Orange County Law Blog

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We can help with support order modifications

Getting to the end of a contentious divorce can be a relief to a Winter Park resident. After months of negotiations, hearings, reviews of evidence and other necessary legal steps a person may feel as though a huge burden has been lifted off of their shoulders once their divorce is finalized. For some, the legal end of a marriage may mean the end of dealing with a former partner. For others, negotiations about lingering martial issues may require divorced parties to work together again.

One issue that can bring previously married people back to court is the modification of a child support order. There are many reasons that a child support order may need to be changed. A child may require more support due to a change in their health or other needs. A parent may lose a job or be forced to take a pay cut which could directly impact their ability to pay the full amount of their order. Whatever the reason, when a child's best interests may be threatened by a child support order that does not meet their needs it can be imperative for parents to rework the order's terms to provide their child with the best possible support.

Senate considers harsh fentanyl sentences, but will they work?

Criminal justice reformers were alarmed last month when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a return to the policy of seeking harsh, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. His announcement reversed an Obama-era policy of limiting mandatory minimums for low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenders. That policy had been put in place, in part, in response to several states having legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. Even more states have legalized marijuana now.

As we discussed on this blog last month, Obama's policy was also meant to reduce mass incarceration. Mandatory minimum drug sentences, especially for simple possession, are thought to be filling our jails with non-dangerous people at great cost to them, their families, and the taxpayer.

High court: Non-military spouse loses if ex waives retirement pay

"The question is complicated, but the answer is not," explained Justice Stephen Breyer in a recent appeal of a divorce issue. The case before the U.S. Supreme Court is indeed a bit complicated to explain, but basically stands for the principle that federal law trumps state law where they disagree.

The case involved the 1991 divorce of John, a 20-year veteran of the Air Force, and his wife Sandra. As they divided their property, they agreed that Sandra was entitled to half of John's Air Force retirement pay.

Convicted of DUI? You may have reason to file an appeal

Having charges leveled against you for DUI can seem like a confusing and distressing situation. Even though you may have made the effort to defend yourself against the allegations, the court may have ruled against you and convicted you of the DUI charges. You may feel like your legal journey ends there and that you have no choice but to accept the consequences. However, you may have the opportunity to appeal that decision.

If you hope to appeal a conviction or sentencing relating to a conviction, you may wish to begin that process as soon after the initial ruling as possible. If you wait too long, your window of opportunity may close, and you could miss your chance at an appeal.

Geek Squad over-enthusiastic in quest to help law enforcement

A man got the shock of his life in 2011 when he brought his computer in for service by the Geek Squad and ended up being charged with possession of child pornography. Luckily for him, a federal judge tossed out the evidence as inadmissible.

As you can imagine, an accusation that you had child porn on your computer wreaks havoc on your life, and not everyone who is accused is guilty. Unfortunately, false accusations are made, in the midst of contentious child custody battles, out of animus or vengeance, or simply due to a misunderstanding.

Federal prosecutors will be seeking tougher drug sentences

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a policy memo last Friday directing U.S. Attorneys to seek the harsh, mandatory minimum sentences available under federal drug laws. Previously, Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder had urged federal prosecutors to avoid the harshest sentences for street-level users and other nonviolent offenders.

The Obama Administration, noting that several states had passed marijuana decriminalization laws, issued its policy memo in 2013. When prosecuting someone for mere drug possession and absent violence or a long criminal history, U.S. Attorneys were urged to leave the quantity of drugs involved out of their sentencing recommendations. This simply served to remind judges that they already have the authority to ignore Congress's mandatory sentencing laws.

What does mediation have to offer in divorce? Privacy, creativity

If you're going through a divorce in Florida, the judge assigned to your case may urge you -- or require you -- to try to settle your issues of disagreement through mediation before you ask the judge to decide them. The reason is that the Florida courts encourage the use of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation and ADR not only save court time and money, but they can also provide a more positive way forward from divorce.

One of the main reasons is that mediation is typically a friendlier, less adversarial process than courtroom litigation. You and your ex sit down with a mediator, who is a neutral third party. The mediator's job is not to decide who's right or make any decisions for you. Instead, the mediator is there to help you communicate better, organize yourselves, and come up with your own solution to the issues of shared parenting property division and support.

4 necessary steps that protect your retirement after a divorce

If you've recently concluded divorce proceedings, you're probably ready to put the turmoil behind you and move on in a more positive way. You're almost there!

There are just a few crucial steps left to wrap things up -- and don't skip them. These action items will make sure all goes as well as possible during retirement and at the end of your life.

What may custody of the children look like following divorce?

Determining who gets to keep the children is one of the biggest sticking points during a divorce proceeding in Florida. Unfortunately, fighting over child custody can take a toll on both parents emotionally. It can also be burdensome for the children involved, no matter how old or young they may be.

A few different types of child custody exist for parents and guardians. If two parents are able to create their own parenting agreement in Louisiana, they can decide together how the custody of the children will be handled. Otherwise, a court will make that determination based on what it deems to be in the best interests of the child.

Florida House unanimously passes new restrictions on fentanyl

The Florida House of Representatives has unanimously passed HB 477, which criminalizes fentanyl trafficking and would allow drug dealers to be charged with manslaughter if their wares contribute to a death. The corresponding Senate bill, SB 150, was confirmed 7-0 in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting a hearing in the full Senate.

What would the new law have to say about fentanyl and carfentanil?

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