There are significant changes on the horizon for Family Law cases in Florida, deriving from Florida Senate Bill 668. Presently the bill has been passed and now it is before Governor Rick Scott for final approval. Before delving into the details of the bill, it is important to note that it is NOT retroactive – in other words, it would not apply to cases finalized prior to October 1, 2016. The bill focuses on two major areas of change – Alimony and Child Sharing.
Alimony. The bill provides guidelines that would lead to greater predictability on the award of alimony. The guidelines are based on the length of the marriage and considers the income of the parties. Of course, the court can consider other factors and deviate from the guidelines, but must make specific findings in doing so. If you are considering a divorce, contact an attorney as soon as possible as this legislation could severely impact your ability to seek alimony and/or limit the alimony that needs to be paid.
Child Sharing. Relying on empirical research and data, experts have found that the child benefits from equal time sharing. The bill would create a presumption of equal time sharing, unless there is a showing that such an agreement would be detrimental to the child.
Quite often, a bill in one area of the law creates important considerations for other areas. In determining what would be considered “detrimental to a child”, the court will consider the criminal history of the parties. A domestic battery or violation of an injunction is considered a first degree misdemeanor. The bill states that a first degree misdemeanor provides the court with the evidence needed that it would be detrimental to the child to be in the custody of the party with such a crime on their record.
It is essential to speak to an attorney knowledgeable with Senate Bill 668. Times are changing. An attorney you consult with must be well-versed in the pending changes. It is now more important than ever to utilize an attorney rather than represent yourself in a Family Law matter. The changes will be new to the attorneys and to the Judges – you need competent representation to ensure the court follows the law should Governor Scott sign the bill.
Contact Shulman Law for all of your Family and Estate Planning needs. Family Law, Criminal Law and Estate Planning all go hand-in-hand – at Shulman Law, you will receive advice to ensure you are well represented with legally comprehensive strategy.
Shulman Law offers representation in Family Law, Estate Planning, Living Trusts, Wills, Succession Planning, Charitable Giving, as well as Criminal Defense Attorney services in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood and throughout Broward County.
Shulman Law offers legal representation in Estate Planning, Succession Planning, Charitable Giving, as well as Criminal Defense Attorney services in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge, Oakland Park, Wilton Manor, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood and throughout Broward County Florida.