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
November 13
2018

Do You Suspect Your Ex is Hiding Assets?

ex hiding assetsIt’s never nice knowing that someone is hiding something from you. It’s an issue brought into courthouses all over; someone knows something they’re not telling. This is an especially familiar situation when it comes to divorce proceedings. Is there anything a person can do if they know their ex is hiding assets? What is the procedure to get them to unveil them (if there’s one)? Or is a lost cause if they keep concealing their wages and debts?

First and foremost, it should be said that withholding information or being dishonest when it comes to financial disclosures is illegal. But some ex-husbands or wives want to make sure they keep a secret stash or source of money secret in hopes of not having to share it with said ex. Punishment for this type of action is all up to the jurisdiction and can result in fees and various fines to be paid or even jail time for contempt of court or even perjury. Along with this sort of sentence, if the ex in question is found guilty of hiding financial information, they may be ordered to pay the court costs and lawyer fees for the other party.

In some more severe cases, if an ex is found guilty of withholding this financial information, a judge can dismiss the claims of the ex entirely. Although this may be extreme, there have been quite a few cases in where the judge ordered the other party to obtain all the assets instead of splitting them. All because of a lie, so is it worth it?

If you suspect an ex of withholding assets from you, it may be time to contact an attorney to get everything done the right and legal way.

Wednesday
October 24
2018

Remembering you with gratitude

Remembering you with gratitude

A year or so ago, I was called for jury selection in a Hartford murder case. In Connecticut, the attorneys for both sides can question prospective jurors individually. When it was my turn, the prosecuting attorney, noting my answers to the questionnaire I completed, state that it was unusual for someone to be involved in the number of lawsuits I've participated in (i.e., Florida, an age discrimination suit against Aetna, a real property dispute). She speculated that I must have a negative opinion about lawyers.

"Oh, no," I said. "I've liked all my lawyers." That was absolutely true, but you, Ben, are my favorite. You are a thinker and a strategist who thinks of all the angles. You are very good at analyzing people and relationships. While continually showing restraint in stating what positive outcomes we could expect, you nonetheless kept encouraging me to "stay in the game," which was so important. And you were always well prepared. I grew to know that I could trust you to do an excellent job on my behalf, and that you certainly did.

Many thanks for your good work, and thanks also to your staff for their part!

With best regards,
Anne Morris

Original

Tuesday
October 9
2018

Benefits of Prenup

prenup agreement floridaGetting married is a joyous occasion that takes a lot of preplanning to make sure the day is perfect. On top of setting up things for the guests, finding a venue, and the perfect dress; there’s also the legal side of it. A marriage license is a must, but something most people don’t always think of is getting a prenuptial agreement.

It seems like typically when someone hears the word “prenup"; they give off the impression that it’s only for celebrities, or the very wealthy. While a prenuptial agreement may not be for everyone, it is more widespread than one would assume. So what exactly is a prenup and what are some of the benefits of having one? Search no more; we have the right answers for you!

A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people before they are wed. It lists properties and possessions owned by the individuals getting married, as well as debts owed individually. If any of the following pertain to your situation, you may want to look into preparing a prenup agreement;

  • If you own rental properties, various homes, acres of land, etc. that were purchased before the engagement/marriage, you can list this in the contract to keep said property separate from your spouse’s property.
  • Every situation is different; a prenup can also include any unique terms that pertain to a specific situation in the relationship.
  • Debts can be treated the same as wealth when it comes to prenuptial agreements. If a spouse holds a high amount of debt that was pre-existing to the marriage, it can be included in the contract and not required to be split between both parties.
  • It can secure any messy legal fees being tossed back and forth in case of a divorce.

Prenuptial agreements have the reputation of being cast in a negative light that the thought of bringing it up could lead to arguments about trust. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as it can  help build a relationship. It makes both parties talk about serious issues like those to do with money (and let’s be honest, almost everything costs money nowadays). Communication is critical ina marriage and putting it all out on the table with a prenup contract can lay out a strong foundation for years to come.

Source 1, 2

Thursday
August 2
2018

I want a divorce, but I have no idea where my ex is.

missing spouse divorce floridaOne of the many freedoms we enjoy in America is the freedom to decide when to end a marriage. Divorce is already an emotional and complicated procedure, however, so when one spouse chooses to hide from the process, a few additional steps must be taken to complete the divorce, but divorce is possible, nonetheless.

In the state of Florida, a few actions must be taken to prove to the court that all possibilities for locating an absentee spouse were taken before filing for divorce.

Those actions include:

  • Service by Publication (or Constructive Notice)
  • Proving Diligent Search (Due Diligence)
  • Obtaining Default Judgment (Final Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage)

While Service by Publication may sound as simple as posting a notice in the newspaper and waiting the required amount of time, to fulfill Florida’s legal requirement, and in turn find favor with the Court, many more aspects are involved.

First, the Court requires you to prove that you took every possible, reasonable measure for locating our missing spouse. This proof is called Due Diligence.

Due Diligence requires that you contact your missing spouse’s employer, known associates, and family members, then follow up on any information received. Also, you may be required to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain your missing spouse’s last known address information; checking for a possible death certificate; monitoring credit or banking information that may provide information about their whereabouts; searching tax information or even hiring a private investigator.

Proving to the Court that you took all of the above steps and were still unable to locate your spouse requires that you provide the court with proof and an outline of the steps you took and their results. An affidavit is required in addition to your evidence to show every measure was made with no consequence.

At this point, you’ll contact a reputable newspaper and run a legally written ad for four consecutive weeks, order to give your spouse time to see the ad and respond. If you receive no response within 28 days, you’ll then ask the court for a Default Judgment for Final Dissolution of Marriage and a hearing to finalize your divorce process.

While the methods above are one avenue for obtaining a simple divorce, it should be used as a last resort, as it leaves no room to address issues like Child Time Sharing or Division of Marital Assets or Debts.

If you are entirely unable to locate your spouse and believe that Divorce by Publication is the best course of action to take in your situation, it is always best to contact an experienced, professional attorney to assist you in your case.

Tuesday
June 26
2018

Are the $199 divorces really legit?

divorce floridaWe’ve all seen them - billboards advertising cheap, quick divorces for just a couple hundred bucks. You may think “cheap and quick! What could be easier?” Well, unfortunately, like most things in life, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

And here’s why...

First off, divorces, by nature, often bring out the worst in two people, no matter how low conflict, amicable or friendly both parties are when the divorce starts. A cheap, uncontested divorce might start out seemingly simple. Then, the respondent is served with their copy of the petitioner’s motion, suddenly decides to get rattled and now you (the petitioner) have a very much contested divorce on your hands. So, you’ve started the ball rolling with a paralegal that you’ve likely spent very little time with, who charged you to fill out paperwork you could have downloaded on your own, and who won’t be representing you in court. Your spouse hires an actual divorce attorney, and now things have gotten messy.

The most significant mistake people make in an uncontested divorce is failing to properly outline child custody issues including future time sharing, expense sharing, medical insurance, and relocation. Using a “cheap, quick divorce” agency to deal with these issues in an uncontested divorce is never recommended and is almost guaranteed to leave you with regrets and countless more arguments in court.

Even if you and your spouse don’t have children, there are issues of money, property, and income that these “cheap, quick” agencies commonly gloss over or improperly transfer. An actual divorce attorney will go over everything with a fine-toothed comb along with providing advice, counsel, and representation in court so you’re not left “holding the bag.”

It’s also vital to remember that while these agencies may advertise “excellent customer service and support,” there is no guarantee that you’ll ever speak to an actual attorney when you contact them. Quite the contrary. It’s highly unlikely they’re a lawyer at all, and even less likely a licensed Florida attorney. 

The bottom line is that the fine print in these so-called “cheap and easy” divorces will ultimately cost you much more money and stress in the long run.

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

Do You Suspect Your Ex is Hiding Assets?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It’s never nice knowing that someone is hiding something from you. It’s an issue brought into courthouses all over; someone knows something they’re not telling. This is an especially familiar situation when it comes to divorce proceedings. Is there anything a person can do if they know their ex is hiding assets? What is the procedure to get them to unveil them (if there’s one)? Or is a lost cause if they keep concealing their wages and debts?

Read more...

Remembering you with gratitude

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A year or so ago, I was called for jury selection in a Hartford murder case. In Connecticut, the attorneys for both sides can question prospective jurors individually. When it was my turn, the prosecuting attorney, noting my answers to the questionnaire I completed, state that it was unusual for someone to be involved in the number of lawsuits I've participated in (i.e., Florida, an age discrimination suit against Aetna, a real property dispute). She speculated that I must have a negative opinion about lawyers.

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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