Author: Tracy Stephens

The more things change, the more they stay the same

The changes…

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!

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!!