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Family Law

Jacksonville Marital and Family Law Attorney

The practice of marital and family law can be as complex as the relationships of individuals seeking a resolution to their legal issues. At Heekin Law, P.A., we have highly trained and experienced attorneys adept at skilled negotiations.  Our divorce attorney, Hunter Malin, has over 20 years of experience in matters ranging from contested/uncontested divorce and child custody battles to joint business ownership dissolutions. We understand no two cases are the same and the common denominator must be an attorney who is willing to listen to his client’s needs and goals and chart the best course of action to optimize the client’s desired outcome. From same sex marriages to traditional divorces, we handle the full spectrum of family law issues, including child custody and child support, modification, paternity, alimony, pre-nuptial agreements and equitable distribution. If you are seeking a divorce in the State of Florida, you are certainly not alone according to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. In 2017, there were 163,746 marriage certificates filed and 75,781 divorces granted. Studies have revealed that this rate ranks amongst the highest in the nation and contributes to Florida as the 13th most stressful state to live in. Contributing factors to this high divorce rate include: crimes committed per capita, population below the poverty level, average hours worked, average income earnings, unemployment rates, concentration of population in urban areas and non-civilian/military marriages. Facing marriage difficulties is one of the most stressful and difficult experiences anyone can encounter and if children are involved, the uncertain outcomes for both parents and children only add to the stress. At Heekin Law, P.A. we are equipped to handle this uncertainty by offering a clear direction to mitigate your expenses, legal entanglements and reduce the stress for all concerned. Experienced family lawyers must recognize all of the paths available to a client and create an effective legal strategy that is both durable and consistent with Florida laws. Hunter Malin is an intuitive, heart-centered attorney, a skilled negotiator, grounded in the law and committed to helping his clients obtain positive outcomes starting their new life off on the right footing.

Understanding Complicated Relationship Issues

What separates most divorce attorneys is their capacity to not only understand what went wrong in a marriage but be able to advise clients going forward, emotionally as well as legally. As an attorney who specializes in marital and family law matters, Hunter Malin has the unique ability to ask the right questions, listen to his client’s answers and validate what they are telling him about their marital difficulties. Many times, clients just want someone to talk to that has the knowledge and experience to understand what they are going through. Individuals considering divorce oftentimes feel hurt, are broken or feel they have an uncertain future, out of their control. Divorce can be a life-altering and traumatic experience for most, full of anxiety and doubt. Almost all marriages start off with both parties having what they thought were shared interests and desires. But many relationships evolve into one person becoming excessively dominant and the other becoming overly submissive. This imbalance is usually brought about by the dominant party wanting control, manipulating the other party, and emotional abuse is the outcome. Hunter has represented many clients involved in these types of “toxic relationships.”  Supportive and aggressive representation oftentimes is the best remedy. Supportive representation involves validating a client’s feelings while helping to empower the client in moving forward.  Remember, if you are seeking a divorce, your current situation is not your final destination and having competent legal representation is your best chance for a successful outcome.   Hunter represents clients with competence and compassion.

 Uncontested Divorce

As a no-fault state, Florida residents benefit from not having to show or prove cause when obtaining a divorce. Certain stipulations have to be met in order for the courts to grant a divorce decree. First, that the marriage has to be what is known as irretrievably broken. Second, Florida, like most States, has a residency requirement of at least six months prior to the day of the divorce petition being filed. If one or both of the spouses are on active military duty, there are additional residency guidelines and requirements that have to be met. Third, there is a 20-day waiting period between the time the divorce is filed and the time a divorce can be granted. Both parties must agree on a mutual consent agreement for there to be an uncontested divorce. In any event, cases where neither party contests the divorce still have certain stipulations that have to be agreed upon by both parties.

Military Divorce

Hunter has also handled many military divorces over the course of the last 20 years. There are some misconceptions about rules governing military couples seeking divorce. Federal law has provided protection that involves military retirement benefit distribution and compensation. Hunter is very familiar with the special rules for military couples that involve retirement benefits. Hunter is also experienced and familiar with all the laws and rules governing both civilian and military divorces.

Contested Divorce Proceedings

During many divorce proceedings emotions run high and one or both parties feel they cannot communicate well enough with one another to avoid formal litigation. This adversarial relationship oftentimes is very stressful and cooler heads do not always prevail. Hunter Malin is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer who has represented 100’s clients who have either sought litigation or are defendants trying to mitigate their losses and protect themselves from an angry spouse. He understands that preparation is one of the most important factors when dealing with a contested divorce. Under Florida law, when two parties cannot come to an agreement and one party files an action for divorce, a formal mediation, facilitated by a Florida Certified Mediator is required before a judge hears the case. There are actually two different types of mediation available to the divorcing parties, one public through the county and one private. This is oftentimes a couple’s best chance to avoid litigation and have a judge ultimately decide the division of assets and structure of the divorce decree. If, through the mediation process, the parties cannot agree then the case is sent to the court for a formal hearing. At Heekin Law, P.A., we are a firm believer in the mediation process when battling couples cannot find common ground to resolve their differences.  However, Hunter Malin is not afraid of taking a case through the final hearing if a reasonable solution cannot be reached.  If you are seeking a divorce or are being sued for divorce, we would like to hear your story and give you our opinion on your best chances for a successful outcome. Our initial consultations are free and we are compassionate, competent and caring Florida lawyers ready to help at a moment’s notice. Call us at 904-355-7000 or complete the form below to schedule your appointment.


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