Law Office of Daniel E. Forrest, P.A.

Home for the holiday, but whose?

What happens when your child’s holiday schedule conflicts with the regular visitation schedule? 

Let’s say you are a divorced mother who normally has the children at home during the school week, including evenings and overnights, according to your parenting plan. You have been looking forward to having Christmas this year, which falls on a Tuesday, so that your kids can celebrate with their grandparents, who are coming from out of town.

Mistle-no! Florida restraining orders for nonfamily members

Sometimes domestic or interpersonal stress and conflict come up during the holiday season. In serious situations, people can fear for their safety or that of their children and other loved ones. Obviously, concerns over an unwelcome visit from a potentially dangerous nonfamily member at a Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year or other holiday gathering cast a pall over the occasion. 

At our Fort Lauderdale law firm, we represent people who seek orders for protection, known as restraining orders, from Florida courts to keep people who are likely to harm or create fear of harm away from potential victims. This can come up in a variety of relationships, including: 

  • Unmarried current and former girlfriends or boyfriends
  • Unmarried parents of children
  • Household members
  • Former spouses
  • People in dating relationships
  • Others

Time is of the essence: A New Year, a new alimony problem

Exploring the new provisions of the Tax Code regarding the coming nondeductibility of alimony 

In all the news about tax cuts in the recent federal tax reform bill, most people have not heard about an earthshattering change in the family-law world poised to take effect on January 1, 2019. For divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, ex-spouses who pay alimony to support their formerly better halves will no longer be able to take alimony paid as a deduction against income on their federal tax returns.

Dreidel or bust: Religious holidays and child custody

Can I stop my spouse from celebrating a holiday with my children that falls outside of my religion? 

The short answer is usually not, unless you can clearly show that the practice would pose physical or mental harm to your children. It is likely not harmful enough if exposure to different religious practices of two parents is confusing to a child or even causes some anxiety.

Till death do us part: Waiving your elective share

A spouse’s “elective share” refers to his or her legal right under state law to choose to receive a specific, fixed share of the other spouse’s estate at death in lieu of receiving what was (or wasn’t) left to the surviving spouse under the deceased spouse’s will. Broadly, the concept of the elective share evolved to protect surviving spouses from disinheritance, which was particularly important historically when almost all wives were homemakers without careers. 

The elective share in Florida is currently “30 percent of the elective estate.” Determining what property is within the elective estate can be a complicated legal question because the elective estate can be larger than the amount of property passing under a will, reaching some property that normally passes outside probate court.

A shot of conflict: Vaccine disputes in divorced Florida families

Floridians sometimes have differences of opinion about whether vaccinations are safe for children. When a divorcing, divorced or unmarried parent’s belief about whether vaccinations are in the best interests of his or her children conflict with that of the other parent, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about legal issues and potential legal remedies, depending on the circumstances. 

First, there may be government or school regulations or policies requiring certain vaccinations as well as opt-out procedures in some cases. An attorney can advise you about this in your particular jurisdiction.

Part 1: The exes who party together, pay together?

Sharing in the cost of a quinceañera or bar or bat mitzvah after divorce 

During the stressful time of a divorce, especially if there are children to care for, some things may not occur to a parent as he or she heads into negotiations with the soon-to-be ex over the terms of their divorce. For a religious family, it is a good idea to think through related expenses that will come up along the way to adulthood -- like those affiliated with religious milestones.

Who pays for the children’s braces in a Florida divorce?

Today, many children and teens get braces or other orthodontic treatment to straighten or adjust overcrowded teeth, correct an overbite or underbite, enhance tooth or jaw placement, or improve smiles. According to KidsHealth, the average length of time a child wears braces is approximately two years at a price tag of about $5,000. 

Braces, headgear, retainers and similar orthodontic equipment and treatment are an expensive investment in a child’s health for which insurance coverage tends to be skimpy. For an unprepared parent, the unexpected expense can be difficult to budget, especially if the orthodontist requires a large down payment.

Oi vey: Getting the get in a Florida divorce

A Jewish woman in Florida facing divorce may encounter a legal challenge if it is important to her to receive a “get” from her husband. A get is a religious document the husband must sign to release the wife from their marriage. Without a get, a rabbi will not normally remarry her if she wants a subsequent marriage performed within the Jewish faith. 

According to, without a get, “in the eyes of Jewish law the couple is still 100 percent married,” and there may nowadays be incentive for husbands to sign gets because rabbis will not remarry either party without one.

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