Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI Discusses Annulment

In the following clip from Rome Reports, Pope Benedict XVI states that marital difficulties are no reason to seek an annulment:



The Pope's discussions brings up a question that I often get asked:  What is the difference between divorce and annulment?

Under Florida law, divorce is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage, most often due to the fact that the marriage is irretrievably broken.  By contrast, a marriage may be invalid, and thus annulled, for the following reasons: (i) the parties lacked legal capacity to marry; (ii) the type of marriage is statutorily proscribed; (iii) a party lacked mental capacity to marry; (iv) a party did not consent to the marriage; (v) a consent was wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment; or (vi) a party lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage.

Florida courts construe annulment narrowly. Judges are reticent to grant an annulment rather than divorce. However, below are examples of each category of annulment:

  • The parties lacked legal capacity to marry- One party was below the age of consent for marriage
  • The type of marriage is statutorily proscribed- The parties are immediate family members
  • A party lacked mental capacity to marry- A party is drugged and does not remember getting married
  • A party did not consent to the marriage- A party is married despite his or her objection 
  • A consent was wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment- An immigrant marries a U.S. citizen only to obtain a green card, the U.S. citizen is unaware of the reason, and the parties do not consummate the marriage and never live together
  • A party lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage- A husband is physically unable to have sex with his wife
You should keep in mind that sometimes an otherwise invalid marriage can be ratified by the parties and thus become valid. For example, if a party was drugged and does not remember getting married, but after sobering up consummates the marriage and lives with the other party, the marriage is considered ratified, valid, and not a candidate for annulment.

So, in Florida, marital difficulties may be a reason to seek a divorce; but, as Pope Benedict XVI stated, marital difficulties are not a reason to seek an annulment.
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Adam B. Cordover is a Florida family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

India Provides New Grounds for Divorce

The Indian legislature recently added "Irretrievable Breakdown" as grounds for divorce.  The following clip from IBN discusses the potential impact on Indian society:



Many of the same debates that are now occurring in India were had in Florida.  This is because Florida has similar grounds for divorce: a marriage may be dissolved if it is "irretrievably broken."  Accordingly, couples may get divorces without falling into acrimonious debates regarding who caused the divorce; further, a party does not have to allege a potentially explosive reason for divorce, such as cruelty or infidelity.


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Adam B. Cordover is a Florida family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

 Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

King Tut Changed His Name: Can You?

In a video from the Discovery Channel, we learn that King Tutankhamun of ancient Egypt changed his name.   Apparently, King Tut was not a big fan of his father and wished to change his name to create distance from his father's legacy.  This is an interesting take on the reasons people have for changing their names.

Are you eligible for a name change?  In Florida, the following individuals may seek a change of name: (i) an adult; (ii) an adult on behalf of a minor child; and (iii) an adult on behalf of a family. Each adult seeking a name change must submit his or her fingerprints for a state and national criminal history records check. Once a petition for change of name is filed, the request will often be granted unless a Court finds that (i) the petitioner has ulterior or illegal motives in seeking the name change, (ii) the petitioner’s civil rights are suspended, or (iii) granting the name change will invade the property rights (e.g., intellectual property rights) of others.

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Adam B. Cordover is a Florida family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.

Dissolution of European Unions

Since the establishment of the European Union, more cross-border marriages are taking place.  Inevitably, this has lead to more cross-border divorces.  The following clip describes how parties to international European divorces may seek to "jurisdiction shop" so they may have more favorable terms:



By contrast, Florida law is clear on jurisdiction:  at least one party must be a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to either party filing a petition for dissolution of marriage.

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Adam B. Cordover is a Florida family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.

A Look Inside An Iranian Divorce Court

The following clip is from a documentary that takes the viewer inside an Iranian divorce court:



It is interesting that the judge refers the parties to "mediators" that will give a recommendation as to whether the parties should divorce.

This is completely different from the role of mediators in Florida.  A Florida family law mediator is a neutral third party whose goal is to bring the parties to settlement.  The mediator may only facilitate an agreement; he or she does not have the authority to impose a settlement on the parties nor recommended a settlement to the judge.

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Adam B. Cordover is a Florida family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.

Divorce in Israel

In Israel, family law issues such as divorce and child support are decided by religious courts in each of the faith communities.  This following clip provides a view on Jewish divorces in Israel:

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In Florida, either spouse may request a divorce.  Further, Florida is a "No Fault" state, meaning that a spouse does not have to allege a reason that he or she is seeking a divorce; rather, the spouse must state that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Adam B. Cordover is a family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A.  To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida.  His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.