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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Moving Away with Children after a Divorce

divorce can cause a lot of emotional turmoil and can disrupt the family for a long period of time. The children are of utmost importance when making the many decisions that are involved in the divorce process. In Florida, as in other states, the courts are required to make judgments that are in the best interest of the children. The major parenting decisions are handled in with a document called a parenting plan. The parenting plan details how the care and custody of children will be handled after the divorce is finalized.
Child Custody
Most parents today take part in what is known as “shared parenting”. This means that both parents share legal custody of the kids. Legal custody refers to the major decisions that must be made for a child. For example, some of the important decisions include medical, educational, and religious options. Physical custody is simply the location where the children reside. Sometimes one parent has primary physical custody while they share legal custody with the other parent.
Moving Out of State
Once a parenting plan is put into place as part of the divorce, it is a legal order and must be followed. Both parents are typically allowed access to their children. Moving to another state would severely limit the contact of one parent, so it is usually not allowed. If you are considering a move to another state and you are the primary custodial parent, you must first consult your divorce documents. Determine how a potential move is to be handled. This is often covered as part of the parenting plan.
Request a Hearing
A change to the divorce order, including changes to a child’s residence, must be made through the court system. Even if the other parent agrees to the move, the change must be made legally by a judge. However, in many cases the other parent will not approve of the move. The first step is to discuss the matter with an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer will assist you in taking the steps needed to request a hearing.
Preparing for the Hearing
The hearing is the court date during which the judge will review your request and make a determination. Both parents are required to attend the hearing. Each parent is allowed time to present information and data to support their position. It is important to remember that the judge will always make a decision based on what is best for the child. All aspects of the case will be reviewed when making such a serious decision.
It is helpful for parents to have a plan in place that addresses how visitation will occur in the future. When the children are older, typically over age 12, they may be consulted regarding their wishes. This would be done by the judge, often in chambers. The courts always make sure that the children are protected and the decision will reflect that.
If you are considering making a move out of state, or your former spouse has requested to move with your child, you need help from a skilled legal team. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys 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, July 27, 2016

Reviewing Time-Sharing Options

When parents’ divorce, one of the most controversial and complex decisions is how to resolve issues regarding the children. There are various time-sharing arrangements available to Florida families. In Florida, custody is now called time-sharing, as both parents are expected to make decisions for the child, spend time with the child, and provide support if applicable.
Parenting Time
Generally, shared parenting is the preferred option for child custody. However, the courts do review all factors when considering arrangements. Parents are both expected to provide for their children and spend time with them on a regular basis. Ideally, parenting time should be split in a manner that provides equal time with each parent.
Factors in Considering Custody
The courts have the final decision when determining child time sharing issues. Some of the factors that they use when considering custody include:
  • Ability of each parent to provide care;
  • The relationship between parent and child;
  • Physical and mental health of each parent;
  • Moral fortitude of each parent;
  • Ability to provide safe, substance-free home; and
  • Ability of each parent to meet the developmental needs of the child.
The most important factor that is always at the forefront of any decision is choosing what is in the best interest of the child. The welfare of the child is of utmost importance, and comes before almost every other factor in making a decision of where the child should live.
Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is required for all couples who have minor children at the time of the divorce. The plan is part of the Florida divorce statutes, and is necessary before a divorce will be granted. Parenting plans should address the major areas of concern regarding the children. Some of the important aspects that must be included are:
  • Parents will share daily responsibilities of child care and upbringing;
  • A time sharing schedule to specify time spent with each parent;
  • Determination of how parental responsibilities will be distributed; and
  • How parents will communicate with each other and with the child.
A detailed parenting plan will save parents from disagreements later on. The plan should include information about how to make modifications to the agreement should they become available.
Child Residence
Although parents often share legal responsibilities for the child, the child will usually reside primarily with one parent. Many times, the child resides most of the time with one parent and the other parent has regular visitation with the child. Visitation times should be outlined in the parenting plan. The parents need to share time when the child is on holiday or vacation from school. Changes to these arrangements can only be made through the court. A hearing must be requested where both parents will have the opportunity to speak to the judge.
Parenting issues are very serious matters because they can have a major impact on your child’s life for years to come. As a parent, you probably have many questions and concerns about parenting time during a divorce. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy 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, July 25, 2016

Three Valuable Lessons You Can Learn From Celebrity Divorces

Celebrities are in the limelight, but they are just like regular people when it comes to relationships. Many celebrity marriages end in divorce, and when they do the process may involve airing their dirty laundry in public. The reality is, relationships between celebrities are just as complex and difficult as those of average people. When celebrities divorce, you get to see a glimpse into some of the more ugly sides of divorce. And, indeed, you can learn a great deal by watching what happens in high-profile divorces so you can avoid the same problems.
Get a Prenup
It is estimated that only about three to five percent of couples get a prenuptial agreementbefore they marry. This can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Prenups aren’t just for the rich and famous. Virtually all couples can benefit greatly by putting a prenup in place. A premarital agreement details all of the major settlement terms of divorce. It is extremely helpful because couples will not have to argue over many of the small issues that can wreak havoc during a divorce. Instead, these matters will have already been ironed out. It is important to note, however, that you should always have a prenup reviewed by an attorney before signing it.
End Things the Right Way
Don’t move on until you have finalized this chapter of your life. The best divorces, if there are such things, are between partners who still have respect for one another. This can be difficult or impossible to do when one spouse moves on way too soon after the split. If you aren’t happy, you need to let your spouse know, and take steps to try to resolve the issues so you can be sure that you want to get divorced. Then, move on at an appropriate time.
Plan Properly
Many times, celebrity divorces seem to come out of nowhere. In reality, we know that there has likely been trouble brewing for quite a while. In Florida, as in other states, property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is therefore divided equitably between partners. Before pursuing a divorce, understand your finances, including information regarding your home. Children should be cared for by both parents, although they usually reside primarily with one parent. Review your pension plans, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and investments so that they can be evenly distributed.
How an Experienced Divorce Attorney Will Help
If you are new to divorce, as are most people, you may not know what to expect or how to proceed. You probably have a lot of questions and concerns about the divorce process. Seek out an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through the procedures. Your lawyer will answer all of your questions and put your mind at ease as you begin this new stage of life. Choosing an attorney with experience in family and divorce issues will allow you to leave the details to her while you concentrate on emotional healing for you and your family. If you are interested in pursuing a divorce from your spouse, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy 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+

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Becoming a Better Parent

Parenting is never easy. Children don’t come with an instruction guide, yet parents are expected to instinctively know how to care for all of their children’s physical, emotional, and financial needs. Unfortunately, divorce can intensify the need for better parenting by both the mother and father. Kids need leadership now more than ever. Although the adults may not see eye to eye on the issues surrounding their split, they can each learn how to become better able to provide the stable support their children need.
Parenting Classes
Taking a parenting class is one of the best ways to improve your skills. After your divorce, you will need to learn new ways to parent with your former spouse. Children need to know that both parents are available to provide them with the nurturing and caring environment they need. Parents can take classes through various sources or they may be required to take a class through the court. Parents will learn valuable information about how to talk to their children about the divorce.
Counseling
Children, like adults, have to work through the changes that come as a result of divorce. Parents may not have the ability to assist children with these concerns, especially when they are working through their own emotional demands. For these reasons, counseling may be a good solution. A therapist or family counselor is a first step towards getting children to talk about their feelings. This will help them come to terms with the divorce. Children are remarkably resilient, but they may need some assistance in dealing with the very adult issues that are around them during a divorce.
Communication
Good communication is the key to all successful relationships, even with your children. Be careful not to discuss adult matters with children because this can give them anxiety and it involves them in a situation that they do not need to worry about. Instead, make sure that you maintain open communication with the children and answer any questions they may have as a result of the divorce. Kids often have very simple needs. They want to be assured that both of their parents still love them and will spend time with them, even if they don’t live together anymore.
Resolving Divorce Issues
Many various issues come up during the divorce process. These can evoke feelings of fear, anger, heartache, and guilt. Children often deal with these same emotions as they go through the changes that divorce brings. To keep everyone’s emotions at bay, try to resolve the major areas of concern with help from your divorce attorney. Head off any serious problem areas before they can become large disagreements. Your divorce lawyer is often able to help keep the divorce progressing along without any significant arguments. A more agreeable divorce will help to create a much happier resolution for the entire family as they move towards creating a new life. If you are about to go through a divorce, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy 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, July 21, 2016

Trial Separation – Is it an Option in Florida?

The decision to divorce isn’t always an easy one. Sometimes, couples may want some time apart to help them decide whether they want to continue the marriage or move on. In Florida, there is no legal separation. However, couples can still take some steps before filing for divorce, as long as they protect themselves in the process. Remember that separated couples are still married, under Florida law, and so they must be sure that they are able to agree to the issues that may come up during this time period.
Alternatives to Legal Separation
Couples in Florida may live separately before they divorce. If you choose to do this, however, it is advisable to create a separation agreement. While this is not a document that is approved in the family court system, it does provide a degree of protection for couples in this situation. Another option is to enter into a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenup except that it is executed during the marriage, rather than prior to it. The postnuptial agreement should include all of the same issues that are handled in a divorce, such as:
  • Distribution of assets;
  • Allocation of debts;
  • Child living arrangements;
  • Child support and visitation; and
  • Spousal maintenance.
Resolving these issues now will help to better navigate a divorce, should the couple decide to move forward in that direction.
File a Petition for Support
One legal document that can be filed separately from a divorce is a petition for support. The petition is a request for child support, spousal support, or both. Money may be needed to allow both spouses to continue to pay the mortgage, and other necessary bills and living expenses. The support petition is a good option for those whose spouses have already moved out, but there is no pending divorce petition filed. These issues can be addressed again later, as part of the divorce proceedings.
Seek Counseling
Couples in turmoil may want to get counseling to help them decide what to do. Many times the couple simply needs some time apart to review the relationship and work on issues that need to be repaired. Counseling can be done together, as a couple, or alone.
Rules of Separation
There are no rules for separation, but couples should follow some guidelines to help them prevent problems. When separating, make a unified decision on how finances will be handled. Get copies of all bank accounts, pensions, and other records so you can review them later. Meet with a skilled divorce attorney to learn about your options, even if you have not yet decided to part for good. Continue regular communication so that you can assess the progress of the situation. Keep up regular child visitation, so there is as little disruption for the children as possible. Finally, set a timeline for the separation so that it won’t go on indefinitely.
If you are considering a separation or divorce, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy 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, July 19, 2016

Top Five Ways to Make Your Divorce Easier

Divorce can be one of the most difficult times in your life – it can take its toll on you emotionally, physically, and financially. In fact, there are few things in life that can create more stress and disharmony than a divorce. When a family comes apart, there are many different feelings that you are likely working through. However, working through a divorce doesn’t have to be traumatic. In fact, you should consider trying these five actions that can help make the divorce easier for you and your family.
Stay Focused
It is important to focus on getting through your divorce, no matter how tough it may seem to be. An experienced divorce attorney will help guide you through the process and keep your uncoupling on track. You can count on your attorney to handle the legal details of your divorce while you focus on emotional healing, and on rebuilding your life. A stalled divorce can be difficult for everyone, so keep the process moving along.
Be Fair
In Florida, any asset acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, and therefore must be divided equitably between spouses in a divorce. It will typically do little to properly resolve your divorce when parties are being unfair. Unfairness will be met with pushback, and the result will be a lengthy, difficult, and tense divorce. Trust in your attorney and their ability to handle even the most difficult of disagreements.
Think of the Children
If you are having a tough time with the divorce, consider what the children may be going through. Your children need to be loved and protected during this difficult time. Be aware of doing anything that could emotionally damage. Remember to keep your children out from the middle of the spousal disagreements. Set up a stable “new normal” for your family that includes them spending time with your former spouse.
Avoid Negativity
It is important to keep a positive attitude as much as possible. Negativity will only become a distraction and can add to your stress as well as the stress of your family. Avoid any temptation to lash out at your spouse and do not try to trash him or her to others. You both know how to push each other’s buttons, but keep in mind that you do not have to respond, especially when it serves no helpful purpose.
Seek Counseling
There is nothing heroic about getting through a divorce alone. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself, and your children, is to seek counseling. The sooner you begin to deal with your feelings, the more quickly you will be able to move on from the relationship and find happiness. While counseling may not have worked for you and your spouse as a couple, you are now free to work through your own emotions, which will help you get past the divorce so you can go forward. If your children seem to be having a hard time with the changes, you may also want to take them to counseling.
If you are about to go through a divorce don’t do it alone. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy 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, July 17, 2016

Handling Retirement Funds in a Divorce

Divorce comes with many decisions, some more complex than others. Some of the most difficult decisions revolve around distribution of assets. In Florida, property and other assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital assets, belonging to both parties. This generally includes any retirement assets accumulated in retirement or pension accounts. Many couples fail to immediately address these funds in a divorce, but that can be a mistake. It is important to protect your retirement accounts when you and your spouse end your marriage.
Identify Retirement Accounts
Although you normally may not be paying much attention to your retirement accounts, when a divorce is imminent it is best to review these issues as soon as possible. If you have had several long-term jobs, you could have several or more pensions or retirement accounts. For this reason, it is helpful to keep good records of the companies and funds that you have accumulated. The dates of the retirement funds are critical since they will determine whether the money was accumulated during the marriage. There are issues with regards to these accounts that must be addressed, including taxation, and beneficiaries.
Complex Concerns
Retirement fund concerns can be quite complex, especially when several accounts, or multiple marriages are involved. If you need to transfer funds from an IRA or other savings account, it is necessary to do it properly. Incorrect transfer of funds could cause the transaction to be considered a full distribution, which may result in tax penalties. Another consideration regarding these accounts is the designated beneficiary. Remember to update these designations after the divorce in order to properly preserve your accounts and achieve the desired stipulations.
Discuss Retirement Accounts
While these accounts may be one of the last things on your mind as you navigate your divorce, they are important to your future. It is best to discuss your retirement accounts with your divorce attorney as soon as possible. You will likely need to request records from your employers (or former employers) that indicate the specific dates of participation, along with the amount of money that was added. This information will be essential when determining marital assets.
Benefit and Contribution Plans
The distribution of funds will depend on the type of account that is utilized. There are two main types of accounts including the defined-benefit plan and the defined-contribution plan. With defined-benefit plans, the spouse may have the opportunity to take a lump-sum payment, called a “cash-out” value. Defined-contribution plans require calculation of vesting percentages. These computations can become complicated, especially when there are multiple accounts to consider. There are also other types of retirement plans that need to be reviewed during a divorce, such as military retirement accounts and government pensions. In general, couples must equitably distribute funds in any accounts that had contributions during the marriage.
Because of the highly complex nature of retirement funds in a divorce, it is critical that you discuss your accounts with a skilled divorce attorney as quickly as possible. If you are seeking a divorce, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy 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+