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At Caveda Law Firm, P.A., we focus on divorce and family law. That gives us a unique understanding of how a divorce can impact a family.
Tampa Child Custody (Time-Sharing) Lawyer
As of October 1, 2008, the terms “custody” and “visitation” have been eliminated from the Florida Statutes. There will no longer be a designation of a “primary residential parent” or a “secondary residential parent.” Instead, cases involving minor children are now required to have a “Parenting Plan” that details the time-sharing that will take place between each parent and each minor child. Although the terminology has changed, the fundamental issue of how much time each child will spend with each parent and when that time-sharing will occur must still be squarely addressed in every case. If the parents are unable to agree on a Parenting Plan, then the Judge will decide on the Parenting Plan the parties will be ordered to follow.
Many law firms represent clients in a variety of legal areas. At Caveda Law Firm, P.A., we focus on divorce and family law. That gives us a unique understanding of how a divorce can impact a family, as well as the emotional issues that surround child custody and time-sharing decisions. Time-sharing (physical custody) determines who the child will live with and when the child will share time (visitation) with the other parent. Parental Responsibility (legal custody) determines who will make the major decisions in the child’s life. Typically, both parents are entitled to the same rights in making major decisions (Shared Parental Responsibility), although courts can award Sole Parental Responsibility to one parent in all areas or in specific areas only (for example: medical or educational decisions)
If you have questions about your time-sharing (formerly child custody or visitation) case, the family law attorney of Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. We can help you navigate the process and make sure your child’s best interests are protected.
The state of Florida has a public policy to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a separation or divorce. The state also encourages parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of child rearing. In determining issues between parents and their children, the best interest of the child is the court’s primary concern. This standard involves consideration of many different factors including:
Who is the primary caregiver?
Whether one parent is more likely to encourage and foster a positive relationship.
A parent’s psychological and physical fitness.
The child’s preference, if he or she is old enough to express one.
The financial ability to care for the child.
Whether there is a history of domestic violence.
Keeping siblings together.
Of course, every situation is unique. Some people ask witnesses to testify to their child rearing skills and to show that they are a capable parent. Other times, witnesses are needed to testify that one parent is not a fit and proper person to have majority time-sharing ( custody) of the children. Psychologists and sometimes psychiatrists get involved to interview the children and the parties to determine what is truly best for the children.
Often, one parent is awarded majority time-sharing (physical custody) while the other is awarded time-sharing (visitation) rights. Of course, joint physical custody also known as “rotating custody”, “substantial shared parenting”, “50/50 custody” or “50/50 time-sharing” is also an option.
In addition to where the child physically resides, parents are also awarded parental responsibility (legal custody) – either Sole Parental Responsibility (sole legal custody) to make all decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child, or Shared Parental Responsibility (joint legal custody) where both parents participate in reaching those decisions.
The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., can assist you with issues involving any type of custody. We can also request modifications to child custody orders as well as visitation orders. In addition to our child custody and divorce services, we also are prepared to handle the following:
Family Law Appeals
Whether you are seeking sole or joint child custody, the family law attorney at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., can help you put your life back together. Call our office at (813) 254-5455 or contact us by filling out our online form for a consultation in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, Florida.
Child support is often the subject of dispute in a divorce case, but it is an essential component to a child’s well-being and financial security. Whether you are the parent paying or receiving, you may have questions and concerns about how to go about establishing child support amounts and payment.
If you have questions about your Florida child support, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., can supply answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. Our legal staff has the experience and the understanding to help you obtain a satisfactory agreement designed with the best interests of your children in mind.
Child support is ordered in a divorce case or paternity suit, and the amount is determined by one of two formulas known as the Child Support Guidelines. Child Support Formula A applies if one of the parents spends less than 146 overnights with the child and Child Support Formula B applies if the child spends at least 146 overnights with both parents.
In addition to the amount of overnights spent with each parent, the guidelines typically take into account the net incomes of both parents, the amount of day care needed for the parent to work or seek employment, the amount of health insurance premiums paid to cover the children, as well as the number of minor children. The court may require either parent to provide health insurance coverage if it is reasonably available through their employer or otherwise affordable.
Certain factors, such as the living expenses of the parent paying child support are not usually considered, but there are several other components that will be reviewed in assessing the amount of support. These include:
Unusual medical (including dental), psychological, or educational expenses
Any independent income of the child/children
Whether the parent receiving child support will receive both child support and alimony
Any seasonal variations in a parent’s income or expenses
The age of the child/children, (older children are typically presumed to have greater needs)
Any children with special needs
Any shared parental arrangement (146 overnights or more)
Any IRS Dependency Exemption
Once the amount of child support is determined, adjustments can be made if sudden financial circumstances change – but you must take the case back to court in order to modify the child support order.
If you are the paying parent and you are tempted to skip a payment because you’ve been denied visitation or because you are struggling financially – don’t. Failing to pay child support can result in suspension of your driver’s license or even jail time.
Contact the Florida divorce attorney at Caveda Law Firm, P.A. – we can often renegotiate the terms of the child support order or make sure that your visitation schedule is being met. If you aren’t receiving your child support payments, the Florida divorce attorney at Caveda Law Firm, P.A. can help enforce the court order.
If you have questions about child support, or you need help with any aspect of your divorce, contact an attorney who has the experience and compassion to advocate on your behalf during this difficult transition. For a consultation with a family lawyer in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, Florida, contact the Caveda Law Firm at (813) 254-5455 or via our contact form today. We are ready to help.
In Florida, divorcing couples with minor children must address the issue of the physical custody of their child or children. This issue should not be confused with the issue of Shared Parental Responsibility (legal custody), which is awarded to both parents in the vast majority of cases and which gives each parent the same right to participate in making important decisions affecting their children in areas such as education, medical care, religious upbringing, etc.
Physical custody, sometimes referred to as timesharing, refers to which of the two parents’ homes the children will spend the majority of their days and overnights at. Typically, one parent will be designated as the “primary residential parent” and the other parent will be designated as the “secondary residential parent.”
In most cases, the parents come to an agreement as to which parent will be the primary residential parent together with an agreement as to the minimum visitation, or timesharing, rights of the secondary residential parent. Settlement of this issue affords the parties the ability to control and make decisions about this very important and personal aspect of their lives, rather than turning control over to a judge. In addition, the parties will save a considerable amount of money if they can avoid litigation over custody issues.
In those cases where the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court system stands ready, willing and able to make this decision for the parties. In arriving at its decision regarding custody, Florida courts are primarily concerned with the “best interests” of the child.
In analyzing the best interests of the child, Florida courts are required by law to consider the following factors:
The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent.
The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.
The capacity and ability to meet the child’s material needs.
The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining stability.
The permanence, as a family unit, of the current or new custodial home.
Moral fitness of the parents.
Mental and physical health of the parents.
The home, school, and community record of the child.
The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express a preference.
The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
After the custody determination is made by the judge an order is signed and filed with the Clerk of Court. Both parents are immediately bound by the judge’s decision, although the parties can ask the judge to reconsider his or her ruling and they can also appeal the judge’s ruling to Second District Court of Appeal.
The Department of Health and Human Services established the Child Support Enforcement program in 1975 to “ensure that children have the financial support of both their parents, to foster responsible behavior towards children, to emphasize that children need to have both parents involved in their lives, and to reduce welfare costs.”
In support of this action, the Florida Department of Revenue has the authority to enforce your child support requirements. Once your child support payment amount is established, as determined by Florida’s child support guidelines, the payment requirement is enforceable not only in Hillsborough County and throughout Florida, but also anywhere in the country.
If you have received a letter from Florida Department of Revenue about child support, you probably have questions about what to do next. The Caveda Law Firm, P.A. has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
There are two processes in which the Department of Revenue and the courts can become involved with your case once the original amount has been established: enforcing child support orders if you fail to pay or receive payments, or modifying child support orders to change the amount of the payment.
In either case, you will want to contact a child support attorney to ensure that you and your child are represented fairly during the process.
Enforcement of Child Support Orders – Requester
If you are not receiving the payments you and your child have been awarded, contact us so we can guide you through the difficult process of getting the payments you deserve. In Hillsborough County our child support lawyers will work with you to ensure payment by placing liens on property, getting payments directly from the parent’s employers, or suspending a driver’s license.
Enforcement of Child Support Orders – Payer
If you have been issued an Enforcement order it is critical that you take this seriously. In the state of Florida the courts have the ability to get you to pay by:
Suspending your Florida driver licenses
Taking tax refunds
Telling employers to take payments directly from your paychecks
Placing a lien on your property
Contact our child support attorneys so we can work with you and the courts to find the fairest way to all parties to bring you into compliance. We will examine your finances and situation and negotiate a method to repay your costs so your child can receive the support needed. This could result in reduced payments, a deferral of payments, and/or a modification of future payments.
Modification of Child Support Orders
As time passes circumstances surrounding the child support payments will change. Both parents can petition the court for an adjustment to the current payment. If either parent will be moving, has received a raise, lost their job, if the child has special needs, or for any other payment altering events, contact our experienced child support lawyers. We will work with you and the state to determine the revised payments that meets Florida’s child support guidelines.
For a consultation with our family lawyer in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, Florida, contact the attorney of the Caveda Law Firm at (813) 254-5455 or via our contact form today. We are ready to help.
Hillsborough County Guardianship Lawyers
Guardianship of a child means that a caregiver is responsible for the child’s care and custody. Guardianship is often confused with adoption, but there are legal differences. The guardian does not become the parent in the eyes of the law. In fact, guardianship does not sever the biological parents’ rights or responsibilities. Parents can go back to court and ask for the guardianship to be ended.
If you have questions about a guardianship in Florida, Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
Legal guardianship is a decision made by a judge that a person other than a child’s parents will get custody. The guardian has the right to raise the child without his or her parents getting involved. Guardians can be any person over the age of 18 and are typically relatives or family friends of the child.
One of the most common arrangements is for a grandparent to seek guardianship of a grandchild. It is the best way for a grandparent to take legal responsibility for the child. The issue of legal responsibility often becomes imperative when enrolling the child in school or seeking healthcare. The designation as a guardian allows a grandparent to access services on behalf of the child that might prove impossible without such a designation.
A guardianship is established by filing guardianship papers in court. An investigator then interviews the person seeking to be named as a guardian, the child, and his or her parents, if they can be located. The investigator makes a recommendation to a judge who reviews the case and decides whether to make the appointment, which must be in the best interests of the child.
People contemplating a guardianship should consider whether they want the ongoing responsibilities of a legal guardianship, including potential liability for the child’s actions, managing the child’s finances, and their ability to raise a child.
Guardianships can also be obtained over an adult who has been declared incompetent. Additionally, guardians for children can be named in a will or in a Standby Guardianship so that the children are taken care of in the event their parents pass away before they reach the age of majority.
If you have been named a guardian or wish to establish a legal guardianship, the family law attorney of the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., can help you. Based in Tampa, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of legal guardians and assisting them in all aspects of their duties in Hillsborough County. Contact us today by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
Even in the best of circumstances, parenting is a challenge. When a child’s parents were never married, the process becomes even more complex. Before issues of support and child rearing can even be discussed, the father’s legal status, or paternity, must be established.
If you have questions about a paternity case in Florida, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
In the state of Florida, legal paternity is automatic only in cases where the mother of the child is married at the time of the child’s birth. In all other cases, paternity must be established. In Florida, there are four alternate ways of establishing paternity:
Legitimation — The biological parents marry after the child is born and subsequently update the birth record through the Florida Office of Vital Statistics.
Acknowledgement of Paternity — Both parents sign a legal document mutually acknowledging paternity (in the hospital at the time of birth or later).
Administrative Order Based on Genetic Testing — A legally binding order that takes effect after genetic tests show who the father of the child is. (This method is often preferable because it is based on genetic proof, is available free of charge and does not require a hearing in court.)
Court Order — Paternity is established by order of a judge in court. (Genetic testing may also be required.)
Establishing paternity is a critical step in determining what, if any, parental rights and responsibilities an individual may have. Although biological paternity is clearly relevant, it is legal paternity that determines these rights and responsibilities.
When a couple is not married, a man who believes he is the father of a child may seek to establish paternity so that his rights as the child’s father are protected. These rights include time-sharing (visitation and custody) as well as the right to make important legal decisions regarding the child (shared parental responsibility). Additionally, the establishment of paternity comes with a variety of legal responsibilities. Most notable, of course, is the obligation to support the child financially.
Just as a father may seek paternity, the mother also may wish to determine the legal father of her child. In doing so, the mother stands to gain the financial support as well as share the parenting responsibilities with the child’s father.
In addition to the benefits to the parents, establishing paternity has even greater benefits for the child. In addition to the increased financial security, these benefits include:
Knowing the identity of both parents.
Knowing or having access to relevant medical histories.
Potential insurance benefits (medical, dental, life).
Whether you are a mother or a father, legally establishing the paternity of your child is an important step. However, this process can be complex, particularly if one of the parties is not cooperative. Having knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel at your side can make the all the difference. Contact the attorney at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. We have been helping Florida residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County with family law matters for more than 15 years.
After a divorce, both parties are typically ready to move on with their lives. When children are involved, however, the lives of the parents remain forever enmeshed. Both parents have a duty, as well as a legal obligation, to the child they share. This obligation involves both financial support and a commitment to be a physical presence in the child’s life. This can become problematic if the parent with whom the child resides looks to move out of the geographic area.
If you have questions about relocating with children after a Florida divorce, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
The state of Florida has enacted a relocation statute, which outlines very specific procedures that must be followed when a parent is looking to relocate the child more than 50 miles away. In such cases, the parent must comply with one of the two following terms:
Relocation Agreement — When both parents (as well as any other parties with visitation rights) are able to come to a mutually acceptable arrangement regarding the relocation, they may file a written agreement to that effect with the court. The agreement must include consent for the relocation, specific details regarding visitation rights, and any relevant details regarding transportation arrangements for visitation.
Notice of Intent to Relocate — Absent a written agreement, a parent looking to relocate a child more than 50 miles from the current residence must file an “Intent to Relocate” with the court. This document must contain specific reasons for the proposed relocation. It also must include a proposed visitation schedule. If the other parent agrees, the relocation may proceed. If the other parent objects, a hearing will be held and the court will weigh all of the factors before making a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.
If you are a parent looking to relocate with your child to provide a better life for you and your child, an attorney with experience in family law and child custody can assist you with the Intent to Relocate and a hearing, should that become necessary.
The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has just such experience. If you are a parent faced with the possibility that your child may be moved away from you, it is critical that you understand your rights and your options.
For a consultation with one of our family lawyers in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, Florida, contact the attorneys of the Caveda Law Firm at (813) 254-5455 or via our contact form today. We are ready to help.
When spouses divorce, agreements and court orders are established regarding parental responsibility, child custody, visitation, child support, and perhaps alimony. As time passes, the circumstances that existed at the time of the original divorce may change and this may make it appropriate to modify the terms of the original agreement or court order.
In the case of child support, if one or both parties experience a significant increase or decrease in income which results in a child support number that is at least 15% (or at least $50.00) more or less than the original child support amount, then the court may modify the amount of child support upon the filing of the appropriate request by either party.
Likewise, in the case of alimony, although there are no specific guidelines, if either former spouse has had a substantial change of financial circumstances, such as the loss of a job or an increase or decrease in income or needs, it may be appropriate to modify the amount of alimony payments or the length of time payments are made.
With regards to child custody, courts are generally hesitant to easily modify the primary residence of minor children. However, if there has been a substantial change in circumstances after the entry of the original custody order and a change in custody would be in the best interests of the children, the courts may modify custody and visitation arrangements.
1. How is child support calculated in Florida?
The state uses a formula known as the Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of child support. The combined net incomes of both spouses and the number of children are used to calculate the total support needed for the children – and then the court will decide how much support the non-custodial parent will pay. Note that the living expenses of the parent paying child support are usually not considered when calculating the amount to be paid.
2. Does the court have any leeway with the Child Support Guidelines?
Typically, the court may vary from the guidelines by around 5% – unless there are special circumstances that the guidelines don’t account for, such as a special needs child with additional medical expenses. Other possible factors include the presence of children born or adopted after child support was established, or a non-custodial parent who spends a substantially larger amount of time with the children than the typical custody arrangement assumes.
3. What if my spouse doesn’t report all of his income to the court?
If your spouse doesn’t declare all of his income when the Child Support Guidelines are being applied, you need to show proof of this omission in order to make sure all income is counted. If you know your spouse makes more than his records show, your attorney may be able to help advise you on what type of documentation could demonstrate this to the court.
4. I want to stay at home with my small children, but I’ve heard the courts can say I should be capable of putting them in daycare to get a paying job. Is this true?
If your spouse can show that you make less income than you are capable of earning, it is true that the court can “impute” income to you – meaning the Court can calculate how much money you could be making and take that into consideration when calculating child support or alimony. However, in the case of a parent who wishes to stay at home and provide care to young children, it’s up to the court’s discretion whether or not to impute income. Often this issue is instigated by the non-custodial spouse who wants to pay less child support – and your spouse’s attorney may try to establish that you have quality childcare options available and a high earning potential. If you think your spouse may raise this as an argument, you should make your own attorney aware of this as a possible factor.
5. How can I get my ex-spouse to pay child support?
If your spouse stops paying child support, you must file a motion to place him or her in contempt of court. After the court grants this motion, there are several punitive measures that may be taken to enforce the child support order, including jail time, driver’s license suspension, and even suspension of professional licenses.
6. I never married the father or mother of my child – can I still get him or her to pay child support now that he or she has left our home?
Marriage isn’t a requirement for paternity, so you still have grounds for trying to win child support. If your child’s father won’t acknowledge paternity, you will need scientific testing (such as DNA testing) to establish that he is the father of your child. Once paternity is established, child support and time-sharing (formerly known as custody and visitation) are treated similarly to a regular divorce case. An experienced Florida divorce attorney can advise you on how to initiate the process of establishing paternity.
7. If my final divorce hearing isn’t for several months and I need money now to care for my children, what are my options?
You can request an order from the court for temporary child support, alimony, visitation rights or custody if your spouse isn’t cooperating and you need assistance before your final hearing. Consult an experienced Florida divorce attorney for advice on how to request a temporary order.
8. Can the amount of child support change if I lose my job?
The court will consider modifying child support agreements when a significant change in financial circumstances occurs. Loss or a drastic reduction of the non-custodial parent’s income may constitute such a change – as would a sudden increase in the custodial spouse’s income.
If you have other questions about Florida child support, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455
Tampa Divorce Attorney With Over 25 Years Of Service
The dissolution of a marriage brings with it a number of emotional, psychological and financial challenges. The laws of Florida and the state’s court system are in place to ensure that those challenges—including the financial issues—are resolved in a way that is fair to all parties. This process includes the initial division of the marital assets to the potential long-term payment of alimony.
If you have questions about alimony, the family law attorney of Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. Mr. Caveda has been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
Alimony refers to the money payments made from one spouse to another following a divorce. Either a husband or a wife can be required to pay alimony. Alimony may consist of a single lump-sum payment or a series of payments for months or years. When determining whether alimony payments are appropriate following a divorce, a judge will consider a variety of factors. In the State of Florida, these factors include:
The length of the marriage.
The standard of living maintained during the marriage.
The financial assets of each spouse.
The contributions of each spouse during the marriage (financial and non-financial) .
The financial obligations incurred during the marriage.
The amount of time expected for the non-employed spouse to enter the workforce/become financially independent.
The ability and need of each party.
It is important to distinguish between spousal support and alimony. When divorce proceedings begin, a temporary order of spousal support may be established to provide support to one spouse until a final settlement is reached. Alimony, on the other hand, is part of the final settlement. In virtually all cases, alimony payments will cease should the party receiving payments remarry.
Divorce is a difficult and often emotionally charged process. Despite the desire to see matters resolved as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the terms reached during the process will have far-reaching consequences. If you are contemplating or beginning a divorce and believe that you may be entitled to alimony payments, you should contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible. Likewise, if you believe you may be responsible for alimony payments, you owe it to yourself to make sure that your rights and interests are protected.
The attorney at Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has helped hundreds of residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County, Florida and is ready to guide you through the complex alimony process. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
The issues that arise in divorce proceedings are some of the most contentious and emotional in all of law. Many divorces become court battles involving angry spouses and unnecessarily aggressive attorneys.
In response, a new kind of divorce has been gaining in popularity. Known as collaborative divorce, it focuses on settlement and negotiation instead of litigation. Although the parties are represented by lawyers, all of the participants agree to work together respectfully, honestly and in good faith to find solutions that meet the legitimate needs of both parties.
If you have questions about the collaborative divorce process in Florida, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping Florida residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. We will assess your case to determine if a collaborative divorce would be in your best interests and we will help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties and their attorneys sign agreements stating that each person will work together. If either party chooses to litigate or if a final agreement cannot be reached, the attorneys must resign from the case (therefore, not benefitting from advocating to go to trial).
In addition to the dissolution of the marriage, other issues can be handled through the collaborative process such as:
David Caveda, the founding member of the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. He understands the emotional toll that divorce can take and strives to minimize any additional stress that can come with the legal process. He will work with you and your spouse’s attorney to determine the best possible course of action.
For more information on the amicable solutions offered by the collaborative divorce process, contact the attorneys of the Caveda Law Firm at (813) 254-5455 or via our contact form today. We are ready to help you and your family in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, Florida.
Hillsborough County Contested Divorce Attorney
There are countless reasons why marriages fail. Unfortunately, the divorce proceedings that follow are often anything but civil or friendly. Divorces may be times of tension and uncertainty. When the spouses are unable to resolve the issues between them, the divorce is known as a contested divorce.
In such cases, it is important to consult a skilled divorce attorney who can help guide you through the divorce process with as little distress as possible.
If you have questions about a Florida contested divorce, Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. Let us put their legal expertise to work for you.
As an experienced family law firm and attorney, we understand that divorce involves discussion of personal matters and we pledge to make those discussions as stress-free as possible. When emotions get in the way and it is not possible to discuss matters rationally with your spouse, the matter must be settled by a judge.
In some situations, individuals react violently when advised that a divorce is being contemplated. If this situation sounds familiar to you, we can help you with the possibility of having your spouse ordered out of the house and away from you.
In Florida, the only requirements for obtaining a divorce are that at least one spouse has resided in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing the case and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Fault is not considered in granting a divorce, although it may be considered under certain circumstances in the award of alimony and determination of time-sharing (custody) issues.
Some of the more common issues involved in contested divorces include:
Time-Sharing (formerly known as Child Custody and Visitation)
Division of property and debts
There are many significant decisions involved in a divorce. At the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., our goal is to guide you through the divorce process while helping you achieve the best circumstances as you begin a new chapter in your life.
If you or someone you know needs legal assistance concerning a contested divorce in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, Florida, contact us today by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. Let us help you move on with your life.
Divorces involving current and retired members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard often involve issues not found in non-military divorces. For example, in a military divorce, the most valuable marital asset is typically the military pension of one spouse.
There are two federal laws which principally govern the division of a military pension. These two laws are Section 1408 of Title 10 of the United States Code, known as the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (“USFSPA”) and Part 63 of Title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Federal law authorizes each individual state to treat military pensions as marital assets and it further authorizes each state to divide military pensions in accordance with each state’s laws regarding the division of marital assets, so long as the rules and limitations imposed by federal law are complied with. The rules and limitations are numerous and complex and in order to properly understand and comply with those rules, an attorney handling a military divorce should be familiar with the applicable federal laws and experienced in handling military divorces.
An example of a commonly misunderstood concept is “The Ten Year Rule.” Often , the belief is that The Ten Year Rule requires military marriages to last ten years before a spouse is entitled to receive a share of the military pension. Still others believe that if The Ten Year Rule is satisfied, the spouse is automatically entitled to half (or some other percentage) of the member’s pension.
In fact, the “The Ten Year Rule” deals only with the method of how a former spouse that is awarded a share of the service member’s pension will receive those payments. Specifically, It entitles a spouse that was married for at least ten years while the member was on active duty to receive his or her share of the military pension directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (“DFAS”) as opposed to DFAS sending the entire monthly pension check to the service member and the service member then issuing payment to the former spouse. ,
However, the Ten Year Rule has nothing to do with whether the spouse is entitled to a portion of the pension in the first place nor does it have anything to do with how much of the pension a former spouse will be entitled to.
Another important aspect unique to military divorces is the Survivor Benefits Plan (“SBP”), which is an annuity that protects former spouses awarded a portion of the military pension in a divorce. Without SBP coverage, when the service member dies, the military pension benefits end for the former spouse, unless SBP coverage is in effect. The right to SBP coverage is not automatic and it must be agreed to in writing or ordered by the court in writing. In addition, the former spouse that receives SBP entitlement in a divorce must submit a “deemed-election letter” within one-year of the final judgment in order to preserve their SBP rights.
The rules which govern Reserve Component military pensions and SBP benefits are different from those which govern regular military pensions and SBP benefits since the Reserve Component programs are significantly different from their active-duty counterparts.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) is yet another federal law which may impact a military divorce. The SCRA provides protections for active duty service members by allowing them, under certain very specific circumstances, to put a hold on court proceedings (as well as other obligations) so that they can focus their full attention on their duties.
Other areas of concern in a military divorce include the former spouse’s post-divorce health care insurance, which, depending on the length of marriage and military service, can be addressed through Tricare coverage, the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, group coverage through an employer or private coverage.
Although no federal laws specifically address custody, parental responsibility, visitation or time-sharing issues in military divorces, these issues are often made more challenging because service members’ obligations to their jobs require extra flexibility and creativity in creating parenting plans and time-sharing arrangements that will work for both parents as well as serve the best interests of the children.
If you are a service member or the spouse of a service member and you have been served with divorce papers it is very important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the various aspects unique to military divorces.
Attorney David Caveda is familiar with the military due to his service for eight years as a Field Artillery officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. He attended regular army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 1986, ROTC Advanced Camp at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1987 and Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1993-1994. He received his ROTC commission after completing his final ROTC semester while attending law school at the University of Florida in 1991 after completing previous ROTC requirements at the University of South Florida. He was honorably discharged from the reserves in 1999 and is a member of the Military Officers Association of America (“MOAA”)
As an attorney, Mr. Caveda has over ten years of experience in representing service members and spouses in divorce and post-judgment enforcement and modification actions. As a member of the Military Committee of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, Mr. Caveda stays informed on the latest developments in this practice area.
Divorce is a highly emotional and traumatic experience for everyone involved. Those considering a divorce often do not know their legal rights and obligations, which makes consulting a lawyer an absolute necessity. A knowledgeable attorney will work closely with you, analyzing your situation and helping you make the best decisions possible.
If you have questions about an uncontested Florida divorce, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
In Florida, the only requirements for obtaining a divorce are that at least one spouse has resided in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing the case and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Fault is not considered in granting a divorce, though it may be considered under certain circumstances in the award of alimony and determination of custody issues.
For many people, getting through the divorce process with minimal aggravation is preferable. We encourage all our clients to work out as many issues as possible with their spouse before going to court.
The simplest divorce cases are those for uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree on all issues affecting them, such as: child support, time-sharing (formerly known as custody and visitation), division of property and debts, and alimony. Each party must make full financial disclosure to the other.
Uncontested divorces usually are resolved much faster than contested divorces. Of course, an uncontested divorce is only possible in situations where the parties are willing to cooperate with each other and come to a full and complete settlement agreement an all issues. Sometimes, communications break down and an uncontested divorce transforms into a contested one.
If you think an uncontested divorce might be right for you, allow us to help you through the process. Once the agreement is made, we will draw up a Marital Settlement Agreement and submit it to the court for a hearing. If you have started the divorce process on your own and have run into trouble, let us help you work it out.
Regardless of the nature of your divorce action, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer can ensure your family and property rights are protected. At the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., we keep your needs in mind and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible scenario for you. Contact us today by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. No matter what your family law issues may be in Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County, we are confident that we can help.
Without a doubt, getting a divorce is an emotional process. One of the most difficult aspects is property division. Who gets what? What property division is in the best interests of both parties? How will the court value your marital estate?
If you have questions about equitable distribution after a Florida divorce, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
Florida law calls for an equitable distribution of marital property and marital debts. This means that property acquired during the course of the marriage by one or both parties should be divided fairly or equitably (not necessarily equally, although equal is the starting point) between the parties, regardless of how the title is held.
However, there are many factors that can affect the outcome, including the nature and extent of the property, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse. The property division lawyer at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has extensive experience in this area and will work with you to protect your interests to the fullest possible extent. Contact our Tampa, Hillsborough County marital assets disputes attorney for assistance with your case.
The first step is to develop a complete list of all the joint and individual assets as well as debts held by the parties. Any property acquired during the marriage is classified as marital property. Those assets acquired before the marriage are known as separate or non-marital property and are not subject to the equitable distribution process. However, separate assets often become mixed during a marriage and are transformed into marital property. We are well versed in handling the task of distinguishing separate property from marital property, and will help you get the fairest settlement.
Property includes everything that you have that could be considered an asset such as your:
Pensions and annuities
Stocks and bonds
Life insurance cash value
By examining your assets, we may be able to find instances of special equity. Special equity is recognized in property brought into the marriage, but whose value was enhanced due to a contribution of services or funds over and above marital duties. Through our investigation, a judge may declare non-marital property to be marital or vice versa.
Of course, everyone’s situation is unique. Every property distribution of assets and liabilities in a divorce is not the same, although they all have some degree of consistency due to distribution laws.
What matters to us is placing our clients in a secure financial position so that they can move forward after a divorce. If you would like further information about equitable distribution in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, FL, or have questions regarding your individual situation, please contact the lawyer at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., today to schedule a consultation. We can be reached by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by our online form.
In addition to its emotional costs, divorce can take a toll on your time and your finances. Some of the pain and expense of a divorce can be curtailed by choosing mediation over a trial.
Mediation is an effective legal tool that can be used to resolve family law and divorce issues before the case reaches Florida’s courtrooms. In mediation proceedings, a neutral third party helps negotiate a settlement between the two parties who are looking to obtain a divorce.
The time-sharing (custody and visitation), support, alimony, and property agreements that come out of mediation are often easier to enforce because they were mutually agreed upon. The Florida family law attorney of the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., is experienced in working with clients in Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County who want to find less contentious ways of resolving their differences. Contact us today by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form to set up a consultation.
The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., will either represent you at mediation or prepare you for mediation. As a six-year Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, our founder, David Caveda, is very familiar with working with families in mediation settings.
We will help you understand the consequences of failing to resolve your disputes in mediation, and we will help you identify potential solutions. As your representative, we will explain the process and guide you through the mediation process.
Mediation is informal and confidential. Mediators do not force a settlement, but instead, use their skills to encourage and facilitate the negotiation process and to assist the parties in reaching an agreement that will keep their case from going to court.
Offers and counteroffers are made until an agreement is reached and is submitted to a judge for approval. If an agreement cannot be reached on all matters, you and your spouse can still go to trial while having come to a solution on some issues.
With its timeliness and cost-effectiveness, mediation is the logical choice for individuals who are looking to settle all or some their issues out of court. Contact a mediation attorney at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., to discuss your Florida divorce or family law case. We represent Florida clients in Tampa, Tampa Bay and throughout Hillsborough County. Contact us at (813) 254-5455 or via our contact form today. We are ready to help.
1. How long does it take to get a divorce?
The length of time necessary for a divorce varies according to a number of factors, including whether your divorce is contested, whether children are involved, any significant shared property and the location where your divorce is filed. You must file in the county where at least one of you lives, or where the marital home is located – but some counties experience greater time delays than others.
2. My spouse committed adultery – will the courts be more likely to favor me in a divorce case?
Many spouses are surprised to learn that adultery doesn’t always carry much weight in the court’s opinion. However, if you can show that adultery resulted in a financial loss to the marriage, such as excessive spending of marital funds on a third party, the court will consider this as a factor – but you must be able to prove it.
3. Do courts automatically favor the mother in a time-sharing (child custody) hearing?
Not necessarily; a mother shouldn’t automatically assume she will get majority time-sharing (custody) in a divorce, and many fathers successfully win majority time-sharing (custody) of their children. The most important factor, whether you are a mother or a father, is being able to demonstrate that you are the most suitable guardian of your children. An experienced Florida divorce attorney can help by offering proof of your parenting fitness in the areas considered most crucial by the court.
4. Can I move to another state with my children after the divorce?
Florida law prohibits relocating minor children more than 50 miles away from their principal residence (unless the move places the new residence less than 50 miles from the other parent), without the written consent of the other parent or a court order authorizing the relocation. if you wish to relocate with the children you must follow specifics steps required by law. If the other parent objects to the move, the court must approve the relocation before you move. The court considers such factors as whether your move is to be closer to other family, or to accept a better-paying job; reasons that would establish that your move is in the best interest of your children and not just to “punish” your ex-spouse.
5. Who will get our house in a divorce settlement?
In cases that don’t involve minor children, either spouse has an equal chance of being awarded the marital home. However, if you do have minor children, the court typically favors the parent who will have the children the majority of overnights (primary custody), enabling the children to stay in their home.
6. How long do I have to be a resident before I can obtain a divorce in Florida?
The State of Florida requires that at least one spouse must be a resident for a minimum of 6 months before filing a divorce.
7. Am I required to list a reason such as adultery or abuse to get a divorce in Florida?
No, Florida does not require a “fault” as grounds for divorce, so you are entitled to dissolve your marriage for whatever reason you wish.
If you have other questions about a Florida divorce, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455
Tampa Florida Family Lawyer
The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., understands the sensitive nature of family law issues. We know that going through a divorce or custody battle can be one of the hardest times in your life. When your family is at stake, it is important to have an experienced attorney you can trust.
If you have a Florida family law question in Tampa, Tampa Bay or Hillsborough County, the Caveda Law Firm, P.A. has answers. For more than 15 years, we have been dedicated to providing both strong legal advocacy and personal attention during our clients’ stressful times. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
Our attorney has a proven track record of successful cases ranging from simple divorces to complex support, alimony and relocation issues. We can help you in the following family law areas:
Divorce: Contested, Uncontested, and Collaborative
Alimony / Spousal Maintenance
Time-Sharing (Child Custody and Visitation)
Department of Revenue Child Support Cases
Family Law Appeals
Our firm strives to be the Tampa Bay area’s most effective family law firm by achieving results efficiently and by helping our clients make key decisions involving children, support and assets. Because most family law proceedings can be emotionally overwhelming, whenever possible our attorney will attempt to resolve the matter through careful negotiation, sparing our client the difficulties of a trial.
At the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., family law is our main practice area. Our founder, David Caveda, was a Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and maintains memberships in the family law sections of the Florida Bar, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. Let the Caveda Law Firm, P.A. guide you through the legal hurdles of your family law case and protect the best interests of you and your children.
If you or someone you know needs legal help and assistance concerning a Florida family law matter, contact us today by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. We can help you move on with your life in Tampa, Tampa Bay or throughout Hillsborough County.
Appeal of Family Law Orders in Florida
The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., is a Tampa, Florida firm with experience in the mediation and litigation of family law. We have helped countless Hillsborough County residents resolve their family disputes. We have represented people who felt that the court’s decisions in their case required another look by an appeals court, and we have helped them with their appeals.
If you have questions about the appeal of your Florida divorce, child support or alimony case, Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
In order to determine whether you may be able to appeal orders in your family law case, you need the advice of a knowledgeable lawyer who is familiar with these types of cases and the court process involved.
Presenting cases at the appellate level requires a different kind of knowledge than at the trial level, and our outstanding knowledge of the appellate process enables us to take on any family law case with confidence.
An appeal may usually only be filed after the trial court judge issues a final order, which is an order that resolves all of the issues raised in the trial court. Every case is unique. Thus, it is important to discuss with an attorney whether you have grounds for an appeal and whether it makes sense to file for a review. There are many factors to be considered.
Allow the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., to analyze your case, and explain your legal rights and options so that you can make an educated decision.
The Caveda Law Firm, P.A., provides high-quality legal representation in all types of family law matters. In some situations, family law judgments regarding issues like support and child custody can be modified without an appeal while other cases require an appeal to correct an unfair judgment. Discuss your individual needs with our trusted legal counsel by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form. Our knowledgeable family law attorney can make the difference in your family law appeal.
Tampa Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
When contemplating marriage, the last thing anyone wants to consider is the possibility of divorce. Romantic ideals aside, however, a prenuptial (or premarital) agreement can be an excellent way of entering marriage without the worries of “what if.” Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. Rather, they are an excellent way for couples to enter marriage with a clear understanding of one another’s financial standing and expectations for the road ahead.
If you have questions about a prenuptial agreement in Florida, Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County for more than 15 years. Contact us today by calling (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
Legally speaking, there are numerous benefits to a well-written prenuptial agreement. These benefits include:
Easing personal and family concerns.
Avoiding litigation costs down the road.
Protecting assets (personal, family, business).
Protecting the rights and interests of children (those existing before as well as those born during the marriage).
In order to be legally valid, Florida law requires that a prenuptial agreement be in writing, signed by both parties, after full financial disclosure by both sides and free from any fraudulent intent or coercion. Additionally, the outcome of any such agreement cannot be to the detriment of any children involved.
That said, there are virtually infinite legal complexities surrounding the creation and enforcement of premarital agreements. Working with skilled legal counsel is the best way to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
The Hillsborough County prenuptial agreement attorney at the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., has years of experience with prenuptial agreements, and can provide you with the knowledge and expertise that you deserve. Not only can we assist you in creating a premarital agreement that protects your rights, we can give you the assurance and peace of mind that your intentions are clearly worded and legally binding.
No one wants to thinks about the worst case scenario, especially when it comes to the promises of marriage. Thoughtful preparation now, however, can provide you with both peace of mind and protection in the event of a divorce.
At the Caveda Law Firm, P.A., our goal is to guide you through the process of establishing a prenuptial agreement while helping you achieve the best circumstances should your marriage end. If you or someone you know in Tampa, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County needs legal assistance concerning a premarital agreement, contact us today by phone at (813) 254-5455 or by filling out our online form.
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (http://www.aamlflorida.org/home.htm) – The purpose of the Academy is to encourage the study and improve the practice of family law as well as to elevate the standards of those attorneys practicing in that area of law with the goal of protecting families and society.
Commission of Marriage & Family (http://floridafamilies.org/aboutus.html) – The mission of the Commission on Marriage and Family Support Initiatives is to strengthen marriages, support parents and families, and promote child well-being by raising public awareness, developing sound public policy and advocating for promising practices throughout Florida.
DivorceCare (http://www.divorcecare.com/) – Find seminars and support groups of people that understand you and your family are going through. You’ll gain access to valuable DivorceCare resources to help you deal with the pain of the past and look forward to rebuilding your life.
The Florida Center for Child and Family Development (http://www.thefloridacenter.org/index.htm) – The Florida Center is dedicated to the healthy development of young children, their families, and our communities.
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence(FCADV) (http://www.fcadv.org/index.php) – FCADV provides leadership, advocacy, education, training, technical assistance, public policy and development, and support to domestic violence center programs.
Florida Department of Children and Families (http://www.myflorida.com/cf_web/) – Protect the vulnerable, create strong and economically self-sufficient families, and advance family resiliency.
Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement (http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/) – Florida DOR enforces child support rules and regulations according to Florida guidelines. This site includes applications for services, resources outlining the process, as well as payment information.
Hillbsorough County Government Online Family and Children Services (http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/childrensservices/programsservices/) – A wide range of residential and non-residential services are available for children and parents including counseling services, emergency shelters, and parenting skills training.
State of Florida Divorce Guide (http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=64) – The Florida Divorce Guide provides divorce information and resources for families facing the dissolution of a marriage.
Perhaps the most valuable service we offer is the initial consultation. There is a $150.00 flat charge for the initial, one-hour consultation with Attorney David Caveda available at our Tampa office.
During the consultation we attempt not only to answer the questions you may have, but also to give you answers to questions which will arise for you in the future. If your consultation takes place in our Tampa office, it is also a time for you to meet the staff who, together with the lawyer, will assist you throughout your case.
If you wish to arrange an initial consultation, please call us at (813) 254-5455 (Tampa, Hillsborough County) or (727) 474-9960 (Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County).
We look forward to meeting with you.
Before we begin representation, we require an initial retainer and a signed fee contract. The initial retainer depends on the case, but usually ranges from $3,000.00 to $7,500.00. We then bill our time against that retainer, and, if and when the retainer is close to being depleted, we may require an additional retainer if it appears the case has become more time consuming than initially anticipated.
Once we begin our representation, we charge hourly rates which are currently $325.00 per hour for Mr. Caveda, $275.00 per hour for Mrs. Demas, $250.00 per hour for Mrs. Weed, $175.00 per hour for Mr. Bragg and $100.00 or $125.00 per hour for our legal assistants.
Total Fees and Costs
No two cases are alike and, accordingly no two fees will be the same. Since the amount of time involved can never be predicted with scientific precision, we will do our best, after an initial consultation, to approximate how long the case could take and how much it might ultimately cost. Of course, there may be variables which cannot be anticipated, but we will give an honest effort to try to help you determine and anticipate the costs involved.
Reimbursement for Attorney’s Fees and Costs
Where appropriate, we will seek to have the other party reimburse you for your attorney’s fees and costs.
If you wish to arrange an initial consultation, please call us at (813) 254-5455 (Tampa, Hillsborough County) or (727) 474-9960 (Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County).
We look forward to meeting with you.
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