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Joanna Marie Mitchell
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Joanna Mitchell’s Answers

1,058 total


  • My husband is in prison do I have right to see or have custody of his children?

    My step kids mother recently married another man they moved out of state. Recently we found out their mom committed suicide. After the news her mom drove from Orlando to pick up the kids. They are now here with her. I reside in Orlando as well but...

    Joanna’s Answer

    If you are a stepmother, as it appears you are from what you've stated, you have no rights to the children without a court order. Once your husband is out of prison, he can try to reestablish time with the children, but generally in Florida "blood rules".

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  • How is it that I. Pay child support payments and not once was I aloud to claim one of the two children I have in 12 years.

    One father of two kids I have been paying child support for 12 years now. And she hasn't let me claim not once. I believe it comes to $36,000 over 12 years at $3,000 per kid. Shouldn't that be credited towards my support. I have one left under 18....

    Joanna’s Answer

    Generally, claiming the dependent deduction for the children is part of how child support is calculated. If you only have one remaining minor child, you may be entitled to a modification of the child support, and part of that might be that you could claim the remaining minor child in alternate years. Of course, if your original papers stated that you were supposed to be able to claim one or more of the minor children and she hasn't allowed you, then that would potentially be grounds for contempt. An attorney can run some quick numbers for you and see if a modification would be in your best interest. Another thing that would happen in the modification would be to include an end date for child support for the remaining minor child. They didn't do that in most cases 12 years ago, which can sometimes result in an overpayment of child support. Consult with an attorney in order to determine best how to proceed!

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  • Do I need court approval to move out of state with my child?

    I was awarded sole custody of my daughter in 2004. Father never contested it. Visitation was set as reasonable with no set times. He has been seeing her every other wkend. For the past 4 mnths he has not exercised his visitation, Due to an inciden...

    Joanna’s Answer

    I agree. You need to comply with F.S. 16.13001, the Florida Relocation Statute. Most likely, your petition would be granted based on what you've stated, so long as you make provisions for reasonable timesharing for the Father. However, this is a complex area of law and you really need an attorney to assist you. If done incorrectly, a Judge can force your child back to Florida and you could potentially even risk losing custody. Hire an attorney.

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  • Can I file contempt for failure to comply with a parenting plan?

    My ex notified me I am no longer to contact him. My son is currently with him for time-sharing. My ex instructed me to only communicate with his live in girlfriend going forward. She then texted informing me my ex has now blocked me on his phon...

    Joanna’s Answer

    Generally, communication is between parents, not their girlfriend or boyfriend. In most circumstances, he doesn't have to talk to you, but you should be able to communicate with your son. As for contempt, it depends on what has already been ordered. If nothing has been ordered yet, then keep a journal of these actions and it may prove useful later in court. Either way, you need an attorney to assist you and should consult with and retain one as soon as possible.

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  • Can I self represent in FL for failure to comply with a part of marital settlement agreement? Is it difficult?

    My ex has failed to pay settlement within 30 days for a tax levy as agreed in the marital settlement. I can't afford representation. Will a judge award legal fees in addition to compensation owed? Or am I ok to self represent?

    Joanna’s Answer

    I agree with the other answer. You always have the right to represent yourself, but that doesn't make it a good idea. Even lawyers hire other lawyers to represent them! And yes, generally, if he is found to be in contempt, then legal fees can be awarded in most cases.

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  • In a divorce hearing, does a wife's DEED, trump ownership of property, although a MORTGAGE DEED, exists in husband/wife's name?

    My husband is divorcing me. The court date is Wed July 6, 2016. The house is in my name according to the Volusia County Property Appraiser http://www.vcpa.vcgov.org/cgi-bin/search.cgi. However, both our names are on a Mortgage Deed, filed with...

    Joanna’s Answer

    It sounds like what you're saying is that the Deed is in your name, but the mortgage is in both names. However, whose name something is in doesn't define whether it is marital or non-marital. If the property was acquired during the marriage, then it is a marital property and any equity in the property is subject to equitable distribution (typically 50/50). If you owned the property prior to the marriage, it may be a non-marital property, but any increase in it's value during the marriage may still be subject to equitable distribution. Without knowing more of your situation, there really isn't much more information I can give you. You really should consult with and retain an attorney to assist you.

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  • I am in the process of getting a divorce, short term marriage, what is my exposure?

    married less then 2 years, during this time, we rented never owned a home, she worked, i worked, i made considerably more money then her, we kept all bank accounts seperate and never had any joint accounts....during the marrige i started a 401k ac...

    Joanna’s Answer

    I agree with the others, but would also clarify that if the stocks were a gift or inheritance and you kept them completely separate, in your own name, then they would be considered non-marital, even though they were acquired during the marriage. Any growth would be considered passive growth (provided you did not contribute marital funds to the account -- additional monies during the marriage) and would therefore also be considered non-marital. This may also be true of all or part of some of the bank accounts. You really should consult with and retain an attorney to assist you so that things can be properly divided according to Florida law.

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  • Sovereignty?

    I want divorce and I have moved on. Husband doesnt want me to see our kid, but holds me to the law saying I cant kidnap him, which is pick him up without his permission etc. Its been 9 mths going on 10. He wont give me and address and has stated ...

    Joanna’s Answer

    I agree with the others. His arguments are foundationless; however, you'll need an attorney to appropriately argue on your behalf. Consult with and hire an attorney ASAP.

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  • What papers do i need to file in response to a dissolution of marriage with debt and assets.

    Served divorce papers on june 13th that state no assets (vehicles) and no debt (mortgage foreclosure) and that i want my former last name. This paper work was filled out by my ex. Who i left five years ago for domestic abuse. Please tell me what...

    Joanna’s Answer

    As stated, you need to file an Answer admitting or denying each of his allegations and you have 20 calendar days from the day you were served to do so. A counter-petition would also be helpful, as stated, to make sure he doesn't voluntarily dismiss the case if he doesn't like how it's going, and also to state your position and claims. You should consult with an attorney if at all possible, as there may be things that you are entitled to that you are not even aware of. As for the forms, you should be able to go down to the Courthouse and go to the Self Help center and purchase a packet of forms to assist you. Of course, having an attorney to guide you through the process would be best.

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  • Can I bring a friend to court with me?

    In a contested divorce during the hearing/trial am I allowed to bring a friend or relative? Just for support not for any other reason. My spouse is a difficult person and having someone familiar around even if they must remain quiet would really h...

    Joanna’s Answer

    As long as the Hearing is held in an open court room, then anyone can attend to observe. Usually, the only time court rooms are closed are if there are sensitive matters pertaining to a minor child, such as allegations of sexual abuse. So, yes, you should be able to bring a friend for support.

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