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Law Offices of Stephen J. Press
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 Modification of Child Support
The law office of attorney Stephen J. Press represents spouses who are seeking either an increase or decrease in child support. We are highly experienced in handling modifications of child support and the sometimes associated issue of modification of time sharing. Modifications of child support and time sharing can occur between formerly married spouses or between parents who were never married. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can navigate through the court process and protect the rights of the parent.
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What is the procedure for a contested divorce?
In order for the court to have jurisdiction in the case, at least one of the parties must have been a Florida resident for at least six months prior to the filing of the divorce petition. Also, the case can only be brought in the county where the parties last lived as husband and wife. There are separate jurisdictional requirements for the court to have jurisdiction once child custody and/or time sharing is involved. After the divorce is filed the parties must participate in mandatory financial disclosure. If the parties are not able to settle either informally or through the mediation process, the case will be scheduled by the court on the contested docket. A contested divorce case can take six months or more to complete
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Emergencies In Divorce Cases
If you have an emergency situation brewing it is important that you understand your rights under the law. You should seek counsel from an experienced attorney in divorce emergency matters. The law offices of West Palm Beach Divorce and Family Law Attorney Stephen J. Press has over four decades experience in divorce and family law matters and is fully prepared to bring your emergency to court.
Most family court emergencies involve allegations regarding children. The Palm Beach County Family Court has promulgated administrative orders governing divorce and family law matters including emergency situations. Pursuant to court administrative order, motions for emergency hearings will be denied unless there are sufficient allegations to establish that there is:
An imminent risk of substantial harm to a minor child; or
A child is about to be illegally removed from the court's jurisdiction (Palm Beach County)
The court specifically states that motions for the immediate payment of child support and/or alimony or for timesharing usually do not meet the standard for emergency relief.
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Frequently Asked Questions By Divorce Clients III
How is a divorce final judgment enforced?

A final judgment may be enforced by filing a motion for contempt. The court may hold a party in contempt for willfully failing to comply with the court order, such as failure to pay child support. If the party has the present ability to pay the back child support owed at the time of the hearing on the motion for contempt the court can hold the party in contempt. If a party is held in contempt, he can be ordered to pay a "purge" amount. This is typically a lump sum that must be paid in a short period of time in order to avoid going to jail. The violator is said to have the "keys to the jail" in the sense that he has the power to and the incarceration. Final judgments may also be enforced by a motion to enforce or by obtaining a money judgment for an amount due of child support or alimony.
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Frequently Asked Questions By Divorce Clients III

What are the three phases of a divorce case?

Most cases involve three different phases: pleading, discovery and trial.
Pleadings. A divorce case is started by the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage. The other party has 20 days to respond by filing an answer and sometimes a counter petition. If a counter petition is filed the other party has 20 days to file an answer to the counter petition. That usually completes the pleadings phase.
Discovery. In divorce cases, the first discovery that is done is mandated by the court. This called mandatory disclosure and requires both parties to produce a list of financial documents and to prepare a financial affidavit. Additionally, there are other discovery tools available to the attorney: interrogatories, depositions, request for production of documents, request for admissions and infrequently, request for mental and physical exam.
Trial. After the pleadings are closed and the discovery is completed, the case must be prepared for trial (file hearing). The pleadings frame the issues to be presented at the trial and the discovery provides the evidence and information that is needed to prove the essential facts at the final hearing.
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Frequently Asked Questions By Divorce Clients III

What is the difference between a "divorce" and a "legal separation"?

In past years when a divorce was considered by some to be a "stigma" parties would enter into a "legal separation" instead of obtaining a divorce. In Florida, a legal separation is called a proceeding for alimony and/or child-support unconnected with dissolution. A petition for support unconnected with dissolution of marriage can be brought with or without minor children, depending upon the circumstances of the parties. The purpose is to establish alimony or child support, without dissolving the marriage (divorce). The court in this type proceeding does not have authority to make decisions concerning the parties assets and debts. When there is only a "legal separation" neither party can remarry.
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Frequently Asked Questions By Divorce Clients III
What is the meaning of "no-Fault"?

Florida is a no fault state. This means that the law no longer requires reasons for the breakup of the marriage. It is only necessary to state that "the marriage is irretrievably broken". It is no longer necessary to prove one of the traditional grounds as a basis for divorce such as mental cruelty, adultery, or physical abuse. Under the old fault law the party who did not file for divorce did not have to allow the divorce where there was no mental or physical abuse or other ground. If one of the grounds did not exist, the parties had to lie about the existence of the grounds i.e. mental cruelty in order to obtain a divorce. No-fault has eliminated that practice. Now, either party may attain a divorce if he or she believes the marriage is "irretrievably broken" regardless of who caused the breaking.
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Frequently Asked Questions By Divorce Clients III
What is Dissolution of Marriage?

Dissolution of marriage is the current legal term for what used to be called a divorce. It is legal termination of invalid marriage. When "no-fault" was enacted by the legislature, "Divorces" became "dissolutions". Practically speaking, dissolution of marriage is a divorce. Legally speaking, the marriage is dissolved (ended) when the court enters the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
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Frequently Asked Questions by Divorce Clients II
How long does a divorce case take?
It is difficult to give a precise length of time because it depends on whether a case is settled or if it is decided by the judge after a trial. A divorce case is started by the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage. After the other party is served with a petition he has 20 days to file his response. If a settlement can be reached either through the mediation process or informally, a final hearing to conclude the case can be scheduled usually within a couple of weeks after the settlement agreement is executed by the parties. If a case proceeds without settlement and it must be tried by the court, a trial date can generally be obtained on the contested docket usually within about six months from the filing of the case.
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Frequently Asked Questions by Divorce Clients II
What should I bring to the first appointment with the attorney?
The first appointment with the attorney will generally be for information gathering and not necessarily for document gathering. You will need to know the date of your marriage and the birth dates of your children. You will not necessarily be asked for birth certificates or for your marriage certificate. Because the process of mandatory financial disclosure is extensive, it would be helpful if you would gather your financial documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank account records and credit card statements for your first appointment. The law office of West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press will assist you with filling out your family law financial affidavit and will provide you with a list of financial documents that must be provided. You will generally have about 45 days to gather your financial documents.
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