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Sarasota Family Law Blog

Post-divorce modifications are necessary in some cases

After you get a divorce, it's still possible to modify the divorce judgment in some cases. You or your ex-spouse may be able to file an appeal through an appeals court, although it's unlikely that a judge would overturn a previous judge's decisions. Sometimes, the judge will, though, given the right circumstances.

In most cases, if you and your ex-spouse come to an agreement and have that agreement approved by a judge, you won't be able to appeal it. However, if there are judgments issued based on that agreement, those judgments might be open for an appeal. If that happens, you can file a motion to appeal or modify the divorce judgment.

Divorcing in Florida: No fault required

You thought long and hard about your options, but in the end, you've decided that a divorce is the right choice for your situation. You and many others have made the same decisions, but there are still some things to think about before you can move forward.

The primary concern any attorney or court will have is whether or not your marriage can be saved. It's up to you to decide if you want a divorce, but it's advisable to try methods like marriage counseling to present the breakdown of your marriage. If that's not possible, then you may be right to choose divorce.

What can you do if your ex-spouse won't follow court orders?

If your ex-husband or wife is not complying with custody orders, there is a cause for concern. Instead of waiting to see what happens, you can turn to the court and file a motion for civil contempt and enforcement. When you file this document, you need to show what the other party failed to do and then have that claim notarized. Your attorney can help you prepare the motion for civil contempt and enforcement, so it's filled out appropriately.

After you turn in the document to the court, a copy of it is served to the other party in the case. He or she is given time to respond, and the court sets a time for a hearing. After receiving the time and date for the hearing, you must complete another document, the Notice of Hearing on Motion for Contempt/Enforcement. A copy of this document also has to be served to the other party. You can serve the document through email, mail or by hand-delivery.

Why your friend's divorce outcome may not necessarily be yours

Some people are hesitant to divorce because of bad things that happened to their friend who divorced. Similarly, some people may go into a divorce overconfident or with erroneous assumptions because of how "well" their friend came out in their own proceeding last year.

However, the reality is that each divorce case is unique. Even if the particulars and the nuances seem the same, it takes just one small difference to make for a drastic change in outcomes. Suppose you and your friend were both married 11 years and have two children apiece, both ages 7 and 5. Furthermore, you both own your businesses, have similar incomes and have second homes. That is a lot of similarities, right? It stands to reason that your friend's outcome should be a good predictor of yours. Not really, and here is a look at some reasons why.

Do most stay-at-home parents need spousal support?

Spousal support is an integral part of some divorces. Imagine being a spouse who supported your spouse while he or she went to school, achieved new heights in his or her career and worked away from home. Maybe you were left to raise your family. As a stay-at-home parent, your skills in industry and your career went unused, making it harder for you to get back to work following a divorce.

Your situation isn't unique; many people struggle with financial needs following divorce. If you have a history of staying at home or relying on your spouse's income, then spousal support could be one answer to this issue. While every state has its own way of determining if you qualify for spousal support, it's possible to get an idea of your spousal support need and if that need is going to be met ahead of time.

Co-parenting efforts make their way through the states

If you're a father, one of the things you may worry about is if you will get a fair share of time with your child following a divorce. In the past, there were laws that helped women get more time with their children, but that isn't the case today.

In fact, the tide has changed completely, and 20 states have gone as far as to consider laws that would promote shared custody.

Divorce's tragedy and the loss you feel

It is hard to deal with a divorce. You may not have known your spouse felt so negatively about your marriage, or you may have been committed to making it work out when he or she just didn't want to any longer. Whatever your situation is, the truth remains that it's difficult to deal with and extremely frustrating.

A divorce isn't just painful because it's expensive or because you have to change the way you live. It's hard to lose a partnership; even those that aren't happy relationships are still relationships. You may have known your spouse for decades or just a few years. Either way, it's emotionally draining to be away from someone who has been your constant since your marriage.

Getting custody of pets: Things to think about

When you're going through a divorce, one of the things you could be worried about is what will happen to your pets. If you brought the pets into your relationship, it's usually clear that they'll stay with you, but other factors could play a role.

If you have children, for example, you might want to keep your pets with them due to their attachment. If you don't but you spouse wants to keep the pet, then it could come down to who the pet is more familiar with or how you want to handle custody of your pet.

Spousal abuse: not just a problem for women

When it comes to domestic violence, women and children are most often the ones who are affected. However, women can also abuse their partners physically and emotionally. The issue of domestic violence against men is not as widely discussed in Florida and elsewhere, but that does not mean it is any less grave of a problem.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline claims domestic violence against men may be more common than you think. About 10 percent of men in the United States each year report being victimized by their partners, and almost half of men have reportedly been psychologically abused by a partner. Because many men do not report abuse, the statistics may be higher.

Fighting for custody: Moms may need to fight harder today

Custody is a serious concern for parents who go through a separation or divorce. With traditional roles shifting, there is a concern, particularly among mothers, that it will be harder for them to obtain custody. Women are increasingly likely to have to choose between a career or spending more time with their children. Depending on the way the home was during the marriage, that can lead to mothers who are breadwinners fighting for custody against fathers who were stay-at-home parents. The role reversal is something some women aren't prepared for.

In 1994, the tender years doctrine was abolished in the majority of states. This doctrine used to make it so that the courts would assume that mothers were more suitable parents for children who were under the age of 7. Add to that the fact that women actually outnumber men in the workforce and you can see why women are starting to find themselves struggling for custody in situations where it once would have been men doing so.

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