The importance of a good family law attorney cannot be overemphasized. At Sara Jones Law, P.A., we handle all legal matters that arise involving spouses, parents, grandparents, and children in Florida. We’ve represented people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Whether you are going through a complicated dissolution or a simple legal proceeding, our team can provide value, protection, and peace of mind. If you have family law questions, call us to discuss your legal rights, and see how we can help.
Types of Family Law Matters We Handle
If you’re dealing with a family law matter, you have legal rights and options. At Sara Jones Law, P.A., we handle all types of family law matters in Florida, including the practice areas listed below:
The decision to get a divorce can be a difficult one. Once you decide divorce is necessary, you have many more choices and decisions to make, as there is no “one size fits all” divorce. Florida offers four different types of divorce, including a simplified dissolution of marriage. A knowledgeable Florida family law attorney can help you navigate the court system. Even if you are pursuing a simplified dissolution to save costs, a lawyer can help you ensure all documents are filed correctly and on time.
Annulment is an alternative to divorce, that has the legal effect of erasing a marriage. Many people want to get an annulment for religious reasons, particularly if their religion forbids divorce. To be eligible to have your marriage annulled in Florida, it must meet specific criteria, which include the inability to consent to the marriage, bigamy (one party was married to another person already), undisclosed impotence, fraud, force, or one of the parties being underage.
Child Custody, Child Support, and Visitation
In Florida, the courts want both parents to be involved in a child’s upbringing and life, and encourages a cohesive parenting plan. Child custody matters can include disputes over parenting time with the child, visitation, and child support. These matters can be contentious and emotionally charged, especially following a difficult separation or divorce. If you and your child’s other parent are unable to reach an agreement regarding sharing custody and parental responsibilities, the judge will review a case and make those decisions. In most cases, a lawyer can help you resolve custody and visitation disputes through mediation or negotiation.
Alimony exists because, in almost every relationship, one spouse makes more than the other. When your marriage ends, alimony makes the lesser-earning pounds be able to go on living as you were before getting divorced. In reality, this almost never happens, because it costs more to maintain two separate households than one. However, alimony can ensure that both separating spouses share the effects of the divorce, and one spouse does not suffer unnecessarily. There are four types of alimony in Florida, according to Section 61.08 of the Florida Code:
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony
- Rehabilitative Alimony
- Durational Alimony
- Permanent Alimony.
Alimony is often one of the hardest things to agree on in a dissolution, but it is so important. A family law attorney can help you negotiate the amount of the award and the duration of support payments.
Division Of Marital Property
In a divorce, marital property must be divided, including the house, rental properties, cars, retirement accounts, stock options, pensions, IRAs, and investment accounts. The court will consider the length of the marriage, economic circumstances of each spouse, each spouse’s debts and liabilities. A form called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, issued to divide retirement benefits. We can review your unique case and determine what benefits you may be entitled to seek in a divorce.
In Florida, “relocation” is defined as moving more than 50 miles away, for at least 60 days. a written agreement, signed by all parties, is necessary if a parent is moving more than 50 miles away. This applies whether or not you were married to the other parent. If both parents do not agree to the relocation, you can file a petition and serve the other parent, and the court will consider whether a move is in the child’s best interests. If you are hoping to relocate with a child, we can help with a relocation agreement or petition.
Adoption can be a positive experience for many families. Our adoption legal services include open adoptions, closed adoptions, stepparent adoptions, and grandparent/family relative adoptions. Working with a lawyer can ensure adoptions are completed without stress in a timely manner.
A separation agreement is different from a divorce in that the parties remain legally married while working out custody, visitation, and child support. Couples may choose to go this route if they are unsure they want to get divorced or need to stay married for financial benefits, such as health insurance. Unlike some other states that formally recognize separation agreements, Florida does not offer legal separation as a separate process. However, you can petition for child support separate from dissolution, and create a postnuptial agreement to separate assets. If you’re looking to separate but remain legally married, contact us to discuss your options.
Reconciliation is something some couples discuss during divorce, and after, and some couples do decide to get back together after being legally separated. One study found that as many as 10% to 15% of all divorced couples will reconcile. Depending on the stage of marriage when you choose to reconcile, a post-marital or prenuptial agreement can spell out the financial ramifications should you separate again. Contact our office to discuss your options.
A name change may be desired for marriage, divorce, domestic partnership, adoption, or any other reason. Children or adults can legally change their name in Florida through a name change case in family court. When children change their names, both parents must consent. A lawyer who is familiar with procedural requirements can help the name change go quickly and smoothly.
Some of the other areas we can assist in include:
- Contempt cases or cases to enforce prior court orders
- Multi-state disputes regarding children
- Paternity and child-related disputes between unmarried persons
- Department of Social Services investigations
- Grandparent rights
- Restraining orders
- Termination of parental rights
- Modification of prior court orders due to changes in circumstances
- Prenuptial or premarital agreements.
It may be tempting to save money and handle family law matters without an attorney. However, proceeding with legal matters without a lawyer can lead to problems and complications, or cause you to be taken advantage of. A Lake Wales family law lawyer can help you know the full scope of your rights and protect them.
Get a Free Florida Family Law Attorney Consultation
If you have questions about a family law matter in Florida, call Sara Jones Law, P.A. today. We have a strong understanding of divorce law and child custody laws in Florida and know how the courts will handle family law cases and procedures. Call us at 863.455.4811 or request a consultation on our website.