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      Family Law

      FAQs:

      Do you have questions? We have answers. Here are some legal FAQs that our team of attorneys often receives from clients.

      What to do if you've been served divorce papers

      Divorce is a difficult process—physically, emotionally, mentally, and even financially. This is why if you are considering a divorce, you should speak with a good family law and divorce attorney who can help you consider all your options and provide you with quality legal advice and solutions. An experienced family law and divorce attorney can help with:

      • Filing for divorce
      • Child support and timesharing
      • Spousal support arrangements
      • High-asset divorces
      • Asset and liability distribution
      Equitable distribution of social security benefits

      In a recent family law case, the Florida First District Court of Appeal ruled that a court cannot equitably distribute a spouse’s social security benefit as a marital asset. The court cannot even value the benefit and consider it as a marital asset to “indirectly” divide it by awarding the other spouse other assets to offset it. The First District Court held that actual Social Security Benefits are not subject to equitable distribution pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 407(a).

      What do you need to know about family law in Florida?

      Each state has slightly different family-related laws, as does the federal government. In the area of child support or child maintenance, the state of Florida has child support guideline tables like the one below:

      How to hire a divorce lawyer

      Here are several questions to ask before choosing a divorce lawyer:

      What practice areas do you handle?

      A law firm does not need to focus exclusively on family law to do a phenomenal job in your case. In fact, having a well-rounded practice is usually beneficial, as many family law attorneys do not regularly handle trials. A law firm that focuses on trial law, as well as family law, is equipped to litigate your case if a trial becomes necessary. This is especially important if you believe your case will be highly contested.

      What is your approach to divorce?

      Before you enter into an attorney-client relationship with a divorce lawyer, sit down with the lawyer and talk about his or her approach to family law cases. Some lawyers are quite aggressive and will immediately take a hostile approach on your behalf. If you like this style, obviously this particular lawyer will appeal to you. On the other hand, you might appreciate a more subtle, collaborative approach. This type of collaborative process works best when both sides are actively communicating and engaged in working toward goals that benefit all. So ask yourself this key question: Which route would benefit you most, collaboration or confrontation? The important thing is to discern which type of approach your lawyer likes to use.

      How much will this cost?

      The national average for divorce lawyers is $250 per hour; however, these rates tend to vary by location, issues involved in the case, and whether the spouses agree on important matters, such as child custody and division of property. It’s usually impossible to say how long a case will take to reach a resolution. This is why outside of a prior flat fee arrangement, a lawyer can’t really put a price tag on the final fees until the case is over.

      Q

      What constitutes a personal injury?

      The most common personal injury is an auto accident, but the broad definition encompasses any situation where a person suffers harm due to the negligence of another person or entity. Early identification of a personal injury is important to the legal process. Many serious injuries occur each year involving:
      – Auto accidents
      – Premises liability accidents such as injuries caused by a slip and fall
      – Medical malpractice/nursing home injuries
      – Wrongful death
      – Work-related accidents
      – Animal attacks
      – Faulty or malfunctioning products (product liability)