MOSER & MOSER, P.A.
~~~~~~~ Attorneys At Law ~~~~~~~
516 North Harbor City Boulevard, Melbourne, Florida 32935
Telephone ~ 321.733.7303 ~ Fax ~ 321.733.7372
Family Law Information
Family Law is an area of the law that deals with domestic and family-related issues. This area of the law encompasses issues that arise before marriage, during a marriage or domestic partnership, and after the termination of a marriage. Family Law can also include issues where there is no marriage involved, such as determining the paternity of a child or adoption. The types of Family Law issues we handle at Moser & Moser include, but are not limited to:
Marital Dissolutions (Divorce - Contested and Uncontested);
Modifications (Child Support, Time-sharing, & Alimony);
Child Support Enforcement (either as DOR actions or as contempt actions);
Child Support (as Part of Parenting Plans, Marital Settlement Agreements, Modifications, and Enforcement of Payment);
Child Custody or Time-Sharing of Children (formerly known as "custody" and "visitation");
Spousal Support (i.e. Alimony of all kinds);
Equitable Distribution of Assets & Debts;
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements (including Marital Settlement Agreements); and
Domestic Violence Injunctions.
We understand how stressful it is for people who are involved in Family Law matters. It is our experience that people involved in Family Law issues are good people who are just trying to cope with some of the worst of circumstances for themselves and their children. To alleviate the worry, stresses, and emotional upheaval involved in Family Law matters, at Moser & Moser, P.A., we strive to be understanding, sympathetic, responsive, and good listeners, while being strong and skillful advocates for our clients. It is important for a person to feel comfortable personally with their lawyer in order to ask all questions they may have and to discuss any matters or sensitive facts involved in their case. It is also important for a person to know they have attorneys working for them who are persistent and aggressive in negotiations and in the courtroom when the situation warrants it. This is our mission for our clients at Moser & Moser, P.A.
Many people who find themselves involved in a Family Law case believe they can handle their issue(s) without the assistance of a lawyer. That may be true in some instances, but we have found in our experience, unfortunately, that self-representation in a vast majority of cases can lead to unforeseen problems. The present-day outcome of your case will have a significant influence on your life for years to come.
There are three things that we find self-represented litigants underestimate when they embark on representing themselves: the complexity of the laws and procedural rules of Family Law, the sentiments and changing emotions of the opposing party, and your emotions and the impact they will have on getting through the legal process. Sadly, when people are considering self-representation in filing a Family Law case or when they are a respondent on the other end of a Family Law case, typically, they soon find they have misjudged their legal situation and the people involved, resulting in a feeling of being overwhelmed and rendering them too ineffective. Certainly, there is a mountain of pleadings and required disclosures that must be completed and filed in accordance with substantive and time requirements of the Florida Family Law Rules. Additionally, the Court may order additional disclosures or responsibilities on the parties. Some people can "get by" with a lay person's knowledge of the applicable law and rules when completing the required pleadings and paperwork. Unfortunately, what is lost in taking the "get by" approach is the substantive and tactical advantages that can be utilized if prepared by someone with knowledge and experience with the laws and rules of Family Law cases. This is especially obvious when cases seem to just languish in the court system with no resolution or a resolution that is without influence or input by you.
Oftentimes, at the start of a legal matter, a person will believe and hope that the other party in the matter is going to be agreeable, amicable, and non-adversarial throughout the legal process. Oh, if it could be so easy! We are all human beings and our emotions are driven by our experiences and circumstances, which creates a constant potential for things to go awry as you progress in the legal process. Additionally, when the other party has hired an attorney, you may find the situation you thought you were in has rapidly deteriorated or you are suddenly in disagreement over issues you believed were previously "worked out" between you and the other party.
At the beginning of a Family Law matter, it is impossible to anticipate how you will feel or what will happen as your case progresses through the judicial process. The emotional impact on anyone is significant, regardless of the tone and type of litigation. When you have an attorney acting as your intermediary, counselor, advocate, and legal advisor, you minimize the impact the emotions of the other "litigant" will have on you throughout the process. Likewise, it will neutralize the emotional impact the litigation, in general, will have on you. A competent attorney who is experienced in family law cases is going to always endeavor to ameliorate the situation, quell the "fires" of disagreements, and try to work through them - not pour gasoline onto them! There's lots of attorneys who will tickle your ear by telling you what you want to hear, get you fired up, and get themselves visibly fired up when they meet with you. Look for a family law attorney who is competent, rational, comfortable, and even-keeled from a temperament standpoint; you need a solid counterweight to the worries, emotional upheaval, and burdens you carry when involved in a family law case. When you find yourself in a family law situation/case, do yourself and your family a favor, work with an attorney who concentrates their practice in family law and who understands the psychological and legal complexities of family law cases.
A competent, experienced Family Law attorney is going to give you equal footing or even an advantage over the other party in your legal matter. Having an experienced attorney represent you is going to allow you to have peace of mind in knowing you are doing all you can do in your situation and you can put your energy and emotion into your current days and planning for your future life and happiness. Why would you choose to place yourself at a disadvantage? The perceived cost of hiring an attorney versus self-representation may less than you might think, especially if you consider that cost in the context of all you have to lose and all you have to gain to ensure your rights and interests are protected. Call Moser & Moser, P.A. to speak to an experienced attorney who can effectively help you through this difficult time and help take some of the burden and emotion of your case off shoulders and your mind.
DIVORCE (Dissolution of Marriage):
Divorce is more than a legal
problem...it is also a lifestyle as well as life-change. Divorce is essentially
the reorganization of your family and your life. You become "single" again; your
financial status changes; your relationships with friends, parents, in-laws and
even your own children change; your residence may change; you may have less
money and income; and your credit may even be harmed. With all of these changes
and the accompanying insecurities, you'll need to find your "new normal" which
may take some time. Family Law litigation can
be a complicated experience and the trust you place in a particular divorce
lawyer can ultimately make the difference in the overall difficulty and cost of
your proceedings. We at Moser & Moser, P.A., hold preciously our clients' trust
to represent them in such a monumental event in their lives.
If you are considering a divorce, you need to be prudent in what you do. You should address your financial assets and ensure that you are protected financially before, during, and after a possible divorce. It's time to act in your best interests. You should take steps immediately to protect your money and get control of your financial situation not only for yourself, but for your children. If divorce has become an unfortunate reality in your life, you should talk to a divorce lawyer. Divorce is an endeavor that is much more complicated than most people believe and, at Moser & Moser, P.A., we will help you understand all the issues related to your particular situation.
Remember, you have to live with the consequences of your actions before, during, and after a divorce, which is especially important when there are children involved. As your divorce lawyer, our approach involves tackling the business aspects of your case while making sure we are sensitive to the emotional aspects you're dealing with in a comfortable environment that exemplifies respect, professionalism, and sound reason. We want to guide you through your divorce with the minimal amount of financial and emotional harm possible to start your new life in the best posture possible.
Many divorce and Family Law
matters, though still emotional, should be handled in a business-like manner to
ultimately terminate the
marriage or modify a former Order without too much acrimony and
time passing. Unfortunately, some cases involve a high amount of conflict
between the parties. The conflict in these cases typically stems from the
parties' unwillingness to cooperate with each other and may include
disagreements about money, their children, or simply the change in the
relationship. Additionally, a lack of cooperation or an unreasonable stand by a
party is often due to the fact that the person is uninformed as to the law and
judicial process. Oftentimes, a party who is even has legal representation can
be uninformed or informed incorrectly as to the law and process, which is
unfortunate and sad. Your attorney should never be the source of the conflict in
your case. At Moser & Moser, P.A., we handle Family Law cases in many
areas including high conflict divorces and other types of Family Law matters
where there is potential for hostility between the parties and strive to
ameliorate such feelings. Likewise, we also engage in "collaborative" approaches
to marriage dissolutions to resolve all issues in a constructive and supportive
manner between the two parties. When necessary, we work with mental health
professionals including parent coordinators, counselors, and custody evaluators
to help clients cope with the changes they are dealing with and the stress of a
high conflict case as well.
At Moser & Moser, P.A., we also understand that children are affected by any divorce case and even more so during high conflict situations. We sympathize deeply with children whose parents are divorcing and we sensitize the parties to the impact on the children throughout the divorce process. Divorce, especially with continuing conflict, most assuredly affects children’s lives. We have guidelines and suggestions we can present to parents to help minimize the impact of the divorce and conflict on the children. We will help you do what is needed to eliminate as much conflict as possible and to help you deal with the stress of your case and the impact it could have on your family. We believe it's possible to achieve a suitable solution to any situation and a person can return to the happiness they desire in their lives and their children's lives.
Child Support Enforcement and the Florida Department of Revenue:
Child support enforcement is serious. In Florida, child support may be enforced by the Florida Department of Revenue, either through circuit court actions or by administrative action, or directly by the parties in a circuit court case, such as a former dissolution of marriage or paternity action.
Child support orders are made for the benefit of the subject child(ren) --- not the parent who is receiving the child support payments. It is presumed that the parent receiving any child support payments uses such monies for various expenses related to the child(ren). It takes two people to "make" a child and, thus, Florida law requires that BOTH parents financially support the child(ren). The Courts see child support payments as belonging to the minor child, not either of the parents involved. When child support payments are ordered and/or paid, the Courts are not, however, going to micromanage the expenditure of such monies given as "child support." When monies are paid for child support, it is important to keep excellent records of payment, should the need arise in the future to prove that you've made payments. This means that cash payments are not the best way to make payments and keep good records thereof! Direct paycheck deductions are typically the best as they are automatic, timely, and establish an electronic payment record on your behalf. Otherwise, checks are the best, but if you must use other methods such as cash, make receipts that are signed by the recipient as a precondition of the payments you make and keep a log of all payments made. If you have no proof of payment other than your own word, if the other party is willing to lie or deny such payment were ever made, you'll find yourself in the unenviable position of not getting credit for make such past payments.
Oftentimes, folks find themselves on the receiving end of an action by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) Child Support Enforcement (CSE). There are many reasons or ways in which an action may be instituted by DOR. Any action taken by DOR may be the result of the subject child receiving public assistance or the other parent has requested the services of DOR to establish, enforce, or modify child support. A person can easily feel out of control and be overwhelmed by the seemingly complicated and bureaucratic system of child support enforcement. You can find yourself in a position of being ordered to pay thousands of dollars in retroactive child support and having an on-going financial obligation that is difficult to handle. The DOR has many tools at its disposal, including suspension of your driver's license, intercepting your tax refunds, and garnishing your wages, suspending passport privileges, among others. This may even occur when you are not sure whether a child is your biological child.
We are very adept at handling cases with the Florida DOR and would be honored to help you defend your position and minimize your exposure to the many "remedies" the DOR may be pursuing in your case. If you don't seek assistance through our representation, be sure to seek competent, experienced help in your case.
PARENTING (family) PLANS for Children of Divorce - Parental Responsibility, Time-Sharing, & Support:
Florida courts no longer award “child custody” and “visitation” to parents after changes in law that became effective on October 1, 2008. Prior to this law change, it was common in divorce for one parent to be awarded primary physical custody of the children. The other parent was typically awarded visitation time. In lieu of this former practice, a “parenting plan” which the parents agree to, or which is imposed by the court, will govern the parenting time involved by each parent after the divorce and is still a child custody & support type of document. Florida family courts will now, however, presume that both parents will share parental responsibilities. This reflects a nationwide trend toward co-parenting.
The Parenting Plan will include details concerning parental responsibility and decision-making, a time-sharing schedule, and financial support & responsibility. There can be Final Parenting Plans, Temporary Parenting Plans, and Modifications of Parenting Plans established by the court. The parenting plan can be brought to the court in the following ways:
· 1.) With the agreement of the parties,
· 2.) By or on behalf of one of the parents, or
· 3.) Established by the court.
Several factors the court will consider (if an agreement cannot be reached between the parties) have changed from the former law and many will certainly have an impact on families. We are familiar with Florida's parenting plan laws here at Moser & Moser, P.A., and we can help families who are making important decisions regarding their children. A parenting plan is an entirely new way of dealing with "child custody" issues and it is very important that you speak with an experienced family law attorney before attempting to tackle them alone. You want to maintain control over the decisions that will affect your children's futures; don't abdicate that control to the courts by default by having an "all or nothing" approach. This latter approach is unrealistic and a novice mistake and, absent unusual and extreme circumstances, is one that is not supported by Florida's statutes or conventional judicial philosophy. A parenting plan should contemplate a wide array of potential issues or events that are likely to occur in the future; a good parenting plan should grow with the child[ren]. There is a delicate balance between overly legalizing your (and your children's) lives and not having enough specificity and structure done in the spirit of wanting maximum flexibility. Both extremes result in unhappy parties and kids and are likely candidates for return visits to the judicial system for modifications. Many times the future returns are unavoidable due to substantial changes in circumstances, but you want to try to avoid returns to the process due to an inattention to necessary detail in a good parenting plan. An experienced family law attorney can help you maintain your control & decision-making power over your children by helping you negotiate the best possible results for the futures of your children and draft an effective parenting plan.
Many times a former family law litigant finds themselves having to return to the judicial process to seek modification of timesharing or parental responsibility issues. Florida law recognizes the need for many divorced spouses to change the terms of their payment and visitation terms for various reasons, but requires a "substantial change in circumstances" and a showing of the change being in the "best interest of the children" to warrant granting the change(s) requested. The level of proof is "clear and convincing" evidence. This means that the court must be presented with a strong showing of changed circumstances in order for it to grant a supplemental petition (or motion in certain instances) for modification of any of the provisions of the divorce or paternity decree.
Where the request for modification is based on changed financial circumstances (child support, alimony, uncovered health cost payments, insurance coverage, or life insurance coverage requirements), typically, the Court will want to see at least a 15% change in the payor's ability to make payments. A change this substantial can be based on upward or downward changes in income, unavoidable increases or decreases in living expenses, or other significant changes. We represent either the party seeking the modification or the party opposing it. In either case, we will make sure you understand your rights as well as your responsibilities under the law while helping you achieve your objectives to the extent allowable by law.
Post-judgment modification of divorce terms concerning custody and parenting time can also be necessary if one parent or the other plans to move to a new residence in a distant city or another state. This is called a relocation, for which there are very specific requirements to follow when filing a petition requesting the relocation. In cases involving relocation, the parent proposing the move must give the other parent advance notice, and the hope is that the parents will usually reach an agreement on such matters as visitation, travel expenses, or revisions to child support obligations.
For more specific advice about your situation when facing the need to modify the terms of your final judgment pertaining to alimony, child support, parenting time, or parental responsibility, contact a Family Law attorney at Moser & Moser, P.A.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning when you file for divorce, the court will essentially divide the assets and liabilities 50/50 unless a party can argue for a different distribution percentage that is supported by the law. By having an Prenuptial Agreement (also known as a antenuptial agreement or “prenup”), parties can determine before they marry how their assets and liabilities will be distributed should a divorce occur.
A person should have a Prenuptial Agreement if you:
· Have assets such as a home, stock or retirement funds;
· Own all or part of a business;
· May be receiving an inheritance or money, property, or valuable item;
· Have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage;
· Or your future spouse is much wealthier than the other;
· Or your future spouse will be supporting the other through college;
· Have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents;
· Have or are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession, such as medicine or law; or
· Have the potential to see a big increase in income because of some foreseeable (or unforeseeable) reason, such as your business is taking off, or
you are working on an invention, or you have a particular talent.
You should have a Prenuptial Agreement to establish your own rules for property division and avoid to potential disagreements in the unfortunate event of a divorce. In the end, you save money on attorney’s fees, same time spent in court, and reduce the level of emotional distress you could experience litigating these issues in divorce court. The circumstances surrounding the execution of a prenuptial agreement are extraordinarily important, including the need for complete and accurate financial disclosure by the parties.
A Prenuptial Agreement can do a wide variety of things to ensure that your assets are protected and it ensures full financial disclosure prior to a marriage. Some of the goals a Prenuptial Agreement can accomplish are that it can protect the inheritance to children who are born before the marriage as well as protect family heirlooms, such as antiques, jewelry, and other personal items. You can also protect property you may inherit during the marriage and you can distinguish what will be considered "joint" property and what will be considered separate property in the marriage. A Prenuptial Agreement is a way to pre-determine the division of assets and liabilities in the event of an impending marriage may be dissolved in the future. There can be a variety of monetary agreements involving assets, such as retirement benefits and bank accounts, and liabilities, such as bills, loans, mortgages, and taxes. A business owner can ensure that his or her business interests, ownership, and assets are protected. A Prenuptial Agreement can also make non-monetary arrangements as well such as who will get a pet or who will have the responsibility for certain duties. It is important to note, however, that a Prenuptial Agreement cannot dictate child visitation, child support, and child custody issues.
To have a valid Prenuptial Agreement drafted to your specific needs and circumstances, please contact us at Moser & Moser, P.A., to protect your interests, property, and future.
POST-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS (including Marital Settlement Agreements):
As stated above, Florida is an equitable distribution state, which requires that the parties essentially divide the assets and liabilities 50/50, unless a party can successfully argue for unequal distribution OR the parties agree to a division of assets and liabilities that reflects an arrangement other than a 50/50 split. The parties can enter into an agreement as to how to split their assets and liabilities after they have marriage, hence, the agreement being "post-nuptial" in nature.
Typically, parties find themselves entering into post-nuptial agreements called "marital settlement agreements" when the parties are anticipating a divorce or have started the divorce process. These agreements incorporate provisions whereupon the parties have come to an agreement as to how their assets and liabilities will be distributed and specifically references the divorce action and contains a case caption of the divorce action.
Nevertheless, parties can also enter into a post-nuptial agreement without a pending divorce action. So long as the agreement is drafted within the same legal requirements and factual scenarios as a pre-nuptial agreement, including full financial disclosure by both parties, the parties may address issues that a pre-nuptial agreement would also address without an impending divorce action, including the distribution of marital assets and liabilities, identifying and confirming the individual ownership and interest in non-marital properties, and the active and passive equity or increased value of a non-marital asset, among other issues. The value of post-nuptial agreements in the context of marriages without impending divorce actions may increase, particularly as case law and legislative actions continue to sway in the direction of designating passive appreciation in value of non-marital assets to be a marital asset in and of itself. Not only is this result a complicated one, but inherently unfair to many, despite the law.
You can take steps to protect yourself from such results by entering into a post-nuptial agreement with your spouse to clarify such issues. Contact a Family Law attorney at Moser & Moser, P.A., to help you secure your assets and your future.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INJUNCTIONS:
Domestic violence injunctive relief is a unique area of the law. It is somewhat criminal in nature, but it is a form of civil law relief. It is not unusual to find criminal defense attorneys, who don't practice family law, represent persons either seeking or defending against injunctive relief. Likewise, there are family law attorneys, who don't practice (or have experience practicing) criminal law representing persons in domestic violence injunction court. Neither scenario bodes well for the client - particularly since there is some interface with an active or impending family law case or when there may be a criminal case that results from actions by the parties in injunction court.
It is best to handle these issues with a holistic approach in which you don't have fragmentation or disjointed legal representation. Continuity in legal representation is usually best. Oftentimes, the judge in your injunction hearing is looking to what relief is available or more appropriate for you in the family law arena. When there is a crumbling marriage or a situation in which two persons who were previously living together and have a child together, will need to live apart if an injunction is granted. In such cases where a child is involved, you have timesharing and financial support issues that must be worked out in a family law case (dissolution of marriage, support unconnected with a dissolution of marriage, or a paternity action where there was no marriage).
Knowledge of family law when your representing a client in an injunction hearing is key to effective legal representation. Likewise, it is most helpful to understand the possible action that may be taken in criminal court. It is important that any injunctive relief dovetails with any action to be taken in family court or criminal court. The judge in injunction court expects you to take the appropriate steps in family court to obtain relief as it relates to timesharing and financial support, which is also what most judges are looking to for to provide your ultimate and final relief. Courts are leery of people misusing the injunction process to gain an upper hand in a family law dispute that may or may not be pending at the time of injunction court. More and more, if the court grants an injunction for protection against domestic violence, the courts are granting the injunction for a finite period of time - typically 6 months to a year - in duration. The courts want most issues resolved in family court and in criminal court when it comes to domestic situations and violence toward another person. At Moser & Moser, P.A., we are experienced in family and criminal law, as well as domestic violence injunctions.
The injunctive relief process in Brevard County, as well as most counties in the State of Florida, is set up for an individual to go to the clerk of court's office and file a Petition for Injunctive Relief (for protection against domestic violence). While the clerk's office has forms and personnel to assist you in filing for injunctive relief, no attorney is appointed to you to appear with you in an injunction hearing, regardless of your financial means. When you file for injunctive relief, just because you may not have an attorney doesn't mean the person against whom the injunction is sought won't have an attorney. In fact, more and more, persons who are the subjects of petitions for injunctions are obtaining legal representation to appear with them at the injunction hearing. The same holds true for persons seeking the injunction. Because you must be knowledgeable of the applicable laws and procedural requirements for injunctions (including knowledge of family law and criminal law), it is advisable that you obtain competent, experienced legal representation to maximize your odds for the best outcome from an injunction hearing.
While it comes down to the facts of each case and all of the applicable law, it is not the judge's job to legally represent either of the parties and protect their interests by drawing out all of the evidence that may be relevant; you can't rely upon the Court to prove your case for you. It's up to the parties to ensure that the judge knows all of the relevant facts, has all of the pertinent tangible evidence, and properly applies the laws to the facts and evidence. There are many injunction cases that are all scheduled for the same time your case is scheduled, and being pressed for time, the Court wants the facts (other than what is contained in the paperwork you submitted) and any legal argument presented to them in a quick manner. As a pro se litigant, you won't be afforded much time because you can't present and argue evidence and law you don't know. No outcome can be promised, but if you want to increase the likelihood of a beneficial outcome, it is advisable that you obtain competent, experienced legal representation at a domestic violence injunction hearing. At Moser & Moser, P.A., we typically quote a flat fee for representation (either in the pursuit of or defense of in an injunction) in a domestic violence injunction hearing.
Call us at 321.733.7303 for a FREE consultation with a Family Law Attorney. We'd be honored to help you.
MOSER & MOSER...protecting your rights, interests, & pursuit of happiness.
Our Melbourne Office is centrally located to serve all of Brevard County in Family Law Matters.
We serve clients from Melbourne, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Viera, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, Satellite Beach, Indialantic,
Indian Harbor Beach, Melbourne Beach, Malabar, Palm Shores, Titusville, Sharpes, Port St. John, Grant-Valkaria, Micco, and Mims,
or wherever you may be, including out-of-state clients, international clients, and military clients who need legal assistance in Brevard County, Florida.
Note: The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information about the law, which is subject to interpretation and change. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Any time-sensitive or confidential email sent via the Internet using email addresses listed in this web site would not be confidential under the attorney-client privilege, may not be treated in a time-sensitive manner, and would not create an attorney-client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience or call us at 321-733-7303 to meet us in a FREE initial consultation to discuss our qualifications and experience and your legal issue.
MOSER & MOSER, P.A.
~Attorneys At Law~
516 North Harbor City Boulevard
Melbourne, Florida 32935