Family Law

Jean-Paul Galasso Law

“The final test of a people, is the respect they have for law.” – Lewis F. Korns

Family law

We understand that unfortunate, destabilizing circumstances present themselves even within a family. Divorce, child custody, or even domestic violence changes lives. When there are complications related to these stressful situations, you will need to make good choices. The Law Office of J. P. Galasso will provide a stable, guiding hand to advise and lead you through all of the options available to you. If, as in many cases children are involved, your decisions can have wide-ranging and long-term effects so make your first decision the right one by choosing The Law Office of J.P. Galasso. Click on a Family Law topic below and learn more:


If you are confronted with the prospect of a less than amicable divorce requiring litigation, we are here for you. Don’t let this unfortunate circumstance have an unnecessary emotional impact on the people involved including yourself or your children. We will explain everything you need to know under Florida law so you understand your options and rights. We will also notify your spouse’s attorney while assisting you with filing any appropriate documentation. Call us now to get the help you deserve.


When an unmarried couple have a child together, do they have the same rights as a married couple? The answer to that question is absolutely not. What rights and responsibilities do each of the parents have regarding their children when they have never been married? Do the parents have equal rights to the child regarding time-sharing and decision-making for that child? Shockingly the answer to that is often no, not without an order from the court. On the other hand, the responsibility to provide financial support for your child or children is the same as if you were married. Does the mother have superior rights to the child of an unmarried couple, or are the father’s rights superior? Many mothers and fathers are surprised to find out that the mother’s rights are superior if the couple had a child out of wedlock. Fathers are often even more surprised when they find out they are obligated to pay child support by the Department of Revenue, without being given any right to spend time with the child. One of the most frequently made statements by fathers at the Department of Revenue hearings is “Why can’t I see my child if I have to pay child support?” The response by the Magistrate is always the same: “If you want any rights you need to file an action for paternity in family court.” This is true even when paternity has been established for purposes of child support through the Department of Revenue. It is only through a Petition to Establish Paternity filed in family court that rights are established for time-sharing and decision-making. This should never be confused with the responsibilities and obligations ordered by the court in a Department of the Revenue hearing. Therefore, if you want more rights and input in your child’s life, the only way to obtain them is by petitioning family court.


In all divorce proceedings, the duration of the marriage plays a significant role in several of the court’s decisions, but none more so than alimony.  The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage. There is a “rebuttable presumption” (meaning it’s assumed to be that way unless you prove otherwise) that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. If a marriage is determined to be short, moderate or long-term, this can have an impact on any award of alimony. In any divorce proceeding, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent in nature, or any combination of these forms of alimony.  After the court makes its determination as to the short, moderate or long-term nature of the marriage, the court will then look at several additional factors, such as: the standard of living established during the marriage; the age of each party; the physical and emotional condition of each party; and the financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each as part of the equitable distribution of those assets and liabilities.  Although it is rare, the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments (meaning biweekly, monthly, etc.) or payments in lump sum, or both. These rights and obligations under the alimony statutes are far too important and complex to be left to chance, or to an amateur.

Child Custody

Simply put, there is nothing more important in life than our children. Therefore, there is nothing more important than the court’s determination regarding time-sharing, and parental responsibility. Time-sharing (formerly known as custody) is the amount of time the child or children spend with each parent. Contrary to popular belief, there is no presumption in favor of either the mother or father, nor is there any presumption that equal time-sharing is in the child’s best interest. This is why time-sharing is the most contested issue in almost all divorce and paternity cases. Parental responsibility means the ability to make important decisions in your child’s life. Parental responsibility can be shared, which means both parents have an equal say in those decisions. Parental responsibility can also be sole, which means that only one of the two parents will make those important decisions. In making these most important decisions, the courts will look at the following:

  1. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child
    relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
  2. The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
  3. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as
    opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
  4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  5. The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
  6. The moral fitness of the parents.
  7. The mental and physical health of the parents.
  8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
  9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and
    experience to express a preference.
  10. The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
  11. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
  12. The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
  13. Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
  14. Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
  15. The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
  16. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  17. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
  18. The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
  19. The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
  20. Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have an attorney who is skilled in both the complexities of the Rules of Evidence, the Rules of Procedure, as well as intricacies of Family Law to guarantee that the court receives the information it needs to make the right decisions for your child.

Child Support

Child support presents itself as an important determination in many divorce proceedings. After the court makes a decision as to which parent the child will reside, it then calculates how much child support the other parent must pay. In Florida, both parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children throughout and following a divorce. Come to us to get specific details regarding your rights under Florida Law.

Domestic Violence

In the state of Florida, a minimum of five days in county jail are included in its domestic violence laws. If the individual is a convicted offender, the court may also order imprisonment in a Florida state prison. Other specific circumstances may also apply and could become an assault charge, while physical contact or injury might become a battery charge. Our criminal defense experience can help in these situations as well as our knowledge of Florida domestic violence laws. Contact us now if you need counsel on any of these serious issues.


An injunction is a court order which details and restrains a person from doing certain things sometimes referred to as a “restraining order.” If you want to prevent a former spouse or other person from whom you feel threatened or otherwise intimidated, you must file with the court to obtain an injunction. Come talk to us now if you are experiencing a situation where you feel frightened because of the threat of potential harm from another person or persons.

Equitable Distribution

The court decides what is and is not a marital asset and liability according to the laws of Florida. One of the biggest misconceptions about equitable distribution in a divorce proceeding is that people often mistakenly believe that “equitable distribution“ means equal distribution. It most certainly does not! Equitable means what is fair. What is fair to the parties is not necessarily equal distribution. If the parties cannot agree in mediation on how they wish to distribute their assets and liabilities, the judge will decide what is fair from the evidence presented according to the Rules of Evidence. If a party does not know how to submit evidence according to the Rules, the judge may have to make a decision based only upon the information submitted according to the Rules. The inability to submit evidence according to the Rules happens quite frequently with novices. Unfortunately, this often produces a result that is not very equitable. You only have one opportunity to present evidence to the judge, so don’t blow it. Make sure that you have experience and skill on your side with the Law Office of Jean-Paul Galasso.

Modifications of Court Orders

Surprisingly to many, court orders are not necessarily the last word. If you find yourself in a situation where your current orders are a detriment or inconvenience to your life, you can seek fairness through “modification of court orders.” To affect this modification of original court orders, you may need to cite often serious or life-changing circumstances concisely and convincingly. Importantly, it does not necessarily need to be your circumstances that have changed. If, for instance, your former spouse’s pay increases dramatically, you may be able to stop or reduce child support payments or alimony making your life more comfortable. Come talk to us or give us a call, we can sort out all the particulars for you with clarity.