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Ft. Walton Beach Criminal Defense Blog

Do you need to claim fault to get a divorce in Florida?

In the past, some American jurisdictions required divorcing parties to allege "fault" against each other in order to complete the dissolution of their marriages. For example, a wife may have had to allege that her husband had been unfaithful to her in order to justify getting out of her union. Times have changed, however, and most jurisdictions recognize "no-fault" grounds on which couples may base their divorces.

Florida does not require its litigants to allege fault in order to get a divorce. Florida is therefore a no-fault divorce state. In order to get a divorce, a party only needs to plead that their marriage is irretrievably broken. Either party to a marriage can file to bring their union to its end.

Shared custody may not mean equal custody

Parents in Florida may be granted joint or shared physical custody of their children upon a divorce. Physical custody is the type of custody that has to do with where a child will live after their parents separate or divorce. While it is possible for a parent to receive sole physical custody of their child, it is not uncommon for both parents to be awarded this important form of responsibility over their shared children.

However, children are not a commodity that parents may equally split and enjoy. In fact, in some cases courts may find that continuously moving a child back and forth between the homes of their parents is detrimental to their well-being. To this end, shared or joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that a child will spend equal time with their parents, but rather that both of their parents have the right to have the child live with them in their homes.

Help for when divorce orders no longer serve the parties' needs

Although a divorce is often a stressful and emotional time for a Florida family, it is also a new beginning for the two people who have decided to live their lives separate and apart from each other. As they work to end their marriage, they must make many decisions to protect their property rights, secure financial resources for themselves and their kids and decide how custody should be established. Courts attempt to exercise good judgment in these matters so that parties to divorces can smoothly transition into their new lives.

However, even the best laid divorce plans can fail when changes in circumstances affect individuals. For example, a spouse who is required to pay support to their ex-spouse may find themselves in a difficult position if they lose their job. Their lack of income may make staying current on payments to their former partner next to impossible, especially if they do not even have enough income to provide for themselves.

What are roadside sobriety tests?

Drivers in Florida may have seen DUI tests being executed while driving down their local roads: individuals walking in lines, standing on one foot or looking at the flashlights of law enforcement officials. These seemingly random acts are a series of sobriety tests that can be used to attempt to determine when drivers are intoxicated. They are often called roadside or field sobriety tests and they are generally executed as three distinct assessments.

The first assessment is usually the walk and turn test. In this assessment, a person is asked to walk in a straight line, lining the toe of one foot up with the heel of the foot that is placed in front of it. After traveling a certain distance the person is asked to stop, turn and return to the starting point in the same manner. Imbalance and other signs of difficultly may be used by law enforcement officials as evidence of intoxication.

Is requiring renters insurance a good idea?

If you own commercial property, chances are you network with other property owners in your area of Florida. In your talks with these men and women, you may have heard upsetting accounts of landlords facing financial burdens following a devastating incident such as a fire, flood or storm. When tenants suffer losses in these disasters, the landlord may feel compelled to step in and help, or the tenant may file a lawsuit that results in even more financial loss to the landlord.

One way to minimize the chances that you will be caught in the middle of your tenant's tragedy is to require your renters to carry renters insurance. These policies not only protect your tenants, but they can benefit you as well.

Why it is a good idea to require your tenants to carry insurance

If you are a commercial property owner, your days likely consist of making decisions and heading off disasters. Your tenants may barrage you with requests for repairs or upgrades, and you may have to clarify for them where your responsibilities end and theirs begin.

Many of those responsibilities are outlined in your tenant agreement. For example, you may agree to making repairs in the bathroom, but if the tenant wants new fixtures, he or she must replace them without cost to you. You may cover the cost of heat and water, but your tenant may have to pay the electric bill for his or her unit. However, have you made it clear to your renters who takes responsibility if a tenant's belongings are damaged or lost in a fire, flood or robbery?

Ending the cycle of child support payment delinquencies

If a parent does not live with their child due to a divorce or separation, then they may not have the opportunity to offer vital resources to their children on a daily basis. When it comes to financial matters, non-custodial parents in Florida can be asked to provide their kids with child support through either court orders or agreements with the kids' other parents.

Child support is an important way that a parent can ensure that their child has everything they need. Most parents do whatever they can to make sure their children are provided for, but, in some cases, parents may find that they just do not have enough money to make the payments required of them. Child support delinquencies can reflect badly on parents and can even subject them to enforcement efforts and penalties.

Back to school may mean back to court to change custody schedules

When children return to school in the fall, parents can be both relieved and concerned about the coming months of their lives. On one hand, Florida parents may be excited to have their children back to learning and building their educational bases. On the other hand, they may be concerned about helping their children stay motivated, active and involved in the many activities that often accompany the start of the new academic year.

Managing the day-to-day commitments of one or more kids can be a job all on its own. When two divorced or separated parents find that they must juggle soccer practices, piano lessons, choir rehearsals, swim meets and a myriad of other obligations that their children have taken on, they may discover that their custody plan is not working. A custody plan that does not serve the needs of the children it covers may require modification in order to become workable for both the kids and their parents.

What is virtual visitation?

When two people who have children go through a divorce they have many important decisions to make regarding how they will share in the duties of raising their kids to adulthood. Sometimes, the process is straightforward and the parents are able to successfully co-parent their children. In other cases, barriers may exist that make sharing time and decision-making power over the kids a challenge.

One of the biggest factors that may get in the way of a balanced child custody plan is the need for one parent to move or live far away from their child. With individuals moving for their jobs or new relationships it can be hard to maintain a significant connection to the children if they do not have the power to take their kids with them.

Changes to the law may impact when some choose to divorce

This year the federal government passed an overhaul of the tax laws and those changes could have big consequences on individuals who may wish to divorce in the future. One of the ways that the changes to the tax laws may affect divorcing parties is through new provisions that prevent alimony payers from deducting their payments from income taxes.

Individuals who finalize their divorces by the end of 2018 may continue to do this, but parties that wait until 2019 may not take advantage of this tax benefit. Experts in the legal field have suggested that when alimony payers are stopped from deducting their payments from their taxes, negotiating alimony settlements may become more challenging.

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