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Family Law

Family Law

At Mosaic Law Firm, our attorneys recognize that matters involving family members are extremely sensitive situations. We aim to use our extensive legal knowledge and benevolence to make sure your legal needs are handled in a seamless, competent manner. Whether you are seeking legal assistance with Divorce, Alimony, Pre-Nuptial or Post Nuptial Agreement, Paternity, Child Support, Parental Responsibility and Timesharing, Modifications, Adoption or Complex Asset Distribution, our attorneys will be there every step of the way to ensure your case is handled with compassion and attentive representation.

When choosing a law firm to represent such delicate needs and rights, it is important to choose a firm that puts the client first as well as, not only recognizing, but attending to your emotional needs. The attorneys at Mosaic Law Firm are dedicated to their clients and provide zealous representation inside and outside of the courtroom. The impact the legal process can have on an individual or family can be daunting. But at Mosaic Law Firm, the attorneys are trained and highly skilled at creating a protective and comfortable environment to ease our client fears and stresses throughout the entire legal process and proceedings. Our firm welcomes and lulls any and all of our client’s needs by exercising compassion and competency throughout a sometimes difficult and exhaustive legal process.

Dissolution of Marriage

Are you considering a Divorce or Legal Separation? The attorneys at Mosaic Law Firm fully understand the emotions involved in such a decision. It is important that you retain an attorney that can competently represent your rights in a courtroom but can tend to your emotional needs as well. Going through a Divorce or Legal Separation can be a life-changing experience. Let the attorneys at our firm take some of the weight off your shoulders by communicating your desires and rights to the opposing party(s) and judge. Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. A consultation is merely the first step in a final resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

Q: What is the first step in filing a Divorce?

A: The first step is to file a Petition for Dissolution with the circuit court.  Jurisdictional guidelines require that the petition is filed in the county that you resided for 6 months prior to filing the petition. Once the petition is filed, it must be served upon the respondent, your husband or wife, unless this party waives their right to service of process.

Q: What needs to be filed along with the Petition for Divorce?

A: In addition to filing the Petition for Divorce, you are also required to file the following supplemental pleadings in the State of Florida:

  • Financial Affidavit
  • Notice of Related Cases
  • Notice of Social Security Number
  • Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), if minor children are involved
  • Timelines

Q: Will every Divorce case proceed to trial?

A: No. In Florida, all Divorce cases must go to mediation. Mediation is a process during which all parties and their attorneys attempt to resolve the issues comprised in the divorce with the assistance of a third-party mediator. Your case will only proceed to trial if, and only if, it cannot be resolved at mediation.

Q: I was served with a Petition for Dissolution.  What do I do?

A:  You have 20 days from the date of being served to file an Answer or Counterpetition for Dissolution in Florida. An Answer will simply admit or deny the allegations in the Petition for Dissolution. If you decide to file a Counterpetition, the Counterpetition also admits or denies the allegations but also sets forth your claims for affirmative relief. You are also required to file a Financial Affidavit and Certification of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure within 45 days of being served with the Petition for Dissolution. Missing these deadlines could result in a default judgment which can severely impact your case.

Q: What is a Counterpetition and do I need to file one?

A: A Counterpetition is a response to a Petition for Dissolution. It will admit or deny the allegations in the Petition for Dissolution but will also set forth your claims for affirmative relief. For example, if you are requesting alimony and/or attorney’s fees from your spouse, you will need to file a Counterpetition in order to get those issues before the Court.

Q:  My spouse and I are living apart during the divorce process.  Do I have to pay child support even those there is no Court order requiring me to do so?

A:  Yes. Once the children are sharing time between two homes, an obligation for child support arises in Florida. It is a complete misnomer that a parent is not required to pay child support until a Court order has been issued. This is wholly incorrect and can negatively impact your case in many ways.

Q: My spouse is not paying child support. Do I have to let my spouse see our children?

A: Florida law explicitly prohibits the withholding of timesharing based upon non-payment of child support.

Statutory requirements, court rules, and administrative orders must be strictly followed or you may lose certain rights forever. Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family law issues.

Child Support

Child support is an issue that will be addressed in all family law cases involving children under the age of 18. In Florida, child support is based largely on the net incomes of each parent, the total number of overnight visitations each parent receives and amounts paid for the child’s health insurance and daycare. The attorneys at Mosaic Law Firm are knowledgeable about the laws governing child support and are proficient at using that knowledge to benefits our clients. Florida law requires children to be supported monetarily, but that does not mean that you have to over-pay child support or accept less support than the law allows. Contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Child Support

Q:  Do my child support payments stop automatically when my child turns 18?

A:  Maybe not. In Florida, child support can continue after the child’s 18th birthday if the child is still attending high school and is anticipated to graduate at the age 19. Also, child support can continue after the child’s 18th birthday if the child suffers from a disability.

Q:  Do I have to pay child support if I have “joint” custody of my child?

A: Maybe. In Florida, the goal of child support is to ensure the financial burdens for the children are equally shared.  So, while there are rare cases in which you may not have to pay support, most of the time some form of child support will be awarded.

Q: Do I have to pay federal taxes on the payments I receive in child support?

A:  No. The parent who receives the payments is not required to declare the payments as income in their tax returns. Also, note that the parent who makes the payments is not allowed to use them as deductions. However, daycare expenses may receive a deduction.

Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family law issues. Mosaic Law Firm is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando, Florida and Downtown Washington, D.C.

Alimony

Are you considering a Divorce or Legal Separation? The attorneys at Mosaic Law Firm fully understand the emotions involved in such a decision. Alimony is a device to assist one spouse in matriculating back into single life, becoming employable and/or maintaining a sense of the lifestyle they experienced during the marriage. Courts primarily base their finding and award for alimony on one spouse need for alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay alimony. Our extensive knowledge of the law and litigation process equips us with the skill to adequately represent our clients position, regardless if you are the spouse ordered to pay or to receive alimony.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Alimony

Q: Is my spouse entitled to half of my income?

A: Your spouse’s entitlement to half of your income depends on a wide array of factors the courts evaluate when awarding alimony. There are no guidelines directing the Court to grant a certain percentage of your income. While the Court is prohibited from awarding an excessive amount, the Court has a significant amount of discretion.

Q: When will I start receiving alimony payments?

A: In Florida, you can start collecting alimony payments while your case is pending a final resolution under certain circumstances.

Q: What factors do Florida courts evaluate when determining the amount of alimony?

A: Florida courts typically consider the following factors:

  • Spouses’ prior standard of living
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  • Each spouse’s financial resources and income-producing capacity
  • Services rendered in homemaking and child rearing
  • Efforts expounded in assisting the other spouse in the acquisition of education and career building
  • Time spent acquiring sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment

Q: Does cheating impact the amount of alimony?

A: Maybe. Florida law permits the Court to consider infidelity when making an award of alimony.  However, absent a showing of a related depletion of marital assets, a party’s adultery is not a valid reason to award a greater share of those marital assets to the innocent spouse or to deny the adulterous spouse alimony.

Mosaic Law Firm is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando, Florida and Downtown Washington, D.C. Statutory requirements, court rules, and administrative orders must be strictly followed or you may lose certain rights forever. Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family legal issues.

Modifications

Do you wish to modify an order of child support, a parenting-plan/timesharing agreement or award of alimony? Sometimes previously agreed upon or court ordered payments prove unfeasible. Most modifications of alimony and child support are permissible with a showing of a significant change of circumstances and a modification of a parenting-plan/timesharing agreement is permissible with a similar showing as well as a demonstration that the modification is in the best interest of the child.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Modifications

Q: I quit my job. Is the loss of income sufficient to modify/lower my child support payments?

A: Most likely, no. In Florida, you are required to provide monetary support for your children. A court will likely impute income based on the past employment, skill or education if you voluntarily quit your job.

Also, note that the order modifying your payments will not apply retroactively to the time when your circumstances changed. Rather, the new/lower payment amount will apply prospectively once the order is entered. You will owe arrears if you are unable or fail to make the payments until the order is lowered.

Q: If my circumstances change and are sufficient to decrease my payment amount, can I stop making payments until we go to court?

A:  No. You are still responsible to comply with the court order of child support and/or alimony. The order modifying your payments will not apply retroactively to the time when your circumstances changed.  Rather, the new/lower payment amount will apply prospectively once the order is entered. You will owe arrears if you are unable or fail to make the payments until the order is lowered.

Mosaic Law Firm is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando, Florida and Downtown Washington, D.C.  Statutory requirements, court rules, and administrative orders must be strictly followed or you may lose certain rights forever. Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family legal issues.

 

Paternity

Prenuptial agreements (also known as “premarital agreements”) are available for those who are planning for marriage and postnuptial agreements are available for those who are currently married. Although prenuptial and postnuptial agreements don’t have the best “reputation”, the reality is that, in Florida, the Court can decide how marital assets and debts are allocated upon divorce or death. A valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement allows the couple, as opposed to the court, to determine how those assets and debts are distributed.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Q: Is a prenuptial agreement valid if I never marry the intended spouse?

A: No. In Florida, the agreement is only enforceable if the parties marry. There is no need to distribute assets if there is no marital property. But note, that the agreement is only enforceable if the marriage is valid. In Florida, a marriage may be void if, for example, one spouse was legally married to a third party at the time of the marriage.

Q: Can I include a provision in my prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that limits the amount of child support?

A: No. In Florida, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot be used to limit the amount of child support.

Q: Can I include a provision that designates which spouse who receive the family pet(s)?

A: Yes. In Florida, pets are typically treated as personal property.  Distribution of personal and real property is permissible in premarital or postnuptial agreement.

Q: How can I challenge a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?

A: Yes. In Florida, there are a number of reasons why a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement could be held invalid. For example, if you are coerced into signing an agreement with noticeably unfair terms without the opportunity to consult an attorney, a court may find the agreement unenforceable. However, the courts will not protect a spouse from entering into a “bad deal.” For an example, if you enter into an agreement allocating $300 in alimony because it was based on your spouse’s income at the time of the marriage, but his or her income later significantly increased before the divorce, a court will likely find the agreement enforceable. Thus, it is important to consult an attorney to discuss further.

Mosaic Law Firm is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando, Florida and Downtown Washington, D.C. Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family law issues.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements & Post-Nuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements (also known as “premarital agreements”) are available for those who are planning for marriage and postnuptial agreements are available for those who are currently married. Although prenuptial and postnuptial agreements don’t have the best “reputation”, the reality is that, in Florida, the Court can decide how marital assets and debts are allocated upon divorce or death. A valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement allows the couple, as opposed to the court, to determine how those assets and debts are distributed.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Q: Is a prenuptial agreement valid if I never marry the intended spouse?

A: No. In Florida, the agreement is only enforceable if the parties marry. There is no need to distribute assets if there is no marital property. But note, that the agreement is only enforceable if the marriage is valid. In Florida, a marriage may be void if, for example, one spouse was legally married to a third party at the time of the marriage.

Q: Can I include a provision in my prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that limits the amount of child support?

A: No. In Florida, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot be used to limit the amount of child support.

Q: Can I include a provision that designates which spouse who receive the family pet(s)?

A: Yes. In Florida, pets are typically treated as personal property.  Distribution of personal and real property is permissible in premarital or postnuptial agreement.

Q: How can I challenge a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?

A: Yes. In Florida, there are a number of reasons why a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement could be held invalid. For example, if you are coerced into signing an agreement with noticeably unfair terms without the opportunity to consult an attorney, a court may find the agreement unenforceable. However, the courts will not protect a spouse from entering into a “bad deal.” For an example, if you enter into an agreement allocating $300 in alimony because it was based on your spouse’s income at the time of the marriage, but his or her income later significantly increased before the divorce, a court will likely find the agreement enforceable. Thus, it is important to consult an attorney to discuss further.

Mosaic Law Firm is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando, Florida and Downtown Washington, D.C. Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family legal issues.

 

Asset Distribution

One of the major concerns when going through the divorce process is the distribution of assets. This regularly addressed aspect of dissolution of marriage cases can, at times, be resolved amicably while, at other times, is only resolved after an exhaustive fight for assets.  At Mosaic Law Firm, we assist our clients in looking beyond the immediate issues and consider the long-term effects of distributing assets, debts, and liabilities. Our attorneys strive to fight aggressively for the rights, needs and wants of our clients in this process while doing our best to get matters resolved amicably and in a timely manner.

Whether you are divorcing after a long-term marriage or a short-term marriage, it is important to hire a knowledgeable attorney who can demonstrate the assets that you are entitled to. Most common issues involve:

  • Identifying martial and non-martial property
  • Identifying and dividing debts
  • Interpreting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Sale of the family home
  • Sale of a closely held business or professional practice
  • Identifying and dividing retirement benefits, pensions, and investments

Dividing marital property can be contentious. Absent an amicable agreement, the Courts have wide discretion to divide marital assets in a manner of their choosing. This often presents an issue as the Court is not privy to the emotional attachments the parties have to their assets. The attorneys at Mosaic Law Firm look to alternative methods, such as mediation or arbitration, to avoid this outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Distribution of Assets

Q: What assets are considered marital assets?

A: In Florida, marital assets typically consist of the following:

  • Assets and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually or jointly
  • Enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets
  • Interspousal gifts
  • Vested and non-vested benefits, rights and funds accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity deferred compensation and insurance plans and programs
  • Real property and personal property held by tenants by entirety, whether acquired prior to or during the marriage is presumed as a marital asset
  • Income from nonmarital assets that was treated, used or relied upon by the parties as a marital asset

Q: Who gets to keep the family pet(s)?

A: Florida typically treats pets acquired during the marriage as personal property and a marital asset. In other words, the Courts limit arguments surrounding the best interest of the pet and treat the pet as another item of value held in the marriage and calculates it as part of the equitable distribution of marital assets.  As such, it is unclear at the outset who will receive the family pet. This will have to be agreed upon by the parties or disputed in court.

Mosaic Law Firm is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando, Florida and Downtown Washington, D.C.  Statutory requirements, court rules, and administrative orders must be strictly followed or you may lose certain rights forever. Contact us now to inquire further and learn how our firm can help you with your family legal issues.