Specializing in Family Law, Probate and Guardianship, Mediation and Litigation for over 22 years

Miami Divorce and Mediation Lawyers

Many family law matters are stressful for everyone involved. They require sensitive attention, as well as capable, forceful advocacy, tailored to the circumstances. Hertz Sager provides diligent and zealous legal representation in a range of family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and alimony. We also can assist South Florida residents with the probate process or with establishing a guardianship. Hertz ∙ Sager has over 30 years of experience practicing law, and Christy L. Hertz is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator, which allows her to help resolve disputes in a less costly, more efficient manner. Thus, Hertz ∙ Sager can work with clients in both amicable and adversarial settings.

Family Law

Family law matters can become heated, and spouses going through a divorce often have disagreements on one or more of the related issues. Divorces can be contested or uncontested; the former type of divorce exists when the spouses are in disagreement and cannot come to an agreement without litigation. Often, however, the spouses can resolve their dispute through mediation, and mediation is generally less acrimonious than a court proceeding. In other cases, it is possible for the spouses to negotiate a marital settlement agreement with the assistance of a divorce and mediation attorney in the Miami area. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, a final hearing or trial before a judge will be necessary.

Divorce

Florida is a no-fault state in which you need not obtain consent from your spouse to get a divorce. You can get a divorce or dissolution of marriage on two grounds. The first is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The other is that one of the spouses has been declared legally incompetent for more than three consecutive years before the divorce petition. The petition for divorce must be filed with the circuit court in the county in which the spouses last lived as a married couple or a county in which either spouse currently lives.

Child Custody

Child custody can quickly grow contentious. Many parents cannot agree on one or more aspects of their child’s life after a divorce, such as where the child lives or where the child goes to school. There is no presumption in favor of a parent of a particular gender. Sometimes it is possible for an experienced Miami divorce and mediation attorney to help the parents negotiate a parenting plan, which is an agreement that outlines each parent’s parenting responsibilities and time with the child. When the parents cannot agree, the court will make a decision in the best interests of the child. There are 13 factors to be considered when determining a child’s best interests.

Child Support

Both parents owe an obligation to support their children. Usually, the parent who has the child or children for the majority of the time gets child support from the other parent. Child support is meant to pay for shelter, electricity, water, food, and other needs of a child. Sometimes a parent’s circumstances substantially change after a final judgment on child support is entered. It may be necessary to obtain a modification of child support from the court by showing a substantial change in circumstances that is involuntary, material, significant, and permanent.

Alimony

There are several different kinds of alimony that may be awarded in connection with a divorce. Sometimes the alimony is temporary, lasting only through the divorce. In other cases, it is rehabilitative to allow one of the spouses to become trained or educated, such that he or she is self-sufficient. It may be durational, meaning that it gives economic assistance for a certain period of time. In other cases, it bridges the gap between marriage and being single. A divorce and mediation lawyer can advise Miami residents on the type of alimony (if any) that may be appropriate in their case. The court considers factors set forth in Florida Statutes section 61.08(2), and these factors include how old the parties are, how long the marriage lasted, and each spouse’s earning capacity, among other factors.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are contracts that two people create prior to their marriage. Often, people enter into prenuptial agreements in order to protect their home or income earned during the marriage in case of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements are contracts that spouses devise in order to make a specific arrangement for their property. Sometimes couples enter into these agreements in order to change the terms of a prenuptial agreement, while in other cases, conditions change within the marriage so that one or both spouses feel that such an agreement is needed.

Domestic Violence Injunctions

We represent people seeking domestic violence injunctions as victims of violence, as well as people wrongfully accused of domestic violence. In Florida, there is domestic violence when a perpetrator commits certain crimes against a family or household member. These crimes include assault, kidnapping, battery, stalking, sexual assault, false imprisonment, or an aggravated form of one of the foregoing crimes, among other crimes. If you are a victim of one of these forms of violence by a household or family member, you should seek an injunction to protect your safety. However, there are situations in which someone is falsely accused of perpetrating violence, or in which the accusations are exaggerated. Our Miami divorce and mediation lawyers can help defend against an injunction so that you are not affected adversely by a restraining order in connection with your work or access to your child.

Probate

We handle both probate administration and probate litigation. Probate is the process of identifying assets that belong to an estate and using them to pay off outstanding debts. Once debts are paid, the remaining assets are distributed to identified beneficiaries. When someone dies without a will, that person dies “intestate,” and their assets are distributed according to Florida law. There are situations in which there is a will, but it is suspicious based on how it was created or executed, or whom it disinherited. In that case, it may be appropriate to bring a will contest. Probate litigation can also arise in connection with the validity or administration of a trust.

Guardianships

Guardianships give one individual lawful authority to make decisions on behalf of and for another individual. Guardianships may be put in place when a minor no longer has parents, or when an elderly or infirm person is unable to care for their own needs. When a guardianship is put in place for a person, that person is known as a ward. His or her guardian will be given certain rights, and the ward will not be authorized to make those decisions for himself or herself. The guardian is supposed to make decisions based on the ward’s best interests, and their performance in making decisions is subject to judicial review. Our firm handles both the administration of guardianships and litigation related to them.

Mediation

Mediation and litigation are both used when parties cannot come to an agreement on their own, but they are significantly different processes. Litigation is a matter of public record, whereas mediation is confidential. Mediation is voluntary, and its scheduling is based on the mediator’s and the parties’ private arrangements. Mediation is not bound by the same laws and rules that govern litigation, so the agreements that come out of mediation can be more creative than what the court decides. The purpose of mediation is to devise an arrangement with which both sides are comfortable. The mediator, who facilitates mediation, is not a judge but is there to help negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution.

Consult an Experienced Divorce and Mediation Attorney in Miami

Hertz Sager prides itself on treating clients’ problems with compassion and care. If you are concerned about a family law matter in South Florida, you should consult our sensitive attorneys for advice and advocacy. We represent people throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Collier Counties. Call us at 305.444.3323 or use our online contact form.