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Family Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Family law is a broad term that covers many areas of the law related to marriage, families, children, and divorce. While family attorneys in Fort Lauderdale are most commonly associated with divorce cases, the reality is that there are many other issues that a family attorney may deal with throughout the course of their career. The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A. is a firm that is available to provide any of these services.

What do family lawyers do for their clients?

A family attorney’s practice is usually divided into several areas. The most common tasks include filing for divorce and representing someone throughout the divorce process, representing parents during child custody disputes, child support payment issues, and helping negotiate agreements such as a prenup or divorce settlements. Other times, family attorneys may get involved with issues related to areas such as paternity, domestic violence, and adoption.

Anyone who is unsure about whether a Fort Lauderdale family attorney can remedy their situation should speak with a local professional at The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A. It is possible that certain family attorneys may only deal with a few of these areas, while others may be able handle any type of family case.

Divorce cases

Many family attorneys in Fort Lauderdale file divorces consistently throughout their careers, and this makes up the bulk of their practice. The process starts when one or both parties to the marriage file the paperwork to dissolve the marriage in the local courts. In a no fault divorce, the parties only need to say that their marriage has broken down and has no chance of being fixed. There does not need to be any specific findings related to grounds for divorce such as infidelity, abandonment, domestic violence, or imprisonment. As long as the couple meets residency requirements in Florida, the process to dissolve the marriage can begin. If possible, the couple can make a settlement agreement to end their case quickly, as all matters related to property division and child custody can be negotiated and put into the agreement. When a couple does not settle, they will need to formally litigate issues to divide property and assets, any child custody issues will be decided by the judge, and support payments may be issued. Depending on the length of the marriage and other related issues, the divorce case may be lengthy and complex, or the marriage can be ended in just a few months. As a general rule, longer marriages with lots of shared property and assets have the longest divorcers.

Child custody cases

Family attorneys are crucial when someone is about to go through a dispute over the custody of their children. This usually happens after a divorce, paternity test, or other issue where the parents will not be raising the child together in the same household. Because the judge assigned to the case has the final say regarding how custody will be determined, Fort Lauderdale family lawyers are crucial for preparing for hearings in front of the judge. Each parent will want to present evidence which shows that they are capable of protecting the child’s best interests. This can include their prior history with the child and evidence of stability, financial investment in their children, and ties to the community. In some cases, a parent may also try to bring up problems from the other parent’s past to cause the judge to question whether they can serve the child’s best interests. These kinds of problems may include financial instability and unemployment, substance abuse, criminal records, domestic violence, and prior cases of child abuse or neglect. Because the judge ultimately has discretion of what the best interests of the child are in any case, it is helpful for anyone going to court to have help from an attorney who is familiar with the local judges and has experience in these areas.

Child support and other payments

After many divorce cases, one of the spouses will be subject to child support payments, alimony payments, or both. Child support is ordered so that the parent with less custody time will contribute to their child’s education, healthcare, transportation, daycare, food and shelter, and other needs. These payments are generally based on the parent’s income in Florida, but special needs or other considerations may cause a judge to order a larger or smaller support amount. A family attorney in Fort Lauderdale is also necessary if the parent subject to the payments ever needs to be modified due to a job loss or other changes in income. The child support order is formally given by a judge, so it needs to be modified in court as well.

Spousal support or alimony

After a marriage ends, the spouse with lower earning capacity may receive alimony payments from the spouse with a larger income and greater ability to earn money. In Florida, courts will award a few different types of alimony. These types of alimony are called bridge the gap, permanent, durational, and rehabilitative. As the name implies permanent alimony is only awarded in cases where there was a long-term marriage and the spouse receiving the payments has no chance of starting a career due to being elderly or unemployed for a very long period of time. Both bridge the gap and durational alimony are supposed to last for a specified period of time until the spouse can become financially independent. Rehabilitative alimony is only meant to last for as long as it takes the person to get any additional training or education that would be necessary to become financially independent.

Paternity testing

Paternity tests are usually necessary when a father is going to be subject to support payments or petitioning for custody rights. A DNA test can establish a child’s biological parents with certainty, and the results will be legally binding in a local family court. A Fort Lauderdale family lawyer can also assist with any legal matters related to the paternity test.

Contacting a family attorney in Fort Lauderdale to learn more

Anyone who is interested in these services can schedule a meeting with a local Fort Lauderdale family lawyer. The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A. provides various services to local clients who need help with family issues.

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