Articles Posted in Domestic Violence / Injunctions

Plane.jpgSamad Nesser has tried every legal avenue to prevent his eleven year old son from being taken to France to stay with his mother and her new husband. According to Nesser, his ex-wife has allowed his son to be abused by the new husband, and suffers from sleeplessness and chest pains whenever he returns home from staying with them. Nesser is an American citizen, but his wife is not. The husband, a French citizen, used to live in Palm Beach, Florida, where he was the subject of a restraining order after allegedly breaking into his girlfriend’s home and hitting and pushing her and her elderly mother to the floor. Nesser claims that this same man locked his son in an attic and threatened to kill him.

Judge Daniel Merrit Jr. has refused to grant requests for a guardian ad litem for Nesser’s son. A guardian ad litem would spend time with the child to determine what that child wants and what is in his best interest. Merrit has also refused to let the child testify in court, and the records of the child’s counseling sessions have not been admitted due to what Nesser claims are stalling tactics on the part of his ex-wife’s attorney. At present, there is no way for Nesser to stop his ex-wife from taking their child back to France with her.

According to Florida law, when two parents have a child in Florida, they maintain their rights no matter where they might move later on. Those rights are recognized regardless of citizenship. If you are involved in a child custody battle, please contact our firm for legal assistance.

Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Florida Family Law Attorney

In Jacksonville, Florida, as a family law attorney, I receive questions about terminating parental rights. This is not an easy process since there are many protections in place for parents. I will probably do a series of blogs on this topic in order to cover each area, but we will start with the consent and agreement of both parties.

domestic_violence.gifWritten by Whitney R. Lonker, Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.,
In my family law practice in Jacksonville, Florida, I also practice criminal defense. I have seen an increase in the need for cross practicing in these areas with the poor economy and divorce as the issue of domestic violence is popping up more and more in my practice. Divorce is stressful enough in itself but when its coupled with a bad housing market and families facing foreclosure and unemployment, oftentimes, tempers blow. Of course, violence is never the answer and can only heighten the problems. Domestic Violence can lead to arrest, incarceration, loss of finances, probationary tasks such as batterers intervention programs and/or anger management programs. Some of these programs are 26 weeks and an expensive cost for attending. If things are getting to that level in your home or in the home of someone you know, help is out there. Please seek help at The Hubbard House if you live in Duval County or Quigley House if you live in Clay County, Florida. Our firm has a vast experience in handling domestic violence matters in both the family courts arena as well as defending those accused of domestic violence. Please call on us for advice and for the help you need at 904-355-8888.

In Jacksonville, Florida, like the rest of the nation, parties are finding it difficult to make the final split and afford a divorce attorney to deal with important issues. Issues that can arise in a Florida Divorce are: the dvision of assets and debts; calculating alimony; child support payments; child custody; domestic abuse; and the valuation and division of the family business.
Some suggestions in divorcing in a bad economy include finding a divorce attorney in Jacksonville, Florida who will work with you on attorney’s fee payments, who will provide a free consultation or who may engage in a limited appearance on your behalf to draft and file your pleadings or to serve subpoenas or summonses. There are many creative ways to secure a good divorce or family law attorney in Florida in the waning economy. Be certain to inquire about ways to ease the payment and the process when speaking with a family law attorney.
Divorces can get expensive, but they don’t necessarily have to. Be savvy and ask questions. This is a great time to buy a house or a car. Shop for a divorce attorney in the same way as you would those items. You will not be disappointed when you get the same good deal.

Jacksonville, Florida and the rest of the country are feeling the stress of the economy. Times are tough, which makes people scared and angry. Domestic violence and tempers are on the rise in Jacksonville, Florida, and all across the nation. But it isn’t necessarily men who are doing all of the battering. More and more men are becoming victims of domestic violence and they are no longer taking it “like a man”. When anyone experiences violence against his/her person, it is imperative to seek help immediately. Whether that help comes in the immediate form of calling the police or subsequent to the abuse in fleeing to a domestic violence center , a hotel, or to an attorney, help is essential.

Ron Artest, Former Indiana Pacers star, was beaten and abused by his girlfriend when she struck him in the head. Artest called the police and the girlfriend was arrested. Many times men are afraid to call the police for help as the stereotype is to arrest the man when a domestic situation occurs. Men need to be encouraged to seek help whenever domestic violence is perpetrated against them.

In Florida, an injunction for protection against domestic violence can be issued and/or criminal charges can be filed against the batterer. There are provisions for protection for all and that protection should be sought before taking the law into your own hands.

In Florida, the Department of Children and Families (DCF)is designed to protect children. The goal is not to shatter the home, but to protect the safety and welfare of the children. In its protective role, DCF can act in more of a prosecutorial manner and rather than seeing an incident as a possible accident, they become more accusatory in nature.

Some of the consequences of DCF involvement is that they have the ability to remove children from your home pending an investigation and during the completion of a case plan, which could take from 6 months to a year, or more. If the case plan is not properly completed, then DCF has the ability to petition the courts to declare the child(ren) dependent on the state, terminate parental rights and place the child(ren) in foster care or up for adoption.

Our firm has represented numerous parents and grandparents who have faced DCF charges for putting a child or children in harms way. The reality is that DCF can have an awful impact and disruption on your family and representation is important.

In Florida divorces, Injunctions are prevalent. A Florida Injunction can be handled by your Florida Divorce Lawyer. There are specific criteria that must be met before a court can enter a permanent injunction. Section 741.30 of the Florida Statutes lays out exactly what must be argued to have a temporary injunction entered as a permanent injunction. The statute says that the petitioner must have been a victim of domestic violence OR have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence. The Elements which must be proven at a hearing before the Circuit Court are as follows:

1. Must be between family or household members.

2. The petitioner must claim to have been the victim of DV or is in fear of imminent DV attack. 3. The sworn petition shall allege the existence of such domestic violence and shall include the specific facts and circumstances.

1060924_rail_2.jpg In Florida, rising tides of economic instability play a dramatic role in divorce. During their pending divorce, couples are remaining under the same roof due to the housing market. Divorce lawyers recognize that the marital home has transformed from an asset to a liability. However, the idea of splitting the debt associated with the home can be very appealing.

Divorce is affected by the economy because it plays a roled in factoring spousal support, debt division, living arrangements and tax consequences of the parties. In a Florida divorce, the parties assets and liabilities are divided equally, the marital home is the major asset in most cases. The slow market has created difficulties for the parties because most of the time, the marital home has not sold by the time the divorce is being finalized. With difficult time, often there are difficult questions, divorce is no different. Questions range from: Who is going to be responsible for the mortgage? to Who gets to live in the home while it is on the market? Hard times need creative solutions,just as Congress, and divorce lawyers can help divorcing parties navigate through the muddy waters of the present market.

Florida Statute 61.08 provides the rules for receiving alimony. However, only the courts and many lawsuits have created the boundaries for what are considered short-term and long-term marriages. As such, many people feel that if they are married and their spouse provided for them, then they are entitled to alimony in some capacity.

If you have ever dealt with child support issues or other family law matters, then you may know that the amount in child support is determined by a calculation and the numbers don’t really change one way or another because it’s really a black and white issue. However, that is not true with alimony, and there are many factors that can be considered. However, the focus here is not in the aspect of determining whether you’ll receive alimony, but just to clarify a few terms that you probably could not find on your own.

In first determining alimony, your legal representative and/or the court will evaluate the length of the marriage. In Florida, a long-term marriage is considered anything over 15 years of marriage and a short-term marriage is anything up to 10 years. Many people fall within a gray area, which the court has the right to use its discretion in determining and that is the 11-15 year marriages. It is important to realize that the court does have discretion to rule in accordance with the lifestyle of the parties, the work dynamic of the parties, and many other aspects. Also, since Florida does not recognize an equation for the process, often each judge has his/her own way of determining how, if any, alimony should be determined.


For many years, the courts in Florida have embraced the idea that a child of divorced parents should enjoy the input and direction from both parents, not just the parent who has “custody.” So, under Chapter 61, Florida Statutes, the court will typically require that the divorcing parents have “…shared parental responsibility.” Sometimes this is loosely referred to as, “joint parental responsibility,” or at least what that’s what the parents “hear” when they hear “shared parental responsibility. But this does not mean “joint custody.” Joint custody is where each parent has “custody” of the child for roughly equal lengths of time. This is not usually favored by Florida courts, as it often becomes impractical, especially if the parents live too far apart, or even in different school districts, much less different cities. Also, as children grow, their circle of friends and social interests expand, which can be compromised by their going back and forth between parents like a ping-pong ball. So, “shared parental responsibility” or even “joint parental responsibility” is not the same thing as “joint custody.”
With “shared parental responsibility,” both parents keep full parental rights and full parental responsibilities. Section 61.046, Florida Statutes. This also means that the parents must consult and confer with each other on matters concerning the welfare and best interests of the child, especially on major decision. When it comes to medical care or education, these decisions should be made jointly, if possible, after the parents have consulted each other. However, sometimes a court will split these areas of responsibility between the parents. Section 61.13(2), Florida Statutes.

In a typical divorce case, the child’s “primary residence” is deemed to be with one parent, who is granted the “primary residential care” of the child. This parent is usually referred to as the “custodial parent.” Sections 61.046(3), 61.13(2)(b) 2.a., Fla. Statutes. Not surpisingly, the other parent is usually called the “noncustodial parent.” Section 61.046(10), Florida Statutes. But none of this labeling changes the basic fact that the parents usually share in the parental rights and responsibilities for the child.

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