Family Law

It is important to know your rights before you proceed into uncharted legal territory related to a divorce or a child custody dispute. After an initial evaluation of the facts of your case, our lawyer provides answers to help you eliminate uncertainty and proceed with confidence.
  • Divorce:  Fault is not necessary to justify a divorce in Florida any longer, so you must only prove that the marriage exists, that one party has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one spouse is mentally incapacitated.  We help clients pursue positive resolutions to important divorce issues through negotiation, mediation and litigation.
  • Dissolution of Marriage/Assets:  Attorney Gloria Lujan Rudolph will help you pursue a fair distribution of marital assets and debts so that you can emerge from your divorce in a financially healthy position.
  • Annulment:  Annulment is not governed by statute or rule. It is a common law action in equity to terminate a void or voidable marriage. Only the innocent party may seek an annulment.  A marriage may be annulled as a result of:
    • A lack of legal capacity to contract, or a statutory prohibition against the type of marriage in question
    • A lack of mental capacity to contract
    • A lack of actual consent to the contract
    • A consent wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment
    • A lack of physical capacity to consummate
  • Paternity:  Fathers can be denied rights to their children because they are not legally recognized as fathers.  For children born outside of marriage, paternity must be established in one of several ways before an individual can be considered the father of a child and have parental rights.  An adjudication of paternity along with support and parenting orders is important for fathers to gain rights to their child, for children who might otherwise be fatherless and for mothers seeking child support.  Paternity directly affects a man’s rights and responsibilities to a child, including:
    • Child support
    • Parenting plans
    • Time-sharing

Paternity provides rights to both a child and the parents of the child.  Through paternity, a child is entitled to:

    • Information on family medical history
    • Support and health insurance, if available, from the parent
    • Certain relational benefits such as military allowance or social security

  • Custody:  Whether the issue of the time spent with your children is related to a divorce or you are in an unmarried situation with children, our firm will help you develop a parenting plan customized to your family’s needs and desires. In Florida, courts determine all matters relating to custody of children according to the best interests of the child and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Absent a history of abuse or neglect, children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Both parents should participate in and bear the responsibilities of child rearing following a divorce or dissolution of marriage.  The court’s primary consideration is the best interest of the child.  To determine the best interest of the child, the court considers that each parent’s demonstrated capacity and disposition to:
    • Facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required
    • Provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime
    • Participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities
    • Maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse
  • Visitation:  One of the most important parts of a parenting plan is the portion setting out the terms of the parties’ time-sharing arrangement. The plan should clearly state where the children are going to live, how much time the children spend with the noncustodial parent and holiday visitation.
  • Child Support:  Under Florida law, child support is calculated using a formula, and many factors are considered in determining support:
    • The number of overnight stays with each parent
    • The income of both parents
    • Health insurance and uncovered medical expenses
    • Child care costs
    • Income in the form of noncash contributions
    • Private school tuition and expenses
    • Extracurricular activities
    • Any extraordinary needs or costs associated with the lifestyle enjoyed by the children during the marriage
  • Modification:  A child support order may be modified based on a showing of a substantial change in circumstances upon Petition to the Court for Modification.  The child support guidelines provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances upon which a modification of an existing order may be granted. The difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines must be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.