Jeff Weissman, Attorney, Answers Frequently Asked Questions on Mediation

Question: What is mediation?

Jeff Weissman: Essentially mediation involves a discussion between two parties in conflict through the assistance of a neutral person, known as the mediator; the mediator guides the process. The mediator also investigates various settlement options and solutions to the conflict.

Question: What are the benefits of receiving mediation?

Jeff Weissman: As opposed to a court settlement where only one party will become the victor, mediation enables both parties to receive a satisfactory resolution to their problem.

Question: How do you know whether a situation calls for mediation?

Jeff Weissman: If a possibility of conflict arises, such as the suggestion of divorce for instance, seeking mediation immediately assists in preventing an expensive and painful court battle, allowing proper communication and understanding to replace intense emotions and antagonistic attitudes. Waiting only allows the tension to build.

Question: What is necessary for successful mediation?

Jeff Weissman: Both parties must cooperate with the mediator and commit themselves to acting fairly. In order to facilitate this process, each party may meet with an attorney for advice and to support his or her position.

About Jeff Weissman: Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator, he practices law with Gladstone & Weissman, P.A. Board certified in marital and family law, he holds membership in professional organizations such as the Florida Bar, the American Inns of Court, and the American Bar Association.

Jeff Weissman, Attorney, Presents an Introduction to Child Support

In simple terms, child support means the contributions for the costs associated with raising a child that come from both parents, allocated between the parents based upon their respective incomes. The amount prescribed by the Florida Child Support Guidelines varies based upon several factors, including the parties’ respective incomes and their timesharing schedule with the minor children. The legal requirements for child support seek to ensure that children have their needs met, including adequate nutrition, clothing, health care, and education.

In the early 2000s almost half the marriages in the United States ended in divorce. Because of this fact, and the additional statistic of nearly a quarter of children being born to unmarried parents, child support presents a substantial legal consideration. Sometimes such support comes voluntarily from a parent. However, often the state family court system determines whether or not the child requires additional financial aid and in what amount.

About Jeff Weissman:

An attorney board-certified in marital and family law, Jeff Weissman brings nearly two decades of legal experience to his partnership in the Florida firm, Gladstone & Weissman, P.A. He focuses on issues related to divorce, domestic violence, paternity, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and child custody and support.

Parental Relocation

Divorce can trigger the desire for relocation and a fresh start, but divorcees with children must consider several factors before packing their bags. Jeff Weissman is a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, attorney specializing in marital and family law, and clients often seek his counsel because they themselves want to move or because their former spouses have expressed the desire to relocate. Many people do not know where the law stands on parental relocation, and with good reason: The issue is far from black and white.

For example, Florida’s appellate courts initially agreed that a custodial parent was free to move with the children unless there was a residence restriction in the union’s dissolution judgment. A divide emerged when some courts made relocating difficult if the resulting move would violate visitation rights. Many courts found this reason enough to rule against a move, while others felt that issues such as the potential improvement to a child’s quality of life should be considered.

To address these issues, the Florida Supreme Court adopted a new approach in the 1990s that used six criteria to reach a judgment in cases where custodial parents wanted to leave the state. Courts had to consider whether

1. the move was motivated to defeat visitation;
2. the move would improve the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and children;
3. the move was in the child’s best interest;
4. the move was fiscally feasible;
5. the custodial parent would comply with substitute visitation arrangements; and
6. substitute visitation would be sufficient to allow the continued cultivation of a meaningful relationship between the children and the noncustodial parent.

Courts tended to approve such moves, rationalizing that by improving the quality of life for the custodial parent, the child’s life would also benefit. It has become increasingly apparent, however, that substituting visitation schedules detrimentally affects relationships between children and noncustodial parents. Noncustodial parents also had to contend with custodial parents moving without court consent, thus forcing them to try to reverse the move after the fact.

In 2006, a relocation statute co-authored by Mr. Weissman adopted many of the factors mandated earlier by the Supreme Court and added several other factors and criteria for judicial consideration. Through the years, this statute has been further modified and updated to include certain procedural requirements applicable to the moving party and the objecting party. Mr. Weissman has overseen and participated in the discussions regarding the relocation statute and is currently seeking to enact legislation that will clarify and improve upon the legal definition of “relocation.”

Custody arrangements can be difficult to navigate without the support of a knowledgeable attorney like Jeff Weissman. Contact the offices of Gladstone & Weissman, P.A., to learn more about its services.

Representing the High Net Worth Client

Stack of $100 Bills

 

By Jeff Weissman

As a marital and family law attorney in South Florida, I handle many divorce cases involving individuals who hold significant financial wealth. Protecting my clients’ assets is my primary concern in negotiating a contentious divorce. I have created some tips for attorneys who are managing high net worth divorce situations to help them reach positive outcomes and allow both parties to move on with their lives as quickly and painlessly as possible.

1. A sound prenuptial agreement is the first step in preventing a messy divorce. Advise clients to consider building reasonable prenuptial agreements that provide a substantial enough monetary provision to discourage further litigation.

2. Make sure clients consider the implications of a lengthy divorce case. In many states, the proceedings from a divorce might become public record even if they are initially sealed. If your client possesses hidden assets, or if the process of forensic accounting will uncover some potentially questionable business practices, then a quick settlement might be advisable. Encourage each client to examine the risks and rewards of settling versus becoming involved in a case that could create long-term damage for his or her reputation.

3. For high net worth individuals who also attract substantial attention, a divorce case can be an appealing story for tabloid-style media. Especially when children are involved, the public sentiment generated by media reports will very likely not be favorable for your wealthy client. Work with your client and his or her assistants to minimize media exposure from the beginning in every feasible way.

About the author: as a Partner at Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Gladstone & Weissman, P.A., Jeff Weissman is a member of the Family Law Section and the Executive Council of the Florida Bar.

Helping Children Through Divorce, by Jeff Weissman

Throughout the process of divorce, children often suffer a great deal, experiencing feelings of guilt, confusion, and grief. Custody battles and ongoing disagreements only add to the unfavorable climate, creating disappointment and further hurt. While no easy solution exists, several steps can be taken to ease the minds of young children throughout the trying ordeal of a divorce. The following tips represent some helpful suggestions.

1.    Be truthful with your child and let them know what they can expect in the coming months. Honesty serves as strong foundation for trust in a time when it is needed the most.

2.    Listen and acknowledge his or her feelings. Allowing your child to speak creates a family dialogue and aids you in assessing where he or she needs clarification or special attention.

3.    Provide positivity and reassurance. While divorce rarely reflects a happy period, let your child know that a divorce may mean less fighting, more one-on one-time, and a positive end result.

4.    Routines are important for children (especially young children) going through a divorce. Keep an organized schedule and integrate enjoyable activities your child can count on.

5.    Avoid speaking poorly of your partner. This often confuses children and results in negative feelings and associations.

About the Author: Jeff Weissman currently operates as a family law attorney with 17 years of experience. Possessing much experience in matters pertaining to divorce proceedings, paternity law, and child custody cases, Jeff Weissman has encountered firsthand the difficulties that accompany divorce and separation. Jeff Weissman acts as a Partner in the firm Gladstone & Weissman, P.A., located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.