CHILD OF WAR/ CHILD OF PEACE

In my last four articles, we have reviewed the top four mistakes that divorcing parties make prior to or during litigation. The discussion today is about the worst and most profound mistake made by parties during a divorce.

Florida is a state whose policies focus on children. It is one of the few states that constitutionally guarantees that parents are legally ensured of their right to parent; but what rights belong to their children?

Today, divorcing parents are required to take a “parenting” course endorsed by the judicial system subsequent to filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. It is an effort by the courts to attempt to deter the ping pong effect that occurs in most divorcing families. These courses are helpful but have not stemmed the tide of the incidence of parent alienation, Münchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP or MBP), and other activities that are designed for one purpose – the emotional and sometimes physical abuse of a child.

Even if a divorcing parent’s actions do not rise to the level of the extreme behavior described above, all too often I will hear one or both parents speak in terms of the “right” that a child has to know about one spouse’s extra-marital affair, drug addiction, professional mishaps and so on. “After all, they did it to ‘both of us’” – goes the reasoning. My immediate response is always the same; No – “they” did not.

Children have the right to not be a parent’s sounding board when that parent is angry, frustrated, enraged, and emotionally compromised toward the other parent. They have the right to have two parents. Most importantly, children have the right to be children and have age appropriate discussions that do not include having to take sides with one parent against the other – even for a moment.

During the last twenty-five years of practice, my mission has been: Resolve, Rebuild, Restore. Let me discuss with you how to accomplish this goal without compromising the integrity of your children’s lives or yours. You may reach me at: (561)472-0805 or on the web at: www.HudsonFamilyLaw.com

For a personal consultation please feel free to contact me at: lhudson@hudsonfamilylaw.com or at: (561)472-0805 .

For more information on how to properly and accurately disclose required discovery in a divorce proceeding, feel free to contact me at:lhudson@hudsonfamilylaw.com or on the web at: www.HudsonFamilyLaw.com .

Hudson Family Law and All My Sons Moving & Storage Send Children to Dolphins Game

Hudson Family Law Partners with All My Sons Moving and Storage sent 30 Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Children to their first ever Miami Dolphins game.

Hudson Family Law and All My Sons Moving & Storage Send Children to Dolphins Game Hudson Family Law

Did I Forget to Mention That…? Divorce Discovery

The Third Worst Mistake Made by Divorcing Spouses

In my last two articles, we began a review of the top five mistakes that divorcing parties make prior to or during litigation.  We discussed that Florida has a “no fault” policy thus creating unique laws regarding divorce that may vary widely from other states.  We also reviewed that posting negative or disparaging comments on social media prior to or during a divorce is a significant mistake especially when they will probably be viewed by the Judge.

Some of the most innocent and costly mistakes made in litigation are during disclosure. In Florida, each party is required to exchange extensive financial documentation, as well as, file financial affidavits identifying all income, expenses, assets and liabilities at the time of the divorce whether marital or non-marital.

Believing that divorce discovery is relegated to joint marital accounts, assets, liabilities or employment information is a common misunderstanding.  The required disclosure is much broader.  It includes information as innocuous as interest income from the children’s savings accounts to disclosure of third party accounts and holdings with non-marital people.  Accounts titled jointly with parents or siblings, third party trusts of which one or the other spouse is named a beneficiary, or assets gifted or acquired prior to or during the marriage that have retained value require identification and valuation.  Insurance policies, time shares, shares in a closely held corporation, or other items that are more difficult to value must also be identified and disclosed.  Loans, credit card debts, contingent responsibilities, and other liabilities are included in this review.

A party may lose the right to make critical legal arguments if disclosure is not compliant. These losses may include non-marital assets being characterized as marital and divided with the ex-spouse, a finding of contempt by a Judge, or worse, creating a loop-hole for an ex-spouse to have a second bite of the apple in subsequent court proceedings.

For more information on how to properly and accurately disclose required discovery in a divorce proceeding, feel free to contact me at:  Hudson@ hudsonfamilylaw.com or on the web at:  www.HudsonFamilyLaw.com.

Fourth Worst Mistake in a Divorce: Do Not Try Your Divorce on Social Media

Last month, I began a series of articles highlighting the five worst mistakes someone could make in a divorce. This month, our discussion will be about the social media explosion. The latest tabloids that report on celebrity marriages and divorces prove that social media has become the court of public opinion. However, in a court of law, social media use as evidence is at an historic high.

Pictures, statements, tweets, and posts may be admissible in court against any party if time, date and identity can be positively matched. Therefore, scenes of separated spouses partying, spending lavishly, touring the world, spending their time with “new “ friends, or even complaining to their old friends may have relevance. Further, during litigation, spouses can be forced by court order to turn over passwords to Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts, not to mention email and financial accounts. At least three years of information prior to the divorce is required in Florida and additional discovery prior to that period can be requested by counsel. These digital social, financial, and other accounts are forensically reviewed by information specialists retained to find every tweet and post. Due to the existence of metadata on every digital framework deleting the information is usually unsuccessful. The results can be devastating.

No less damaging are the lengthy phone calls, notes and messages to family, friends, co-workers, or anyone who will listen to a litigant talk about their horrible divorcing spouse. Each of these people can be ordered to appear in court and required to recount the numerous conversations about what a jerk your soon-to-be ex-spouse is…. really. Except in extraordinary circumstances, comments made to third parties, on Facebook, or in your diary could become evidence that your spouse may utilize in a divorce to sway a court regarding children’s issues, financial concerns, spousal support, and a request for attorney’s fees. A word to the wise – silence is golden …. and is rarely misquoted. Please join us next month for a further discussion of mistakes to avoid in divorce. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Confessions of a Divorce Lawyer

Over the last twenty-five years, I have spoken at numerous public events. Almost every time, there is at least one naysayer in the crowd who half rhetorically asks why anyone would actually need a divorce lawyer. My answer is usually the same: “If you needed a root canal, would you try to do it yourself?”

No one looks forward to root canals or divorces, however, when one is necessary the informed party will choose a professional who has extensive experience and skill to do it. Florida law has changed dramatically in the last quarter century. The core issues of who may marry and adopt, and many other family law related matters are at the forefront of American politics today. With these changing ideals comes significant legal reform.

Every family law case is complex and evolving even if the legal issues are streamlined.

Requests for parenting plans, child support, and alimony, and questions regarding the marital assets and liabilities exist in most cases. The lawyers/parties must provide proposals for how these issues shall be resolved. There are often unforeseen tax consequences if assets are not divided properly. Along with these challenging issues may come the unhappy incidence of domestic violence or a spouse’s fraudulent transfer of funds. If the proper relief is neither requested nor argued in the underlying proceedings the consequences may be staggering.

Every relationship has an agenda; marital relationships have at least two; but divorces have three – his, hers, and the Court’s. The financial landmines that exist in any divorce coupled with the competing emotional agendas leaves little room for error. Without the objectivity of a divorce attorney to investigate and navigate these murky waters, a divorce usually devolves into something that looks like a self-performed root canal. For additional information on this or any family law matter, please contact us at: (561) 472-0805 or on the web at: www.HudsonFamilyLaw.com

Friends With Benefits? Really?

Friends with Benefits? Really?

The wine…… the music……… the romance……..things are looking really good but you are taking a “wait and see” approach.  No commitments.  No “permanent” status.  Maybe you’ll just move in together and see how that works; No strings attached, right?  Wrong.

Did you know that in the State of Florida if you allow someone to establish their domicile by using your address to receive mail, list on a driver’s license, voter’s registration card, federal tax returns, or for a myriad of other official purposes, they have an absolute right to live at that location indefinitely unless they voluntarily choose to vacate.

You must be thinking by now “OMG…I’ll just change the locks…..” Wrong again. If you take the law into your own hands and change the locks, deactivate the gate clicker, or bribe the neighbors to blockade the front door, you are violating the law.  Your special “guest” can strip your house of everything you own, place a call to local law enforcement and be escorted back into the home as if they won the lottery – even if they didn’t contribute one dime toward any of it.  You, on the other hand, will receive a “friendly” warning from these same officers that if you prevent your now “ex-significant other” 24-7 access into the residence then you get to wear their snazzy locking metallic wrist restraints.  Your only recourse under these unfortunate circumstances is for YOU to hire an attorney (Hudson Family Law handles these types of cases), have an ejectment action filed (and spend lots of money in the process), and get a court order stating that your Ex really is “out.”  Good luck getting any of your prized possessions back.

Before the big “move in”, or even just letting a friend “crash” until . . .whenever, call Hudson Family Law.  We will help you draw the legal boundaries you need by creating a domestic partnership agreement to protect your home, your rights, and your cash flow.  Once signed by both parties, you have ensured that all IS fair ….. love and war.

Understanding Florida Child Support Law

The laws and regulations surrounding child support in Florida are outlined in Title VI, Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes entitled; Dissolution of Marriage, Support and Time Sharing. A common misconception when it comes to child support is that the law dictates a fixed amount that’s used across every divorce in Palm Beach Gardens and the rest of the state.

That is not the case at all. Instead, the actual amount can fluctuate based on a variety of factors including but not limited to; the income of each spouse, the number of children, special needs of children, healthcare and other insurance coverage and so forth. While in most cases child support payments fall within the guidelines set forth in Chapter 61, the presiding judge has the authority to allow a payment amount to fall outside the boundaries of the law should they deem it necessary given the circumstances. A child with special needs that require expensive treatment and care or a parent with an extraordinary income would be examples of when a judge could exceed the boundaries set forth by the law.

The amount set by the judge is not a static amount either. A change of situation could allow a lawyer to petition the court for a higher or lesser payment depending on the circumstance. For instance, should the spouse paying child support lose their job, a judge can lessen the payments until that person finds new employment.

In many cases of divorce and child support in Palm Beach Gardens, having a lawyer with experience arguing for the best interests of the children becomes extremely valuable. A knowledgeable attorney is well equipped to construct a strong argument as to why a spouse deserves a certain monthly child support payment. A 2011 amendment to the child support law in Florida made it significantly harder for people to evade child support through such means as underemployment or not fully disclosing their financial situation as that was not an uncommon practice.

When you place your trust in a skilled divorce attorney in Palm Beach Gardens such as Lise Hudson at Hudson Family Law, you are taking a great step in protecting your family’s financial situation. Raising a child as a single parent is difficult enough without having to constantly worry about receiving enough child support. Lise Hudson has helped countless people through divorce and child support proceedings and is dedicated to providing quality representation for her clients. Call today at (561) 472-0805 for a consultation!

Explaining the Complexities of Child Support

The scars of divorce can run deep. It not only fractures the relationship between husband and wife, it can also become a painful ordeal for everyone involved. There are no winners. The process itself can be particularly difficult for the children. It can be a very delicate situation. It’s tough enough for a couple to understand the ramifications of child custody—let alone explaining it to a child. But when a divorce is finalized, it can also be difficult to understand the legalities of child custody and child support. It’s important to have the assistance of a family law attorney who can help guide you through the chaos by calculating and negotiating a fair settlement for child support. Located in Palm Beach Gardens, The Law Firm of Lise L. Hudson has been helping people in the Palm Beaches, Treasure Coast and South Florida navigate through the complexities of cases involving children and family law.

Among the most difficult things to negotiate are living arrangements and child support payments. A responsible attorney can make sure your child is provided with everything they need. Child support is a series of regularly scheduled payments made by a parent to support the financial burden of raising a child. The majority of payments are made by the parent who doesn’t have regular custody. Should both parents have equal custody, the parent with the higher income will make the support payments.

But deciding the amount for child support can get complicated. This is where having a reputable family law attorney becomes valuable. There are a number of variables that come into play. They include parental income, the time –sharing schedule, the number of children, insurance coverage, day care expenses and each child’s specific needs.

It’s important to remember, child support is not always a rigid agreement. Changes in a parent’s professional career and lifestyle can affect the payment amounts. A parent who has been promoted at their job could be forced to make higher payments if petitioned by their former spouse. Conversely, if a parent has been let go from their job, the court can be petitioned to lower the payment amount. This is why it’s important to have the expert advice of an experienced family law attorney.

The Law Firm of Lise L. Hudson in Palm Beach Gardens has nearly 20 years of experience assisting clients with the delicate issues of family law. The firm’s expertise specializes in a variety of complex issues ranging from alimony, child protection, child relocation, child support, divorce, domestic violence, emergency injunctive proceedings, paternity and prenuptial agreements. Divorce can be painful and complicated. But with the help from The Law Firm of Lise L. Hudson, you’ll always have an expert looking out for your best interests. Call today and schedule a consultation with one of our family law experts.