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Fort Myers Legal Issues Blog

Reasons to modify a Florida child support order

If you are considering or in the process of ending your marriage, then you know that there are several legal issues that you have to address. Unless you are fortunate enough to end your marriage on amicable and cooperative terms, then a number of these issues can become quite contentious. Amongst them is child support. This financial obligation is meant to ensure that children and their custodial parents have the financial resources needed following a divorce, but it sometimes is either insufficient for the custodial parent or overly burdensome for the noncustodial parent. This is when child support modification may be warranted.

Under Florida law, a child support order can be modified if a parent can show substantial life changes. Usually this involves a noncustodial parent losing his or her job or seeing a decrease in wages. In these circumstances, a court may decrease the amount owed under a child support order so that it is more manageable for the noncustodial parent. This, in turn, may prevent arrearages from building up and deterring the noncustodial parent from making any payments at all. A modification may be warranted under other conditions as well, such as when a child's financial needs become greater because he or she becomes ill or disabled.

Domestic violence can take many forms

It can be hard to leave an abusive relationship. This is because domestic violence can proliferate a relationship, warping an individual's perception of his or her abusive relationship. This can prove dangerous, as a victim may be willing to stay with or return to an individual who puts his or her safety and well-being at risk. For this reason, it is important that Floridians learn to recognize the signs of domestic violence so that, if the time comes, they can develop a plan to escape their situation.

Domestic violence manifests in various ways. The most obvious is physical in nature. Here, a perpetrator may bite, scratch, punch, push or even strangle an individual. Not all physical abuse leaves marks, though, so it is sometimes hard for victims and those around them to differentiate when a line has been crossed into domestic violence. Yet, physical abuse can be broadly defined, and may include threats of harm, acts that intentionally disrupt one's sleep pattern and destroying an individual's possessions.

Common ways to suppress evidence in drug cases

Drug charges are serious. Depending on the specifically alleged crimes, an individual can be threatened with jail or prison time, enormous fines, and a criminal record that can affect just about every aspect of his or her life. With so much on the line, those who are accused of drug crimes need to be active in seeking out a competent criminal defense. This is true even if it seems like the evidence stacked against an individual is insurmountable.

This is because sometimes the evidence that is relied upon by prosecutors can be suppressed, meaning that it can't be used against an individual in court. Evidence is most often suppressed when it has been collected subsequent to a Fourth Amendment violation, meaning that there was an illegal search or seizure. While the police are able to obtain a warrant to search an individual's home, car, or property, there are a number of justifications for a warrantless search. This is usually where Fourth Amendment violations occur. Even evidence is gathered subsequent to one of these violations, then all of that evidence, even if otherwise admissible at trial, is deemed inadmissible.

Being proactive during asset division

Facing divorce can raise many concerns about your future. Aside from issues involving your children, perhaps one of your primary concerns is how you will fare during asset division. After all, your future financial stability may hinge on obtaining a fair share of marital assets during your divorce. It is not unusual for a spouse to struggle for years following a divorce if he or she does not fight for a more favorable outcome.

Getting your portion of marital assets is not something you should leave to chance, and it may not be something your future ex will concede to easily. It begins with learning as much as you can about the laws in Florida and understanding how those laws pertain to your unique circumstances. This knowledge will help you take the appropriate steps to prepare for property division in your divorce.

Accused of drunk driving? Legal help is available

Fort Myers-area police are constantly trying to crack down on drunk driving. They keep their eyes out for minor traffic offenses that may allow them to administer field sobriety tests, and they oftentimes establish sobriety checkpoints to try to catch individuals in the act. Those who are arrested on allegations of drunk driving can face the potential of serious penalties. Depending on the facts at hand, jail and extensive fines are a very real possibility, and so, too, is mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and licenses suspension. A drunk driving conviction can also cause extensive damage to an individual's reputation, thereby affecting his or her ability to secure future employment and even housing.

Oftentimes prosecutors claim to have iron-clad cases against those who are accused of drunk driving. They rely on the testimony of police officers, observations made during field sobriety tests, and the results of breathalyzer tests. Sure, some of this evidence may seem pretty condemning, but these evidentiary forms are far from perfect, which is why Floridians who face allegations of drunk driving may want an aggressive and competent criminal defense attorney on their side.

Florida's penalties for domestic violence

It is not uncommon for people who spend a lot of time together to have disagreements. Spouses, dating partners, siblings and parents and their children can all butt heads over a variety of issues. Most often, these disputes end with harsh words and bitter feelings and the damage heals over time. In some instances, though, these disagreements turn into physical altercations. When this happens, allegations of criminal wrongdoing can be raised. Failing to aggressively defend one's self against such charges may result in the imposition of serious penalties.

An individual who is convicted of domestic battery can face not only serious penalties, but also multiple penalties. Of course, conviction can lead to time spent behind bars, whether in county jail or a state prison. Also, though, a conviction usually results in the imposition of mandatory participation in a 26-week batterer's intervention program. Failing to complete this program may lead to additional penalties.

Substance abuse can justify child custody modification

Child custody and visitation agreements are often the most prized and contentious items in family law. Most people love their children and will do anything to protect them. Issues can arise, though, when individuals differ over what they think is best for their child. When those differences can't be resolved through informal discussions, then the matter must be taken to court so that a judge can decide what type of arrangement supports the child's best interests.

Quite often here in Florida, these child custody cases revolve around substance abuse issues. Parental substance abuse can have a profound effect on a child. Children in homes where substance abuse occurs can be at an increased risk of being subjected to abuse or neglect, and these kids may also wind up experiencing housing instability and other familial financial issues like unemployment. These children can also face stunted emotional development, depression and anxiety, and even the onset of their own substance abuse issues.

Drunk driving conviction and the substance abuse course

Most Floridians know that a drunk driving conviction can result in serious penalties, including the suspension or revocation of one's driver's license, hefty fines, and even jail time. As severe as these penalties are, an individual can also be subjected to other, lesser known penalties, such as the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Yet, the penalties don't stop there. Once convicted of drunk driving and serving any jail time, an individual will be placed on probation, which requires monthly reporting. In addition, an individual must complete a substance abuse course. This course must include a psychosocial evaluation, which could have recommendations with which the convicted individual must comply. So, if the evaluation recommends substance abuse treatment, then the convicted individual must seek out treatment and pay for all costs associated with that treatment.

Helping children of divorce secure emotional and mental stability

The end of a marriage is a difficult process, even for Florida readers who are amicable and committed to working through issues in a rational, thoughtful manner. No matter how easy a divorce may be, it will still impact the youngest members of the family. In fact, children often bear the scars of their parents' divorce years, even decades, after it was final. 

As a parent, it is logical to have concerns about how the decision to divorce will shape who your children become and how they function as adults. While the end of your marriage will affect your kids, there are things you can do that will minimize the negative impact and allow them to have a strong and stable future. One of the most important things you can do will be to keep your focus on the future for your children and what is best for them long-term.

Cape Coral man arrested on multiple drug charges

The law provides Floridians with a presumption of innocence until they are proven guilty of a criminal offense. This is no small thing. It shifts the burden to the state to present competent evidence that meets certain legal elements. Remembering this fact can give defendants the perspective needed to aggressively attack the prosecution's case, which may include limiting the prosecution's attempts to use an individual's criminal history as proof of guilt for a later offense.

One Cape Coral man may be in this situation now after being taken into custody on multiple drug charges. According to reports, authorities claim to have intercepted an international package that was destined for the man's residence, which they say contained a significant amount of ecstasy. Police then executed a search of the man's residence; they claim they found fentanyl, two guns, thousands of dollars in cash, and drug paraphernalia. These reports also pointed out the man's multiple prior felony convictions.

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Ian F. Mann, P.A.
1424 Dean Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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