Collaborative law makes it possible for couples who have decided to divorce to do so with dignity. The couples who choose this process save the emotional and financial cost of court proceedings. Their lawyers and the couple sign a binding contract in which they agree they will not ask judges to decide their future. Together, they decide how to distribute their financial interests and make decisions to secure their children’s best interests going forward.
The lawyers who practice collaborative law are specially trained to guide the couple through the divorce process. Collaborative lawyers help couples construct their marital settlement agreements. Clients control the terms. They go to court only after the agreement is signed and only so that a judge can enter a final judgment in their case by ratifying their agreement and legally dissolving the marriage.
Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage
It is often difficult for someone that is considering a divorce to navigate through all the stories they have heard. Knowing the facts will put you at ease. Our attorneys will explain the law to you in simple language so that you are aware of how it affects you. The legal term for divorce is ‘dissolution of marriage.’ Commonly, dissolution of marriage actions involve the following issues: parental responsibility, time-sharing, child support, spousal support (alimony), and, marital property division.
Parental Responsibility & Time-Sharing: The State of Florida no longer uses terms such as “custody” or “visitation.” Neither parent is empowered over the other parent by the term “primary residential parent.” Rather, each child is entitled to the creation of a “Parenting Plan,” which is established taking into consideration their particular interests and needs. Ideally, a parenting plan provides both parents with input into major decisions affecting the child, and also affords the child time-sharing with each parent. Whatever the legal terminology, our attorneys handle all issues relating to the physical, emotional and financial well-being of children in the State of Florida.
Child Support: Children are entitled to receive financial support from each parent. Child support is determined based upon the number of children, current and previous incomes of the parents, time-sharing and special needs of the children among other criteria.
Alimony: There are five types of spousal support, or alimony, in the State of Florida. We can help you understand whether the facts and circumstances of your marriage warrant an award of alimony for you or your spouse. The type and amount of alimony in each case requires consideration of many factors, including, but not limited to, the length of the marriage, disparity in incomes of the spouses, contributions of the spouses to the home, children and the career of the other, and the standard of living achieved.
Marital Property Distribution: Florida is an “equitable distribution” state. Each spouse will be awarded their fair or equitable share under the circumstances. The first step is to determine what marital property exists and its values. A marital estate can include issues related to real and personal property, business interests, retirement accounts, pension plans, stock options, credit card debt, tax liability and student loans. What is fair requires an in depth look at many factors, which our attorneys can explain to you.
Access and Time Sharing
Parental responsibility, time-sharing and child support matters become more complex when you and your former spouse or partner live in different states or countries. Which jurisdiction and laws govern actions to enforce and/or modify in these situations is not always clear. We are experienced in these matters. Let us help you serve the best interests of your children.
Post Judgment Enforcement and Modification
People’s situations change. You may find that you need to petition the court to modify or enforce your child support, alimony, timesharing, or custody order. If you are having problems or issues with such a court order, we can provide you with assistance and advice.
Adoption is an exciting time in a family's life. The most enjoyable part of our practice is facilitating adoptions of children into a loving family environment. We can help you through many adoption-related matters to make sure that all legal requirements are met. Our attorneys have completed many forms of adoption services for families including identified adoptions, step-parent adoptions and grandparent and family adoptions.
When a mother gives birth to a child at a time when she is not married to the child's father, a paternity action is required to legally recognize an individual as the biological father of the child. When paternity is established, a child gains rights of support and inheritance, as well as the emotional and psychological benefits accompanied by having two parents. In addition, when paternity is established, both parents have rights to obtain court orders for child support, to be involved in decisions affecting the well-being of the child, and for timesharing We understand the importance of establishing paternity for both mothers and fathers.
Domestic violence occurs in many forms of relationships, including those between family members, partners, former partners and friends living in the same household or who lived in the same household. Typically, domestic violence refers to physical abuse. It isn't just physical, however; it also covers the threats, emotional abuse, harassment, stalking and destruction of personal property that a spouse, partner, or date uses to control someone else's behavior. We represent both victims of domestic violence and those accused of domestic violence.
Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements are contracts signed by couples in which they agree how to conduct their personal family and financial affairs. The process of negotiating and executing these agreements is very important. It requires attention to detail, creativity and foresight. There are also numerous legal requirements that, if not met, can cause them to be unenforceable. If you are considering asking your future or current spouse to sign an agreement, do not hesitate to conntact the attorneys at Brenda B. Shapiro, LLC, all of whom have experience in dealing with this subject.
Sometimes, parents are not physically, emotionally or financially able to care for their children. Grandparents and close relatives often times provide a stable, loving home life for those children in lieu of their actual birth parents. In these cases, grandparents or close relatives may consider obtaining temporary custody of the children for a period of time. Temporary custody gives the family the ability to seek and consent to medical attention for the child, to enroll the child in school and to openly communicate with teachers and administrators about the child's welfare, and make legal and religious decisions for the child.