August 24

A Few Do's and Don'ts for New Step Parents

Even 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!



July 13

How They Decide Who Gets the Family Pet in a Divorce in Florida

pets and divorceSo, you are going through a divorce. You and your former spouse have agreed on how to divide your personal property. You decide on what becomes of the home, cars, and bank accounts. But who gets the family dog, cat, or other pets?

You may be surprised by the answer.

The issue of pets in a divorce is fever officially addressed in divorce court. Our "furry family members" are treated as property. They are given a monetary value and are subjected to the laws of equitable distribution.

Much like all other personal property, if you can prove that your pet is your separate (non-marital) property - meaning you acquired the pet before you were married - you have a solid case for keeping your pet. However, it is best to have physical proof that your pet was acquired premaritally.

Examples of tangible proof of ownership include:

  • A copy of your bill of sale
  • A bill dated before marriage that preferably refers to your pet by name or breed
  • Receipts for pet supplies or pet food

These would substantiate your claim that you owned the pet before your marriage.
If your pet was given only to you as a gift by a person other than your spouse, the case could be made that your pet should stay with you. However, there is some difficulty in proving the receipt of the gift.

Given the nature of Florida law, the issue of pet ownership is best resolved outside of the courtroom. Ask yourself, while looking forward to your life after divorce, if you want the responsibility of owning a pet. Try to agree with your former spouse to determine who is best equipped to care for your animal. Consider your resources, daily schedule, and living arrangements. If minor children are involved, it is best to consider what role your furry family member plays in their lives.

For a consultation on this or other Family and Divorce Law matters, contact Cox Law Firm, PA.

June 1

The Effects of Quarantine and Marriage

covid divorceThe historical Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and forced many of us to live every moment of our lives in our homes. This has created an uncharted territory, stirring up new anxiety for those not used to a more quiet life with less social interaction other than family members. This undoubtedly has created a strain on many marriages, for couples not used to spending 24/7 in each other's company. Some experts have predicted a rise in divorces before the end of the year.

At first, the thought of working from home sounded like an ideal vacation; get up whenever you like, wear your pajamas all day, pet your cat at your desk. For many, over the past few weeks, the "staycation" quickly faded into a weird scene from the movie "Ground Hog's Day." Every day feels like the last with no escape in sight. If your spouse is getting on your nerves, you are not alone.

In most families, mom and dad get up, kiss each other goodbye, and go off to their separate lives. They converge in the evening and enjoy the quality time together and cherish each other's company. Now with the stay at home orders still in place, married couples are starting to get on each other's last nerves. They are not used to having their partner around every second of the day. Once happy marriages are beginning to see a strain. Marriages on the rocks have solidified the notion that divorce is the only option to hold on to a little sanity.

When you add cabin fever to financial stress with your spouse crunching Cheetos in your ear, things can seem a little overwhelming. However, there are things you can do to help minimize getting on each other's nerves. Try as much as possible to create your own spaces, especially when it comes to working and downtime. Pretend you are still getting up and going to work, you go to your part of the house, and your spouse goes to theirs. Take solo walks and find a hobby that can be done alone. In the evening, the two of you can come together for dinner and a relaxing Netflix flick.

While making sure you have your own space necessary, it is also a good idea to make use of this time doing the things you always wanted to do with your partner but never seem to have the time. Dance in the living room, play board games with the kids and plan a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars on your patio. This could be a perfect time to reconnect with the person you fell in love with.

The good thing to remember is that the stay at home orders are just temporary. Our lives will return to normal, or as normal as they can get under the circumstances. Kids will hopefully go back to school at the end of Summer, and you and your spouse will get back to a routine of your own.

April 20

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

florida divorce costIn the United States, 40 to 50 percent of marriages end up getting a divorce. But how much does a divorce cost? And in the state of Florida?

How much it costs depends on which state you live in and what is involved, like children. For most couples, divorce can cost up to $15,000 or maybe even more. Divorces can be costly, really only depending on the circumstance.

A simple divorce can maybe only cost up to a few hundred dollars. Lawyers are also sometimes not needed during divorces. If you and your spouse do not have children or are not having significant disagreements, then a mediator would be much more effective, and easy to afford for you rather than a lawyer.

Children can make a difference in your divorce. You and your spouse may argue over custody, and overall it can cost way more.

Getting a divorce can be costly, but it all depends on your situation. If you ever feel the need to get a divorce, consider the circumstances and the money that will be spent.

March 6

What’s the Best Way to Tell Your Significant Other That You Want a Divorce

florida divorceDivorce is a tough thing to go through, and it can be not very easy to get the process started as it is going through all the parts. So how do you break it to your spouse that your marriage is over?

You've no doubt been thinking hard on the topic. You may have even confided in other family, friends, colleagues, or clergy for help. Perhaps you've also been trying to work things out in therapy, but it's just not working. So what should you do, and how?

Don’t Blindside Your Spouse

You may be in a relationship where your spouse is clueless about your feelings of wanting to end your marriage. But you owe it to them and yourself to make the whole process as easy as possible for everyone involved, and that begins with not coming out of nowhere with this news. This could be devastating to your spouse and could make moving forward increasingly difficult. Keep communication open as much as possible.


Hopefully, you know your significant other well enough to understand how they might handle divorce news. Some will take it better than others, and when you might tell them could matter too. You are probably familiar with when to tell your spouse terrible news and have it go over smoother than at another time. Take that into account. When you do break the news, make sure you communicate your feelings clearly and honestly but also kindly. Don't blame anyone. This can be a very jarring experience for people.

Be calm, direct and kind

Your spouse is someone you once loved. You owe it to them and yourself to be kind. Especially if you have children with this person, you may end up having to coexist for some time to come.

Be safe

If you’re concerned your spouse will not react well to the divorce news, you may want to consider breaking the news in a public place, or with a third party present like a therapist. You might not be able to control how your spouse reacts to this news, but there’s always a way to help deescalate the situation and show understanding.

Be serious

Please don't joke about it. It's a serious matter and requires zero humor or threats of divorce if you do not mean it. Take it seriously.

Call us today if you need any help with divorce issues with your spouse.