All posts filed under: Okaloosa County

The quick and cheap divorce is not a myth, but it may cost you a lot!

Many of the people who contact me for representation in a contested divorce case are interacting with the legal system for the first time.  That’s usually a good thing.  Sometimes they’ve called other attorneys before calling me, and have already learned that the legal fees associated with a contested divorce can range from expensive to really expensive, depending on the issues presented, the degree of animosity and the particular attorney(s) they contacted.  They’re often looking for the best deal available, and I can’t say I blame them.  But here’s a bit of hard truth about the high legal fees associated with a contested divorce…  If you’re involved in a contested divorce, you don’t want it to be cheap. Let’s start with the definition of a contested divorce.  Simply put, in a contested divorce, the parties do not agree on one or more of the issues.  What are the issues you ask?  Custody, visitation, child support, property division and spousal support.  Important, often life-altering stuff.  If the parties to a divorce agree on all of these issues, …

Abused and Neglected Children: Who’s watching out for them these days?

I’ve met a lot of foster children over the years.  The vast majority of them are there for reasons that I could explain, but never justify.  Drugs, neglect and worst of all outright abuse put thousands of children in foster care every year.  I could tell war story after heart breaking war story all day, but in the end those children will still end up in foster care.  Still others are abused, but are able to escape foster care by landing a placement with a relative.  While the case is heard in court, and until the case is closed, somebody will be responsible for watching over these children, listening to them, advocating for them at court and, in general, helping them through a terrible chapter in their lives by protecting their best interests.  The person charged with that responsibility is called a Guardian ad litem, or GAL for short. The GAL is simply the most important player in any family law case.  The GAL is appointed to represent the child(ren), and to make recommendations to the court that …

Want to keep custody of your child? Good, but you may want to keep the child in Florida!

I had an opportunity to help a struggling mother in Florida who was involved in a custody battle with her child’s paternal grandparents. The child had gone to visit the grandparents, who lived in Alabama, but the child never came back. During the week-long visit, the grandparents filed a dependency petition against the mother, in Alabama, and refused to return the child. The petition alleged that the child was abused and neglected by the mother while in her custody, that the father was deployed on active military duty, and that they needed a custody order from the Alabama court to take care of the child. They obtained temporary custody at an initial hearing in the case, and the mother’s case went down hill from there. Another state can exercise jurisdiction over a Florida child, but generally that jurisdiction will only exist on an emergency basis until the case can be transferred to the child’s home state. If any jurisdiction existed in Alabama, it would have been temporary or emergency jurisdiction under Alabama’s version of the …

A New Legal Blog, for a New Day and Time

Like many in the legal profession, my career has taken me from one controversy to another.  My career as a family law and appellate attorney has allowed me to observe children prosper in the right environment, and suffer in heart-breaking circumstances.  I’ve seen good people do good things for both noble and despicable reasons, and I’ve seen would-be professionals neglect all manner of professionalism.  Most importantly, I’ve seen friends, colleagues and complete strangers use every ounce of their professional skill to help other people advance in life. It takes a lot to surprise me at this stage of my career, but hopefully I can relay enough to surprise you.