Man going through divorce liable for estranged wife’s accident

0 Comments

When going through a divorce, one of the big obstacles that many couples have to deal with is property division. As you and your spouse begin to split up assets, you have to make sure that you keep yourself protected. One of the necessary steps for accomplishing this involves having your name removed from anything that will remain in your former spouse’s possession. A recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court serves as a harsh reminder to get your name taken off of the things you aren’t keeping as part of the divorce settlement.

The case involved a man who was killed when he was struck by a woman driving a car. The woman’s estranged husband didn’t have keys to the vehicle that struck the victim, nor did the husband have access to the car. A jury originally found that the estranged husband wasn’t liable for the accident, but the victim’s wife appealed that decision.

The Supreme Court ruled that the husband was still responsible for the man’s death because his name was still on the title and because he owned the car. The couple’s divorce wasn’t yet final, but they were living apart.

Anyone who is going through a divorce needs to make sure that their interests are protected throughout the divorce process. Getting answers to any questions you have and working toward a divorce settlement as expeditiously as possible might help you to protect yourself so you can enjoy your new life when the final decree for your divorce is issued. Also, these issues become even more important if you have a large amount of expensive assets such cars or houses. This case goes to show that big assets need to be handled quickly in a divorce before they end up having a negative effect.

Source: Jacksonville.com, “Florida Supreme Court rules estranged husband liable for wife’s striking, killing of man” No author given, Apr. 10, 2014

Child support, custody and alimony at heart of Mase divorce

0 Comments

For some people, getting rid of the stereotypes associated with the life they formerly lived can be very difficult. When most people think of the rap music genre and the artists associated with the genre, they usually don’t think about Christian pastors. One rapper, Mase, had tried to break the stereotype associated with him from his rapping days. Florida readers might find it interesting how this divorce is going from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Mase and his wife are co-pastors at a church. They wrote a book series entitled “What Do You Do After I Do?” that was aimed at helping couples to build a strong marriage. Now, the couple whose entire empire was based on the solidity of their marriage is now facing divorce. Reportedly, the couple has been separated since May 2012, which might shock some of their church members.

The couple has been married for 12 years. In January, Mase filed for a divorce from his wife. Rumors were swirling that the couple was working things out. The day before Valentine’s Day, Mase filed to dismiss the divorce petition in Atlanta.

At some point, his wife filed for a legal separation in San Diego. Now, the rapper wants a divorce. She is asking for full spousal support and full physical custody of the children. He is also asking for full physical custody of the children, as well as child support.

Going through a high-profile divorce isn’t easy. When child support and child custody are added in, things can get ugly quickly. Anyone who is facing a divorce should make sure that their interests and the children’s interests are protected during the process.

Source: Vibe, “Mase Is Still Getting Divorced” Samantha Kennedy, Apr. 07, 2014

Same-sex couple facing asset division challenges in Florida

0 Comments

Under normal circumstances, a Florida couple seeking a divorce is not really considered news. What happens, though, when a same-sex couple attempts to dissolve their marriage in this southern state? Since Florida does not recognize same-sex unions, divorce becomes a tricky matter, and dividing marital property is suddenly a serious headache. Now, two women who are seeking a divorce in Florida are pushing for marriage equality in the state — not so they can wed, but so they can “untie” the knot.

The couple in question married in Massachusetts four years ago. That state is one of 17 that permit same-sex unions throughout the nation. Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage.

When the couple decided to pursue a divorce, they consulted experts in Massachusetts for advice. The answer was disheartening: They would have to move back to Massachusetts for a year before they could officially file. Since that life-changing move was not feasible, one of the woman chose to file for divorce in Florida, anyway.

Even though news reports show that judges in the state of Florida have granted same-sex divorces in the past, those cases have largely flown under the radar. Now, this couple is striving to bring those asset division cases into the light by claiming that a ban on same-sex marriage has a deleterious effect on same-sex divorce, not to mention the fact that it is unconstitutional. The couple in this case have already come to a legal agreement about dividing their marital property through collaborative methods, but they are still pursuing additional rights through the Florida court system.

Many Florida couples struggle through the asset division phase of their divorce. A Florida attorney may be able to provide additional information and assistance to ensure that clients receive their fair share of the marital estate. These professionals may serve as important allies in a divorce courtroom or mediation proceeding.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Tampa couple’s divorce could challenge same-sex marriage ban” Leonora LaPeter Anton, Mar. 24, 2014

Florida mother’s arrest could lead to child custody battle

0 Comments

Relatives of five children living in Florida were shocked to find the kids living in a filthy home filled with trash. According to her own posts on a social media site, the children’s mother was dreading the kids getting out of school. The post also indicated that she wanted to make plans to get away from them, and she asked her friends to “rescue” her. The woman was charged with neglect after authorities learned just how bad the living conditions actually were.

Not only was there trash on the ground that people had to wade through just to walk around the house, but there were also various insect infestations, black mold in the walls and a whole host of other health and sanitation issues. The children have been removed from the home, the mother has been arrested, and the home has been condemned.

The relatives are now arriving from other parts of the country to help the children. One strategy they are taking involves attempting to get custody of the kids so that they can live in a much more healthy situation. A judge will have to determine if this is in the best interests of the child in each case, however. It is not yet known if the mother will be fighting the custody attempts.

The uncle of two of the children talked to the press and was very candid about how appalled he was with the whole situation. He said that he wished he had been able to help the children sooner, but that they had never complained about their living situation or told anyone just how bad it really was.

Many laws are in place to protect children who are neglected. However, getting custody of a another person’s child can be complex and difficult. Even if neglect has been an issue, it would be best for a person trying to gain custody to be as informed as possible in order to navigate the potentially complicated process.

Source: WFTV, “Relatives of Orlando children found living in filth come to Fla. to help” No author given, Mar. 27, 2014

Custody dispute over teen to be settled by judge

0 Comments

When most parents make decisions regarding their child, they usually consider all the available options. Whether the issue is what school their child should attend or the medical treatment the child should receive, a parent should always keep the best interests of the child in mind. Sometimes though, others might feel that parents are not acting in a child’s best interests and decide to intervene. When this happens, parents can find themselves locked in a custody battle they never thought would happen to them.

Orlando readers might be familiar with a dispute between parents of a teen girl and a hospital. The teen girl was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by one hospital, but a second hospital disagreed. The second hospital believes that the girl does not have the disease but has a psychological disorder. When the girl’s parents attempted to transfer back to the original hospital, the second hospital intervened and charged the parents with medical child abuse. The teen has been in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families ever since.

The parents have filed a motion to be granted conditional custody of their daughter. Children and families services is fighting the motion. The judge can find in favor of the parents, find in favor for the agency or opt to transfer the teen’s care to the state of Connecticut, which is her home state.

This case is interesting because generally, social services gets involved when a child is being denied care. However in this case, care is being given, but there is a disagreement about a diagnosis. The judge’s decision will be important because it could set a precedent; it could allow a hospital over overrule a parent’s decision about the care and treatment for a child. Those who find themselves in a battle for their child should consider seeking the advice of an experienced legal professional so their rights to parent can be enforced and protected.

Source: Newsmax, “Justina Pelletier: Judge to Settle Custody Battle for 15-Year-Old” Clyde Hughes, Mar. 20, 2014

Closing an adoption loophole could be fathers’ rights win

0 Comments

An unmarried father that wants to be an active parent can sometimes find themselves at a disadvantage. If a child’s mother does not want the father to be involved in decision making, the father may have to utilize the legal system to prove paternity and assert their rights as the father. In some cases, the mothers might not even let the father know a child exists.

Orlando readers might be shocked to learn that a woman can travel to Utah and make decisions about a child, such as putting the child up for adoption, and never consult the father. However, Utah is taking steps to change their adoption laws. There are three bills in the works that will make it easier for out-of-state fathers to track down children who might have been born in the state.

One piece of legislation will require the state to share information with other states when a father is conducting a search. A second proposed change would require women who lived in the state for less than 90 days to provide information about the possible father of the child being put up for adoption. A third piece of legislation that would have improved notification to fathers has been tabled due to opposition.

The new proposals will give fathers more rights when it comes to their children. Currently, 30 men have filed a federal lawsuit regarding Utah’s current laws. Hopefully the proposed changes will allow fathers to exercise the rights they deserve to have.

For any father who feels they are not being treated fairly, speaking to a legal professional can help them determine what rights they have and assist in rectifying the situation.

Source: FoxNews, “Three Utah bills to change rights of biological fathers in adoption cases encounter pushback” Alicia Acuna, Faith Mangan, Mar. 12, 2014

What drives the cost of divorce?

0 Comments

Making the decision to get divorced is never easy. However, if a couple decides that their marriage is irretrievably broken, in Orlando and the rest of the state of Florida, a divorce can be settled quickly. How quickly will depend on several factors.

A couple that agrees that a divorce is the best solution for everyone involved can resolve things more quickly than a couple that has a spouse who wants to fight ending the marriage. An extended court battle will drive up the costs of the divorce. Also, parents who can craft a parenting plan that details child support obligations can avoid one of the most contentious portions of a divorce and keep costs down.

The key word to a quick and inexpensive divorce is communication and agreement. If the couple agrees on all of the above-mentioned facts, as well as issues such as alimony and asset division, both may walk away from the marriage without emptying their bank accounts for attorney’s fees.

Even a couple that has some issues to work through before the final decree can make the process move faster with the help of legal professionals. Getting divorced is an emotional experience; using the advice of counsel can take the emotions out of the experience so that the divorcing couple can focus on the math of the divorce. Anyone who is considering a divorce should consider seeking the advice of a legal professional so that a fair and equitable settlement can be reached that will satisfy the needs of everyone involved in a difficult and complex life situation.

Source: Florida Times-Union, “How Much Does Divorce Cost?” Rusty Collins, Mar. 04, 2014

Florida couple can divorce thanks to stronger economy

0 Comments

A couple in Florida has wanted to get a divorce for years, but they felt that it was impossible because of the state of the economy. Putting aside their emotional and romantic issues, they stayed married when they both mutually wanted to split, putting their struggling business ahead of their personal relationship. They needed each other if they were going to have any chance to make the business work, and the economy was just too weak to sustain it unless they were in it together.

The problem was that they were facing a complex asset division situation. They both owned the business, so they were not sure how it would be divided. The husband wanted to keep it, but it was not making enough money for him to pay off his wife’s share and buy her out. The only real way to divide it may have been to liquidate it, something else that is not a sure bet in a struggling economy, and then divide the money. If they did that, the business would be gone. All of those jobs would be lost.

Now that the economy has strengthened again, the company has expanded, adding new employees and earning far more than it was for the past few years, and the couple has finally gone to court to file for a divorce. They are both equally happy with the decision. All in all, they are just glad that they can finally move on with their lives in the way that they have been wanting to for so long.

Divorce situations that involve a business can be very tricky because both sides have a right to the value of that business if they both put money and time into it. It becomes an asset that must be divided. In a recession, this can make a divorce financially difficult, and so divorce can act as an indicator of a healthy economy.

Source: Businessweek, “Worsening U.S. Divorce Rate Points to Improving Economy” Steve Matthews, Feb. 18, 2014

Reality star copes after filing for divorce

0 Comments

A divorce is a painful experience for everyone. However, for those who are in the spotlight, such as a high-profile couple, it can feel like the process is happening under a microscope. Reporters are constantly asking for details, and the public is not shy about offering their opinion regarding whether an alimony request should be granted or who should get the beach house.

Orlando readers might have heard that Ramona Singer, one of the stars of the reality series, “Real Housewives of New York City,” filed for divorce from her husband, Mario Singer. It was recently revealed that Mario, who works in manufacturing, has been having an affair with a 27-year-old woman. The couple have been married for 22 years. The case was filed during the last week of January.

The details of the divorce have been sealed but considering they both have successful careers, it is likely there are substantial assets to be considered in the divorce proceedings. There has been no mention of a timeframe for the case to proceed. Ramona has been spending her time visiting Florida with friends and enjoying Fashion Week in New York City.

Depending on whether Mario Singer decides to countersue in the divorce proceedings, the divorce could take between a few months to a few years. In many cases, the more assets there are, the longer it takes to come to a settlement. For people with less assets to consider, a divorce can be settled more quickly. Receiving advice from an experienced legal professional may help keep the proceedings on track and may help ensure an equitable result.

Source: EOnline, “Ramona Singer Reveals How She’s Coping After Filing for Divorce From Husband Mario” Peter Gicas, Feb. 13, 2014

Cohabitation or a supportive relationship can affect alimony

0 Comments

In Florida, alimony is awarded solely on the judge’s discretion; however, there are many factors that play into a judge’s decision. There are four different kinds of alimony that Florida judges may award, according to the state’s statute 61.08. Those include bridge-the-gap, durational, rehabilitative and permanent.

If you’re paying alimony, you may feel frustrated if your ex-spouse is living with someone else. This is especially true if your ex tells you that he or she won’t be getting remarried because the alimony would be discontinued. However, did you know that the law in Florida provides for a termination or lowering of alimony payments if the person receiving them is in a supportive relationship?

There are many things that factor into this, such as whether your ex is living with another as a perceived married couple. This might include sharing the same address, referring to one another as “my husband” or “my wife,” or using the same last name. The length of time that your ex has been living with his or her new partner is also important.

It’s up to the person paying alimony to prove to the court “by greater weight of the evidence that a supportive relationship exists.” An appellate court in Florida has held that if a supportive relationship is established, alimony payments must be eliminated or reduced.

While you may not relish the idea of trying to prove that your ex is in a supportive relationship, the idea of paying less in alimony will likely make the prospect of the task at hand a bit easier. It might be wise to speak with an attorney about your current situation in order to ensure that you have covered all your bases before heading into court.

Source: Naples News, “It’s The Law: Supportive relationship can terminate alimony” William Morris, Jan. 28, 2014