About Our Firm

My photo
Founded in 1997 we are experienced and knowledgeable Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Stepparent/Relative Adoption, Criminal Defense, and Personal Bankruptcy. We practice primarily in the cities of Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, Carrollwood, Northdale, North Tampa, Plant City as well as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and Pasco County. We have offices conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay. Our lawyers have extensive experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions and name changes as well as criminal defense. We offer a free consultation to discuss your options. Please call us at 813-672-1900 or email us at info@familymaritallaw.com to schedule a consultation. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them. We look forwarding to hearing from you! Se habla EspaƱol.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Is it Okay to Spy on Your Spouse When Going Through Divorce?

When spouses are getting a divorce, there are a number of things they might do that they never imagined doing while they were married. One of these is spying on the other spouse. It may seem crazy, but it happens more than one would think. If you are considering divorce, or are in the middle of one, you might even be thinking about spying on your spouse, too. So, will this hurt your divorce settlement? Is there ever a time when spying on your spouse during divorce is considered okay?

The answer is that yes, there is. Before you start trying to guess online passwords and lurking around corners though, it is important to determine why you want to spy on your spouse. This will offer a lot of input as to whether or not you should be engaging in the practice.

When It Is Okay to Spy

The only time it is okay to spy during your Florida divorce is if it will help your case. For example, if you think your spouse is hiding assets because they do not want them divided under Florida’s equitable division laws, then gaining access into their separate bank account, acquired during the marriage, might be okay.

Additionally, if you think your spouse is having an affair, it might be okay to snoop on them as well, but only under certain conditions. For example, if you believe that your spouse used marital funds or that your income contributed to the affair it is important that you are aware of that. It may help you get more in the settlement in terms of property division or spousal maintenance.

Although in these instances, it may be considered okay to snoop on your spouse to gather information that could help your case, it is always best to take the matter to your divorce lawyer. An attorney will ensure the snooping is done legally, and in a manner that will not ultimately hurt your case. For example, instead of trying to guess the password to your spouse’s secret bank account, an attorney will issue a subpoena asking for those records.

When It Is Not Okay to Spy

If you simply want to learn if your spouse is seeing someone new, or if they have kept the job you have been urging them to get out of, it is not advisable to snoop on your spouse. These are not circumstances that will help your case and if you start spying just for the sake of spying, it could actually hurt your case.

In these instances, if you start snooping, you could unknowingly break privacy laws and possibly, face criminal penalties. If you ever want to spy on your spouse, first clear it with our divorce attorney. If they advise against it and will not conduct an investigation for you, the chances are good that spying is not a good idea, and you should avoid it.

Need Advice With Your Divorce? Call Our Florida Divorce Attorneys

There are many things that may come up in your divorce, and spying is just one of them. If you are considering divorce, or the process has already begun, call our Tampa divorce attorneys at All Family Law Group today. We can advise on all aspects of your divorce and ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Call us today at (813) 672-1900 for your free consultation to learn more about how we can help.

Resource:
leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/0061.html

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.075.html

https://www.familymaritallaw.com/the-steps-in-a-florida-divorce/

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What are the Steps in a Florida Divorce?

When going through a divorce, one of the most difficult aspects is that people typically do not know what to expect. Simply eliminating this fear of the unknown is enough to make people feel better about the process, particularly when they are the ones that want to initiate divorce proceedings in the first place. If you are going through a divorce, or considering it, it is best to work with a divorce lawyer that can fully explain what will happen during each step. In the meantime, below is a guideline of the steps your divorce may take, and what you can expect during each of them.

Filing the Petition

In Florida, divorce is known as the “dissolution of marriage” and the process begins with one spouse filing the petition for dissolution of marriage with the courts. The spouse that files this petition is known as “the petitioner” throughout the rest of the case. Within the petition, the person filing for divorce must state that the marital relationship has broken down and that there is no hope of reconciling.

Filing the Answer

After the petition is filed with the court, the other spouse has 20 days to file their answer. This time limit begins from the day they are served the petition. In their answer, the non-filing spouse must tell the court if they agree to the petition, which parts of it are true, if they deny anything stated in the petition, and if there are any parts of the original petition that they are unaware of. Within their answer, the non-filing spouse can also raise additional issues with the court. The petitioner can then respond to this reply.

Filing Additional Paperwork

There is a great deal of paperwork associated with divorce. In every divorce in Florida, a financial affidavit must be filed within 45 days of the original affidavit being served. Additionally, a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit must also be filed if the divorce will involve minor children.

Discovery

During the discovery phase, both sides must present the other side with the financial documents pertinent to the divorce. This includes tax returns, proof of income, statements regarding debt, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and more.

Mediation

Most divorces in Florida that involve minor children must go through mediation. The only exception is when one spouse is the victim of domestic violence. During mediation, both sides will meet with a mediator to try and come to an agreement without going through litigation.

Parenting Plans

In any divorce that involves minor children, the court must agree to a parenting plan that the two spouses have prepared. When the spouses cannot come to an agreement, the court will draft and finalize a parenting plan that the two spouses must comply with.

The Trial

Not all divorces will reach this point. However, if the couple cannot agree to even one term of their divorce, they will have to move to litigation and go through a trial. During the trial, both sides will make their arguments and ask the court for certain things, such as assets. At the end of the trial, the judge will make a decision and each of these decisions is legally binding.

Need Help with Your Divorce? Call Our Florida Divorce Lawyer

It is natural to be worried about what the divorce process will entail. At All Family Law Group, our Tampa divorce lawyers will not only fully explain it all to you, but also help you through every step of the way. If you are considering divorce, or the process has already started, call us today at (813) 672-1900 for your free consultation so we can review your case and help you through the proceedings.

Resource:
ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/189181.pdf
https://www.familymaritallaw.com/myths-surrounding-mediation-during-divorce/

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Can You Relocate with a Child After Divorce?

Divorce causes many changes to the family structure, but those changes don’t always stop after the divorce is finalized. Many issues continue to pop up along the way. One of the most common is when a custodial parent wants to relocate with their child. Perhaps they found better schooling for the child, or maybe they were offered a great job that’s out of state, or even out of the country. When this is the case, what does Florida law say about it? Are parents allowed to relocate with their children?

What is Considered a Relocation?

If you’re only moving across town with your child, you can likely do so without obtaining permission from the other parent or the courts. This is not considered a relocation. However, under Florida Statute 61.13001, when a parent moves 50 miles away or further, and intends to stay in the new location for more than 60 days, it is considered a relocation. Relocation is not an issue with temporary moves for the purpose of taking a vacation, education, or providing the child with medical care.

Relocation when the Other Parent Agrees

If you and your ex-spouse both agree to the relocation, you can draft a written agreement. This agreement must include:
  • Written agreement to the relocation from both parents
  • A time-sharing schedule that allows the parent not relocating access to the child
  • How transportation of the child will work
After drafting and signing this agreement, you can then file it with the courts. You will not likely have to attend a formal hearing.

Relocation when the Other Parent Doesn’t Agree

Many times, the non-locating parent doesn’t agree to the relocation of their child. If this is the case, you must file a petition to relocate with the court. This is then served to your ex-spouse. Your petition must include:
  • The address and phone number of your new home
  • The date you wish to relocate
  • The reason for the relocation and proof, such as a written employment contract
  • Your proposed visitation schedule
  • A written plan for transporting the child
After your ex-spouse receives the notice, they have 20 days to file a response. This should include reasons for objecting to the relocation, and how much time the non-relocating parent spends with the child. If they do not respond, the court may automatically grant the relocation. If your ex-spouse does reply to your petition, a judge will hear from both sides and weigh what is in the best interests of the child.

If a judge does not grant your relocation and you move anyway, you may face serious consequences, such as charges of contempt.

Need Help with Your Petition? Call Our Florida Family Law Attorneys

Filing a petition for relocation after divorce is complex. The burden of proof lies with you to show that you are moving, at least partially, for the child’s benefit and the move is not to your sole advantage. At All Family Law Group, our Tampa divorce attorneys can help you with this element of proof. We will also ensure you take all the necessary steps, so you can move forward with your new life while still complying with the law. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation.

Resource:
leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/0061.html

https://www.familymaritallaw.com/what-happens-with-children-and-property-during-a-divorce/

Friday, October 18, 2019

What is Criminal Return Fraud?

When most people think of retail theft, they first think of shoplifting. However, there is another offense that has become more common recently. That is return fraud. This type of fraud has been around ever since there were retail stores. Now that the Internet has entirely changed the way people shop though, it’s becoming even more popular. According to a study conducted in 2018 by the National Retail Federation, 11 percent of all retailers’ yearly sales were returned. Eight percent of those involved fraudulent activity. So, what is return fraud? Can you go to jail if you’re convicted of the crime?

Return Fraud in Florida

The Florida statutes define return fraud as obtaining or using a receipt in a fraudulent manner. Although this definition is somewhat vague, there are many instances that could be considered return fraud. The most common type of return fraud is when a person makes a purchase and uses the receipt from that item to return an item of lesser value.

People that engage in ‘wardrobing’ or ‘free renting,’ are also committing return fraud. This is when a person makes a purchase, uses it for a short time, and then returns it for a full refund. Returning stolen merchandise for a refund is also considered return fraud.

Switch fraud is another type of return fraud. This is when someone owns a product that has broken. They purchase another identical product, and then return the broken one to the store. The customer receives a full refund and gets the new purchase for free.

These are just a few of the instances that could constitute return fraud. Any time a receipt is used fraudulently, it is considered a crime.

Penalties for Return Fraud in Florida

Using a receipt in any way other than the manner it was intended may seem harmless enough. After all, many consider it a victimless crime. However, the state of Florida takes this crime very seriously. Those convicted of it face harsh penalties.

In Florida, return fraud is considered either a first-degree misdemeanor or a second degree misdemeanor. For a first offense of a first-degree misdemeanor charge, a person faces up to one year in jail, a fine of $1,000, and is usually ordered to pay restitution to the retailer they defrauded. If the person is charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, they face up to 60 days in jail, a fine of $500, and often a requirement to pay restitution to the retailer.

Were You Charged with Retail Theft? Call Our Tampa Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys

As it becomes more common, retailers are becoming increasingly frustrated with those that commit return fraud. As such, they are often very aggressive in pressing charges when they believe someone has committed the offense. If you have been charged with return fraud, or any other crime, call our Tampa criminal defense attorneys at All Family Law Group, PA today. We will provide you with a solid defense to give you the best chance of preserving your freedom, and to keep your permanent record clean. Call us now at (813) 672-1900 for your free consultation.

Resource:
nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/organized-retail-crime-losses-reach-all-time-high

https://www.familymaritallaw.com/the-dos-and-donts-after-an-injunction-is-issued-against-you/

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What to Know About Emergency Child Custody Orders?

Florida, like all states, have laws that protect children from dangerous situations. These situations are unfortunately many. A parent could kidnap a child, or abuse or neglect their child. Sometimes, both parents are deemed incapacitated or they may both suddenly pass away. In any of these unfortunate situations, and more, an adult may petition the court for an emergency child custody order to place the child in temporary care. What are these orders in Florida, and who can ask for one? You’ll find the answers to these questions pertaining to emergency child custody orders, and more, below.
What is an Emergency Child Custody Order?

Emergency child custody orders are covered under The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or the UCCJEA. All states, with the exception of Massachusetts, follow this law. This Act not only governs the rules for child custody, but they also determine the jurisdiction of the court that has the right to issue an emergency child custody order.
For example, a parent may wish to leave their home state for the welfare of their child, such as if the other parent is abusing them. Under the UCCJEA, that parent must file for child custody in the state they’ve lived for at least six months. However, the UCCJEA also states that if a parent has had to leave their home state with their child for safety reasons, the courts in the new location may issue an emergency child custody order until a more permanent solution can be reached.  Click to see more.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

During a Divorce What Happens with Children and Property?

When a couple divorces, they often understand that the courts will divide their property and make decisions on child custody matters. The courts make this decision by issuing final orders that both spouses must follow. However, how are property and child issues handled until that time? What happens while the divorce is ongoing and a judge has not yet made a final order?  After a couple files for divorce in Florida, a standing family law order is issued. This order provides guidance on how the spouses should conduct themselves until the divorce is finalized. A standing family law order can help reduce and resolve a number of conflicts that, without an order, would likely present themselves. Click here to read more.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

How is Property Divided in a Florida Divorce?

In a Florida divorce, assets and debts acquired by the couple are divided fairly between the two spouses. If the two parties can come to an agreement on their own and it is fair, a judge will likely approve that agreement. When the couple cannot agree how assets and liabilities are split, a judge will listen to each side and make a final decision. Understanding Florida law on property division, as well as the factors a judge will take into consideration, is important for anyone going through a divorce.  Click here for more.

Is it Okay to Spy on Your Spouse When Going Through Divorce?

When spouses are getting a divorce, there are a number of things they might do that they never imagined doing while they were married. One ...