Thomas E. Rhodes, ESQ
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Experienced Orlando Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions on Florida Family Law

If you have questions about divorce, child custody, alimony or other Florida family law matters, Thomas E. Rhodes can help. Mr. Rhodes has been helping clients with family law issues in central Florida since 1977. Below are answers to just a few of the questions we encounter most frequently. If you have other questions, or if you need advice and representation in a divorce or other family law matter in Orange, Seminole or Osceola County, contact Thomas E. Rhodes in Orlando for assistance.

Q. Do I need the court’s permission to take the kids and move if I already have primary custody?

A. If you plan to move out of state or any significant distance away from where you are currently residing, the move may well impact the parenting plan and timesharing agreement, in which case you would need court approval and a modification of existing court orders. You will need to be able to show that the move is in the children’s best interests, which may be particularly challenging if the other parent objects to your move. Talk to an attorney before you make any change in your residence in order to make sure you do not negatively impact your child custody rights.

Q. What can I do if my ex won’t pay child support on time?

A. You can contact government agencies for help like the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement or the Florida Department of Revenue. These agencies could withhold child support payments from a paycheck or tax refund, suspend the payor’s driver’s license, or take other similar enforcement actions. You can also contact our office, and we will take immediate legal action to get your ex to pay what is owed.

Q. Does the wife automatically get alimony in a divorce?

A. First of all, the court can order either the husband or the wife to pay alimony. Secondly, alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance) is not automatic but is only granted if one party requests it and can convince the judge it is warranted, often over the objection of the other spouse. There are many different types of alimony which can be awarded in a Florida divorce. Alimony may be permanent or temporary, paid in one lump sum or over time. The type, amount and duration of any alimony award is based on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed by the spouses, the property settlement, and the needs of one spouse to receive alimony.

Q. What is a QDRO and how do I get one if I need one?

A. QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and whether you need one or not depends upon the type of property subject to equitable distribution in your divorce. If either you or your spouse has a retirement or pension plan through an employer, the interest or assets in this plan may be subject to distribution in the property settlement. Yet some plans are governed by federal regulations which do not allow the plan administrator to transfer an interest in a plan to a person other than the employee without a court order. A QDRO is just such an order. You may need a QDRO if you or your spouse participates in a defined benefit plan, like a pension or retirement plan, or a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k) or profit sharing plan. Attorney Thomas Rhodes can let you know if a QDRO will be needed in your divorce and can draft any necessary QDROs to ensure they are prepared accurately and completely.

Thomas E. Rhodes, Esq., Attorney at Law, is located in Orlando, FL and serves clients in and around Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Apopka, Casselberry, Gotha, Ocoee, Tangerine, Goldenrod, Longwood, Windermere, Lake Mary, Winter Garden, Winter Springs, Plymouth, Oakland, Zellwood, Killarney, Oviedo, Sanford, Montverde, Lake Monroe, Sorrento, Kissimmee, Eustis, Geneva, Astatula, Debary, Mount Dora, Intercession City, Lake County, Orange County, Osceola County and Seminole County.

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