Family Law and Divorce Attorney serving Tavares, Leesburg, Eustis, Mt. Dora, The Villages® community and surrounding areas

(352) 343-0091 500 W. Caroline St., Tavares, FL 32778

Tuesday
April 17
2018

Can I get child support modification?

child support lawyer floridaLife changes day by day, and circumstances change. Even though you have already established a set child support amount through the court's system, if there has been a change in either parents' income, you can ask for child support modification. A modification can be short or long term depending on the individual situation. 

The courts want to make sure children under 18 are getting the same level of financial support as when both parents lived under the same roof. The evidence is needed before modification can be made regarding child support compensation. The person asking for the modification needs proof that the income of the other parent has increased or that their income has decreased. The most common and easy to obtain evidence is recent tax return statements and the most recent pay stubs. 

There are many variables in child support modification including:

  • Income decrease: It happens more often than not that one parent may lose his or her job or have a decrease in pay for any reason. One parent may not be able to meet the current child support obligation or the main caregiver has had a decrease in income and is unable to properly care for the child with the current set amount.
  • Responsibilities for minor children change: As children grow older their needs change, whether it be medical like braces or if they want to participate in extracurricular activities. The custodial parent may file for more child support to help with the extra needs of the children. 
  • New responsibilities: On the other hand a non-custodial parent may re-marry and have stepchildren to support. In that case, the parent can seek to lower his or her child support compensation to be able to support their new family. 
  • Substantial increase of income or large inheritance: If the non-custodial parent gets a significant raise at work or inherits a large sum of money, the custodial parent may ask the courts to modify the payments based on the income increase. 

Depending of the circumstances the court may grant temporary or permanent child support modification. The needs of the children are always the main concern. Custody issues can be an emotional roller coaster for both the parents and the children. For more information on child support modification contact Benjamin J. Cox. 

Tuesday
March 13
2018

How do I get away from my abuser and make sure they never hurt me again?

domestic violenceSadly, the leading cause of injury to women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 is domestic violence. Domestic violence injures more women than car wrecks, muggings, and sexual assault or rapes combined.

If you are in an abusive relationship that has turned violent, you have one priority: Get out. Your safety and the safety of your children come first, period. Domestic violence shelters are places where your identity is kept secret, and your abuser cannot locate you. 

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also recommends that you:

  • Keep a contact list of “safe” people.
  • Memorize the telephone numbers of people you may need to call for help.
  • Keep quarters for a pay phone, as you may be without a cell phone.
  • Keep cash for living expenses as well.
  • Establish a code word with family and friends so that you can tell them to call for help without alerting the abuser.

If you have to leave quickly, immediately go to the court for a protective order (otherwise known as a restraining order) to legally keep your abuser away from you. If you can, it’s best to hire an attorney. If you have children, be absolutely sure that the restraining order specifies that you have custody. Otherwise, your abuser could accuse you of kidnapping.

A protective order is a court document that prohibits your abusive spouse or partner from specific behavior (including touching you, attempting to contact you directly or through a third party, or coming anywhere near you). It also orders your abusive spouse or partner to perform specific actions (including leaving your home and paying temporary child support). You are not required to testify, and your abusive spouse or partner does not have to be present. If your abuser violates the restraining order, the police may arrest and charge them with the violation.

HOW LONG ARE RESTRAINING ORDERS GOOD FOR?

When a judge issues a restraining order in Florida, a court hearing is set within fifteen days. At the hearing, the judge decides whether to give you a “final” order. The final order is usually good for a year, after which it may be modified or dissolved. If your circumstances do not qualify for the injunction for protection against domestic violence, discuss other options with your attorney.

Tuesday
February 6
2018

I want to adopt my stepchild, what do I do?

stepchild adoption floridaYou are considered a stepparent when you are married to the biological parent of a child but are not the child’s other biological parent. A lot of people assume that a stepparent obtains immediate parental rights simply by marrying a child’s parents, but this is not the case. 

There are several complexities that arise in stepparent adoption proceedings. A stepparent must first find out if he or she meets the Florida law requirements for adopting the child. Florida law allows stepparents to adopt in one of two situations. The first is, of course, consent of both biological parents. The second is termination of the non-custodial parent’s parental rights.

When one parent’s rights are terminated, that parent is usually no longer responsible for child support payments, but will also no longer have the protection of the courts for his or her relationship with the adopted child. 

If everyone can agree, the next step in stepchild adoption is to file a petition. The petition must include information regarding the length of time the stepparent has resided with the child or children, the stepparent’s reasons for seeking the adoption, and the stepparent’s relationship to the biological parent. The petition must also include judgments terminating parental rights.

The hiring of a skilled and dedicated attorney is crucial to the success of stepparent adoption and can save you and your family a lot of time and money in the long run by getting it right the first time.

Tuesday
January 2
2018

The ins and outs of restraining orders

restraining order tavaresInjunctions for Protection (also known as Restraining Orders) are designed to prevent an individual from harming or coming into contact with another individual.

In Florida, there are four types of restraining orders intended to protect victims. These restraining orders are divided into types based on the relationship between the Petitioner (victim) and the Respondent. The four restraining order types are domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and repeat violence.

Domestic Violence restraining orders are obtained when both parties have lived together at some point, or they have a child in common.

Dating Violence restraining orders are for parties with no children in common but where a romantic relationship existed within six months of the filing of the injunction for protection.

Sexual Violence injunctions are for victims of sexual abuse and do not require filing criminal charges or successful prosecution  to be obtained.

Repeat Violence injunctions work as a “catchall” for any other relationship, such as an acquaintance or neighbor, and require two incidents of violence, like stalking, to have occurred within six months of the filing of the petition. 

To file a restraining order, a petition must be prepared and filed with the court. The petition will ask for all personal information of the petitioner and respondent including physical address, place of work, physical description, and most importantly, the allegations. It is best to provide exact details and location information where violence took place  for your petition to be successful.

Usually, once the petition is filed, a judge will immediately review it, and if the allegations of violence meet the Florida law requirements, the judge will grant you a temporary restraining order the same day that is valid for 15 days.

A final court hearing is scheduled on or near the 15-day mark after filing the restraining order. During this time, the petitioner should gather phone records, witnesses or other evidence helpful to the case. Non-authenticated documents will not be considered unless they meet the standard for Florida rules of evidence. For this reason alone, it is vital to hire an experienced attorney so that every step is properly carried out and that the judge  caton hear and see all evidence for your protection.

Tuesday
November 28
2017

Do’s and Don’ts for new step parents

step parentsEven in the most seemingly ideal situations, the successful blending of families is often a daunting task. As a new step-parent, it’s natural to want to instantly bond with your step children and create a new family, but what approach is in the actual best interest of the children? Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind as a new step parent:

  • Don’t expect a magic flip to be switched on the instant you marry. Adapting to a new situation takes time for anyone, especially children who may still be reeling from their biological parents’ divorce.
  • Do take things slow and allow the dynamic to develop naturally. Remember, this is their world of security and familiarity, and you are new. Expect some rough patches and know that love will develop over time.
  • Don’t discuss disagreements with your spouse within earshot of the children. Children are curious and likely to blame themselves for most issues.
  • Do set aside time to discuss troublesome issues privately with your spouse. If it is an issue that involves the children, choose a time to calmly discuss the issue as a family. This prevents children from playing one parent or step parent against the other and shows a united front. Discuss expectations and rules about each member of the family’s responsibilities in a respectful, cooperative manner.
  • Don’t attempt to replace a parent. No matter what your feelings toward the former spouse may be, trying to replace them leads to strong feelings of resentment.
  • Do be a role model, source of support, encourager and mentor. Children deserve a listening and caring ear. It is never okay to disparage or bad-mouth a biological parent. When children hear one of their parents is  “bad," they believe “part of me is bad.” Keep it positive!

Take the first step.

You don’t have to do this alone.

If you need help getting through the divorce, custody or support process, then contact the offices of Benjamin J. Cox and we will be glad to help.

Or, you can call our office at (352) 343-0091.

Or, you can stop by our office in downtown Tavares, just steps from the Lake County Courthouse.

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Latest Blog Posts

Can I get child support modification?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Life changes day by day, and circumstances change. Even though you have already established a set child support amount through the court's system, if there has been a change in either parents' income, you can ask for child support modification. A modification can be short or long term depending on the individual situation. 

Read more...

How do I get away from my abuser and make sure they never hurt me again?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sadly, the leading cause of injury to women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 is domestic violence. Domestic violence injures more women than car wrecks, muggings, and sexual assault or rapes combined.

Read more...

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Our Office

Benjamin J. Cox, Attorney at Law
500 W. Caroline St.
Tavares, FL 32778

(352) 343-0091 (phone)
Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday 9am to 12pm
Special appointment times by request

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