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Miami Divorce Law Blog

University of Florida gets headstart on domestic violence report

When Floridians consider domestic violence, they may not immediately think of a college campus setting. But college students are as susceptible to domestic violence issues as anyone else, and may be more at risk for some specific behavior, such as stalking. The federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act will begin requiring reports about domestic violence situations on campus from universities that accept federal funding, but the University of Florida got a head start by issuing reports for 2013.

Colleges were already required to file reports listing certain crimes and activities. Previous reports had to include the number of reported burglaries, arsons, aggravated assaults, manslaughters, homicides and rapes. Additional legislation is now requiring schools to add dating violence, stalking and domestic violence to the reports.

The changing nature of Florida child custody laws

When a couple decides to end their marriage, decisions regarding their children are inevitably intertwined with property and asset disputes. Questions soon arise regarding which parent will look after the children for the majority of the time. Other questions soon form regarding where the children will live. Some relatively recent changes in Florida child custody laws attempts to address some of those issues.

Back in October 2008, Florida altered its custody laws by exchanging the words "custody" for "parental responsibility" and exchanging the word "visitation" to mean "time-sharing." These subtle changes show that the court is placing an emphasis on both parents taking an active role in the lives of their children.

Ending an irretrievably broken marriage in Florida

In Florida, the requirement to ask for a divorce -- or a "dissolution of marriage," as it is called within the state's legal system -- is simply that your marriage is irretrievably broken. You just have to show that you cannot fix it, and then either you or your spouse can go forward with the paperwork. While fault used to be considered, changes to the law mean that it no longer matters at all.

As you can imagine, this open-ended requirement means each couple who asks for a divorce is in a unique position. No two cases are going to be exactly the same. The reasons that a marriage is broken could include infidelity, abuse, and much more. The reason does not matter as much as showing that the two of you simply cannot stay married for that reason.

New option for paying Florida child support

Individuals paying child support through the State of Florida previously had to mail a money order or check to the state. The state then disbursed funds to the required party as ordered by the court. According to a county court news release, individuals managing child support payments through the state can now use Western Union to send payments.

The program is called Western Union's Child Support Payment Service. Individuals making payments can access the service at thousands of Western Union locations in Florida and across the country, making it easier for busy individuals to keep up with child support payments without worrying about delays related to mail.

When might sole custody be awarded in a Florida divorce?

A divorce between two spouses without children can be a battle. However, when children are involved, a divorce can become an all-out war. The family law courts in Florida are concerned about one thing in a child custody dispute and that is the best interest of the children. When he or she sees fit, the judge can order that one parent has sole custody of the children.

Sole custody does not always mean that one parent is prohibited from seeing his or her children. Sole custody can be applied to physical and legal custody. Sole physical custody is generally given when the other parent is deemed to be an unfit parent, possibly because of allegations or convictions for child abuse or drug offenses. Supervised visitation may be ordered in some cases.

The relationship between domestic violence and family law

In some cases, domestic violence allegations are intertwined with other family law issues. Regardless of the surrounding issues, domestic violence accusations and charges are serious for both parties involved. Understanding the legalities of the charges can help individuals on either side decide on the best possible course of action.

Domestic violence issues may be what led someone in the relationship to seek divorce options. In trying to escape a dangerous situation, individuals can encounter serious opposition from the other party as well as a stressful legal battle. Having a professional on their side can help individuals in this situation stay the course and fight for what they believe is best for them and their children.

Dividing property based on a prenuptial agreement

As a divorce is finalized, couples in Florida will often focus on dividing their property. This is something that couples can occasionally agree on, but many divorce cases have to go to court to find a reasonable solution. Things that could be considered include:

-- Bank accounts.-- Offshore accounts.-- Investments.-- Homes.-- Property.

The blurred lines of marital property

Dividing marital property can be difficult during and following a divorce, especially when contentious issues arise between the parties. Finances can be a sticking point when both individuals are attempting to look out for themselves. Add minor children to the mix, and even well-meaning parents can find themselves in divorce disagreements over a number of money questions.

For one couple, whose divorce is playing out somewhat publicly due to the husband's political position, messy divorce disagreements over property and money have literally come home to roost. Court papers currently identify poor housing conditions related to the couple's 5,300-square-foot Florida home. According to the documents, broken windows and a leaking roof have caused mold and moisture damage inside the home.

What factors do Florida judges consider regarding child support?

Child support is one of the biggest things to be addressed during any divorce in Florida. No matter where you stand on this personally -- whether you want to get support or whether you may need to pay it out -- it is important to understand exactly how the system works and what factors play into the equation. Below are some of the things -- though not all -- that judges are going to consider when deciding who has to pay and how much needs to be paid.

First of all, the judge is simply going to look at the income levels for both you and your spouse. Naturally, this begins with your wages and, if they are hourly, how many hours you work. However, the judge may also consider things like yearly bonuses, performance bonuses and other earnings.

An invalid divorce can cause issues years later

A second or later marriage comes with some risks if either party to the marriage was not thorough in the legality of a previous divorce. There are several reasons that a divorce may be invalidated; in one case highlighted by the Social Security Administration, a possibly invalid divorce could have risked the wife's ability to claim benefits through her husband's earnings record.

In the case in question, the husband and his first wife both lived in Florida. The husband obtained a divorce from his first wife in 1935 by personally appearing at a proceeding in another country for the divorce. According to the document provided by the SSA, if that divorce were contested in a timely manner by the first wife, it might have been invalidated by a Florida court because neither of the individuals were living in the other country at the time the divorce was granted.

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