Our Latest Blog

Divorcing an Alcoholic or a Drug Addict

Divorce in Florida or anywhere else is not easy. When one spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the process becomes more than just about money.   When one divorcing spouse is an alcoholic or a drug addict, the family and most importantly  the minor children can be negatively affected. Drugs and alcohol put a strain on everyone in addicted persons circle of friends and family. When divorce begins as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, you should obtain the advice of an experienced Florida divorce attorney.  If you live in Broward, Miami Dade, or Palm Beach Counties, our experienced divorce and family law attorneys are here to help.

Staggering divorce statistics

The statistics surrounding divorce and substance addiction are staggering. One research study has shown nearly one-half of all study participants who reported to have a substance abuse problem wound up getting divorced.  See the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.  This study also points out that substance abusers with an alcohol abuse disorder are almost 20% more likely to divorce than casual drinkers.

When to Consider Divorce?

Nobody wants to walk away from someone they love.  That said, there are times when your spouse’s alcohol or drug abuse makes your life intolerable.  Ask yourself, is your life getting worse due to the drug or alcohol abuse in your house.  Have you reached the point where a divorce is your best option, and the safest thing for you and your children? It is important to recognize that there is nothing wrong with answering “yes” to any of these questions. When things get to the point of no return, divorce is sometimes your best to protect yourself and your children.

If Safety of Children  is an Issue the Court in a Florida Divorce can order Drug Testing

The first thing you need to do is make sure that your spouse is subject to drug testing if the safety of the children is at stake.  No one, including the Judge, would intentionally place children in danger.  Remember this, the “best interest” of the children is always the most important consideration when getting divorced in Florida.   Sometimes, you must take steps to protect yourself and your children.  If your spouse does turn to their substance abuse, the Court in a Florida Divorce will hold your spouse accountable. As the judge can order drug and alcohol testing, the results can be especially important as a factor in determining timesharing rights.

In October, 2017 the Weston and Coral Springs Divorce Attorneys at Schantz and Schantz will be practicing law for 35 years. We are experienced in helping people deal with spouses who abuse drugs and alcohol.  If you have any questions related to a divorce, feel free to schedule an appointment at one of our offices located in Weston or Coral Springs (Parkland), Florida.  The Broward County Divorce Attorneys at Schantz and Schantz can be reached at 954-385-1536

Is my ex entitled modify the child support?

One of the most frequent questions we receive as family law attorneys in Florida concerns the modification of child support.  Under Florida family law child support is modifiable until the emancipation of the child.  Emancipation usually takes place when either a child turns 18 or graduates high school.  The terms and conditions of the marital settlement agreement or paternity agreement will usually specify when child support ends.  So the question becomes, what happens to my child support payment if you get a raise.   Unless your agreement has specific language in your settlement agreement dealing with wage increases nothing automatically happens if you get a raise.   Under Florida family law, if the receiving parent wants more child support they MUST file a petition with the court to increase child support.  In other words, if a petition to modify child support is not filed the prior court ordered amount of child support will continue.  Once a petition to increase child support has been filed, the court can retroactively modify child support back to the day in which the petition to increase child support has been filed.

So here is where the issue of child support gets very tricky.  In order to increase child support there must be increased payment of child support of either 15% or $50 which is ever greater.  If the additional income does not result in an increased payment of 15% of the sum of child support already order or at least $50.00 per month the parent seeking increase of child support will be denied the requested increase.  This statutory scheme prevents people from filing modifications of child support over very low amounts.

If you have a question related to a divorce, child support, or paternity please feel free to make an appointment with one of our family law attorneys.  We can be reached at 954*385-1536.

In Today’s Florida Divorce News: Alimony Reform in Florida Dies In The Florida Legislature Once Again

See today’s article from the Sun Sentinel concerning the failure of alimony reform in the 2017 legislative session.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, as demonstrated by an accord reached by The Florida Bar and alimony reform advocates.

But even though the one-time adversaries reached reconciliation over a controversial alimony overhaul, the proposal is dead for this year’s legislative session.

Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Chairman Rene Garcia said he won’t schedule the bill for a hearing.

“We have more pressing issues that we’re dealing with as it relates to the safety and welfare of children than to tie up the committee with the alimony bill at this time,” Garcia, R-Hialeah, told The News Service of Florida on Thursday.

Twice over the past four years, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed attempts at revamping the state’s alimony laws.

A proposal vetoed last year would have created a formula, based on the length of marriage and the combined incomes of both spouses, for judges to use when setting alimony payments.

After years of disagreement on the issue, alimony reform advocates and The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section supported the proposal, which would have also eliminated permanent alimony while giving judges some discretion to veer from the formula.

But the plan became hotly contested last year when it was amended to include a child-sharing component that would have required judges to begin with a “premise” that children should split their time equally between parents.

The proposed revisions “have evoked passionate reactions from thousands of Floridians because divorce affects families in many different ways,” Scott wrote in a last year’s veto message after people on both sides of the issue clashed outside his office.

Three years earlier, Scott vetoed a rewrite of the alimony laws because it was retroactive, an element that sparked an outcry from older women who had spent their lives as homemakers.

But this year, the Family Law section and alimony reform advocates appeared to reach consensus, agreeing that the issues regarding children should remain separate.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican who’s sponsoring the legislation this year, said she respects Garcia’s decision.

“There’s still a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation that the public has [about the bill],” she said Thursday. “So we just need to do a better job of educating them ahead of time.”