Adult Adoptions

Florida Statute permits any person, a minor or an adult to be adopted. The adoption of adults may not be what you first think of when you think of adoptions, but there are a number of reasons why an adult may want to be adopted or another adult may want to adopt an adult. Adult adoptions present an opportunity for people to formalize existing pseudo parent-child relationships, such as those between stepparents and stepchildren and foster parents with their foster children. It can also be used for reinstating a previously existing relationship when an adult reconnects with their birth family.

adoption_certificate

Some utilize adult adoptions as a method of estate or long-term care planning. Once an adult or minor child is adopted they become the heir of their adopted parent. Families without a male heir used to adopt male adults in order to continue their family name. Adult adoptions are not the ideal solution for estate or long-term care planning.

In Florida, the consents of the adult adoptee’s biological parents are not required. The only required consents are that of the adult adoptee and the person wishing to adopt. However, the petitioner is required to notify the biological parents of the final hearing for adoption.

Contact us for more information about adult adoptions, email DLevy@attorneygrossman.com or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on August 31, 2015 at 9:24 am | No comment

Working with a Financial Planner During Divorce

One of the biggest mistakes people make when considering a divorce is not understanding their financial picture. In order to correctly determine child support, alimony, and property division, you need to know everything you own, your household income, and your expenses.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Working with a financial planner during a divorce can make this part of the process easier. A financial planner can help you understand that fighting for the asset with income potential is a better choice than fighting for the house you can’t afford. A financial planner can also help you understand how to negotiate decisions concerning retirement plans, insurance, debt, and other income considerations.

A financial planner can discuss your long term needs and help you focus on more immediate needs, which include covering everyday expenses, health insurance coverage, and expenses related to the custody and care of your children.

Another benefit a financial planner provides is that a financial analysis helps focus on the numbers rather than the emotions. Conversations are easier because they are fact and data driven.

To prepare working with a financial planner, get organized by putting together important documents: inventory of household items, financial records, credit report, car title and registration, etc. Now is the time to know how much you pay for insurance, how to access online bank accounts, and how to access old retirement accounts. It’s also a good time to understand your credit history and how it impacts your ability to get loans, credit cards, etc.

You should also consider establishing a separate bank account. If you are unemployed, you need to start thinking about future employment.

Whether you work with a financial planner or not, you need to consider the different pieces that are part of your financial picture. Having this understanding allows you to make better negotiation decisions. Most people are too overwhelmed by these matters, which is why a financial planner is a smart idea.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on August 29, 2015 at 8:39 am | No comment

Role of Forensic Accountants in Divorce Cases

We all know that divorce can be an emotional experience, but if you look at it closely, it’s merely a matter of ending a contract between two parties. And one of the most contentious parts of a divorce involves money, and which party will end up with the more valuable assets.

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Much of this starts with the person that’s handling the checkbook. In many marriages, one spouse typically takes care of the finances. This person is the one that pays the bills, deals with investments, makes donations to charities, etc. Then, when the marriage ends up headed for divorce, this person is the one that also usually knows the most about the couple’s assets and financial health, with the other being left in the dark.

Because of this situation, many of the couple’s assets may end up hidden. Common types of hidden assets include cash, bonds, insurance policies, mutual funds, stocks, and annuities. Some of these assets may be converted into cash and then used to purchase luxury items, such as jewelry, art, antiques, vehicles, and collectible items.

This is why, in many divorce cases, attorneys or private parties will hire a Forensic Accountant. A Forensic Accountant works to uncover assets and to provide expert testimony at the divorce hearing. This person will use several methods for uncovering anything that may be hidden from the other party. He or she may start by asking about the spouse’s habits in order to determine potential locations where assets may be kept. Forensic Accountants may also review tax returns, financial statements, property deeds, and other records.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, and whether you may need a Forensic Accountant, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on August 20, 2015 at 8:58 am | No comment

Supervised Timesharing and the Family Resource Center of Southwest Florida

For some families supervised parenting time is appropriate due to any number of health and safety concerns for the children involved. There may be a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, substance abuse, or domestic violence that warrants a Court’s order for supervised parenting time. Supervised parenting time is parent/child contact overseen by a third party to ensure they are appropriate. Supervised parenting time includes supervised exchanges.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Supervised parenting time is not a final goal and is not appropriate for most cases. It should be used as a means to reestablish an appropriate healthy relationship between the parents and their children. Supervised parenting time requires the commitment and participation of both the supervised parent and the unsupervised parent. Orders for supervised parenting time outline the conditions of the visits, including, but not limited to, the frequency, length, who will be responsible for the cost of the visits, and location.

Sometimes the parties may agree on a particular family member or friend to supervise visits. There are also trained professionals who offer this more structured service. The Family Resource Center of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe home-like environment for parents and children in Southwest Florida. The Family Resource Center (FRC) and its qualified supervisors maintain a neutral role, not favoring one parent over the other. The Family Resource Center may provide the court with factual information based on observations made during the supervised timesharing, but it does not make recommendations or opinions about future parenting time schedules or responsibilities. The supervisors use a checklist to log the behaviors of the parents and children. For more information about the Family Resource Center visit http://www.leecountyparenttime.org/index.html.

If you have any additional questions, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Keith or Danielle. If you are in need of more information on this issue or other family law issues, email Keith@AtorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

 

     Posted on August 20, 2015 at 8:56 am | No comment

Establishing Paternity

Are you a father of a child born out of wedlock? Have you established yourself as your child’s legal father? There is a common misconception that an unmarried father, whose name is on their child’s birth certificate, has established paternity of the child. This is not true. While being on the birth certificate can be used as evidence of paternity, it DOES NOT establish paternity.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Under Florida law, a mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child, and she is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless a court order is entered stating otherwise. Essentially, this means the mother may leave the State before a paternity order is entered, and she cannot be ordered to return until a paternity order is entered. However, a court may look negatively upon a mother who has reason to believe a certain man is the child’s father and effectively does everything she can to alienate the child from the father.

Mothers in need of child support will only be granted child support once paternity has been established. The Department of Revenue has the authority to establish paternity in an administrative child support proceeding. The Department of Revenue does not have the authority to establish a timesharing schedule or rule on parental responsibility. Either the mother or the putative father may initiate a paternity proceeding in the circuit court that can decide all issues of paternity, child support, timesharing, and parental responsibility.

Visit our website at http://www.attorneygrossman.com/contested-divorce-and-paternity.html for more information on paternity and child custody. If you have any additional questions pertaining to paternity, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Keith or Danielle. If you are in need of more information on this issue or other family law issues, email Keith@AtorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

 

     Posted on July 31, 2015 at 4:39 pm | No comment

Update Beneficiary Designations After Divorce

Finding a new place to live, moving all of your possessions, opening a new bank account, updating insurance policies, are just a few of the many things one must do after a divorce is finalized. Another issue that arises after a divorce that may not immediately occur to you is the need to revise your Last Will and Testament. Many people don’t give much thought to another traumatic event, their passing.

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By not revising your Will after a divorce, you leave yourself and your loved ones open to legal battles that could take a chunk out of the estate you planned to leave as your legacy. This issue recently came up in Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals.

A couple had finalized their divorce in October 2012 when one month later, the ex-husband passed away, having never revised his Will from 2005. In the Will, he left much of his estate to his then wife and her niece and nephew. After his death, the man’s mother contested the Will arguing that since her son was divorced at the time he died, the Will is null and void. A nearly three-year battle ensued, when finally, on July 1 of this year, the Court ruled in the mother’s favor.

The court sited Section 732.507(2), Florida Statutes (2012), which states: “Any provision of a will executed by a married person that affects the spouse of that person shall become void upon the divorce of that person or upon the dissolution or annulment of the marriage.” So, regardless of the man dying, the Will is deemed void as soon as the marriage is legally ended.

Had the man updated his Will immediately upon getting a divorce, he could have helped his mother avoid a costly court battle.

If you are in need of more information on this issue or other family law issues, email Keith@AtorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

 

     Posted on July 30, 2015 at 9:57 am | No comment

Same-Sex Marriage Given the Green Light by Supreme Court, What Does This Mean for Same-Sex Divorce?

On Friday, June 26 the United States Supreme Court ruled that under the Constitution marriage is a fundamental right inherent in individual liberty that shall apply with equal force to same-sex couples. Here is the opinion ( http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf). States can no longer refuse to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses nor can they refuse to recognize such licenses from other states. At the time, 36 states already had similar laws in place. This latest ruling means that the U.S. now joins nearly two dozen other countries that recognize or allow same-sex marriage nationwide. This decision also clarifies the question as to whether the courts can grant same-sex divorces.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, based its decision on the below principles and traditions.

  1. The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and it guarantees equal protection.
  2. The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.
  3. The right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.
  4. This ruling safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education.
  5. Marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order. States have contributed to the fundamental character of marriage by placing it at the center of many facets of the legal and social order. There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle.

Here in Florida, this process began in earnest back in January right after the Sunshine State joined 35 other states in legalizing same-sex marriage. Prior to January, Florida wouldn’t allow for same-sex divorces because they didn’t recognize these types of marriages. For example, Florida would not allow a same-sex couple married legally in Connecticut to get a divorce in Florida because at the time Florida didn’t consider it a legal marriage. These couples were stuck in limbo.

Now that has all changed. Officials say last-month’s decision could lead to a flurry of litigation, with the outcomes hard to determine because the process is still so new.

We urge anyone that is thinking about seeking a divorce to get in touch with us for more information. E-mail Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

 

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography on freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on July 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm | No comment

The biggest divorce mistakes

Whether you’re happily married now, or hoping to be one day, the one thing you’d probably rather not think about, is divorce. Yet for at least half of all married couples, that’s something that is on the horizon. Here are a few no-no’s that experts say divorcing couples are prone to commit.

Grossman Divorce Attorney

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Forcing kids to take sides: Many splitting spouses try to use the children as pawns in their nasty games against their ex. Experts say don’t force them to choose one parent over the other but instead always remind them that the two of you love them and will always have a relationship with them. Remember, while you are divorcing your spouse, your children are not divorcing either parent.
  1. Not meeting with a therapist: It is expected that you confide in your attorney, but remember that they aren’t mental health professionals. Attorneys are trained to handle the law, not to figure out why your ex was so controlling or how you knew walking down the aisle that marriage was a bad idea. A qualified mental health professional is better equipped to help you manage this change in your life. We would be happy to refer you to a mental health profession.
  1. Fighting over personal property: Another mistake divorcing couples make, which can be quite costly, is fighting to the bitter end over who gets the “things,” i.e. flat screen TV, DVD collection, football season tickets, etc. By the time you finish battling it out over who gets what, you’ve spent more on attorney’s fees than the “things” are even worth.
  1. Jumping into a new relationship: Finally, the mistake of thinking that jumping into another relationship right after your divorce is a good idea. Remember, you just went through one of the most stressful and isolating experiences you could ever go through. You will likely need some time to process the experience and heal so that you can best prepare yourself for any future relationships. Not taking the time to figure out what went wrong in the previous relationship will likely doom you to repeat the same mistakes in the rebound relationship.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on July 1, 2015 at 10:37 am | No comment

Collaborative Family Law

What Is It?

Collaborative family law is a structured, client-centered, out-of-court process for couples embarking on a divorce, paternity, prenuptial, or other family law issue.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo by Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s in it for the client?

  • Privacy, confidentiality, mutual respect and dignity.
  • Surprises to a minimum. Meetings, with defined agendas, are coordinated in advance.
  • Your team is fully invested in settlement, committing to an out-of-court resolution.
  • Often much faster and more cost-efficient than the traditional court system model.
  • Clients control outcomes, not a judge.
  • You are empowered to make the best decisions for your family long term.
  • A child-centered process, minimizing disruption and trauma if you have children.
  • Development of support resources, coping strategies and communication skills.

Who is doing Collaborative Family Law in SWFL?

The Collaborative Professionals of SWFL is comprised of the best legal, financial and mental health professionals in this area. Website: CollaborativePros.com

How do you start?

  • First, you each hire a collaboratively-trained attorney.
  • These two attorneys then help you select the two neutral team members:
    • Mental Health Neutral: Identifies conflict resolution styles, facilitates communication, helps set the agendas, handles emotion as it comes up in the room.
    • Financial Neutral -Assists the team with comprehensive financial information gathering, equitable division of assets and liabilities, tax consequences and budgeting. Your partner, who may not hear it from you, is often more accepting when hearing about financial realities from a financial neutral.
  • Roadmap: Through a series of structured meetings, the team assists the participants in:
    • Setting goals;
    • Gathering information;
    • Developing options; and,
    • Achieving durable agreements.

For more information on the COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW process, our web page is AttorneyGrossman.com/collaborative-divorce.html

Contact us: email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on June 29, 2015 at 9:01 am | No comment

Florida grandparents’ rights

Florida is known for its large population of grandparents. Southwest Florida continues to attract more and more retirees to the area. We get many calls from concerned grandparents who are interested in securing visitation with their grandchildren for one reason or another. Florida has limits on when grandparents can be granted court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren.

Grandpa and kid

                                          Photo by photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As of July 1, 2015, revisions to the Florida Statute pertaining to grandparent visitation are in effect. While these revisions are a drastic change from what was previously in place, it does expand the definition of a grandparent and sets forth less restrictive language pertaining to their rights to petition for visitation. The statute applies to great-grandparents as well as grandparents. Grandparents are allowed to file Petitions for Visitation if the parents of the grandchild are deceased, missing or in a persistent vegetative state. They may also request visitation if the one parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state and the other parent has been convicted of a felony or an offense of violent behavior that poses a substantial threat of harm to the minor child’s health or welfare.

Grandparents must still prove parental unfitness or significant harm to the child before the court will enter an order granting the requesting timesharing. This can be a daunting hurdle. As in other family law matters the courts are assessing under the best interest of the child standard. The statute lays out several factors that the court shall consider in reaching its ultimate ruling. Some of these factors include the length and quality of the previous relationship between the minor child and the grandparent and the reasons cited by the responding parent as to why he/she ended contact or visitation between the minor child and the grandparent.

Each case has its own set of facts. If you are interested in seeking visitation with your grandchild schedule a consultation and we can discuss the facts specific to your situation and options that you can consider.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?

     Posted on June 25, 2015 at 9:07 am | No comment