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Happy Holidays from the Team!
The holidays are upon us and before we know it they’ll be gone again. It’s the time of year when we are supposed to stop and take a moment to give thanks for what we have, to share joy with others, and to celebrate the things that are most important to us. Unfortunately, we often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, and stressing out over all of the above, that we forget what the season is all about.
From our family to yours, we wish you nothing but the best this holiday season. Be sure to take time to appreciate all the wonderful things in your life (namely family and friends), and to savor the time you have with those close to you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Dahl Family Law Group!!
Happy New Year
Happy New Year from the Dahl Family Law Group!
The more things change, the more they stay the same
As the first quarter of 2012 comes to an end (my how time flies), we have a couple of fun announcements about your favorite attorneys…
JJ has been nominated to the Board of Directors for Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc. (CLSMF). CLSMF is a nonprofit law firm providing legal assistance to low-income clients through community education, legal advice, and assistance with pro se litigation. Through this position, JJ hopes to share her expertise in law, as well as fundraising and public speaking, to help those who need it most. Incidentally, JJ won their “Attorney of the Year” award again (this is the second year in a row)!
In the mean time, Tracy has resumed one of her favorite pastimes…FOOTBALL! Tracy has returned to her position as Center for the Orlando Anarchy, Central Florida’s semi-pro women’s tackle football team. Yes…that does say women’s tackle football. In her fifth season (with a short hiatus during law school and another couple of years off just being a mom), she is back to her old ways and has the bruises to prove it. We invite you to come out and join us for a game! Home games (April 14th, April 28th, May 19th, and June 2nd) are at 7:00 p.m. at East Ridge High School. We’d love to see you there, as we cheer on #72! Go Anarchy!
And for those things staying the same…
As most people who have been involved in a family law matter will agree, laws are not always fair. As a matter of fact, the joke in our office is that FAIR is a four-letter “F” word, and we are not allowed to use it. The reason for this is, more often than not in a family law case, there are no winners – nobody walks away from the courtroom feeling as if they have gotten what they deserved. This is especially true for the person who ends up with an obligation to pay what is commonly referred to as “permanent periodic alimony.” While it may seem “unfair,” especially as the payor tells the story (you know…the one where he/she is slaving away for the rest of his/her life while the ex-spouse is sitting on the couch eating bon-bons), there are circumstances under which such spousal support is, in fact, appropriate.
Thankfully, the Florida Legislature understands that such circumstances exist. During the 2012 Legislative Session, our lawmakers took a stand against a special interest group called Floridians For Alimony Reform (FAR) which sought to modify existing alimony laws to benefit a small group of citizens – specifically those “on the hook” for permanent periodic alimony. While the system may not be perfect (I challenge you to find one that is), the Legislature recognized that existing laws, as they are written, allow for a balance of both parties’ circumstances (examining both the paying party’s ability to pay, while also looking at the recipient spouse’s need for financial assistance) and, absent an agreement otherwise, is always modifiable upon an unanticipated substantial change of circumstances.
So…as of right now, Florida’s alimony laws stand as they were, but it’s only a matter of time before it’s in front of the Legislature again. We’ll keep you posted!
I pride myself in ensuring the value of my work exceeds the cost – the whole Team does, it is one of our Firm’s values. We more than pay for our services.
When asked to pay a retainer or an attorney bill in your family law matter, it might be hard to see that the money is well spent. However, at the end of your alimony matter or the end of your child support matter or divorce – although sometimes it is not realized until the next tax year or when you finally sell the house or you need to enforce something a year or two down the road – you will see the value of a family law professional.
None of us are the type to try to generate unnecessary or unhelpful work just to increase a bill. We know happy Clients pay less – we only want happy Clients. Who doesn’t? We want our Clients to be our best advertisement and future referral sources. So we want to do a good job and that includes not only getting the job done but getting it done efficiently and least expensively. We hope to keep your attorney fees down too – but “don’t lose the forest for the trees”.
I cannot tell you how many people come to me AFTER they have signed or agreed to something that they should not have. I cannot tell you how many Clients tell me, I wish I had hired you first or before. I have a matter right now where my client almost gave away a $60,000 IRA because she didn’t want to pay a $5000 retainer. She hired us as soon as she realized she could pay the $5,000 and on that issue alone come out $25,000 ahead even with paying the retainer. We usually see our fees recouped in alimony and child support cases – a lot of people think what is the big deal with a $100 a month difference. Well when you have an 8 year old child – that’s $1200 a year times ten years – last time I checked that is $120,000!! I’d spend $5,000 for an attorney to get $120,000! Imagine that same mistake with a divorce at age 45, and that is a $100 month difference for twenty years of alimony until retiring at 65. Think about this not just from the point if you are the one paying this money, but what if you were the one who was supposed to be receiving this money and you short changed yourself $120,000 or $240,000. I bet you would be thinking, darn I should have hired that attorney.
Do not forget, we have a hand out, how to keep attorney fees down. Remember, if you follow our advice or our timelines and deadlines, you will keep attorney fees down. Let us help you. We are worth it and you are worth it.