Child Custody, Florida, and You_ How Child Custody is Determined in Miami

Child Custody, Florida, and You: How Child Custody Works in Miami

Surprisingly, in Miami, and throughout all of Florida, no case or court allows for the “sole custody” of a child. Over time, the term “sole custody” has gained negative connotations. You can receive what is known as “sole responsibility” of a child, which functions the same as sole custody. You should know that courts do not use the term “sole custody” any more, but the concept is still there.

Florida law has established that custody statuses can include either parenting time or parental responsibility, which are two different things. Parenting time, or time-sharing, is the amount of time you may spend with your child.

Parental responsibility on the other hand, enables one parent to make the main decisions for the child. Below you will find all the factors that are considered when determining sole responsibility in Miami.

Reasons for Sole Custody

The Florida or Miami courts may give sole parenting responsibility to one parent, if the other is not stable enough. This happens when living with one parent may be dangerous to the child. For example, if one parent is an alcoholic, or abuses drugs, he or she will not be able to have responsibility of the child.

If the parent is also known to be violent or aggressive in the home, this may also be unsafe for the child. If the parent is diagnosed with a serious mental illness, it is unlikely that the court will grant them custody of the child.

Parenting Strategy

When a couple gets divorced in Miami, there needs to be a parenting plan. This is required in order to make sure that each parent has his or her own responsibility to their child. For example, one responsibility could be making decisions regarding health care, and another could be about the child’s education. Once the parents have agreed to or created this plan, it must be approved by the court.

Shared Parenting

Having shared parenting can sometimes be complicated. It basically means that the parents must decide together when making choices for the child. Both sides have to agree. It does not mean that the parents have 50/50 custody of the child, but that both parents can have a say in the child’s life. Just because parents are separating does not mean that they have to divorce their children too.

Rotating Custody

If the parents get along with each other, and the divorce was “healthy”, then rotating custody may be beneficial for them. This really means that one parent has responsibility for the child for one period of time, and the other parent has responsibility of the child for the same period of time.

This is rather rare in courts, as most people who are divorced do not get along, but it may happen. Rotating custody can also affect the child in an unhealthy or confusing way, as he or she will keep switching houses and environments.

Divorce and dealing with child custody is not easy. It can be complicated to deal with legal issues, especially when it comes to your own family. Let us help you in all aspects of the divorce. Contact us now.

 

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

What is a Reverse Mortgage? Requirements and Application Process

Reverse mortgages are loans for older homeowners. It allows people who own homes to convert their home equity into cash. Ronald Reagan signed the Housing and Community Development Act into law. This established the right to do Home Equity Conversion Mortgages or HECMs.

HECM borrowers do not have to repay the HECM loan until they no longer use the home as their principal residence, or they fail to meet the obligations of the loan. You can also use a HECM to purchase a primary residence if you have cash on hand to pay the difference.

Eligibility

The requirements for a reverse mortgage are not overly strict. Essentially, borrowers must be at least 62 years of age. In 2014, the US government changed the rules regarding spouses. If one spouse is over the age of 62 and the other spouse has not yet reached that age, they are allowed to keep the loan without having to repay it all immediately when the borrower passes on.

Above, we mentioned the terms ‘principal residence’ and ‘primary residence’. These terms are exactly what they sound like. For your home to qualify, it must be the place you live in most of the time. Homes that you purchased as an investment or second homes do not qualify. This means that if you have a country cabin, or a beach house, it may not meet the requirements for a reverse mortgage.

Additionally, your home must be single family, multi-family up to 4, or an approved condo. If you own your home entirely or only have a small amount to pay on the mortgage, then you are eligible to get a reverse mortgage. Before receiving this loan, make sure that your home is also in good condition.

Finally, the bank will assess your finances. In order to qualify for this loan, the bank will verify if you can pay:

  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Basic home maintenance
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s Association fees, where applicable

The Application Process

Before applying for a reverse mortgage, it is wise to seek counseling. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that you take a small course on the matter. You must sign a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Counseling Certificate. This counseling is available by phone, and you can meet someone face to face at a regional agency.

At this point, you are legally authorized to begin the application process. The lender cannot incur any costs for you until you have finished counseling. In this stage, you may still cancel at any point, as it is not binding.

Someone will come to your home to assess the current market value. The appraiser must be approved by the Federal Housing Administration, and the process must be in line with FHA guidelines.

You will need an underwriter, to make sure that everything is in good order. The underwriter will review all of the documentation and identify the criteria prior to finishing the process. They will also need to recognize additional or missing items. Once everyone has had a chance to review everything, the final closing date can be set.

When it’s time to close, you will need a notary or a lawyer. Such individuals sign the final documents. It is a good idea to check that the interest rates, fees, and proceeds did not change in any way. Legally, you have the right to change your mind for three business days. During this period, you can cancel the application without penalty. Once this time frame has passed, the company will then send you the funds.

The entire process takes between 30-45 days. It may take more or less time based on varying circumstances. You may find it useful to ask a lawyer or an expert concerning any issues that you have in the process.

Patrick Cordero can help you out today. He is an experienced, resourceful, and knowledgeable attorney. We have already helped many people in Miami. The next success story could be yours.

Considering a Divorce_ This Is How Your Assets Are Divided in a Divorce

Considering a Divorce? This is How Your Assets are Divided after Separation

As of 2016, there were 2,245,404 marriages in the United States. There were 827,261 divorces or annulments. Statistically speaking, around half of all marriages end in divorce. If it is someone’s second or third marriage, the likelihood of a divorce increases.

Patrick Cordero can help you out with family law. As part of our dedication to you, we want you to understand what happens after a divorce.

First Concerns

Prenuptials, also known as prenups, are becoming more common. This agreement stipulates how property is divided if a couple separates. This is a legal contract. In this document, couples can establish who gets what, precisely, after a divorce.

This can include who gets assets like a house, property, or money. It can also control who is in charge of taking care of kids. Sometimes, people include a morality clause. This means if one person cheats and admits to it, they lose some or all property rights.

You can get one of these agreements after you have been married. In these cases, it is called a postnuptial agreement. These are legally valid documents and operate the same way prenuptial agreements do.

Neither prenuptial nor postnuptial agreements can violate the law. This means that a prenuptial agreement cannot regulate things like child support. Even if you waive the right to child support, that is not going to be valid in court. In addition, all of your property must be accounted for.

If you do not disclose a bank account or a piece of property you own, then you risk not knowing what will happen to that asset. People must list all property that they own in these documents.

If a prenup or postnuptial was signed ‘under duress’ it may not be considered legally valid. When one person puts an extreme amount of pressure on the other, that may be considered duress. For example, if one person says that they will not go through with the marriage should the other party not sign the prenuptial agreement, then it may not be considered legally binding. The judge can choose to throw it out.

How Assets are Divided

Florida law requires a fair and equitable division of property during a divorce. They will not give any advantage to women or men.

A judge considers various factors when dividing assets. They include, but are not limited to:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The economic circumstances of both spouses
  • Interruptions in either spouse’s careers
  • Contributions to the marriage, i.e. taking care of a home
  • Contributions to marital and non-marital assets

As part of this, judges will consider the monetary value at the time, as well as future income. For instance, if someone owns an apartment block which is expected to generate rent, then the future value of the rent will be weighed when dividing assets.

Before, we mentioned marital and non-marital assets. Marital property is property that has been acquired during the marriage with marital funds or labor. If a couple bought a house together, this may be considered to be marital property. Other assets, such as pension benefits, stock options, or workers’ compensation benefits might also be judged as marital property.

Non-marital property is property that was acquired before the marriage. This property needs to have kept its value to be considered non-marital. Non-marital property can become marital property if it is commingled, or the value is increased due to marital labor.

Non-marital property may not be divided, depending on the circumstances. Marital property is distributed as evenly as possible.

In some cases, couples split amicably. They can sit down and decide who gets what after a divorce. Their agreement is legally binding, and has an impact for years.

In other instances, couples are not on speaking terms when they split up, or they cannot agree on who should get what. When this happens, they go to court so a judge decides who is getting what. This option is difficult for most people, because they are not sure what they will and will not be getting.

No matter what your circumstances are, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney. They can help you out concerning how your property gets split up. A good lawyer can tell you what you can reasonably get, and can also negotiate a better deal for you.

Patrick Cordero can help you out today. He is an experienced, reliable, and relatable attorney. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us now.

4 Things You Should Know About the florida housing market today

4 Things You Should Know About the South Florida Housing Market Today

The median sale price of single family homes in Miami-Dade rose 9.7% over the last year. The total dollar volume of single family homes sold in October 2017 exceeded $481 million. The number of pending listings fell more than 15%. The median time to contract was less than fifty days in October.

These statistics all tell different parts of the same story: the housing market in South Florida is unlike many other markets in the country. It is hypercompetitive and poised for further growth.

As experienced South Florida real estate attorneys, our job is to guide you through the local market and help you understand what makes our area unique. To that end, we have put together a list of the top four facts you need to know about the South Florida market.

Read on to learn important information and do not hesitate to contact us today for a free real estate consultation.

The Housing Market is on Fire

The very first thing you need to know is that the South Florida housing market is on fire. Prices are on the rise, the number of homes is limited, homes are going to contract quicker and quicker, and sellers have their choice of buyers.

These factors all conspire to make the housing market ultra-competitive. It is certainly a busy time. This brings us to the next fact about the market: it is firmly controlled by sellers.

It is a Seller’s Market

A seller’s market is when demand for homes is high, prices are high, and sellers can be selective about who they sell their property to. South Florida has been considered a seller’s market for some time now. This is due to a number of factors, including the location, the wonderful weather, the business landscape, and much more.

Things become more complicated when we consider the different markets within the larger housing market. The single-family home market is a seller’s market. The multi family home market, meanwhile, fluctuates between a buyer and seller’s market. The luxury market, on the other hand, is a buyer’s market.

The Luxury Market is Booming

The luxury market is defined as the housing market for properties over $1 million. While this luxury market may be smaller in a place like Nebraska, it is huge in South Florida. A quick property search returns well over 750 luxury listings for the City of Miami alone. This number increases exponentially when considering Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The South Florida luxury market is a buyer’s market for a number of reasons. Some of these are simple to understand. Luxury property is expensive. Not everyone can afford it and there are simply more sellers than there are buyers. This puts the power in the hands of the buyers. There are other reasons as well, like the decline in international investment in South Florida.

Construction is on the Rise

The final piece of information you need to know about the market here is that construction is on the rise. This is a natural response to increased demand. The more people that want homes, the more homes that will be built.

As construction of both single family and multifamily homes increases, we may see this seller’s market begin to change to a buyer’s market. Only time will tell.

Contact us today for a free real estate consultation and to learn why we are South Florida’s largest foreclosure bankruptcy filing firm.

The 5 Most Common Mistakes When Filing Bankruptcy

The Five Most Common Mistakes When Filing for Bankruptcy

In 2016, there were 7,696 Chapter 7 and 8,019 Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in South Florida alone. Bankruptcy is a significant problem in Miami and the surrounding area, but we are here to help. As your bankruptcy attorney, we want to help you out. Make sure that you are not making these five common mistakes.

Telling Lies

Bankruptcy is an embarrassing situation. We understand that. As a means to save face, people might not reveal their whole situation to their lawyer, creditors, or judge. Alternatively, it can be tempting to try and hide a certain asset, like a bank account, from your creditors as a rainy day fund.

The first instance is a bad idea. Our attorneys can only help you if they understand the full story. It can be difficult, but you need to lay everything on the table, so to speak. The more we know, the more we can help you.

The second instance is a terrible idea. If you are not upfront about all of the potential assets you have, you may be violating the law. In some cases, you may even go to jail. Other punishments might include a fine. When you are already bankrupt, you do not need to go to prison or face a fine.

Going on a Spending Spree

The ‘logic’ is fairly simple. If all of your debts are about to be discharged, then why not accumulate more debt? Many people go on shopping sprees right before they file for bankruptcy, thinking that they may simply wash their hands of it.

This is an awful idea. Certain debts, especially in excess of $500, might not be discharged if they have been incurred within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy. Your fresh start may not count for much if you have a number of smaller debts that you have to deal with.

Transferring Property Out of Your Name

This is not quite the same as hiding assets, but it is similar. Many people think that if they transfer property to a friend or family member, their creditors and the court cannot access it. This is false. When you transfer assets to loved ones, the court can transfer it back. This renders your actions null and void.

Repaying Anyone Before Your Legal Debtors

Let’s say a family member lent you a little bit of cash to help you make rent one month. You love them and value them more than any bank. There is a great temptation to repay them first, but it is important to remember that you probably do not have a legal obligation to them. You have a familial obligation, and maybe an ethical obligation. But you do not have a legal obligation.

Bankruptcy is a legal process. You need to pay back your legal debts first.

Not Hiring a Lawyer

Going through bankruptcy is a difficult process. An experienced attorney can help make it easier. There are legal terms that many people do not necessarily understand. The entire process can confuse and scare people.

That is where Patrick Cordero steps in. He is a quick-witted, qualified, and quintessential lawyer who can help you out today. Contact us today. 

when is bankruptcy the right choice for your business

When is Bankruptcy the Correct Choice for Small Businesses?

Nine out of ten startups are not successful. 80% of restaurants go under within the first five years. 87% of all agents in real estate do not achieve the results that they want. There are a hundred reasons your business may not have been as successful as you thought it could be, and we understand that.

As bankruptcy attorneys, we recognize that you need some help navigating through bankruptcy. Sometimes, it can be the right choice for your small business to file those particular papers.

Understanding the Different Types of Businesses

Every business is unique. Your company has its own management style, assets, and practices. Your business may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or you may not have separated your assets. In any circumstance, the legal definition of your business is important.

Exactly what type of business you have may influence whether it is better to file for Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 filings for small businesses are exceedingly rare, but it can never hurt to understand all your options.

When is the Right Time?

The right time to file for bankruptcy is when your business is failing, and your personal assets are in peril. Creditors might be able to seize your assets in certain circumstances, and a judge may make a ruling that does not go in your favor.

If you have a Limited Liability Corporation, your personal assets might not be at risk. The only liability is on the company itself. Your business could fail, but you may not personally be on the hook for the amount you owe.

However, in some circumstances, the business owner may be required to pay back their debts another way. When financing is secured by personal collateral, a failing business could mean that you lose your home. In these circumstances, it is wise to start looking for a way out.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy signals the end of a business. A trustee is named, and he or she is responsible for selling the assets of a business. All proceeds go to paying debts. Should the proceeds of the sale be less than the total amount of debt, the remaining debt is forgiven.

In some cases, should the assets not be bought when they are put up at auction, you can buy your own assets back. For most small businesses, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the route that they select.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is slightly different. When a business files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the business can continue. The business owner must file for a repayment plan, which describes how he or she will repay their debts.

The big downside for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that the budget is fairly strict. When companies still have some source of income, this is usually the route that they go. Businesses ultimately keep their assets after they have repaid their debts. However, most of the time, Chapter 7 is the better option.

If you are dealing with bankruptcy, call Patrick Cordero. He is an experienced, personable, and highly-resourceful lawyer. We can take on your bankruptcy case.

Buying a Home After Filing for Bankruptcy

Buying a Home After Filing for Bankruptcy

In 2016, there were nearly 800,000 non-business bankruptcy filings in the United States. Families file for bankruptcy every day. Many people do not understand what this means, and consider it to be a huge occasion that will forever change their life.

While it is true that filing for bankruptcy does matter, it does not totally limit your ability to purchase a home. The American Dream is still within reach even if you have had a bankruptcy case. Read on for more information.

Wait a While

Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to 10 years, but many do not find a need to wait that long to purchase a home. After filing for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to take stock of your assets. You should know what debts you have, if you still have any. Certain bills, like car loan payments, are likely to survive many forms of bankruptcy.

You are going to want to get your financial house in order before you consider buying a home. Pay your bills on time, every time. Building up a history of timely payment is important and helps to rebuild your credit. Financial institutions need to trust you.

If you lose your home through foreclosure, you will have to wait a bit longer. Foreclose makes the process more difficult, but buying a home is still possible.

Save

After you have gotten your budget under control, it is a good idea to accumulate as much capital as you can. Having a rainy-day fund can help with emergencies, but more importantly, you need to start saving up for the down payment on your house.

When people have filed for bankruptcy, it takes more for financial institutions to trust them. Those who make a large down payment not only see reduced interest payments, but they benefit from showing the bank that their investment is significant. There is no bond of faith greater than cash in hand.

Types of Loans You Can Acquire

The Federal Housing Administration provides loans. These loans are backed by the Federal Government. The idea behind these loans is to offer people with less-than-perfect credit a chance to own a home. If you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait a period of 2 years from the date the action was discharged. There are additional qualifications. For example, if your credit score is below 579, you must pay 10% of the home’s purchase price as your down payment.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs also provides loans for those who have filed for bankruptcy. These loans offer a wide variety of benefits, but you must be an active member of the military or a veteran to acquire this sort of loan. Like the FHA loan, there are additional qualifications. You must have a debt to income ratio of no more than 41%, for instance.

Shop Around

You are not only shopping for a house. You are shopping for a mortgage, too. Fees, buy-down charges, and escrow needs are of vital importance. Understanding your mortgage options is just as important as making the right choice of home.

If you have any questions about life after filing for bankruptcy, contact us today. If you are looking for a real estate lawyer in Miami, give Patrick Cordero a call. He is an experienced, resourceful, and talented lawyer. Patrick Cordero has empathy for you, and will personally work on your case to get you the best outcome.

PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY NOT THE KISS OF DEATH

What was once considered the credit kiss of death, bankruptcy is now being seen as a last attempt to re-organize your personal finances and take charge of your debt. For couples trying to make every last dime stretch and banks now tightening their belts on lending, getting ahead or even staying above water is changing how America sees bankruptcy.

It isn’t usually until someone takes a close look at their finances and realizes that their liabilities outweigh their assets that they consider filing. For most modern families, the struggle to stay afloat has become as American as apple pie. That being said, the hit to your credit that used to be feared when considering bankruptcy is no longer really that bad. In fact, it has been suggested that lenders are adjusting their mentality about the family finance landscape and changing how they do business.

While there is evidence that some lenders are willing to offer mortgages to individuals that have filed bankruptcy, struggling families can breathe a sigh of relief. No longer, does filing mean home-ownership is out the window. Even for those simply worried about their FICO scores. With proper management of personal finances post bankruptcy, credit scores can begin to show improvement within six months.

For individuals considering bankruptcy, a skilled attorney can help. With their knowledge and resources, you can ditch the debt and begin rebuilding your life. The days of feeling ashamed by the struggle are over and for many it is time to exercise your right to live debt free.

YOUR HEALTH MAY BE A REASON TO CONSIDER BANKRUPTCY

Anyone that has experienced the stress and anxiety that comes with financial struggle knows how sickening it can really be. Simply saying it’s difficult isn’t doing it justice. When times are tough and mounting debt is weighing you down, just getting out of bed in the morning can seem impossible. Like any other kind of stress, financial stress can be bad for you health. If you are experiencing this type of struggle, it may be time to make a change.

High daily stress levels can lead to all sorts of bad health conditions. Just as with people in high stress jobs, heart attack, high blood pressure and ulcers can wreak havoc on your insides. Even if it takes a while to develop a chronic issue, constant financial stress can impact your sleep, eating and drinking habits and may even lead to developing new, even unhealthier ways of coping such as smoking.

If you have been struggling for an extended period of time, chances are you have already noticed the impact financial stress may have had on your health. People that are stressed out tend to eat more and unhealthier which leads to weight gain and possibly diabetes. Migraines and headaches can also be an effect of chronic financial stress. While it may be difficult to tell if your health issues are due to financial stress or another type of stress, identifying your stressful triggers and working to reduce them may be a good idea.

For individuals dealing with a high daily stress level due to financial struggle, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. For most individuals, bankruptcy is considered a last resort, but if your health is at risk because of your financial condition, bankruptcy may be considered a lifesaver. Consider speaking to a trusted bankruptcy attorney, and get your health and finances back on track.

BANKRUPTCY MYTHS BUSTED

Bankruptcy is scary. For many people, it represents failure and is a place they never thought they would be. However, siphoning out the truth from bankruptcy’s mythical reputation can help make struggling individuals feel much better about considering it.

Let’s face it, the thought that all your friends and coworkers will know you have filed for bankruptcy is embarrassing. For some people, simply considering the fact that it’s public record is enough to nix the whole idea. And, yes bankruptcy is a public record. However, unless you announce it, or you’re high profile enough your financial struggles make front page news, chances are no one will ever know you filed but you and your creditors.

Thinking about starting over debt free is exciting, but thinking about starting over with nothing is not. Don’t worry, you’re allowed exemptions and it is very likely that the property you want to keep, you’ll be able to keep. Bankruptcy laws are strict, but they offer protection too. You may be able to keep important assets like your house, retirement plans and your car.

Bankruptcy does not ruin you for life. You will get credit again. In fact, many people that have filed bankruptcy begin receiving credit card offers within the year. Sure, they may be subprime lenders, and they will likely carry a high interest rate, but it’s a credit card and a way for you to begin building your score back up.

Making the decision to file bankruptcy may be difficult but actually doing it isn’t. With the help of a trusted and experienced attorney, you can start the process to financial recovery.  While the timeline from start to finish varies depending on the individual situation, most bankruptcies are dischargedwithin six months. If you are considering bankruptcy, speaking to a bankruptcy attorney may help.