Family Law Attorney In Stuart Serving The Treasure Coast Area
When you are facing a divorce, child custody battle or adoption, getting it right is essential. An inexperienced lawyer may make crucial mistakes that lead to delays, disputes and increased costs in the long run. At The Gufford Law Firm, P.A., our attorney and staff have 50 years of combined legal experience and a breadth of knowledge of Florida family law. We will serve you with compassion while taking proactive, aggressive steps to achieve your family law goals.
Port St. Lucie Divorce And Child Custody Attorney
Family law encompasses a broad range of issues, many of which are intertwined. As a full-service law firm, we provide assistance with a broad range of matters related to family law, such as:
- Prenuptial agreements and postnups
- Stepparent adoptions and other private adoptions
- Child custody and support
- Domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence and dating violence injunctions
The most common family law concern that we help our clients with is divorce, as follows:
- Legal separation agreements or petitions
- Financial affidavits and other financial disclosure requirements for divorce
- Property division and spousal support (alimony) agreements or orders achieved through negotiations, mediation or litigation
- Modification Actions
- Contempt/Enforcement Actions
You Likely Have Questions About Divorce. We Have Answers.
The process of getting a divorce is far more complex than most people realize. Similarly, couples who plan to adopt have many questions that need answers. See the questions and answers below, as well as those on our Family Law FAQ page. Additionally, our attorneys and staff make themselves available to answer questions throughout the process. We understand that family law matters present significant challenges. We are here to provide that necessary guidance throughout the process.
What is the legal divorce process like?
If you and your spouse have no shared children, agree on property division and are willing to give up your right to a trial and appeal, you may submit a petition for a simplified dissolution of marriage.
More commonly, a traditional divorce will require a petition by one spouse to the other, a discovery process, mediation and, if applicable, an agreement on a parenting plan. A trial may be necessary if you do not reach the necessary agreements on all issues. Finally, a judge will sign your divorce decree, and your divorce will be finalized. You and your spouse are responsible for honoring its terms.
How is the amount of child support calculated?
Child support guidelines in the Florida statutes explain how to arrive at child support that takes into account “the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, [the] standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent.” Through mediation or a trial, special considerations may figure into the determined amount that one parent will pay the other. The Gufford Law Firm utilizes proprietary, highly sophisticated software to insure that calculations are correct taking into account all statutory factors.
How does a court decide which parent gets custody?
After negotiations, mediation and/or a trial, a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child will be approved by the court. As a starting point, the state’s presumption is that “the parental responsibility for a minor child [will] be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.” However, in some cases, the Court may order Sole Parental Responsibility or Shared Parenting with Ultimate Decision Making by one parent. The Parenting Plan will also describe other issues such as the weekday/weekend/holiday schedule, information sharing, foreign travel, interstate travel, relocation and transportation.
What happens to the property that each spouse owned before the marriage?
Generally, property owned by each spouse before they married will be considered separate property for the purpose of property division in divorce. It will not be subject to division. However, separate property that became mingled with marital property can be complex to address. For example, if one spouse owned a house but then both made payments on it during the marriage, it may be partially separate and partially marital property — subject to division. Another example is pension plans. There may be a pre-marital portion, a marital portion and a post-filing portion. The Gufford Law Firm often consults with preeminent experts to determine the marital versus non-marital portions/values of these plans and how they should be divided. We also utilize experts in the preparation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s) to ensure that the retirement plan(s) are divided in accordance with the law and the terms of the plan itself.
Under what circumstances will the court award alimony or spousal support?
According to Florida statutes, the court may determine that one spouse should pay the other alimony, which may be “bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational…permanent in nature or any combination of these.” Factors the court will examine to determine whether, and how much alimony is appropriate will include the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage and the income, assets and financial needs of each spouse.
What kind of assets are divided in a divorce?
Typical examples include real estate, financial accounts, personal property, stocks and bonds, stock options, retirement funds, deferred executive compensation and all other assets (except inheritances and gifts made to one spouse) acquired during the marriage.