It can be stressful to go through a divorce or another family law proceeding under the best of circumstances. Many people disagree with their soon-to-be ex-spouse about matters such as how to divide property or set up a timesharing (child custody) arrangement. High-asset divorces are often especially complicated and contested. The decisions made during a divorce can affect you for years. Hiring our West Palm Beach divorce lawyers can make these proceedings smoother and less stressful. At the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press, we represent people throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties with compassion and care. We understand how important your case is to you, and we are committed to delivering responsive communication and dedicated advocacy.
Family law comprises all sorts of issues that relate to a divorce and its aftermath, such as child custody and property division. It can also include legal separations and annulments. For the purposes of property division, Florida is an equitable distribution state. A judge starts with the presumption that the property should be divided equally, but the judge will ultimately distribute marital property according to principles of fairness, so the property split may not be even. Separate property remains the property of one spouse and is not subject to distribution. Distinguishing between separate and marital property is often one of the contested issues in a divorce.
Florida offers only no-fault divorces. Generally, this means that the party seeking a divorce will need to show that irreconcilable differences resulted in a breakdown of the marriage. One of the spouses needs to be a resident of the state for at least six months (or 180 days) before suing for the divorce. Even though Florida does not grant fault divorces, misconduct by one or both spouses can play a role when the court is dividing property or awarding maintenance (alimony). Our divorce attorneys can help West Palm Beach residents make sure that they protect their interests during this process.High-Asset Divorce
High-asset divorces can be especially complicated because they may involve assets that either have enormous value or are challenging to value. It can be harder for the court to figure out which division of property would be fair and equitable. You may need to retain experts to trace the funds used to buy the assets, appraise the assets, and place a value on them. These experts may be forensic accountants, auditors, or appraisers. Certain assets may be especially difficult to value, such as stocks, business goodwill, and retirement accounts. It is important to be aware that transferring valuable assets in a high-asset divorce can result in substantial tax consequences. However, an experienced attorney can help make sure that the division minimizes your tax liability to the extent possible.Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are written contracts created by couples before they marry, while postnuptial agreements are created after a marriage. They usually cover all of the property owned by each person and each person's debts, and they outline each person’s property rights after marrying. Our West Palm Beach divorce attorneys can help you devise an agreement that meets your needs. Although they are often perceived as being unromantic or pessimistic, prenuptial agreements can be vital in protecting property acquired prior to a marriage. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can reduce controversy in case of a divorce. It can also allow a spouse to determine exactly which separate property will be passed along to their children, as opposed to the surviving spouse.Timesharing (Child Custody)
What is called "child custody" in many states is called timesharing and parental responsibility in Florida. Timesharing is a decision about where a child will live, while parental responsibility involves major decisions made on the child’s behalf. Usually, a court awards shared parental responsibility, but if the parents cannot agree on decisions involving such matters as medical care, religion, or education, sole parental responsibility may be awarded. In order to obtain court approval, a parenting plan should be detailed and tailored to the circumstances.Child Support
Both parents have an obligation to financially support a child. Generally, the parent who keeps the children for more of the time will receive child support, and the parent who has the children for less of the time will pay support. Child support goes toward housing, electricity, food, water, and other needs. The amount of child support awarded is calculated by using the parents' incomes and the amount indicated by the Florida child support guidelines. Child support also depends on how many overnights the kids spend with each of the parents. When each parent spends equal time with the children and has a similar income, less child support will be awarded, but this circumstance is relatively unusual.Alimony (Maintenance)
What is known as alimony in many states is often called maintenance in Florida. Our West Palm Beach divorce lawyers can help spouses pursue maintenance if needed or defend against an unnecessary demand for maintenance. Maintenance is the method by which a spouse who has a higher income or more resources supports the other spouse. Maintenance can be awarded to a spouse for several different reasons. For example, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded to give a spouse time to obtain education or a job that would allow him or her to be self-supporting. Maintenance may be awarded in a lump sum or on a monthly basis.Estate Planning
Estate planning involves preparing instruments to address the distribution of property and other matters in case you become incapacitated or pass away. A common component of estate planning is the creation of a will. The will can be used to leave property to organizations or people, name a personal guardian to take care of minors, name a trusted person to manage property left to minors, and name a personal representative who ensures that the will's terms are followed. Often, creating a trust and drafting powers of attorney are also part of estate planning. There are many kinds of trusts. A revocable living trust, for example, is an entity that legally holds ownership of assets for beneficiaries' benefit.Criminal Defense
Florida crimes are divided into misdemeanors and felonies, with felony convictions being more serious and resulting in harsher penalties. We can handle cases such as murder, manslaughter, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, rape, statutory rape, child pornography, drug trafficking, gun crimes, shoplifting, and white collar crimes, among others. All crimes need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and sometimes a defense involves raising a reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the crime. At other times, a defendant may have a procedural argument based on a violation of their constitutional rights.Personal Injury
If you have been injured through the fault of another person or entity, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. Most personal injury lawsuits are brought under a theory of negligence. This means that the defendant failed to use the proper care in the situation, and this caused the accident in which you were injured. You may be able to get compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages.Retain a Trustworthy Attorney to Pursue Your Objectives
We are experienced and aggressive trial lawyers who represent people who need a divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach or assistance in many other legal matters. Our firm serves communities throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties. Many of our clients come from cities such as Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Palm City, and Jensen Beach. Call the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press at (888) 808-2772 or complete our online form to set up an appointment.