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Business & Corporate Law

How do I create my own business? 

Starting a business can seem like an overwhelming task.  The key is to tackle it in steps.  First and foremost you should seek out the expertise of a business professional. This professional should help you with each of the steps necessary to start a business which include:

  • developing a business plan
  • seeking financing
  • creating the legal structure
  • licensing, permitting, and registration

HD Law Partners has the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process. Call us today for a free consultation.

Are non-compete agreements enforceable in Florida?

Non-competition agreements are enforceable in Florida in certain industries if they are found reasonable in length and geographic scope, and reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest. A non-compete provision of six months or less is generally considered reasonable in Florida. The geographic area where the employee may not compete must also be reasonable with a prohibition from working in the entire state of Florida possibly being considered overly broad, but a specific city or county possibly being considered too narrow. The burden is on the employer to show that the non-compete agreement protects a legitimate business interest. These legitimate business interests include, but are not limited to:

  • Confidential business information
  • Trade secrets
  • Relationships with existing or prospective customers
  • Specialized training

Employees should speak with an experienced employment attorney before signing a non-compete agreement.

Are oral contracts enforceable in Florida?

An oral agreement can be enforceable in Florida if all the elements of a contract are satisfied and it can be proven that in fact an oral agreement did exist.

What are the requirements for a valid contract?

The requirements of a valid contact are an offer and an acceptance of that offer in exchange for consideration which can be defined as money, services or goods that have value. However, there are various circumstances where a written or oral contract would not be valid for example if:

  • One of the parties to the contract did not have the mental capacity to make the agreement;
  • One of the parties to the contract is a minor as defined under Florida law;
  • The goods or services in the contract are illegal or impossible in the sense they are not able to be provided.

Florida law does require that certain contracts, for example real estate contracts or any type of contracts that cannot be performed within one year, be in writing.


Do I have to pay alimony in a divorce?

Florida alimony laws are not very precise. Many factors can determine the amount of alimony you will pay, or whether you will pay any alimony at all. Courts have great discretion in determining the alimony factors to consider and the weight of each factor.

What are the factors Florida courts consider in determining alimony?

Courts may consider many factors when determining alimony including the length of the marriage, your standard of living during the marriage, both spouse’s ability to pay support, whether one of you has been unemployed and unable to care for your child or children, whether one of you gave up your career for the benefit of the marriage and whether one of you became disabled during the marriage and can no longer support themselves.

Who receives custody in a divorce?

Custody is often determined by what is called the child’s best interest criteria. The court will examine you and your spouse’s or other parent’s situation and the past and present interaction with the child to determine how both of your parenting has best served the interests of your child.

How do I get a divorce?

Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage is the first step in the divorce process. Once filed the petition will be served by personal service upon your spouse who then has 20 days to respond. The only prerequisite for obtaining divorce is an allegation that the marriage is irretrievably broken or mental incapacity of one of the parties.

How is child support determined?

The Florida child support guidelines mostly dictate the amount of the support obligation. However, your income and the amount of time sharing you have with your child influences whether you or your spouse will pay child support. The information you and your spouse provide on financial affidavits and via other sources will determine your net income. The net income of both parties is then inserted into the child support guidelines worksheet. The child support calculation formula includes the number of children and the overnights each parent spends with the children per year. The guidelines also include the cost of the health and dental insurance premium paid for the child, as well as childcare expenses.

What happens to retirement funds and 401(k) plans in a divorce?

Retirement funds and 401(k) plans will be divided between the parties based upon various factors. The transfer of the funds from the owner to the other spouse without penalty or tax consequences requires preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). You will need to retain an attorney experienced in determining the division of all classes and types of pensions and retirement accounts, including 401(K) plans, IRAs and company-sponsored pension plans along with preparation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).

How long does a divorce take to be final?

In our experience a divorce can take somewhere between 3 and 24 months, depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. This timeline is often influenced by the county in which the dissolution of marriage petition is filed and the judge. The average uncontested divorce in our experience takes 3 to 4 months. The average contested divorce in our experience takes 12 to 14 months.

How much will my divorce cost?

The cost of divorce can range from around $1,000 for an uncontested divorce up to and over $15,000 for a contested divorce.

Do grandparents have rights?

Grandparents do have rights if the parents are unable to be located, dead or in a persistent vegetative state. If only one parent is around and is not a violent felon grandparents have no rights.

Will an adulterous affair have an impact on my divorce?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state and adultery does not impact most divorce matters. If the spouse having the affair spends marital funds or uses marital assets during the affair that may impact the court’s overall decision including alimony and custody matters.

What are marital assets?

Marital property is anything acquired, all assets and debts and property, during the marriage. It does not matter whose name the asset is titled in. There are many unique rules that govern inheritances, gifts, retirement accounts and family businesses.

What are non-marital assets?

Non-marital assets (sometimes called separate property) is property that is not included in the marital estate. Non-marital property includes: (1) assets acquired prior to the marriage, (2) property acquired by noninterspousal gift or inheritance, (3) income derived from non-marital assets, (4) assets and property excluded by agreement.

How  does a divorce affect commingling of property?

Combining non-marital assets with marital assets may subject what was considered to be a non-marital asset into a marital asset, and subject to equitable distribution. For example, if a spouse who maintained a separate bank account before the marriage, titled solely in his or her name, adds his or her spouse to the account and allows the spouse access to the account. Or if the spouse who uses the funds contained in the separate bank account to pay marital debts and expenses.

What is equitable distribution?

The division of marital assets and liabilities is called equitable distribution. The principle is that there will be an equal distribution of the assets and liabilities unless there are factors that should result in unequal distribution. Factors that may be considered include the length of the marriage, the dissipation of assets during the marriage and the career and economic situations of both spouses.

Divorce Mediation

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process in which you and your spouse, and potentially your respective attorneys, meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, in an effort to amicably resolve outstanding issues related to your divorce. You and your spouse have decision-making powers and must agree on each provision in the final agreement. Both parties are allowed to explain their position and perspectives on all the issues. The mediator will act as a facilitator and discuss each of the issues in question in a calm and rational manner with both spouses, and attempt to resolve the issues in favor of both spouses. The final agreement, absent violations of Florida law, can be anything the spouses agree to with the help of their respective attorneys and the mediator.

How much does divorce mediation cost?

Divorce mediation is a less expensive alternative to litigation. The costs associated with litigation tend to be higher than divorce mediation. Mediation provides spouses seeking a divorce with an accurate estimate with regard to the number of hours and cost required to resolve their issues. We recommend the mediator be an attorney experienced in divorce matters, or a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator. Generally, a typical divorce mediation ranges in cost from $1,000 to $3,000.

How long does divorce mediation take?

The length of a divorce mediation depends on many factors, but primarily is driven by the complexity of your divorce matter and ultimately the number of parties involved, including children. A mediation can last anywhere from hours, to a full day or even several days.

Timeshare Contracts

How do I cancel a timeshare contract?

Each state has laws regarding the amount of time you have after buying a timeshare to return it for a full refund. We recommend that you employ a method of delivery of the cancellation request that provides proof of the date upon which the timeshare received the request, such as certified mail (return receipt requested) or some other method of delivery which uses a tracking system. When the timeshare receives your cancellation they must refund the total amount of all payments made by you under the contract, reduced by the proportion of any contract benefits you have actually received under the contract, prior to the date of the cancellation.

Can I be financially responsible for the balance due if my Florida timeshare is foreclosed on?

If you take out a loan to purchase a timeshare and fail to make your timeshare mortgage payments or keep up with the assessments you will most likely face foreclosure. In addition to monthly mortgage payments, you will be responsible for maintenance fees, special assessments, utilities, and taxes, collectively referred to as “assessments.” Please note that in some circumstances FHA financing may consider nonpayment defaulting on consumer debt. However, each lender has their own interpretation and your default may still be considered a foreclosure.

How many days after signing the timeshare contract do I have to cancel my timeshare?

In Florida you can cancel your timeshare contract up until midnight of the 10th calendar day following:
the date you signed the contract, or the day on which you received the last of all required documents, whichever occurs later.

How do I avoid timeshare foreclose?

The best way to often avoid timeshare foreclosure is to sell the timeshare to another investor or back to the homeowners association. We recommend contacting the timeshare owner directly and let them know you are having trouble making the payments. The timeshare owner may suggest ways you can avoid foreclosure. Some owners are even willing to assist you with selling the timeshare to another investor.

What are the consequences of a timeshare foreclosure?

A timeshare foreclosure can have negative consequences on your credit score, taxes, employment opportunities, and ability to obtain future loans.

How can I get my money back from a timeshare fraud or scam?

If you have already signed a timeshare agreement you believe to be fraudulent and are out of your rescission period your best option is to consult an attorney.

Do my children inherit my timeshare obligation?

We recommend having a conversation with your children about your timeshare obligation. Do your children wish to inherit the timeshare? Adding your children to the deed is the best method to transfer ownership of your timeshare obligation and provides a plan for succession that avoids increased non-payment costs and penalties after your death. Like a mortgage, timeshare fees and payments endure after your death. While your children organize your estate the fees for the timeshare continue to accrue. If you have other assets including your primary residence, the timeshare can take legal action against your estate to recover the outstanding value of your timeshare.

What are things I should make note of in a timeshare presentation?

We recommend you get everything in writing from your timeshare presentation. You should never take the salespersons word and ask them politely to show you exactly where it says what they said in the contract.

If you decided to purchase a timeshare be sure at closing to record your understanding of the transaction by repeating everything you were told by the salesperson or team that factored into your purchase decision. The closing will often be recorded, but if you do not repeat the representations made by the salesperson they do not become part of the closing and will be hard to prove.

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