Archive: March 2021

March 26, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Annulment in Florida

Marriages are often one of the happiest moments in a couple’s life, as they seal their love and commitment to each other. But did you know that around 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation? And while most people have a good understanding of how divorces work, the same can’t be said for annulments. 

To clear things up, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about how annulments work in Florida!

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is an oft-misunderstood legal concept due to the fact that there are religious and civil annulments. Like divorces, annulments affect a person’s marital status. However, one key difference here is that annulments declare that the marriage never existed in the first place. This is different from divorce, as divorce only ends an already existing marriage.

Grounds of an Annulment in Florida

Now, the grounds for annulment in Florida can be tricky, considering that Florida statutory law doesn’t really address annulments. However, the state’s appellate courts have issued binding decisions over the years that can be used as a precedent for future cases.

With that being said, grounds for annulment in Florida aren’t that different from the rest of the country. These are divided into two types: void and voidable. Marriages that are considered void are marriages that should have never been considered valid in the first place. On the other hand, voidable marriages are marriages that became invalid over time.

A Marriage May Be Void If:

  • A spouse is legally married to more than one person.
  • It involves people who are closely related by blood.
  • It involves two underage individuals.
  • One spouse is permanently mentally incapacitated to the point that they are unable to consent to the marriage.

A Marriage May Be Voidable If:

  • One spouse wasn’t able to fully consent to the marriage due to a temporary mental problem. This also may apply if one spouse was so much under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the ceremony that he or she was mentally incompetent. 
  • One spouse willfully misled their spouse via fraudulent acts or misrepresentation to trick the other spouse into entering a marriage.
  • One or both spouses only entered into marriage because they were forced or coerced to do so.
  • One spouse is underage and lacks the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • One or both spouses entered into the marriage as a joke or prank.

How to Get an Annulment in Florida

You may be able to file for an annulment in Florida, but you will have to convince the Court the marriage void or voidable. From there, you will have to follow Florida’s family law rules of procedure. 

Effects of an Annulment

Annulments essentially function the same way as divorces, but one key difference would be for marriages that have been considered void. If a marriage is considered void, the children conceived under the void marriage are not considered legitimate under Florida law. It’s also important to note that the circuit court will still need to decide regarding child custody and support regardless of whether a marriage is void or voidable.

Permanent alimony is also not ordinarily granted in annulment cases. However, this may change if one spouse is considered to be a victim of the other spouse’s wrongdoing. This may apply when one spouse deceives the other into entering a void or voidable marriage.

Conclusion

We hope this article has shed some light on any misconceptions that you may have had about annulments. If there are still things that are unclear, it would be best to consult with legal professionals. With expert help, you will be able to know more about the process and go through it smoothly!

If you’re looking to explore other means of separation, The Dorsey Law Firm has the best divorce lawyers in Jacksonville. We have over 35 years of experience in providing clients from all over Florida with legal services. Get in touch with us today to set up your in-person appointment!

March 25, 2021

Reasons to Stay Away From Social Media When Settling Your Divorce

Over the years, the internet has grown to become a significant part of everyone’s lives. Now, most people can’t go twenty-four hours without checking their social media accounts to find out the latest news about their family, their friends, their country, and the rest of the world.

When couples go through a divorce, it’s an unfortunate time in both parties’ lives that it may be best to stay offline for the time being. While you’re handling the proceedings with your lawyer, you should steer clear from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms you used to check every day. Staying away from social media is an important piece of advice that divorce lawyers often tell their clients, especially if you want to avoid facing more problems than what’s already in front of you. 

Keep reading below to find out why updating your social media platforms can put you at risk while facing a divorce. 

The Statements You Make Will Put You at a Disadvantage 

Social media serves as a free space for online users to voice out their opinions, regardless if they care about what the public thinks or not. But when you’re going through a divorce, it may not be the brightest idea to go on Facebook or Twitter and share your thoughts out in the open. 

The posts you make could be held against you in court and place you in a tighter situation than before. When what you previously claimed in front of the judges is different from your statements online, the court will begin to question you. It is already a huge mistake to lie, but when you get caught online for it, your case could end up badly for your side.  

The Pictures and Expenses You Share Online Can Affect Your Case 

An essential part of any divorce proceeding is the couple’s finances, including your shared and individual savings. When you tell the court that you don’t have enough funds to raise the kids on your own once your partner leaves, but your posts on social media say otherwise, you could be in big trouble. 

Your latest travel pictures on Facebook or Instagram can contradict what you shared with the judge if you aren’t careful about the things you post online. As such, to avoid any confusion, it would be better to lay low and get off social media during the divorce settlement case. 

The Posts You Make About Your Ex Can Be Seen By Your Loved Ones

In the event that your marriage ends badly, it isn’t right to talk about it on social media, on platforms where your friends and family, and even your kids can see it. No matter what happens, your partner is still your child’s parent, so it will help to avoid talking bad about them.

Despite the divorce, the chances are that you will require your ex’s help to continue funding your kids’ future, especially when you don’t have enough savings to continue raising them independently. Even if the relationship did not end on good terms, you could at least attempt to remain civil with your ex-partner for the sake of your children. 

Conclusion

The internet and social media have brought plenty of positive effects to people’s lives because they can conveniently consume information wherever and whenever they want. However, when it comes to divorce proceedings, with all the stress and problems you’re bound to face, you should avoid social media entirely until the case is closed. Moreover, you have to make sure to hire a reliable divorce lawyer that can represent you and fight for you to help you win your case.  

Are you looking to hire a divorce lawyer in Jacksonville, FL? The Dorsey Law Firm of Jacksonville has had over thirty-five years of experience handling legal matters and providing our clients the justice they deserve. Get in touch with us today to talk to our professional lawyers!

March 17, 2021

Divorce Lawyers: Do You Need One When Your Partner Has One?

Transparency is important in a relationship, but the sad truth is that it may not always be the case for everyone. For instance, if you are going through a divorce, you may be shocked when your significant other suddenly hire a divorce attorney. It can lead you to question what you had and the life you built together. Aside from the emotional aspect, it’s also crucial to note whether you need to look into having your own lawyer. 

This article will discuss what you need to think about when it comes to divorce and self-representation. Take this as a practical move on your part to access the situation rationally and find the appropriate means to prepare yourself. After all, it’s about your future wellbeing at stake, along with your assets, children, and the like. 

Why Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer When My Spouse Has One? 

If you are looking for a short answer to the question “do I need an attorney when my partner has one?” it would be yes. It should also be done as soon as possible. 

When your spouse has a divorce lawyer, it means there can be a legal battle soon. You want to prevent getting into major inconveniences when you go to court without an expert practitioner and legal advising ready. Doing so can make you lose all your financial assets and belongings. 

Having a divorce lawyer is a way to safeguard your best interests while being well-equipped to counter any charges. For example, while you may seem to trust your spouse, you can be caught off-guard when there are physical assault claims posted against you. As a rebuttal, one or two simple cross-examinations from your attorney can disapprove them easily, giving you the upper hand. 

What Else Can I Benefit from Having My Own Divorce Lawyer? 

If this isn’t your first divorce or you have some legal knowledge in court, you may feel competent stepping into the plaintiff or defendant side. However, take note that not all divorce proceedings happen the same way. Apart from the various differences in managing the proper allocation of shared assets, you may be blindsided by state-specific laws. 

For instance, Florida is known as a no-fault divorce state. It means even if there are no grounds for separation, like adultery and abandonment, the marriage can still be legally nullified. There may also be marriage counseling included, making the legal procedure more challenging and longer. It’s best to have an attorney who is well-versed in state-specific cases to ensure you are well-prepared. You may even beat your spouse’s legal expert if they are inexperienced. 

What Should I Consider When I Hire a Divorce Attorney? 

Take note of the following details to make an informed decision when hiring a divorce attorney: 

 

  • Kids and pets: Besides socio-emotional attachments, your children and household pets have to be cared for properly. You may have no way of knowing this once they are in the custody of your spouse, affecting your mental health. As such, ensure the attorney you hire will fight for these protections. 

 

 

  • Business-related complications: You and your partner may have an enterprise together, a valuable source of ongoing income. After the divorce, it can also be awkward to keep the operations going while still working with your ex-spouse. The good news is you can gain reliable insights from your lawyer if it’s beneficial to either go your separate ways or file for business closing. 

 

 

  • Fiscal bonds and other shared finances: Money, property, luxury goods—these items can all be taken from you if you don’t fight for them properly. Make sure your divorce attorney can at least come to some sort of acceptable settlement once you file your case in court.  

 

Conclusion 

Although divorce may not be something you would want to face, it’s a must to have the proper legal protection to keep your financial stability and welfare in mind. On a positive note, you now have a better understanding of what you need to do. You just need to consider your options by choosing the appropriate legal experts and looking further into your current situation. Find ways to prevent losing your assets today! 

Are you looking for the best divorce lawyers in Jacksonville? Consult with us at The Dorsey Law Firm. We provide legal services for clients all over Florida. Contact us to set up your in-person appointment and get the much-needed legal representation you need. 

March 5, 2021

Child Custody During a Pandemic: How Does It Work?

The global pandemic has caused significant changes in how we live. For one, social distancing is highly recommended to help slow the spread of the virus. Additionally, COVID-19 has affected how people travel. However, what does this mean for child custody and visitation rights? How safe is it to co-parent during a pandemic? 

Child Custody: Temporary Modifications

Some parents have already asked a court to prevent the other parent from visiting their child to prevent the spread of the virus. However, many courts remain reluctant to prevent a high-risk parent from totally seeing their child during the pandemic. 

In some cases, a court may temporarily reduce parenting time should a parent fail to take precautions to protect the child’s safety or acts in a way that could put the child in danger. 

Each situation is unique; therefore, family courts haven’t adopted a consistent approach yet. 

Social Distancing in Custody Arrangements

Social distancing doesn’t directly affect custody arrangements. Therefore, you should continue following your current custody arrangement unless you and your ex agree to an alternative plan or a judge changes it. 

Today, courts are clear that denying visitation during this time will not be tolerated and could result in contempt of court and sanctions. Still, some parents have valid concerns that could justify a temporary change to custody. 

Some valid reasons are if the ex has been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, the ex is showing symptoms of the virus, the ex has a high-risk job and is frequently exposed to COVID-19, or the child is at high-risk for COVID-19. 

Legal Advice for Child Custody

There will be some situations when parents can’t agree on the same thing, which is why you need to contact a family law attorney to help you resolve the issues. Most lawyers conduct online consultations, or you can check your local state or state court websites as they are now starting to provide guidance on custody issues. 

Emergency Custody Orders

In the case that your child’s health will be at risk, it would be worth considering asking a judge to intervene. You and your lawyer may be able to acquire an emergency temporary child custody order from your local court. 

Co-Parenting in the Time of a Global Pandemic

Co-parenting during the pandemic may be more challenging. It is truly up to both parents to find a way to work together during this time.

To make co-parenting a success, it’s essential to keep communications open. Make sure all communications remain productive, which means that you and your ex should talk to find a solution together as the goal. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to find ways to stay more connected despite the physical distance. Schedule virtual visits between your co-parent and the child. 

Conclusion

Child custody during a pandemic is new; therefore, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney to help you navigate the custody rules during this time. Every situation is unique, which means you need to have the right legal advice that will suit your child’s needs. 

Here at The Dorsey Law Firm of Jacksonville, we can help you manage child custody during the pandemic. Contact us today for more information on our legal services.

March 1, 2021

Should You Hire a Private Investigator for Your Divorce?

Divorce can sometimes become a contentious experience between parties. Formerly intimate spouses turn into adversaries who will do anything to get a leg up on the other. Given this dynamic, some people may start to hide pertinent information necessary for the divorce case. This is where a private investigator comes in.

What Does a Private Investigator Do?

Private investigators can perform several functions in a divorce case. They are often hired to uncover hidden assets or gather evidence that will significantly impact a child custody case. Sometimes the task can be as simple as trying to catch a spouse in the act of cheating.

Private investigators are highly discreet trained professionals. They perform surveillance and may even pose undercover to learn more about their target. They have access to databases and other resources that are unavailable to the general public. All of this is done to gather concrete evidence for their client, file a special report, and eventually present it in court.

What Can a Private Investigator Uncover? 

1. Hidden Assets

During the divorce process, one party may attempt to hide their assets to shield them from the case. They may try to use underhanded tactics such as moving funds to offshore accounts or selling property with the intention to reclaim it after the divorce has been finalized.

Private investigators access various databases and official government filings to find assets that have not been disclosed. If fraud is discovered, the court can award the asset’s entire value to the innocent spouse. 

2. Evidence of Misconduct 

Courts no longer require evidence of wrongdoing in order to grant a divorce. However, if marital misconduct is discovered, it can provide more favorable terms under a prenuptial agreement.

In the event of spousal or child abuse, private investigators can help file a restraining order. If a spouse is concerned about what happens when a child is visiting their other parent, a private investigator can be asked to conduct surveillance. 

3. Spousal Support 

If one party is required to pay spousal support, they may consort with their employer to keep salary information off the record or tamper with their business records to lower their net worth. Private investigators can help untangle these schemes through surveillance and financial analysis.

Should I Hire a Private Investigator for My Divorce?

Before heading down the path of investigating your spouse, you should ask yourself if it is a worthwhile endeavor. You shouldn’t let your emotions get in the way of making a decision based on logic and facts.

Ask yourself if it will help your case. Under Florida law, evidence of infidelity is only relevant if your spouse is engaging in inappropriate conduct in front of your children or if they are spending marital assets on a third party. Otherwise, hiring a private investigator will not result in evidence that can be used in your divorce case.

If you have suspicions that your spouse is hiding assets or committing any type of fraud, it’s essential to consult with a family lawyer before resorting to a private investigator. Your lawyer will advise you on what steps you need to take according to the law.  

Conclusion 

People in the middle of a divorce may resort to underhanded methods to cheat the system regarding asset division or child custody. Private investigators have the resources and experience in uncovering evidence of fraud. Before hiring a PI, consult your divorce lawyer if you need further investigation.

If you need a divorce lawyer in Jacksonville, FL, Dorsey Law Firm is here for you. William J. Dorsey has more than 35 years of experience in the state of Florida. By hiring an experienced divorce attorney, you’re laying the groundwork for the best possible outcome. Request a consultation with us today.

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