Family and Marital Law
Divorce, child custody, alimony, paternity, dependency
Ms. Diaz has over 21 years of experience in the practice of family and marital law.
Family and Marital Law is a broad area of the law that affects relationships between related and unrelated individuals. Legal issues arising between a husband and wife and their children; parents and their children and unmarried individuals with children are all guided by Florida statutes. The Florida legislature has set statutory ground rules to resolve most of the conflicts that arise in a “family”. Examples of issues that Florida laws address are divorce, alimony, child support, shared parental responsibility, time sharing/parenting time, parenting plans, paternity, temporary custody, enforcement of marital settlement agreement, enforcement of court orders, and domestic violence or repeat violence injunctions.
Ms. Diaz has a strong commitment to representing her clients professionally while keeping their goals in mind. It goes without saying that information shared with Ms. Diaz is attorney/client privileged. She will represent the best interests of her clients and their children whether by litigation or effective collaborative resolution and settlement. Ms.Diaz believes that being prepared in every case, and knowing her clients helps a case to resolve earlier in the process.
Ms. Diaz offers a consultation at a reduced rate to discuss the facts of a particular situation and to inform the client of the applicable laws. Because it is possible to “do your own” divorce and because of paralegal companies offering “cheap solutions,” many people do not obtain counsel by a licensed Florida attorney. This can be a costly mistake. It is imperative that all issues are addressed in the Family law Final Judgment. Family law matters are usually highly charged, emotionally draining and can be complex. Please seek competent legal counsel before you act in haste. Be informed.
Most common family law questions answered:
1. What does it mean that Florida is a “no fault” divorce state?
Florida law states that if one of the spouses in a valid marriage believes that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, if the Court has jurisdiction over the marriage and the spouses, the marriage may be dissolved by Court Order. One spouse need not allege that the other spouse engaged in wrongdoing such as “mental cruelty” or adultery, to obtain a divorce. However, a spouse’s wrongful acts may help determine the outcome of distribution of assets and liabilities between the spouses and the calculation for alimony, if that is an issue.
2. If I was married outside Florida or if we lived outside Florida for the term of our marriage, can I get a Florida divorce?
If you wish to file for divorce in Florida, you must petition the Court and pay the Clerk’s fee for doing so. You must have lived in Florida for six months prior to filing for the divorce and prove that residency by presenting appropriate Florida identification or by a sworn affidavit of a person that has actual knowledge that you have lived here for the 6 months. In order for the Florida Court to address the equitable distribution of real property, requests for support, topics related to any of your minor children or issues which resolve the business of the marriage you wish to terminate, the Court must have jurisdiction over the parties (you and your spouse), and jurisdiction over the children.
3. What is a “simplified divorce” in Florida?
Florida law provides the Family Law Forms for your divorce if you have qualified for the 6 month residency rule. If you and your spouse agree on all of the issues addressed in those forms, if you own no real property together in Florida, and as a couple you have no minor children you can qualify for a simplified divorce. However, even if you and your spouse qualify for a simplified dissolution it is still worth the small investment to get an assessment of your case from an experienced family marital law attorney. You may access those forms in a number of web pages including the Pasco Clerk of the Court.
If your situation does not allow you a “simplified divorce,” it is possible to for you and your spouse to enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement with a parenting plan and the other documents required under Florida law and appear before the Court to obtain the Court order of dissolution without litigation. However, the agreement must comply with Florida law regulating the issues in your marriage. Mediation is not only encouraged but mandated prior to litigation in your case; a signed settlement agreement may render mediation unnecessary.
4. Do I need an attorney for my divorce?
The “simplified divorce” procedure is intended to be used without recourse to a lawyer. There is no law in Florida requiring you to have a lawyer for a divorce. However, it is the smart person who at the very least consults with a lawyer; it is the wise person who hires a lawyer to lead the client through the process. Pitfalls, which could impact your financial future, your relationship with your children, your business and profession, exist in this complex process; trying to fix unintended consequences is often more expensive and there may not be a possible fix! Contact us today to find out how we can help.