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THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE PROCESS

THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE PROCESS

The Collaborative Divorce process is a way to address the issues arising out of a divorce proceeding without the traditional litigation model.  The Collaborative Process uses a team approach to help the parties reach a settlement agreement without the need to go to court.  The team consists of each party’s attorneys, a neutral financial advisor, and a mental health provider if needed.

In the traditional divorce litigation, much time is spent in financial discovery trying to determine the parties’ finances.  Working with a neutral financial advisor, as a team, helps the parties reach a prompt settlement agreement.

Likewise, when there are significant custody disputes, working with a neutral mental health provider as a team helps the parties reach a settlement agreement that is in their children’s best interest.

 

The Collaborative divorce process is voluntary and both parties must enter into a participation agreement agreeing to participate in settlement discussions with the help of the neutral third parties.

In the event that the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement, the collaborative divorce counsel will withdraw from the case allowing the parties to retain counsel to proceed with the litigation.

In summary, the Collaborative Divorce Process will reduce the hard feelings between the parties, which will help reduce the process time and will help reduce the attorney’s fees and costs.

For further information contact our office for a free initial consultation.

Step Parent Adoption

Often the parent of a minor child remarries and is considering whether the step parent can legally adopt the child.

In Florida a step parent adoption is available provided the Child’s biological parent executes a proper Consent to the child’s adoption and a clear waiver of the parental rights over the child. For the Consent to be valid it must meet the statutory requirements, must be willingly signed, and must not be revoked within the statutory period. Once these requirements are met the consent is valid and the Step Parent adoption can proceed.

Since the biological parent has consented to the adoption and has waived his parental rights over the child there is no need for a hearing on the termination of parental rights and only the hearing on the adoption is required. Moreover, step parent adoption does not require a home study, significantly reducing the length of the process.

The step parent will need to appear in court to present evidence of the relationship with the child, the ability to continue to support the child and the understanding that the adoption process is irrevocable.

It is important to remember that if the child is older than (12) years of age the child must consent to the adoption.

Our office has represented numerous step parent adoptions in Florida and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the adoption process.

Maria T. Sallato

Board Certified Attorney in Family Law

 

Adoption

From all the different legal processes that a Family Law Attorney handles there is nothing more rewarding than adoptions, especially step parent adoptions.  Generally, it is a happy, especial day of unifying a family. However, adoption attorneys must be knowledgeable when it comes to the adoption of a child from a foreign country.

According to the USCIS policy for Determining Habitual Residence in the U.S. for Children from Hague Convention Countries the country where the child is considered to be habitually resident will determine what adoption process the adoptive parent must go through.  If a child lives in the U.S. but is considered to be habitually resident of their country of citizenship, adoptive parents must generally go through the Hague process in order to adopt and obtain U.S. immigration status for their child. If the child is considered to be habitually resident in the U.S., the adoptive parents do not need to go through the Hague process and may file a Form I-130 for the child.

In order to establish that the child is a habitual resident of the U.S. three criteria must be met:  (1) At the time the child entered the United States, the purpose of the entry were for reasons other than adoption; (2) Prior to the U.S. adoption, the child actually resided in the United Sates for a substantial period of time, establishing compelling ties in the United Sates; and (3) The Central Authority of the country of citizenship was notified of the adoption proceedings and the Central Authority did not object to the proceeding.

4 Year long Divorce Trial

Just closed a 4 year long divorce including two trials and two appeals. After a three day trial, the trial court awarded my client, the Wife, an unequal distribution of the marital estate in the form of the Husband’s share of the marital home. The trial court also made a finding that her use of the Husbands 401 K funds was not a dissipation of assets. On appeal the appeals court affirmed. Not happy with the result, the Husband filed essentially the same claim for dissipation of assets in civil court alleging breach of fiduciary duty. After a hearing, the Civil Court dismissed his claim under principles of res judicata. Again the Husband appealed the dismissal. Today we received the Mandate affirming the civil court.

Maria Sallato Wins Child Abduction Case

As a result of a three-day trial in front of the Honorable Judge Federico Moreno, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Attorney Maria T. Sallato, board certified in Family Law, successfully obtained the return of a three year old child to Canada, under the terms of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction. Final judgment was entered on August 31, 2017, Case No. 17-cv-20745-FAM.

( Florida bar – The International Law Gazette – 09-18-2017)