Questions Related to Family Law in South Florida
Experienced Boca Raton law firm answers FAQs
The Law Offices of Schwartz | White is a premier family law firm in Boca Raton serving clients throughout Palm Beach County and all of South Florida. Drawing on our more than 50 years of combined experience, our lawyers answer frequently asked questions about family law matters. Review our responses to these FAQs and then contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White for more information.
- Do I have to attend divorce mediation or can I go straight to trial?
- Are there advantages to mediating a divorce settlement?
- Once I enter mediation, am I required to settle the terms of my divorce even if my spouse refuses to cooperate?
- What is marital property?
- Are spousal and child support considered taxable income?
- How does the court determine a fair child support award?
- Upon proving paternity, does the court automatically order child support and visitation plans?
- Can my child support payments be reduced if I can no longer afford the amount ordered during my divorce?
- Does my spouse have the right to move my child out of state?
- How can same-sex couples protect themselves during a separation?
- Should we have a prenuptial agreement?
Let our Boca Raton family law firm answer your questions
Read the answers to FAQs about family law, then call the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561.391.9943 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We serve all of South Florida from our Boca Raton office, conveniently located off I-95 in the Bank of America Building. Free parking is available.
Florida law requires all couples to enter mediation before the court will set a case for trial. Only under exceptional circumstances, such as cases involving domestic violence, can a case go directly to trial.
Mediation typically offers many benefits, including reducing the costs of divorce, expediting the finalization of the dissolution, maintaining the right to make decisions regarding the terms of the agreement, minimizing stress associated with litigation and promoting cooperation between parents.
If you and your spouse attempt mediation and are unable to reach an equitable settlement, you may proceed with divorce litigation. Communications with the mediator are confidential, and the actions taken in mediation do not affect the litigation process.
Marital property refers to assets acquired or appreciated during the marriage. Each partner may also own individual property that does not belong to the marriage. When the individual property becomes intermingled with the marital property, division can become very complex.
IRS regulations allow the payor to deduct spousal support from income and require the receiver to include spousal support in taxable income calculations. However, the payor of child support is not permitted to deduct child support from income, nor is the receiver required to count it as income.
The courts generally follow Florida child support guidelines within five percent. However, with good cause, judges can deviate from the guideline calculations but must present their reasoning in a written decision.
Paternity does not automatically trigger an order of child support or visitation. Once we have legally established paternity through DNA testing, court order or voluntary acknowledgment, the Law Offices of Schwartz | White can pursue financial support and parenting rights in court.
To reduce child support payments, you must prove you experienced a change in circumstance, such as a debilitating injury, lost job or failed business investment. You must continue paying the amount ordered in your existing judgment until the court issues a modified order of child support.
Your spouse is required to petition the court for the right to move a child out of state and typically must seek modification of the existing child visitation plan. You can oppose the relocation at a hearing and present evidence that it is not in your child’s best interest to grant the relocation request.
Because same-sex marriage is not recognized in Florida, couples do not have access to the divorce laws and procedures available to married heterosexual couples. However, cohabitating same-sex couples can engage in mediation to negotiate an equitable property settlement.
A carefully negotiated, well-drafted prenuptial agreement protects both partners should a marriage end in divorce.