Experienced Family Law Attorneys You Can Trust

Family Law Daytona Beach FL | Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law

The Daytona Beach family law firm of Adams, Briggs & Briggs has been helping individuals and couples with their legal matters for many years. We understand that family and divorce law can be a highly emotional time for all parties involved. Our team will delicately handle your case and pursue your best interests. We are your advocates for you regardless of whether your marriage can be dissolved amicably or if it has to be taken to court. We also help answer any questions about child support, alimony, parenting time, custody, and division of assets issues. When it comes to divorce and family law matters, we put the needs of our clients and their children first and provide personalized, responsive legal representation you can trust.

For more information about the services we provide, including estate planning and probate, please contact us at 386-253-6571.

Areas of family law we practice include:

Contested Divorces/Uncontested Divorces

Divorce is often emotionally taxing and financially stressful. In difficult circumstances like these, the actions of your divorce attorney can make a tremendous difference. At the law firm of Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, we take the time to explain Florida divorce laws and how they apply to your situation. We also provide helpful information and talk with our clients about their options.

At our firm, we focus on assisting people through divorce effectively and efficiently. It may not always be easy, but our lawyers will work hard to make sure that your divorce is resolved as smoothly as possible. Contact our Daytona Beach law firm to discuss your divorce with an experienced family lawyer.

A divorce involves more than simply hiring an attorney to file court papers. When children are involved, you will need to address issues involving your children in a parenting plan such as time sharing. You will also need to address issues of child support and possibly relocating. Even if children are not involved, you may need to deal with difficult issues that are related to spousal support/alimony and property division.

We handle contested and uncontested divorce for couples with simple to complex issues, as well as high asset divorces. Our lawyers understand that every divorce is different. We will take the time to truly understand the issues that are important to you, so that we can help get the results that you want. We will answer your questions and educate you about your legal rights and responsibilities.

Relocation

Upon filing a petition for divorce or paternity, or entry of a final judgment of divorce or paternity, a person cannot simply decide to move 50 miles or more with their minor children. Florida statutes have strict guidelines for child relocation. Whether you are attempting to move away with your child, or you are a parent trying to prevent child relocation, it is important to seek advice from an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible.

At the law firm of Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, our firm can provide compassionate and skilled representation in cases of relocation. Relocation disputes are complex and must be determined in accordance with applicable law in order to fully protect your rights. If you or the other parent intends to move with your children, you should contact an experienced lawyer in our firm for an initial consultation.

Numerous factors are considered by the court in determining whether relocation is in the child's best interest, including:

  • The child's relationship with each parent
  • The child's age and impact the relocation would have on the child
  • The ability to maintain the child's relationship with the non-relocating parent through substitute arrangements
  • The child's preference, depending on the child's age and maturity
  • Whether the relocation will enhance the quality of life for both the parent seeking relocation and the child
  • The reasons why each parent is seeking or opposing the relocation
  • The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent seeking relocation
  • Whether the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligation to the parent seeking relocation
  • The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent if the relocation occurs
  • Whether there is a history of substance abuse or domestic violence by either parent
  • Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child

Divorce Appeals

If you believe that the trial court abused its discretion or misapplied the law, you may have grounds to seek appellate review. Appellate proceedings are complicated and having lawyers who do both trial and appellate law is beneficial for a successful appeal.

At the law firm of Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, we represent clients in appellate divorce and family law cases. These cases may include alimony, property division, child custody and all other types of family law cases, throughout Volusia County, Flagler County and the surrounding area encompassing the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

A bad result in a family law case is not, by itself, a basis for filing an appeal. Simply because you do not like the outcome of your case does not mean that a higher court will reverse a decision. There must be substantial competent evidence, preferably preserved in a trial court record, which indicates the trial judge either abused his or her discretion or misapplied the law.

At Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, we take the time to develop the evidentiary record and we have the experience to present the evidence and facts necessary to help ensure success in the District Court of Appeal.

Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement, also known as an antenuptial agreement (or prenup) is a legally binding written contract between two people who intend to get married. Although the idea sounds simple enough, many people are surprised to learn how complicated it can become. Yes, protecting individual assets and property is one component, but prenups can go beyond the question of who-gets-to-keep-what. Issues can include money management, property rights, responsibility for debts, estate planning, alimony, as well as other issues that are specific to each couple's needs and circumstances.

Whether this is your first marriage or you have been married in the past, we can help you prepare a prenuptial agreement that will help protect your assets. Our law firm has years of legal experience practicing in the areas of family law and probate. We understand the issues and will listen to your areas of concern. We will tailor an agreement that addresses the specific circumstances of your situation.

Benefits of a prenuptial agreement include:
  • Keeping each party's finances separate
  • Protection from each other's debts
  • Providing for children from a prior marriage or relationship
  • Preserving premarital assets

These benefits can be helpful to both parties by preventing conflicts if there ever is a subsequent divorce, especially in marriages in which:

  • One party earns more or less than the other
  • One or both parties have previously been married
  • One or both of the parties will be entering the marriage with children
  • One or both parties have substantial assets or debts
Postnuptial Agreements

A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, but it is entered into after the parties are married. It addresses similar issues, such as division of property, spousal support, child support, etc., in the event the marriage ends in divorce.

Complex Property Division Settlements

If your Florida divorce property settlement will include complex investments, real estate holdings, business ownership and other high-valued assets, will your attorney have the experience to protect your financial interests?

Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to help you with all of your property division needs. We know that your financial future is on the line, so we don't take chances. We work with a network of independent professional experts in the areas of asset identification and recovery, qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO), actuarial accounting, business valuation, equity values, investments and marital property classification. We prepare the strongest, clearest case possible to make sure your property settlement is fair and protects your financial future.

Handling Hidden Asset Cases:

Alimony/spousal support payments are based on statutory factors found in Florida statute section 61.08, including the need of one spouse for support and the ability of the other spouse to pay. However, either party's financial circumstances may change with time, necessitating a modification.

In a Florida divorce, all property is to be classified as either nonmarital property or marital property. Nonmarital property is personal property that was brought to the marriage by one of the parties and is not subject to equitable distribution. In a high-asset divorce, nonmarital property is often addressed in a prenuptial agreement and protected from litigation.

However, certain types of complex assets and property may increase in value over time. Interest, dividends and increased value that occurred over the course of the marriage or because of commingling assets with marital assets may be determined to be marital property, subject to equitable distribution.

Offshore Investments:

Some investments are difficult to discover, particularly when the assets are invested in an offshore account. We work with independent financial experts and tax specialists to trace income and investment earnings that may not have been shared during the course of the marriage.

Business Ownership And Fair Valuation:

Many people own shares of business operations as silent partners. Sometimes, not even the spouse is aware of the investment agreement. By thoroughly investigating financial reports, earnings statements and other documents, we attempt to make sure every asset is uncovered and properly classified for equitable distribution. We want to make sure to account for the full value of the business or professional practice.

Fraudulent Transfer Of Assets:

In many cases, one spouse will make the decision to file for divorce months or even a year or more in advance of filing the papers. That often gives the spouse ample opportunity to spend down marital assets or transfer money from one account into an investment fund or trust. We will work diligently to trace the money trail of fraudulent transfers to assure that all marital assets are equitably divided.

Business Valuation:

If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida and your marital property will include ownership of a business or professional practice, make sure your attorney works with high-caliber, experienced business valuation professionals. At Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, in Daytona Beach, we work with business valuation experts and professional economists to determine the full value of not only the real estate, equipment and annual accounts receivable, but the value of customer goodwill, growth potential and future value of proprietary intellectual property, as well.

Retirement & Pension Assets:

It is not unusual for a married couple to accumulate a large retirement fund over the course of their marriage. The funds might be in the form of a traditional pension annuity, a 401(k) or an individual retirement account. Under Florida law, all money and earnings accumulated in the retirement fund over the course of the marriage will be subject to equitable distribution between the spouses in the event of divorce - no matter which party contributed the money.

A pension or qualified (un-taxed) retirement account is more than just a lump sum of money. You will be counting on the money to grow in value and provide for your retirement. It is critical that the growth potential for the annuity or fund will be taken into full account over your lifetime. When necessary, we work with independent specialists in the field of qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) and actuarial financial accountants, when necessary, to determine the full and future value of the amount to be divided.

Child Support & Modifications

Our family lawyers are dedicated to protecting children in disputes over child support and other matters that arise in the context of divorce. When you come to our law firm to address child support concerns, we will protect your interests while always emphasizing the impact that your choices will have on your children.

Child support is based on the parents' respective incomes and time sharing with their children, as well as other factors such as child care expenses and/or health/dental insurance expenses. It is designed to make sure that children have the necessary financial support and that both parents share in the financial responsibilities of raising children. Unfortunately, these matters are often hotly contested. If you and your spouse cannot arrive at an agreement, it may be necessary to take child support issues to court.

The amount that a parent paying child support will owe is generally established according to statutory guidelines. Although this level may be adjusted based upon special circumstances, these guidelines set the parameters. There have been recent changes to the child support statute, which we will make sure you are aware of, so you can make informed choices in matters involving your children.

Your financial situation, or that of your former spouse, may change. If there is a substantial change in circumstances, you may be able to modify existing child support payments. Furthermore, a parent suffering a particular financial hardship may be temporarily exempt from child support. A change in the time sharing arrangement with your children may also prompt a change in your child support obligations.

If you want to seek a modification of your child support obligations, or if your former spouse is seeking to modify these obligations, we can effectively represent you. We will protect your interests and those of your children.

Enforcement:

If you are not receiving the Florida child support payments you are entitled to from the noncustodial parent, or if you are not allowed access to your children, per the terms of your parenting plan, you have the right to seek an enforcement action through the courts.

Child support enforcement should not be done informally. Enforcing child support payments is something you do for your child's benefit, not your own. Even if the parent paying child support is having financial problems, it is best to petition the courts to adjudicate a formal modification order, rather than having a verbal or informal agreement with the payor parent. We can help you modify a plan that works for all parties.

Paternity

Under Florida family law, if paternity of a child is in doubt, a DNA test may be ordered to establish whether a man is the biological father. The law provides legal remedies for both parents. Unmarried mothers entitled to child support can seek monthly support payments or health insurance. The biological father can petition the court for time sharing and shared parental responsibility.

We represent clients interested both in asserting their time sharing rights through paternity, as well as clients who are seeking child support for their children. We will prepare all necessary documentation, based on your circumstances, and help negotiate a settlement, including a parenting plan that meets your needs as well as your child's needs.

Paternity establishes rights that carry a legal relationship with certain financial obligations and benefits. These benefits may be for the father, the mother, the child or all three and may include:
  • Child custody / Time sharing
  • Determination of child support obligations and enforcement of these obligations
  • Determination of time sharing for both parents, protection of fathers' rights
  • Inheritance of certain assets
  • Legal rights to probate and the settlement of an estate
  • Health insurance plan coverage
  • Access to medical records of the father
  • Dependency claims when applying for financial aid
Fathers' Right:

When a married couple has a child, the law generally recognizes the husband as the father. When an unmarried woman has a child, a paternity action is often needed to establish parental rights. In that case, a DNA test will be used to show whether or not someone is the biological father. The results of the DNA test are then used by the court as evidence of parentage.

No matter how certain you may be that you are the father of a child born outside of marriage in Florida, you will have no parental rights until you prove paternity. Once it has been established through a DNA test or written affidavit, you may petition the court for an adjudication of your rights, including a parenting plan that includes you in your child's life.

Once you formally establish paternity, your fathers' rights include:
  • Sharing child custody, by establishing a time sharing schedule and parenting plan
  • Objecting to a relocation petition by the custodial mother
  • Enforcing your rights for time sharing and other issues through enforcement actions

Child Custody/Time Sharing

When parents go through the process of divorce, custody over the children is often one of the central conflicts. In 2008, there were major changes in Florida law regarding child custody. With the passage of the new child custody statute, the terms "custody," "primary residential parent" and "visitation" were eliminated. Instead, the amount of time sharing each parent will have with his or her children is the focus, which is outlined in the parenting plan. Children issues are one of the most emotional of all the legal issues associated with divorce, and while parents want what is best for their children, it often takes an experienced lawyer to help make that possible.

At the law firm of Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, our family lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients with their time sharing rights in Florida and developing parenting plans that meet their needs as well as their children's needs.

If the parents cannot agree on issues involving their children, our lawyers are skilled at using mediation, when necessary. Mediation, which is usually court ordered, is an effective tool in resolving children's issues, as well as the other issues in your divorce case. We are also skilled litigators who are well prepared to present your case in court should an agreement not be reached in mediation.

There are a number of factors that are important when deciding time sharing with your children and the other issues in parenting plans. Do not find yourself unprepared, as the issue of children and their needs are important. Work with our law firm to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your particular situation.

Parenting Plans:

If you are not awarded custody of your children in the divorce agreement, it does not mean you lose your rights to be an active, participating parent in their lives. Part of the custody settlement will include a parenting plan that takes into account the children's needs, as well as meaningful access, including time sharing for the noncustodial parent.

At Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, we believe that children benefit when both parents are involved in their lives. We will work aggressively to help you retain your parenting rights, including time sharing that will provide quality time with your children.

Time Sharing:

Florida laws have changed regarding custody and parenting time for both custodial and noncustodial parents, with courts considering/awarding more equal time sharing. If you are involved in a dispute with the other parent of your child in Volusia County or Flagler County, do not try to resolve the issues informally. If an informal or oral agreement breaks down — as they often do — you may be left without legal rights.

There are a number of factors that are important when deciding time sharing with your children and the other issues in parenting plans. Do not find yourself unprepared, as the issue of children and their needs is important. Work with our law firm to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your particular situation.

Spousal Support/Alimony

Alimony is support paid by one spouse to the other spouse, based on one spouse's need and the ability of the other spouse to pay. There have been recent changes to the alimony statute, and the legislature is presently considering additional changes. Some recent changes include the legislature defining a short-term marriage, a moderate-term marriage and a long-term marriage. The type of alimony, if appropriate, will be based on the length of the marriage, along with other factors, including the ability to pay and the need of each spouse. There are different types of alimony, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent.

There are a number of factors that a court will consider in determining a proper alimony or maintenance award, including:

  • Financial resources of each party, the non-marital and the marital assets, and liabilities distributed to each
  • Time needed for either party to acquire education or training for appropriate employment
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
  • Contribution of each party to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, education and career building of the other party
  • All sources of income available to either party

There are several types of alimony (see above) that can be awarded in Florida, including receiving more than one type of alimony at a time or paying more than one type of alimony at a time. We will answer your questions based on your specific circumstances and help you understand what to expect as to your entitlement or your spouse's entitlement to alimony.

Alimony Modifications:

Alimony/spousal support payments are based on statutory factors found in Florida statute section 61.08, including the need of one spouse for support and the ability of the other spouse to pay. However, either party's financial circumstances may change with time, necessitating a modification.

Once a final judgment of divorce or paternity is entered, either through mediation or the family court, it remains subject to modification. Accordingly, orders for child time sharing, child support, spousal support and other issues are subject to change, in most circumstances, based on a substantial change in circumstances.

If you are unable to maintain your Florida divorce spousal maintenance obligation, don't allow yourself to fall into arrears. Even if you try to work things out informally with your ex-spouse, you will be leaving yourself vulnerable to an enforcement action. It makes sense to talk to a lawyer at Adams, Briggs & Briggs, Attorneys at Law, in Daytona Beach.

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386-253-6571

Financial Aspects of Divorce