Fort Lauderdale Family Lawyer
Strategic advocacy to help you solve family law issues
For more than 20 years, we have counseled and supported numerous Floridians as they faced difficult family law issues. At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale family lawyers recognize that each issue of contention can introduce stress and discord. Therefore, we help you pick your battles strategically.
Handling A Wide Range Of Family Law Matters
The term “family law” can refer to a wide variety of legal issues. These issues can directly involve your spouse, your children, and even your safety and can also affect your living situation and finances. Because there is often so much at stake in a family law case, it is essential to have a highly experienced family lawyer representing your rights and interests.
- Child Custody
- Child Relocation
- Child Support
- Marital Asset Divison
- Domestic Partnership
- Domestic Violence
- Family Law Appeals
- Marital Agreement
- Military Divorce
- No-Fault Divorce
- Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement
- Supplemental Petition to Modify
- Temporary Relief
Each of the above types of cases will involve unique legal questions and will require a tailored approach to ensure that you protect your relationship with your children, your property, your financial situation, and your well-being.
How our Fort Lauderdale family lawyers can help you
Our Fort Lauderdale family lawyers are respected throughout Florida. We are experienced in handling especially contentious, high-conflict divorces, and we believe that children should always come first. Our goal is to help you solve family law disputes efficiently and fairly so you can get back to focusing on the important things in life.
Our firm can guide you through a variety of Fort Lauderdale family law issues including:
- Dissolution of marriage — In Florida, divorce is known as dissolution of marriage. To be eligible for Florida dissolution of marriage, you must be a Florida resident or have lived in Florida for the previous six months. Divorce is treated quite differently in Florida depending on whether the divorce is contested or whether you have dependent children from the marriage. A marital settlement agreement, or simple dissolution of marriage, is typically a relatively fast procedure. However, a contested marriage is almost always extremely lengthy and stressful.
- Domestic partnerships — While domestic partnership law in Florida is particularly complex, being recognized as a domestic partnership carries certain benefits legally and in the eyes of society. Our firm can counsel you and your partner as to the best means of simulating the benefits of traditional marriage in your partnership.
- Child custody and child support — Child custody and child support are often the most debated issues in a divorce. Child custody is often litigated because parents see the custodial parent as having the final word in terms of the child’s education, religious instruction and healthcare. This, however, does not have to be the case, and our family law firm can help you resolve this issue. In addition, child support is often highly litigated since it lasts at least until the child reaches 18 years of age. Our attorney always advocates for the best interest of the child and ensures that support is not wasteful or does not lead to unjust enrichment.
- Marital settlement agreements — A marital settlement agreement (MSA) is a contractual agreement between the spouses that settles many issues of the divorce, including division of property, alimony and child support. For an MSA to work, you and your spouse must still be able to collaborate and make agreements. This alternate path can avoid litigation and unnecessary costs while allowing both parties to rebuild their lives sooner.
- Parenting plans — In addition to basic custody and child support decisions, Florida law requires that parents draft a comprehensive parenting plan that will serve as a guideline for their roles as parents and will help resolve parenting disputes. These plans can address a wide variety of matters, from daily schedules to sharing holidays and vacations to who can and will make certain decisions for the child. It is important to ensure that a parenting plan works for your and your child, as the court can enforce the provisions of a plan.
- Modification of custody orders — When you first set your child custody schedule, it may work based on the work schedules of the parents and the school schedule of the child. However, children can be involved in additional activities and parents can change jobs or even want to relocate. All of these factors may warrant a change in the custody arrangement, which must be approved by the court.
- Modification of support orders — While a court order regarding child custody, child support, or spousal support may seem fair and appropriate at the time of the family court’s decision, we all know that circumstances can change. An individual paying support may suffer financial hardship and may no longer be able to afford the ordered payments or may experience a windfall that warrants an increase in support payments. In addition, the person receiving support may no longer require the amount of support ordered due to an increase in income. We can help you agree on a modification or convince the court that a modification is justified.
Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC offers additional Fort Lauderdale family law services, including quality advocacy for spousal support (alimony), division of marital assets, parental relocation, modification of supplemental petitions, temporary relief, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, paternity and domestic violence.
Comprehensive family law services
Our Fort Lauderdale family law firm is known throughout Florida for taking on high-conflict cases and finding the solution that others could not find. We are attentive and compassionate in understanding your goals and the best means to reach them. Our firm provides a comprehensive array of family law services including:
Divorce — Divorce is known as dissolution of marriage in Florida. Under Florida family law, several processes for dissolving a marriage are recognized including a simple divorce, marital settlement agreement and the traditional divorce procedure.
Wills — A will is one estate planning tool that is available. A will determines to whom your property is distributed upon your death. Your property passes through the court-supervised probate process.
Trusts — Trusts are another type of estate planning tool. A trust is a versatile tool that can also help you distribute property upon your death. Trusts do not pass through probate, so this tool can give your family more privacy than a will. In addition, a trust can be a means to support a favorite charity or continue to support an organization after death.
Probate — Probate is the process through which your property passes if you leave a will. Probate is designed to ensure that your will is valid and your wishes are being carried out faithfully. If your will is challenged in probate, you may need a skilled probate attorney to advocate on behalf of your estate plan.
Alimony — Alimony is now known as spousal support in Florida. In most circumstances, spousal support is rehabilitative, meaning that its goal is to foster new job skills in the dependent spouse so that the dependent spouse no longer requires the support. In limited circumstances that are typically reserved for dissolution of long marriages greater than 17 years, spousal support can be permanent.
Marital settlement agreements (MSA) — An MSA is a relatively new dissolution of marriage procedure that is available to Florida residents. This process is a non-judicial procedure in which the spouses mutually agree to the terms of their divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and other matters. For low-conflict proceedings, an MSA can save time and money.
Paternity — Paternity can be the difference between receiving parental rights and merely being a “friend of the family.” Establishing paternity can entitle you to child custody or visitation rights. In addition, paternity law can be used to compel a nonmarital father to support his child.
Domestic partnership law — Domestic partnership law in Florida is a complex area of law. Our firm can help you understand the value of Florida’s local domestic partnership laws and create a comprehensive estate plan that simulates the benefits of a traditional marriage.
Child custody and time-sharing — The issue of custody can arise as part of a paternity or divorce case, or any case involving children. It is almost always preferable for parents to agree on a custody arrangement and time-sharing schedule, however, if you cannot agree, the court will step in and decide a schedule for you. Florida family courts make custody determinations based on what they believe is in the best interests of the child.
Child support — Child support is also an issue in almost any case involving a child. Florida law requires child support decisions to be based on a specific formula and the court does not have a lot of discretion in straying from these guidelines unless you can prove the results under the guidelines would be unfair or unjust.
Relocation — If you have a time-sharing agreement with your child’s other parent, you do not have the right to move more than 50 miles away from them without permission as it will affect the custody and visitation agreement. If the other parent refuses to agree to the relocation, you will have to get permission from the court, which will expect a valid reason for the move and will examine other factors to make a decision.
Prenuptial agreements — While many people consider prenuptial agreements to be unromantic, these agreements can help to resolve many issues and protect your property in the event of a future divorce. Prenuptial agreements can address property division, spousal support, and much more.
Enforcement of an order — If a court issues an order for child custody, child support, or spousal support, and your ex-spouse refuses to obey the order, you have the right to take legal action to enforce the terms of the order. You can petition the court to enforce the judgment and the court can hold the party in contempt of court and impose fines or jail time. There are also other ways to collect child support through the Florida Department of Revenue.
Modification of an order — If your circumstances have changed significantly since a support or custody order was issued, you have the right to petition the court to modify the order based on your new circumstances. If the other party requests an unfair modification, you also have the right to challenge the basis of that modification to protect your support and custody rights.
These are only some of the many family law issues with which our office can assist you. If you are facing any type of family law case, please do not hesitate to call our office to discuss your situation with us today.
Compassionate support to help you through your divorce
In Florida, divorce is now known as dissolution of marriage. Dissolution of marriage in Florida is a no-fault procedure, meaning that you are neither required to place blame on your spouse for the breakup of the marriage nor required to prove the fault of your spouse. Despite these changes, divorce can still be an extremely contentious and emotionally draining experience. Our divorce law firm is respected throughout Florida for taking on and resolving high-conflict divorce cases.
Every divorce is different and we approach every case with individual concerns based on your circumstances and goals. We have many solutions that we can explore to resolve your case as quickly as possible in the most cost-effective manner for you. Whether you and your spouse agree on the various issues in your divorce or not, we can help you achieve a favorable and efficient outcome in your dissolution of marriage case.
Finding Effective Solutions In Your Case
Our family law attorneys understand that every divorce, custody, or other type of family law case is different and will require a tailored and individualized approach. In some cases, you may be able to compromise through collaborative law or mediation, which can save you time and money. Other cases may require litigation and we have the resources and ability to represent you in court if needed. We always seek the most efficient resolutions to your family law case while still making sure the resolution is effective and protects your best interests. We work closely with every client to understand and pursue their personal goals in their family law case. In addition, if any issues arise regarding your judgment, we can help you resolve an enforcement or modification issue with as little stress as possible.
Contact us today for your free Fort Lauderdale family law consultation
Our experienced Fort Lauderdale family lawyers at Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC can help put you at ease when you are dealing with the stress and uncertainty of your family law issue. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, our office is conveniently located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, north of Davie Boulevard. We are not far from Broward Hospital and are just three blocks from the county courthouse. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and we offer appointments on Saturday upon request. Call us today at 954-800-2362 or contact us online.