Family Law & Divorce
Family law covers many areas including divorce, alimony, child support, time sharing, adoptions, modifications, paternity, and guardianships. The Palatka Divorce Lawyers of Douglas Law Firm are willing and able to help if your family has a legal concern in one of these areas. We have attorneys in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Palatka who focus on this area of law and will be there for you side by side. Call today for a complimentary consultation with one of our qualified attorneys.
Dissolution of Marriage - Divorce
Divorce proceedings can be emotionally difficult for your family and your children. Small issues become the center of major disputes, and people find themselves in a roller coaster. No matter how intelligent or personable you are, when it is your relationship that is changing course, the good advice is less than comforting. When going through a divorce, the assistance of an attorney can be invaluable in your search for a favorable resolution. Our experience and knowledge of law allows us to provide advice on the various issues involved in divorce proceedings, including equitable distribution of property, parenting plans and support, alimony or spousal support, attorneys' fees, and post-divorce proceedings. Our firm handles both contested and uncontested divorce in Putnam, St. Johns, Duval, Flagler, and Nassau Counties. If you are a battle over assets, to include trusts, business ventures, real estate, and prospective off-shore accounts, we are well equipped to address these and other issues that are traditionally outside of the "family law" spectrum.
Equitable Distribution of Assets
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court begins with the premise that all marital property should be divided equally. However, in some cases, unequal distribution is warranted, such as when a spouse has been mishandling marital funds. It is also important to clearly define marital and non-marital property when preparing for your dissolution so that non-marital property is not distributed or counted against you. We can help advise you on the laws and rules regarding property types. We will work to ensure that your property rights are protected and distributed in your best interests.
Parenting Plans and Support
Florida law operates under the presumption that shared parental responsibility is in the best interest of the children, which means that both parents are responsible for any decision making regarding their children, whether that be educational, religious, or medical. Additionally, parents must enter into a Parenting Plan that will dictate the time-sharing (formerly "visitation") of the minor children. We tailor our Parenting Plans to fit your precise needs regarding what is in your children's best interests.
Child support guidelines are governed by a formula that considers several factors, including: the number of children; the net income of both parties; the health care costs for the minor children; the expected daycare costs; and any past-due child support. We will work with you to ensure you understand Florida's child support laws and how they relate to your case.
Alimony or Spousal Support
There are a variety of factors the court takes into account when determining alimony. These factors include how long the marriage lasted; age, physical, and emotional condition of each party; standard of living put forth in the marriage; financial resources of each spouse; and the contribution of each spouse to the marriage. We can help you determine what type of alimony could be involved in your divorce.
An award of attorneys' fees and costs may be awarded in marital dissolution proceedings. It can be ordered when the parties are in unequal financial positions in order to ensure that both parties have equal access to representation during the divorce. We can help you determine if this will be an issue in your divorce proceedings.
In some cases, a post-divorce proceeding may be necessary. Some examples include modification of alimony or child support, contempt, and relocation with a minor child. We can help you determine how to proceed even after your dissolution is final.
Sometimes people mistakenly believe that their spouse or next of kin will automatically take over their affairs should they become incapacitated. This is not the case unless proper steps have been taken prior to the incapacitation. Some of these options include Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, Health Care Surrogates, and Trusts. Our firm is experienced in drafting and executing these documents.
If you are now in the position where a loved one has been incapacitated and you are not legally authorized to step into their shoes to manage their personal and financial affairs, you may need to initiate a Guardianship Administration. A guardianship administration is a court-supervised process of administering and managing an incapacitated person's financial and medical affairs.
If you believe that your loved one can no longer manage his or her affairs, contact us for a consultation to explore your options.
It is important to remember that the father of a child born to unmarried parents does not automatically have the rights or responsibilities of paternity. When a child is born out of wedlock, many legal issues can be addressed by a paternity action, including:
- Establishing paternity
- Adding the father's name to the child's birth certificate
- Changing the child's last name
- Initiating child support
- Establishing parental responsibility
- Developing a parenting plan that includes a timesharing schedule
Both the mother and father have a legal obligation to provide support to their child. Beyond that legal obligation, however, each parent has a basic right to be involved in raising their child. We represent both mothers and fathers in various situations that require an establishment of paternity, child support, and time-sharing ("visitation") schedules. Whether you are a mother or father requiring assistance with a legal matter, you need an experienced attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights and the best interests of your children. Call today for a free consultation: 800-705-5457