Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer
Being involved in a lawsuit is never an easy situation for either the person who files the claim or the person who is being sued. Any potential difficulty may be heightened when the case concerns matters such as dissolution of marriage, property division, alimony, child custody and support, or paternity. These types of cases involve private, “family” issues that litigation may make public. Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Lynnette A. Ensign is dedicated to providing solid representation in family law matters for residents of Pembroke Pines and the surrounding cities. She can guide her clients through the legal process during what may be an emotional time. Having practiced in Florida since 1992, she has honed the tenacity and attention to detail that is critical in these situations, and she can explore your options with the care that you deserve.
Florida law refers to divorce as dissolution of marriage. A person who petitions the court for dissolution of marriage must establish that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation, or that his or her spouse has a mental incapacity. The court has the authority to order counseling for one or both parties before allowing the dissolution action to proceed when the parties have a minor child together or the spouse responding to the petition denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Spouses who have no children and are able to reach a total agreement on all issues of the marriage may pursue a simplified dissolution of marriage process known as an uncontested divorce. Contested proceedings are generally more complicated and require greater time and resources. If you are involved in this type of situation, it is especially important to consult a divorce attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area who has significant experience handling contested proceedings.
Child custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of a minor. While it traditionally has been divided into physical custody and legal custody, Florida now refers to these concepts as timesharing and parental responsibility. Timesharing involves the periods of time that each parent spends with the child, while parental responsibility involves making decisions that significantly affect the child’s wellbeing and upbringing. Courts make these determinations according to what is in the best interests of the child. Lynnette A. Ensign can help you advocate for an arrangement that meets your child’s needs. Generally, a court will allow each parent to play a role in the child’s life unless there are concerns surrounding domestic violence, substance abuse, or some other serious issue that might affect a parent’s fitness and the child’s safety.Child Support
Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor child. Child support is calculated by using a Child Support Worksheet that will generate an appropriate monthly obligation based on each parent’s income and other economic factors. All orders for child support must include a provision for health care coverage of the minor child when coverage is reasonably available. A parent who fails to pay child support may face serious legal trouble, including being found in contempt of court. If you need to modify payments, you should hire a Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney and pursue a modification through the court process to make sure that it is properly approved.Property Division (Equitable Distribution)
Florida is an equitable distribution state rather than a community property state. This means that a court will not necessarily divide the marital property of a couple in a 50/50 split but instead will impose a division that is fair. However, in practice, this often results in a roughly even division unless there are extenuating circumstances. Sometimes determining which property is marital property and which property is separate property can be challenging. Separate property is property that was acquired prior to the marriage or through an inheritance, gift, or certain other means. It is not subject to division upon a divorce. In a high-asset divorce, such as a divorce involving business owners, accountants may need to get involved to properly value assets and ensure an appropriate division of property.Alimony (Spousal Support)
In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may award alimony to either party. Alimony can be rehabilitative or permanent in nature. The court must consider various factors that include, but are not limited to, the duration of the marriage, each party’s financial resources, and the contribution of each party to the marriage in determining an appropriate amount of alimony. Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Lynnette A. Ensign can help you seek the alimony that you need to restart your life after dissolving your marriage, or she can help you fight back against an excessive demand for alimony.Paternity
Any woman who has a child, any man who believes that he the father of a child, or any child seeking to discover his or her parentage may file a paternity action. Paternity cases typically involve a situation when parties had a child but were not married at the time. The parents of a child can establish paternity by signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. This status can also be established through DNA testing.Mediation
Many matters related to a divorce can be resolved without going through a fierce, protracted battle in court. Spouses often find that they can reach a more stable and lasting set of solutions through mediation. Lynnette A. Ensign has a license to mediate family law cases in Florida and understands how to provide this type of assistance. Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution that is relatively informal. A mediator may make suggestions about how to reach an agreement on certain issues, and they may advise each party on the strength of their arguments and how a judge would be likely to perceive them. However, a mediator cannot impose a binding decision on the parties, as a judge could. They simply facilitate the discussion between them.Explore Your Options With a Divorce Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Any agreement that the parties reach or any order imposed by the court in a family law matter can have long-term effects. It is important that you enlist a knowledgeable attorney to support you through all of the stages of litigation. Skilled divorce lawyer Lynnette A. Ensign proudly represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, West Palm Beach, and other cities in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. You can call us at (954) 760-7659 or complete our online form to set up an appointment.