Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A
Florida Family Law Attorney
Our Law Firm Offers:
- confidential consultations with one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys
- solutions to your Family Law or Divorce matter for Low Flat Fees
- paperwork professionally prepared and processed as needed by the court
- we can also provide an experienced Lawyer in court for hearings or trial for an additional Flat Fee
WHEN YOU MAY NEED A FAMILY LAW LAWYER:
A family law lawyer in Florida handles most legal matters related to the family. Under the umbrella of ‘family law’ are legal matters such as divorce, legal separation, annulment, paternity actions, domestic violence restraining orders, and modifications to court orders. Included in this list could also be guardianship over the person as well as adoption . These are typically the kinds of legal matters that family law lawyers handle most of the time.
When the parties are not married and have children, a family law attorney can help with filing a ‘paternity action’ which would establish the father legally and address custody, visitation and support for the children. In Florida, the petition that would be filed with the court is a ‘petition to establish parental relationship’. Central to this type of filing is the opportunity for the parents to agree on a parenting schedule. In this regard, the parties would go to court for mediation. If the parents cannot agree then they would go before the judge who would make a ruling. Sometimes, in this type of situation, the parties may require temporary orders for custody, visitation and support while they go through the court process. If this is necessary, the family law attorney would file a ‘Request for Order’ which allows for a hearing for temporary orders. A trial would make the court order for custody, visitation & support permanent, but could be changed at a later date if circumstances change.
Child support is another matter that family law attorneys regularly handle. Child support can come from the Child Support Services office or from the family court. To make a change to an existing child support order, the petitioner would need to have the current order so that the attorney can file a ‘request for order’. A hearing is needed to approve, deny or modify the change.
When the parties are married and wish to change or dissolve the relationship, family law lawyers advise the client and may file a divorce, legal separation or annulment depending on the circumstance. Issues such as spousal support, division of assets and debts as well as custody, visitation and support for children need to be addressed in a divorce or legal separation. It is always best to agree on the issues to avoid a court appearance. The process for a legal separation is the same as that for a divorce. However, once a legal separation is complete, the parties are not divorced and cannot remarry.
An annulment is a special case and requires ‘legal grounds’. An annulment voids the marriage as if it never took place. A ‘legal ground’ is a legally approved reason as to why an annulment, as opposed to a divorce, should be granted. The attorney would review the reason for the annulment and advise as to the likelihood that it would be granted. Some of the common reasons for annulment are bigamy and fraud.
Once the divorce or legal separation is finalized, one or both parties may wish to change the existing court order due to a change in circumstance or a mutually agreed upon change. This can be done by filing a Request for Order or, if agreed upon, a stipulation. The parties may not need to go to court if both agree to the change.
At times there is a need for a domestic violence restraining order. This is usually requested when one party is harassing another. This could involve a married couple, a family member or those that are or were dating or in a romantic relationship. The family law attorney can assess the situation and provide legal solutions.
In short, a family law attorney is involved in most matters that pertain to family members. If you have a problem, it’s best to call Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A! Our family law attorneys can advise as to solutions and legal options. Our offices offer over 35 years’ experience as well as low flat fees!