Helping Florida Residents Navigate Family Law
When legal issues affect your family, the assistance of an experienced attorney can be invaluable. A skilled family lawyer can help you sort through the logistic, emotional and financial complexities to arrive at a solution that helps your family move forward.
At Melisa L. Militello, P.A., we bring over two decades of experience to those seeking legal counsel in the Inverness, Florida, area. At our firm, we focus on finding solutions through personalized service and caring professionalism.
Our goal is to reduce the stress for all involved and seek resolutions that take all the important factors into account.
Our Approach To Family Law Matters
Especially in such personal matters as family law, you want legal counsel that focuses on providing aggressive and detail-oriented service that will help you overcome the serious issues you face. Drawing on their knowledge of Florida’s unique family laws and years of practical experience, our skilled attorneys help clients come through the legal process successfully. We will guide you each step of the way and seek results that best suit your needs.
We can help families navigate all of the following issues:
- Divorce and dissolution of marriage: As a “no fault” state, Florida has fairly straightforward requirements for getting divorced. At least one spouse must have lived in the state for six months before filing, and spouses can state that the marriage has been irretrievably broken due to irreconcilable differences. Once filed, the couple must work through the issues of marital property division, child custody and support, and perhaps alimony. As outlined above, our firm can help you navigate this process successfully.
- Division of marital property and debt: Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning those who divorce divide marital assets and shared debt fairly given the specific facts of the case. Usually, property and debt acquired while the couple was married counts as “marital property and debt.” In certain cases, spouses can claim a portion of the value of nonmarital assets such as if a family business or investment account grew during the time the couple was married. Our attorneys can help you sort through these complexities to ensure you end up with your fair share.
- Alimony: Though never a guarantee, alimony is possible if there are significant income disparities between two divorcing spouses. The court looks at several factors when deciding to grant alimony or not, including the length of the marriage, the financial viability of each spouse, the ability for each spouse to become self-sufficient, the standard of living the couple enjoyed as a married couple, and others. Alimony can also be given on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the family’s individual needs. We can help you sort through these complexities to arrive a solution that works for your family.
- Child custody: A somewhat antiquated term, child custody refers to the time children spend with each parent following divorce or separation. In Florida, parents must develop a “parenting plan” that divides care of their minor children fairly between them. The plan must protect and promote the best interests of the children, and what this means will differ from family to family. Our lawyers can help craft a parenting plan that meets this requirement and protects your parental rights.
- Child support: Like many states, Florida uses a statutory formula to calculate child support when parents divorce or separate. Child support is a child’s right, so parents cannot negotiate away their responsibility or right to receive child support. Our firm can help you anticipate the likely costs of support given your respective incomes, day care costs and your children’s anticipated health care needs, all of which are used to calculate child support orders.
- Relocation: In Florida, a divorced parent must stay within 50 miles of their children’s other parent, if the parents share custody. This can create problems if one parent wishes to move for a new job or to be closer to family. To do so, the parent wishing to move must obtain written consent from the children’s other parent, which may require working with a lawyer. As your advocate, our firm can protect your interests whether you wish to move or prevent your children from moving away.
- Modifications: The court has the ability to modify alimony, child support and in certain cases, parenting agreements if someone experiences a significant change in circumstances. Typical scenarios the court will consider include when one party wants to relocate with the children (see above), someone loses a job or someone experiences a medical event that affects his or her ability to work or care for the children. Simple changes in income are not necessarily considered for modification, so it’s important to speak with an experienced lawyer first before trying to pursue modification. We’ll outline your options and work to find a resolution that fits your family’s new situation.
- Paternity: Children born to married parents are legally assumed to be the offspring of the married couple, but those who are not may require additional DNA tests. Mothers and fathers can file a paternity lawsuit to establish rights to child support and parenting time, and our lawyers can help with this process. We can also help fathers remove paternity obligations if it is found that the child is not your natural child.
- Juvenile dependency: When the Florida Department of Children and Families must step into a family dispute, tensions can naturally become quite hostile. It takes an experienced, level-headed approach to do what all parties likely want — to protect the well-being of the children involved. Our firm represents the rights of parents, grandparents, prospective parents and foster parents involved in the dependency process. We will walk you through shelter reviews and hearings, arraignment and adjudicatory hearings involved, taking care to represent your interests and promote a path that protects the children’s well-being.
- Domestic violence injunctions: If you are worried about your safety or that of your children, you may petition the court for an injunction against a violent spouse or family member. An injunction prohibits the alleged aggressor from coming within 500 feet of the victim(s), and usually means he or she must stay away from the home, school, place of employment and other designated locations frequented by the victims. It also prohibits that person’s custody rights and the right to bear arms. You can petition for a temporary injunction, which lasts for 15 days (but may be extended) that prohibits contact between you and the named person. Permanent injunctions may also be sought for a specific length of time or even forever, if the court deems it appropriate. If you feel threatened, our lawyers will act quickly and decisively to help you gain safety through a domestic violence injunction.
Navigating The Complexities Of Divorce
A divorce can be hard on both parties. We aim to help reduce tensions for both parties and children who are involved in the divorce. We know that both parties often come to the table during the divorce process with many understandable fears and basic concerns, such as:
- Not being able to spend quality time with their kids
- Losing their retirement funds and other assets
- Giving up their family home
- Being liable for onerous alimony payments
This is where we come in. We seek to reduce tensions and contempt for both parties by offering assertive counsel at the negotiating table or in the courtroom. While we strive for amicable resolutions wherever possible, we know that some cases simply need court intervention.
We Are On Your Side
You will not be alone throughout this process. Contact us today by calling 352-419-0364 if you need fierce, determined, knowledgeable lawyers at your side who will be there for you during all stages of any legal dispute.