Office is temporarily closed, but we are open for business.

Office is closed Friday 9/8/17

We will be available for our clients, but the office will be closed Friday, September 8, 2017, for Irma.  We will post over the weekend whether the office will be reopen Monday, depending on Irma’s impacts here on the Suncoast.

In any event, Alpert & Chiofalo have in place the means to continue representing our clients, whether we are in the office, traveling or closed due to an emergency.

Liz and Maureen pride themselves on caring for our clients promptly and efficiently.  They have arranged their practice so that your legal needs can be met in a timely manner.

Irma has already caused many businesses and services to close, and our office will also be closed this Friday, September 8, 2017.

Should we need to evacuate, we will post a notice on the firm’s website, www.SuncoastFamilyLaw.com, as well as on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SuncoastFamilyLaw).  We will also update these to let you know when we reopen the office.

Business as Usual, Even if it’s Unusual

In any event, you can reach us as you normally would. Our email, website, phones and MyCase should remain in service despite any storm event. Because all of the firm’s attorneys are equipped with mobile e-mail, file access and telephone capability, our clients can always reach us. Our records are stored in electronically, which enables us to readily access our client files and materials to serve your legal needs, wherever we are and wherever you are.

We are honored to be able to serve as your legal counsel. Should you have any questions or concerns about our planning now or prior to any storm, please feel free to contact us. We will respond to your messages as promptly as possible.

Five Ways to Encourage a Happier New Year

With the new year rapidly approaching, many of us are seeking ways to improve ourselves.

 

Being grateful for what we have reminds us we are lucky to have a good starting point, but one way to be happier is to Express Gratitude- feeling gratitude is good, but share it by letting others know how thankful you are to have them in your life.  It’s amazing what a simple smile and “Thank You,” can do to improve someone else’s day, as well as your own.

And speaking of smiling, Smile More- it’s been scientifically proven; the physical act of smiling can help you become happier. That “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude your great aunt espoused does work!

But if you’re still overwhelmed, Slow Down- multitasking doesn’t work for most people, and even if you can do it, you are likely stressing out yourself and those around you. For the new year, take time to focus on the task at hand, whether it’s tying a child’s shoelace or tackling a big project at work.  Those who live in the moment are happier than those constantly chasing shadows.

If you are going to chase things, Set Priorities- take time to discover what is important to you and use that knowledge to prioritize your activities.  Decluttering is all the rage, but it doesn’t have to be limited to closets and coffee tables.  Look at your calendar and be sure that trivial items aren’t eating up a disproportionate amount of your valuable time.

 And finally, No Resolutions- nobody needs more self-imposed pressure!  If you are ready to make a change, set reasonable goals for yourself and make concrete plans for achieving those goals.  Instead of, “I’m going to eat better,” maybe go with, “I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables by making a point of having at least six servings each day.”

 

Wishing you comfort, joy & prosperity in the new year to come!

Happy 2017!

Liz, Maureen, Glenda & Shelley

Alpert & Chiofalo, P.A.

 

Meet Alpert & Chiofalo, P.A.!

Liz Alpert and Maureen Chiofalo are pleased to announce the formation of

Alpert & Chiofalo, P.A., a Suncoast Family Law Firm, with a practice including:

 DIVORCE (CONTESTED, UNCONTESTED AND COLLABORATIVE)

 SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE (ALIMONY)

 FAMILY LAW APPEALS

 PRENUPTIAL AND POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

 PATERNITY

 STEPPARENT ADOPTION

 CHILD CUSTODY AND SUPPORT

 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Alpert & Chiofalo, P.A. is located at 1800 Second St., Suite 705, Sarasota, FL 34236; Telephone 941-954-1700; Fax 941-296-7328. 

We are working on our new website: www.suncoastfamilylaw.com,

But you can also find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SuncoastFamilyLaw/

 

Happy 4th of July

“There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. 
And he can double the reward on my head!” 
– John Hancock
Can you imagine how brave those patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence were?  To leave safety of a known system and embark upon a grand experiment: the creation of a new nation.
The seemingly simple truths that all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness still serve as the guiding principles upon which we choose our leaders.

While you’re enjoying the fun and festivities this weekend, don’t forget to take a moment to remember what we are celebrating:
Four Thoughts for the Fourth

Liz Discusses Reinventing Her Life

Last month, Sarasota Family Law Attorney Liz Alpert sat down with WSRQ Radio Host Melinda Lee on her show, “What’s New SRQ”.  Liz described reinventing her life and the changes that brought her to the place where, in her 50’s, she was able to start a new career and open her own law practice.

Liz’s message is that anyone can empower his or herself to reinvent their life:  “It takes action, it takes effort, but it’s so worth it.”  In the interview, Liz describes her journey, and how, as a Family Law Attorney, she counsels her clients to prepare for their life after divorce.

Liz encourages her Family Law clients to take stock of their strengths, and to look at where their passion lies.  “If you pursue your passion, the money follows.”  Liz advises everyone to look at what they can do to take care of themselves, and to plan for growth and change.

You can listen to the interview here:

Melinda Lee- What’s New SRQ? – 5-11-2016

Liz’s interview starts at 23:10.

 

Melinda Lee hosts “What’s New SRQ” Monday through Thursday at 2:00 pm

WSRQ 98.3FM 106.9FM 1220AM

WSRQ – Radio Interview Melinda Lee and Liz Alpert- Reinventing Yourself.

 

 

Five Divorce Mistakes That Delay a Settlement

Sarasota divorce attorneyA spirit of cooperation between you and your spouse can facilitate the settlement process. A Sarasota divorce lawyer can assist both parties in coming to a consensus.

A Sarasota Divorce Lawyer Urges Both Parties to Work Together to Achieve Settlement

You might be surprised to hear that 95 percent of divorce cases end with a settlement. And, although many divorces originate from highly contested issues, only a fraction of them will ever go through a trial to reach a resolution. In fact, attaining a timely settlement in your divorce can be a matter of the two parties setting aside personal feelings to agree on a result that is mutually beneficial. To that end, it will be crucial for you to avoid making these very common mistakes that are obstacles to a smooth settlement.

Keeping Your Spouse in the Dark about Preparations

You will be responsible for preparing financial records and taking stock of your property, whether you are represented by an attorney or not. What’s important is that you keep your spouse informed about any preparation. Any details you try to conceal will be discovered eventually, and your spouse will have no reason to trust you from that point on.

Not Being Forward about Your Divorce Intention

If you are the one who wants the divorce, you must make your intentions known to the other spouse. If he or she discovers your divorce plans through your actions or during fights, your spouse will take all measures to make sure that you aren’t hiding anything else. You may have to submit all documents to his or her attorney for verification. Secrecy of any kind is a surefire way to increase the cost of divorce.

Making Offensive Remarks

If you have children, a divorce does not completely sever your connection with your spouse. Both of you will assume a new form of relationship for the children, and cooperation will be key. For their sake, avoid sowing seeds of conflict such as making nasty remarks to one another.

Confessions

Contrary to what you may believe, confessing to past indiscretion can be counter-productive and even selfish. While you may feel relieved about unburdening your sense of guilt, your spouse will be stunned and angered. Consider the other spouse’s feelings and your own motives before confessing to shocking news like a secret affair.

A Sarasota divorce lawyer will offer legal advice on the best way to manage your divorce and cooperate with your spouse. For an initial consultation with a knowledgeable attorney, please call the law offices of attorney Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A. at 941.954.1700.

Parental Conflict Can Damage Children

Even after a divorce, bad blood between the parents can endanger the children’s chances of future happiness and success. Aggressive conflict damages children and parents must make the effort minimize any conflict.

Take the initiative and work with your Sarasota family lawyer and ex-spouse to resolve disagreements and agree to a viable parenting plan.  By fostering a more cooperative environment, and having a clear and specific parenting plan, conflict can be reduced.

Sarasota family lawyer

Conflict Damage and Children in Divorce

Considerations in Creating Contact Schedules

Sarasota divorce attorneysSarasota divorce attorneys work with their clients in order to develop a contact schedule that will allow them to have an appropriate amount of time with each child. While crafting your own contact schedule, your Sarasota divorce attorney may bring up the following considerations.

Parent Schedules and Locations

For the contact schedule to work, each parent’s work schedule and their place of residence must be considered. Scheduling parenting time with a parent who is working during most of those hours is likely not a solid plan because neither parent is getting quality time with the children.

Extracurricular Activities

The children’s extracurricular activities, the distance between the parents’ homes and the school and the distance between the homes and places where extracurricular activities should also be considered. Parents may be able to cooperate and agree on what extracurricular activities their children should participate in.

Time to Adjust

Children need some transition time between one home and the other. An effective contact schedule will build in preparation time, allowing for more time when the child will be gone from the home for an extended stay with the other parent.

Conflict Resolution

A parenting plan should establish rules to help avoid potential conflict. Regardless of the allotment of time, it is important for both parents to work together to minimize conflict. Having continuity between households can also help minimize conflict by celebrating holiday traditions in the same manner, participating in the same hobbies and reading the same bedtime stories.

Relocation

The issue of relocation may not be included in a contact schedule. When one parent chooses to relocate a far distance away, this decision will have an inevitable impact on the child and the contact plan. Both parents should consider the best interests of the child when considering the issue of relocation. If a parent is concerned that the other parent may relocate, he or she should discuss this possibility with a Sarasota divorce attorney early in the process so that proper interventions can be considered and taken.

If you would like more information on this topic, contact Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A. by calling 941.954.1700.

Can I Have My Marriage Annulled?

One notable aspect of family law is the annulment, which is essentially a legal recognition that a marriage is invalid. In other words, it never existed in the first place. This is different from a separation and a divorce, and it is particularly difficult to get. Discuss this possibility with your Sarasota family law lawyer for more information.

Sarasota child support lawyer

Child Support That Goes Unpaid

Parents are obligated to ensure their children are taken care of financially, and Florida law is quite clear on this matter. When a married couple with children divorce, more often than not, the non-custodial parent is ordered by the court to pay child support to the custodial parent. Over time, it is not uncommon for problems to arise resulting in late payments or unpaid support. Whether you are the party who is owed money or the party obligated to pay, a Sarasota child support lawyer can explain the legal issues involved and possible options.

Enforcement of Child Support

If a court order is in place for child support, it can be enforced by filing a motion for contempt. The Sarasota child support lawyer for the custodial parent who is owed the support must demonstrate to the court:

• The existence of a valid court order signed by a judge;
• The non-custodial parent has not paid support as per the court order; and
• The non-custodial has the ability to pay the ordered support.

There is a legal presumption that the non-custodial parent who owes the money, known as the obligor, has the financial ability to pay. If the obligor cannot demonstrate to the court good cause for not paying and cannot offer a plan to repay the amounts owed, the court may find the obligor in contempt of court.

In addition to providing remedies for the back support owed, a Sarasota child support lawyer warns that the court can order the non-paying parent to pay fines and even serve jail time. Additionally, attorney’s fees and expenses may be ordered to be reimbursed to the custodial parent for filing the contempt motion.

Collection of Unpaid Support

Once the obligor has been held in contempt, there are various methods available to collect what is owed. Depending on the individual circumstances, a Sarasota child support lawyer indicates the following options may apply:
• Withhold wages from the obligor’s paycheck;
• Intercept federal or state income tax refunds;
• Freeze or seize money in financial accounts;
• Place liens on vehicles, such as cars, boats and motorhomes and force their sale;
• Place liens on real property;
• Intercept worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, lottery winnings or insurance settlements.

Florida Child Support Enforcement (CSE)

Once aware of the arrears owed, the CSE will also take measures to encourage payment, such as:

• Suspend the driver’s license or registration of the obligor;
• Report the arrears owed to credit bureaus; or
• Suspend the professional license or certification of the obligor.

Modification of Child Support

Some failures to pay child support are due to an actual inability to pay. If the non-custodial parent has suffered a significant loss of income or other change of circumstance, they may be able to petition the court to modify the existing child support order.

Contact a Sarasota Child Support Attorney for Legal Advice

Florida has aggressive laws regarding child support. If the existing order is not being complied with, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. Call Liz Alpert at Alpert Law, P.A., a Sarasota child support attorney group, at 941.954.1700.