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Thomas D. Marks

Thomas Marks’s Answers

14 total


  • Legally what are the steps in Florida, I need to do to get a divorce and keep custody of my child?

    My husband of 2 years is wanting a divorce from me, we have a 1 year old and I'm his primary care taker! We share no property or any other assets! I just want to do what steps I need to take to make sure my baby and I are taken care of! Thank you!

    Thomas’s Answer

    Children's issues are some of the most complex and important in any family law case. You have such a young child that whatever happens in your case is going to impact you and your 1 year old for the next 17 years in the Court system and for the rest of your lives after that. So it is critical that you have a very detailed and carefully worded Parenting Plan which provides for all Timesharing issues, transportation, extracurricular, unriembursed medicals, school jurisdiction, a Right of First Refusal and a myriad of other concerns that will intimately impact you and your young child.That can be drafted prior to or after filing your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, or before,during or after Mediation. Ultimately, if you cannot agree with your spouse on these issues, you may need to take this before the Judge. You should at least meet with an experienced family law Attorney to learn more about the law in this area and your legal rights.

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  • I am in the process of a divorce and my wife has kept me from seeing my children for over 100 days???

    she will not let me have access to the children at all

    Thomas’s Answer

    I assume when you say you are "in the process of a divorce" that the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has been filed and it sounds like it has been over 100 days and so Mandatory Disclosure is way past due and you should have been to Mediation by now. Orange County has a standing Administratve Order that states the both Parties have an equal right to the minor children. I would file a Motion for Temporary Relief and get a Hearing as soon as possible to see the Judge to get your Timesharing started and I would seek "make up" timesharing for the time you have missed because of your spouse's actions in withholding the children from you.

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  • I know my spouse is a drug user and I am afraid it will impact my children after divorce. Is mandated drug testing common?

    I am beginning divorce paperwork and I am considering asking the court to randomly drug test my ex because I know she is a drug user. My children are pre-teens and have started mentioning the drug use to me. I don't want to make things too complic...

    Thomas’s Answer

    It is better to raise this issue in the initial Dissolution of Marriage proceedings than in a later Modification Proceeding as you have a better chance of protecting your children if you do something about this up front. It is far more difficult to do something later because if you want to try to change the timesharing after the divorce you will have to show a substantial change in circumstances among other things to modify the timesharing later to reduce it to less than the 50/50 being proposed. If you have some credible evidence of drug use now then now is the time to bring this to the Court's attention or to seek agreement on some better protections in the Parenting Plan.

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  • What happens now? How long does is take for divorce decree to be sent out?

    My ex didn't sign didn't show to court I filed a default had my final hearing may 14th which he didn't show the magistrate sent in his report and recommendation which stated that the marriage is broken. I also turned in a agreement to waive reci...

    Thomas’s Answer

    There is no specific deadline or time period in which the General Magistrate has to file the Report and Recommendation with the Judge. However, I would suggest you give it another 10 days or so and if you have not heard anything, you can call the Magistrate's Assistant and ask what the status is. As long as you are respectful, there is nothing wrong with being a bit of a sqeaky wheel to help move the process along.

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  • I was served in the divorce action, and the other party has an attorney, i filed a counter, do i have to give it to his?

    attorney to be served on him, or do I have to give to his attorney and hire ap rocess server. I used the form that has the counter with the answer...any help is ppreciated, i have no money for a lawyer he took everything and left

    Thomas’s Answer

    Yes, you need to send a copy to your husband's Attorney. If you have very limited assets and no minor children and you feel very confident in representing yourself, you can certainly do that. I would recommend though that before you sign anything in the way of a Marital Settlement Agreement, you take it to an Attorney for an Initial Consult simply to look over to let you know if the settlement is at least in the ball park. You should not agree to anything until you have done this and have received your Husband's Financial Affidavit and Mandatory Disclosure so you know what you are agreeing to.

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  • My husband's grandparents quit claimed property to him last year. Is it considered marital property subject to distribution?

    My husband's grandparents quit claimed property to him last year. We were married at the time of the quit claim and the quit claim transferred property only in his name. We are likely getting divorced and I would like to know if the property will ...

    Thomas’s Answer

    If the property was quit claimed to your Husband only and was not put in joint title with your name on it, it will most likely be considered to be a Non-Marital Asset. However, if Marital Assets are used to pay down the mortgage and to make improvements to the property, than that could change the analysis. Another issue that may be relevant for you is that even "Non-Marital Assets" can be considered as available resources to pay alimony from. Most people don't consider this but Fla. Stat. 61.08 provides for this if alimony is an issue.

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  • I am going through a divorce and me and my wife agreed to everything, we came up with a number for child support can i do that?

    we have one minor child, and i agreed to pay her $800 a month for child support, which i believe exceeds the state guidelines (whcih are confusing), but its fine by me. Are we allowed to come up with a figure ourselfs or do we have to abide by th...

    Thomas’s Answer

    Yes, you can always agree to pay more than the Child Support Guidelines would require but you may need an Attorney to actually calculate the correct Child Support Guideline Amount so you know the correct Child Support numbers. Also the Judge will want to see your Child Support Guideline Worksheet to make sure the amount is as much as the Child Support Guidelines would require. An additional thing you may want to consider is that your child will ultimately be involved in extracurricular activities, need tutoring or need additional items like musical instruments, athletic equipment or dance or other attire which your former spouse will want you to contribute towards So you should leave enough funds available to participate in those activities as your child will see that as more or your involvement and engagement in their life than the Child Support payment that they will never see.

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  • Divorce and debt or how its broken up query

    Hope are divorce lawyer can give some information. I have maybe 16k in debt, wife has none. Its medical related and divorce is likely on the horizon. We both have very little income. My query is will this be split, likely? unlikely? and if it ...

    Thomas’s Answer

    If you incurred this debt during the marriage which it sounds like you did, then it will be considered a marital debt and subject to Equitable Distribution which means it will be aportioned pretty much equally between the two of you. So you spouse will be Ordered to pay half of it likely. The difficulty comes when your spouse doesn't abide by the Court Order and the medical provider who is not bound by the Court Order like the two spouses are, decides to sue you only because you are the one they have a contractual relationship with. So you need to be careful in how this Equitable Distribution is set up so you are protected.

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  • My ex wife never gave me what I was awarded in our divorce. What can I do?

    Both our children are now over 18. I deducted what she owed me from the last child support payment and now she's threatening to file a motion of contempt. If she does this, can I counter sue her for the amount I'm still owed? I gave her the house,...

    Thomas’s Answer

    You cannot legally deduct those monies from your final child support payment. The court will likely not permit that and your former spouse will likely prevail on that issue. Did your final judgment have a self executing termination of the child support upon your youngest child's reaching the age of majority or graduating from high school. If not, you may need to file a motion to terminate the child support as it may not have automatically ended. This could be a much bigger issue for you as it is possible that the child support could be continuing as an obligation due to the fact that you do not have a final order terminating the child support.

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  • Several months ago, my wife filed for a contested divorce. I never replied, however I always received extensions to the deadline

    I have not let the deadline lapse. We have worked everything out and we want to do an uncontested divorce. We have all the paperwork filled out and are ready to file with courthouse. My questions is how do we go about it? Do we do a new filing...

    Thomas’s Answer

    You should and can check to see if a Default has been entered by checking online at ninja 9.org. That is the clerks website. If a default has been entered you will need to immediately try to set it aside. Hopefully, that has not occurred. It is a good thing that you have been able to reach a settlement agreement. I would suggest you schedule a one hour or at least a 30 minute initial consult with an attorney to quickly look over your agreement and the status of your case to properly advise you. Hopefully you and your spouse have also completed your financial affidavits which will be required. You will also need to have completed the parenting class and have the certificate if you have any minor children. If everything is in order and no default has been entered, then you can use your existing divorce filing to proceed to an uncontested final hearing with a preapproved proposed final judgment and an answer and waiver. You will need to have a valid Florida driver's license issued at least six months prior to the filing of the petition in order to establish residency. I hope this helps.

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