Archive: January 2023

January 27, 2023

What You Need to Know about Permanent Alimony in Florida

Alimony is a type of court-ordered financial support given to a party after a divorce in Florida. Permanent alimony is a form of alimony in which a court orders one spouse to pay money to the other spouse for an indefinite amount of time. It is typically seen when one spouse has been financially dependent on the other for a significant time.

In the state of Florida, permanent alimony is ordered when a court finds that the spouse seeking alimony lacks the financial means to meet their needs and that the other spouse can pay. The court may consider whether one spouse has a history of domestic violence, which could influence the court’s decision. The court also has the discretion to modify or terminate the alimony if either spouse’s circumstances change. There are also specified events, such as the death of either spouse or the recipient’s remarriage, that may lead to the termination of alimony.

Understanding Permanent Alimony

In Florida, permanent alimony is a complex and vital area of family law. It is essential to understand the factors the court considers when making a decision on permanent alimony, as well as the impact that certain events may have on the alimony. Knowing this information can help both spouses make informed decisions and ensure that their rights are protected.

When deciding whether to grant permanent alimony, Florida courts take into account not only the duration of the marriage and if one party needs permanent alimony but also the ability of the party to provide that type of alimony.

Long Duration Marriages

In Florida, if two people have been married for 17 years or longer, the court may assume that it is a long-term marriage, which may make the awarding of permanent alimony more likely. However, the court can still decide that permanent alimony is not appropriate in some instances.

The purpose of permanent alimony is to provide a spouse with financial support for an extended period after the divorce. This type of alimony is usually only awarded in marriages that have lasted for a long time and where one spouse has a much higher income than the other. When the marriage is short-term, a court will usually not award permanent alimony because the need for long-term financial support does not exist.

In addition, a court will also consider the other types of alimony available when determining if permanent alimony is an appropriate option. For example, if a court believes that the spouse in need of financial support can be adequately supported through rehabilitative alimony or lump-sum alimony, they may opt to award one of these forms of alimony instead of permanent alimony.

Final Thoughts

Permanent alimony is a form of financial support paid by one spouse to the other in a Florida divorce. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance to an individual who does not have the same earning potential as their former partner did during the marriage. Permanent alimony is usually awarded when one spouse has been dependent on the other for an extended period.

The amount of alimony is based on various factors, including the length of the marriage, the couple’s standard of living, and each spouse’s income. The courts may also consider the earning capacity of each spouse, the age of each party, and the health of each spouse. Permanent alimony can last for a particular time, such as five or ten years or an indefinite period.

If you need the help of a family lawyer, turn to Dorsey Law JAX. We are the top Jacksonville attorneys specializing in family law, criminal law, and personal injury. Contact us.

January 27, 2023

Things to Consider When Picking a Florida Divorce Lawyer

The decision to end a marriage is never easy; it can be even more difficult to know what to do next. That said, getting a competent lawyer to represent you is crucial. Hiring a divorce attorney is like having an advocate by your side during the whole ordeal.

There are a lot of factors to think about, but if you can narrow your focus to which lawyer to hire, your goals, and the best way to address the problem, you may be able to make some progress. To have the life you want after divorce, you need to choose a good family lawyer.

The Importance of Recognizing Your Own Individual Needs

Recognizing your specific divorce-related demands is a prerequisite to either hiring or beginning the search for a divorce attorney. Do you, say, have any children? If you do, you’ll need to consider things like child custody and child support as you go through the divorce process. Do you have a high-asset marriage? Is there a business you and your spouse own that needs to be appraised and divided when you get divorced?

Divorce-related concerns aren’t the only ones worth thinking about for yourself and your children. You should also give some thought to the connection you want to have with your divorce attorney and how active you want to be in the proceedings. How hands-on do you wish to be in this case, or would you rather have your lawyer handle most of the details?

The Background, Experience, and Specialization of Your Attorney

You should begin looking for a divorce attorney once you have decided what is most important to you in a divorce, how you want to communicate with your attorney, and how much you are willing to pay. Here are some questions that you should ask any potential lawyers you’re interviewing:

  • “What Are the Typical Circumstances of the Divorce Cases You Handle?”

There are divorce attorneys who specialize in high-asset divorces, divorces with children, and divorces between people over the age of 50. When looking for a divorce lawyer, it’s important to find one who has handled situations like yours before.

  • “When Did You First Start Working as a Family Lawyer?”

There’s no shame in being a relatively fresh attorney, but as the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect.” It’s likely that your divorce attorney will be better able to represent your interests and handle any tricky issues that come up if they have more expertise in similar cases.

  • “Is It More Common for You to Settle Cases or Take Them to Court?”

Finding a lawyer that is an expert negotiator and can reach favorable settlements for their clients is crucial. You should find someone with experience representing clients in court. You should be able to rely on the counsel of an accomplished attorney in the event that your divorce case goes to court.

Choosing the Right Lawyer

You’ll need to find attorneys to interview before you can inquire about their rates, expertise, and availability. How should one go about selecting an appropriate legal counsel for a divorce proceeding?

A smart place to start is to find out if anyone you know personally has recently gone through a divorce and if they were satisfied with their divorce attorney. If you need legal representation, one of the finest things you can do is ask around for referrals.

The second step is to do an online search in your direct vicinity. Check out lawyer review sites and read client testimonials once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential local attorneys. Positive client feedback is a good indicator of how competent an attorney is.


Choosing the right lawyer for your divorce is a critical decision. It is essential to know what to look for and to consider the cost of the lawyer’s services. You should also review the lawyer’s experience and track record and determine if you feel comfortable talking to the lawyer and discussing your case.

Ultimately, it is important to find the right lawyer that meets your needs and provides the best possible outcome for your case.

If you are looking for well-trusted and experienced attorneys specializing in Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in Jacksonville, FL, look no further than our experts at The Dorsey Law Firm. We are the top Jacksonville attorneys, and we offer our services in cases related to family law, criminal law, and personal injury. Contact us today, and let us handle your legal concerns for you.

January 19, 2023

Considering the Child’s Preference in Custody Hearings in Florida

When parents are no longer living together, they must agree on where their children will live. In some cases, a judge will make this decision. Depending on the age and maturity of the child, the judge may consider their preference. This article will describe how this preference is handled in Florida.

Custody Decisions in Florida

When parents cannot decide how to divide parenting responsibilities and visitation time, a judge will decide for them. After both parents present evidence and arguments to the court, the judge will create a plan that is in the child’s best interest. This plan will include a visitation schedule and parental responsibilities that the judge believes are most suitable.

In the Child’s Best Interests

Time-sharing and decisions about parental responsibility for a child are based on what is best for them. Any custody hearings aim to figure out a parenting arrangement suitable for the child’s needs. Unlike other states, Florida’s custody laws require a judge to consider a parent’s morality when deciding.

A parent’s moral fitness refers to any matters that could affect the child’s moral and ethical development, such as substance abuse, having multiple partners, or any illegal activities. To decide, a judge will consider the effect of a parent’s extramarital relationship on the child.

Considering the Child’s Opinion in the Custody Decision

In Florida, the age at which a child can choose which parent to live with is not set in stone. Instead, the judge will consider the child’s maturity level, intelligence, understanding of the decision, and experiences with both parents before making a decision. The judge will assess these factors to determine whether the child is mature enough to decide which parent to live with.

The age at which a child can decide which parent to live with can vary depending on the circumstances. The court will consider the child’s preference and all other relevant factors, but the court is not obligated to decide based solely on the child’s opinion. The court will investigate if a parent influences the child’s opinion, and the court will make independent decisions for each child.

Are Minors Required to Testify in Court?

In Florida, a child is not required to testify in a family law court case. The court is very mindful of the fact that minors should be kept out of these proceedings. If necessary, a judge may allow a child to speak in court, or the court may have an expert, such as a licensed mental health professional, guardian ad litem, or custody evaluator, speak on behalf of the child. Additionally, the judge may take the child into their chambers to hear what they have to say. If this is done, a court reporter must be present to record the child’s words and for the judge to consider in their decision.


The primary consideration in Florida custody hearings is the child’s best interests. Factors such as the child’s age, emotional bond, mental and physical health, and individual preferences are all considered. It is important to note that while the child’s preference is given due consideration, it is not the sole factor in determining the outcome. Ultimately, the court must decide based on the child’s best interests that preserve the child’s health, safety, and welfare.

Dorsey Law JAX specializes in a wide range of family law issues. We provide all services under family law, from injunctions against domestic violence to divorce processes. We work to negotiate settlements but will fearlessly take a case to trial when necessary. If you are looking for a divorce attorney in Jacksonville, FL, we are more than willing to help. Get in touch with us today and let’s talk.


January 12, 2023

Florida Child Custody Laws: What Happens When a Parent Dies?

In Florida, when determining child custody, the court considers what is in the best interest of the child. The court may rule that both parents should share custody, meaning they both have a legal right to make decisions about the child’s life and have a say in the day-to-day care and upbringing of the child.

The court also determines a parent’s legal rights and visitation, which outlines how much time each parent will spend with the child. In this guide, we explore exactly how Florida custody laws apply when a parent or guardian dies.

Naming a Guardian for a Minor Child

When a parent dies, their last wishes are typically laid out in a will. This is where they can name a guardian for their child. The court may also appoint a guardian if there is no will or if the will is contested.

If the parent has named a guardian in their will, the court will usually honor this decision. The guardian should be a responsible adult willing and able to care for the child. The court may also consider if the guardian is a good fit for the child and their family situation. If a guardian is appointed, they will have the same rights and responsibilities that a parent would have. This includes decisions about the child’s upbringing, education, and healthcare.

If the parent did not name a guardian in their will, the court would make the decision based on the best interest of the child. The court will consider which family members are available and willing to care for the child, as well as any other factors that may impact the child’s well-being.

Awarding Custody to a Surviving Biological Parent

If the deceased parent has a surviving biological parent, the court will usually award custody to them. The surviving parent must be able to provide a safe and stable home environment for the child. The court may also consider the relationship between the parent and child, as well as the parent’s ability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs.

If the surviving parent is deemed unfit to care for the child, the court may award custody to another family member or to a non-family member. The court will consider the same factors as when awarding custody to a surviving parent.

Step-Parent Adoption: Is it Possible?

It is possible for a step-parent to adopt a child in some circumstances. Generally, the birth parent must first give up their parental rights through a process known as a relinquishment of parental rights.

This may be voluntary or involuntary. In some cases, the step-parent may also need to obtain the consent of the other parent if they are still alive. Once the parental rights of the birth parent have been relinquished, the step-parent can then petition the court to adopt the child.


Florida child custody laws are complex and vary depending on the circumstances. Ultimately, the court’s goal is to ensure that the child or children are in the best possible environment, and will make a ruling that is in the best interest of the child or children.

To learn more about child custody in Florida, Dorsey Law JAX can help you out. We are family law practitioners dedicated to helping families with any legal matters. Get in touch with us today to learn how.

January 5, 2023

Here’s How You Can Get the Best Florida Divorce Lawyer

While marriages are happy unions, some married couples make the difficult decision to end their relationship. This feat could be challenging, and the ensuing stages can be difficult as well. This is why it is critical to find an experienced attorney. The importance of hiring a divorce lawyer is getting the legal representation you need throughout the divorce process according to the state laws you are in.

As you take on a divorce of your own, an effective strategy is to get the best attorney you can hire in able to move forward. Read on to discover how you can get the best Florida divorce lawyer.

Know the Responsibilities of a Divorce Lawyer

When considering divorce, you may wonder if you need an attorney. Because lawyers are expensive, it may be tough to justify hiring an attorney if you stand to lose a significant amount of money in your divorce.

The truth is that when you do not hire an attorney, you lose even more. You may agree to an unfavorable divorce result or fail to comply with procedural requirements that impair your case if you do not have legal representation.

Family law lawyers and divorce lawyers aim to establish a legal and equitable settlement that is in your best interests. With legal representation, you have a fighting chance to get the best out of your divorce.

Know Your Attorney’s Objectives and Experience

Speaking with various attorneys will assist you in selecting the best one. Once you are in this stage of choosing your lawyer, interview them and ask critical questions, such as previous cases, experience, background in Florida family law, and so on. Know the lawyer’s strategy and see how they fit the goals you want to achieve. After this stage, you can then compare their responses.

Beyond the interview, you must be able to determine the level of discretion the lawyer can provide you. For example, you should be able to tell the truth to your attorney. After all, your opening questions to an attorney will be determined by the facts of your case.

Skilled lawyers will notify you when extra documentation is required and what to expect as the procedure progresses. Once you’ve decided on a family lawyer, let them know your preferred method of contact so they can keep you updated. Multiple rounds of offers and counteroffers may be required before both parties reach an agreement.

Know What to Disclose with Your Divorce Lawyer

This part is all about getting personal. When you accept legal counsel, you are protected by the attorney-client privilege. This implies that everything you tell your attorney in confidence is protected by attorney-client privilege; a lawyer who abuses this privilege faces disbarment and criminal prosecution.

Even if you want to keep some information secret, supplying your divorce attorney with more information helps them build the best case. If you supply your divorce attorney with as much information as possible, you may be surprised at which details become valuable.

Ask Your Peers for Referrals

Asking for referrals from friends, family, and coworkers will help you find a divorce lawyer who exudes confidence and has a track record of success. However, you must remember that examining potential candidates means you do not limit your options based on what others say. Take into account your own instinct so as not to miss out on superior legal counsel.

Understand the Process of Divorce Proceedings

Divorce time varies according to separating couples’ willingness to cooperate, the complexity of their financial problems, and other factors. Such factors may also be influenced by Florida divorce laws. Moreover, when there are intricate financial issues in a divorce, or the parties are unwilling to discuss a compromise, litigation might endure for much longer than is expected.


Indeed, there are ways to ease divorce proceedings. With the best divorce lawyer on your side, you can lessen the stress of divorcing your spouse. Simply keep this guide in if the time comes when you are in search of reliable legal counsel.

If you’re ready to take on your divorce proceeding, seek help from our top Jacksonville attorneys at Dorsey Law JAX’s pool of reliable lawyers. Call us today at (904) 394-2865.

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