Family Law

Katz & Associates Law Firm represent clients in all areas of Family Law. Issues that arise in this area require both the legal knowledge to protect your rights and a sensitive approach to handle what is often very emotional and sensitive matters in the lives of those facing these issues.

Our Firm prides itself on the personal attention it provides to clients in the areas of:

  • Divorce
  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Child Support [including modifications]
  • Child Custody
  • Paternity
  • Prenuptials and Postnuptials
  • Modification
  • Enforcement Proceedings
  • Alimony
  • Temporary Restraining Orders


A typical dissolution of marriage case involves many aspects that affect your rights with respect to the marriage, for example, child support, timesharing, division of property and debts, alimony among other issues that may arise. Florida remains a “no fault” state, which means that it has done away with fault as grounds for divorce. Florida follows an Equitable Distribution Model for dividing the property and liabilities acquired by both parties during the course of the marriage. Using this model, courts tend to favor dividing marital property on an equal basis unless there are certain circumstances that warrant dividing property on the basis of an unequal distribution. In addition, a typical dissolution of marriage case involves the calculation of child support, the negotiation of timesharing arrangements between parents, along with the determination of alimony should it be applicable to the spouses. As a result, a divorce case can quickly find someone who has decided to handle their own divorce overwhelmed and often at a disadvantage due to their lack of knowledge as to their rights. Katz & Associates, therefore, follows a comprehensive approach. As a result, the attorneys at Katz & Associates Law Firm strive to work in an efficient and effective manner to provide quality services which will maximize the ability to represent its clients from start to finish in what is usually a complex manner.

Divorce FAQs

§  What happens when I am served with divorce papers? If you are served by a process server with divorce papers, you are given 20 days to respond to the Divorce Petition. Failure to respond can result in a default judgment being entered against you, which may result in your rights not being enforced protected. Therefore, it is important, upon service of divorce papers, to immediately contact an attorney for a consultation as to what your rights are as a result of the marriage. Katz & Associates provides a free one time initial consultation where you will receive an overview of how the divorce will affect certain aspects of your life along with informing you as to your rights.

§  What happens if I do not respond to the divorce petition? Depending on the case matter, you may still have an opportunity to have your day in court. A divorce is not finalized until a final judgment is entered by the court.

§  Does being the Husband or Wife provide an advantage in a Divorce case? In the past, case law in Florida and across the nation tended to focus on favoring the Wife with regards to certain aspects, like Child Support and Timesharing between parents. However, presently, courts have shifted to a more balanced view which acknowledges the importance of both Husband and Wife to be treated equally under the law with respect to Divorce. Therefore, Courts encourage children belonging to the parties to have equal opportunities to foster a relationship as having both parents in the life of the child is considered to be in the best interest of the child according to Florida law.

§  If I do not have money to pay for an attorney to handle my divorce, could I have my spouse pay my attorney’s fees? Some circumstances allow for a spouse to obtain a court order requiring that the husband or wife pay his or her attorney’s fees. This is based on what the wife or husband’s needs are and what the financial ability of the husband or wife is. This is usually awarded in cases where one spouse has a superior financial earning ability over the other spouse. In order for our attorney’s to work on your case, attorney’s fees must be paid before an order awarding attorney’s fees is entered. If the court award’s attorney’s fees, those fees are reimbursed to the party requesting the fees to be paid.

Uncontested Divorce

An Uncontested Divorce is when both parties agree on absolutely everything such as child support, custody, visitation, division of property and debts and alimony, if any. However, an uncontested divorce may turn into a contested divorce and involve many complex issues, once both parties begin to analyze the issues involved. Family law matters usually carry an emotional aspect, therefore, it is important to seek the advice of counsel to advise you on a one on one basis so that you are informed as to what your rights are and how you will be affected by the dissolution.

Uncontested Divorce FAQs

o   What if my Husband/Wife and I want to have an attorney represent us both? Due to Professional Rules of Ethics, mandated by the Florida Bar, an attorney is not allowed to represent both parties in a legal action due to conflicts of interest.

o   What if I cannot contact my spouse due to him/her leaving the country or state? You are still able to obtain a divorce, however, due process requires that you attempt to, in good faith, locate your spouse  for service of the dissolution of marriage papers. However, if a good faith attempt is unsuccessful, service can be made by publication in a local newspaper which would serve to ensure compliance with Florida Law.

Child Support

Parents have an obligation to provide financial support for the health and welfare of minor children. Child Support is calculated in Florida by the Florida Child Support Guidelines outlined in the Florida Statutes. Child Support is calculated by using the net income of each parent and takes into account the number of children in the household to determine a fixed amount. The term “net income” is defined differently than the net income used for federal tax purposes. Child Support


A modification can be made to the final judgments regarding the terms relating to Child Support, Alimony, Timesharing outlined in the Final Judgment.  The Petitioner, who seeks modification, must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances to warrant modification of a final judgment.

Temporary Restraining Orders/Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence

This type of remedy offers immediate relief to a person who believe that they may be in imminent fear of becoming the victim of domestic violence. Should you have a reasonable cause to believe that you are in fear of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the local court in your area usually provides a division dedicated to providing emergency relief for your protection.


§  What if I was served with a Temporary Restraining Order? Usually you will be required to attend a hearing allowing you the opportunity to answer to the allegations. A Temporary Restraining Order, also called an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, is a very serious matter that can negatively affect many aspects of your life. Some of these may include, loss of employment, denied access to enter into your home should the alleged victim continue to reside in your residence, child visitation/time sharing restrictions.

§  What if I believe that the Temporary Restraining Order contains false allegations or is an attempt to keep me away from my house or children? Unfortunately, the purpose of a restraining order is to protect true victims of domestic violence. Due to the required emergency nature of the restraining order, which is done ex parte (without the presence of the opposing party), some parties can use this remedy falsely for gain in divorce matters or for other malicious reasons. However, should you believe that the Temporary Restraining Order was filed maliciously and contains false allegations, it is strongly advised to retain counsel to represent you at the hearing in order to assist you in defending this matter. Once the Temporary Restraining Order is issued, should you not be able to properly defend your case, it can extend for several months and can affect any future timesharing or visitation arrangements you may be seeking in a future Paternity or Divorce case.

§  Who has standing to obtain a Restraining Order? Your relationship with the person whom the injunction is being filed against must be that of a spouse, an ex-spouse, a relative by blood or marriage, who lives or has lived with you in the same dwelling as a family unit, anyone who lives or has lived with you in the same dwelling as a family unit, or anyone with whom you have a child, with or without having lived together.

This web site is designed ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING general information. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice AND DOES NOT RESULT IN the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Family Law Resource Links

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Family Law Matters – The Marriage



By request, and in answer to our many clients’ personal need; and also due to the fact that our economy-driven society requires decisions that many times effects each of us, we hope that this legal sounding board (blog) clears-up some misunderstood issues:

ENGAGEMENT – We all want to think that the engagement between two people is an extension of love when one gallant party on bended knee asks for the hand in marriage of the other party; but, in actuality ENGAGEMENT is a legal period that begins with a commitment by one to the other. In the legal sense the engagement act is an unwritten (for the most part) contract that is usually sealed once the offer is made and the other party accepts the offer and binds it with acceptance of a good faith token (engagement ring) that shows/demonstrates intent to marry. An engagement ring (as is legally recognized in almost all jurisdictions, universally) is more than just a symbol of love, it is a binding and sealing of the (unwritten) contract and is given in good faith that the accepting party guaranties fulfillment of the agreement to marry. If in fact, the parties never marry and ‘break-up’ the engagement ring is then to be returned to the giving party as that is the giver’s property and the party returning the engagement ring did not fulfill the promise to marry. Many would-be brides are under the impression that the engagement ring is a ‘gift’ wherein fact it is a legal symbol worldwide recognized as the binding acceptance of intent to marry. If the marriage never takes place, the contract was broken and the original ring giver is entitled to the return of the engagement ring.

In the event where the marriage was consummated the engagement ring is normally not returned to the ring giver, unless for some reason that is included in the divorce (Dissolution of the Marriage Agreement) where it specifies the return of the engagement ring to the giver; otherwise, since the bride fulfilled the obligation by marrying, the ring then-after belongs to the receiver of the engagement ring (spouse).

Many divorcing parties have argued over rights of possession; however, by legal fact, the engagement ring always belongs to the giver until the marriage is fulfilled, as of the date of marriage. Then after the ring belongs to the receiving spouse in fulfillment of the contract between the parties to marry; unless, the giver gives up the right to the ring, willingly.

Another ENGAGEMENT issue is in regard to PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS. Because, in our society today, only 45% of marriages survive and succeed as actual long-term commitments, therefore marriage should never be entered into lightly and without consideration of its legal and financial implications. Every state (and especially in Florida) PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS are a very sound and very ethical instrument of love between the parties. As attorneys, we craft or design a legal agreement between a couple during the engagement period to bind in an agreement and understanding of what is to be shared going into the marriage, and if the marriage should fail in the future or one of the couple parties should become disabled (due to mental or physical calamity) or unable to perform in the marriage, how there is to be a separation or division of assets acquired in the marriage or that existed before the marriage. This instrument (‘PRENUP’) is never designed to alienate one party from the other, it is designed to protect or insure the marriage understanding and agreement between the parties. Elements within the prenuptial are: a) assets of each individual party; b) liabilities of each individual party; c) anything anticipated to be bestowed upon, or inherited, by each individual party then or in the future; d) children of the individual parties other than children of this particular union of the couple; e) how assets are to be acquired in the future after marriage is consummated; f) how assets are to be divided in the event the marriage fails for any reason; g) obligation of one person to the other during the marriage and after it should end in dissolution, or otherwise; h) how debt is to be decided and how responsibility is to be divided or shared; i) and any special needs, medical or healthcare or special needs, any consideration or future anticipations of the parties, one to the other or jointly shared. As one can see from this categorical detail, and in consideration of wise forethought, a prenuptial is sound legal advice for any person entering into marriage no matter what the current personal financial standing. It gives a basis of an agreement that can actually prevent future arguments or misunderstandings.

MARRIAGE – Is the legal fulfillment of a commitment of the couple. How each party treats or treasures the spirit of that commitment is to be determined over time, short term or long term. The vows exchanged in the wedding ceremony itself may also be considered part of that original contract of marriage, to HONOR, OBEY, BEFRIEND, AND CARE FOR until death do part. Marriage is a very serious contract and by its nature forever obligates one to the other until like all contractual relationships, is legally ended. The original obligation of the marriage continues indefinitely unless defined otherwise in a PRENUP or by Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) by a judge.

Some parties who never entered into a PRENUP consider POST NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS, which basically is the same device as was discussed in the Engagement section above and meets the same goals; however, it is designed and created AFTER the marriage is legally consummated or during the term of marriage, at any time elected by the couple. Some couples going through marriage counseling actually seek an attorney’s assistance in creating a POSTNUP during that counseling period so that it lessens some strains during counseling in regard to individual legal obligations of the parties. Again, the POSTNUP is designed to fortify a marriage and reduce any barriers, and so there is openness of the couple.

DIVORCE – The legal cessation or end of a legal marriage contract. Many states (as in Florida) legally refer to this as Dissolution of Marriage, and as it says in its name, the marriage ceases or ends forever! Divorce is a very difficult matter to resolve and it also must never be taken lightly or without consulting an attorney. Even though the state permits individuals who do not own property jointly, or do not have children together from the same marriage, to do what is known as Simple Dissolution, even-so that too should never be done unless those individuals seek advice from an attorney to get detailed legal facts to prepare for divorce. Many couples have completed their own divorce package online or at the courthouse with the Clerk (who legally does not assist or give legal advice) have later regretted not spending a few dollars to later save thousands of dollars where a mistake was made and not realized until years later. Weekly we see a new client who obtained a Simple Divorce years prior and now finds out later a major error was made. Those mistakes or errors in good judgment later did not permit them to obtain life insurance, social security benefits were lost, pension money was lost, and death benefits were given to the wrong party. Just recently, this week, we had a client who did a self filing for divorce at the courthouse who was denied his U.S. Citizenship by the INS Hearing Officer because of a minor error in the original filing of the self filed form years ago; he then, had to hire new immigration counsel and pay for us to go before a judge to have the Dissolution of Marriage altered to correct his errors. Not only has this caused this new client major expense, he also lost his timely U.S. Citizenship approval standing that he has waited for almost six years for approval and now must start over again (this example is used only as an actual demonstration of a need to always seek legal advice). To fix those mistakes can cost thousands of dollars in legal and various court fees. Some of these same people come to us admitting they only wanted to save money and did not want to hire an attorney. Divorces are legal issues and require legal opinion. Most attorneys will give a free consultation in regard to divorce issues and at Katz & Associates Law Firm we encourage use of at least one free consult to better understand your legal obligations and rights. When there are children involved, or when there is property or joint debts or legal obligations of the divorcing couple, it becomes a very serious matter that requires serious planning and consideration so there are no warring parties later. Divorcing from a spouse may not end many legal issues or legal responsibilities. A true dissolution requires certain elements: a) Marital Settlement Agreement; b) division of assets and liabilities; c) handling of alimony or support or resettlement of the other spouse; d) visitation of any children or timesharing or custody, education and healthcare issues; e) any special situation needs to be considered. Just as entering into marriage is a legal contractual obligation, so too the divorce is a legal obligation that a judge must determine is properly and legally agreed between the parties in order to get a final end and resolve.

KATZ & ASSOCIATES LAW FIRM provides all clients with free consultation on any FAMILY LAW MATTERS. Call, to arrange for an appointment to make us part of your family planning and your financial welfare and legal safeguarding of assets and legal rights.

Are you aware that we have created an online free and live chat line? YES, now you can chat live online and in real time with a Katz & Associates attorney regarding any legal or estate matter. We have created a secure chat line on our website. Log on anytime any day of the week to chat and get answers to any legal question you may have. It is totally free and totally confidential and very secure.

LOG ON TO OUR WEBSITE:  [for Miami & Broward] or [for Treasure Coast & Palm Beach] In the upper right hand corner, click on CHAT. Fill in the data request so your chat is directed to a Katz attorney on duty to respond in your area of concern or interest. Chat about mortgage matters, loan issues, credit issues, estate planning or business related matters, family law, bankruptcy. GET IMMEDIATE LIVE ATTENTION.


Katz & Associates, PLLC