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South Florida Family Law Blog

Divorce myths dispelled

We all strive to separate fact from fiction and reality from myths and legends. However, when emotions are running high, it can sometimes be difficult to be certain about our perceptions and judgments.

If you are facing the likelihood of divorce, you might start to wonder if those rumors you have long heard about marital splits are true. Let's take a look at some of the tall tales about divorce that have circulated for years.

Understanding how retirement accounts will get split in divorce

Most people already know that unless they have a prenuptial agreement in place, divorce means their assets will get split with their spouse. The same is true of debts acquired during the marriage. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital assets will get divided between you and your spouse by the courts. Marital assets are any assets accumulated during the marriage.

Just because the retirement account is only in one person's name doesn't mean that he or she can simply retain all the funds in the account. The courts will look at when deposits were made. Typically, amounts accrued during your marriage are subject to division. Even if only one spouse worked, both spouses will likely receive a portion of the retirement account funds accrued during the marriage.

Study: Parents' messy divorce affects adult children's health

A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University indicates that the outcome of a divorce can affect children physically even decades later. If an adult child's parents ended up not speaking to one another after divorce or separation, the study found, the adult child was more likely than other adults to catch the common cold. If their parents remained in contact after the divorce, however, there was no additional risk of catching a cold.

"There's good evidence that stressful life experiences, especially when they're persistent over a long period of time, can do things to our physiology that increase risk of future illness," the study's co-author told Newsweek. "And there's also a number of sort of adverse childhood experiences that can sort of affect our immune systems and future disease risks."

Older people are cohabitating more. How can you protect yourself?

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of people over the age of 50 who live with their partner, to whom they are not married to, is skyrocketing. The rate of "gray cohabitation" grew by an astounding 75 percent between 2007 and 2016. That's a rise from 2.3 million to 4 million over the course of a decade among those over 50. The number of cohabitaters over age 65 doubled over the same period.

The New York Times explored the phenomenon in a recent article, and what they found surprised some people. Cohabitation has been thought of as a young person's decision and also thought to be a less stable relationship than marriage. What the Times found was that cohabitation can be a reasonable choice for older people if they're careful, and that it can signal just as much of a commitment as marriage.

Gallup: Divorce rate down, yet more Americans find it morally OK

According to the Gallup organization, adults in the U.S. have come to see both marriage and divorce differently than they had in the past. The group concludes that most demographic groups in America no longer see marriage and divorce in moral terms, but rather as formal legal processes.

Since 2001, Gallup has noted a rise of fully 14 points in the percentage of American adults who said they found divorce "morally acceptable." In 2015, Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll found that the percentage or U.S. adults agreeing that divorce was morally acceptable exceeded 70 percent for the first time. This year, the poll, which was performed in May, found that rate at 73 percent.

Moving on after a gray divorce

Divorcing after 50 may seem like a terrifying prospect. However, you may be better equipped to handle a divorce versus women that are in their twenties or thirties. You have had time to establish yourself financially. In addition, you may also be able to handle the rollercoaster of emotions and mental challenges due to your life experiences.

If you are considering divorce and you are over 50, it is important to remember that it is never too late to start over. Divorce is not an end, it is truly a new beginning. The following tips can help you deal with the trials of starting over after a gray divorce.

Consider mediation to turn your contested divorce to uncontested

If you're getting a divorce, you may want to consider mediation to help you resolve the distribution of property, support and parenting issues. Mediation has many advantages, including the low cost, flexibility and confidentiality, among others. Yet you may wonder if mediation can be an effective way to resolve issues that are real sticking points -- the issues that keep you from filing your divorce as uncontested.

Don't I need a judge to decide the contested aspects of my divorce?

6 lessons on modern fatherhood from the Pew Research Center

We all know that the nature of fatherhood in America has changed over time, and it continues to change. Today, dads are taking a much more active role in childrearing and family life. Over the past few decades, we've seen significantly more single fathers and stay-at-home dads than ever before. Nevertheless, it's increasingly common for kids to grow up with dad living elsewhere.

Those facts come to us courtesy of the Pew Research Center, which recently put together six facts about American fathers that may challenge some stereotypes. That's important for people dealing with divorce or other family law problems. Let's take a quick look at their findings:

4 tips for communicating with your kids about divorce

Divorce is one of the most difficult events a person can go through. Though, as hard as it is on the adults involved in the split, it can be far more upsetting for kids who don't understand or don't want their parents to get divorced.

With this in mind, understand that you can play a significant role in helping your kids through this process. One way to do this is to prioritize and practice effective communication with your kids about the divorce. Below are four ways you can do this.

Legal recognition of tri-parenting has been growing in the U.S.

In recent times, the forms and structures families take have been getting more and more varied. This in turn, has led to some shifts within family law. One area within family law which has seen some notable movement in recent years is the number of legal parents a child can have.

Traditionally, the number of legal parents a child could have was capped at two. However, lately, instances have been arising in which three people wish to be the parents of a child. This arrangement has been referred to as tri-parenting.

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