Florida Family Lawyer
Proudly Representing Coral Springs and Parkland
Representing yourself in a family law case could lead to horrific consequences, especially if your spouse has retained counsel. The money you thought you could save by going it alone will pale in comparison to the regular sum a court likely will rule you have to pay for years to come. If the other party is represented by a divorce attorney, it probably will be difficult for you to understand the intricacies of Florida law well enough to combat the barrage of allegations made by opposing counsel before a judge. When considering self representation in Parkland or Coral Springs, make sure you understand of the possible – if not probable – pitfalls. Your decision to self-represent could be disastrous, and could adversely affect your life for decades.
Experience Matters in Family Court
At Stuart N. House, P.A., our family law experience spans more than two decades. As our client, you will receive personalized, attentive service in addition to exceptional representation. We’ll also help you avoid mistakes that can be detrimental to your case. Our guiding principles are designed to facilitate a strong attorney-client relationship by adhering to the following objectives:
- establishing and maintaining open and honest communication from the outset
- respecting your time by acting with an appropriate sense of urgency
- remaining sensitive to your individual situation
- identifying key elements of your case while exhibiting empathy and compassion
- employing an efficient solution to resolve your case in a manner that is cost-effective
When parents face divorce and child custody hearings, emotions tend to run high, tempers are more likely to be short and stress may seem unavoidable. Our experienced, professional divorce lawyers will mitigate these feelings by delivering consistently calm, rational representation when you need it most.
State Law: Conditions for a Divorce
According to Florida law, a divorce may only be granted if one of two conditions are met: (1) the marriage must be irretrievably broken, or (2) one of the parties must be incapacitated. The divorcing parties must present evidence at a hearing to prove that at least one of the two required conditions has been met. If the case does not involve minors and if neither party denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court usually will order for dissolution of the marriage. Otherwise, the court could take further action, thus making the divorce proceedings more complex.
An experienced Coral Springs family lawyer is able to help bring clarity from the moment a divorce filing is being considered. Expert divorce lawyers are better able to assess all available options and present them to the client in a manner that is clear and relatable. In addition, having legal counsel could help clients better understand which actions are necessary to increase the likelihood of achieving their desired outcome. Family law attorneys are able to view legal issues objectively and leverage their perspective to advocate for their clients more effectively than those who choose to self-represent.
Related Blog: Learn the difference between divorce and separation
How Do Child Custody Proceedings Work?
Coral Springs and Parkland courts have implemented policies to ensure that minors have frequent and continuing contact with each parent after divorce or separation. In most cases, each party would retain full parental rights. Both parties may agree on how responsibilities would be assigned, or the court may order each parent to be responsible for specific aspects of the child’s welfare — including health care, dental needs, religion and education. It gets complicated, and that’s where the benefits of hiring counsel skilled in child custody issues are revealed.
Judge’s Key Question: What’s Best for the Children?
In most cases, judges issue their rulings based on the answer to this question. Sometimes their findings are clear cut:
- Example 1: The father has a good job, a steady income and has never been in trouble with the law. The mother has no job, and repeatedly has failed to bring the children to school on time, allegedly due to a drug problem. In this case – everything else equal – the judge likely would surmise that the children’s quality of life would be better and more stable with their father, and he would be awarded primary custody.
- Example 2: The father has a good job and a steady income, but a credible witness testifies that he has stricken the child on a couple of occasions. Another witness claims that the father becomes belligerent when he drinks – which is often – and that he has a gambling problem. The mother doesn’t work, but her parents frequently pick the children up from school, pay for their school supplies and provide them with hot meals. The judge likely would rule that the mother has a better support system, and that the children would be better off in her care.
Child Custody cases usually are extremely sensitive. Therefore, it is typically within both parties’ favor to hire legal counsel to help them properly follow the necessary procedure while navigating though such an emotional and stressful event. Spouses who are also filing for marriage dissolution usually retain their divorce lawyer represent them in child custody proceedings. Along with determining each parent’s set of rights and responsibilities, Florida courts also ensure that both parents attend a mandatory parenting course prior to entering final dissolution. Having an experienced child custody attorney by your side will ensure that you complete the correct class that is mandated by Coral Springs or Parkland courts.
Are there Other Determining Factors?
Though Florida courts use the best-interests-of-the-child standard when deciding parental issues, family law judges have broad powers of discretion. Therefore, cases often are decided based on the party that is more favored by the judge’s discretionary power. For this reason, parties must choose a highly skilled, knowledgeable advocate to articulately present their case before the court. Our approach generally includes efforts to mediate by agreement wherever feasible and advisable. Nevertheless, we are always prepared to zealously represent you in the courtroom when necessary to achieve your desired goals and objectives.
If you have considerably more assets than your spouse, and wish to safeguard those assets before getting married, it is advisable to enter into a written contract with your future significant other. Known as a prenuptial agreement – or “prenup,” for short – this type of agreement lists property and possessions of each party entering the marriage, and explains what would happen to them in the event of a divorce. Our law firm specializes in writing prenuptial agreements that help ensure your peace of mind. Let us show you how a bit of planning now can save you a small fortune later.
Since 1991, the the divorce attorneys at Stuart N. House, P.A. in Coral Springs and Parkland have provided high-quality representation to family law clients throughout Broward County, offering top-notch representation in matters involving divorce, child custody, allocation and distribution of child support, spousal support and alimony payments. All family law matters are of great importance to us, and we understand that each client could respond differently to the stress that is often involved with legal proceedings. In addition to providing thorough representation, we help each client understand the court process while we simultaneously gather important facts that are relevant to the case. We represent clients throughout Broward County, including Margate and Coconut Creek.
A free consultation with a family lawyer at our Coral Springs office is a call away. For the compassion you deserve at this difficult time, call us at (954) 255-7400.