J. Melanie Slaughter, P.A.

Ocala Criminal Defense And Family Law Blog

Important elements you should have in a parenting agreement

When you and your spouse are going through a divorce, creating a good parenting plan will take time, thought and teamwork.

You and your soon-to-be ex do not have to be friends, but you should communicate well enough that you include the parenting plan elements that are most important in terms of benefitting your children. Here are six of those elements.

Best to stick to the plan when it comes to child custody

Florida parents know that when it comes to making plans involving children, it can be difficult to stick to the proposed itinerary. Parents should be aware, however, that when it comes to child custody orders, a parent can get in big trouble for revamping the schedule without approval. Recently, music artist Kelis appears to be learning this the hard way. 

Kelis' trouble stems from a formal complaint to the court from her ex-husband and fellow musician Nas. The pair share children from their previous marriage, and have a formal child custody order to abide by. Nas has informed the court that Kelis often acts outside the confines of the order, and it is affecting his relationship with his children. 

No contact orders not always upon victim request

Florida residents may have seen the recent news stories surrounding yet another reality television star. "Mama" June Shannon, (made famous alongside former toddler beauty pageant queen daughter Alana, known and beloved the world over by her stage name, Honey BooBoo), recently found herself making headlines, and not for a good reason. Several weeks ago, Shannon and her boyfriend were arrested on various charges, and because domestic violence was suspected between the pair, no contact orders were put in place. 

Shannon is begging the court to lift the no contact orders. She claims that she needs her boyfriend's help to manage daily life, due to her continuously depleting eyesight. She also claims that on the night the pair was arrested, no violence occurred and that she was not afraid of her boyfriend, though witnesses told police otherwise. 

What about Dad? The push for paternity leave

Dads are important, and a growing number of lawmakers and advocates would like to see that reflected in new legislation. Though it is surely indisputable that being a father requires hard work and dedication, many employers still do not offer any sort of paternity leave. In fact, the United States is one of the only developed countries that still lacks paid parental leave for new parents. 

Though some private Florida companies offer unpaid paternity leave, this option may not be feasible for parents who cannot afford to take several weeks off work with no pay. A new act, called the CRADLE act, hopes to provide some relief. Recently submitted to legislators, the act, if passed, would allow new parents to draw money out of their Social Security benefits to cover the costs of a few weeks at home with the new baby. This way, hard-working mothers and fathers could opt to access the money that they have paid into the Social Security system early, and for a good cause.

Divorce requires people to adjust plans for their golden years

The end of a marriage will bring about many significant changes for a reader and his or her Florida family. From living arrangements to financial security, divorce will require adjustments in virtually every aspect of life, including retirement. This is a particularly pressing concern for people who are over the age of 50 and considering retirement in the near future.

When a couple age 50 and up decides to divorce, it is known as a gray divorce. Gray divorce is now quite common, but it is beneficial for people to consider how this step will impact their plans for their golden years. One important consideration is to factor how a divorce will impact monthly cash flow. It is also important to weigh post-divorce income versus expenses in order to determine what is needed simply to make ends meet.

Florida drivers should be on lookout for DUI checkpoints

Drinking and driving is a bad idea and puts innocent people at risk. Many times, a driver ultimately accused of DUI gets stopped by Florida law enforcement for speeding or erratic driving that appears suspicious or dangerous. Certainly, such police actions are meant to keep the driver and the general public safer. 

The threshold blood alcohol content for drunk driving in Florida is .08. For many drivers, this is tricky because they typically have no way to personally determine their BAC level before getting behind the wheel. If a driver feels as if he or she has had too much to drink, clearly a risk exists for being arrested under suspicion of DUI. 

4 divorce mistakes that could jeopardize a secure future

If you are facing a divorce, you are probably anxious to get the whole process behind you as quickly as possible. After all, a new life awaits and you want to get to it.

However, it would be unwise to be in too much of a hurry. You must protect your future, so here are four mistakes you will want to avoid.

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.

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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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