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
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.

Tuesday
May 22
2018

Grandparents Rights

grandparents rights divorceAs grandparents, one of the biggest joys in life is getting to be around their grandchildren. Some grandparents get to see quite a bit of their grandkids, but sometimes issues between the mother and father can cause concern. What exactly are the rights of grandparents when it comes to seeing or being with their grandchildren after a divorce? What if one of the parents doesn’t get visiting rights, will the grandparents on that side of the family be allowed to see the children? Although it may vary from state to state, here you will find a basic answer to these inquiries.

Grandparents DO have rights, but only in special circumstances. Generally, during a typical divorce, custody of the child/children is split amongst the parents. So long as there is one parent of sound mind and body, who can care for the child, will care for the child. This means the grandparents hold no legal reason to have visitation with the child/children in question. The special circumstances mentioned before are as follows; If both parents are deceased, missing, or in a medically vegetative state, then the grandparents will gain full custody of the child/children in question if the home is fit. Another circumstance is similar but where only one of the parents is deceased, missing, or in a medically vegetative state and the other parent is incarcerated or produces some threat of harm to the child/children in question. It that case, the grandparents would again have the rights if deemed fit.

Unfortunately, as far as the state of Florida goes, that is the extent of the rights of grandparents and grandchildren. This, however, is not that case for every state, such as in Connecticut and Delaware, where a grandparent can be deemed rights to see their grandchild/children if it’s deemed in the child’s best interest.

Basically, during a typical divorce in Florida, it is up to the parents of the child to make sure their grandparents are involved in their lives or not. Rights for the grandparents are sparse, but it is possible to make sure both grandparents and their grandchildren are in each other’s lives. 

Source

 

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.

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

Are the $199 divorces really legit?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

We’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.”

Read more...

Grandparents Rights

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

As grandparents, one of the biggest joys in life is getting to be around their grandchildren. Some grandparents get to see quite a bit of their grandkids, but sometimes issues between the mother and father can cause concern. What exactly are the rights of grandparents when it comes to seeing or being with their grandchildren after a divorce? What if one of the parents doesn’t get visiting rights, will the grandparents on that side of the family be allowed to see the children? Although it may vary from state to state, here you will find a basic answer to these inquiries.

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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