Eaton Family Law FAQ

Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement without going to trial. Unlike a Judge, a Mediator does not decide what will happen between the parties. Instead, the Mediator is a neutral party who will listen to both sides, and help the parties to reach an agreement by suggesting creative solutions or possible compromises to the problems at hand. At Mediation, the parties have the ability to discuss and agree upon issues, that a Judge might not consider and thus rule upon.

Often in family law matters communication between the parties is strained and difficult. Emptions get in the way and can cloud judgment. When the two parties are experiencing are experiencing difficulty reaching a resolution, the utilization of Mediation Services will provide you the ability to resolve your family law case and give some measure of control the outcome. This resolution can be reached without a Judge or trial involvement, thus saving both parties time and money by keeping the family law conflict out of court.

Florida family law statues require the use of mediation services before the case is go to trial. The State requires the parties to make an effort to work out their problems on their own to save time and money. Even if an agreement is not reached at Mediation, attending Mediation is useful because you can learn what the strengths and weaknesses are in your case, and this is very helpful for your counsel when preparing for trial.

The courthouse provides Mediation Services through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), but only parties who earn a combined income of less than $100,000 per year qualify to use this service. Parties who earn a combined income of more than $100,000 per year must use a private Mediator. A private Certified Family Law Mediator is specifically trained to resolve marital and family law matters. By using a private Certified Family Law Mediator, the parties can schedule when and where they would like Mediation to occur and attempt to reach an agreement.

In family law cases it is required by the State of Florida. Additionally, Mediation is the best way to resolve your family law issues without the expense of litigation. The parties  will have some control as to the outcome of the case rather than the court deciding the fate of your family. The judge can only follow the law and make decisions based upon the evidence presented. Often the parties know what works best for their family, and Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to reach an agreement that works.

The Eaton Family Law Firm, P.A. offers Mediation Services by providing:

Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediators

Certified Spanish Translator Services

Conference Rooms

Computer Software to Calculate Child Support, Alimony and Equitable Distribution

Drafting of Marital Settlement Agreements, Paternity Agreements and Parenting Plans

If you are a single mother, proving that someone is the father of your child can help you to win child support benefits to help pay for the child’s care.

But there are benefits for fathers as well. A father can gain the legal right to see his child and be a part of legal and medical decisions for the child. A father can offer benefits to the child that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to, such as putting them on your employer-sponsored insurance plan. In some case a father can even attempt to gain custody of the child.

Alimony is determined by the financial need of the spouse who is requesting alimony and the financial ability of the other spouse to pay the alimony. The goal of alimony is to maintain the marital lifestyle the spouse has become accustomed to for a specific period of time. Numerous factors are taken into consideration, such as the length of the marriage, income, earning capacity, how each spouse contributes to the marriage, and others.

When most people think about domestic violence, they think about a criminal lawyer defending an alleged perpetrator. While this is true, there are two sides to every domestic violence case. Survivors of domestic violence often turn to family lawyers to help them prove the domestic violence case and protect them from future violence.

Family lawyers don’t just work with victims; sometime they help the wrongly accused. Many people who have been accused of domestic violence turn to family lawyers because they want to make sure that the best interests of their families is being considered and to clear their names from false allegations.

Technically you can represent yourself (“Pro- se”) in a divorce case the Florida Family Law Statues are lengthy, technical and can be difficult to understand. A Florida family lawyer can be a great asset in determining out the best and easiest way for you to proceed in your case. Every family law case is different, and because of that, an experienced family lawyer will be able to draw upon their education, experience and knowledge to give you the best advice and representation you need to reach your desired outcome.

Florida does not require either party to establish fault (i.e. abuse, adultery, etc.) to be entitled to a divorce. The only requirement is that either party must have resided in Florida for at least six months before filing a petition for dissolution of marriage and at least one spouse must state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. You may be eligible for a simplified dissolution of marriage if you meet each of the criteria set forth by law including not minor children and no disputes as to the division of property or debts.

The overriding guideline for timesharing is the best interest of the child. The court begins with the assumption that each parent has the right to an equal amount of time with the child. In most cases, it is in the child’s best interest to spend as close to an equal amount of time with each parent to ensure both parents remain active participants in the child’s life. However, circumstances including work schedules, school, commute times, the child’s age, and extra-curricular activities could have an impact on the amount of time each parent can spend with the child. Florida statutes outline the factors that a judge should use when determining if a timesharing agreement is in the best interest of the child.

Yes, Florida has child support guidelines to calculate support amounts. The guidelines use the income of each parent, child care costs, and the healthcare costs for the child to determine the support amount. A table setting with amounts to be paid is located within the child support guideline statutes. The table uses the combined net monthly income of both parents and the number of children to determine the minimum child support amount that should be used by the court.

There are six types of alimony available in Florida — temporary, durational, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, lump-sum, and permanent.  The type and amount of alimony are determined by several factors including the need for financial support and the ability to pay test.

A prenuptial agreement can resolve many issues that can become a point of contest in a divorce action.  Some terms that may be included in a premarital agreement include alimony, property division, protection of business interests, division of debt, and protection of premarital property. You cannot resolve child custody, timesharing, or child support in a prenuptial agreement.

Yes, you can sign a marital agreement after you have entered marriage. A postnuptial agreement has the same force and effect as a premarital agreement if it is executed correctly and does not contain any terms that would invalidate the agreement. Both parties should consult with an attorney before signing a postnuptial agreement to ensure the terms are fair, just, and legal.

No, both parties must voluntarily agree to enter a collaborative law agreement. If you do not resolve your issues or one party wants to end the agreement, both parties must release their attorneys and hire new counsel to litigate the matter in court.

Florida law requires that parties submit to mediation before a court hearing is set for a dissolution of marriage, but you are not required to settle your issues through mediation. However, there are many advantages to the mediation process that we can discuss in detail during your free consultation.

Paternity can be established in one of four ways. The parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, or the parents get married after the birth and update the child’s birth record. The biological father and the mother can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital. Lastly, either parent can file a petition with the court requesting a genetic test and administrative order declaring paternity.

If you die without a will in Florida, the state’s intestate laws apply. Instead of you deciding who inherits your property and who raises your child, the state will make those decisions. Since friends, charities, and some relatives are not considered heirs under intestate law, your property may not be distributed according to your desires. Furthermore, an intestate estate can take much longer and be costlier than an estate with a will.

If so, contact The Eaton Family Law Firm by calling 561-420-8500 (24/7) for a free consultation with a West Palm Beach family law attorney. We represent clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area.

All of these issues have their complications, so we can’t put everything into FAQs, call us at 561-420-8500 for a phone consultation to talk about your situation.