Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Divorce Ritual Follow Up - In the News



In line with my earlier blog about Divorce Ritual at http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=2995667082878877501&postID=3413758201428912468 , there was an article by Rebecca Cathcart in the April 23, 2008 New York Times entitled, "Unloading The Leftovers of Past Loves," which mentions melting down jewelry from past relationships. See the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/us/23jewelry.html?ex=1366689600&en=8c3bfe7d576b5e49&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink The article discusses a new website called ExboyfriendJewerly.com which allows users to sell, auction, trade, or give away of their amorous misadventures. The only requirement is that they must tell the stories behind every gift!

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/30/08

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Florida Divorce: Answers & Counter-Petitions

Answering the divorce petition is an important step in your DIY divorce. The purpose of the Answer document is to admit or deny what has been said in the petition. For each paragraph, your answer needs to indicate whether you "admit" or "deny" what is contained in that paragraph.

If you want to file a counter-petition, you must do it at the same time you file the Answer. A counter-petition is the Respondent's request that the divorce be granted and that the court order certain relief.

Why file a counter-petition? If you want the court to order specific things not requested in your spouse's petition, you may want to file a counter-petition. In a previous post we talked about the situations in which you need to make specific allegations in a divorce petition. If any of those situations apply to your case, you may want to file a counter-petition. If you definitely want the divorce and are worried that the petitioning spouse may not complete the divorce, you should file a counter-petition so that you can complete your divorce petition.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Grass is Not Always Greener

One of the many things I like about divorce mediation is that a couple can view what it would be like to be divorced without "burning their bridges." As you know, I like to use homilies! The couple has some idea of their current financial circumstances but if they are not living in the same circumstances they plan to live in when they get divorced, they have not idea of what their future circumstances will be like. I urge the couple to compare current and future finances and parenting and to decide if the "grass will be greener." With computer programs like FinPlan by Thomson West Publishing and created by Dennis Casty, we can do financial modeling which shows a couple the financial consequences of being divorced. I tell the couple that research shows that it will cost them at least 30% more to live separately than it will cost them to live together. There are more fixed costs for things like the telephone, cable, and insurance to name a few items. The couple can also experiment with a parenting plan, child support, and alimony. Although couples think they will be happier divorced, after doing some of these exercises, they often decide to try harder to save their marriage. If they don’t save their marriage, at least they go into the divorce with a more realistic picture of what it will be like.

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/28/08

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kids & the Importance of Calendars

When involved in a contested custody case, you should keep a calendar of all significant events. Take the time to make a note of things like how often the other parent has the kids, when support payments are made, when important discussions are had with your soon-to-be-ex.

Sometimes these calendar notes can help determine the proper amount of child support. Most of the model schedules in use in Florida provide for almost 40% of time with the non-custodial parent. Since the law allows an adjustment for significant timesharing, child support is often reduced. If the non-custodial parent does not actually exercise the time allotted in the schedule, child support may need to be adjusted. Before you can adjust child support, you will need to know the exact number of days actually used by the non-custodial parent. A calendar makes this calculation far easier than trying to reconstruct missed visits many months down the road.

Similarly, a calendar can help document late pick ups and drop offs, refusals to cooperate, chronic late payments and other inappropriate actions of the other parent. If you are having any dispute with your soon-to-be-ex, try using a calendar to keep track of events. You should also be aware that your calendar can be subpoenaed by the other side, so you may want to use a separate calendar for your divorce disputes.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Divorce by Blog and Youtube Follow Up


In line with my blog Divorce by Blog and Youtube,"

(http://centerfordivorcemediation.blogspot.com/2008/04/divorce-by-blog-and-youtube-in-news.html) recently married actor, Gary Coleman, who starred in the 1978 television comedy, "Diff'rent Strokes" and is 40 years old will be getting divorced from his 22 year old wife on Divorce Court TV on May 1 and 2
See more details at
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080425/ap_on_en_tv/people_gary_coleman "Divorce Court" is a syndicated show on which couples appear to settle real divorce cases. The show's judge resolves issues such as alimony and asset division, and her decisions are legally binding. See more about Divorce Court at http://www.divorcecourt.com/ There seems to be no end on how crazy divorce can get!

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/26/08

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gay Divorce - In the News




Over the years I have mediated numerous cases where one spouse is gay and the other spouse is not gay. I have not mediated a case where there is a gay couple. It is interesting to note that although the couple usually indicates that the reason for the divorce is because a spouse is gay, it is not usually the reason for the divorce. More often than not the couple is getting divorced for the same reasons that most couples get divorced. If the couple is getting divorced because of the gay issue, it is usually a more positive divorce. There have been two recent articles on this issue.

The Arizona Star published an AP story on April 16, 2008, entitled "Married Gays in Uncharted Divorce Waters." The article says that "Gay couples who still live in the state where they got hitched can split up with little difficulty: The laws in those states include divorce or dissolution procedures for same-sex couples. But gay couples who have moved to another state are running into trouble." See the entire article at http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/234596.php

The Sunday, April 20,2008m New York Times also had an article by Torrie Osborn, entitled "The Joy of Marriage Was Ours, for a While." See the entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/fashion/20love.html?ex=1366516800&en=1739614785191b61&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. Ms Osborn says, "our hard-fought rights of domestic partnership required lawyers and legal proceedings to undo it, just like for straight people. And I am grateful for those laws, as they are meant to protect those like me who, in the end, find themselves to be the financially disadvantaged partner. I couldn’t help but note the irony that all my fighting for 30 years for gay civil rights had come down to ... paperwork." She goes on to say that "A year has passed since I was forced to experience the dark side of committing to a legally binding union. But the bright side, for me, has been its safety net — divorce equality. And with steady help from my friends, I was able to stay upright on the horror-ride of grief and ultimately come through stronger and more whole. I have even discovered a new joy stirring in my soul like the sweet eye of a violet; it emerged from the stillness that follows grief."

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/25/08

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Divorce by Blog and Youtube - In the News


Many people are dissatisfied with their marriage and divorce. They usually complain to their friends, attorney or mediator. One of the advantages of mediation is confidentiality and there is usually very little publicity about a mediated divorce. Although this is a good thing, the public does not hear as much about mediation and as a result does not always choose it as a divorce process.

The internet has spawned new ways to air a person’s complaints about his or her divorce or marriage. It is sometimes a tool to settle a case or fight a divorce. Blogs and Youtube are two examples of these new methods. Two recent items have discussed this. See an article entitled "When the Ex Blogs, the Dirtiest Laundry Is Aired" by Leslie Kaufman in the April 18, 2008 New York times at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/style/18divorce.html?ex=1366257600&en=48b74d9f06a61cbd&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink Also see an AOL story about using Youtube at http://news.aol.com/story/_a/wife-takes-divorce-drama-to-youtube/20080416063709990001 Even I was amazed that both of these stories generated so much publicity and were widely circulated by email.

As an aside Leslie Kaufman of the New York Times now does many interesting stories about divorce. See my earlier blog about her story about Iraq and divorce at http://centerfordivorcemediation.blogspot.com/search/label/Divorce%20and%20the%20Iraq%20War%20-%20In%20the%20News

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/23/08

Guardians Ad Litem

Guardians ad litem are sometimes appointed in contested custody cases. With all the news coverage of the Texas polygamists, guardians ad litem have been in the news alot of the past few weeks. Just what is a guardian ad litem?

GALs are appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the child. GALs are required in child abuse cases in Florida. Each judicial circuit has a GAL program that trains volunteers to serve in the program.

In divorces, a GAL is appointed when one of the parties requests it by filing a motion and the court enters an order of appointment. GALs in divorce cases are usually attorneys in Florida.

Judges typically give the GAL recommendations great weight. You need to think about whether a GAL appointment would be helpful in your case. You should also speak with the proposed GALs prior to appointment because you and your child will be working with the GAL throughout the case.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Divorce Generation Grows Up - In the News



Most of my blogs have been about divorce from the divorce professional’s point of view. There is an excellent cover story by David J. Jefferson in the April 12, 2008 issue of Newsweek entitled "Divorce Generation Grows Up" which discussed divorce from the child’s point of view. See the entire article at http://www.newsweek.com/id/131838. Jefferson makes many of the following useful observations:
"The change had begun in the '60s as the myth of the nuclear family exploded, and my generation was caught in the fallout. The women's rights movement had opened workplace doors to our mothers—more than half of all American women were employed in the late '70s, compared with just 38 percent in 1960—and that, in turn, made divorce a viable option for many wives who would have stayed in lousy marriages for economic reasons. Then in 1969, the year I entered kindergarten, Gov. Ronald Reagan signed California's "no fault" divorce law, allowing couples to unilaterally end a marriage by simply declaring "irreconcilable differences. Not since Henry VIII's breakup with the pope has divorce received such a boost."
"I have watched divorce morph from something shocking, even shameful, into a routine fact of American life."

"As their parents remarried, my classmates were left to negotiate the thicket of resentments that crop up between spouses and their exes, children and their stepparents."

"As they witnessed their parents' pain, many of my friends took on emotional burdens well beyond their years. But my generation was trained in the art of having to move from relationship to relationship. It begins when the judge determines custody and the children start shuttling between parents."

"Another ugly side effect, according to the research, is that divorce can be passed from generation to generation, like some kind of genetic defect, with children of divorce becoming divorc├ęs themselves. Other classmates chose to avoid marriage altogether."

"In many ways, the urge to stay married is stronger in my classmates' generation than the urge to get divorced was in my parents'. Perhaps this was a backlash to divorce; maybe it was the result of reaching marrying age just as President Reagan's New Conservatism was shaping the social order. Whatever the cause, my married classmates seem more clear-eyed than their '50s forebears. "Every honest couple will tell you that it's hard sometimes," says Josh Gruenberg, who became a lawyer and now lives in San Diego with his wife and three kids (his parents divorced in 1992). "You have to compromise, and it takes work," says Ruth Kreusch, an intellectual-property paralegal."

"Despite the complications and the collateral damage, my friends from Grant class of '82 seem to agree that the divorces in their lives—both their parents' and their own—were probably for the best." "Most don't think ill of their folks for having split up. "As a child I felt like I was a victim of my circumstances, a victim of the divorce," says Deborah Cronin. "But as an adult I learned that my parents were just two people who met each other, fell in love, had children, and it didn't work out. They were 18 and 19 years old when they met. They were young kids having kids." It seems that along with the crow's feet and expanding waistlines of middle age, my classmates and I have acquired an acceptance of our parents and their life choices. Some of us have even found healing. "My parents were good people," Tonju Francois told me the other day. "And good people get divorced, too." If I've learned anything from my walk down memory lane, it's that Divorce Generation has grown up."

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/19/08

Florda Divorce: The Statistics

Florida divorce statistics continue to show about 90,000 divorce cases filed per year. For the first six months of 2007 (latest available numbers) there were just over 48,000 dissolution cases filed in Florida. This number is slightly lower than the same period in 2006.

The National Center for Health Statistics also follows marriage and divorce statistics. Their latest national numbers (2005) show that there were over 2.2 million marriages and a national divorce rate of 3.6 per 1,000 people - the lowest rate since 1970. Nevada had the highest divorce rate at 6.4.

The overall Florida divorce rate continues to fall from its high of 6.9 in 1990. Strangely, the highest divorce rates in Florida seem centered in Broward County. Pompano, Lauderhill, Hallandale, Hollywood, Davie, Ft. Lauderdale and Deerfield Beach all have divorce rates over 12%.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Society Page


I must confess that I like to read the Society Page or Wedding/Celebration section of the Sunday Styles Section of the New York Times. One of the first things I check out is the professions of the people who are getting married. As a divorce professional, I always wonder if the couples are compatible and whether the marriage will last. The following are a sampling of some of the professions of the couples:
The bride and bridegroom are special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation where the bride specializes in hostage negotiations and the bridegroom provides equipment for surveillance.
The bride is an associate on the foreign exchange sales desk where she sells foreign and domestic currency to hedge funds and asset managers and the bridegroom is a vice president of a financial institution where he works as a derivatives trader.
She is a clinical fellow in pediatric pulmonology. He is a portfolio manager at a hedge fund.
She is a fourth-year anesthesiology resident. The bridegroom, is an intellectual property lawyer.
She is finishing medical school and in July she is to become an intern. He is a currencies and stock trader.
As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/18/08

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Florida Divorce Issues - What's First?

In a Florida divorce, judges consider the issues in a specific order. There are five possible major issues or areas in a divorce case. This is the order in which judges consider the issues:

Parenting Plan/Primary Residence, Parental Responsibility

Equitable Distribution/Property Division

Alimony/Spousal Support

Child Support

Everything Else/Name Change, Life Insurance, Court costs

If you are representing yourself in a Florida divorce, you should use the same PEACE order to analyze your case and later, to prepare the settlement agreement.

Divorce and the Iraq War - In the News


War has many casualties but the Iraq War seems to have marriage as a casualty. I don’t know if it is because the soldiers shuttle back and forth instead of being away for a longer periods of time or that it is a longer war or that we have more women serving or the nature of the soldier serving or for some other reason. An April 6, 2008 article in the New York Times by Leslie Kaufman entitled
After War, Love Can Be a Battlefield discussed the problem. You can see the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/fashion/06marriage.html?ex=1365134400&en=3afba51165e6aaca&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink


The article says that "These days the Army is fighting a problem as complex and unpredictable as any war: disintegrating marriages." The Army has a pilot program to address marital stress after soldiers return from long tours in Iraq. It is part of the Army’s "Strong Bonds" programs, which are for families and couples and run by its chaplains. The program addresses the stress that war places on marriages - where stress often first manifests itself and where it can take the greatest toll.


The article states that soldiers are trained to endure extremes. When it comes to problems in the marriage, "He is saying, ‘We are not really at the worst-case scenario,’ " the article said. "For the spouse, it is like: ‘Yes, we are. To you, it is a small thing, because it is not life, or death, or bleeding. But if we don’t talk about these things now, it may feel like we are bleeding. I’m bleeding.’ "


"Divorce rates for Army personnel have been on the rise since 2003, the first year of war, when they were 2.9 percent. In 2004, divorce rates in the Army soared to 3.9 percent, propelled by a sharp rise in divorce among the usually much more stable officer’s corps. That rate has dropped, according to Army demographics, to 1.9 percent for officers and 3.5 percent for the entire Army in fiscal year 2007 — which represents roughly 8,700 divorces in total. Female soldiers are the exception; they divorce at a rate of about 9 percent."


The Army is worried about the effects of combat on its core soldiers, the ones who are supposed to be lifers. Internal studies show that couples are deeply stressed by the war and contemplating divorce at a much higher rate. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/16/08

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our Family - Community Mediation - In the News

My friend Victor Quiros works for Our Family Services in Tucson, Arizona. They do community mediation. There was a great article by Leslie Kaufman about them in the April 6, 2008 issue of the Arizona Dailey Star. See entire article at http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/233080.php You can also learn more about Our Family Services at their website at http://www.ourfamilyservices.org/
Contact them if you feel mediation might help your community. If you are interested in becoming a mediator call them. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/14/08

Sunday, April 13, 2008

No Co-mingling Here

Non-marital assets and co-mingling can be a big headache when equitably distributing assets in divorce. Co-mingling is the term used when marital money or efforts are used on non-marital assets that belong only to one spouse.

Last week, the Fifth District Court of Appeal decided a case from Ocala that involved possible co-mingling. The wife had looked at 5 acres prior to the wedding, but the sale closed after the wedding.

During the divorce, the husband claimed that the land was marital because it was purchased during the marriage. The evidence showed that the down payment was made with money from the wife's mother. The payments were made with non-marital accounts of the wife and her mother and son. Later, the wife's mother sold her house and that money also went toward the 5 acres.

Even though the wife's pleadings failed to identify the land as non-marital, the judge found that the 5 acres were, in fact, non-marital. The lack of pleading did not matter to the court since the spouses argued the issue during the trial.

Take away two lessons from this case. First, if you have a non-marital asset be sure you do NOT use marital money to pay for it. Second, keep your pleadings accurate so you don't buy yourself an appeal in your Florida divorce case.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Divorce Ritual



When a couple gets married there is a tremendous amount of ritual. There is much less ritual when the couple gets divorced. When we mediate, I encourage the couple to both come to my office to sign the documents and both go to court so that there is some ritual. During my initial training as a divorce mediator, the trainers suggested that the couples toast each other when the documents were signed. I went out and bought special champagne glasses and champagne but no matter how well the mediation went, I never had a couple who wanted to toast each other. This is not to say there is not a place for ritual in divorce. I know of women who melt down their wedding ring, mix it with other old jewelry and make new jewelry from it. I was in a store recently and saw a section next to the anniversary cards of divorce announcement cards. A few years ago I attended the annual meeting of the International Association for Collaborative Practice in Boston. One of the workshops I participated in was Changing the Culture of Divorce: A Training in the Use of Healing Rituals. As part of the workshop, a movie about a divorce ceremony was shown. The ceremony was both strange and moving. See more in article at page 16 of the Winter 2004, vol. 2 no. 2, Collaborative Law Journal at http://www.massclc.org/pdf/cljwinter2004.pdf. I am not sure such a ceremony is for everyone but couples who are having trouble with closure or other issues should consider it. . As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/11/08

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Basic Florida Divorce Law

You may have noticed that we've been posting here less in the past couple weeks. That's because we have been working on a new webpage for our tele-class launch.

The Basic Florida Divorce Law class will be available on a telephone bridge line. The class itself will be free, but you will have to pay for any toll charges (unless we find a fabulous provider that offers a toll free number at no cost on this end). With so many unlimited phone plans now, we don't think a toll call is a big price to pay for a 60 to 90 minute class.

So stay tuned right here at the DIY Divorce in Florida blog. We'll be announcing the date of the first class here in the next few weeks. Remember, we educate you so you can represent yourself in your Florida divorce.

Alimony - Men Receiving - In the News

Until recently I rarely had a case where a man received alimony. In the past cases were not gender neutral. In case in which alimony would be appropriate, the Husband often took a larger property settlement instead of periodic alimony. The Husband’s felt embarrassed to receive alimony. They felt it was not appropriate. The new television program "The Lipstick Jungle," explores the issue of Wives who are more financially successful than their Husbands. It shows how much cultural values influence the results of divorce cases. I remember attending a Family Law Bar Association meeting during which the speaker gave the fact pattern of a case in which there was a high earning husband and a stay at home Wife and asked the audience their opinion of how the judge would rule on the case. After everyone gave his or her opinion, the speaker advised us that he had switched facts of the case and it was the Wife who was the high earner and the Husband who was a stay at home Husband. Everyone then changed their opinion about the case.

An April 1, 2008, story in the Wall Street Journal by Anita Raghavan entitled "Men Receiving Alimony Want a Little Respect" discussed this issue. See entire article at
http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB120700651883978623-lMyQjAxMDI4MDA3MTAwMDE2Wj.html#
The article reminded me that although it has been 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against gender discrimination in alimony, it is only recently that I have seen more cases in which the Husband receives alimony. The article points out that "Divorce experts say that fewer and fewer men are rejecting outright any talk of seeking alimony. The percentage of alimony recipients who are male rose to 3.6% during the five years ending in 2006, up from 2.4%, in the previous five-year period, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That percentage is likely to rise as more and more marriages feature a primary earner who is female. In 2005 (the latest year for which data are available), wives out earned their husbands in 33% of all families, up from 28.2% a decade earlier." The article goes on to say that "Today, men in growing numbers are receiving alimony for the classic reasons that women traditionally did. A common argument is that they sacrificed their careers for the sake of their wives'. The article confirms what I had found that Wife's feel that Husband’s who want alimony are "deadbeats." I remember a case where the Husband did not receive alimony but did receive a larger property settlement. I ran into the Wife a few later who informed me that she remarried and this time her Husband had a job! I was fascinated that Ms. Raghavan said that "Some feminists say cases (in which the Husband receives alimony) show progress of a sort. 'We can't assert rights for women and say that men aren't entitled to the same rights,' says the famous feminist lawyer, Gloria Allred... It did not surprise me that many women who paid alimony to their Husband said that they felt financially raped."
Wives paying alimony maybe on the unforseen consequences of greater equality in the workforce. As women are paid what they deserve and are not prevented from higher level jobs, they will earn more than their Husbands and there will be more claims for alimony by Husbands. It is yet to be seen if this trend is a good or bad thing. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/9/08

Monday, April 07, 2008

Alimony Questions

One of the first question I am asked is usually about alimony. Do I have to pay it? Will I get it? How long? How much? Why should I pay alimony if I don’t want the divorce? These are difficult questions. Alimony varies from state to state. The Spring 2003 issue of the Family Advocate has an article by Virginia Dugan and Jon Feder which reviews alimony guidelines in many states. I was always amazed to read that "Texas requires a 10-year marriage for post divorce maintenance except in the case of disability. Support is limited to $2,500 per month for a period not to exceed three years." The underlying question is what is the purpose of alimony? The American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations is an excellent scholarly discussion of many divorce law issues, including alimony. It seems to say that current purpose of alimony should be compensatory. A spouse should be put in the same position he or she would have been if he or she had not married. But it also says that the spouse should be compensated for his or her work in increasing or decreasing the wealth of the couple. The historic notion of alimony being punitive or having the spouse being maintained in the life style he or she was accustomed to is less prevalent. In the end I have found it is either up to the judge to decide by his or her own formula or for the couple to decide what is acceptable. Read our next blog on men receiving alimony and Wall Street Journal article at http://online.wsj.com/wsjgate?subURI=%2Farticle%2FSB120700651883978623-email.html&nonsubURI=%2Farticle_email%2FSB120700651883978623-lMyQjAxMDI4MDA3MTAwMDE2Wj.html As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/7/08

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Dismissal: What a Mess!

Notice of Dismissal is effective immediately. The First District Court of Appeal recently had to unravel the past several years of court actions and orders. Here's what happened:

The couple lived together, had a child and got married. The wife filed for divorce almost immediately. A year later, a Magistrate held a hearing and recommended a final judgment of divorce, custody, child support and equitable distribution. The wife filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal ten days after the Magistrate's recommendation. Apparently unaware of the dismissal, 20 days later the judge signed an order adopting the Magistrate's recommendations and both parties presumably got copies of a "final judgment."

Another year later, the husband filed to modify custody and visitation. There was a trial and the court denied the modification. The husband appealed. At that point, someone looked at the whole court file and realized that the judge did not have authority to enter any orders after the wife dismissed the case.

Granted, this case was unusual because the final hearing was held in front of a Magistrate. The case actually involves the issue of when a case is "submitted to the court for decision," as it relates to the ability to dismiss a case without a court order. Esoteric issue maybe, but I hope that none of you will allow a year to pass without a hearing in your Florida divorce case.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Two TV Remotes are Better Than One! - Marriage Tips

There are many minor irritant in a marriage. There are many simple things that can be done to avoid them. One that I have found is to it get his and her remotes for the television. It avoids the problem of fighting over the remote. You still must problem solve which shows to watch! Do you have any tips? As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/4/08

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Google Pyramid

It is interesting to see how many hits a given name or topic gets on Google and how these compare to other names and topics. It is a way of seeing what people are interested in. I ran a few and came up with the following Google Pyramid. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/2/08


3,790 - Walter Marcus
464,000 ----Divorce Mediation
2,140,000------------Tucson Arizona
68,500,000 -------------------------- Divorce
84,000,000 -----------------------------------Obama
240,000,000 ------------------------------------------ Bush
2,700,000,000 --------------------------------------------- Google