter to a successful result. Discuss any “hot button” issues with your attorney at the onset so that your lawyer will be prepared to handle the potential problem quickly. When choosing a divorce attorney, opt for a firm that primarily handles divorce cases. Also, look for a firm with the experience and expertise to circumvent potential problems. 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, February 11, 2016

Collaborative Divorce or Mediation – Which is Best?

Collaborative Divorce or Mediation – Which is Best?

Divorce is never an easy time for couples. Very few couples are able to go through divorce without some disagreements. There are plenty of issues to iron out and no matter how well you prepare for it, handling the separation and dividing property can come with some acrimony. How you handle disputes can either help to resolve them or can make them worse. In Florida, couples are typically expected to resolve their differences whenever possible before a divorce will be granted. This can be accomplished with an experienced divorce attorney or with outside help.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is a special type of legal practice that occurs outside of the courtroom. Attorneys work together to assist clients in finding resolutions to their settlement disagreements. Collaborative divorce is often best for those who have high assets or those with serious child custody disputes. A collaborative divorce allows couples to work together to try to come to a resolution that is respectful of both parties. While this may be a trendy option, it may not be the best solution for many couples.
Mediation
Mediation is an option that is available to couples who are divorcing. A mediator is a professional who is not biased. The mediator works for neither of the parties directly but instead provides the support necessary to resolve the difficult issues of the divorce – issues the couple have not been able to resolve on their own. Both parties and their attorneys are present for the discussions, which may only be required to solve one or two of the most difficult areas of dispute. When couples are unable to come to a suitable agreement, the court may order them to seek mediation.
Disadvantages of Collaborative Divorce
While at first glance, collaborative divorce may seem like a good idea, there are some distinct disadvantages. Collaborative divorce is certainly not for everyone. One of the main drawbacks of collaborative divorce is that you must agree to resolve the issues without court intervention. If the negotiations are unsuccessful both attorneys must withdraw and new attorneys for both sides must be retained. This can be expensive and time consuming, and may be unnecessary. Sometimes a better approach is simply to work with your own attorney. Your attorney understands the details of your case inside and out and will always try to ensure that you are guided to an equitable result. It is in your best interests to discuss your options with your attorney and discover which one he or she sees as the best fit.
Achieving a Successful Divorce
A successful divorce can be achieved with help from a skilled divorce attorney. The divorce process can be stressful, but under the direction of your attorney, you can leave the stress behind and concentrate on the healing process. Your lawyer will advise you of the main issues of concern, will answer your questions, and work towards achieving a divorce that best meets the needs of your family. When seeking a divorce, 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+

Monday, February 1, 2016

Divorce Essentials – Top Five Things You Need to Know

Divorce Essentials – Top Five Things You Need to Know

As the new year begins, many people are returning to their usual routines. Some, though, are looking to start the year with a divorce. And, in reality, the divorce process can take several months or longer if there are complications. As such, those choosing to divorce in Tampa should understand the following information to ensure they are prepared for what lies in their future.
  1. Florida Divorce Requirements
To file for divorce in Florida at least one party must have been a resident for at least the past six months. A member of the armed forces qualifies as a resident if that person has been stationed in Florida for six months. Also, if Florida is their state of residence with the military, than that person may also file for divorce in Florida in the county where the parties last lived together.
  1. Uncontested Divorce
The fastest and easiest way to dissolve a marriage is through signed marital settlement agreement between the parties regarding the divorce and related issues. If the parties sign an agreement then it becomes an uncontested divorce and the petitioner will attend an uncontested final hearing. Florida, as in other states, allows couples to divorce based on the marriage being “irretrievably broken”.  Even if the couple is not in agreement about the divorce or when there are minor children involved, the courts very rarely require the couple to seek counseling prior to moving forward with the process. Essentially, one party just has to allege the marriage is irretrievably broken and he or she does not have to prove it.
  1. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
Once a couple decides to divorce, one spouse must file the necessary papers. The petition for dissolution of marriage must be filed with the Florida family courts, a division of the circuit court system. The divorce papers are then served to the other spouse, who must respond within an allotted time period. As long as the couple is in agreement about the division of assets, allocation of debts, and issues regarding the children, the divorce may be able to proceed without a trial. If a trial is necessary, the courts will set a date and time and both parties and their attorneys must attend.
  1. Division of Assets
Couples need to hash out the various settlement terms of the divorce. They need to resolve the financial issues including the division of assets. In Florida, property and other assets that the couple has accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. Marital property belongs equally to both parties and must therefore be distributed equitably to each spouse. An experienced divorce attorney is invaluable in helping you work through the negotiations of these difficult decisions.
  1. Custody and Visitation
Florida requires divorcing parents to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan becomes part of the divorce terms. The plan should be as complete as possible. This will not only build a good routine for the family, but it also offers a way to prevent disputes from occurring in the future. A parenting plan will outline where the children will reside as well as visitation for the non-custodial parent. Both parents may choose a shared parenting plan so they can both make important decisions regarding their children’s education, religion, medical treatments, and other issues.
  1. Help for a Divorce
Divorce is never easy, but it can be made less stressful with help from a qualified divorce attorney. Your lawyer will review your situation and work to ensure that your needs are met and your rights are protected. Choose an attorney with the experience and background to handle your divorce and guide you through the process. When you have made the difficult choice to divorce, 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+