Archive: June 2022

June 23, 2022

How Can Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in Florida

A child’s home should be their safe space. But unfortunately, many homes can be a toxic environment for a child to live in. A prime example would be a home where domestic violence runs rampant. Of course, you’d want to take a child away from an abusive parent to prevent further harm to the child. But child custody can be a bit tricky, especially when domestic violence is involved.

What Are the Child Custody Laws in Florida?

Child custody laws in Florida are meant to ensure that the child’s best interests are always considered. The goal is to protect the child’s right to their parent and their right to live in a safe home. As a parent, you have the right to know the whereabouts of your child. The child also has the right to know their parent.

However, the court may modify or terminate the parenting plan if one of the following applies:

  • The child’s safety is at risk
  • The child’s emotional development is at risk

If one of these circumstances is present, the court may modify the original parenting plan. But what does this mean for parental rights?

What Else Does Child Custody Involve?

The court will also make a decision regarding what a child’s primary residence will be. As a parent, you have the right to your child’s decision. You will not be able to force your child to move to a different state if they don’t want to. The court will ultimately decide where your child will live when it comes to their primary residence.

You also have the right to speak to your child’s doctor. However, if the court finds that your involvement in the child’s life is unnecessary, the court may modify your parenting plan. They may decide that you should have no contact with the child’s doctor.

And if domestic violence is involved, the judge may decide to terminate your parental rights if the abuse is severe. It’s important to note that this will not affect the child’s right to their parent. Your child will still have the right to decide where they live.

What Happens to Your Child When You Have an Abusive Partner?

If you are involved in an abusive relationship, and you fear for the safety of your child, there is a possibility that the court may terminate your parental rights. However, there are two factors that will be considered. The first is the severity of the abuse you’ve experienced. The court will take into consideration how severe the abuse was.

The court also considers how severe the abuse was to your child. The court may consider if your abusive partner also abused your child. The court will also consider if you have a history of abusing your child.

Final Thoughts

Domestic abuse is a personal and sensitive matter. If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, you may want to talk to a family law attorney about your options. Your lawyer can help you navigate through the family court system and ensure the safety of your child.

Get the legal aid you need for matters of domestic violence and child custody from Dorsey Law JAX. Our firm counsels clients on a wide range of family law issues. Our services include all family law matters, from short-term and emergency situations, such as injunctions against domestic violence, to processing a final divorce and post-judgment modifications of support and custody. Get in touch with us today!

June 23, 2022

Is a Lawyer Necessary in Florida Uncontested Divorces?

In Florida, an uncontested divorce can be completed in one of two ways: (1) using the streamlined form, or (2) using the regular way.

It is easier and takes less time to use the simplified version. However, it only applies to spouses without dependent children who do not seek alimony and has various additional limitations.

A standard uncontested divorce requires more forms and takes longer. Most parties in this form of divorce would benefit from consulting with a lawyer to ensure that their agreed-upon conditions do not have unanticipated negative implications. However, the laws of ethics prohibit a lawyer from consulting with both sides.

Of course, in this form of divorce, you would not pay a lawyer to defend you in court. There are no legal concerns for attorneys to fight in court because it is uncontested, which means that both parties consented to its provisions in writing.

An Uncontested Divorce Can Be Done With or Without an Attorney

It is possible to represent yourself in an uncontested divorce in Florida.

However, it is not recommended.

A regular uncontested divorce is completed through the court and requires several forms to be filled out and filed. The forms include information about property, children, and any agreement about other issues such as alimony and child support. If you do not fill out the forms correctly, you may need a judge to make corrections for you. This may prolong any divorce process and cause you to incur additional court costs.

If you need an attorney to help you do an uncontested divorce in Florida, the filing fees are the same.

If you hire an attorney to do your uncontested divorce in Florida, they will review all required documents and make sure they are filled out correctly. They can then file the documents with the court on your behalf, submit parenting plans and parenting time agreements to the court, and represent you in court if needed.

If an attorney represents you, you will need to pay the court directly for any fees associated with correcting or modifying final orders. Not all lawyers charge the same, so you may want to do some comparison shopping. Also, be sure that you are comfortable with your lawyer and that they are responsive. You cannot have an attorney represent you and your spouse at the same time in an uncontested divorce in Florida.

Types of Uncontested Divorces

There are two types of uncontested divorces in Florida for couples: (1) the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage procedure, which is simple enough to do without a lawyer but can only be used where only a limited number of issues arise, and (2) going through the regular Uncontested Divorce procedure, with the agreement of all the terms by both parties.

Uncontested divorce has the following advantages: (1) it is less expensive, (2) it is a simpler and faster divorce, (3) it avoids unpleasant recriminations, and (4) it decreases post-settlement disagreements concerning its terms. In general, court processes are less formal, and the marriage ends on better terms, which is especially essential when children are involved.


An uncontested divorce in Florida is a good option for couples where both parties agree on all the divorce terms, and there is no property to divide. A lawyer can help you make sure you fill out all the required documents correctly and ensure you get the results you want.

If you’re ready to make decisive steps regarding your divorce, seek help from our top Jacksonville attorneys at Dorsey Law JAX’s pool of reliable lawyers. Call us now at (904) 394-2865.

June 16, 2022

Documents Your Attorney Will Need For Your Retirement Plan

Planning for retirement is the greatest approach to assure a comfortable retirement lifestyle. The sooner you start investing and the more meticulously you plan, the longer your money will have to grow.

The time needed to create an effective retirement plan might make the process daunting. And even after reaching retirement, managing your retirement is a continuing obligation.

However, the process may be easier by defining a realistic and attainable savings and investment strategy and maintaining a long-term commitment.

Collaboration with Your Lawyer

For the most secure retirement, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney who specializes in retirement planning. A lawyer specializing in retirement planning can assist you in understanding how to maximize your retirement money and assets.

As you plan for retirement, your attorney can also assist you in taking advantage of favorable tax regulations. You will need to collect several papers and send copies to your attorney. During the evaluation of your papers, you and your attorney may plan your retirement to protect your short- and long-term interests and those of your family. This list of papers your attorney may obtain is not exhaustive.

Financial Records and Account Statements

To estimate your future Social Security payments accurately, you must evaluate your personal and corporate tax filings. Together with additional evidence of current income, these records can be used to establish what proportion of your salary must be saved to reach your retirement objective.

Using bank accounts, certificates of deposit, and other account information, you and your family may assess what immediate cash is accessible. You and your attorney can decide whether account consolidation or account relocation will benefit you best.

  • Individual tax returns for the previous three to five years (federal, state, and local)
  • Business tax returns for the previous three to five years (federal, state, and local)
  • Proof of current income
  • Proof of current income for your spouse
  • Prenuptial agreement
  • Bank statements
  • Certificates of deposit

Accounts For Retirement, Stock Portfolios, and Real Estate

Whether you have an employer-sponsored defined benefit pension, a 401(k), an individual retirement account (IRA), or another type of retirement account, you and your attorney can discuss and plan the optimal use of your retirement accounts, taking tax implications into account, so that you can be protected in the future.

Additionally, you and your attorney should analyze your financial portfolio to see if the degree of risk is suitable for retirement planning. Additionally, you should evaluate your mortgages and property valuations to see if selling, downsizing, or refinancing is right for your retirement plan.

  • Pension statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Social security benefits estimate
  • Stock portfolios
  • Stock options
  • Mortgages
  • Loan documents
  • Utility bills
  • Other bills (e.g., college tuition for children, health and dental insurance premiums, unreimbursed medical bills, etc.)

Wills and Testaments, Insurance Policies, and Personal Property

While planning your retirement, you might also revisit your estate strategy. You and your attorney can examine your will, powers of attorney, and advance instructions for health care. It is prudent to align your estate strategy with your retirement objective. You may also desire to evaluate your life, health, and homeowner’s insurance plans. While many retirees cancel their life insurance policies, you may desire to keep yours for legacy or estate planning reasons.


Final recommendation: examine a list of your personal property, including home furniture, jewelry, artwork, and workplace supplies. As part of your retirement plan, you and your attorney can select which personal property should be liquidated.

The Dorsey Law JAX is an expert in various family law topics. We offer all family legal services, from injunctions against domestic abuse through divorce proceedings. We strive to negotiate agreements but will go to trial without hesitation if required. If you seek a family lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida, we will assist you. Contact us immediately!

June 2, 2022

What You Need to Know When Filing for Divorce In Florida

Getting ready to file for divorce requires you to get your financial documents in order. One of the documents you will file is a Certificate of Mandatory Disclosure. Each party is required to provide documents to the other party. The documents you provide should include tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, proof of any debts you may have, and liabilities. Aside from this, there are other things that you need to do to get through the process. To help simplify things, we thought it would be useful to put together a brief article on this subject. If this is something that you want to learn more about, read on as we break down everything you need to know when filing for divorce in Florida.

What Options Do Couples Have When It Comes to Divorce?

If the parties can agree to terms, there is also an uncontested divorce. If the parties agree on everything, including the division of assets and liabilities, parental responsibilities, time-sharing, and financial obligations, then our firm can draft an uncontested divorce with all of the documents necessary for filing. Once the documents are signed by the parties, we will present them to court, for review and entry into a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.

 How Does Divorce Work In Florida?

In the state of Florida, the first step to getting a divorce is to file a petition for dissolution of marriage. Your spouse is served with the petition and a summons and will then have 20 days to file an answer. Once that answer is filed, both parties will have to file financial affidavits and mandatory disclosure. Depending on the outcome of these steps, the parties may enter into a partial or full agreement, or they proceed through mediation.

If the parties can come to an agreement during mediation, we can set a date before the judge for them to dissolve the marriage. The parties may ask the court to decide issues about financial matter and/or about timesharing. The court will set a hearing for the judge to hear from the parties. Before any court date, I will meet with my client to review what they can expect and to work with them on testifying and responding to questions posed by opposing counsel. If you have a court date, it’s important to be prepared to present your positions and show that you have evidence supporting your arguments.

Which Party Pays Spousal Support Or Alimony? 

Either partner may have to pay spousal support. The court first decides whether either of the partners has an actual need for spousal support and whether the other partner has the ability to pay spousal support. After that, the court considers all relevant factors such as the duration of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age and physical and emotional condition of each partner, the financial resources of each partner, the earning capacities and educational levels of each partner, the contribution of each partner to the partnership, the responsibilities each partner will have with regard to any minor children they have in common, and any other factor that may be relevant. Spousal support/alimony is not always awarded. It is important to contact me prior to filing for divorce if you believe that you may have to pay spousal support or if you believe that you may be awarded alimony, as we need to develop a strategy as soon as possible.

Child support is calculated using a specific formula based on the income of the parties, the number of overnights each party spends with the child, health insurance, and daycare costs. Courts have the discretion to make alimony calculations based on the parties’ income and expenses as well as other factors such as the length of the marriage, the parties’ financial contributions, and their education. 


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 when it comes to providing clients from all over Florida with legal services. Contact us today to set up your in-person appointment!

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