“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert
Dissolutions vary in complexity because no two families are the same. Typically, divorce is emotional and taxing. Divorce can also be confusing and complicated. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, a Professional Association, can simplify the process and carefully steer your case through negotiations and litigation. Our objective is to protect you, your children, and your assets.
I. Divorce / Dissolution of Marriage
Several divorce case types exist to accommodate different family dynamics. One of the most challenging parts of divorce is needing to make multiple critical decisions at once, including how to parent your children and how to remain financially robust. Our objective is to create a post- divorce life where you and your family can heal and thrive. A divorce often includes issues of equitable distribution (property division) and alimony (spousal support / spousal maintenance). Equitable distribution (the division of property) essentially considers and divides the assets and liabilities (debt) acquired during a marriage. The state of Florida is an Equitable Distribution.
State rather than a Community Property State. The differences between an Equitable Distribution State and a Community Property State are significant and the rights of a party greatly differ under each. In an Equitable Distribution State like Florida, a Judge could intervene and use his or her discretion to determine what is fair and equitable for purposes of property division. A Judge, however, is provided guidance under Florida statutes to assist him or her in making these equitable determinations. Our goal is to protect and divide your assets and debts in a way that prosperously shapes your post-divorce life. Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, will typically be an issue in divorce proceedings between spouses with a sole or primary breadwinner (wage earner)—although not always. Alimony / spousal support, however, is not awarded in every case because an alimony determination is case-specific and fact-specific, and the statute on point grants judges considerable discretion in awarding or denying alimony / spousal support.
The state of Florida follows a need and ability approach when considering alimony: this means that alimony / spousal support is chiefly determined by one spouse’s financial need and the other spouse’s ability to provide financial support. The state of Florida offers several forms of alimony with different requisites. The state of Florida also allows for deviation from its standard alimony guidelines. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. can identify the types of alimony / spousal support available to you, whether you anticipate being the one paying the support or receiving the support.
Attorney Osman Lopez is an experienced attorney that can assess any and all equitable distribution and alimony issues in your case. Please contact Attorney Osman Lopez to further discuss the unique circumstances of your matter. Call (305) 744-5229 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation.
II. Divorce with Children / Dissolution of Marriage with Children
A divorce that involves children adds a host of complexities and issues to a divorce.
What will the timesharing/visitation arrangement be between the parents and child(ren) once the divorce is finalized?
Which parent will be responsible for covered and uncovered health insurance costs?
Which parent will be responsible for child care costs?
Which parent will have a monthly child support obligation? Will an Income Withholding Order be necessary? Can the obligatory (the parent paying the support) or the obligee (the parent receiving the support) request an upward or downward deviation from the child support guidelines? Does income need to be imputed on any parent?
Will the parents make major decisions jointly (shared parental responsibility), or will one parent have ultimate decision-making authority? Or is there a basis to petition the Court for sole parental responsibility?
Which parent’s address will be used to determine the child(ren)’s school zone?
How will holidays and school vacation breaks be divided between the parents?
Which parent will claim the child(ren) for tax purposes?
Can both parents travel outside the county, state, or country with the child(ren)?
This list is not exhaustive, but they are all issues that must be resolved before a judge can grant a final judgment in a dissolution of marriage case with children.
The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. will work to prepare a parenting plan that resolves all of your outstanding child issues. We will also guide you through the remaining statutory requirements, including a 4-Hour online Parenting Course, Child Support Guidelines, and Financial Affidavits. Attorney Osman Lopez takes a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent post-judgment issues and future litigation. However, should there be an unanticipated change in circumstances (for example, a parent needs to relocate; a parent loses their job), Attorney Osman Lopez is skilled and prepared to represent your modification request.
Sometimes, there are children born during a marriage who are not common to the parties (that is, a wife, while married, had a child or became pregnant with someone or by someone other than her husband). In that case, additional affidavits are required before a final judgment can be entered, such as a notarized Acknowledgement of Paternity by the child(ren)’s biological father. Accordingly, language will be included in the final judgment relieving the husband from any and all parental obligations including child support. In some cases, a husband learns that he is not the biological father of his child(ren) but still decides to raise and provide for them as his own; here, case law allows the Court to find the husband responsible for the child(ren) until they are eighteen years old or the age of majority.
An amicable and collaborative approach can be the most cost-effective approach to divorce with children. Attorney Osman Lopez has an exceptional track record of negotiating, mediating, and settling cases before trial or prolonged litigation. However, if collaboration is not feasible, Attorney Osman Lopez will zealously litigate your matter in court. Call (305) 744-5229 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation.
III. High-Net Worth Divorce / Substantial Assets and Debts
A divorce has significant financial implications on a high-net worth couple with substantial assets. A high-net worth divorce involves highly complex equitable distribution issues, which require highly specialized knowledge in forensic accounting, valuation, vocations, and appraisals. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. has the experience and expert resources to shield your high-net worth and family from further risk. A high-net worth marriage is one with substantial assets and liabilities (debts), including but not limited to family businesses, sizable retirement accounts, and abundant real estate. Substantial assets and liabilities generate considerable equitable distribution / property division issues that often require the retention of additional professionals and experts, such as forensic accountants, valuation experts, vocational experts, and property appraisers. Our collaborative efforts and expertise ensure that your rights, property, and finances are identified, adequately valued, distributed, and protected. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. can successfully protect the wealth accumulated during a marriage, marital and non-marital businesses and business interests, properties / real estate, personal or foreign assets, and the like. Negotiating a property settlement agreement can be the most cost-effective approach in a high-net worth divorce. However, the complex nature of these considerable assets can make litigation commonplace. if the parties cannot agree to a fair and reasonable division of their assets, Attorney Osman Lopez will zealously litigate your matter in court. Call (305) 744-5229 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation.
IV. Uncontested Divorce / Uncontested Dissolution of Marriage
An uncontested divorce assumes that parties have reached an agreement on all outstanding issues. Our role in an uncontested divorce is to draft a Marital Settlement Agreement that is thorough, reflects the parties’ true intent, and considers changing circumstances—while complying with all statutory requirements needed for final judgment. The marital settlement agreement needs to be detailed to avoid ambiguity that can incite future litigation. The marital settlement agreement also needs to consider anticipated changes and resolve how those changes will affect the parties’ existing arrangement. There are a multitude of benefits to an uncontested divorce but certain criteria must be met to qualify. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. can ascertain whether this option makes sense for you and your family. Call (305) 744-5229 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation.
V. Equitable Distribution / Property Division
Equitable distribution (the division of property) essentially considers and divides the assets and liabilities (debt) acquired during a marriage. The state of Florida is an Equitable Distribution State rather than a Community Property State. The differences between an Equitable Distribution State and a Community Property State are significant and the rights of a party greatly differ under each. In an Equitable Distribution State like Florida, a Judge could intervene and use his or her discretion to determine what is fair and equitable for purposes of asset division and financial interests. A Judge, however, is provided guidance under Florida statute to assist him or her in making these equitable determinations. The statute considers several factors: each spouse’s economic position, including each spouse’s current and future earning power, and individual / non-marital assets; each spouse’s age and health; each spouse’s contributions in the marriage including homemaking, childbearing, educational and professional support, and home improvement; and existing financial support and obligations (e.g. alimony; child support) from a previous relationship. Our goal at The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. is to protect and divide your assets and debts in a way that favourably shapes your post-divorce life. The equitable distribution component of a divorce uniquely necessitates strong negotiation and litigation skills. Attorney Osman Lopez is equipped with the necessary dexterity.