Matters affecting your family....

McNamara & McNamara, P.A. - Attorneys at Law

Legal Areas
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Collaborative Divorce Process
Enforcement actions: Child Support, Alimony, Visitation, Compliance with Agreement
Domestic Violence
Attorney Ad Litem/Guardian Ad Litem
There are times when a person is victimized by a spouse, child, other family member, or someone with whom they are in an intimate relationship. In those instances, the person may need assistance from the court to keep their abuser away. In some cases, the criminal justice system may be involved already, if someone has been arrested. The civil courts do allow a victim to petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. This order, if granted, will have the effect of requiring the abuser to remain at a distance, and in many cases, will not permit any communication with the victim. If you are the victim of domestic violence and need immediate assistance, you should CALL 911 immediately. If you have been a victim of recent domestic violence and need help in obtaining an injunction, we can assist you. Likewise, if you have been accused of domestic violence, whether in civil court or in a criminal case, we can assist you in defending the accusations.
Temporary Custody by Extended Family
Sometimes children are placed in the care of a grandparent or other family member for indefinite periods of time.This may occur due to illness of a parent, or military service, or sadly, when a parent can no longer care for a child due to that parent's addiction to alcohol or drugs. In such cases, the child is often left without the ability to receive appropriate services such as medical or dental treatment, educational enrollment, or even such simple things as the ability to play in sports or extracurricular activities. Without proper legal authority, the care giver cannot execute required consents and permissions to get proper services for the child. This is a useful legal tool to obtain court approval of "custody", so that the child can get proper care. This process is a better alternative to a guardianship case, which will involve continued court involvement lasting throughout the child's minority.
Planning for your family:
     Wills, Living Wills, Health Care Surrogates, Powers of Attorney
Paternity actions
A paternity case is a case to establish the identity of a child's natural father. This type of case may be commenced by the natural mother, perhaps to obtain support for the child or access to health insurance for the child. The case may be commenced by the natural father, perhaps to obtain legal establishment of his role and to secure his rights to time sharing with the child or to share in parental responsibility. There are times when the state will commence a paternity action, usually on behalf of a mother, when the state has provided benefits to the mother and child and is now seeking to have the father share in the expense of raising the child. Paternity actions are important for the child too, if for no other reason than to establish the child's lineage, and to be able to ascertain vital health/genetic history information. For fathers looking to initiate a paternity case, you should be aware that Florida law requires that you complete and submit a form to acknowledge your paternity of the child and to have your name placed on the putative father registry (we can help with this and provide you with the form).

The result of a paternity case will be either, 1. a determination that the purported father is NOT the father of the child (this would be determined by scientific testing), or 2. a determination of paternity and establishment of a parenting plan, which will (in most cases) include provisions for parental responsibility and time sharing.
Call us today at (561) 842-7077
If you are contemplating a divorce, there are many things to consider. First, you must consider whether your marriage can be saved, or is it worth saving. Are there children to consider? If so, what will be the impact on the children? Of course, every divorce involves division of assets and debts. In Florida, the law works from the starting point that presumes that all assets and debts accumulated by the parties during the marriage are marital debts, even if only in the singular name of one of them. However, this is only a presumption, and the court will evaluate when assets and debts were created or obtained, and whether or not an asset that was previously separate has been commingled with marital assets. Divorce often creates a situation where both parties become less able to support the lifestyle of the marriage due to the same total amount of money now being required to support separate households. The court will attempt to equitably divide the assets and debts of the parties. But be forwarned, equitable does not mean equal, nor does it mean fair. Florida courts consider resources of the parties and the ability of the parties to carry obligations going forward, so the greater earning spouse may end up with a greater share of debt.

In divorce cases, often one side or the other will request alimony. Florida law recently changed with regard to alimony. Alimony is still based primarily on the actual need of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay the support, but now the statutes set forth actual durational requirements of the marriage and many factors the court must consider and address before awarding alimony.

Child support is mandated by law in all cases involving minor children. Based on changes to the child support laws in recent years, the court must now consider the time sharing schedule and other factors, such as special needs, when setting out a child support obligation. We utilize the latest child support calculation software in preparing child support cases (this is the same software used by the judges).

Before you start a divorce, there are many things you can do to simplify matters once the divorce starts, particularly if the divorce will be acrimonious. We strongly advise a consultation before a divorce becomes imminent. During your consultation, your questions will be answered and you will be given all the information you need to make informed choices about the process of ending your marriage.
The Collaborative Divorce Process provides an excellent alternative to traditional litigation, because in this model, the parties and their attorneys work cooperatively to resolve the dissolution of the marriage in an open and fair way. This process provides ample benefits to the divorcing couple, perhaps the most important of which is confidentiality. The entire process occurs before either party files for divorce, thus avoiding the public filings and disclosures of financial information. In a collaborative divorce, once an agreement is reached and reduced to writing, the agreement is submitted to the court for mere formal approval and entry of the final judgment dissolving the marriage. Although the process generally involves hiring one or more joint experts, such as a financial analyst, he process is generally much less expensive than litigation, since no one is wasting valuable time and money fighting over who gets the cat. Our attorneys are members of local collaborative law groups and we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through this superior process.
When one parent stops paying the court ordered support obligation, or fails to comply with some aspect of the marital settlement agreement or parenting plan, it may be necessary to commence proceedings for enforcement of the court order. The contempt power of the court, including incarceration, may be used to compel support obligations. To compel other matters, such as monetary exchanges, or payment of debts, often the court will enter a judgment, which will permit the use of garnishment and levy on assets.
Our attorneys routinely work as Attorneys ad Litem or Guardians ad Litem in cases involving children. As an Attorney ad Litem, the attorney actually represents the child in the proceedings and may file motions or other actions as needed. When acting as a Guardian ad Litem, the attorney does not represent the child, but rather is a set of eyes and ears for the court, and will make a report, including findings and recommendations, after investigation of the situation.
Although not technically a family law matter, everyone should consider creating (or updating) his or her will, particularly if he or she has children. After a divorce, wills should be reviewed, and possibly changed, to reflect the changed family situation. Many times, people forget to address planning for their demise, or taking appropriate measures to address unforeseen situations in which that person becomes incapacitated. Within your will, you can create a trust for the care of your child(ren), and you can designate who will act as a guardian for your child. So, a will is much more than a document stating who gets the lamp and coin collection. Additionally, we encourage everyone to have proper health care surrogate designations completed, so that you can control who makes your medical decisions if you are unable to make them yourself (due to incapacity or unconsciousness). If it has been some time since your will was created, or if you have changed your family structure, through a new birth, divorce, or an unfortunate death of a loved one, we encourage you to call us to discuss planning for your family.