J. Melanie Slaughter, P.A.

Ocala Criminal Defense And Family Law Blog

Matters of paternity do not always involve minor children

Florida parents know that, when a child is born, there are many legal matters that must be attended to. Custody arrangements and matters of paternity must be handled by a court of law. Establishing paternity is a simple but important step that, if neglected, can affect people far into adulthood.

Many people may be familiar with actor William Shatner. Best known for his role on the television series "Star Trek," Shatner is a familiar face the world over. Many people may not be aware that a Florida man has insisted for years, despite evidence to the contrary, that Shatner is his biological father, and he seeks to legally change his last name to match that of the famous actor. 

Serious consequences for breaking no contact orders

Florida residents may have personal experience, or perhaps a close friend who has experienced the sort of stress that can arise when a younger family member is struggling with serious issues. Many find it difficult to draw the line, admitting that, despite his or her unconditional love, he or she can do nothing to help the troubled person. On some occasions, a family member may strike out in anger, and though people want to help, they may obtain no contact orders for personal safety.

Recently, a Florida grandmother did everything she could for her grandson -- a young man in his 20s -- who by all accounts was a rather troubled young man. The man's behavior included criminal charges like theft but sadly grew progressively worse, until he committed an act of violence against the grandmother. The grandmother attempted to cover for the man, saying her visible injuries were the result of a fall, but experts knew better, and the man was served with a no contact order. 

Reality show star Kathryn Dennis battles for child custody

Florida parents who divorce or who were never married but have children together often have to negotiate co-parenting plans when they decide to end their relationships. If said parents disagree about child custody or other parenting issues, it may lead to litigation, with each parent doing his or her best to win the court's favor. Such is the case for "Southern Charm" stars Kathryn Dennis and Thomas Ravenel, who are currently engaged in a contentious battle for custody of their two children.

Judges in this state and elsewhere typically believe that most children fare best when provided opportunity to spend ample time with each parent in divorce situations or those where unmarried parents have decided to end their romantic partnerships. In some circumstances, however, a judge may determine that a parent is placing his or her children at risk and therefore is unfit for custody. Dennis is trying to convince the court that Ravenel should not have custody because he has been accused of sexual assault.

DUI enforcement leads to accusations against officer

Though the winter months are commonly referred to as "the holiday season," law enforcement has given these weeks another moniker. "DUI season" is upon us, and Florida law enforcement is in high alert as they attempt to spot drivers who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Though statistics do indicate that the winter months yield a higher number of DUI arrests, some of the accused may be victims of overzealous police action. 

Recently, Florida police assembled a special task force to weed out drivers who may be under the influence. Deputies were surprised to find one of the drivers they suspected was one of their own. The man -- a fellow police officer -- was reported to be driving in a way that police felt warranted a traffic stop.

How to lower your child support obligation

From the court fees to the loss in marital property, divorce tends to be an expensive process that changes your finances for the worse for a while. It is even more overwhelming when you are the one who has to pay child support to your ex. It can become hard to keep up on payments when you experience struggles in life.

However, not paying can lead to severe penalties, such as losing your driver's license, which you need to keep your job. What can you do to make the payments more affordable? If you can show eligibility, you can request the court to modify the child support amount you pay.

How long will my divorce take? Well, it depends

It is estimated that 13% of Florida adults are divorced. Though people may choose divorce for a variety of reasons, in Florida, there are two types. An uncontested divorce means that both parties are in agreement, and these sorts of proceedings may only take a few weeks. In the case of the other option, a contested divorce, the process may take several years to complete. 

In order to qualify for an uncontested divorce, both parties must have reached an agreement on their own for all aspects involved. This includes matters such as division of property, alimony and child custody. These divorces may be final in a little more than a month. 

No contact orders protect victims

Florida residents may be able to recall a time in life in which they had cause to fear another person. If someone has been abused, harassed or otherwise harmed by an individual, he or she may want to look into no contact orders. A no contact order is a legal document signed by a judge and enforceable by law, preventing an aggressor from having any further communication with a victim. 

No contact orders can help prevent future abuse or harassment. When a person gets an order against another party, that person can rest assured that if the party in question violates the order in any way, he or she can face serious consequences. Police treat violations of no contact orders like a crime, and a person who violates one faces arrest and criminal prosecution. 

Local sheriff named in paternity suit

Florida parents may know that when they are expecting a child, there is more to preparation than buying clothes, blankets and toys. Legally, when a child is born, paternity must be established. If the parents are married, the husband is presumed to be the father. If parents are not married and the child is born out of wedlock, paternity must be established another way. 

Recently, a local sheriff was named as the defendant in a paternity suit filed by a Florida woman, pending the birth of her child next year. The woman explains that she was romantically involved with the man, and the pair then conceived a child. The sheriff had allegedly urged the woman to terminate the pregnancy, but she refused. 

How to handle child custody disputes

Many Florida parents may be familiar with the stress that can occur when an argument about custody arises. Sometimes it can be quite difficult for parents to discuss custody, and when there is a dispute, a situation can quickly escalate. Parents should be aware that when it comes to child custody disputes, it is often not a good idea to try to handle it alone. 

Recently, two parents began to argue about child custody arrangements via text message. Neither of them was willing to budge, and the situation quickly became serious. The father, angered by his ex, decided to drive to her home where she lives with their children and her new boyfriend. 

Could drug court help keep you out of jail?

As a Florida resident facing a drug charge, concerns about whether you may have to spend some time behind bars might be keeping you up at night. Drugs have the capacity to make good people act in ways they otherwise would not, but drug courts seek to combat this problem by targeting the drug addiction itself, which is frequently the root cause of criminal behavior.

According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, there are currently about 3,000 drug courts in operation in the United States. While they are not yet in place in all areas, they are becoming an increasingly important part of the justice system as more and more communities begin to recognize just how effective they can be at combatting addiction and crime.

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J. Melanie Slaughter, P.A.
2337 E. Silver Springs Blvd.
Ocala, FL 34470

Phone: 352-414-5945
Phone: 352-414-5945
Fax: 352-789-6969
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