There are often misconceptions associated when it comes to family law. At Shane Stafford we pride ourselves on providing expert family lawyers serving South Florida. This list of common misconceptions may help to clear up any confusion you may have in the area of family law:
Filing for Divorce
People often think that the party who files for divorce has an upperhand in the matter. Not true. It makes no difference to the court if you file first, or the other party does. This will have no bearing on the judge’s decision.
That being said, there are some advantages to being the first to file. For example, if you file first, you choose the county in which you live in as the jurisdiction that will carry out the divorce. This is advantageous if you and the respondent live in different counties: it will save you the trouble of commuting for hearings. Also, if you file first, you know the case if going to happen–you won’t be surprised by the other party filing. And if you are filing for divorce or custody, this gives you time to put yourself in the best position possible.
Filing for Custody
Thinking you can’t file because you don’t know the other party’s whereabouts: The fact is, even if you don’t know where the other party lives, you can still file for divorce or custody. Shane Stafford can help you submit a sworn statement to the judge acknowledging the fact that you have no contact information for the person, and have tried to find him or her to no avail. The judge is then able to allow you to serve the other person by publishing the notice of the court case in a newspaper where the case is filed. The notice is then published for three weeks, and the other person has 20 days to respond. If they do not respond, you can then proceed with the case.
Custody Battles in “Home States”
According to Florida custody law, a custody order may only be executed in one state. This is the state where the child has lived most recently (and for at least six months). That state is referred to as the child’s ‘home state’ and is the only state that can make custody decisions. Family lawyers can help you discern details regarding “home states.”
Division of Assets and Property
I bought it in “my name” so it’s mine: Just because you (or your spouse) purchased a house, car or piece of property in your name does not mean that it is yours. While names are important when you finance or purchase the item, it does not necessarily mean you own it outright. If you were married when you bought it, then your spouse is typically entitled to 50% of the asset.
Child Support Regulations
While you may not think it’s fair to allow your spouse to see your children if he or she isn’t paying what is owed in child support, you don’t get to make that decision. Only a judge does. You cannot disregard a court’s decision on visitation simply because child support payments are behind. Shane Stafford family lawyers can help you with this.
If you have any questions about family law, talk to an attorney at Shane Stafford. What you believe to be true may in fact be a myth. A law professional can help make sense of any misconceptions for you.