Types of Cases

Effective October 1, 2008, the laws regarding parental responsibility and visitation changed dramatically. There is no longer a designation of primary residential parent and secondary residential parent, and the term ‘custody’ is no longer used in litigation involving minor children. The new law requires that a ‘parenting plan’ be prepared for every dissolution case involving minor children and every paternity case filed. A ‘parenting plan’ is a document created to govern the relationship between the parents regarding the decisions involving the minor child(ren) and shall contain a time-sharing schedule for each parent. A time-sharing schedule is the amount of time each parent will spend with the child(ren), including overnight and holiday time. The intent of the new statute is to take away the stigma of designating one parent over the other with regard to the upbringing of the parties’ child(ren), as well as to keep both parents actively involved in their child’s life. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on the parenting plan or time-sharing schedule, then the case will be brought before the court for the judge to resolve these issues based on the circumstances of each individual family.

The following is an overview of the different types of cases I handle:

Dissolution of marriage: I handle all types of dissolution of marriage actions - with or without children, contested, uncontested, cases involving equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, military divorces and divorces involving clients who are out of state or overseas. It is important to know your legal rights regarding the above issues as well as alimony, child support, parental rights and division of your spouse's retirement benefits. If your case involves minor children, you and your spouse will be required to attend the “TransParenting” seminar at Pensacola Junior College. This course addresses different parenting issues and ways to communicate with your spouse and child(ren) in an appropriate manner.

Annulments: I handle annulment actions if the client can show that he/she entered into the marriage by fraud, duress or coercion.

Enforcement of existing court orders: If you believe that the opposing party is not abiding by the terms of the existing court order, you can go back to court to have the judge enforce the terms of the order. If the judge determines that the other party was at fault, that party may be ordered to reimburse you for your attorney’s fees and costs for bringing the action back to court. In order for me to assist you, the order must have been entered in Escambia County or Santa Rosa County, Florida.

Modification of existing court orders: In order to modify an existing order, there must be a ‘substantial change in circumstances’ since the entry of the order sought to be modified. For upward modification of child support cases, the new child support amount must be 15% or $50.00 (whichever is greater) higher than the existing amount. For downward modification of child support cases, the new child support amount must be 15% or $50.00 (whichever is greater) lower than the existing amount. However, for cases that are handled by the Department of Revenue, the threshold is a 10% change either upwards or downwards.

Domestication and enforcement/modification of out-of-state orders: This means that the out-of-state order becomes a Florida order and the client can enforce the provisions of the order or modify parental responsibility, visitation or a support obligation contained in the order.

Paternity actions: These cases involve unmarried parents. Once paternity is established either by agreement, genetic testing or a court order, then a parenting plan and child support can be established for the parties.

Child support cases, including representation of obligors in Department of Revenue actions: If you are served with a summons in a Department of Revenue action, the process can be confusing and frustrating for the pro se litigant. I represent clients who are the responding parties in these actions.

Adoptions: I handle all types of relative adoptions, either contested or uncontested. I also handle non-relative uncontested adoptions.

Separate maintenance: This type of action involves the establishment of a support obligation unconnected with a dissolution of marriage. The judge can only enter an order of support. Any other issues such as exclusive use and possession of the marital home or an establishment of a parenting plan cannot be addressed in separate maintenance cases.

Injunction proceedings: There are four types of injunctions against violence that the court can enter:
Domestic violence injunctions: These are injunctions involving persons who are family or household members, such as spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage and any person who is or was residing within a single dwelling with the petitioner as if a family, or a person with whom the petitioner has a child in common, whether or not they were married or cohabited with each other. The petitioner must plead and prove that he or she has been the victim of any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family household member by another.

Injunctions against repeat violence: These are injunctions involving persons who are not involved in a “domestic relationship.” The petitioner must plead and prove that he or she has been the victim of two incidents of violence or stalking. Violence is defined as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death. One of the incidents of violence, or stalking must have occurred within six months of the filing of the petition and be directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.

Injunctions against dating violence: These are injunctions involving individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The petitioner must be a victim of dating violence or has a reasonable belief that violence is imminent, but there does not need to be any actual acts of violence that occurred prior to filing. The petitioner must also show that the relationship existed within the past six months, the relationship was characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties, and the frequency and type of interaction was that the persons were involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Injunctions against sexual violence: These are injunctions involving an individual who is the victim of an act of sexual violence, or the parent or legal guardian of a minor child living at home who is the victim of an act of sexual violence. The petitioner must have reported the incident to law enforcement and be cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the respondent; or, if the respondent was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for the act of sexual violence, the sentence must have been expired, or be due to expire within 90 days.

Name change: I handle name change cases involving minor children and adults. In order to change a child's name, both parents must consent or the court must waive the parent’s consent for good cause.

Emancipation of minors: I handle these cases involving minors who are 16 years of age or older who meet the statutory criteria for emancipation.

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Contact Information

Gayle J. Ryba, P.A.
Attorney At Law

224 E. Intendencia St.
Pensacola, Florida 32502

We are located 1/2 block east of the
new YMCA in the Historic District.

Office: (850) 434-9299
Fax: (850) 434-9297
Email: grybalaw@aol.com

Office Hours:
Monday through Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(We are closed between 12:00 p.m. - 1 p.m. for lunch)
Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

We are also closed on all major holidays and court holidays.

I accept cash, money orders, personal checks, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express cards.

I am a member of the Gulf Coast Trade Exchange.