In an article written by its Editorial Board, the Sun Sentinel came out with a strongly worded critique of Governor Rick Scott's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Board was particularly upset that the budget called for $83.5 million in spending -- a record amount -- but that no funds were earmarked for helping families in need of legal assistance.
As the article explains, access to quality legal representation is key to protecting one's civil and personal rights. This is especially important in the area of family law. Without an attorney, many individuals find themselves deprived of the child support and spousal support they need simply to raise their families.
Why legal help is so crucial in family matters
Child support in particular has become an unusually contentious issue in Florida. Late last month, a state legislator introduced a bill that would reduce the penalties faced by individuals who fail to make support payments. Needless to say, this could make obtaining necessary funds much more difficult.
An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can help. Namely, an attorney can:
- Help determine your financial needs and advocate on your behalf in court
- Ensure that your spouse reveals all their financial holdings during legal proceedings
- Negotiate fair terms both in and out of court that allow you and your family to maintain your standard of living
- Use the legal system to make sure your spouse makes child support and spousal support payments in a timely manner
Without such assistance, it is common to face major barriers to achieving financial stability.
Florida among the few states to deny legal assistance
Florida, the Sun Sentinel reports, is "one of only a few states that don't annually provide funding for this need." But given the costs - the impositions placed on families, their employers, and the government agencies that then must pick up the financial slack - it is beginning to seem as if we can no long afford not to provide legal help.