Posts

Judge Daniel H. Sleet Joins Hillsborough County Family Law Bench

Judge Daniel H. Sleet

Beginning November 14, 2011, Judge Daniel H. Sleet will be assigned to Division D of the Domestic Relations section of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, Florida.  Judge Sleet comes from the criminal division, where he has served since being appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in 2006.

Judge Sleet graduated from Furman University in 1984 with a B.A. in History and received his law degree at Cumberland School of Law in 1987.  He served as an Assistant State Attorney from 1987 to 1991 and was in private practice from 1991-2006.

Judge Sleet has been active in various local and national organizations, including the American Board of Trial Advocates, Hillsborough County Bar Association, and Furman Football Players Association.  Judge Sleet is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, South Tampa Fellowship Church, and Mitchell Elementary Dad’s Club.

Judge Sleet’s assignment to the family law division was announced in Hillsborough County Administrative Order 2011-053, signed by Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., on November 2, 2011.

Text of Changes to the Alimony Statute

On July 1, 2011, changes to section 61.08, Florida Statutes (the “Alimony Statute”) went into effect.  These changes narrow the circumstances under which permanent, periodic alimony will be awarded.  Below you will find the affected portions of the Alimony Statute, with the new language underlined:

61.08 Alimony.—

(2)        In determining whether to award alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance under subsections (5)-(8), the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

Read more

New York Recognizes Gay Marriage. Do Floridians Have Options?

Beginning July 24, 2011, gay couples in New York will be able to apply for a marriage license.  This will make New York the sixth and largest state to recognize gay marriage.

Florida, unlike New York, does not permit gay marriage, nor does it recognize civil unions.  But there are things that partners can do to symbolize their love for one another and create certain rights and responsibilities.  You just have to be creative.

Let me give you an example.  One of the services that my firm offers is that we represent clients in name change matters.  I have heard all different reasons why a client wants a name change, including that he or she (a) has done some things he or she is not proud of and wants to turn a new leaf, (b) wants to take on the qualities of a religious or historical figure by taking on part of that figure’s name, and (c) simply does not like his or her name.

One day, a young woman came in for a consultation, and she had a touching story to tell me.  She said that she had been dating her partner for several years, and that they wanted to get married.  But, of course, Florida does not permit gay marriage.  However, this woman decided to declare her love and commitment by legally taking on her partner’s last name.  I was able to guide her through the judicial process of symbolically affirming her dedication to her partner through a name change.

Read more

Local Judge Recipient of “Making A Difference” Award

The Honorable Emily A. Peacock

The Honorable Emily A. Peacock of Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) has been selected by The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section to receive its “Making a Difference” Award for January 2011:

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar is pleased to congratulate Judge Peacock, and it thanks her for her past and continued efforts on behalf of the children and families of Florida.

Emily A. Peacock has been admitted to practice law in Florida for approximately 30 years. Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Judge Peacock attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the school in 1978.  While she was a student at the University, in addition to her various student activities and employment, she volunteered at the Nashville Veterans Administration Hospital.  She then went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law in 1980.

Read more

Modification of Child Support: Don’t Avoid Paying

It’s human nature to want to avoid unpleasant experiences.  That’s why there are so many cavities and income tax extension requests.  However, one thing that people should not avoid is paying court-ordered child support.

Not everyone follows this advice.  According to the Trumball Patch, one man faces two years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine, on top of the $175,000.00 he owes in back child support.  Apparently, his aversion to paying child support persisted since 1993.

If you have been ordered to pay child support, and there has been a substantial change in circumstances that has affected your ability to pay, in Florida you may have the option of seeking a modification of your child support order.

Read more

Video: Professor Atwood Discusses Changes in Family Law Part 3

Barbara Atwood of the University of Arizona discusses how family law has changed in this video from Divorce TV:

Video: Professor Atwood Discusses Changes in Family Law Part 2

Barbara Atwood of the University of Arizona discusses how family law has changed in this video from Divorce TV:

Video: Professor Atwood Discusses Changes in Family Law Part 1

Barbara Atwood of the University of Arizona discusses how family law has changed in this video from Divorce TV:

 

Two New Additions to Hillsborough County’s Family Law Bench

Two judges have recently joined Hillsborough County’s Family Law/Domestic Relations Division.  Below you will find brief profiles:

The Honorable Cheryl K. Thomas

The Honorable Cheryl K. Thomas joined the Family Law Division in January 2011.  Judge Thomas was initially appointed to the bench in December of 2000 and then elected in September 2002.  Judge Thomas has also served in the county criminal and county civil courts.

Judge Thomas has been involved in the following organizations:

  • Progress Village Little League;
  • Coalition of 100 Black Women;
  • Greater Friendship M.B. Church; and
  • Women’s Army Corps.

The Honorable Thomas P. Barber

The Honorable Thomas P. Barber joined the Family Law Division in January 2011.  Judge Barber was initially appointed to the bench in 2004 and then elected in 2006.  Judge Barber has also served in the circuit criminal and county criminal courts, as well as the Election Canvassing Board.

Judge Barber has authored numerous articles and taught complex litigation and trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at Stetson Law School.  Further, Judge Thomas has been involved in the following organizations:

  • Meals on Wheels;
  • Tampa Crossroads;
  • Bay Area Legal Services; and
  • Cub Scouts.

Video: Another Warning About Facebook and Divorce

The following video from Fox 25 out of Boston warns family law litigants of the dangers of posting information on social networking sites such as Facebook: