Petition for Relocation in Florida

We cannot necessarily plan for everything life throws at us and sometimes an unexpected move due to a new job, new relationship, or other life-change is a decision that comes about rather quickly.  A decision to move becomes even more complicated if you have kids that you raise according to a Court-approved parenting plan as a result of a divorce or paternity action.  Depending on the specifics of your move, or relocation, Court approval (and therefore the assistance of an attorney) may be needed. If court approval is required, you may need to petition for relocation in Florida.  For help determining if you need to petition for relocation in Florida contact a child custody attorney in Tampa for assistance.

Petition for Relocation in Florida & Long Distance Parenting Plan

You can petition for relocation in Florida and ask the court for a long-distance parenting plan should you wish to move (and move your children) more than fifty miles from the children’s principal place of residence.  The principal place of residence would have been established in the initial parenting plan and is most likely either the child’s mother’s home or the child’s father’s home, depending on the parent that has the majority of the time-sharing responsibilities according to the original parenting plan.  If you have not yet finalized your initial parenting plan that will be a part of an ongoing divorce or child custody you can petition the court to approve your petition for relocation in Florida as part of the case.

If you already have an established parenting plan, you’ll want to file a petition for relocation in Florida as soon as you are able. A child custody attorney can assist with filing the documents on your behalf and scheduling the appropriate court hearings to finalize the process as quickly as possible. You are not required to hire a child custody attorney but it is highly recommended to do so.

If you and the other parent are in agreement about the relocation, you may need to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate.  The Notice informs the court that you will be moving outside of the fifty-mile radius discussed above, but does not allow for arguments for or against the relocation.  Therefore, this filling is only appropriate when both parents are in agreement about the relocation.  See Florida Child Custody Relocation Statute 61.13001.

What to Include in a Petition for Relocation in Florida

Should you not be in agreement (in other words, your ex is fighting the relocation,) you should file a petition with the court asking for the Court to approve the petition for relocation in Florida.  Your petition for relocation in Florida should include various details about the relocation including the date of the move; where you are moving to; why you are moving and any documentation necessary to prove this (if it is for a sick relative – medical bills, if it is for a job – a copy of the job offer, etc.); your proposed changes to the parenting plan including how you plan to make visitation an option considering the distance; and formal notice. For more information on formal notice requirements click here.

Once the other parent has had a chance to formally respond to your petition for relocation in Florida, the court will likely hold a hearing on the issue.  The court will make its decision on a number of factors that will help the court decide what is in the best interest of the child/ren.  See Florida child custody case Mize v. Mize.  Relocation can be a difficult issue and it is important to speak with a qualified child custody lawyer before instituting any action that could change your custodial rights, especially any action that results in a hearing.

Petition for Relocation in Florida Don’t Use Self-Help

One of the most important aspects of relocation is to try to not resort to “self-help.”  Self-help refers to taking actions outside of the approval of the courts, figuring, “I’ll deal with that part later,” or “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”  Moving outside of the fifty-mile radius without first obtaining court approval is a violation of the parenting plan that can result in changes to your rights and responsibilities as a parent.  All of family law is inter-connected:  a parenting plan affects time-sharing, time-sharing affects child support payments, and so on and so forth.

Likely a move of this nature would additionally affect your ex’s visitation rights, which could put you in further violation of the parenting plan.  Here are a few of the consequences you may find yourself subject to if you resort to self-help rather than going through the proper channels:  you could be responsible for your ex’s attorney’s fees, you may need to take a parenting class, you may need to forfeit some of your time with the child/ren in order to compensate for the time your ex lost, or other legal action the court sees fit to punish your violation.  Similarly, if your ex relocates without telling you or following the steps outlined above, you should call an experienced child custody attorney to help remedy the situation rather than trying to handle it yourself without Court intervention.

Tampa Child Custody Law Firm

If you need to relocate and modify your parenting plan call us today to speak with a child custody lawyer at Florida Law Advisers. Whether the parents mutually agree to the terms of custody or are engaged in a fierce battle for their child custody rights, we can help. Our team of experienced child custody and divorce lawyers are committed to providing top notch legal representation at a reasonable cost. If you need legal counsel call us today, we are available to answer your call 24/7.

How to Get a Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse

Florida law requires notice of any action that will affect a person’s legal rights and that would include a divorce case.  Notice means you inform the opposing party of the actions that you are taking in court.  Notice can be an issue if you need to know how to get a divorce when you can’t find your spouse. Generally, Florida divorce law will require you locate and personally serve the opposing with the divorce petition.  Thus, if you are unable to locate your spouse you will need to take other steps to provide proper notice under the law. Service/ notice can be a complex issue with many procedural requirements, it is best to retain a divorce attorney to assist with these matters. A divorce attorney in Tampa should be able to take care of the notice issues for you.

How to Get a Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse – The Diligent Search & Inquiry

Under Florida divorce laws regarding the notice requirement, your spouse will need to be located and served before you can move forward with the dissolution of marriage (also known as divorce.) Fortunately, if you can’t find the opposing party there are still options on how to get a divorce when you can’t find your spouse.  The first step is to complete a diligent search and inquiry to attempt to find the opposing party. A good divorce attorney can help you with an investigation to find your spouse.  In most circumstances, an investigation by a divorce lawyer (utilizing resources common to the trade) will result in a successful location of the opposing party.

Should the opposing party not be able to be located, the court will allow for other ways to notice the opposing party as long as the petitioner has done a proper diligent search and inquiry. See Hobe Sound v. First Union. Please note, Florida divorce law has very strict requirements for the diligent search and inquiry phase of the case. See Florida Statute 49.011. It is highly recommended to hire a divorce law firm to assist with the case. This can be the most difficult part of trying to accomplish a divorce when you can’t find your spouse

How to Get a Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse with Constructive Service

Constructive service can be used to get a divorce when you can’t find your spouse.  Constructive service means “serving” (getting the legal documents into the hands of the respondent) in a non-traditional way (other than personal service, in which case the documents would be handed to the respondent.) When constructive service is involved, a court can grant a dissolution of marriage (divorce) but cannot establish paternity, award child support or alimony, and it may affect the court’s ability to settle marital assets and debt claims.  Therefore, you should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to inquire whether serving via constructive service will cause issues in your case. If constructive service is not feasible for your case, a divorce lawyer should be able to provide other solutions for how to get a divorce when you can’t find your spouse.

How to Get a Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse With Publication in a Newspaper

If you are unable to locate the opposing party, publication in a newspaper can solve the issue of how to get a divorce when you can’t find your spouse. The publication advising of the divorce case filed in Florida will need to run in a local newspaper for four consecutive weeks.  Also,  there will likely be a fee charged by the newspaper in which you publish the publication. Each case is different, but newspaper publication fees are usually around $200. The opposing party will have thirty days from then to respond and challenge the case.

In most cases, your divorce will move forward utilizing traditional service after your divorce attorney has assisted you in locating the opposing party.  If that is not the case, the court has options available to you to ensure you can get divorced and even get your name changed. However, because outcomes are limited in certain cases when constructive service is used, you should consult with an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer before moving forward with service by publication to ensure it’s the best solution for how to get a divorce when you can’t find your spouse.

Tampa Divorce Law Firm

If you are contemplating filing for divorce call us today to speak with divorce attorney and get a free case review. We are a divorce law firm with years of experience helping people resolve their divorce and child custody disputes. Every divorce is different, and our vast experience allows us to cater our services to each client’s individual situation. Whether a couple mutually agrees to the terms of a divorce or are engaged in a fierce battle for their property and child custody rights, Florida Law Advisers, P.A. can help. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer a free initial consultation. Call us today at 800 990 7763 to speak with a divorce attorney at our divorce law firm.

guardian ad litem

A  guardian ad litem (GAL) can be a very helpful person in child custody cases. In some cases, a GAL is automatically appointed by the Court. In other child custody cases, there must be a request to appoint a GAL and approval from a judge. Guardian ad litems can be very helpful but are not appropriate for all child custody cases. Before asking a judge to appoint a GAL you should speak with a Tampa child custody attorney for advice about your specific case.

Purpose of a Guardian Ad Litem

The guardian ad litem program’s mission is “I am for the child” meaning that the guardian ad litem is there to advocate solely for the best interests of the child, not for the interests of either parent or a third party. A GAL is given power to investigate the situation that a child is in and to determine the best interests of that child. Further, Florida law states that the guardian ad litem  “shall act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate but shall act in the child’s best interests. A guardian ad litem shall have the powers, privileges, and responsibilities to the extent necessary to advance the best interests of the child.” See Florida Statute 61.403

Investigation by the Guardian Ad Litem

The guardian ad litem will be required to visit all the children they are appointed to every 30 days. A visit is not required to be any specific length or at any specific place. The GAL must see the child’s placement each time they are taken to a new placement. If the guardian ad litem thinks that there are any safety concerns in any given placement then the proper authorities are notified.

The goal of the parent’s case plan is generally reunification at the beginning of the process. The parents are given a time frame that they must complete their case plan by, generally this time frame is a year. If there is little to no progress in the parent’s case plan then the goal can be changed to adoption or permanent guardianship. This process takes time and the guardian ad litem must still conduct their monthly visits. Once a new placement has been found or the child has been re-unified with their parents the GAL conducts visits for another 6 months or longer to make sure the child is thriving and safe in home.

Training Required for a Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem goes through a training process that involves both online and classroom learning over a course of approximately 30 hours. There is also an interview process to limit the candidates to those that are serious about helping children and that the program feels will not determinately effect the child that has been through some rough times already. The training prepares the guardian ad litem to maneuver through possible situations that they may find themselves having to deal with. More information about the training process and what the purpose of a GAL is can be found by clicking here.  Each Court in Florida has slightly different rules and guidelines when it comes to the training and use of a guardian ad litem. For more information about a specific Court’s requirements contact a child custody lawyer in your area.

Child Custody Law Firm in Tampa

If you need to start or are in the middle of an ongoing child custody case contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a child custody attorney. At Florida Law Advisers, we take these matters very seriously and will stand firm for what is fair. Our professional legal team is dedicated and passionate about these matters and will work tirelessly to help achieve the outcome you desire. To speak with a child custody lawyer in Tampa  call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your calls 24/7.

medical bills in bankruptcy

Unexpected medical bills can financially devastate a family for many years to come. Luckily, most medical bills in bankruptcy are eligible to be discharged. See Bankruptcy law 11 USC 424.  This is because medical bills in bankruptcy are almost always unsecured debt. Unsecured debts are loans in which the debtor does not provide any collateral for the loan. Other examples of unsecured debts can include credit cards, student loans, rent, and gym memberships. When a debt is discharged in bankruptcy the borrower will be released from all liability on the debt. For more information on how specific medical bills in bankruptcy would treated by current bankruptcy law contact a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer for advice.

Medical Bills in Bankruptcy – Chapter 7

Generally, there are two different types of bankruptcy to choose from, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If a debtor is interested in retaining certain assets and paying their medical bills in bankruptcy, then Chapter 13 may be a good option. On the other hand, if a debtor cannot afford to make the payments required under Chapter 13 and wants to wipe out medical bills in bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be more appropriate.

In Chapter 7, the debtor does not make monthly payments to their creditors, instead non-exempt assets of the debtor may be liquidated to pay back the creditors. Exempt property is property that you do not have to forfeit when filing for bankruptcy and are entitled to keep. Before you file for bankruptcy or take any other debt relief measure it is important to know which exemptions you qualify for. The amount and type of exemptions you are eligible for may greatly impact your decision on whether to file for bankruptcy, and if so either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. Fortunately, an experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney should be able to advise you on which assets may qualify as exempt prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Medical Bills in Bankruptcy – Chapter 13

In contrast to Chapter 7 bankruptcy where debt is discharged without any attempt at repayment, Chapter 13 requires a debtor to create a payment plan with a trustee who assists, reviews, and supervises the payment plan. Click here for more information on Chapter 13 payment plan. Under Chapter 13, unsecured debts have to be paid the same amount of money they would have received if the debtor had chosen to file for Chapter 7. This means the amount of medical bills in bankruptcy that will be paid depends on the specific facts of each case. In some cases, a debtor will not have to pay anything towards medical bills in bankruptcy and in others they will be required to pay a significant portion of the remaining medical bills.

If considering filing for bankruptcy you should speak to a bankruptcy attorney at the earliest possible opportunity. It is highly recommended to be specific and open about the type of debt you owe and what your goals are for the medical bills in bankruptcy. If you have a substantial amount of medical debt you are unable to pay a Chapter 7 might be best for you. However, if wanting to attempt repayment a Chapter 13 may be your best option.

Bankruptcy Law Firm in Tampa

If you are burdened with medical bills or have a difficult time meeting your financial obligations Florida Law Advisers, P.A. may be able to help. Our bankruptcy attorneys have years of experience helping people just like you solve their financial problems with medical bills in bankruptcy. We combine our experience and skills in the courtroom with a thorough knowledge of the law to help achieve the results our clients need and deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer at our firm.



default divorce

If you have received notice of a divorce, child custody, or child support case filed against you it is crucial to respond quickly and correctly. When a party does not respond to a divorce or child custody petition, a default divorce can be entered against that party. Normally, a person served with a Florida divorce petition or child custody case only has 20 days to file a response. If a response is not timely filed, the petitioner (person filing the case) can request a default divorce be entered against the other party. Default divorce judgments can be helpful but are not right for every case. If you need legal advice you should contact a divorce attorney in Tampa for a consultation.

What is a Default Divorce in Florida

If a default is entered the case can continue forward without participation by the defaulted party and a default divorce judgment may be entered by the judge. Further, the Court can enter the default without even having a hearing on the matter. If the Court enters a default, the defendant/ respondent will not have an opportunity to contest the merits case or raise defenses. See Residential v. Rector. Moreover, if you are defaulted you may not even be entitled to notice of future court hearings or other activity. See Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.

Clerk Default Divorce vs. Judicial Default Divorce

Under Florida law, there are two types of default: clerk and judicial. Clerk default occurs when a party fails to respond in any form to the petition. The second category of default, judicial default, takes place when a party fails to plead or defend against the claims against them. A party can plead or defend claims against them at any time before a default is entered against them. Conversely, once the default is entered the defaulted party is deemed to have waived their defenses and is treated as having admitted all the allegations. See State Farm v. Horkheimer.

A clerk’s default can be entered without even a hearing or notice to the nonresponding party. On the other hand, a judicial default generally requires a hearing and notice of the hearing to be sent to the nonresponding party. At the hearing for a judicial default divorce, the party will have an opportunity to try and persuade the judge to not enter the default divorce.

The outcome of a family law case can have drastic consequences on your finances and family. If you have been notified of a family law case against you it is important to contact an attorney for assistance as soon as possible. If an adequate response is not timely filed, you may lose your right to defend against the case.

Tampa Divorce Law Firm

 If you have been served with a lawsuit, such as a divorce petition or child custody case contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a divorce attorney in Tampa. Each case is different, and our vast experience allows us to cater our services to each client’s individual situation. Our professional legal team is passionate about these matters and work tirelessly to represent our clients. To speak with an attorney call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.