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South Florida Family Law Blog

Is it time to put a forensic accountant on your legal team?

If you are half of a high-asset Florida couple contemplating divorce, it may have occurred to you that your spouse could be attempting to hide marital assets from you. Unfortunately, many greedy or vindictive spouses do this to enhance their own post-divorce financial position.

As FindLaw explains, you may need to add a forensic accountant to your legal team to find and track these hidden assets. Why? Because over the years, crafty spouses have found innumerable places to hide assets. And with the advent of increasingly sophisticated technologies, hiding assets has never been easier than it is today. In other words, you may not be able to find these assets yourself without the help of a financial expert.

Don’t make these mistakes during your divorce

As you move closer to the divorce process, it becomes extremely important to avoid mistakes at all costs. Unfortunately, one small mistake can have a big impact on your future.

Here are five of the most common divorce mistakes, all of which you can avoid with the right knowledge and approach:

  • Taking legal advice from anyone and everyone: Maybe your parents went through a divorce and one of them is telling you what to do. Or maybe a co-worker is trying to provide you with some assistance. It's okay that others want to help, but don't take legal advice from just anyone.
  • Putting your children in the middle of the divorce: This often happens when one parent disparages the other parent to their children. You may be tempted to do this to get your children on your side, but it'll blow up on you soon enough.
  • Neglecting to plan for life after divorce: Once your divorce is in the past, it's time to take on life without your spouse by your side. The sooner you begin to plan for the future, such as by creating a post-divorce budget, the better off you will be.
  • Fighting back against co-parenting: You don't want to do anything that makes your divorce more difficult on your children. Co-parenting is never easy, but it's critical to work with your ex-spouse to provide your children with a stable environment.
  • Letting your emotions take over: You'll feel many emotions during your divorce. From anger to sadness, from happiness to joy, don't be surprised at anything. Don't let your emotions get the best of you, as this can lead you to act in an uncharacteristic manner. Keep your cool from start to finish, knowing that doing so will work in your favor.

Find a holiday schedule that works for everyone

Now that they are in the midst of the holiday season, many Florida parents will need to decide how to divide their time with the children. Many parents may want to spend as much time as possible with their kids, so it is a good idea to have a holiday schedule.

If divorced parents already have a parenting plan, it is a good idea for them to look over the details. According to the Huffington Post, while a parenting plan may include most aspects of daily life, it may not always have detailed information about the holidays. If parents have not yet considered the holidays, it is a good idea for them to speak to each other. They should typically discuss whether they should alternate holidays or have the kids spend part of the day with each of them. If one parent will be traveling, he or she should bring this up. It is a good idea to have this conversation early on, as it may be difficult for people to find a good arrangement if they leave this conversation for the week before the holiday.

Can you modify alimony in Florida?

It is not uncommon for individuals’ financial circumstances to drastically change post-divorce, and for the support obligations ordered at the time of divorce to become unreasonable. If the court handed you a support order five, 10 or 20 years ago that you can no longer keep up with, you may wonder if you can modify the order and, if so, how. Fortunately, the law is on your side.

Florida law details several different types of alimony, including but not limited to permanent periodic alimony, permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony and bridge-the-gap alimony. When determining alimony, a judge must consider several factors, including but not limited to each parties’ ability to pay, the emotional and physical well-being of each party, the standard of living set during the marriage and each parties’ ages. According to Naples Daily News, all forms of alimony, regardless of why the judge selected the type he or she did, are modifiable.

What am I allowed to buy with child support?

The life of a single parent can be hard, especially for Florida residents who are going through financial challenges. If you are the custodial parent, you know that the child support you receive can be a lifesaver. However, you may also wonder if the courts will monitor your child support spending, especially if your ex-spouse says you need to provide receipts or tries to dictate how you spend the money.

Unsurprisingly, it can be stressful and even frightening when you think someone else can control your spending. As FindLaw explains, child support is meant to be spent on your children’s well-being, but you may be relieved to learn that the definition of “well-being” can encompass many things. As such, you might spend child support in the following ways that your ex and others might consider non-essential:

  • Tuition, school supplies, extracurricular activities and hobbies your children enjoy
  • Emergency savings or a fund for future college expenses
  • Birthday gifts, a restaurant meal, movie tickets and other things that create happy memories for your children

How social media can affect your divorce

Social media can have a major impact on your divorce. Comments, messages, photos and tweets are becoming crucial evidence in a court of law, especially in divorce proceedings.

Do not make the mistake of letting your Facebook and other social media accounts ruin your life. Avoid the following three social media posts during your divorce:

Freezing your embryos? You should also get a postnup.

You’ve always been a planner. You were 25 when you got married. You and your husband both had good jobs, and together you mapped out your professional goals and advancements up the ladder over the next decade.

Kids wouldn’t enter into the equation until you were 35 at least—but you both knew you wanted to start a family. So rather than letting your biological clock dictate your family planning, you decided to freeze your embryos.

Your parenting time is worth protecting

After a divorce finalizes between two parents, it can take some time for things to settle down and begin to feel normal, especially for the children involved. If one or both parents continue to antagonize the other, this can add serious pressure on the child and may greatly impact their personal and emotional growth. It may even sever the relationship the child has with one or both parents, ultimately.

In the confusion of the experience, parents often have difficulty dealing with each other fairly and treating the needs of their child and each other's rights with proper respect. To help keep matters civil, courts require parents to create a parenting plan and reach a custody agreement, which the court approves. Once a parenting plan and custody order are in place, courts expect parents to obey them, not only for their own protection, but for the sake of the child.

Is the other parent interfering with your time?

When sharing custody or visitation with someone else, it is natural to be concerned with the fairness of your time with your children. Although individual Parenting Plans may vary, child custody and visitation orders set forth your rights as a parent. You deserve to enjoy this time as a family.

So, what happens if the other parent seems to insert themselves into the picture during your allocated time? You might feel that they are infringing on your rights. Before calling your lawyer or retaliating against them, it could be helpful to understand what constitutes interference.

How divorced parents can help the kids have a fun Halloween

Every divorced couple handles their children’s Halloween schedules differently. Some couples take turns, alternating holidays every year. Some co-parents spend the evening together, just like old times. Others create new traditions, perhaps incorporating their newly blended families.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Halloween, your evening will no doubt be quite different from how it was before the divorce. Even if your split took an emotional toll on the children, you can still help them have a fun, spooky and loving time.