Monday, August 25, 2014

The Battle For Gay Marriage Continues

The federal court in Florida has now taken a stance on this hot topic of gay marriage. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee took a strong position in the battle against gay marriage, ordering the state of Florida to recognize gay marriage entered into in the state and those entered into out of state. In short, his opinion stated that the ban on gay marriage is an "obvious pretext for discrimination." Furthermore, Judge Hinkle ruled that "[t]olerating views with which one disagrees is a hallmark of civilized society" and the ban "stems entirely, or almost entirely, from moral disapproval of the practice." His ruling denied Attorney General Pam Bondi's argument that marriage's critical feature is the capacity of procreate. From my perspective, this defense was laughable! According to the National Vital Statistics Report of 2013, the approximate percentage of births to unmarried women was 40.6%.  Even Pam Bondi herself has been married and divorced twice with no children. The pure ability to procreate in an opposite sex marriage has absolutely no legitimate effect on whether gay marriage should be recognized in Florida.
Although Judge Hinkle immediately stayed the effects of his ruling pending further appeal, proponents of gay marriage now have significant backing from the state and federal courts of Florida. This battle against Florida's ban wages on.
Amen, Judge Hinkle....

(source Miami Herald, August 22, 2014 - by Steve Rothaus - picture and article)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Child Support Redo?

Back to School Tip #2. The beginning of the school year is another good time to reevaluate your child support arrangement. The Florida Statutes are very explicit when it comes to child support modification. Unfortunately, just because your child may be incurring more expenses now that he/she is enrolled in more school activities or is now maybe a teenage driver, does not automatically mean child support needs to be increased. Key word being "automatic".
Per Florida Statute section 61.30, a party may seek modification of a child support order if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” The substantial change between the existing monthly obligation and the current guideline amount must be a difference of 15% or $50.00, whichever is greater. What exactly is a "substantial change in circumstances" you may ask? Well, according to section 61.30(1)(a), relevant factors that a court may consider include "the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent."
In a nutshell, this means nothing is a given in family law. However, if you believe your change in circumstances is substantial (ie. your child costs a lot MORE now than he/she did several years ago), then you may be a candidate for a child support modification. Modifications don't need to be battled out in court. A certified family mediator can easily work with both parents to make the necessary recalculations to child support.  Check out my new website for more information.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Time to Review Your Timesharing Schedule

Another school year has arrived! Can you believe it!? I know I can't. Quite the morning I had with kindergarten and preschool! If you are in a co-parenting situation, this is the perfect time to review that timesharing schedule. Many schedules were created when your child(ren) were itty bitty. But now they are grown and entering the school system. As your child(ren) mature, their schedules will evolve and the current timesharing schedule may not adequately benefit them. It's always important to keep in mind that putting your child(ren)'s best interests first will maintain the peace within your family dynamic. If your timesharing schedule needs an adjustment, a mediation session with a certified family mediator is the ideal forum to make those modifications. Make the necessary changes in an efficient, less costly and harmonious manner. Check out my NEW website for more information!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


It has launched! Go check out my brand new website. It's awesome and full of useful information if you are experiencing a divorce, separation, or child related issues with a co-parent.
Same address, different look!


Friday, August 8, 2014


Time to upgrade my website. And the one new should be going LIVE any second now. So please check back soon to see it! It's going to be awesome! ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3rd Times A Charm

Well, maybe. The Broward Judge who was assigned to a lesbian woman's lawsuit in her fight to receive a divorce, declared the Florida gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Judge Cohen ruled that in order to consider the divorce, he first had to evaluate whether the ban on same sex marriage was constitutional. Although this a giant success in the fight against the 2008 same sex marriage ban, his ruling was immediately stayed pending a possible appeal by Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi. However, Judge Cohen's words were poignant -
 "This Court believes that the issue here is not whether there is a right to same sex marriage but instead whether there is a right to marriage from which same sex couples can be excluded. The State of Florida cannot ignore the status and dignity afforded to opposite sex couples, who were married out of state, and not extend those same rights, dignities, and benefits to same sex couples similarly situated."
 In contract to the benefits of marriage, the protections that come with separation and divorce, such as child custody and property issues, must also be afforded to same sex couples. As a family mediator, I am proud to be a resident of South Florida, where our legal system is attempting to fight this horrible, discriminatory ban on same sex couples. Let's just hope that Attorney Pam Bondi focuses her efforts on enforcing Florida's legal issues elsewhere.

(source Miami Herald by Steve Rothaus, August 5, 2014)

Friday, August 1, 2014


FRIDAY-ISM 027: "We are our own worst enemy, and yet our greatest motivator." - Random quote I overheard at L.A. Fitness but insightful nonetheless.

Broward County May Be Joining the Bandwagon

A lesbian woman in Broward County just wants a divorce! But she can't get it. Why? Because the State of Florida does not recognize gay marriage or a civil union within its own state or those entered into out of state. It's highly possible that the Circuit Court judge on this case may become the third Florida judge to declare the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The woman can not receive a divorce in Vermont where she entered into the civil union because both spouses need to sign the dissolution papers and her soon to be ex-spouse is unreachable. The Broward judge has stated that he can not grant a divorce until he addresses the constitutionality of the same sex marriage ban. The attorney representing the woman expects that the judge will recognize the out of state civil union, by declaring the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
With all the horrific events occurring in the world, why does gay marriage continue to make headlines? Well, in Florida one main hurdle remains to be Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. She continues to fight against the right to marry lawsuits because in 2008 approximately 62% of Florida voters supported the ban. At least other states are beginning to see the nonsense with the ban. North Carolina, for example, declared it would no longer contest right to marry lawsuits that seek to overturn the ban of gay marriage. Additionally, a federal court in Virginia upheld a lower court's ruling that the ban was unconstitutional.
These may be small victories in a big fight, but at least they are setting precedent around the country. Let's stop wasting our time, money and energy fighting against those who just want love (or divorce), and focus our attention on much more globally, crucial topics.

(source Miami Herald, Local & State, by Steve Rothaus July 31, 2014)