Category: Divorce and Family Law

Divorce lawyers in Lakeland Florida

Divorce Lawyers in Lakeland Florida

It’s time to find the best divorce attorney in Polk County Florida. You are about to file for divorce, or you have already been served with papers. Divorce lawyers in Lakeland Florida understand the procedures and processes from experience. We are knowledgeable to help you with all of your issues. Most divorce cases in Polk County involve some or all of the following issues: child custody (timesharing, parental responsibility, medical expenses, education), child support (how much, how often, based on certain sources of income and allowable deductions), the equitable distribution of marital assets (cars, houses, land, 401Ks, retirement accounts, bank accounts) and liabilities (equity loans, mortgages, credit card debts, student loans, etc.). Call Jacobs Law Firm to speak with Attorney Jonathan Jacobs, Lakeland divorce attorney by calling 407-335-8113.

Divorce lawyers in Lakeland Florida know that each judge has their unique policies and procedures. This can impact your case in a number of ways. You may want a hearing on timesharing and child support before mediation has occurred. The best divorce attorneys in Polk County Florida know the judge’s preference for when hearings should occur. This includes whether a meet and confer is necessary, the proper timing for the filing of a non-emergency motion, and how to schedule with the court.

As a Lakeland divorce attorney, Jacobs Law Firm knows it is important to prepare your family law case from the beginning in an organized and meticulous manner. The best way to approach a family case is to ensure all mandatory disclosures are exchanged. This helps us as your counsel to determine the best equitable distribution framework for your case. Ensuring all documents have been exchanged also allows us to be sure all of your issues are addressed.

Any divorce lawyers in Lakeland Florida should obtain all of the documents necessary to determine your alimony, child support, distribution of assets and liabilities. Retrieving and assembling a complete case file helps an attorney develop a strategy for your case and identify reasonable settlement terms. When your case requires a hearing or if you are going to trial, Polk County is a good place for family litigation. The judges and general magistrates are fair and the system moves at a good pace when compared with other counties.

Call 407-335-8113 today to speak with divorce lawyers in Lakeland Florida, Lakeland divorce Attorney Jonathan Jacobs. We offer flat fee rates and enjoy working with clients.

divorce attorney Sumter County Florida

Divorce Attorney Sumter County Florida

Jonathan Jacobs is a divorce attorney Sumter County Florida that listens to his clients and cares about their needs. As a Bushnell Divorce Attorney, Mr. Jacobs recognizes that each county presents unique cases and facts. Sumter County offers a great deal of larger homes with more land, as well as an abundance of senior living communities. This makes a lot of Sumter County divorce cases focused on estate planning, the equitable distribution of marital homes, and family issues with minor children (what you might expect when the Villages are involved). When you need to speak with an experienced and compassionate counsel, call Jacobs Law Firm and schedule your hour-long consultation. It is important you learn about the divorce process, the options you may have, and why settling your case reasonably can help save on legal expenses. Dial 407-335-8113 today.

Sumter County has the highest population of 65 or older people in the State of Florida. When spouses need a best divorce attorney Sumter County Florida, it likely means they have been married for a very long time. This means their case likely involves more retirement issues, assets, liabilities, and many other issues dealing with financial affairs. Retirement communities often house younger people going through child custody issues and temporarily living with their grandparents. This is where you may need a Bushnell Divorce Attorney to help sort through your timesharing and child support issues. For instance, your case may involve child support arrearages which may be retroactive two years from the date of filing your case. The case might involve a family home that would otherwise be inheritable.

A Sumter County divorce attorney has experience dealing with larger properties. Sumter County is home to large rural properties that may be multi-acre properties. These can also present uniquely challenging issues with service of process. A divorce attorney Bushnell Florida also knows the standing order for Sumter County and how it could impact your case. This is a unique place for divorce and we want to quarterback your case.

A divorce attorney Sumter County Florida will help you from start to finish with your documents, filing, service, disclosures, settlement offers, mediation, and if necessary, depositions and trial, etc. Call Jacobs Law Firm when you need experienced and compassionate representation during this difficult time in your life. Dial 407-335-8113 today and speak with Attorney Jonathan Jacobs about your divorce matters.

common law marriage florida

Common Law Marriage Florida

Do you have questions about common law marriage in Florida? How long do you have to be together for common law marriage in Florida? Are you legally married after living together for 7 years in Florida? What is considered common law marriage in Florida? The answer to all of these questions about this unique type of marriage is that generally there is no such legal precedent in our state. Florida does not offer/have this form of nuptials in our state, with the exception that Florida family courts recognize common law marriages from other states provided they are valid and legitimate. Read on for the answers to all of these questions. Call Jacobs Law Firm, divorce attorney Orlando, divorce attorney Clermont Florida. Dial 407-335-8113 today.

How long do you have to be together for common law marriage in Florida? There is no set amount of time because Florida does not have this type of marriage. Therefore, it could be 2 months or 80 years and it likely does not exist unless the Florida Legislature issues a contrary law. Are you legally married after living together for 7 years in Florida? This sounds more like adverse possession of technically abandoned land/property. The answer is that if Florida common law marriage is not a legally binding thing, then 7 years is an arbitrary and counterfactual amount of time. What is considered common law marriage in Florida? This merely refers to when another type of marriage exists in another state and that couple moves to Florida excepting the same application of the law. Florida courts will generally recognize/accept the couple as married, but will likely not apply the laws of another state to your case in the event of a divorce.

Florida recognized validly executed marriages from other states and from many other countries. It may be helpful to have a marriage certificate as proof. It is common (no pun intended) for people moving to Florida from other states or countries to want to apply the laws of their former home. However, Florida has its own family and divorce laws and courts. It is always best to check with a family law attorney to determine your rights and obligations pursuant to Florida law.

We have asked “do you have questions about common law marriage in Florida?”, “how long do you have to be together for common law marriage in Florida?”, “are you legally married after living together for 7 years in Florida?” and “what is considered common law marriage in Florida?” and answered that marriages from other states may be recognized in Florida, but Florida itself does not offer this type of marriage. Call 407-335-8113 to speak with Attorney Jonathan Jacobs about your divorce.

general magistrate florida

General Magistrate Florida

Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.490 is all about Florida General Magistrates. A general magistrate in Florida family law is an attorney hired by a circuit court to decide cases not otherwise heard by the circuit court family law judge. It is common for a family judge to refer a case to the GM’s office, called an order of referral to general magistrate. This can allow some litigants to seek relief in a shorter time. Judge’s calendars can be full and hearing time can be hard to come by. Not every husband or wife, mom or dad, wants the general magistrate to hear their case. Many want the circuit judge to preside. Some specific matters are referred to the magistrate’s office such as a motion to compel, a motion for temporary relief, or a motion to vacate, etc. Typically, only some aspects of a case are sent to the GM’s office. Why object to general magistrate help with your case? Unless the entire case has been sent to the GM’s office by mutual consent of the parties and their family attorneys, a general magistrate Florida makes reports and recommendations, which can be appealed by exception and heard by the circuit judge. You may need to litigate part of your case twice if this happens. Call Jacobs Law Firm at 407-335-8113.

Why object to general magistrate? Procedurally, a written objection to an order of referral to general magistrate must be filed within 10 days of the service of the order of referral (served by electronic means in most cases). The failure to file a written objection within the applicable time period is deemed to be consent to the order of referral. This does not mean that if the circuit court has referred one aspect that your entire case is now with the general magistrate forever. However, if the entire case is referred and you fail to object, your entire case might not be eligible to be appealed by exception to the circuit court. A general magistrate in Florida family law can be better or worse than a circuit judge. It depends on your case, the facts, the timing, and the circumstances.

A general magistrate in Florida family law can be an attorney of the highest qualifications and ethical standards. Not every attorney is an expert on family law, but most are extraordinary in their knowledge and courtroom demeanor. As with anything else, it depends on the unique facts of your case. Call 507-335-8113 for more information.

modify divorce decree florida

Modify Divorce Decree Florida

Your Florida divorce case is over…or is it? If there is some part of your case you need to change, you can hire us to modify your divorce decree in Florida (generally this is done for your parenting plan) or modify your marital settlement agreement Florida (for the financial aspects such as alimony). Modifying a final judgment in Florida comes with a higher burden when your case is being reopened. There are some additional procedural requirements about equitable distribution and child support you need to be aware of that if not followed could lead to your case being dismissed. When you modify a divorce decree, it is best to get it right the first time. In this article, we will discuss some of the common situations where former spouses or former partners seek to change some or all aspects of their parenting plan and/or marital settlement agreement. Call child support modification attorney Orlando, and child custody modification Attorney Orlando, Jonathan Jacobs at 407-335-8113.

You are reasonably certain you want to modify divorce decree Florida. What happens next? The next step is to speak with Jacobs Law Firm. Let us ask about the facts and we can apply case law and statutory law (mixed with our experience) to help you determine if your supplemental petition for modification has a chance of success. It is all about getting past the motion (the motion to dismiss your supplemental petition). You can modify marital settlement agreement Florida by showing there have been what we call substantial change(s) in circumstances. Florida Statutory law requires that the Petitioner prove there has been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances in order to modify the parties’ Final Judgment. Case law makes it clear this  is an “extraordinary burden.”

To modify a divorce decree in Florida it is important to show that circumstances have changed since your case ended (when the final judgment was issued by the Court). It could be that you are involuntarily (we all live in a shifting economy where AI and other market and computer generated forces are changing the way many companies do business) unemployed and that you cannot find the same or a substantially similar job. You may need to take a job to survive on a lesser salary. Should you be obligated to pay the same alimony or child support on a lower salary? At some point your own personal survival and standard of living must be considered. The question is will the court allow you to modify marital settlement agreement Florida by ruling your petition for modification of child support or petition for modification of alimony will get past a motion to dismiss. Using experience, writing/drafting skills, and case and statutory law, Attorney Jacobs can help you with your case. Call 407-335-8113 today.

waive child support arrears in Florida

Waive Child Support Arrears in Florida

Can you waive child support arrears in Florida, and can child support be waived if both parties agree? The general rule according to case law is that: “A child’s right to support may not be waived by a parent, see Strickland v. Strickland, 344 So. 2d 931 (Fla. 2d DCA 1977), nor may that right be contracted away”, see Finch v. Finch, 640 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994). Usually, family law courts believe that child support cannot be contracted away. Wilkes v. Wilkes, 768 So. 2d 1150 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000). Florida child support is intended to provide for the needs and necessities of minor children. The statutory guidelines describe in great detail the reasons for awarding child support in Florida and provide the numerical amount of support required based on the incomes of both parents. Other factors may apply such as daycare costs, health insurance, the number of overnights the parents spend with their children, etc. This brings us to whether child support arrears can be waived in Florida. Just because you have equal timesharing, does not mean child support is waived. Call 407-335-8113 to speak with Jacobs Law Firm about your child support case.

Can child support be waived if both parties agree? Both parties are welcome to agree to waive child support arrears in Florida, but there is no guarantee the child support hearing officer, or the circuit court family law judge will affirm. As you read above, and have likely researched, child support in Florida is intended to provide for a minor child to help them survive, flourish, not be relegated into poverty. The court is not beholden to consider the best interests of the parents in calculating child support, rather, the court’s primary touchstone is whether the minor child is supported, protected, and living in a secure environment. That means the hearing officer, and the circuit court judge have the (generally speaking) authority to override parents’ agreements to waive support. A waiver of child support can be determined not to be in a child’s best interests. The best interests of the children, not the best interests of the payor, are what the court considers first and foremost. If the amount to be paid is de minimis, or less than a certain amount ($50), a judge might agree to the parties paying no child support until or unless there is a substantial change in circumstances.

If you are seeking to waive child support arrears in Florida, it is likely you have arrived at that decision based on some common scenarios. One common situation is where a parent has their rights voluntarily terminated to allow for their child to be adopted by another parent. A child must have two parents in our state. This is often done in exchange for a revocation of any past due child support owing. Another situation that may occur is when the parties are mediating their case and one parent agrees to have less timesharing (this may sound counterintuitive unless you have been in this situation personally) in exchange for a reduction or removal of their child support arrears.

We return to our original question; can child support be waived if both parties agree? The answer is complicated. The court is not obligated to waive child support arrears in Florida or ongoing child support, though it is not necessarily going to disagree with that decision under certain limited circumstances. The ultimate question is what is in the best interests of the children? Call an Orlando child support lawyer today at 407-335-8113.

How To Calculate Child Support In Florida

How To Calculate Child Support In Florida

Clients involved in child support cases with the Department of Revenue or Department of Administrative Law Hearings often ask how to calculate child support in Florida. The answer is incredibly nuanced. Primarily, the DOR or DOAH or the family court judge is looking for your incomes to determine how much child support is needed. From there, the court (DOR, DOAH or circuit court) looks to the number of overnights each parent spends with their children, as well as a multitude of other factors. Here, to calculate child support, we are focusing mainly on whether the party’s reimbursed expenses will be used to increase their income when calculating child support in Florida. Call Jacobs Law Firm, child support lawyer Orlando at 407-335-8113.

Calculating Child Support in Florida

The district courts of appeal have tested your question, how to calculate child support in Florida. The answer varies depending on the unique facts of your case. Among the biggest areas of dispute is whether your reimbursed expenses (from your parents or new wife or significant other, or the military, etc.) count as income when calculating support. Let’s start answering this question by looking to statutory law, “The child support guidelines specify that gross income includes reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses. § 61.30(2)(a)13, Fla. Stat. Ortega v. Wood, 316 So. 3d 408, 409, 2021. Essentially, the Ortega Court ruled that reimbursed expenses can count as gross income as long as they reduce living expenses. What might reduce living expenses? Many in the armed services receive housing and meal stipends that may reduce their living expenses.

If you are going to reasonably calculate child support Florida, distinguish the basic premise above from the Court’s further decision that “Reimbursements for business expenses are not income and should not be included in calculations for child support purposes.” It stands to reason that if I ask my paralegal to purchase a new printer at Office Depot or Costco and then pay her that exact amount, she has not profited, she has been reimbursed for an expense. Therefore, the Court rightly decided not to include that as gross income for purposes of calculating child support in Florida. If you are looking to waive child support or waive child support arrears, you may have some challenges with the court.

Calculate Child Support Florida

Here is a major pearl of wisdom for how to calculate child support in Florida. “Before a trial court can include a bonus in calculating net income for child support purposes, the bonus must be regular and continuous.” Vergara v. Vergara, 831 So. 2d 251, 252, 2002. Many clients tell us they might receive occasional bonuses but that does not guarantee regular bonuses or the amount to be earned/received. Plus, bonuses might be taxed at a higher rate. A lot goes into figuring out the numbers.

Moreover, in deciding how to calculate child support in Florida, adding to the case law provided above, “Parental gross income is determined using the factors in § 61.30(2)(a), which includes reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses. § 61.30(2)(a)(13). Specific dollar values for the in-kind contributions and reimbursed expenses must be determined, and the other statutory computations must be performed, in order to arrive at the parties’ net income levels, a proper support amount, and the respective shares of support.” Sunderwirth v. Sunderwirth, 332 So. 3d 1087, 1088, 2022. Of course, when courts calculate child support Florida, they should make factual findings. It stands to reason that calculating child support should be based on logic and common sense. Call Jacobs Law Firm today for your consultation 407-335-8113.

Citrus County uncontested divorce attorney

Citrus County Uncontested Divorce Attorney

Divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, but it does not have to be brutal. By hiring a Crystal River uncontested divorce attorney, spouses with a clear plan for the terms of their divorce may pursue a less expensive and better option. Call Jacobs Law Firm, Citrus County uncontested divorce attorney to learn about amicable dissolution and how it is right for you. Uncontested divorce is typically faster, less expensive, and less emotionally draining than a long and drawn out contested divorce. A no contest divorce inherently means that both parties are in total agreement on all issues. As your uncontested divorce attorney in Citrus County FL (Hernando, Homosassa, Lecanto, Inverness, Beverly Hills, and elsewhere), we are ready to help you from the very start until your case is 100% finalized through the Citrus County Family Court. Call 407-335-8113 today for a consultation and get started.

A Citrus County uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree on all the terms of the dissolution settlement agreements. This includes equitable property division, alimony, child timesharing and child support calculations. If you retain Jacobs Law Firm, you generally do not need to go to court. Your divorce can be finalized without the need for litigation. If there is a short final hearing, we will schedule it for you and attend the hearing with you on your behalf. You will know what to expect and we are here to prepare you.

There are so many benefits to choosing to hire a Crystal River uncontested divorce attorney. Namely, we can move your case along faster than a contested divorce. A Citrus County uncontested divorce is less expensive than a litigated divorce. This is because the couple does not need to pay for a mediations, motions or trial which helps you save on legal fees. Amicable divorce is less emotionally taxing than a standard divorce. Perhaps best of all is an uncontested divorce allows the couple to have control over the provisions of the divorce. This is because the couple can agree on the terms of the divorce and the judge will approve the agreement.

If you are considering hiring a Crystal River uncontested divorce attorney, look no further than Jacobs Law Firm, a compassionate and caring Firm. We prefer when divorce is done faster, less expensively, and with less of a harsh impact on families. Having experienced legal counsel on your side can make all the difference. Hire us to be your Citrus County uncontested divorce attorney.

Equitable Distribution Worksheet Florida

Equitable Distribution Worksheet Florida

This article is about drafting a Florida equitable distribution worksheet. Divorce in Florida can present difficult and legally challenging issues. As such, among the most important aspects of dissolution of marriage is determining how to EQUITABLY divide your assets and liabilities accrued before, during and after marriage and separation. A helpful and often vital step Jacobs Law Firm performs for many clients is drafting an equitable distribution worksheet in Florida. An ED worksheet can clarify the financial portrait of both parties and lay out the arguments for which spouse should prevail and in what way(s). Call us at 407-335-8113 to speak with Attorney Jacobs about your equitable distribution spreadsheet and how it can be enhanced and improved.

The Florida family courts apply an equitable distribution standard. This ED scheme (the basis of your equitable distribution spreadsheet in Florida) is a method the courts apply to determine equitable property division in a divorce. As such, an equitable distribution worksheet Florida is a document that lists all of the assets and debts accrued before, during and after the marriage, along with their current value. Current values are sometimes best determined through the hiring of appraisers or expert witnesses. The Florida equitable distribution worksheet is used to lay out clearly the parties’ financial arguments. Your Orlando divorce attorney will calculate how to divide the assets and debts in a fair and equitable manner the court will approve.

There are multiple benefits to using an equitable distribution spreadsheet to predict or enhance the outcome of a divorce. First, the spreadsheet can help to ensure that the assets and debts are divided in a fair and equitable manner. This can help to avoid disputes and disagreements between the parties, which can prolong the divorce process and increase the cost. Prior to drafting the spreadsheet, we will need to have mandatory disclosures complete. This way, we will have information such as property values, mortgage balances, and the amounts of your liabilities. The spreadsheet is used to calculate the value of each asset and debt and to determine how they should be divided between the two parties.

An equitable distribution spreadsheet in Florida can help to identify any assets or debts that may have been overlooked or forgotten. Perhaps there is a student loan outstanding, or a car note the parties wished they had forgotten. This can be particularly useful in cases where one party may have been hiding assets or debts in order to keep them out of the divorce settlement.

When you need to speak with an experienced divorce attorney in Clermont, Orlando, or anywhere in Central Florida, call Jacobs Law Firm at 407-335-8113.

Child Support Modification Florida

Child Support Modification Florida

Are you looking to modify your child support payments? Filing a petition for modification of child support is generally the right course of action to take. Before any change may be made, a court must decide there has been a substantial change in circumstances. A child support modification in Florida may occur at any time when support payments are being made and you meet the statutory standard for change. This standard for demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances in Florida child support has occurred is rather modest. A substantial change in circumstances change means that if the Department of Revenue, or Department of Administrative Hearings, or the family circuit court is to order a change in child support, that change has to be at least a certain amount of money to justify a deviation. According to the modification of Child Support Florida Statute, Florida Statute 61.30(b), “the difference between the existing monthly obligation [what you pay right now] and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.” Call Jacobs Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with an Orlando Child Support Attorney to discuss your modification of child support, dial 407-335-8113. We can help you calculate and decide whether a modification is appropriate for you.

After you have filed a petition for child support modification Florida (a motion is not enough, you need a petition), there are many reasons a court may agree a substantial change in circumstances has occurred and order a modification of child support in Florida. A primary reason can be a parent’s refusal or failure to see their child. For example, in a recent decision, the Smith Court referred to the modification of Child Support Florida Statute and decided that: “A parent’s failure to regularly exercise the time-sharing schedule set forth in the parenting plan, a court-ordered time-sharing schedule, or a time-sharing arrangement exercised by agreement of the parties not caused by the other parent which resulted in the adjustment of the amount of child support pursuant to subparagraph (a)(10) or paragraph (b) shall be deemed a substantial change of circumstances for purposes of modifying the child support award.” Section 61.30(11)(c), Fla. Stat., and Smith v. Smith, 273 So. 3d 1168, 1169, (1st DCA 2019).

modification of Child Support Florida Statute

This language means that if a parent does not exercise overnight timesharing with their child(ren), and the other parent is not the reason for their absence, the Court has the authority to grant a petition for modification of child support Florida. The Court may also decide the substantial change in circumstances Florida child support standard has been statutorily met as a matter of law.  

The Department of Revenue provides some helpful advice to payors (people paying child support) about what to do while your petition for child support modification Florida is pending. Until or unless a court order commanding you to pay child support is modified, terminated or vacated, you must continue making payments according to your court order. Paying a lower amount of child support could result in sanctions or penalties against you. Keep making your payments pursuant to the modification of Child Support Florida Statute. Asking for a credit and resolving any overpayment later is better than being held in contempt. When you are ready to talk about your child support case, call 407-335-8113 and schedule time with Attorney Jacobs.