They are great attorneys, they have a great culture. They also have a lot of extra resources as it's a full-service law firm that's been around a long time...They have decades of client-focused legal services."
- Chambers High Net Worth 2021
Our Marital & Family Law Practice Group is part of our commitment to provide our clients with a complete range of legal services and strategic advice. The marital and family legal challenges facing individuals, families and their financial interests are as unique as each client. These personal matters require the same degree of sophisticated analysis as business matters. We recognize the need for quality, frank, professional, result-oriented representation in all marital and family law arenas. Our clients can expect the same level of trust, quality, commitment and experience when dealing with difficult and complicated personal marital and family matters that they have come to expect when addressing business matters.
We are available to represent clients in all facets of marital and family law. We offer experienced counsel in negotiating and drafting prenuptial, postnuptial, and marital settlement agreements, as well as handling complex, high-income, significant-net-worth divorces, paternity matters and disputes which cross state and international borders.
Marital and family matters invariably touch virtually every aspect of clients’ lives, including business/asset valuation, estate and tax planning, real estate and personal investment portfolios. Of paramount importance when representing parents with minor children, is working proactively to reach a result in the child(ren)’s best interest. Our Marital & Family law group is focused on achieving favorable, expeditious results through alternative dispute resolution techniques including direct negotiation, mediation, and when necessary, in court. We have the resources, including the in-house knowledge of various practice groups within the Firm, to guide clients through these multifaceted matters. In addition, we know when to call upon professionals and disciplines, including financial forensic experts, when required to best advance our clients’ interests.
Our experienced team demonstrates professionalism, serving clients with objective, sensible advocacy, enabling prudent and well-conceived decision making. We provide individualized representation to the particular needs of each client by providing a thorough and straightforward analysis of their entitlements and obligations, and by being responsive to their specific goals. While resolution of family disputes is preferred, when court intervention is indicated, we have experienced trial lawyers to effectively advocate on behalf of our clients.
Barry M. Wayne, the head of our Marital & Family Law Practice Group, has been practicing marital and family law for more than 33 years. He has been Florida Bar Board Certified in Marital and Family Law since 1994. He has achieved Board Certification as a Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, which certifies attorneys based upon demonstrated substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references, continuing education, and quality of legal writing. Best Lawyers in America® has named Barry as the 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” for Family Law in Miami, a recognition awarded to one lawyer per year with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region.
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Events leading to formalization of a marriage, and marriage in and of itself, can be stressful. When the creation of a pre-marital economic agreement is added to the mix, this can enhance the stress. Individuals who have existing pre-marital assets, a history of substantial earnings, or who are destined to benefit from family gifting and/or inheritances, are often justified in attempting to come to a mutual understanding as to how their assets and income are to be treated should their relationship not succeed. An agreed-upon allocation of income and assets may promote long-term tranquility and peace of mind.
We understand how to best address issues that are unique to the negotiation and drafting of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, including multi-generational planning, with an eye toward creating a structure which allows our clients to focus on making their relationship a success.
- High Profile Matters
Our team has decades of experience handling the particular legal needs, rights and responsibilities of high-profile, high-income and high-net-worth individuals. There are often issues that are unique to persons of financial means, including economic and privacy concerns. We understand the balance needed between the desire to avoid disclosure to outsiders and the necessity for a full and fair exchange of pertinent information when it relates to substantial income earners and high-net-worth families. The successful handling of these situations is often a function of experience and acumen. We understand the language of business. Our professionals possess the knowledge of accounting and financial concepts, which provide the tools required to effectively navigate the varied, complex marital and family issues facing high-net-worth individuals.
- Division of Property (Equitable Distribution) including Valuation Issues
Identifying, valuing, evaluating and crafting a plan to distribute marital and non-marital assets and liabilities is the foundation of devising a fair and equitable distribution of the marital estate. Valuation often takes on critical importance. While some valuation issues are straightforward, others, such as the valuation of closely held business interests, can be quite complex. Our Marital & Family practice possesses the experience required to effectively navigate the challenges presented by a wide range of complex asset valuations, enabling productive collaboration with business valuation experts, forensic accountants, tax advisors, real property appraisers, probate and estate planning professionals, and specialized investment professionals.
- Alimony, Spousal Support and Maintenance
There is no one size fits all solution to alimony awards. Each individual household is unique. Analysis of historical need as well as the evaluation of earned and passive income are necessary components of making alimony determinations. We carefully evaluate sources of income, including employment income, perquisites, benefit packages, anticipated cash flow from investments, and other income sources available to the household. This analysis, coupled with a study of historical lifestyle and spending, provides the confidence needed to make educated support related decisions.
- Shared Parenting Plans (Custody and Access Rights)
The best interests of the child(ren), in determining the rights of parents, whether wed or unwed, is the guiding principle when establishing schedules for each parent to enjoy time with their child(ren). Parenting plans are created, tailoring the specific needs the child(ren) may have. In addressing these issues, we work proactively, always with a view toward avoiding conflicts before they arise. When needed, we have the experience to bring the child(ren)’s issues to court, including disputes related to time sharing, decision making, financial support and relocation.
- Interstate and International Divorce
Successful entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals often live and conduct business across state and international borders. It is not uncommon for families to have estates which include active multi-state and international enterprises. Oftentimes, these interests involve multi-generational estate planning and complicated family holdings. This dynamic often raises complex child(ren) issues in addition to financial issues. We are able to draw upon the experience of our team in addressing the legal, financial and child(ren) related issues which confront interstate and international families.
Bringing and defending claims of paternity effectively and efficiently, while addressing the delicate, sensitive and confidential issues inherent in these types of cases, requires effective, experienced representation. The relationship status of parents to one another, and to others, often generates issues that require creative solutions. Entitlement to child support, time sharing and shared parenting, whether by agreement or otherwise, are carefully evaluated. Our group is committed to helping our clients navigate through the paternity process, providing candid evaluation and advice, empowering them to make well-informed decisions.
Prenuptial Agreements in Florida – Practical Considerations and Planning
Jewish Federation of Broward County Advisors Philanthropy Initiative |October 2021|Barry M. Wayne
Shareholder Lindsay A. Gunia Joins Marital & Family Law Team in Coral Gables Office
Government Affairs News Update, Publications:
Has Permanent Alimony Met its Demise in Florida? Stay Tuned...
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|April 2021|Marco T. Paredes, Jr., Barry M. Wayne
In the Media:
On the Move
Law.com / Daily Business Review|September 2020
Stearns Weaver Miller Adds Shareholder Barry M. Wayne to Spearhead Newly Formed Marital & Family Law Practice Area
Where do we Stand? An Examination of Florida’s Standing Family Law Orders
The Florida Bar Family Law Section Commentator|September 2019|Lindsay A. Gunia
In the Media:
Divorce Advice (And It Won’t Cost You a Thing)
The New York Times|April 2019
In the Media:
Resolving Complex Marital and Family Law Matters
South Florida Legal Guide|January 2018