Category: Blog

Martin Luther King Jr.. His great but not so famous quotes. Dream Big! Raise up great men and women.

He had a dream.  So do you.  In honor of a great man, let us all hold our dreams up for the word to see and our heart to embrace.  These are some of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes:

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

“Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

New Year Goals – Staying Motivated

What is the best way to stay motivated and energized every day?  How do highly successful people maintain their motivation – and conquer their toughest goals?  At this time of year, you may be asking similar questions.  Perhaps you have reflected on the past year or maybe you are planning your 2017 resolutions and wondering, “will this year be better?”  YES!   Let us help you.

Set goals.  Don’t you groan!  I heard you.  But goal setting is the single most powerful psychological tool you have.  The trick – proper goals.  Follow Goldilocks lead – it can’t be too hard or too easy.  If it is too hard you will unconsciously determine it’s not realistic and won’t accomplish it.  If it is too easy, it loses its power too because you assume you will automatically hit it.  Your goals have to be not too hard and not too easy.  Did I say goals?  Yes, one goal is not enough.  Have a physical goal, a family goal, a spiritual goal and a work goal.   Whatever you goals, they need purpose; that is what sustains them the next 365 days of the year.  If you have a why, you will always figure out a how.

Second – speak them.  There is power in words.  Remember God created the world with words.  The bible says our mouth holds the power of life and death.   Say those goals out loud.

Third write them down.  If you see it, you will hold yourself accountable.   Give a copy to a friend and add a second layer of accountability.

You can do it! Now go have a great, happy, healthy, goal-filled year!


J.J. Dahl – A Fellow with the AAML

Dahl Family Law Group is pleased to announce J.J. Dahl has become a Fellow with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  The Academy is the Nation’s premier certification in family law.  There are only 79 Fellows in the State of Florida.  No other family law attorney in Lake County or the entire Fifth Judicial Circuit holds such designation.  Acceptance into the AAML involves a rigorous admission process, including advanced written and oral testing, peer and a judicial review, and certification by The Florida Bar in family law.  Fellows exemplify the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and knowledge in the practice of family law.


Two wrongs do not make a right.

Together, as a family, both parents provide financially and emotionally for their children. So why is it that once separated, some parents fail to continue their financial and emotional support for their children? Regardless of emotions, both parents have a duty to continue to support their children.  This is ordinarily enforced through an award of child support from one parent to the other. To obtain this award amount, the Court follows the Child Support Guideline Statute. The parties’ gross earnings, specific deductions, including child care expenses and children’s health insurance premiums, and the number of overnights are utilized in the guidelines to calculate the award amount. When it is reasonably available, required payment of health insurance premiums and the cost of uncovered medical, dental and prescriptions are also allocated. Usually, the support amount is then deducted from the paying parent’s paycheck and sent directly to the state’s central depository. The central depository keeps track of all payments made, and not made, and forwards the funds to the receiving parent. Should the paying parent fail to pay their child support obligation once it has been ordered, the receiving parent may request the Court enforce the order by contempt and willful failure to pay, possibly resulting in a person being jailed. As such, it is unlawful to deny a parent time-sharing with the children because of that parent’s failure to pay child support. It is equally unlawful to refuse to pay child support because the other parent is denying access to the children. “Two wrongs do not make a right.”

2015 10 Best Family Law Attorneys in Florida

The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys has recognized J.J. Dahl, Esquire for her exceptional performance as a 2015 10 Best Family Law Attorney in Florida for Client Satisfaction.  The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization. The AIOFLA selects the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in each state annually. The attorneys selected as one of the “10 Best” are required to pass AIOFLA’s rigorous selection process, which relies upon client and/or peer nominations, detailed research, and AIOFLA’s independent evaluation. The “10  Best” list was initiated for clients to use during their attorney selection process.

Equal Rights

In most circumstances, a judge will Order a “shared parenting plan” for the minor children.  This means that both parents have a right to have full information about their children, and to share in making major decisions for the children.  Just because the children live primarily with the other parent does not give that parent greater say in the children’s upbringing.

Occasionally for very special reasons, a judge may determine that one parent or the other should have the ultimate responsibility to make decisions in a particular area of the children’s lives.

If the parents, after good faith efforts, are unable to agree about a major decision affecting the child, (i.e., which school the children should attend) the court, upon motion, may decide the issue or designate the parent who will make that decision.

Sole parental responsibility may be awarded, usually rarely, to one parent when shared parental responsibility would be detrimental.  Convictions of child or felony spousal abuse is a consideration and a presumptive factor in determining detriment, so is active drug charges.  A court will also consider as evidence the fact that a person has provided false information in a domestic violence proceeding.

Paying for Children Expenses

Both parents have a duty to support their children.  The duty is ordinarily enforced through an award of child support from one parent to the other.  To calculate child support, the court will usually follow a process in the child support guidelines statute.  The process requires the court to consider the gross earnings of each party, subject to certain specified deductions, then apply those net earnings to a chart.  Ordinarily, childcare expenses and child health insurance premiums are added to that charted figure.  Alimony paid is considered income to the receiving spouse and is a deduction from the income of the person who pays.  Each parent’s percentage of support is then calculated and a support figure is generated.   When it is reasonably available, payment of health insurance premiums will be required, and the cost of uncovered medical, dental and prescription needs will be allocated.

Appellate Court Humor – Adulterers Beware

I realize this is a sad commentary on what excites me, however, I love reading Florida Weekly.  Each week not only does it keep me up to date on the latest Florida family law cases,  rules, laws and statutes but it gives me several chuckles too.  This week I got a great laugh.  My newest favorite quote out of the 2nd DCA in the case of Leach v. Kersey: “A reasonable woman who had an eighteen-month affair with another woman’s husband might well expect to hear the scorn of an angry wife.”   There you go – we all knew it.  Now it it is the law.   It’s also a warning.  Behave! Otherwise everyone could be reading about the sordid details of your life.

Collaborative Law In The News

Collaborative Family Law. What is that?   I’ve been collaboratively trained since 2008.  South Florida and Tampa have had Family Law Collaborative Groups for more than 15 years.  It has been in the news lately regarding proposed legislation.  The press is helpful so that more families learn about collaborative law and consider it as an alternative to traditional litigation.  The premise behind collaborative law is to promise the other spouse or parent not to beat each other up in court, not to hide assets, not to lie, cheat or steal.  Instead they agree to act honestly and civilly toward each other to meet their family’s needs, with particular emphasis on shared interests and goals for their children and their assets (particularly family owned businesses).  It helps the family decide their fate instead of a judge that does not know them. In the collaborative model, the parties each have their own attorney and they obtain either a neutral mental health professional like a counselor or a forensic accountant and all meet together in joint sessions to resolve their case.  Ultimately all they do is give the judge their paperwork to rubber stamp.   It’s not great for every case as some people cannot afford to have a forensic accountant and/or a mental health counselor (of course, not all cases needed one or both). For those people who can, it saves litigation costs.  On average, Money Magazine says collaborative law reduces litigation costs by more than forty percent.


Alimony – here today, gone tomorrow???

Alimony – here today, gone tomorrow? Alimony is not going away.  Do not let any fool you.  Will it be changed? Yes.  The legislature is tackling this issue.  When will we know all the details?  Probably in May with the new law going into effect as early as July, 2015.    Will we have alimony guidelines like a few other states? Will we have permanent alimony? Can someone retire? Can someone still get alimony if they entered into another relationship? Florida law has great provisions for all of these important factors for alimony, plus others such as the party’s  ages, the party’s income, the party’s health,  their education and work before during and after the marriage, supportive relationships, the care and contributions to the other spouses career and education,  contributions to the family and children as a homemaker (although rumor has it we can kiss this factor goodbye – sad commentary on the state of our society and whether family really matters or not – yes, that was a play on words just like our logo).  All of these are currently covered in our alimony statute and case law.  Good lawyer’s know the law and tell other people about them.  But everyone’s not a good lawyer. And, just like every profession and every other area of the law, there have been some bad cases out there.  I mean, when is the last time you heard anyone say that the law was fair?  Whether family law or criminal law – or, do I dare say it, tax law?   Why is our reaction to throw the baby out with the bath water?  Let’s hope that the new law clarifies and simplifies alimony.  Let’s hope it provides more certainty.  Stay tuned.