Friday, June 19, 2015

Florida Supreme Court Removes Judge From Office

The following is a summary of the case In Re Laura Marie Watson:
The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) determined that Laura Marie Watson, a judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, violated the Rules Regulating Professional Conduct and recommended that she be removed from office due to her actions while a practicing attorney and her demeanor during certain proceedings. The Supreme Court found that the JQC’s findings and conclusions were supported by clear and convincing evidence and that removal was the appropriate sanction, holding that Watson’s conduct in the proceedings at issue was fundamentally inconsistent with the responsibilities of judicial office.
You can read the full case here

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Don't Let the "D" Word Scare You

Being served with "divorce papers" or, more formally, a Petition for Dissolution often comes as a surprise.  Whether or not the separation was anticipated receiving a packet of papers from a process server can be unsettling.  Mr. Bettman and myself are here to help you.  It is what we do. We understand the importance of your present and future well-being.  Our forward-looking representation ensures you receive what you deserve from your time being married, enabling and motivating you to begin your next journey in life.

If you find yourself in the unfamiliar situation of the divorce process give our office a call.  We are available anytime at 737-9797.

Prisoner Wins Claim in the 11th Circuit

In an opinion dated yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a prisoner on his claim that he was questioned in violation of his Miranda rights and his lawyer was ineffective for failing to move to suppress the statements he made during that interrogation:

The court held that the state court’s decision that petitioner had waived his ineffective assistance claim by entering a plea was contrary to clearly established federal law, and the court rejected the district court’s alternative reasons for denying petitioner's claim. Petitioner's allegation, if true, would entitle him to habeas relief. Because neither the state habeas court nor the district court afforded petitioner the opportunity to develop the factual basis for this claim, the record before the court is insufficient to properly resolve the petition. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for the district court to hold an evidentiary hearing and to reconsider petitioner's claim.
You can read the full opinion Arvelo v. Secretary, FL DOC, No. 14-11441 (11th Cir. 2015)

Alimony Reform in Florida

This story is somewhat old but worth read.  The story was originally published on

Matthew Brickman Explains Why Alimony Reform In Florida Is Dead

In a surprise twist the Florida alimony reform bill appears dead for 2015. The legislative session ended on May 1st and with it any chance of reviving the bill. Matthew Brickman, family divorce mediator and founder of iMediate Inc explains what happened.

May 28, 2015 / PRZen / WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A renewed effort to fundamentally change Florida’s alimony system was gaining momentum as The Senate Judiciary Committee initially approved Senate Bill 1248 on an unanimous vote that would end permanent alimony, and determine a formula for the length and amount of alimony while also creating a “50-50” child-sharing arrangement. The bill got a step closer to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk after passing the Appropriations Committee unchanged in a 12-6 vote.

Matthew Brickman of iMediate Inc commented on this in a phone interview by saying, "The reform this year was designed to bring people together on the issue but as negotiations and various drafts of the bills were exchanged, it actually created deep divides."

He went on to say, "Last time the bill was proposed it passed both The House and The Senate, only to be vetoed by the governor. This time around the governor told lawmakers to not to bring back the retroactivity provision and leave out the drama."

Mr. Brickman referenced that he would continue to post updates on the future of alimony reform moving forward. The full video can be seen below.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reducing or Terminating Alimony Payments

Let's start with a common scenario:
You and your former spouse divorced; you were ordered to pay a certain amount of alimony; life happened and now you're unable to pay that same amount without substantially impacting your financial situation.

Florida law is specific as it relates to reducing or terminating a person's obligation to make alimony payments.  As is often the case, a person encounters a change in circumstances that has an impact on his or her amount of available income.  There is a remedy for this and our office is well-equipped to assist in your effort to level the playing field.

The gist of the law is this: when the circumstances or the financial ability of either party change you may petition (or ask) the court to modify your obligation.

 If you find yourself in a situation regarding alimony payments that you believe needs to be addressed, give our office a call at 737-9797.