Tag: board certified divorce lawyer

Will the Philippines Legalize Divorce

We sometimes take it for granted that a toxic marriage, which can destroy your life and the lives of your children, can be amicably resolved here. That’s not true everywhere. There’s a new bill to legalize divorce in the Philippines — the only remaining state aside from Vatican City that has no divorce law.

Legalize Divorce

‘Thrilla’ in Manila

Many in the Philippines have been advocating for the passage of a divorce bill.

“Divorce is not a monster that will destroy marriages and wreck marital relationships. Let us be clear about this — the monsters that lead to the demise of a marriage are infidelity, abuse, financial problems, lack of intimacy and communication, and inequality.”

Despite this development, religious groups, pro-family advocates who were present in the hearing, and even fellow lawmakers expressed their disapproval of the measure.

Florida Divorce

I’ve written about attempts to criminalize divorce before. Divorce, of course, is legal in the United States. However, traditionally it was made difficult by having to prove “fault.” This required spouses to prove either adultery; abandonment for a certain length of time; prison confinement; a spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse; or that the other spouse has inflicted emotional or physical pain (cruelty).

Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

After divorce became legal, the concept of proving fault gave way to no-fault laws to change the way divorces played out in court. No fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom. “Reduced” the need, not eliminated the need.

Dragged into the 21st Century

A Philippine church official has expressed surprise over the speedy acceptance of the bill in that would legalize divorce.

“I was surprised at the speed at which the committee accepted the bill. I was expecting exhaustive deliberations and discussions would be conducted on the measure.”

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon described the acceptance of the proposed measure as alarming. Earlier, the Catholic Council of the Laity of the Philippines issued a statement expressing opposition to the divorce bill.

The group said the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly provides that divorce is “immoral” because it introduces disorder into the family and into society.

The CNN article is here.

 

Is January Really Divorce Month?

January is usually reserved for kicking bad habits and beginning work on those New Year’s resolutions. But some parts of the internet, this blog included, have suggested that January has earned it’s nickname as “divorce month.” Is there truth to it? The New York Times recently investigated.

divorce january

‘Tis the Season?

There is no doubt that divorce is a seasonal phenomenon. From Thanksgiving until New Year’s, lawyers’ offices can slow down with new filings because people have decided to put off until after the holidays their decisions to separate.

A Google trends search for “divorce last year returned that it was – ever so slightly – most popular from January 6th to January 12th. The term has peaked at various times though, from March and September too!

A 2016 study by the University of Washington analyzed divorce filings in Washington state from 2001 to 2015 and found they peaked in March and August, following the winter and summer holidays.

Florida No-fault Divorce

Divorce rates started to increase in the 1970s when baby boomers started divorcing at higher rates and the introduction of no-fault divorce laws.

I’ve written about no fault divorce before. No-fault laws are the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. In Florida no fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.

Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. Gone are the days when you had to prove adultery, desertion or unreasonable behavior as in England.

The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Additionally, the mental incapacity of one of the parties, where the party was adjudged incapacitated for the prior three year, is another avenue.

Adultery can be the cause of a divorce, but can it impact the outcome? Since Florida became a no-fault state, the fact that, “she (or he) is sleeping with a co-worker” doesn’t hold much traction in court any more.

Some states still have fault-based divorce, and some of the common fault-based grounds for divorce are adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, incarceration for conviction of a crime, institutionalization for mental illness, and a spouse’s continued abuse of drugs or alcohol.

New Year’s Resolution?

Not everyone thinks January is divorce month. Some people think it is a perception of the end of the year slow-down, and that the comparison makes it appear to be a big month for filing.

However, divorce timelines can also be impacted by state. In Georgia, divorces can be granted in as little as one month, or could take years. In California, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period for a divorce to be finalized.

When you file for divorce, you may impact everything financial including taxes. Your marital status on the last day of the year can determine how you file your taxes. If a state has a rule regarding your filing status and separation, that could be a reason for a January filing.

Responsibilities for children, lack of romance, incompatibility and money problems are all big drivers of divorce. Many people feel there is an uptick in divorce filing around anniversaries and Valentine’s Day too. The answer to the question “is January really divorce month?” is, maybe.

The New York Times article is here.

 

New Year Divorce Surge

Market Watch is reporting on a consistent pattern: divorce filings surge in January as people decide to start their New Year with a clean slate, helped by a stressful holiday period and, perhaps, even more stressful in-laws.

NYE Divorce

Happy New You

In general, many family lawyers report a rise of nearly one-third in business in the New Year. The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says he typically sees a spike of 25% to 30% every year in January.

That’s not only true for the United States, but around the world. Similar trends are seen in the U.K.: one in five couples plan to divorce after the holidays, according to one survey of 2,000 spouses by legal firm Irwin Mitchell.

Being cooped up in a house for several days when a marriage is experiencing serious problems — while dealing with the pressure to put on a happy face for the kids and visiting relatives — takes its toll on the most stoic of couples.

Holiday time is usually a time when we get a spike in consultations and in being retained by clients. Holiday time is usually fraught with a lot of tension, emotion and financial issues, which is usually the trigger.

Florida Divorce

I’ve written about the rise in new years divorce filings, and many times the holiday season can highlight problems. What should you do? Whatever the reason for your problems, there are a few things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know to help them through the process.

Prioritize

Line up your priorities for life after the divorce. Is it finding a home? Is it retiring? Getting a job? Managing your special-needs child? Consider writing down your most important goals.

Consult

Even if you aren’t certain you need to hire an attorney, or filing for divorce at all, it is a good idea to meet with an expert in Florida’s divorce and family laws. Who better than someone certified by Florida as an expert in marital and family law? We offer free consultations, but even when there is a charge, it is well worth the fee to get accurate information.

Alternatives

Litigation is something to avoid. It’s time-consuming, contentious and expensive. The majority of divorces end up settling. There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution out there, including collaborative divorce, mediation, and informal settlement conferences.

As Market Watch further reports, there is good reason for treating a divorce like a calm business deal. Don’t rush to file. Think about your end game. Many people file quickly out of anger perhaps after learning of a spouse’s misconduct. But it’s better to be strategic.

New Year, New Priorities

If not planned correctly, divorce can be one of the most financially devastating life events, so get an up-to-date assessment of your spouse’s accounts.

“It may be illegal to open another person’s mail, but you can, however, make a note of the financial institution that mails statements. If you give your attorney those names, we can subpoena that information.

Lawyers are cautious about taking on clients who refer to their attorneys as a pit bull or a shark. “Sometimes, people might say that because we’re tough, but if you go in with all guns blazing and start in a mean, aggressive manner, you automatically create a very adversarial situation.

That could increase the cost of the divorce — which could vary between $25,000 to $100,000, depending on the assets involved, the lawyer’s fees and where you live — by double or even triple, he says. “Be courteous and respectful. The key is to avoid escalation.”

It may be that divorce is not the best option, particularly if one partner doesn’t have company health insurance. Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $18,142 this year, up 3% on last year, with workers on average paying $5,277 towards their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Menlo, Calif.

Premiums for Obamacare are expected to rise 22% next year for the benchmark silver plan. Some health insurers won’t insure both parties on the same policy if the couple has legally separated so people report.

Avoid serving your partner with divorce papers during the holidays, especially if you have children. As they grow older they’ll hate that holiday memory forever. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some preparation in the meantime.

In Florida, you can file for divorce and you have a period of time before you have to serve the papers. Most unhappy spouses wait until after the turkey has been carved, the gifts have been unwrapped, and the new year has started.

The Market Watch article is here.

 

Divorce and Financial Infidelity

One in five people in a relationship say their partner is financially irresponsible, and that they’re 10 times more likely to divorce for financial reasons, according to a new survey released from insurance comparison website Policygenius. Will running up excessive debts and other forms of financial infidelity be an issue in your divorce?

Divorce and financial infidelity

Financial Survey

The survey polled 2,005 adults in relationships and asked them questions like “What financial information do you and your partner know about each other?” and how they deal with money as a couple. The findings revealed that only 50% of people know their partner’s credit score, and yet 78% of those surveyed manage joint finances.

“If you’re at all doubtful about transparency, get a credit check. If they don’t give you permission to get a credit check, you’re in trouble. Know everything about your own finances, your mate’s finances and have a plan for how you’re going to work together to budget effectively and save for the future.”

The reality is that most couples openly commit financial infidelity: 12% of people in a relationship have hidden a purchase from their partner; another 20% say they’d spend $500 without telling their significant other and what’s worse, 16% said they don’t know anything about their partner’s money situation, according to the survey.

Florida Divorce Debts

I have written about divorce debts and other forms of financial infidelity before. In Florida, liabilities such as credit card debts – even if it happened without your knowledge – may be treated as any other kind of debt.

Generally, in divorce proceedings the court has to set apart to each spouse that spouse’s nonmarital assets and debts, and in distributing the marital assets and liabilities between spouses, courts have to begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution.

Some of the relevant factors for justifying an unequal distribution include the economic circumstances of the parties, the duration of the marriage and the intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.

A common complaint in divorce is that someone will steal or destroy assets once they learn that a divorce has been filed, or run up huge credit card bills. This could be found to be dissipation or waste.

Other forms of dissipation include:

  • Incurring major gambling losses;
  • Excessive spending on alcohol or drugs;
  • Conveying marital property to family members or friends below cost with the intent to reacquire the undervalued asset post-divorce;
  • Destroying big-ticket personal property; and
  • sustaining losses concerning a sham investment.

If a judge determines there was an intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets, the court can divide the remaining marital property and credit or debit accordingly.

Husband and Wife Money Summits

Financial infidelity and fights about them are increasingly a pain point in relationships, particularly when one person is tight with money and the other spends more liberally. People are twice as likely to describe themselves as savers and their partners as spenders, according to separate data from SunTrust Bank.

Because of these woes, some couples are enrolling in financial therapy to get on the same page about finances. Money summits have sprouted up around the country to help couples talk about daily budgets, divvying up financial responsibilities, debt and financial goals, like saving up for a baby, a new home, retirement or for vacation.

There are little things couples can do every day to maintain a financially healthy relationship, whether it’s carving out hour-long money dates to talk openly about what you’ve spent that week and why, or to plan ahead for future expenses.

“Decide in advance how you will handle major purchase decisions together,” said Brittney Castro, a certified financial planner. “For example, some couples agree to discuss every purchase over a certain amount of money. Hurt feelings may arise from the surprise of an expenditure, rather than simply that the money was spent,”

The Fox Business article is here.

 

The Great Chinese Divorce Fraud

Divorce rates are rising in China for many reasons, but one recently uncovered reason is found in a family which divorced 23-times in one month! The new Chinese divorce fraud is the hot ploy to avoid Chinese property laws and make money.

Chinese Divorce Fraud

23rd Time is a Charm

Unlike older generations who may have settled for an unhappy marriage, divorce is no longer socially taboo in China. That may have led to one family in the city of Lishui to take the new divorce fraud to extreme lengths, churning through 23 divorces and weddings in a month.

Divorce is becoming simpler in China. Couples can either register a divorce with the civil affairs authority, indicating they have agreed to go their separate ways, or they can sue for divorce through the courts, which can rule on custody of children and how to dispose of any assets.

In the first six months of this year, 1.85 million couples registered for divorce with the civil affairs authority alone, an increase of more than 10 per cent compared with the same period last year. Three decades ago, in 1986, 460,000 couples registered their divorces with the civil affairs authority. By 2016, that annual number had risen to 4.15 million.

However, the Lishui family was not divorcing for typical reasons. The Chinese government has limited each household to a maximum of two apartments. Other notable policies allow potential home buyers who don’t already own property to make much lower down payments as well as enjoy lower tax and mortgage rates.

The new divorce fraud was aimed at getting more money from the government and developers when the Lishui family house was demolished for a new development. Under the system, each member of the household would be entitled to 40 square meters of space in the new development.

In China though, the preponderance of fake divorces in any given city may indicate the failure of real estate policy at the local level.

Florida Divorce

I’ve written about no fault divorce before. No-fault laws are the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. In Florida no fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.

Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. Gone are the days when you had to prove adultery, desertion or unreasonable behavior as in England.

The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Additionally, the mental incapacity of one of the parties, where the party was adjudged incapacitated for the prior three year, is another avenue.

The Great Fraud of China

It all started with Mr. Pan, who lived in the house, remarrying his ex-wife, and allowing her to qualify for the compensation plan. Two weeks later, he divorced her and married his sister-in-law, adding her to the plan. On it went, with each new family member enlarging the amount of space to be awarded as compensation, until government authorities discovered the house suddenly was home to 13 people, and promptly arrested 11 of them.

While it’s an extreme case in property-obsessed China – where would-be home buyers have to navigate a shifting array of property curbs – it’s probably more understandable given home prices in Lishui have surged as much as 31% in the past two years.

According to the compensation policy, people living in the village slated for renovation — even those who were not property owners — would be given minimum compensation of one 40-square-meter apartment as long as their household registration, or hukou, had been filed within the village by April 10.

When interrogated by police, Pan’s father — who had been party to the sham marriages and divorces himself — said he had assumed the family’s actions were legitimate since they had not violated China’s marriage law. “In doing this, we were just trying to get more compensation.”

According to the chief marriage lawyer at Beijing Yingke Law Firm:

Just because a person is following one law doesn’t mean they’re not breaking another. The family used a legal avenue to achieve an illegal end. The marriage law doesn’t forbid marriages and divorces — but in this case, the family used marriages and divorces as a means of committing fraud. While they didn’t violate the marriage law, they acted against the criminal law.

In April of this year, home buying policies in select urban areas were further tightened. Now, regardless of whether a divorced person is buying their first or second property, banks will evaluate them based on both their property ownership status and mortgage records — meaning even if they have no property registered in their name, an apartment they’re hoping to purchase can still be considered a second home, subject to a higher down payment and mortgage rate, if they have made previous mortgage payments.

The Bloomberg article is here.

 

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

I am honored to announce my admission as a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Among divorce and family law practitioners, Academy Fellows represent highly skilled negotiators and litigators who represent individuals in all facets of family law.

AAML

The areas of representation include divorce, annulment, prenuptial agreements, marital settlement agreements, child custody and visitation, business valuations, property valuations and division, alimony, child support and other family law issues.

There are currently more than 1650 Fellows in 50 states. To be represented by a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is to be represented by a leading practitioner in the field of family law.

The 1650 AAML Fellows across the United States are generally recognized by judges and attorneys as preeminent family law practitioners with a high level of knowledge, skill and integrity. Academy Fellows enjoy a reputation for professionalism, competence and integrity.

From my professional and personal experience, I’ve discovered that members of the AAML represent some of the finest attorneys I’ve worked with. I look forward to being active in this prestigious group.

Information about the Academy’s annual Institute, webinars, and the Marital and Family Law Review Course is available at the Florida Chapter’s website here.

The history and more information about the AAML is available on the national site here.

 

Divorce Court Circus

America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, was reportedly yelling and cursing his way through his recent divorce court hearing in New York. The judge blasted both the ex-Mayor and his wife, Judith Nathan, for turning the room into a divorce court circus.

Divorce Court Circus

Big Apple Circus

According to news reports, Giuliani snapped “Goddamnit!” at one point when accused by a lawyer for Nathan of failing to pay a $21,000 in nursing home bill arrears for her mother, as promised.

“That’s total bulls–t! That’s total bulls–t!” he hissed at another point, when the opposing lawyer, Bernard Clair, later suggested that Giuliani’s reported mistress, Maria Ryan, could be the one to grant appraisers access to multiple Florida properties they’re fighting over.

How do you avoid turning your trial into a divorce court circus?

Florida Divorce

If criminal court judges see the worst people acting their best, family judges see the best people acting their worst. Divorces are stressful, and issues like child custody, relocation, and domestic violence can take their toll on people.

I’ve written about courtroom behavior before. Since you’re always being evaluated in court, and in light of the Giuliani divorce antics, what follows is a list of “dos” and “don’ts” to avoid your own divorce court circus. (These are true stories by the way.)

  • Don’t – Come to a custody hearing wearing your Nazi uniform – complete with swastika patch on the arm and leather boots – and demand a family court judge let you see your son.
  • Do – Dress in a neat and professional manner.
  • Don’t – Speak on your cellular telephone because judges hate ringing cell phones. Judges hate ringing phone during your testimony.
  • Do – Keep your cell phone ringer off, and if you absolutely need to have your phone on, put it on vibrate.
  • Don’t – Take off your pants and show the judge your rear end.
  • Do – Keep your pants on.
  • Don’t – lose your temper in court, give the middle finger salute, dare the judge to hold you in contempt while holding your arms out as if you are being handcuffed and then contact the judge’s judicial assistant, and call her: “You little mother******; you and the judge, that mother****** son of a b****.”
  • Do – Be Courteous to the Court staff. Court personnel make the courts run efficiently, and angering court officers won’t help your case.

Sadly, these are cases of what people have actually done in court, and all of these instances are documented. Consider the seriousness of the divorce process and the stress family everyone is under to do the right thing.

A New York State of Mind

Acting as the divorce court circus master, Supreme Court Justice Michael Katz chided:

“Mr. Giuliani!” “Don’t interrupt the proceeding. You have lawyers representing you”.

The Giulianis don’t get along well together. For example, he alleges that Nathan approached him at the Emerald Dunes Golf Club in Florida and took his photograph. Nathan’s side said it never happened and that Giuliani shouted at her and insisted he was at the club buying items for his girlfriend’s daughter.

The judge reluctantly stepped in to play peacemaker.

“Whoever is in the room first gets to stay in the room. If Mr. Giuliani is in one room in one of their common clubs, he can go to a different room and visa versa.”

Earlier, the judge scolded at the parties and lawyers:

“At this juncture in a case — it’s been almost a year since filings — the process calms down. Yet it’s still a circus.”

Asked outside court what was holding up the divorce, Giuliani said, “Her.”

The New York Daily News article is available here.

 

Divorce Dress Code?

There are a lot of curious family laws around the world, but a divorce dress code? One of the most peculiar laws comes from the African nation of Ghana, where divorce is permitted on one condition: the parties attend divorce court dressed the way they dressed at their wedding ceremony.

Divorce Dress Code

This is your Ghanaian Divorce

According to viral news reports – from such trusted sources as the internet – citizens of Ghana are allowed to divorce but only if they attend court dressed the same way they dressed at their wedding; with wedding gowns and tuxedos.

This condition creates very humorous situations in the so-called “Divorce Rooms”, where Ghanaians must go if they want to end their marriage.

In other African countries like in Togo, to be able to divorce, first you must go to your mother-in-law and explain your reasons for divorce in the hope you can receive her approval. Togo today may have a 0% divorce rate.

Florida Divorce

The official term for divorce in Florida is “dissolution of marriage”, you don’t need to show fault, and you definitely don’t have to wear your wedding gown.

Instead, you need to prove you have been a resident of the State of Florida for more than six months before filing your petition and be able to state under oath that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Additionally, mental incapacity is grounds for divorce in Florida, but a court must determine one of the spouses to be incompetent after an examination by a committee. If there is a declaration of mental incapacity, there is a three-year waiting period.

While there are no dress codes in Florida, I’ve written about how you should dress in court before. For example, and as one couple painfully learned, don’t come to a custody hearing wearing your Nazi uniform. You should instead dress in a neat and professional manner.

Meanwhile in Nigeria…

Sure, the Ghana divorce dress code story is fake news. But the idea of dressing appropriately for court is a universal concept. It shows respect for yourself, your children, the court, and the people who labor in it.

In other news, it appears a Nigerian man really did marry his guitar in a ceremony in Lagos. Harris Best shared photos of himself and his guitar – which he dressed in a white wedding gown – on his Twitter account. He took other musical instruments to the wedding venue at Aguda Local Council Development Area in Lagos.

The PM News article from Nigeria is here.

 

A Prenup Guide Down the Amazon

Twenty-five years after marrying, Jeff Bezos announced he is filing for divorce from MacKenzie. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement to guide them, investors holding high-priced shares of Amazon will be wondering if they should proceed to checkout.

Prenup

Prime Divorce

According to CNN, the Bezos are the world’s richest couple, and they recently announced they are getting a divorce “after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation.”

The divorce could drastically reduce Bezos’ stake in Amazon and open the door for his wife to become one of its largest shareholders, with new leverage at the company.

Given that Amazon launched after the pair were married, virtually all of Jeff Bezos’ current $137 billion net worth could be considered community property and have to be equally divided.

But is there a prenup or post-nup agreement to guide them?

Florida Prenuptial Agreements

I’ve written about prenuptial agreements before. Prenuptial agreements are about more than just resolving uncertainty in a marriage.

When a spouse is also the CEO of Amazon, they can be a guide past dangerous price swings. For example, when the CEO of Continental Resources was getting divorced, shares of his company dropped 2.9%. Conversely, when Rupert Murdoch announced his divorce, shares of News Corp gained 1.4%.

Why? Because in Rupert Murdoch’s case, the divorce announcement stressed the parties’ prenuptial agreement, that there would be no spin-offs, and a divorce would have “zero impact” on the company

A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup” for short) is a contract between people intending to marry. A prenup determines spousal rights when the marriage ends by death or divorce. This can be especially important in second marriages.

If you divorce without a prenup, your property rights are determined under state law, and a spouse may have a claim to alimony while the suit for divorce is pending and after entry of a judgment.

That’s where prenups come in. Prospective spouses may limit or expand state laws by an agreement. Prenups are also used to protect the interests of children from a prior marriage, and to avoid a contested divorce. Prenups can be a reliable guide down rough rivers if they’re done right.

Proceed to Checkout?

It is not known whether the Bezos have a prenuptial agreement. It’s also unclear where they might file for divorce. Assuming there is no agreement, the Amazon CEO may need to either sell off or transfer half of his stake in the company to fulfill an equal split for the divorce.

Unlike other tech CEOs, Jeff Bezos’ control over Amazon doesn’t come from having a majority of voting power at the company, but rather from a strong leadership track record over two decades.

Divorce without a prenup can hit publicly traded companies hard. CEOs might be forced to sell or transfer shares as part of a property division. Selling shares can reduce a CEO’s influence and impact decisions regarding corporate strategy, asset ownership, and board composition. Divorce also impacts productivity, concentration, and energy levels because divorce is stress, and divorce can change appetite for risk.

The CNN article is here.

 

Divorce Surprise

In what is being hailed as another win for women’s rights, Saudi Arabian women who have been divorced by their husbands will now have to be notified they’ve been divorced via text message to avoid a nasty divorce surprise.

Divorce Surprise

Deserted

According to the Saudi Arabian Justice Ministry, Saudi courts have started notifying women of marital status updates via SMS and enabled them to view relevant probate certificates through the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) online portal.

Saudi courts have started to send such notifications starting on January 6, 2018, a step aimed at protecting the rights of female clients, and enhancing digital transformation with more services.

The courts notify women of probate certificates related to marital status — upon approval — through their Absher-registered mobile numbers,” the ministry explained. “The message includes the certificate number and the name of the relevant court.”

Female clients can also visit the court or the court president’s office in order to obtain a copy of the divorce certificate, if any.

Florida Due Process

I’ve written about many jurisdictional aspects on divorce in Florida and will be speaking at the Florida Bar Family Law Section and AAML Certification Review Course later this month in Orlando.

A divorce in Florida is a civil lawsuit, and basic Constitutional notions about Due Process require, at a minimum, that a party to a divorce be given notice of the proceedings and a real opportunity to be heard and defend themselves in an orderly procedure.

When courts violate Constitutional protections of due process rights, court commit fundamental error. This frequently happens when a court expands the scope of a hearing without proper notice.

For example, a court can violate due process by considering one motion at hearing that was scheduled and noticed for a different motion! Frequently trial courts will schedule a matter for a case management conference but turn the proceeding into a final evidentiary hearing. Family courts can be held to violate due process rights when that happens.

Exceptions

There are situations in family law in which notice may not be required. A good example of this is a temporary injunction.

Temporary injunctions may be granted without written or oral or even text notice if, immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition; and the movant’s attorney certifies any efforts to give notice and why notice should not be required.

It is important to keep in mind that a temporary injunction is an extraordinary remedy that is granted sparingly.

Just Desserts

What is happening in Saudi Arabia is a different matter entirely. The new notice move is designed to stop the practice of men ending marriages without telling their wives.

The Saudi courts started to send such notifications Sunday in:

a step aimed at protecting the rights of female clients, and enhancing digital transformation with more services.

The message will include the divorce certificate number and the name of the relevant court where the women can pick up the documentation.

The government move comes as part of social and economic reforms known as Vision 2030 being promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The reforms have included women being given the right to drive.

The Saudi Ministry statement is here.