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Bradley Gaylon Fisher
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Bradley Fisher’s Answers

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  • Child support form in Divorce ..Florida

    I am completeing the child support form for my divorce . I was a housewife for the 5 rs of marriage ,,, never worked inthe marriage. My current income is zero. Currently staying with relatives wth my kids. Should i put zero as my income? is that ...

    Bradley’s Answer

    Yes, it is completely appropriate to list zero income, if you have zero income. Your Husband may seek to impute income on you-which basically means they would ask the Court to put the amount of income, you could be making, in the child support guidelines. Their argument may be that you could be working and thereby reducing the expenses. However, often when one spouse has no income, it is because they are caring for young children, that may not be school age yet. If that is the case, then it may actually be more beneficial, for him, for you to have zero income in the child support guidelines, because it may actually result in a lower dollar figure for child support than it would if you had several children in daycare. Daycare, as I'm sure you already are aware, is very expensive and that expense would go into the child support guidelines . I would recommend that you think over some questions before you go to the Final Hearing so that you don't get overwhelmed when you are in Court-which happens very easily without an attorney, including the following:

    1. What is the reason why you aren't working? Taking care of children? Are children school age? If so, could you be working during the day? If yes, why aren't you, if not, why not.

    2. Call around and get daycare prices for the children. Names of daycares and prices- get statements from the daycares. Technically the Judge shouldn't allow this because it's hearsay but if your Husband is unrepresented, and doesn't object, the Judge may allow it. (Otherwise you would need to subpoena a records custodian to testify) If the Judge should mention imputing income, bring up the daycare expenses involved if you have to get a job.

    3. I would run the child support guidelines with your Husband's income, you at minimum wage full time and the children in daycare (include the expense of it in the guideline) Take that with you to Court along with the guidelines showing zero income and no daycare.

    4. What is the insurance expense? Does your Husband pay that? You need to make sure that the insurance expense that gets listed in the child support guidelines is only for the children. Often, an employer will have a price for employee only and employee+family. You don't want the employee+family in the guideline because he will effectively be getting credit for paying his own insurance-which shouldn't be included. The insurance expense can reduce his monthly child support payment to you-because it will be paid to the insurance company.

    Also, with regard to the insurance expense- you need to be prepared in advance with the costs figures. If you have 35 days or more prior to your Hearing, you should file a discovery request which would include a request for proof of the expense. If you have less than that amount of time, call his employer-you may get someone in the Human Resources office that will give it to you. If there isn't any insurance, request the Judge order him to obtain and maintain insurance for the children.

    Finally, with regard to insurance, check on Florida Healthy Kids. I don't know the income situation, or any of the facts about the insurance so I can't recommend this- but it's worth looking into.

    A couple of other issues that parents often forget to bring up when they are representing themselves- which party will get the dependency exemption for the children? How will co-pays and uncovered medical expenses be divided, or who will pay in full? How will extracurricular activity costs be divided?

    One other issue- There are forms of alimony available for short term marriages, mid and long term marriages. You may qualify for different forms-rehabilitative, bridge the gap, durational, permanent-- especially if you didn't work during the marriage. You have to request it in your pleadings, so make sure that, if you need it, it's in there before the Final Hearing.

    Good luck to you!

    Brad G. Fisher, Esq.

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  • Divorce/child custody/ gay rights

    i know someone who is a lesbian has been married to a man since she was 16 yrs old. they are now getting a divorce her husband filed it stating she committed adultery. however he was well aware of her sexual prefference and was even included on oc...

    Bradley’s Answer

    First- her attorney should never tell her to lie under oath.

    Second- Her sexual preference should not adversely affect a parenting plan/custody issues. I would suggest that she get with her attorney- keep a diary of all issues related to the child, including all caretaking duties for the child, school related issues (parent teacher conferences, PTA, volunteering), medical/dental issues (names of doctors, who took the child to the doctor, etc.) and put together a plan to present that she was the primary caretaker and the best interest of the child requires that the child reside with her. Being gay or a lesbian does not mean that you are a bad parent and in fact has nothing to do with your parenting. What is important is that the actions are not adversely effecting the child.

    As far as the Husband saying he didn't know, and the Wife saying that he did- that's all just he said-she said. No different than when a hetrosexual couple has adultery issues. The same circumstances could happen between a man and a woman and the man could later say he knew nothing of it and claim she's an adulter. Don't worry about that part. Put together the plan for the child to show primary caretaker and all of the reasons why she is best off with your friend. Bring witnesses that can attest to her parenting and close relationship with the child- including school teachers, church members, daycare workers, etc.

    Good luck to you!

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  • Evidence in a divorce

    1. In a divorce procedure,do the lawyers know the evidence in each others case? Or is the evidence presented in court on the trail date? 2. Also I am the petetioner,who goes first to tell their story.Because if I go first he could change his. T...

    Bradley’s Answer

    Sometimes the Court will enter an Order requiring the exchange/disclosure of certain information that will be presented at trial- like documents: photographs, bills, bank statements, summaries, expert reports, etc., in addition to requiring the parties to disclose witnesses. You can also file trial discovery such as a Request for Production for all documents to be used at Trial and Trial Interrogatories to require the other party to answer which witnesses they will use at Trial, including the experts.

    As the previous counsel stated- the Petitioner almost always presents their case first, but that doesn't mean that you can't call the opposing party as your first witness to obtain their testimony prior to you testifying. In addition, depositions can help prevent the problem you're concerned about as you can ask your questions of the opposing party before a Court Reporter, under oath, and obtain a transcript of the deposition. If the party attempts to change their position during the trial, you can use the deposition transcript to proving that they are not telling the truth.

    Good luck to you!

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  • My 13 year old son does not want visit his father can he opt from going>

    My 13 years old doses not want to visist his father every weekend, because he is always picking on him and screaming at him. He makes him cook and when the food is not right the screaming starts. He wants him to clean and do everything for him. ...

    Bradley’s Answer

    You have a very serious issue on your hands. First, if there is abuse, the Department of Children and Families in Florida needs to be contacted immediately so that they can investigate the matter and complete a report. Second, it is imperative that you go back to Court. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can file pro se (which means you're self represented) and request the Court's relief. If there is an Order in place requiring that your son visit with his Father- it should generally be followed. I understand your concern and position but you must let the Court know by requesting a modification due to the circumstances. Very often children, especially teenagers, do not wish to go and visit with the other parent-they'd rather just stay home or go with their friends- and the Court is aware of this. Just like you would force a child living in your home to go to church or piano lessons- the child must be forced to do something that is good for them in the end-like visiting with the other parent.

    With that being said, the child should not be subjected to abuse. This changes the normal order of business. However, it does not mean that you can stop obeying the Court's order. The Court has to be involved and be informed of what's going on in your case-otherwise, they won't have anyway of knowing and when the Father files a Motion for Enforcement and Contempt against you, and they generally will, you will be in a defensive position rather than offensive.

    An important thing to remember is that the Court hears "he said-she said" arguments all day-everyday. You must document your file and go to the Court for help. Your argument can lose ground when you begin to unilaterally disregard a Court's Order without, at a minimum, requesting the Court's intervention to get a modified Order.

    If I were in your position, I would contact Department of Children and Families (DCF) give them all of the information you've given here-and anything else you may have. Next, start a diary. Write down everything you can remember with dates and times if possible. Keep that diary from this point forward with everything pertaining to your child-including the call to DCF and the filing of your modification action- as behavior of the opposing party can worsen after these events. Further, go down to your local Courthouse (where the order was entered requiring timesharing) and tell the Clerk you have a need to modify timesharing due to abuse. (Supplemental Petition for Modification) They should have pro se packages available. I would also file an Emergency Motion to Modify Timesharing and a Motion for Child Testimony- if you feel that it will not emotionally traumatize your son. The Court will make an individual decision with regard to the testimony of your child- however, many 13 year olds are permitted to testify, depending on the maturity and circumstances. One of the factors a Judge would consider in making the child testimony ruling is whether or not there is information that can only be obtained through the child's testimony- meaning, if the child is not present in Court are there important and relevant facts that will not come to light?

    If you follow the above steps, you will be on the right track. Follow the instructions of the Court and involve the Court in this matter. It's important to always show the Court your respect for its Order and request the Court's permission to make changes. This is generally appreciated by the Court.

    Good luck to you!

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  • My boyfriend was divorced in 2004 and it was overturned in 2006. Can divorce be reinstated or does he have to refile?

    He originally filed in Tn. He now lives in Fl. They have not lived together since 2004. Divorce was overturned to put her back on insurance. If he has to refile can he do it in Fl or does it have to go through Tn. since it was overturned there. Th...

    Bradley’s Answer

    When you say it was overturned- are you referring to your boyfriend having filed and then having cancelled and closed the pending case so that he could maintain her on his insurance?

    Generally, if your boyfriend has lived in Florida for greater than 6 months he can file for a dissolution of marriage in Florida. If the case was permanently closed in Tennessee and never finalized (as many cases are that are never pursued, or that are voluntarily dismissed by one or both spouses) you should be able to file in Florida.

    I would call the Courthouse in Tennessee- request to see if there is any pending action, get the case number and a copy of the Order closing the case (if applicable). Check to see if the Court made any concessions for the reopening of the case (normally in Florida they do not-but check with Tennessee’s Court.) If the case is permanently closed and there isn't any pending dissolution litigation, you should be fine to file in Florida.

    With that being said- it is important to remember that choosing which State to file in can be complicated. The law regarding custody of children is complex and if his children reside in Tennessee- Florida may not have any jurisdiction to make any timesharing (or custody) decisions. If there is property in Tennessee to be divided-there are also other considerations.

    It sounds like since they've been separated since 2004- there may not be much in the way of property to divide- which would be helpful in his situation.

    Good luck to you both!

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  • If I leave the state without notifying my son's father, will I be in contempt of court?

    In Florida- My son's father and I were married when he was born. His father went to prison and I filed for a divorce. The divorce was granted. After being released, we went back to court for 'timesharing'. In 2010 the father was given supervised v...

    Bradley’s Answer

    It sounds like you have very legitimate reasons to relocate- in addition to the Father's criminal background and lack of timesharing with the child due to his prison time.

    The most important thing to remember, as you start making decisions, is to check the Florida Statutes (Section 61.13001) and make sure you follow each and every guideline. These Statutes are online, should you wish to read them.

    If you relocate properly you can rest much easier when you arrive to your new location. Remember, just because your Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage does not provide the Father with extensive timesharing nor parental responsibility, this is not an automatic go ahead to relocate. Should you fail to follow proper procedure, you may find yourself back in the local jurisdiction to litigate the case and from 1000 miles away, that may prove to be quite a burden.

    If you are unable to hire an attorney, due to cost or otherwise, you can go to the Courthouse where your dissolution was entered and request the Clerk provide you with a relocation packet for completion. There are detailed instructions on the front of each form- although, sometimes even with the directions- it can be a bit confusing.

    If the nature of your relationship with your former spouse is not too contentious- you may be able to have him execute a consent for relocation which is actually fairly simple in nature and can be granted, assuming everything is properly filed and prepared, without the necessity of a hearing. The Statute referenced above also has information regarding the uncontested relocation.

    If you have a need to relocate quickly, you can request the Court hear your request on an expedited basis through a Motion for Temporary Relocation. This should be heard within thirty days of filing the request-absent good cause.

    My advice would be to contact an attorney-perhaps you could retain at the cost of an uncontested/agreed relocation and then pay any additional costs should your Former Husband refuse to execute the necessary paperwork. If the attorney is not in your budget, I would suggest to read the Relocation Statute several times-all the way through- to get a good understanding. Although it can seem tedious and time consuming, there aren't any "steps" included in the Statute that are frivolous or can be disregarded. All directions should be followed precisely.

    Good luck to you!

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  • How can I find an attorney who is willing to work for me?

    I filed divorce proceedings against my husband of 13 years. I am 72 and he is 82 but still works very day and owns half of this company with his children owning the other half. All during the thirteen years of marriage he has put money in the joi...

    Bradley’s Answer

    I'd like to preface this response by making sure that it's understood that there isn't an attorney that is able to address all of your concerns completely without first reviewing the file and conducting standard discovery at a minimum.

    With that being said, you are certainly not doomed, but you will need to find an attorney that has dealt with a dissolution of marriage, which involves one of the spouses owning a business. It sounds like you will need to hire a forensic accountant to review the business' accounting and business files. Depositions of employees and the business' CPAs may be necessary. I would subpoena files from the businesses that your Husband's company has done business with-with regard to the transactions in and out-and from banks the company does business with. We would need to go backward in building the file and figuring the income- meaning we would search for income and arrive at our own total-rather than taking the business' total receipts at face value and subtracting income they've disclosed. I would also follow-up with the "loans" he's claimed.

    Further, because it's a family owned business, research should be done with regard to the spending out of the business' account. Often, business owners will expend funds from the business account for personal expenses, then claim a reduced personal income. In addition, they often list the debts for which they are personally responsible on their financial affidavit (even though they've paid these expenses from the business account) and once you factor in the reduced personal income listed- they're showing a deficit on their financial affidavit- benefical to them when their spouse is seeking child support, alimony, attorney's fees & costs amoung other things. All of these steps may not be necessary- and there may very well be steps necessary that are not listed here.

    I would contact a few other attorneys, ask them about their experience dealing with cases such as yours and don't give up! Once they review your file they will guide you in the right direction. It's definitely possible to bring to light all of the hidden assets but it does take some work.

    Good luck to you!

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