General information on dissolution of marriage

The Walking Dead: Who Is Judith’s Legal Father?

AMC’s The Walking Dead recently premiered its season 8 debut.  For the uninitiated, The Walking Dead follows former deputy sheriff Rick Grimes and others as they navigate a post-apocalyptic world of zombies (which they call “walkers”).

The Human Element of The Walking Dead

Even more interesting than interactions with the walkers, the show focuses in on the interaction between people.  Rick and the gang have fought off a host of bad guys.  A one-eyed psychotic governor.  Bar-B-Que loving cannibals.  Most recently, a baseball bat-wielding sadist with a sophomoric sense of humor.

But the most fascinating part of the show may just be its human drama surrounding relationships between Rick and his family.  Last season, Rick made a startling admission to Michone.  Michone is a samurai sword brandishing badass and Rick’s current love interest.  The admission concerned Rick’s daughter, Judith.

When the apocalypse started, Rick had been separated from his wife, Lori.  Lori escaped the initial chaos with Rick’s best friend, Shane.  Shane and Lori thought Rick had died with the initial wave of walkers, and Shane and Lori became romantically involved.

Lori and Shane’s relationship ended when they learned Rick was still alive.  Inevitably, tensions rose between Shane and Rick, which lead to Rick killing Shane.  Eventually, Lori gave birth to a child, Judith, though Lori did not survive the birth.

Which brings us back to Rick’s admission to Michone.  Rick tells Michone he knows that Shane is Judith’s biological father.

So who is Judith’s legal father?

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Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

Need Help With A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage?

Are you and your spouse in agreement on how to divide your assets and debts?  Do you not have any minor or dependent children in common?  Are you both willing to attend a final hearing for dissolution of marriage together?  Then you and your spouse may qualify for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

Simplified Dissolution of MarriageAdvantages of a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

Florida has created a special type of divorce procedure with the hope of simplifying the process.  In most actions for dissolution of marriage, court rules require you to exchange what is known as “mandatory disclosure.”  These are financial and other documents with sensitive and private information.  So, in most divorces, you would exchange several years’ worth of tax returns, along with checking and savings account statements, credit card statements, and summary plan descriptions for retirement accounts.

In Simplified Dissolution of Marriage proceedings, you are not expected to exchange these documents unless specifically requested to by one of the spouses.

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You Already Have A Prenup

Congratulations, you are getting married!  You found the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, and now you have a big, bright future ahead!  But now the P-word has come up: Prenup.

You and your fiance may be wondering whether to get a prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a premarital agreement.  It may be that one of you has significantly more assets than the other.  Perhaps there is a family business in play.  Maybe you have children from a prior relationship that you want to protect or you have other estate-planning needs.  Or maybe you just want to plan for all possible contingencies.

Prenup

So if you are considering a premarital agreement, there is something you should keep in mind:  You already have a prenup.

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Bitcoin and Divorce

Bitcoin and Divorce

Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency that is not controlled by any government but rather is decentralized.  It is oftentimes referred to as a “cryptocurrency” as it is not physical.  Bitcoins are maintained in virtual “wallets” and can be transferred via QR codes.

The video below from the Wall Street Journal further explains Bitcoin:

As Bitcoin is becoming more popular, it should not be surprising that is showing up in divorce cases.  So what happens to Bitcoins in divorce?

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Cordover Letter on Collaborative Divorce Published in Tampa Bay Times

In February, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Charlie Crist, former governor of the State of Florida, filed a petition for divorce in which he stated that he anticipated that he and his wife will go through a “collaborative law process.”  On February 27, 2017, the Tampa Bay Times published a letter written by Family Diplomacy attorney Adam B. Cordover explaining what a collaborative divorce is.

You can find the letter reproduced below:

Crist filed for divorce from wife of 8 years Feb. 25

Collaborative divorce: what it is, how it works

On Feb. 24, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, R-St. Petersburg, filed for divorce. In his petition, Crist states that he anticipates that he and his wife will go through a “collaborative law process.” What is a collaborative divorce?

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Co-Mediation Divorce Without Lawyers

Can I Divorce Without Lawyers?

Do you want to divorce without lawyers?  Are you and your spouse able to sit down together, but you need some help to figure out what you even need to address?  Are you okay going without legal advice, and you just want to get through the divorce as quickly, painlessly, and cost-effectively as possible?

Well, then, co-mediation can help you divorce without lawyers.

Co-Mediation Divorce Without Lawyers

In co-mediation, you and your spouse sit down face-to-face with two mediators: one with a legal background and one with a child and family dynamics background.

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Divorce: What Happens to My Small Business?

You have worked hard to build your small business in Tampa Bay or Greater Sarasota.  Your dreams and future are intertwined with your company.  But, now, you are facing divorce, and you are worried about how this will affect your small business.  You know there are quite a few issues that you will have to deal with.  Child custody, division of property and debts, and child and spousal support all need to be addressed.

Small Business and Collaborative Divorce

Small Business & Collaborative Divorce

But what happens to your small business?

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Divorce Lessons Learned

Every attorney learns lessons from the divorce cases with which they are involved.  Some attorneys learn lessons that have unintentional, destructive consequences for the family of the client whom they serve.  Other attorneys learn lessons that contribute to a peaceful resolution of disputes.

Divorce Attorneys Learn All Types of Lessons from Their Cases

Attorney Nancy Retsinas on Divorce Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned in Divorce Cases

After 25 years of practice, Washington collaborative divorce attorney Nancy Retsinas shares lessons that she has learned along the way:

  • Many roads lead to resolution — collaboration, mediation, even plain-old cooperation. The courtroom should be the road of last resort.
  • Listen to gain understanding. Only by actively listening — without preconceptions or judgments — am I able to truly understand my client’s needs.
  • Don’t ask for — but also don’t be afraid of — conflict. Everything is figure-out-able.
  • Build rapport. Understanding all perspectives in a dispute results in better, more durable agreements — and almost always keeps people out of court.
  • It is not only possible, [but] it is imperative to treat all people respectfully — especially those you disagree with.
  • The Law” rarely solves “The Problem.”
  • Plan for peacemaking and be prepared for a few the bumps in the road before getting there.
  • Be future-focused. Encourage clients to look forward and not dwell on past hurts or resentments. It’s the only way to true resolution.
  • Clients seek clear legal guidance focused on their underlying interests. Legal advice given in a vacuum is rarely helpful.
  • Honesty above all else.

Lessons for You

The main lessons for spouses to take away from Nancy’s list is that court is rarely the answer for divorcing families.  Rather, respect and cooperation provide spouses the best opportunity to (i) move on with their lives as quickly as possible, (ii) protect their children along the way, and (iii) spend the least amount of money in the divorce process.

If you have questions about collaborative divorce or how we can help you move forward, schedule a meeting with Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.


Adam B. Cordover focuses exclusively on out-of-court dispute resolution with a focus on collaborative divorce, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services.  Adam is a co-author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on collaborative law.

Gary Direnfeld on Sole Custody

Video: Do You Really Need “Sole Custody?”

In my Tampa office, parents come to me all of the time and say they want “sole custody.”  Maybe they are having an argument with the other parent.  Maybe they just don’t get along.  So parents figure that the solution is to be the only one to have decision making authority over their child.

In the video below, social worker Gary Direnfeld challenges the assumptions behind requests for sole custody.

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Video: Hiring A Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

In Tampa Bay and Greater Sarasota, you have a lot of choices when determining who should be your divorce lawyer.  You may have already figured out that your best, least destructive path is via collaborative practice, where you and your spouse work together to ensure your kids and finances survive the divorce.  But how do you choose which attorney to hire to represent you in a collaborative divorce?

The video below, from Reel Lawyers, discusses the importance of hiring an attorney who specializes in collaborative practice.

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