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Ft. Lauderdale Family Law Blog

Marchman Act order issued too late in recent FL case

When a loved one or family member is going through a rough time with drugs, alcohol or mental issues, it can put you in an incredibly tough position. You've probably tried to talk to them to no avail. You may have stepped in and tried to help when you could. Unfortunately, there are times when people who need treatment refuse to accept help.

Common questions about alimony

One of the main concerns couples have as they begin the process of divorce is how they will manage financially once the divorce is final. Alimony is one factor that weights heavily into how they will budget their future.

But unlike child support payments, which have a strict formula for determining payment amounts, the amount, duration and source of alimony is often less predictable. This can be somewhat unsettling, regardless of whether you will potentially receive payments or be required to make them. 

A family law practice is about more than just divorce cases

Our South Florida law firm focuses on family law. Some readers may view that term as synonymous for divorce. In practice, however, our attorneys have helped families struggling with many different kinds of issues. Our efforts have even included helping families stay together through times of substance abuse.

Although loved ones may feel helpless when they see another family member struggling with addition, there is legal assistance. Specifically, a state law called the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993 allows certain family members, friends or concerned adults to request court intervention in Florida on behalf of someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

A new take on the visitation plan: keeping the family home

A common concern among divorcing parents is whether children will adjust to post-divorce lifestyle changes.

Notably, stability of a child’s environment is one of the factors considered by family law courts in considering custody and visitation plan arrangements. For example, a court may be reluctant to grant primary physical custody to a parent whose work schedule requires frequent travel or unpredictable hours. Even in that example, however, a parent may be awarded joint legal custody, or the authority to jointly decide material issues in the child’s life, such as educational or medical decisions.

How To Help An Addict In Florida Who Won't Help Themselves

Nothing is sadder than seeing a loved one - maybe your spouse, or a son or daughter who is away at college - struggle with addiction. When their struggles become so severe that their life is on the verge of collapse, what can be done to help? This person has probably resisted your help before and maybe even denies there is a problem. Is there another way to intervene, to help keep them out of jail - or from a worse fate - and get them the help they need?

In Florida, there is. A law known as the Marchman Act allows friends or family of a person impaired by substance use to seek legal intervention by filing a petition for emergency assistance and temporary detention for substance abuse evaluation and treatment. And while the person to be detained must be in Florida, the person seeking to intervene does not - meaning out-of-state parents who are concerned about a child who is attending college or living in Florida have a way to help from afar.

You Can't Get His Hair Cut!

Following a divorce, should non-custodial parents be required to get the custodial parent's permission before having their children's hair cut? Or can either parent determine when a hair cut is in order?

This isn't a topic of discussion that comes up frequently (if ever) during a divorce - and as such, most divorce agreements do not speak to the issue. 

Is your spouse a big spender? A Q&A for how to handle debt in divorce

Does your spouse spend money like it's going out of style? Or do they have a mountain of loan debt? If your spouse has a lot of debt then it can deter you from filing for divorce. The last thing you want is to shoulder debt that you did not ask for. Here's what you should know about Florida law and how you can make it work to your advantage.

Calculating child support as part of your custody agreement

These days, many Florida parents who are ending their relationships are negotiating their own custody agreements outside the courtroom. Even though child support is generally set by the court in accordance with statutory guidelines, the parents can come to an agreement about the amount so long as it remains in the best interests of the child. The formula for calculating the support amount can be complex and frustrating, so it would be a good idea to have help. 

Marrying for the 2nd time? Consider a prenuptial agreement

Settling financial matters should be on the to-do list of every Florida couple marrying for the second time -- especially if they are older. A prenuptial agreement is not only for the prospect of divorce, but is also a valuable estate-planning tool. Many older couples who are remarrying have grown children, and even grandchildren, from a prior relationship whom they want to provide for after death.