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

Important considerations when you choose a Florida family lawyer

At our law firm, we practice exclusively divorce and family law. Our laser focus on clients facing family or relationship conflict or need gives us deep understanding of the personal situations they face, often quite unexpectedly. 

These insights give us keen perspective on what makes a good fit between a family law client and his or her lawyer, some of which we will share here in our second post on the topic. In our first posting, we talked about the high professional bar reached by an attorney to whom The Florida Bar has granted Board Certification in Marital and Family Law like our own lawyer, Daniel Forrest.

What does it mean to be the “best” family lawyer?

Historically, it has been unethical for a lawyer to say that he or she is the “best” lawyer in town or in an area of law. And of course, it would be impossible to choose the best one — a subjective assessment that varies from person to person. So, how can you make a smart hiring decision? 

The truth is, there are many Florida lawyers who could adequately and effectively perform the legal services you need to handle your divorce, separation, paternity or other family law matter. It is also true that attorneys have different strengths and matching those to your unique requirements increases the chances of a positive experience.

Dividing firefighter and police pensions in Florida divorces

A complex issue our clients often face is the equitable division of pensions and other retirement benefits in divorce. The question of pension division is uniquely complicated in Florida when one of the spouses has accumulated financial interests in a pension as a firefighter or police officer. 

Private pension division 

New tax law will make alimony more expensive to paying ex-spouses

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has many controversial provisions, but one will have significant impact on many divorcing couples. The new tax law makes an unexpected change to a tax arrangement that has been central to American divorces for three-quarters of a century. 

This change, many speculate, will make divorce settlement negotiations more contentious and supporting spouses less generous in agreeing to alimony obligations.

Part 2: New military Blended Retirement System and divorce issues

Last week, we talked about the new military retirement program that was launched on January 1, 2018, called the Blended Retirement System or BRS. In that post, we described the historical, legacy plan as well as the features of the new BRS. 

Those features include a new defined contribution component that looks like a 401(k), a lump-sum option and the choice to accept a Continuation Pay bonus midcareer in exchange for longer service commitment.

Part 1: New military retirement plan may throw wrench into divorce

Whether you are an active or retired service member or a member of the Reserves or National Guard, or married to someone who serves or has served, the military pension you (or your spouse) has or will earn is one of your most important assets. 

Federal law allows military retirement pay to be part of the property divided between spouses in divorces in state courts according to Florida law.

New automatic time-sharing schedule for parents in 2018

A major goal for Florida lawmakers with Senate Bill 590 was to "encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent" and to "optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship" with the children after divorce or separation. Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 590 into law and it became effective this year.

Long-term relationship, short-term marriage: In same-sex divorce, who gets what?

On Jun. 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal throughout the country. The case of Obergefell v. Hodges - now considered a landmark case in civil rights - gave same-sex couples the right to marry and to enjoy the state-bestowed benefits of joint tax filing, healthcare decision-making as a spouse, equal parental rights, and so on. And it was a shot across the bow (from a legal perspective) against discrimination.

That was roughly three short years ago.

Terrified to testify? Don't worry - your lawyer will prepare you

To testify means to bear witness.

When you testify, you are a witness to the facts and circumstances of the matter at hand, and you answer questions put to you by your lawyer and your spouse's lawyer. And when you testify, you are asked to speak the truth, under oath, to the best of your knowledge and ability.

Terrified?

Public speaking usually isn't at the top of anyone's fun list. And testifying in a deposition or in court is a unique type of public speaking. The prospect of testifying sets most people on edge. But you needn't worry. Assuming your lawyer is worth his or her salt, you'll be prepared.

You may not believe it, but life does get better after divorce

The short answer is yes - life does get better after divorce.

It's no secret that the end of a marriage is a significant stressor in life. Divorce rates up there with imprisonment and death as one of the most stressful experiences, as per the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale ... in fact, divorce is number two on the list.

"The more stressful the divorce," according to Psychology Today, "the more likely it is that illness will follow." That's a great reason to minimize conflict as much as possible as your divorce proceeds, as well as in finding a divorce lawyer at the outset who knows how to manage conflict. Effective conflict management can save time and money - and prevent or reduce stress.

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