Legal

Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Legal
This answer was rated:

I have to prepare to represent myself in a divorce case in

FL on 11/12/2013. The date...
I have to prepare to represent myself in a divorce case in FL on 11/12/2013. The date was set on 10/3/2013 after the case was remanded back from the appellate court based on my appeal which I handled pro se (my pleadings were stricken as I had refused to provide my residential address and the appellate court overturned that order, thereby overturning the final judgment). The judge did not ask me if I was available on that date, and refused to allow me to continue the date she chose. She did ask if my husband's lawyer was available however.

NOTE (because this always comes up): I absolutely cannot afford a lawyer. There are no lawyers who will handle divorce pro bono (I've tried for 2.5 years) and I don't qualify for legal aid as there are no minor children (yes, I realize that is different in some areas, but that is the qualifier in that county for legal aid). My husband refuses to settle even though I've offered to give him all the assets (yes, I know that sounds crazy, but he's a psychopath), so I have no other choice than to do this myself, just as I briefed the appeal myself. Yes, we are married again since the appeal (which the judge confirmed) even though we were previously divorced and yes, I do realize that sounds "wrong" but I don't know of anything I can do about that.

I have some questions I'm hoping I can get some help with from the great lawyers here.

1. What valuation date does the court use for division of assets in Florida? This is confusing for me because we essentially separated on 3/14/2011 when he was arrested for trying to kill me. He filed for divorce on 3/20/2011. However, we continued to operate a business which he stated we would continue to do together (at the Injunction for Protection Hearing on 3/29/2011). Unbeknownst to me, he had already set up his own business (on 3/26/2011) and began instructing the customers to pay his new business. Yet, he continued to charge expenses for the business to my business account (which was not his) until 5/3/2011 -- even though he was receiving all the income from the business. At that point, I closed my business account. I had paid the mortgage and household expenses until also. Therefore, it appears to me that 5/3/2011 should be the date of valuation. Can I make that argument?

2. I have filed a motion for contempt against him as he did not comply fully with discovery. I'm waiting for the judicial assistant to provide me with a date for a hearing but we have 5 weeks until trial. The judge was aware of this when she set the trial date. Is there an official "cut off" date for discovery in Florida prior to trial?

3. There are witnesses I would like to call (business customers who were confused about how he was handling the name change back in March and April of 2011 from whom I have emails). I listed them in my discovery responses. I realize I will have to subpoena them. Can I do this in 5 weeks? Is there anything else I have to do in order to call them? Is there a timeline by which I must subpoena them? Can I send those by certified mail or will I need a process server in Florida (I no longer live there)?

4. I have read that some states require trial briefs, does Florida? If so, is there a timeline for submitting that? (There was no trial brief for the first hearing, but my pleadings had been stricken so it's possible I was not made aware of one.)

5. Apart from reading and re-reading various rules of procedure, what else do I need to research?

Thank you so very much.
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Legal Question
Answered in 14 minutes by:
10/5/2013
Ellen
Ellen, Lawyer, Consultant
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36,715
Experience: 25 years of experience helping people like you.
Verified
Hello,

Thank you for your question. I am a Florida licensed attorney and my name is Ellen. I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

1. What valuation date does the court use for division of assets in Florida? This is confusing for me because we essentially separated on 3/14/2011 when he was arrested for trying to kill me. He filed for divorce on 3/20/2011. However, we continued to operate a business which he stated we would continue to do together (at the Injunction for Protection Hearing on 3/29/2011). Unbeknownst to me, he had already set up his own business (on 3/26/2011) and began instructing the customers to pay his new business. Yet, he continued to charge expenses for the business to my business account (which was not his) until 5/3/2011 -- even though he was receiving all the income from the business. At that point, I closed my business account. I had paid the mortgage and household expenses until also. Therefore, it appears to me that 5/3/2011 should be the date of valuation. Can I make that argument?

Yes you can make that argument. The choice of dates to value marital assets is now largely up to the trial judge’s discretion. Here is the great discussion of how this works in Florida:
http://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnjournal01.nsf/Author/DA1841D80C1681B4852572CA0048700D

2. I have filed a motion for contempt against him as he did not comply fully with discovery. I'm waiting for the judicial assistant to provide me with a date for a hearing but we have 5 weeks until trial. The judge was aware of this when she set the trial date. Is there an official "cut off" date for discovery in Florida prior to trial?
This is also within the discretion of the trial judge. Here is an article that discusses using a motion for continuance in such a situation:
http://robinroshkind.wordpress.com/tag/motion-for-continuance/

3. There are witnesses I would like to call (business customers who were confused about how he was handling the name change back in March and April of 2011 from whom I have emails). I listed them in my discovery responses. I realize I will have to subpoena them. Can I do this in 5 weeks? Is there anything else I have to do in order to call them? Is there a timeline by which I must subpoena them? Can I send those by certified mail or will I need a process server in Florida (I no longer live there)?
Yes 5 weeks would typically be sufficient.
You will need to subpoena them using a process server

4. I have read that some states require trial briefs, does Florida? If so, is there a timeline for submitting that? (There was no trial brief for the first hearing, but my pleadings had been stricken so it's possible I was not made aware of one.)
Not required unless the judge has stated otherwise

5. Apart from reading and re-reading various rules of procedure, what else do I need to research?
Since you previously stated that your husband has already taken all of the assets and your main concern is avoiding a judgment that he can use to control you in future years, you may want to consider allowing him to get the judgment and then filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge the judgment. Just a thought that I would be happy to explore further with you
Ask Your Own Legal Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hello ma'am and thank you. I need a little clarification please.


 


On No. 1, that link is from 2007. Are you sure it's still valid information?


 


On No. 2, the judge was fully aware of my motion for contempt when she set the trial date on Thursday. She refused to set it any further out -- even though it's going to be VERY expensive for me to fly to Florida on short notice and I'm not able to take off work and may lose my job. She didn't care. This is a judge who is very biased and unfair towards me (and was the same way even when I did have a lawyer). She LOVES my husband's attorney and calls him a "gentleman" even though she's fully aware that he doesn't serve me with his pleadings. I am going to move to disqualify her, but I'm told it's virtually impossible in Florida. I don't know what else to do. She's not going to give me a fair trial!


 


On No. 5, when the judgment against me was first entered (the one overturned on appeal), I had a wonderful conversation with one of the other great experts here and he told me that attorney's fees cannot be overturned in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Is that not correct? Assuming that my husband's attorney once again tries to argue for attorney's fees (because he was forced to go through a motion for contempt as I didn't disclose my home address), and knowing this judge, she will grant them, I think my only option to avoid that is to argue for my share of the assets under equitable distribution. There's a business with net profits of $150,000, a house with at least $50,000 in equity, and three vehicles worth at least $30,000. There's also the money he charged using my credit card to pay for his legal fees and multiple of his expenses, and cash withdrawals he made from my account using my debit card. All of those add up to another $30,000. I realize that I will never be able to enforce a judgment against him because he's self-employed, so I will never see a penny. But that should offset any attorney's fees he may be awarded for my refusal to disclose my new home address.


 


In asking No. 5, I was really hoping for any sites/articles/books you may know of that would help me research/prepare for trial. If you do know of any, I'd appreciate it. Thanks again.


 


 

Number 1 is still valid. The purpose of providing you with that link was purely for informational purposes

 


On No. 5, when the judgment against me was first entered (the one overturned on appeal), I had a wonderful conversation with one of the other great experts here and he told me that attorney's fees cannot be overturned in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Is that not correct?

You might need to file a Chapter 13 instead of the 7. Here is why.

 

Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code excepts from discharge both property settlements and support obligations in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However money to be paid as part of Marital Property Settlement Agreement would be dischargeable in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Money in the form of spousal support is considered a Domestic Support Obligation and thus it is not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

You can read the Code here:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode11/usc_sec_11_00000523----000-.html

 

 

 

Ellen
Ellen, Lawyer, Consultant
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36,715
Experience: 25 years of experience helping people like you.
Verified
Ellen and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks for the follow up. I'd really prefer not to have to file for bankruptcy at all. It's expensive to do from everything I've looked up and ruins your credit. It would also make it extremely difficult for me to change jobs in this area as every employer does a credit check. I'm entitled to half of the assets under equitable distribution (and it should be a lot more since I bought e. While I may never be able to recoup them, if awarded, at least representing myself is an honest and fair way to do this. Bankruptcy isn't.

I understand. I just thought that I would present an alternative for your consideration. I wish you the best at this difficult time

I am here to help. To speak with me again, simply place my name in the first sentence of your new question. If I cannot help you, I can direct you to someone who can.

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer , please consider providing me a 10 rating. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.

Ellen
FiveStarLaw
Ask Your Own Legal Question
Ask Ellen Your Own Question
Ellen
Ellen
Ellen, Lawyer, Consultant
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36,715
36,715 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 25 years of experience helping people like you.

Ellen is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it.

LeeMichigan

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

8,775 satisfied customers

JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

24,353 satisfied customers

Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.

INFOLAWYER

INFOLAWYER

Attorney

20,727 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses

JPEsq

JPEsq

Attorney

2,132 satisfied customers

Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor

Law Educator, Esq.

Law Educator, Esq.

Attorney

42,358 satisfied customers

JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law

Ellen

Ellen

Lawyer, Consultant

36,715 satisfied customers

25 years of experience helping people like you.

Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

Attorney

292 satisfied customers

7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.

< Previous | Next >

Related Legal Questions
How after a denial of an appellate motion do you have to
How long after a denial of an appellate motion do you have to appeal to the Supreme Court … read more
Thelawman2
Thelawman2
Doctoral Degree
1,295 satisfied customers
IN THE NY STATE APPELLATE DIVISION COURT THE RULE OF R
IN THE NY STATE APPELLATE DIVISION COURT THE RULE OF R 670.10.2 (6 ) (i ) states Exhibits which are relevant to a cause may be omitted upon a stipulation of the parties which shall contain a list of t… read more
LegalPro54
LegalPro54
Doctoral Degree
1,258 satisfied customers
Restraining order appeling what are the odds. Califoria.
restraining order appeling what are the odds JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location. Customer: califoria JA: What steps have been taken so far? Customer: quick 2 day trail… read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
18,366 satisfied customers
Can a signed property settlement agreement be appealed
Hello, can a signed property settlement agreement be appealed before it goes before a judge? … read more
Olivia Kent
Olivia Kent
Managing Partner
Doctoral Degree
1,966 satisfied customers
In a marital-property State, do both spouses have to agree
In a marital-property State, do both spouses have to agree to rent jointly-owned property? … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
I have a court order for my Marriage settlement agreement
I have a court order for my Marriage settlement agreement that lists an end date for child support. As I understand, I will need to make a motion for emancipation. If the end date is June 2018, how fa… read more
Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley
JD
1,193 satisfied customers
I have had a Marital settlement agreement with my Ex-wife
I have had a Marital settlement agreement with my Ex-wife and She filed for a no fault divorce which I consented to and included the MSA in the filling and divorce was granted.The MSA included the cus… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,385 satisfied customers
Let's say I entered into a settlement agreement with a
Hi,Let's say I entered into a settlement agreement with a publisher after I was found to have sold counterfeit books from that publisher, agreeing not to infringe again. The contract also stated that … read more
Bill Attorney
Bill Attorney
law
1,604 satisfied customers
My Marriage settlement agreement (MSA) states that I will
My Marriage settlement agreement (MSA) states that I will pay child support until our child turns 22, which is in a few months. In order to make it all official, do I have to make a motion to emancipa… read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,877 satisfied customers
​DOES THE FACT THAT A FLORIDA SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WHICH
​DOES THE FACT THAT A FLORIDA SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WHICH LACKS A WAIVER OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE § 1542 INVALIDATE THE RELEASE WITH THE CALIFORNIA PARTY IN A FLORIDA STATE COURT PROCEEDING? Is their a… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,717 satisfied customers
If a settlement agreement has been signed by both parties,
If a settlement agreement has been signed by both parties, can it be changed: … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
Question on disbursement of marital property during
question on disbursement of marital property during separation in florida … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,385 satisfied customers
In a settlement agreement between two individuals, (one
In a settlement agreement between two individuals, (one citizen of US, one of AU) would a clause giving to California "sole, mandatory, exclusive venue and jurisdiction" over the dispute as to the "te… read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,877 satisfied customers
I need some case law on a settlement agreement that was
I need some case law on a settlement agreement that was forged and the forgery was discovered on a renewal of jugment. In california superior court … read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers
I am looking for a simple family settlement agreement for
I am looking for a simple family settlement agreement for the state of Pa. … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,385 satisfied customers
Can a Motion to Enforce a settlement agreement be brought
Can a Motion to Enforce a settlement agreement be brought back to the same court where the action was dismissed with prejudice upon settlement?… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers
Briefing 1. I and plaintiff reached settlement agreement in
Briefing 1. I and plaintiff reached settlement agreement in the open court when Judge was there 2. The agreement had a big open end, both agreed that there are two issues needed to reach AGREEMENT, on… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers
I need MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT that removes any
I need MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT that removes any interest of spouse from my business. Spouse willing to sign paperwork. … read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x