Ayo and Iken Roundtables was last modified: July 26th, 2019 by Howard Iken
ayo and iken roundtable

The attorneys at Ayo and Iken periodically gather to discuss issues that commonly face most of our clients. Legal Journalist Robert Napper gathers with our attorneys for a spirited, bottom-line discussion of what people face when dealing with these very issues. Where possible we also bring in industry leaders and state-wide advocates for cutting edge input. Be sure to revisit to see the latest discussions.


Handling Divorce & Custody Issues During the Holidays

Welcome to the Ayo & Iken legal roundtable. We tackle the toughest legal issues with down-to-earth commentary you can use from our expert panel of attorneys which spans Florida from Tampa Bay to Orlando and Miami. In this edition, we will be discussing managing the already tumultuous process of getting a divorce and child care issues when coupled with the holiday season. Many view the holidays as a time for joyous family celebrations, but it is well-documented that for some, holidays can be a time of heightened loneliness, stress, financial duress, and excessive consumption of alcohol. It can lead to volatile emotions especially for those in the midst of, or just completing a divorce, particularly if there are children involved.

How Social Media Can Affect a Child Custody Case
social media in custody cases

We will be discussing social media – one of the most dominant forces in today’s society. Social media has seeped so deeply into many people’s daily lives that it stands to reason it can also become a factor when traversing the difficult path of divorce, paternity, and parenting issues. That post you put on the Internet may not seem significant to you but our attorneys recommend that you think long and hard as to whether that is indeed the case. We spoke with our Tampa Attorney Jeana Vogel; St. Petersburg Attorney Claudia Blackwell; and Orlando Attorneys Beth Clause, Jason Ponder, and Jennifer Schulte for their thoughts on social media.

A Discussion on Mediation in Florida Cases

In this edition, we will be discussing mediation – one of the most important processes in family law. As you will see our panel of attorneys are passionate about how successful it can be for people dealing with some of the toughest decisions in their lives. Through teamwork with your attorney and the opposition, mediation can keep the major decisions you have to make about your future in your hands and out of an unpredictable court system. As usual, we spoke with our statewide team of attorneys for their thoughts on this most important subject. Here is what we discussed:

A Discussion on Strategy – Florida Divorce Cases
divorce strategy in Florida

In this edition, our attorneys weigh in with an initial look at some of the strategies they employ in obtaining the best possible outcome for their clients. Specifically, we hone in on child custody and time-sharing issues and the things our attorneys believe will lay the groundwork for success.  As you will see from the commentary, our attorneys believe complex divorce and child custody issues many times are not simply concluded by a shallow scratch of the surface. Each case needs careful examination and often soul-searching by the client to discover what they want for their children and their future during one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Guardian Ad Litems in Custody Cases

In this edition, we discuss the crucial role guardian ad litems play in the court system. Sadly, the voices of children can get lost during divorce and dependency cases, but there is a mechanism the courts turn to in order to obtain information regarding a child’s living environment and allow for free discussions with that child to ascertain facts amid the most difficult of situations. The discussion also includes special input from Kelly Swartz, director of legal services for the statewide Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program, giving excellent insight as to how guardian ad litems  play a vital role in child dependency cases where issues such as child abuse and family dysfunction are addressed.

Child Abuse in Custody Cases

Nothing is more sacred than the safety of children especially in the trying times that present during a divorce. Sadly, child abuse concerns both physical and mental are at times present in many cases. There is no situation more tragic that is handled more vigilantly by our firm than the issue of child abuse. As you will see from our discussion, how society may view a possible act of child abuse can be very different from how a court handles allegations, and it is an issue with which our attorneys often grapple. See our legal team weigh in as well as outside opinions from Chicago-based Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO Dan Duffy; and Caleb Kimpel, Writer and Spokesman for Phoenix-based Childhelp.

What Not to Do in a Custody Case

In this edition, we examine what not to do if you are fighting in court to spend time with your child. As you will find from our discussion with our panel of attorneys, many people believe that what they say in court is the single driving factor as to how a judge will come down in deciding on child time-sharing issues. In this in-depth roundtable, however, a consensus developed that what a person does when it comes to their children outside the courtroom during day-to-day life is going to carry the most weight with a judge, and there are many things a client can do to sabotage their chances at sharing more of those precious moments, hours, days, with their children. Here is our discussion:

What to Expect in a Divorce or Custody Trial
what to expect in a divorce and custody trial

We discussed the practical issues facing our clients should their divorce or custody case go all the way to trial. We will be taking on the logistics of a trial that can be expected, the risks and rewards involved, as well as the emotional toll trials can take. To get a feel for what you might expect at trial we talked to New Port Richey Attorneys Bruce Przepis and Howard Ellzey; Orlando Attorneys Jason Ponder and Jennifer Schulte; Tampa Attorneys Jeana Vogel and Lee Feinberg; and St. Petersburg/Clearwater Attorney Claudia Blackwell. Here is our discussion:

What to Do When Someone Lies in Court

In this edition, we discuss with our attorneys the tricky position of dealing with someone who is lying in court. We talked about these issues with our New Port Richey Attorneys Przepis and Howard Ellzey; Orlando Attorneys Jason Ponder, Jennifer Schulte, and Beth Clause; Tampa Attorneys Alberto Ayo, Jeana Vogel, and Lee Feinberg; and St. Petersburg/Clearwater Attorney Claudia Blackwell. How do you handle a situation where you know someone in lying in court?

How Does Drug Abuse Affect Custody Cases?

These are some of the most heartbreaking issues our firm handles as children are often caught in the middle. Our attorneys will discuss how drug and alcohol abuse can affect a child custody case and as you will see it is very emotional for them as throughout their careers they have seen too many families torn apart by addiction. Is it is sad, but very pervasive in our society. Not a month goes by where someone doesn’t come in and weave a tale about their spouse or significant other using drugs.

The Mistakes Men Make in Divorce
mistakes men make in divorce

We discuss gender issues when it comes to family law, specifically if there are things men commonly do to sabotage their chances of reaching a satisfactory outcome to their cases. As you will see from our attorneys’ commentary below, the common belief is that both men and women can make some of the same mistakes when it comes to putting their best foot forward in front of a judge. There are, however, some trends our attorneys touch on when it comes to men and how they sometimes handle their cases.

Can a Child Choose Who to Live With in Florida?

It can be an emotional situation for parents no matter what the child expresses and our attorneys say if there is not a compromise a judge will consider numerous factors. But if a child is younger that child’s preference will rarely be one of them. And you will see our attorneys strongly believe that keeping children from testifying in court is usually a judge’s preference and is in the best interest of the child. We talked about the issue with a large portion of the Ayo and Iken legal team.  Here is what they had to say:

Should I Move Out of the House During a Divorce?

Emotions run high during a divorce and sometimes living conditions may seem untenable. But our attorneys say there is a time and place where staying in the house can be beneficial. They also provide advice on steps to take should the situation become so bad that you feel you must leave the house. Leaving the house can be a good decision but only if approached properly. We talked to New Port Richey Attorneys Bruce Przepis and Howard Ellzey; Orlando Attorneys Jason Ponder and Jennifer Schulte; Tampa Attorneys Jeana Vogel and Lee Feinberg; and St. Petersburg/Clearwater Attorney Claudia Blackwell on living arrangements. Here is what they said.

What Happens When the Judge Doesn’t Like Me?
What happens when the judge doesn't like me

In this edition, we take on the topic of staying on the good side of the judge. As you will see, our attorneys view courtroom decorum as a major factor in presenting your best case in court. It is easy to get on a judge’s bad side through questionable behavior, which could lead to being disliked. We talked about the issue with New Port Richey Attorneys Bruce Przepis and Howard Ellzey; Orlando Attorneys Jason Ponder and Jennifer Schulte; Tampa Attorneys Jeana Vogel and Lee Feinberg; St. Petersburg/Clearwater Attorney Claudia Blackwell, and our Managing Partner Howard Iken.

Keeping Ex Spouse from Moving with the Kids

There are steps that can be taken to ensure that your spouse or ex-spouse does not relocate with the children extraordinary distances. Our attorneys discuss what to do if someone re-locates without notice or violates a court order banning a move. A fast moving discussion on how to deal with the often contentious issue of what do when a spouse is seeking to re-locate. Follow this fast moving discussion as Ayo and Iken attorneys across Florida weight in with their opinion.

Alimony in Florida – a Moving Targetalimony-a-moving-target-2

We discussed all things alimony with our attorneys across Florida including Alberto Ayo, Lee Feinberg, and Jeana Vogel in Tampa; Jennifer Schulte and Jason Ponder out of Orlando; and in New Port Richey, Howard Ellzey and Bruce Przepis. The opinions spanned a huge range.  This subject provokes definite opinions from our legal team. Here is the result of our group discussion:

How to Save Money in a Divorce in Floridasaving money in a divorce

Our attorneys will be discussing how you can save money on your case, making sure you have the funds you need to protect yourself legally in a divorce, and the how the court views your setting aside funds for a lawyer. I discussed these issues with our attorneys across Florida including Alberto Ayo, Lee Feinberg, Claudia Blackwell, Zonald Spinks, and Jeana Vogel in Tampa; Jason Ponder out of Orlando; and Bruce Przepis in New Port Richey. Here is what we discussed:

Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Florida?Does it matter who files for divorce first?

In this edition, I took on the premise many seem to have that you will secure the upper hand by filing first in a divorce. As you will see, in general our attorneys do not see a major advantage to doing so, but there are nuances when it comes to this subject they identify that could be a factor in your divorce. I discussed filing first, including some pros and cons, with our attorneys across Florida. Read this interesting roundtable discussion between various members of the Ayo and Iken legal team.

How Do I Prepare for a Divorce?preparing-for-a-divorce-roundtable-thumbnail-small

As you will see our attorneys maintain the worst thing you can do is be uninformed about your finances and the day-to-day lives of your children. So if you feel divorce is the last course of action, being prepared is your best protection. I discussed some insider tips for being prepared with our attorneys including Alberto Ayo, Lee Feinberg, and Jeana Vogel in Tampa; Claudia Blackwell out of St Petersburg, Jason Ponder and Jennifer Schulte out of Orlando; and in New Port Richey, Howard Ellzey and Bruce Przepis.

Should I Hide Money Before a Divorce?

In this edition, we will be discussing a financial decision that should be considered prior to a divorce: whether to move or hide money in order to protect yourself.

With finances already being a leading cause of divorce and marital strain our attorneys say it can be important to secure funds prior to a divorce because once an action is filed assets can be frozen until a divorce goes through the court system.

A Discussion on Alimony Reform

Our panel in this edition is made up of Ayo & Iken Tampa Attorney Claudia Blackwell; Family Law Inc. President Alan Frisher, an advocacy group seeking alimony reform in Florida; Jan Killilea, a divorcee and member of the First Wives Advocacy Group which has fought recent proposed alimony legislation; and Brevard County vocational consultant Ellen Fernandez, who conducts assessments of people’s earning potential in divorce cases. To get our panel talking we pitched them some questions asking their take on proposed alimony reform this coming legislative session.

Can a Child Testify in a Custody Hearing?

In this edition, our roundtable will discuss probably the most difficult subject in family law: how to handle child custody issues in court. Out attorneys know that when it comes to the pain and often times loneliness of divorce compassion and a determined legal advocate is needed to weather one of life’s most difficult storms. But when it comes to children going through a divorce, that determination our attorneys offer in getting the best possible outcome for you must be coupled with weighing the lifelong impact divorce can have.

Do I Have to Talk With Police?

We tackle the toughest legal issues with down-to-earth commentary you can use from our expert panel of attorneys which spans Florida from Tampa and Orlando to Miami. In this edition, our roundtable will discuss your rights when it comes to encounters with law enforcement. A fundamental question when it comes to dealing with an encounter with law enforcement: Do I have to talk to the police? Today we are asking that question of Tampa-based Attorney Zonald Spinks, and New Port Richey-based Attorney Bruce Przepis:

When Your Child is Kidnapped by a Parent

In this edition, our roundtable will discuss maybe the most trying and terrifying circumstance that can occur as a relationships unravel into divorce: what do you do if your spouse either threatens or makes good on promises to take your children out-of-state or out of the country. Now let’s talk to our panel. Today we are joined by Ayo & Iken attorneys Alberto Ayo, Jason Ponder, Jackie Roys, and Howard Iken. They are answering the question: What do I do if my spouse intends to take the children out of state or out of the country?

What Does It Mean to Impute Income?

The frustration that is often cited when it comes to determining alimony and child support during a divorce and possible modifications in the years following a separation. And that is determining what your spouse or ex-spouse has the ability to earn if they are unemployed or a court determines they are underemployed. To get our panel talking, we pitched them this question: What can I do during or after a divorce if my spouse refuses to work but is capable of doing so? And what does it mean to impute income?

How Do I Get My Husband or Wife Out of the House?

In this edition, we will be dealing with what happens when a couple decides they no longer can live together but a divorce may still take some time to complete. Who leaves, who stays while the legal process plays out? As you will see below, there are different takes on what a person should do. But our experts all agree on one thing: do not do anything rash without thinking matters over thoroughly or consulting an attorney if there are questions in your mind about leaving the home.I discussed these issues with our attorneys across Florida.

Can Custody Be Changed After a Divorce?

In this edition, we will be dealing with what happens when a couple decides they no longer can live together but a divorce may still take some time to complete. Who leaves, who stays while the legal process plays out? As you will see below, there are different takes on what a person should do. But our experts all agree on one thing: do not do anything rash without thinking matters over thoroughly or consulting an attorney if there are questions in your mind about leaving the home.I discussed these issues with our attorneys across Florida.



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