Melissa K. Hancock limits her practice to the areas of family law, estate planning and probate. Practicing since 2003, Ms. Hancock has extensive experience and has honed her skills in these areas. Ms. Hancock obtained her board certification in Marital and Family Law from the Florida Bar in 2016 and is currently one of only two board certified attorneys in Marital and Family Law in Ocala, Florida. Ms. Hancock’s estate planning experience is not only as a lawyer; she has the added perspective of personal experience in serving as the appointed agent for a loved one, so she understands first-hand the importance of proper planning and the difficulties that come with serving. Ms. Hancock’s probate experience ranges from handling simple summary administrations to complicated formal administrations, so she is prepared to assist no matter the size of the estate.
You can count on Melissa K. Hancock to provide you with an honest assessment of your legal issues and what you can expect. Ms. Hancock believes it is vitally important to provide her clients with practical advice based on her experience and expertise so her clients can make informed decisions and have reasonable expectations about the outcomes of their cases and how their cases will progress. Ms. Hancock’s approach with her clients is professional, kind and straight-forward. She maintains that approach with opposing counsel while providing zealous representation in negotiations and when court is necessary. Melissa K. Hancock is dedicated to providing compassionate, honest and competent representation to each and every client.
If you need assistance with any family law matter such as divorce, child custody, child support, property division, alimony or adoption, Melissa K. Hancock is your Ocala family law attorney with the expertise to help you through the process. Ms. Hancock is also prepared to explain your estate planning options and prepare your documents accordingly or to assist you with the probate of the estate of your loved one. The Law Office of Melissa K. Hancock is located at 7500 Southwest 61st Avenue, Suite 800, in the Jasmine Professional Park located behind Jasmine Plaza on State Road 200 in Ocala.Family Law
Melissa K. Hancock is an experienced family law attorney who serves clients in Ocala and the surrounding areas. Ms. Hancock is one of only two Ocala family law attorneys that has met the rigorous requirements to be certified as an expert in Marital and Family Law by the Florida Bar. As a Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law, she provides expertise and has experience in all areas of family law including:Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)
To file for dissolution of marriage in Florida, one of the spouses must have been a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and there must be a showing that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. The complexity of the case depends on the parties’ other issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution. Each and every family and case is different, so there is no one size fits all approach. Ms. Hancock will go over each of your issues in detail and explain how the law applies to your issues so you will understand exactly what to expect.Child Custody / Timesharing / Relocations
In Florida, the terms “custody”, “visitation”, and “primary physical residence” are obsolete in the context of family law. We now refer to the time parents spend with their children as “timesharing”, and if the children spend more time with one parent than the other, one parent has “majority” timesharing. If an order establishing timesharing has been entered, there are special requirements for a parent who wishes to modify an existing timesharing schedule or relocate more than fifty miles from that parent's current residence or the residence where that parent resided at the time of entry of the order. Ms. Hancock will discuss with you in detail what a parenting plan containing a timesharing schedule must include if you are seeking to establish a timesharing schedule, the requirements for modification of an existing timesharing schedule, or the requirements for relocation if you are seeking to relocate.Child Support
Both parents have an obligation to support their children. Florida statutes contain child support guidelines that provide a formula for determining the amount of child support to be awarded. The guidelines calculation takes into consideration the parties’ respective incomes, the number of children, the number of overnights the children spend with each parent, and the cost of child care and health insurance for the children and which parent pays it. Ms. Hancock will explain how child support is calculated and how the different components affect the amount of child support.Alimony / Spousal Support
Alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other for the support for the receiving spouse. There are several different types of alimony in Florida including bridge-the gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent periodic. Alimony can also be awarded on a temporary basis while a case is pending. Whether you are requesting alimony or defending a claim for alimony by your spouse, Ms. Hancock will explain the different types of alimony and the requirements for an award.Equitable Distribution / Property Division
In Florida, with a few exceptions, any asset or liability acquired from the date of the marriage to the date of filing for dissolution of marriage is considered marital property regardless of how the asset is titled or which spouse incurred the debt. The division of assets and liabilities in a dissolution of marriage is called equitable distribution, and the court starts with the premise that the division should be equal. Ms. Hancock will discuss your assets and liabilities, whether they are marital or non-marital, and the options for the division of the marital assets.Adoptions
Ms. Hancock handles stepparent, relative, infant and adult adoptions. Florida law provides very specific requirements for each type of adoption. Ms. Hancock will let you know exactly what to expect, what will be required and how long the process will take.Estate Planning
Ms. Hancock provides peace of mind to her estate planning clients by assessing their needs, preparing the proper estate planning documents or reviewing those prepared in another state, and taking the time to explain the contents of the documents to ensure her clients understand their estate plans and how to effectuate them. Estate planning documents may include:Wills
A Will is the document that tells the court how to distribute your assets and to whom upon your death. There are very specific requirements for the execution of a valid Will in Florida. If you have a Will, and there are assets in your individual name without a beneficiary designation upon your death, a probate will have to be filed with the court before those assets can be distributed to your beneficiaries. Ms. Hancock will discuss with you how you can minimize or eliminate the need for a probate after your death.Trusts
Creating a Revocable Living Trust is an alternative to directing the distribution of your assets by a Will. A Trustee holds the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries and distributes the Trust assets to them after your death in accordance with your directions. Ms. Hancock will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a Revocable Living Trust and whether a Revocable Living Trust makes sense for your specific estate planning desires.Durable Powers of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to handle your financial affairs in the event you cannot do so yourself, thereby avoiding the need for your loved ones to file a guardianship proceeding if you become incapacitated. Your agent will be able to ensure your long term care is provided for and that your estate planning goals are carried out. Ms. Hancock will explain in detail the importance of this document and the power granted by it. If you already have a Durable Power of Attorney that was executed before October 1, 2011, it likely needs to be updated due to substantial changes to Florida law that became effective in 2011. Ms. Hancock is happy to review your current Durable Power of Attorney at your free estate planning consultation.Designations of Health Care Surrogate
A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a very important part of your estate plan that allows you to appoint who you want to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself. Such decisions include consenting, refusing to consent, or withdrawing consent for all health care, including life-prolonging procedures; applying for benefits to offset the cost of health care; and making anatomical gifts.Living Wills
A Living Will provides instruction to your loved ones and to your Health Care Surrogate about the use or non-use of life-prolonging procedures if you have a terminal or end-stage condition or are in a persistent vegetative state. Having a properly executed Living Will can make these very difficult decisions easier for your loved ones and prevent tension between them over your end of life treatment.HIPAA Authorizations
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that provides for security of your protected medical information. A HIPAA Authorization allows you to designate family members or others to whom your medical providers may disclose information about your health care.Designations of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains
An Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains allows you to designate who you want handle the arrangements for the disposition of your remains with the funeral home, crematory or cemetery as well as provide any special instructions for your funeral, burial, or cremation.Probate
It can be a difficult and confusing time when a loved one passes away. Those responsible for administering the loved one’s estate have the added stress of going through the probate process, which can feel overwhelming. When a probate is necessary, Ms. Hancock prepares all of the appropriate estate documents and walks her clients through the process from the opening to the closing of the estate providing specific instruction and guidance each step of the way.Here to Help!
If you need assistance with Family Law, Estate Planning or Probate, contact the Law Office of Melissa K. Hancock, P.A. for a consultation. Consultations for Estate Planning are free of charge. Simply call us at 352-509-7004, or fill out the contact form, and someone from the office will contact you to schedule your consultation. We look forward to helping you.
Ms. Hancock represents clients in Ocala, Marion County, Florida the surrounding counties of Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, and Lake.