Other Practice Areas
People of all income levels, educational backgrounds, ages, races or creeds may find themselves involved in domestic abuse. Wagstaff & Pitelis assists victims of family violence through the legal process. In addition, we provide you with information about resources such as support groups, shelters and programs. We also work with those accused of committing an act of violence to either disprove it or to help them get the assistance they need.
Probate & Estate Planning
Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s estate (assets and liabilities) are examined; after necessary bills are paid, assets are distributed to the appropriate parties. Some families establish their assets so that probate may not be needed. Nevertheless, at the time of death, all the paperwork should be reviewed and an orderly plan for handling assets and liabilities should be mapped out.
Post Divorce Modifications
After your divorce is finalized, you may find you have to enforce or revisit the terms of the Final Judgment or the Marital Settlement Agreement. Circumstances can change so that some aspects of your original divorce agreement may be outdated. This often occurs when a parent undergoes a significant and unanticipated change in income or wants to relocate. In these cases, Wagstaff & Pitelis can see that your rights and interests remain protected whether it be child support, parenting plans, alimony, or relocation.
In the Petition for a Name Change, you must provide extensive background information, the reason for the name change, and your fingerprints to confirm your identity. Once a judge approves your name change, certified copies of the court order to various other government entities must be provided. Changing a child’s name usually requires both parents’ consent. During divorce proceedings, a woman can restore her former name if she prefers.
Pre-Nuptial & Post-Nuptial Agreements
Also known as Antenuptial Agreements, these agreements are most often used to establish the rights of spouses prior to marriage. The assets and liabilities of each party are examined so that if the marriage ends in death or divorce, the parties know the financial outcome. Generally, prenuptial agreements are an excellent idea if either party owns a business, is entering a second marriage, has significant assets, or expects a large inheritance. While no couple enters a marriage expecting it to end, it is wise to clarify financial expectations in writing under these circumstances.
Grandparent and Relative Issues
Grandparents and other extended family members are often willing to step in to provide a stable, loving environment for their grandchildren when the circumstances necessitate it. Unfortunately, under Florida law, grandparents or other extended family members have limited rights in favor of biological parents. Wagstaff & Pitelis works to make sure a child’s best interests are the primary focus of a family. We explore the available alternatives, from negotiating a stronger relationship with the children in their family to court action, when appropriate.
Guardian Ad Litem
Mary Lou Wagstaff is on the list of attorneys willing to serve as a Family Law Division Guardian ad Litem. She talks to children who are in the midst of a family dispute to learn their opinions and be the children’s voice in court. Much of her legal experience has focused on standing up for children’s rights and ensuring that they are shielded from the emotional ups and downs of family court legal proceedings.
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Families We've Helped