Ayo & Iken Recap October 2019
Each year, our attorneys at the Ayo & Iken Law Firm provide examples of interesting cases handled throughout Florida. As the firm grows, so does the caseload and our dedication to resolving issues, like divorce, child support, time-sharing, and alimony. Check out a few of our recent cases:
Outrageous to Acceptable (Orlando):
Ayo & Iken Attorney Jason Ponder recently closed the books on a case where the client was expecting to pay a shocking amount of alimony and child support. Thanks to Ponder’s exceptional mediation skills, which is one of his strong points, he decided to try and negotiate a much lower obligation for his client. Ponder says his client’s attorney was asking for a whopping $15,000 per month in combined support. Ponder told his client, “Lets see what’s driving the other side,” and sure enough, the children turned out to be his soon to be ex-wife’s most important issue, not money. After a full day of mediation, Ponder was able to negotiate his client’s obligation from $15,000 to $7,000, and finally to just $1,300 per month in child support. And in the end, the pair agreed to split the equity in their home evenly.
High-Profile Take the Long Road (Tampa):
Hollywood found Ayo & Iken Partner Attorney Jeanna Vogel recently, in a case that involved the manager of an A-List Celebrity. Vogel says, “we dealt with every issue you could think of, from temporary alimony, child support and a parenting plan, to standard of living accommodations, like, private schools, country club memberships, extracurricular activities and lavish travel accommodations. The hotly contested, high-stakes divorce lasted 4-years and involved several motion for contempt and motion to compel hearings, business and property evaluations, celebrity depositions, an appellate review, and the disqualification of a judge. By working closely with a financial expert, both parties were eventually able to come to a settlement, ironically, the original offer made during the very first mediation.
Two for One (New Port Richey):
Ayo & Iken Attorney Howard Ellzey offered two recent cases that he felt would be worth sharing with our readers. In the first case, Ellzey was retained by the wife in a very contentious divorce. The wife told Ellzey, “I don’t want anything from my husband – I just want a divorce.” But the husband, frustrated with the legal process, decided to conceal assets and mislead the court about assets he claimed were exempt from equitable distribution. Ellzey discovered that the husband’s attorneys were complicit and advised him to conceal certain assets – claiming they were part of an inheritance. So, in an effort to expose the fraud, Ellzey painstakingly analyzed every aspect of the husband’s finances during mediation. In the end, Ellzey was able to convince the judge to grant an equitable distribution of assets in a significantly higher amount than she initially expected.
In an existing child custody dispute involving a parent living in the Philippines, the sister of the opposing party intervened and tried to create a legal quagmire, by initiating a separate proceeding in a different jurisdiction. Thanks to Ellzey’s shrewd and resourceful actions, Ellzey filed a motion that not only dismissed her frivolous claim, it also resulted in sanctions to cover Ellzey’s attorney fees.
To Move or Not to Move (New Port Richey):
Ayo & Iken Attorney Jason Coupal is dealing with several interstate cases, where courts in different states are trying to decide who has jurisdiction. Coupal illustrates one case where a father was given primary custody in Pasco County and then moved to Georgia. The mother then decided to move to Georgia, so she could be closer to her daughter. The father was trying to keep jurisdiction in Florida because that’s’ where the children were born, but Coupal says the courts usually consider the period of time where a child resides, usually six months, in deciding jurisdiction. Coupal says he’s reasonably confident the judge will rule in his client’s favor.
Coupal is also involved a case where the father, his client, lives in New York, and the mother lived in Pasco County with the children. Coupal says his client received a call one day from a CPI Investigator, claiming that his ex-wife had overdosed on heroin. The father immediately brought the children back to New York, but after just two months, the mother moved to New York and filed a petition for custody. Coupal’s client wants jurisdiction to remain in Florida, where the children have spent most of their lives.
Apples or Oranges (New Port Richey):
Ayo & Iken Attorney Bruce Przepis is currently working a case where a judge will decide if his client’s children are better off in New York or their home state of Florida. Przepis says the couple originally agreed on long-distance relocation plan that allowed the mother to live in New York, and the father would remain in Florida. To make it less disruptive for the children, the couple agreed to six months on and six months off. To solve the issue of the children’s school, the parents agreed on a cyber academy program, which is basically homeschooling. Everything was working out fine until the father, Przepis’ client, was served with a domestic violence injunction and a motion for full custody by the mother. She claimed the husband was abusive and coerced her into signing the original plan. The mother also petitioned a Florida judge to set aside the original time-sharing agreement. Przepis says the case is still pending in Pasco County, Florida, where the judge will have a difficult decision to make in determining what to do with the visitation. The mother has since fired her attorney and withdrawn her New York petitions.
Three’s a Crowd for Intact Marriages (Ft. Lauderdale):
Sadly, infidelity is not uncommon within marriages, but what some may not know is that it can lead to a serious dilemma if the cheating spouse becomes pregnant. That’s what Ayo & Iken Attorney Lee Feinberg says are the circumstances in a current custody case involving an illegitimate child. Feinberg is representing the biological father of a child who was born out of wedlock by a married woman. Feinberg says the mother is trying to seek paternity by the paramour, rather than her husband, but his client is refusing to claim responsibility. “Florida law usually presumes the husband is the legal father, as it focuses on an intact marriage and opposed to creating a ‘Bastard child’ or illegitimate child,” says Feinberg.