Types of Divorce

awkward, anxious & wandering

Never published but still written… this article was not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

Types of Divorce

Divorce is a time of emotional turmoil. Finances. The kids. The house. The dog. There are so many issues to work through and decisions to be made. Can you and your spouse agree? There are multiple types of divorce. Where does yours fall?

Simple Dissolution of Marriage or Simple Divorce

Divorces in Florida can either be classified as a simple dissolution of marriage or a regular dissolution of marriage. As the name suggests, a simple divorce is less complicated but has certain requirements. There may not be any minor children in the marriage or any currently on the way. Each spouse must complete a financial affidavit and property settlement agreement. Finally both parties must attend the final hearing as petitioners before going on their merry way, or rather unmarried way.

 

Regular Dissolution of Marriage

In a regular dissolution of marriage, the spouse asking for the divorce is the petitioner and the one served is the respondent. From here your divorce can fall into one of two separate categories.

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Hire a Lawyer

Why do I need a lawyer?

Never published but still written… this article was not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

Why do I need a lawyer?

You’re an intelligent human being. Your case should be resolved quickly. You don’t need a lawyer. While you may think you can rock the courtroom on your own, there are many aspects you have probably not considered.

Trying to represent yourself can be tricky and overwhelming. You may have to navigate through an intricate web of city, state, and national laws that are always changing. Attorneys spend years in both law school and practice, familiarizing themselves with this material. They know how to handle legal documents properly, get evidence throw out (if possible), find experts to speak on your behalf, interpret the fine print, and get the best settlement. Don’t forget about all the mumbo jumbo legal terms: deposition, arraignment, stipulation, chattel. The list continues. If you choose to represent yourself in court, you will be held to the same standard as a licensed attorney.

Resolving your case without a lawyer can also be stressful especially if the stakes are high. After all of your research, sometimes you may even damage your case without realizing it or make a mistake that could hurt you later on. Cases involving large lawsuits, serious accidents, a messy divorce, or criminal charges can have harsh repercussions if not handled properly. No lawyer could mean hefty fines, a huge loss in assets, and even jail time.

Continue reading “Why do I need a lawyer?”

Legal Blog

What to Expect After you Hire a Lawyer

Never published but still written… this article was not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

What to Expect After you Hire a Lawyer

Maybe you are getting a divorce. Maybe you are accused of a crime. Whatever the circumstances, you hired a lawyer. Below are a few answers to some more common questions when it comes to working with an attorney.

 

How long will my case last and what will it cost me?

Every case is different. It is almost impossible for an attorney to predict the exact cost and duration of a case. Although your lawyer may have a general idea, cases can drag on for many reasons. For example, the opposing side may not be on the same page.

 

Nothing big has happened yet. Where is my money going?

Attorneys are paid for their time, knowledge, expertise, and advice. Whether attorneys are drafting a letter or preparing for trial, what matters is their time. Copious amounts of research go into everything your attorney does. If you have not heard from your lawyer recently, it does not mean work isn’t being completed. Before cases may even get to trial, a lot of time is spent preparing and researching to ensure the best outcome for your case.

 

How and how often should I communicate with my lawyer?

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Gray Divorce

Gray Divorce

Never published but still written… this article was not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

What is a gray divorce?

A gray divorce is when couples over the age of 50 get a divorce. Gray divorces can take place with couples who have be married once for many years or couples who are on their second or third marriage. This trend of divorcing at an older age has seen a great increase in more recent years. A study by Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin found that the divorce rate for couples over 50 actually doubled between 1990 and 2010. This means that 1 in 4 divorces are now gray divorces.

Why the growing trend of gray divorces

There are multiple reasons for this growing trend. Second marriages (or third or fourth marriages…) are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. For those people still on their first marriage, increased longevity of life could mean another 30 years in your unhappy marriage. Often times these couples simply fall out of love and grow apart. There is also no longer a need to “stay together for the kids” as the children are usually now full grown.

Some people point to the baby boomers for the increase… Continue reading “Gray Divorce”

What to do in Court

What Not to Do In Court

Never published but still written… this article was not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

What NOT to do in Court

You roll over in bed only to realize you forgot to set an alarm. Oh well. You should still make it on time. There is no chance to shower so you throw on your sleeveless black dress. It is a little more low-cut than you remembered. You put on your favorite gold hoop earrings and your matching bracelet for luck. Your attorney warned you of the court dress code, but how strict could they be?

The advice from your attorney on how to act floats through your head, but you don’t need to listen. You should just be yourself.

You grab breakfast for at the courthouse and you are on your way. There is more traffic than anticipated and you can’t figure out where to park. If you are a few minutes late what is the big deal?

Finally you make it inside and see a tall man trip and knock over a sign. You laugh at his misfortunate, but when he looks up at you for help, you pass him by. You need to find your attorney.

In the courtroom you notice the same tall man sitting near the judge and he shoots you an unfriendly look. You pop in a piece of gum to calm you nerves. Your lawyer reminds you to turn off your phone, but you will just put it on silent. Your friends and family all pile in and call out your name. You return the greetings.

When matters begin, you can’t help but yawn and slouch down in your chair to get comfortable. The whole process is a little dull. When your ex speaks, you cannot believe your ears! With each growing lie you roll your eyes even more. You can’t take it any longer.

“Bull!” You yell out in the middle of your ex’s speech. A few choice words follow as your anger gets the best of you. The judge does not look happy.

Needless to say, matters did not quite work out in your favor. What went wrong?

What you should do in court

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Divorce

Coping with Divorce

Never published but still written… this article was not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

Coping with Divorce

A man sits alone at a bar in the afternoon asking the bartender for another drink. A woman in sweats gorges on a carton of ice cream while watching a sad chick flick. It’s pop culture’s depiction of a bad break-up and it happens all the time. Learn to cope with your divorce in a healthier manner so you can move forward.

Turning to alcohol or binge eating may momentarily make you feel better, but it can make matters worse. It is important to take care of yourself especially if you have children. Exercise creates endorphins that boost your mood. Eating healthy can also make your body feel better. Do this instead of finishing that bottle of wine or ordering a pizza for one.

When your emotions are running high from a divorce, making big decisions can be troublesome. Although you may want a clean break, Continue reading “Coping with Divorce”

Legal Blog

Lawyer Vs. Attorney

Never published but still written… theses articles were not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

The Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney

Although often used interchangeably, the two terms above are not exactly the same. There is a small difference. All attorneys are lawyers but not all lawyers are attorneys. Let me explain.

What is a lawyer?

A lawyer as defined by The Law Insider is “one who is trained in the law.” Lawyer is the more general term of the two. If someone attends law school and graduates with a juris doctor, he/she can be considered a lawyer. Lawyers’ career options at that point are limited as they are not yet allowed to represent a client in court.

What is an attorney?

An attorney is a person who is qualified to provide legal representation for someone in court. Attorneys made it through law school, studied for hours on end, and went one step further by passing the dreaded bar exam. Now they are licensed to act on your behalf in the court of law.

It is that simple; one test makes all the difference. Our offices are comprised of attorneys who can stand up for you in the courtroom (and yes, that means they are all lawyers as well).

Annulment

Annulment in Florida

Never published but still written… theses articles were not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.

You made a big mistake. You said “I do” and now you just want your whole marriage to disappear. Can you get an annulment?

What is an Annulment?

Annulment literally means “to make void” which is exactly what it does. When a couple gets a divorce, the marriage is dissolved and assets are divided. When a marriage is annulled, it is as if the marriage never took place. Annulments are usually more expansive than a divorce and much trickier.

Can I get an annulment?

In Florida the laws regarding an annulment are not clearly defined. The courts do have a few established precedents that act as a guide. Because of the unclear nature of annulment, they can be difficult to obtain in Florida. Even if the couple goes through the entire annulment process, the judge may still deny the request.

The cases that may qualify for an annulment are extreme. This may involve fraud (marrying under false pretenses), a sterile spouse without the other person’s knowledge, an underage spouse without parental/guardian consent, or a marriage while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In some cases the marriage is technically already void. An annulment is usually still in your best interest. These instances include if one spouse is already married, if both parties are underage, if the couple is closely related, or if one spouse does not have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage.

Similar to innocent until proven guilty, Florida follows a “valid until proven invalid” view of marriage. An annulment means having the burden of providing proof. It may just be easier to file for divorce instead. Contact our office (internal link) today to find out if you qualify for an annulment.

 

EBT Article

EBT

Never published but still written… theses articles were not reviewed by a lawyer and should not be considered legal advice.
EBT- What is it? And how do I get it?
You’ve heard people talking about SNAP and EBT, but what are they? SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and provides monetary food benefits for low-income people. The benefits are distributed on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) transaction card that is similar to a debit card and replaced traditional food stamps in the late 1990s. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) authorizes stores to accept SNAP, and each individual state manages its own EBT system.
Farmers markets have the opportunity to supply SNAP participants with nutrient-rich foods like strawberries, zucchinis, sourdough bread, and homemade cheeses. SNAP participants can also put their benefits toward seeds or plants that can be used to grow foods at home.
The program not only helps the participants, but also the vendors and farmers make a profit in the process. Why not have your market become an EBT retailer?
While on your journey to accepting EBT, you may experience a few hiccups along the way. Some helpful tips can help smooth these bumps.
The first step is to fill out an application. The process can be done online but, there are a few snags to avoid. To make sure everything is filled out accurately, hiring an attorney is worth considering. If you make an error in this process, it could cost you later.
After submission, cross your fingers that you get approved. But denial can occur for reasons like having a family member who was suspended in the past, being labeled an “ineligible firm,” or lacking “business integrity and reputation.” If you are denied, hiring an attorney may help you appeal the USDA’s decision.
If your application does get approved, the next step involves proper implementation and compliance. A helpful step is to have an attorney draft written guidelines for the other vendors and farmers to sign. Also, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone receives proper training.
Even after these assurances, the USDA could send you a violation letter. Penalties can range anywhere from an expensive fine to a permanent end to your EBT acceptance and criminal charges.  You only have 10 days to respond, but an attorney who specializes in this area could be the difference between a letter that gets overlooked and a compelling argument the USDA cannot deny.
​ Denied.
You’ve been to other markets that use SNAP. You’ve watched people able to get fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to the program. And you’ve seen vendors turn a profit as a result. It’s a win-win situation. Maybe you should apply to accept EBT at your market. Why can’t you help feed those who are less fortunate while also making money?
It took a bit, but you finished the application. You researched the procedure, set up an account, clicked accept a few times for all that legal jargon, gathered the required documents, and filled out every line carefully. Looking back, maybe you should have had some professional help run you through the process just to make sure everything was in order. But all of that work was for nothing because guess what… you were denied.
There are many reasons why the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) may not approve your application to accept EBT at your market. But sometimes it’s the USDA’s mistake not yours. Maybe your crazy uncle was suspended a few years ago and now just because you’re related, you are taking some of the fall. Perhaps your market was deemed as having a lack of “business integrity and reputation.” Or possibly your market was labeled an “ineligible firm” by mistake. Ouch and what does that even mean?
If any of the above happened to you, there is something you can do. Appeal. But hurry, you only have a few days.

Following the EBT Rules: Make it a snap
SNAP is great for both the recipients and the vendors. But at times it may feel like a whirlwind of rules and regulations, how will you keep yourself safe?
Once your application to accept EBT at you market is approved, you still need to take a few steps for proper implementation.
You must design some form of tokens or paper scrip to be used at the market. Careful, you don’t want people to make any counterfeit versions. All farmers and vendors need to be trained in the procedure and rules to redeem these benefits. Make sure everyone knows exactly what can and cannot be purchased with EBT. The market will need someone to organize and take care of the accounting. There needs to be a method in place for reimbursing the vendors. And someone needs to be responsible for storing the supplies and bringing them to each market.
We are humans; we make mistakes. So what if something slips through the cracks? Is everyone at the market properly trained? As a market owner, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone follows the rules. What if one person makes an error?
Luckily, there are some things you can to do to make your life a little easier and ensure your market is protected. Save yourself from a possible fine or worse, a permanent end to your ability to accept SNAP, with some helpful hints.
The first thing you should do is have an attorney draft a set of written guidelines. These guidelines should be signed by each vendor or farmer at your market. The second step is to train these vendors and farmers. Knowledge is power, right? Mistake are made when people do not know what to do. And remember, you are responsible for them. Finally, make sure you stay organized and keep good records. You may be able to correct problems before the USDA discovers them.
Be smart. Be preemptive.

The USDA or U got Shut Down, Ah!
You just got back from a successful day running your market. The weather was sunny and cool. There was a nice crowd. Vendors buzzed with excitement over the fruitful business day. You heard patrons chat about coming back and bringing their friends. And everyone seemed to leave in a cheery mood. When you check your mail, there is a letter from the United States Department of Agriculture or the USDA. Hmm… what could it be?
You tear open the envelope and pull out the pages only to find what you feared, trouble. The use of EBT at your market has been suspended for 6 months. But why?
The USDA can cite you with a number of possible violations when it comes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Maybe it was something you did unknowingly, maybe it was another person’s fault, or maybe it was just a mistake on their part.
Six months is not even the worst punishment. Depending on the situation, the USDA could shut down your EBT use for good or even slap you with criminal charges. They could also hit you with a steep monetary fine up to $11,000 for each illegal transaction with an added fee three times the amount of the transaction’s value on top.
Regardless of the violation or punishment, what should you do? Think fast, and procrastinators beware. You only have 10 days from the time you receive the letter to respond. That means 10 days to read thoroughly through the violation letter, understand exactly what happened, decide to challenge the charges or try to lessen the punishment, create a response for each violation, gather evidence if necessary, and write up that response in a professional manner. Sound a tad overwhelming?
It is okay. Ask for help. An attorney who specializes in SNAP Violation Letters will be able to handle your situation with ease. And that is not even the beginning. After you respond to them, they will respond to you, you may need to respond to them again, and they will respond to you again. Needless to say, help from a profession could save you a lot of time and headache.