What happens to the family pet in a divorce?


These days Americans are fanatical about their pets. There are dog “resorts” that offer a more comfortable and attentive alternative to boarding and pet food stores, like Cape Coral’s The Beach Dog, specializing in natural and holistic pet food. http://thebeachdogfl.com/ Bottom line, our pets are like family members.

Photo by photostock on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by photostock on freedigitalphotos.net

Unfortunately for couples going through a divorce, the Court system doesn’t consider pets to be children. With how important our furry friends are, you will want to address who will ultimately the pets at the end of the divorce.  Instead the Court classifies them as personal property to be equitably distributed.  This means that the Court won’t be entering a timesharing or support order for pets. Divorcing spouses could always reach an agreement outside of the Court that allows for shared ownership.

Many of our pets have identifying microchips in them in case they get lost. These microchips are linked to the owner(s) of the pet. Some veterinarian offices will require all owners listed on the chip to consent to surgery or other treatment on the pet. You will want to update the owner information in connection to the microchip to correlate with whichever spouse will keep the pet.

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?


Same-sex couples married in another state can divorce in Florida


Same-sex couples who get married in another state can get divorced in Florida, according to an opinion filed last month.

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography on freedigitalphotos.net

The Second District Court of Appeals in Florida filed an opinion in April 2015 in Thomas v. Thomas, 40 FLW D971a (Fla. 2d DCA), ruling that based on the full faith and credit clause Florida has jurisdiction to dissolve same-sex marriages that were entered into in another state.

The facts of this case began when Danielle Brandon-Thomas and Krista Brandon-Thomas, a same-sex couple, became legally married in Massachusetts in 2012. After moving to Florida, Danielle filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Florida court. At the trial level Krista asserted the argument that Danielle’s petition should be dismissed because Florida did not recognize same-sex marriages. Krista relied on Florida’s Defense of Marriage Act.

The trial court agreed with Krista and dismissed the Petition, which ultimately left Danielle with limited options. If the Florida court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to grant same-sex divorces and states have a residency requirement before people can file Petitions requesting relief, they are seemingly out of luck unless they relocate.

Danielle since appealed and the Second District Court of Appeals has now ruled in her favor. The appellate court leaned on the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, which states “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial proceedings of every other State,” Art. VI Section 1, U.S. Constitution.

This effectively means that each state can’t pick and choose which laws of another state it is going to enforce. However, Florida isn’t required to give full faith and credit to another state’s laws that are found to be in conflict with the state’s legitimate public policy. In the issue of same-sex divorces, Florida does not have any legitimate government interest that would be served by prohibiting same-sex couples from seeking to dissolve their marriages.

This is certainly not the end of this hotly debated issue. This case is expected to be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

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?


The gray divorce: Why Grandma and Grandpa are splitting up


You would think that after spending decades together, raising their kids, sharing the same bed, talking about life’s little details, married couples would have worked out all of their differences.  But that’s not necessarily the case. We’re seeing more and more couples who older than 50 years old and wanting a divorce. These are casually termed ‘gray divorces.’

Photo by Ambro on www.freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Ambro on freedigitalphotos.net

We all know the staggering statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce, well, 1 in 4 of these marriages are couples over 50 and almost 1 in 10 are couples over 64.  People over the age of 50 are twice as likely to divorce today as the same demographic just 25 years ago.

So why is divorce on the rise for this group?  Like divorces in many younger couples, you might be tempted to say because of too much arguing.  But for grandma and grandpa, that’s not necessarily the case.  What we’re finding out is they just don’t have anything in common anymore.  The kids are all gone, retirement is near, or here, so there is less in their lives to keep them busy, and many just want to be free to explore the world, which they haven’t been able to do because they had to raise kids and work to support the family.

This trend can be partly to blame on the baby boomer’s generation of self-fulfillment.  The boomers are the first generation to enter into marriage with goals that don’t always involve supporting others.  As a generation, boomers have changed the idea of marriage, which just might end up leading to a change in the traditional vows from, ‘til death do us part,’ to ‘til retirement do us part.’

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?


Florida alimony reform bill collapses


With the abrupt early adjournment of the Florida House on April 28, 2015, came the collapse of a long awaited alimony reform bill. The House and Senate each had similar bills attempting to revise the existing alimony statute.

family_law_logo

 

 

 

Much of the Florida Bar Family Law Section has been pushing for alimony reform that would provide judges, practitioners, and the public, alike, with a formula for determining alimony based on the duration of the marriage and the difference between the spouses’ incomes. HB 943 left the judges with room to use their discretion to make any necessary adjustments to the amount and/or duration of the alimony award. The Senate counterpart was SB 1248.

In 2013, similar legislation was proposed and passed the divided Legislature only be to ultimately vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. The previous version of the bill included a retroactive application to previous alimony orders. The 2015 bills did not include the retroactive provisions.

BillSummaries_smallThe 2015 versions included a presumption that parents should have equal (50/50) timesharing schedules with their children. This timesharing presumption as well as the ongoing dispute over the health care portion of the state budget led to the alimony bill not going through.

A lot of time and effort went into creating this proposed reform. In January 2015, I attended the Marital & Family Review Course put on by the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and there was a lot of discussion about the anticipated alimony overhaul.

There are strong lobbies on both sides of this argument. While most of the Florida Bar Family Law Section supports alimony reform, there are some members and women’s groups that oppose the overhaul. The women groups are concerned about the impact eliminating permanent alimony will have on older spouses, stereotypically women, who did not work outside of their home and were married for a long time. Advocates for the change are pushing for more predictability to alimony settlements.

There is no telling when or if the alimony statute will be revised, but one thing is for sure, the debate over alimony reform lives on. I anticipate new proposed legislation in the 2016 session. Stay tuned, and if you are curious about learning more about your right to alimony or your susceptibility to paying alimony, you can call our office at 877-687-1392 or 239-210-7516 to schedule a consultation.

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?