Family law encompasses issues like divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, property division, and marital agreements. For many people, approaching a family law matter is stressful due to the emotional nature of the underlying situation. As a result, it is essential that you seek out a family law attorney who truly understands what you are facing and knows how to pursue your goals. At the Law Offices of Alan Jay Braverman, our lead attorney has been board certified in marital and family law for over two decades and has practiced law since 1973. From offices in Fort Lauderdale and Boynton Beach, he has served South Florida clients in a wide variety of matters that often have involved complex legal issues and challenging family dynamics.
Florida is a no-fault divorce state and recognizes only two grounds for granting a divorce. The first ground is when there are irreconcilable differences that result in the marriage being irretrievably broken. If you are seeking a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, you must show that your spouse and you had a valid marriage and that the marriage can no longer work. Adultery and abandonment are not considered grounds for divorce on their own, but they can serve as evidence to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The second ground is when one of the spouses has been deemed mentally incapacitated for at least three years. This requires testimony and reports from at least two psychiatrists who agree that the spouse’s condition is not curable and that there is no hope for recovery in the future.
Once you file a petition for divorce asserting one of these two grounds, your spouse has 20 days to respond by either contesting the allegations or accepting them. Then, the court will determine any key issues, such as the division of marital assets, alimony payments, and child custody. Retaining a seasoned divorce attorney can help Fort Lauderdale residents ensure that they are treated fairly throughout the process.Child Custody
Establishing child custody rights is often one of the most emotionally fraught legal issues that can arise in a divorce. The state does not take decisions regarding child custody lightly, requiring judges to examine a long list of factors before issuing a decision. Florida has a two-fold approach to custody. The first aspect involves timesharing, which is the amount of physical time that the child spends with each parent. The second aspect is parental responsibility, which involves determining who has the right to make decisions about the child’s medical care, religious education, and schooling. Courts can award both types of responsibility entirely to one parent, or they can divide both types of responsibility between the parents. However, recent studies suggest that Florida courts strive to award equal timesharing when possible.High-Asset Divorce and Property Division
One common question that arises during a divorce involving substantial assets is how the couple’s property will be divided. Florida has adopted the equitable distribution approach to property division, which takes into account many factors, such as each spouse’s position, contributions to the marriage, and ability to earn a living independently. The court will take note of all of the marital assets and then determine which spouse will receive certain assets and whether some of the assets will be sold. As an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney, Alan Braverman knows that a critical aspect of a high-asset divorce is ensuring that assets are appraised or valued appropriately and that the court takes note of each party’s status and contributions.Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is simply a contract between future spouses that determines a wide variety of issues in the event that the couple separates or divorces. The spouses have broad discretion in determining which issues to include in the agreement, although a common focus is the division of assets. It can be difficult to imagine a situation in which you will separate from someone whom you want to marry, but it is critical to ensure that you protect your rights and interests when negotiating and entering into a prenuptial agreement. While some people have a negative perception of prenuptial agreements, an agreement can actually be a useful tool that allows spouses to make decisions regarding their own future. To learn more about how to protect your rights in a prenuptial agreement, set up a free consultation with a divorce lawyer at our Fort Lauderdale firm.Domestic Violence and Protection Orders
Florida’s domestic violence laws are designed to provide protections to individuals facing abuse or threats of abuse in a domestic situation. This is perhaps one of the most stressful types of family law proceedings, especially if the person seeking protection fears retribution or retaliation from the abuser. It can be equally harrowing to face an accusation of domestic violence that is unfounded. It can do serious damage to your reputation, ability to obtain certain types of work, and ability to see your children. Understanding how Florida defines domestic violence is an important step in protecting your rights. It can include actions like intimidation, stalking, hurting family pets, and using your children against you.Dependency Proceedings
A dependency proceeding is a civil action brought before a court that contains allegations of abandonment, abuse , or neglect of a minor. There are many procedures that one must follow to bring a dependency action, and it is critical that you follow these steps in order to protect your rights. The allegations contained in the dependency proceeding must be communicated to Florida’s Department of Children and Families in an abuse report. After the allegations have been submitted, the Department will conduct an investigation. If it concludes that abuse, neglect, or abandonment has taken place, it will remove the child from the home. Within 24 hours after the child has been removed, the court will hold a Shelter Hearing to adjudicate whether the child should be removed on a permanent basis. If the court reaches this conclusion, a guardian will be appointed. If you are involved in a dependency proceeding, let a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in the Fort Lauderdale area help you assert your legal rights.Child Support
Understanding your rights regarding child support can be confusing, and there are often misconceptions about how the process works. Florida has very specific child support laws that require the court to consider numerous factors when determining whether to award child support. Some of these factors include the income of both parents and the custody arrangement between the parents. If the parents have relatively equal incomes and have equal visitation and overnight visits with the children, the court may not deem child support appropriate. If one parent has a disproportionate income or has primary custody of the child, the court may determine that support payments are appropriate. If the court enters a child support order, one party or both parties can seek a modification of the order upon a change of circumstances in the future. The amount of support is calculated according to a set of statutory regulations. If you are going through a legal matter involving child support payments, contact Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Alan Braverman.Paternity
Paternity issues can be very tense for each of the parties involved. Questions regarding the paternity of a child can leave great ambiguity regarding other legal issues, such as the right to child support payments. Florida provides a mechanism for obtaining a legal order declaring parentage. The law gives the courts broad authority to order DNA tests and to take other measures to ensure that the parentage order is correct. Fathers can also sign a voluntary acknowledgment if they agree to paternity and wish to establish it legally so that their parental rights can be protected.Alimony
A key issue in many divorce proceedings is determining whether one spouse is entitled to alimony. In general, alimony is provided to a party in order to bridge the gap between being married and being single when it comes to finances and income. A rehabilitative award of alimony is provided on a temporary basis to help a spouse transition to a position of financial self-sufficiency. The alimony can be awarded on a monthly payment basis or as a lump sum. If a party is deemed unable to reach a point of financial stability, they may be entitled to permanent alimony. One of the primary considerations in determining whether alimony is appropriate is the length of the marriage. A long-term marriage is defined as lasting 17 years or longer, while a short-term marriage is one that lasted fewer than seven years. Similar to other family law orders, an alimony award can be modified based on changed circumstances.Contact a Dedicated Divorce Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
At the Law Offices of Alan Jay Braverman, we strive to resolve legal disputes amicably and efficiently on behalf of our clients, keeping their best interests in mind. We understand how stressful, emotional, and life-changing these issues can be for spouses and their children. As a small firm, we are able to provide the one-on-one attention that you deserve, together with decades of experience in this field. We serve people in cities such as Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Weston, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Hallandale Beach, Davie, and Coconut Creek. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at (954) 524-0505 in Fort Lauderdale or at (561) 736-7117 in Boynton Beach, or contact us online.