About Our Firm

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Since 1997 we are experienced and knowledgeable Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Stepparent/Relative Adoption, Consumer/Personal Bankruptcy & Mediation. We practice primarily in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, Carrollwood, North Tampa, Plant City and all of Tampa Bay. Our lawyers have experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions and name changes. We offer a free consultation and we are happy to discuss your case. Call or email to schedule a consult. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Parental Responsibility Evaluations

Parental responsibility and timesharing constitute one of the most emotional issues facing spouses as they divorce. Florida has made strides to equalize parental responsibility and timesharing of children in a divorce. Lawmakers have changed stigmatizing language used to describe “non-custodial” or “secondary residential” parents in an effort to focus custody disputes on shared parental responsibility. Still, it is common for parents in a divorce to want to increase their involvement with their children’s lives and decrease the role of the other parent. This tension is often the source of disagreement in designing parental responsibility and timesharing plans.
When parents cannot agree on an arrangement, then the court must step in and make a determination about parental responsibility and timesharing. Using the best interest of the child as the main goal, the court may request a parental responsibility evaluation.
What is a Parental Responsibility Evaluation?
A parental responsibility evaluation, or PRE, is an evaluation conducted by a court appointed third party, usually a psychologist. The psychologist will act as an evaluator and neutral third party to help the court resolve a custody dispute. The psychologist will make conclusions and recommendations regarding custody and timesharing. The psychologist will likely interview the child, or children, and anyone else either parent believes would be beneficial to interview.
How Much Does a PRE Cost and Who Pays for It?
The costs of a PRE vary. The court will decide which parent bears the cost of the evaluation. Typically, the court will order that parents share the cost of the evaluation.
How Do I Prepare My Child for a PRE?
Most likely, a psychologist will interview your child, or children, as part of the evaluation. Your child may be nervous about the interview. You can help your child prepare for their interview and feel less anxious by explaining what will happen in the evaluation. You may want to tell your child that they will meet with someone who wants to know about their feelings and thoughts. You do not need to coach your child for the evaluation; instead, encourage your child to be truthful and honest with the evaluator. Help your child understands that they will not be in trouble for their answers.
How Do I Prepare for a PRE?
Understandably, you may also feel nervous about meeting with a psychologist. You may find the following suggestions will help decrease your anxiety and stress:
  • Make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before the evaluation;
  • Schedule your day so that you have plenty of time to arrive at the psychologist’s office;
  • Make sure you are dressed comfortably and neatly;
  • Organize documents you need to bring a few days before the evaluation; and
  • Write down any questions you maybe have so that you will remember to ask them.
Knowing the process of a parenting responsibility evaluation will also help ease the stress of the evaluation. Get the guidance you need by contacting the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Frequently Asked Questions about Florida Protective Orders in Divorces or Separations

Some divorces or separations are smooth, painless, or mutual. Most can be difficult, time consuming, and maybe even hurtful. But a few can be downright dangerous. In cases in which a divorce or separation is pending, Florida law provides for the issuance of protective orders (orders of protection, or injunctions for protection, or restraining orders are all names for this court document). If you believe you may be in need of an order of protection and have some questions about how the process works or what the process does, continue reading to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Florida orders of protection.
Are There Different Types of Protective Orders in Florida? Which One Should I Get?
Florida law provides for four different types of orders of protection against violence, each applicable for a different circumstance: domestic, repeat, dating, and sexual. If you’re considering petitioning for an order of protection pertaining to your divorce or separation, you will be seeking a domestic violence protective order. This will be true even if you are seeking protection from sexual violence or from activities that would fall under one of the other categories of orders.
How Do I Know if I Can Apply for One?
In Florida, the legal standard for who may apply for a protective order is determined based on whether the applicant “has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence”. A judge will make this determination based on things like threats, harassment, stalking, physical abuse, abuse of children or pets, the use or threat of use of weapons, and whether there was a prior order of protection in place.
How Long Will the Protective Order Last?
The order’s length may be temporary (usually used to provide immediate protection quickly after filing) and last a number of days. During that time, you’ll be able to prepare for a full hearing with a judge to decide whether you will be issued a final order of protection, the length of which could span a year, more, or have no expiration date at all.
What Will the Order Protect Me From?
Florida protective orders may order your spouse or ex-spouse to stay away from your home or place of business. It may order him or her to leave the home you both share, to relinquish custody of children to you, or even to go to treatment or counseling (for which he or she will need to pay). The judge will decide what terms will be in the order.
How Should I Go About Pursuing an Order of Protection?
If you or someone you care about is in danger of experiencing or has experienced domestic violence, the first step should be finding a safe place to be. But after prioritizing the individual’s life and health, legal avenues for relief can be considered, including protective orders. The help of an experienced family attorney can ease the stress and difficulty of the process. Contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+