Family Law

I don’t need an attorney …

When I hear a potential client say this phrase “I feel for them...” Unfortunately, some may think navigating the Family Court System can be easy and will be as simple as an Law Order episode. The fact of the matter is that the Florida Family Court system can be confusing and overwhelming and this does not take into consideration the Statutory and the Case law that goes along with navigating the system. Also, don’t forget about each Judge and their likes and dislikes. The fact of the matter is that navigating the court system is not a game and once a judge makes a decision on your matter you don’t get a redo unless you are able to appeal.

If you can’t find an attorney to assist you with your entire case sometimes having an attorney assist you in a portion of your case may be beneficial.

Domestic Violence and Money Mayweather

Domestic Violence and Money Mayweather

Although we may not know exactly what happened between Money Mayweather and the mother of his children back in 2010, he has pled guilty to domestic battery. No matter what happened in September 2010, Money Mayweather is facing a 3-month sentence in the Clark County Detention Center.

Regardless of your personal thoughts on the Mayweather domestic battery case, the bottom line is Domestic Violence is a HUGE problem. The overwhelming majority of clients I encounter have been in some form or another involved with domestic violence (men and women). Whether or not you think domestic violence is a REAL EPIDEMIC, it is never right to hit your partner regardless of the situation.

Dog Fighting…

Why? Is the first word that comes to mind when I read or see footage of dog fighting. Well, actually that is not the first word, but it is the first non-expletive word that comes to mind.

Why would people take innocent animals and force and train them to hurt each other? My theory is because people can be the worst representation of creatures on earth; however, I when seeing such images or reading such articles I also have to remind myself that people can also be the best representation of creatures on earth.

I see animals like children; they are innately good, however sometimes they are surrounded by awful people. Just like children, animals can be rehabilitated and some of the damage that was done can be reversed; however, sometimes the damage was so severe that the outcome is irreversible.

As individuals we can be vigilant against both dog fighting and child abuse. Also, as consumers, we can boycott and use our financial power to make statements that those that support such cruelty do not deserve the support of consumers.


Divorce, Kids, and Pets...

I just read a great article on Pet Custody and Divorce and agree with the commentators. See a copy of the article below: Pet custody: Divorce battles get hairy


THEY still fight like cats and dogs in divorce court. But more and more they are fighting about cats and dogs.

Custody cases involving pets are on the rise across the United States.

In a 2006 survey by the 1600-member American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a quarter of respondents said pet custody cases had increased noticeably since 2001. The academy is due for another survey, but there is no doubt such cases have grown steadily since then, said Ken Altshuler of Portland, Maine, a divorce lawyer and AAML president.

If there is a child involved in a divorce, many judges will keep the pet with the child, lawyers said.

"But what do you do when the pet is the child?" Mr Altshuler asked.

Breakups in same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships are among reasons pet custody fights have become more common, lawyers said.

Pet custody cases have grown as much as 15 per cent in his office over the last five years, said lawyer David Pisarra of Santa Monica.
He is his own best example. He shares custody of eight-year-old Dudley, a longhaired standard black-and-tan dachshund, with his ex, who has remarried and introduced a step-dog to Dudley.

Pet consultant Steven May hired Mr Pisarra six years ago to handle his divorce. Besides a daughter, May and his ex worked out custody of three dogs, two cats and Tequila the parrot.

Mr Pisarra and Mr May became good friends and often take their dogs for walks in Santa Monica. They also teamed up last year to write a book about co-parenting a pet with an ex titled "What About Wally?"

Pets are considered property in every state in America. For years, they have been divvied up like furniture during divorce proceedings. But times are changing.

"Judges are viewing them more akin to children than dining room sets. They are recognising that people have an emotional attachment to their animals," Altshuler said.

"There is a shifting consciousness," Mr Pisarra said. "Pets are being given greater consideration under the law."

Raising a Child: It Takes a Village

As the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” For many couples, expecting a child can be a nerve racking experience, but it ultimately ends joyous. Prior to and after having a child, many new parents look to their parents, family, friends, other new parents and books to figure out how to raise their new bundle of joy. They even have a phone app to assist you in raising your child. (see: No matter what you read or the advice you get nothing can prepare you for being a parent until your bundle of joy arrives; however, preplanning for the new addition to your family can help you limit needless stress and conflict. Before Your New Bundle Comes

Before your new bundle of joy arrives, it may be beneficial to consider the following potential issues and reach agreements so that transitions over the first few years of your child’s life are smooth:

1.     Who will come over and assist you in the first few months with your newborn? For how long?

2.     What religious path will you show your child?

3.     How will you discipline your child? Are both of you on the same page?

4.     Will someone stay home and raise your child? Should you look at daycare or a relative to assist? (see the latest cost of raising a child:

5.     What type of school will your child attend? Religious, public, home school?

6.     Should you start a college fund right away?

Both Parents

Remember as parents that your child is an individual and he/she will have his/her own personality.  Your child will have likes and dislikes and some of those characteristics will be like you and your spouse and others may not. One of the things new parents should realize is that raising a child is a learning experience, and you will not get everything the first time around but being there and trying your best will pay dividends in the end.

Not only is it important to have the lines of communication open between you and your spouse, but it is just as important to have a game plan on issues like the above. Your child will need both of you in his/her life and the law in the state of Florida expects and promotes such equal involvement.

Family Law- “Getting to the Heart of the Matter”

Prior to and during law school I was trying to figure out what area of law I wanted to practice. As time progressed and experience was gained, I narrowed down the large umbrella that encompasses the area of “law” that I wanted to practice. My experience as a middle school and high school classroom teacher prior to entering the practice of law helped mold my decision regarding where to aim my focus. Although I am knowledgeable and capable of practicing in several areas of law, I am focused on four specific categories: Family Law, Criminal Law, Social Security Law and Animal Law. I will write more about each of these areas of law in other posts, but today I am going to focus on Family Law.

Family Law is enormous and complex. The reason I chose Family law is because of my past and my experience as a teacher. One of the reasons I went to law school was to advocate/work for children and families. Following is a list of just some of the more common areas of Family Law:

1.     Adoption

2.     Alimony

3.     Annulments

4.     Child Abuse

5.     Child Custody (time sharing)

6.     Child support

7.     Divorce

8.     Domestic Violence

9.     Guardianship

10.  Name Changes

11.  Pre and Postnuptial agreements

12.  Surrogacy

13.  Visitation

The first hand experience I gained from students as a classroom teacher was invaluable, and oftentimes simply disheartening. I want to make sure that when I assist a parent in obtaining a divorce that the child’s perspective is not lost in the process. In addition to my experience as a teacher, I also volunteered my time with a legal aid office. Working in a legal aid office allowed me to understand and see first hand what happens to people who want to get a divorce but cannot afford assistance. This experience was invaluable and will stay with me for a long period of time, because as an attorney I understand I am in a position of power, and as a result I must advocate for clients or potential clients who may not have the funds to pay for a divorce but are in desperate need of assistance.  On the flip side, I also have experience in handling cases for clients who do not have the same financial hardship as a large portion of our population. During law school I was fortunate to work with a seasoned attorney who worked with clients who were affluent and able afford an attorney to assist them in obtaining a divorce. Those clients’ major concern was not paying attorney fees, but how to best sort through their pension funds, the investment properties, the businesses, and other valuable assets.

Family Law is something I enjoy practicing and I believe my above experience will benefit my clients dealing with family related legal and social issues.  I am a firm believer in well rounded representation and I hope that my clients will appreciate my desire to help them with not just their legal needs, but also with their family’s social needs in adjusting to whatever changes are occurring.  Family is the center of most people’s lives and therefore I feel the field of Family Law is one of vital importance and I am honored to be able to practice in a profession that allows me to assist clients and their families.