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Thomas D. Marks

Thomas Marks’s Answers

77 total


  • Can a divorced couple alter the shared debts in Marital Settlement Agreement through mediation after the divorce is finalized?

    My ex-wife and I are paying back a debt to my parents through the agreement (though they are unnamed specifically in the actual agreement, "Husband's parents"). My ex-wife and I are friends and my parents and I are estranged. If my ex-wife and I g...

    Thomas’s Answer

    This is an interesting question. Since your parents were not added to your divorce proceedings as third parties, they do not have an ability to enforce that portion of the marital settlement agreement between you and your former spouse. Therefore, you and your former spouse can change that provision simply by entering into a joint Stipulation and having an Amended Final Judgment entered. You would not actually have to go back to mediation if you both are already in agreement.

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  • Do i have to attend the hearing?

    I am the petitioner in a divorce case and I am wondering, if my spouse doesn't respond to a petition within the 20 day limit and I file a motion for default and request a final hearing, will I be required to attend the hearing or, will the judge g...

    Thomas’s Answer

    If your spouse does not file an answer or some type of responsive pleading to your petition for dissolution of marriage within the 20 day prescribed period of time, then your attorney can file a motion for a clerk's default and you do not need to be present for that. Your attorney would then file a notice for trial or perhaps a motion for entry of Final judgment, whichever your particular jurisdiction requires, and then you would need to be at that hearing to establish jurisdiction and to testify even though a default would have been entered against your spouse. The default prevents your spouse from presenting a case at the trial or hearing which makes the proceeding much easier for you and your attorney.

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  • For a divorce in FL, can I ask for 60/40 or may be 70/30 of our assets?

    My husband does not work outside thus, no income. He managed our life and I am able to retire at 58 y.o. I have worked for 40 yrs, so I will have SS, Pension and our savings. He does not have SS or pension.

    Thomas’s Answer

    I would agree with my colleague here that you can ask for anything but the court will start with a 50-50 analysis. However, there is a provision in the Florida statutes allowing an unequal distribution if you meet the criteria in the statute. This is not easy to accomplish and so you should hire an experienced family law attorney in your jurisdiction.

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  • Husband cancelled my car insurance and registration?

    My husband and I have 3 vehicles. We got all 3 vehicles after we got married, so they are all considered marital property. He is abusive. I left him and took 1 of the vehicles with me. We went to court today and they granted me a 1-year restrainin...

    Thomas’s Answer

    I would agree with my colleague's answer. If your local jurisdiction has a standing administrative order like most, then your husband could be held in Contempt and likely put in jail if he does not reinstate the car insurance. An experienced family law attorney in your jurisdiction can certainly help you. I hope this has been helpful.

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  • Divorce

    my wife filed divorce I filed a answer and a counterpetition she did not answer my countrepetition......what happen now.....we live in florida

    Thomas’s Answer

    Technically, you can file a motion for default because of your spouse's failure to respond to your counter petition. You would need to set a hearing on your motion to be heard by the judge. Typically, your spouse would realize that they failed to file an answer to your counter petition and they would then file an answer. Otherwise, the judge could enter a default against your spouse on the counter petition. I hope this helps answer your question.

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  • Looking for a Divorce Lawyer in the Tampa, St. Pete, Sarasota area that has dealt with the Florida Retirement Pension Plan.

    Need a divorce attorney, my spouse has the Florida retirement pension plan so looking for a lawyer that has dealt with that before.

    Thomas’s Answer

    I would agree that you need a Florida experienced family law attorney to deal with this issue. It is not that complicated but you do need to get all of the documentation so that your attorney can carefully analyze the marital component of the pension that you are entitled to 50% of. As long as you have the mandatory disclosure from your spouse providing all of the documents you need, your attorney should be able to determine the amount you are entitled to.

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  • If a divorce is final and alimony is being paid, and the payor receives an inheritance because someone died

    can that open up the alimony case or affect alimony in any any way?

    Thomas’s Answer

    Unless the alimony was designated as "non-modifiable" alimony, then the alimony is subject to modification as long as it is being paid. Modification typically requires generally three things to be proven. First, there must be a substantial change in circumstances since the date of the final judgment. Second, the substantial change must have been unforeseeable. And third, the substantial change must be permanent in nature. All of these factors are what lawyers call "terms of art" and have significant meaning that is defined in the hundreds of appellate decisions rendered by the appellate courts interpreting the Florida Statutes. So the question would be how much was received in this inheritance as it would have to be substantial and taken into consideration in light of the circumstances of your case. It would also have to have not been imminent or foreseeable at the time the final judgment was entered in your divorce action.

    Your case will be dependent on the specific factual findings and it will be important to carefully apply them to the existing law. I hope this has been helpful.

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  • Regarding child custody in a divorce, how can i prove my husband has been verbally abusive? Can I get primary residence?

    He wants 50/50. I'm scared that wouldn't be in their best interest. I want to keep their routines as normal as possible.

    Thomas’s Answer

    Florida no longer technically has the term "Primary Residence" anymore. The concept now is "Time sharing" or "Contact time". That means the number of overnights awarded to you versus your spouse. Unless you have witnesses willing to testify of the verbal abuse, the most effective way of having that brought out is to have the Court appoint a "Social Investigator" who is a PhD psychologist. This person will conduct an investigation and psychological testing of the parties as well as interview the minor children to determine if there has been this verbal or other abuse. This professional investigation can take several months and cost several thousand dollars so you need to make sure you have ample time and resources if you are going to pursue this course of action.

    I hope all goes well for you and I hope this is been helpful.

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  • What if Wife's Pre-trail Statement, filed by her legal counsel, is wrong?

    Wife vacated marital home in 6/2011 and did not return. I agreed to allow wife/spouse to relocate with our minor daughter (six years old at the time) to her new residence 90 miles away in Port St. Lucie. On August 26, 2011, spouse/wife volunta...

    Thomas’s Answer

    You can make the Magistrate aware at the Trial of any inaccuracies in your spouse's Pre-Trial Statement. Please be sure to have witnesses with you at the Trial that can testify that your daughter has been living with you consistently as you have stated. School personnel, Sunday school teachers, neighbors and others who can testify from personal knowledge as to your daughter's welfare and consistency living with you will be critical for you to have at the Trial. The Pre-Trial Statement is not actually Evidence like testimony from you and your witnesses would be.

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  • Spousal support during pregnancy, birth and 12 week post partum period

    We are married still but he only lived in the house approx. 1 month. He left after I told him that we are having a baby. I do not qualify for any type of government financial assistance and actually very thankful for that. My pregnancy and birt...

    Thomas’s Answer

    It does not matter how long you lived in the house together but rather it matters that you are still married and your husband is responsible for one half of any and all marital expenses you incur related to the birth or otherwise. If your husband is well able to pay support as well as the marital expenses and you want to wait until after the birth to file for divorce, you may want to consider filing an action for support and maintenance without dissolution of marriage. This is a little known provision of chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes. That way you could seek support payments from him during the pendency of the pregnancy and afterwords and then file for divorce if you want to at that point.

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