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Florida bill puts limits on the use of foreign family law

Laws pertaining to divorce, child custody and support, and alimony are constantly changing and evolving with the times. This development in law makes it important to work with a local attorney that knows the ins and outs of Florida's family laws.

A recent bill that passed in Florida last week may be important to those with foreign spouses or anyone who married abroad. The bill, which still needs to be signed by the governor, basically limits the use of foreign family law elements in our courts. Those who support the bill say it will help courts rely on statute, which would help decrease the time it takes a case with foreign elements to get through the court system.

The first version of this bill was a lot stricter, seeking to make courts adhere only to U.S. law. Those who oppose the bill call it a "waste of time" and say it makes the state look "xenophobic." One politician points out that foreign law hasn't been used in the U.S. to "deny someone of their constitutional rights."

From a practical standpoint, this law may come into play if a couple married abroad and moved to Florida. If that couple signed a prenuptial agreement overseas, the judge could examine the agreement and making a ruling. This may seem like a bill that will affect very few people in our state, but it's important to remember that Florida is a culturally diverse state. According to the United States Census Bureau, data between 2008 and 2012 shows that nearly 22 percent of Fort Lauderdale's population was foreign-born. That definitely puts the possible impact of this bill into perspective.

Source: The Washington Times, "Bill prohibits foreign family law in state courts," Steve Miller, May 1, 2014

Source: United States Census Bureau, "Fort Lauderdale (city), Florida," March 27, 2014   

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