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Miami Divorce Law Blog

Workplace provisions for victims of domestic violence

Many divorce filings in Florida relate to domestic violence or some other type of abuse. Victims of domestic violence may have more rights than they think, however. Special protections may extend to some domestic violence victims through their workplace, for example. Knowing your rights under Florida law can help you improve the safety and welfare of your family in the face of abuse and other family issues.

Florida law affords victims three days off of work during each 12-month period for dealing with the medical or legal aspects of domestic violence. This provision comes with a caveat, however: Your company must employ at least 50 people, and you must have been working at that company for at least three months. Your employer is not legally required to give you time off for domestic violence issues if those qualifications are not met.

Florida divorce rates down over past 2 decades

Florida residents likely hear a lot about rising divorce rates, but not all numbers touted on the Internet are accurate. According to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, divorce rates in the state of Florida fell between 1990 and 2009.

The number of divorces reported in 1990 were 81,700 in the state; that's a rate of 6.3 divorces for every 1,000 people in Florida. In 2000, the rate was 5.1 with 81,900 divorces. The rate is lower because the population in the state was higher. In 2009, both numbers saw a decrease. About 80,000 people were divorced for a rate of 4.2 in every thousand.

Premarital and postmarital agreements both valuable in divorce

You might be familiar with the concept of a prenuptial agreement, but did you know that it is possible to create a similar document after you tie the knot? Prenuptial and postmarital agreements both play an important role in financial planning and potential property division. Whether you are looking to protect your business assets, family heirlooms or your kids' inheritance, a postmarital agreement might just be the answer.

The importance of prenups and postmarital agreements should not be underestimated. Couples can make important decisions about dividing assets and liabilities in the event of a divorce -- but a prenup also has another function. Consider the fact that a prenuptial agreement can be an integral part of spouses' estate plans, and suddenly such documents gain more credibility and weight.

When circumstances change, child support orders may be altered

Parents with cases within the Florida Child Support Program can seek an alteration of the child support agreement under certain circumstances. Modifications may be granted if the person receiving child support is doing so through the program, the support has not been modified within the past three years and circumstances for one or more parent has changed.

A modification request must be completed through the Florida Child Support Program, and it can take 60 days for the initial application to process. The application is reviewed and the Program will take court action if it deems a modification is warranted. Following a decision by the Program to take action, a modification can take 30 days or more, regardless of whether the other parent is agreeable to changes. Court costs may be associated with changes to the modification.

Your bad marriage could cost you during property division

Would you believe that your bad marriage could actually cause you financial troubles? The truth is that contentious Florida marriages often lead to money woes that could be avoided if the couple would improve their communication -- or consider dissolving their marriage. Couples may be able to resolve some of the following financial concerns through the division of marital property that occurs during divorce.

These financial woes may sound familiar to you if your marriage is growing increasingly embattled. Perhaps your spouse is attempting to "buy your affection" by throwing money at the perceived problems in the marriage. Gift-giving or a permissive attitude toward discretionary spending may be one spouse's way to compensate for the tension that is occurring in the marriage.

How do Florida courts determine the best interests of the child?

When deciding on a child custody case, Florida courts do their best to decide the case in the best interest of the child or children. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, every state has a statute that requires the best interests of children to be considered. Though each state or court may differ slightly in determining such things, there are general guidelines and definitions that are followed.

Generally, best interest decisions are made by considering a number of factors, including parental circumstances and the child's safety and well-being. Frequent principles guiding state statues and court decisions include the importance of continued family integration. Courts generally want to avoid removing children from homes when possible.

Marijuana use reduces risk of domestic violence, rates still high

Past research into couples' relationships has shown that substance abuse issues often increase the risk of domestic violence in the home. However, fresh-off-the-presses research shows that marijuana bucks this trend; couples who light up tend to actually experience lower rates of domestic violence. The study, which used mail-in surveys over a nine-year span, determined that marijuana use was a determining factor in lowering rates of intimate partner violence.

Experts say they are still not entirely sure why marijuana users returned lower rates of domestic violence. Fewer incidents of IPV, including hitting, choking, slapping and beating occurred each year among couples who used marijuana. That protective effect was multiplied for those couples who both tended to frequently use marijuana.

How can I order a Florida divorce certificate?

For individuals who were divorced in the state of Florida, there may be a future need to seek documentation of said divorce. Most individuals do receive copies of documents such as judgments, which prove the divorce, but documents can be lost and destroyed. One way to get documentation of a divorce that might be needed when dealing with creditors or future legal matters is to order a copy of a divorce certificate from the Florida Department of Health.

The Florida Department of Health receives a Report of Dissolution of Marriage from the Clerks of Court within 60 days of a divorce. According to the department, it has records regarding divorce dating as far back as June 6, 1927. The longevity of the department's records also makes it a good resource for families who need divorce records due to estate or probate matters.

Property division in Florida can be complex

Does the "what's mine is yours" mindset mean marital property is divided equally among spouses during divorce? Outside of courts, individuals can make agreements to divide property mostly as they see fit as long as they can come to a legally binding agreement. If the couple cannot agree and the property division issue goes before a Florida court, the court attempts to ensure that the division is "equitable."

There are considerations written into Florida law that allow courts to make a decision for equitable but not necessarily equal distribution of marital assets. Courts will consider the financial circumstances of the marriage and both parties, including whether either individual gave up career or education opportunities in support of the marriage or whether one individual contributed to the advancement of the others education or career.

Settings for child support negotiations depend on parents' needs

Child support negotiations are not always easy, but they are necessary to protect the best interests of the child by providing adequate financial resources. Florida parents have a variety of legal options when it comes to deciding their own child support plans. Parents can use out-of-court dispute resolution processes, or they can use informal negotiation to reach a conclusion. If the parents are unable to reach a decision through these alternative methods, a court order may be required.

Alternative dispute resolution is one of the most popular ways of settling a child support dispute. Parents can use ADR processes such as collaborative law and mediation to reach an agreement about child support payments. The parents in these cases have an active role in the resolution of child support disputes. This is in sharp contrast to a courtroom proceeding, in which parents' child support responsibilities are dictated to them by a judge. Mediation and collaborative law are the preferred methods for making these decisions; the more structured arbitration option is rarely pursued.

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