Compassionate Guidance for Family-Related Legal Matters

Legal matters involving your family are oftentimes the most sensitive and emotionally challenging. Whether you are facing a divorce, child custody issues, or even domestic violence, you need a staunch advocate who will provide you with personalized attention and compassionate guidance.

Our firm will work to understand your unique circumstances and goals, and help you devise and execute detailed strategies to help you achieve your objectives. We can help you with a wide variety of family law cases, including:

Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)

A divorce is one of the most difficult upheavals that can occur in a person’s life. When your marriage comes to an end, not only are you forced to struggle with a severe emotional trauma, but also an oftentimes confusing and frustrating legal process. Every divorce is different, and it is vital that you enlist the counsel of a knowledgeable family law attorney who will take the time to understand your unique circumstances, give you the personal attention you deserve, and compassionately guide you through the legal twists and turns of the dissolution process. Divorce is never easy, but our experienced attorneys will tirelessly protect your interests and work to make the process as smooth and equitable as it can be.

Complex Matrimonial Matters

There are numerous factors that can serve to severely complicate matrimonial legal matters, such as sophisticated and high-income financial situations or cases involving substance abuse. Marital disputes and other legal issues involving your family are difficult enough without aggravating factors, but when things get complicated it is especially important that you turn to an attorney who is prepared to handle the legal nuances and intricacies of your case.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are contracts signed by an engaged couple prior to their marriage. Commonly abbreviated as “prenups,” these agreements can vary greatly in content, but generally they establish the financial and property rights of each party to the marriage should a divorce ever occur. All prenups must fulfill strict criteria in order to be enforceable, such as having to be entered into voluntarily and with full disclosure of all assets.

There are a lot of misconceptions about prenuptial agreements, but they can be tremendously beneficial for many couples, especially those with significant assets, who own businesses, or have children from a previous marriage. Our skilled attorneys will ensure that your prenuptial agreement is fully enforceable, that all parties completely understand its provisions, and that the document fairly fulfills your goals and needs.

Post-nuptial Agreements

Post-nuptial agreements fulfill the same purpose as prenuptial agreements (detailed above), but they are entered into after the couple has already been married. Sometimes a couple simply did not get around to creating a prenup before they got married, and other times there could be a significant change in their life circumstances for which they want to make legal arrangements. Postnuptial agreements become complex and even unenforceable when they contradict statutes regarding spousal property rights, so it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney assist you in drafting the document to ensure that it is legally compliant and will fulfill its intended purpose.

Property & Marital Settlement Agreements

In a dissolution of marriage, numerous decisions must be made regarding the terms of the divorce, such as division of assets, divisions of debts, and support obligations. Many people find that, even when terms are disputed, they would rather try to reach an equitable resolution to these terms themselves rather than leaving such substantial decisions to a judge. Divorcing couples may choose to draft and submit a Property Settlement Agreement or a Marital Settlement Agreement.

These are documents that detail the agreed-upon terms, details, and conditions of the divorce. While Property Settlement Agreements generally only detail terms of property division, Marital Settlement Agreements tend to be more comprehensive, covering a wider range of issues such as support obligations. These agreements—depending on how comprehensive they are—can serve to greatly streamline the divorce process, and judges will usually stick to the guidelines laid out in the agreement in their final judgements. Property and Marital Settlement Agreements can be incredibly complex, and they can have a substantial impact on your life following your divorce.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

Spousal support, better known as alimony, tends to be one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. It is a court ordered obligation that one spouse pay financial support to the other for some period of time, usually in order to ensure that the lifestyle that was established during the marriage can be maintained by both parties after the dissolution. You can rest assured that our attorneys will aggressively pursue a fair and reasonable order of spousal support, or fight to defend you against an unreasonable claim to alimony.

Post Judgment Enforcement & Modifications

Following a divorce or other family-related court order, if your ex fails or refuses to fulfill his or her legally mandated obligations—such as alimony or child support payments—you may require legal assistance to help enforce the court’s original decision. There are a number of remedies available in such situations, including wage garnishments, property liens, and even criminal penalties. Rotella & Hernandez will leverage every tactic and remedy necessary to help ensure your court order is fulfilled and you receive the support you are entitled to.

Additionally, there may come a time when the terms of your divorce are no longer reasonable or applicable. A change in circumstances, such as a relocation, a significant change in income, or a severe illness, may dictate a need to modify the terms of your divorce.

Child Custody (Time-Sharing)

Florida does not adhere to the traditional concept of “custody.” Instead, your divorce will result in some degree of “Time-Sharing” between parents. There may be equal time-sharing, similar to joint custody, or majority time-sharing, which is similar to sole custody. In all cases, Florida courts will consider the best interests of the child(ren) involved when making a time-sharing judgement. Additionally, the parenting plan will be one of the most pivotal aspects of your divorce’s time-sharing arrangement. This document will detail all aspects of your parenting schedule following your dissolution including things like holidays, travel, and education. An effective and consistent parenting plan is key to helping your children cope and adjust to the massive change that is occurring in their lives.

Child Support

In determining child support obligations in a divorce, Florida courts will consider a wide variety of factors including but not limited to the gross income of both the custodial and noncustodial parent, the costs of child care, the costs of health care for the child, and the normal living needs of the child. In any divorce, the wellbeing of the children involved should be the number one priority. Our attorneys will fight to ensure an equitable child support agreement that will effectively provide for the needs of your children.

Interstate Custody & Relocations

The State of Florida has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) which details how states should handle jurisdictional issues regarding the enforcement of child custody orders. The UCCJEA was passed in order to help prevent parental kidnapping or violations of custody orders in which parents go to another state in order to avoid enforcement. Nonetheless, despite this uniform code interstate custody issues can be incredibly convoluted, and you will need the assistance of a skilled family law attorney who understands the intricacies of how custody laws work between states. Even in situations where one parent wants to make a legal and reasonable relocation which would impact a previously established custody or visitation arrangement, you will need a skilled attorney to help you effectively work out the legal detail and arrangements.

Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation is a form of emotional child abuse whereby one parent aggressively attempts to manipulate the child and turn them against the other parent. This tactic is often seen in divorces with contentious child custody battles, and it can lead to a severe psychological condition in children known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). If you believe your children are being victimized by Parental Alienation tactics, there are legal remedies available to help.

Temporary Relief

Your divorce, child custody, or paternity case may be working its way through the court system, but that doesn’t mean your life or your bills are put on hold in the meantime. In some cases, you may be eligible for court ordered temporary relief, whether it be a change in custody or living arrangements, or temporary support paid by the opposing party in your family law case. The unique circumstances of your case will dictate the need for temporary relief.

Paternity

Paternity cases involve the legal recognition of the father of a child. In Florida there are five ways to establish paternity:

  • Parents are married when child is born creating a presumption of paternity
  • Unmarried couple signs official Acknowledgement of Paternity form
  • Administrative order based on genetic tests
  • Court order
  • Birth parents get married after child’s birth and legitimize the paternity of the child through the FL Office of Vital Statistics

We at Rotella & Hernandez understand how sensitive and difficult paternity cases can be, and we also understand how important they are for both you and your children. With so much at stake, we hope you will allow us to advocate for the best interests of you and your children in all aspects of your paternity case.

Domestic Violence Injunctions (Restraining Orders)

There is widespread domestic violence in the US, and the law firm of Rotella & Hernandez is committed to helping provide legal protection for those in danger of harm from a spouse or loved one. If you have been the victim of abuse, or you are in fear for your safety or the safety of your children, you may be able to obtain a court ordered Domestic Violence Injunction against the perpetrator of this abuse. Better known as a “restraining order,” this injunction will require the abuser—under threat of criminal penalties—to cease all harmful actions, leave your residence, and stay away from you at all times, amongst other potential remedies. If you have been or fear you will be a victim of domestic violence, please contact our law firm immediately and let us put the law to work to keep you and your children safe.

Additionally, our firm provides defense against Domestic Violence Injunctions in cases where the order is being misused or unreasonably applied. A false allegation of domestic violence can ruin your reputation, and it is important that you take swift action to defend yourself when an injunction based on false accusations is used against you.

Adoptions

Every child is precious, and every child deserves to grow up in a loving and secure home. Adoption can be a fantastic alternative for couples who are unable to conceive, or simply for those who wish to provide a loving home to a child or children in need. However, the adoption process can be overwhelming, costly, and time consuming. It is essential that you enlist the services of a skilled adoption attorney like those at Rotella & Hernandez to help guide you through the complex legal process. Adoption should be a joyous occasion, and our law firm will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you consider and plan for all aspects of the adoption, and that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Second Parent Adoptions & Litigation

The law office of Rotella & Hernandez also represents same-sex couples in adoption matters. Known as “Second Parent Adoptions,” this legal procedure allows us to ensure that both partners—no matter the legal status of their relationship—have legally recognized parental rights over their child, rather than just the biological parent. Unlike stepparent adoptions, there is no requirement that the couple be legally married in order to adopt a same-sex partner’s biological child through a second parent adoption. Additionally, Rotella & Hernandez will aggressively defend the rightful parents and the best interests of the child in litigated second parent adoption cases if the adoption is contested in any way. Give us a call today to learn more and to let us help you protect your parental rights.

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