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South Florida Family Law Blog

Potential alternatives to alimony

If you and your spouse in Florida are considering or have decided that it is time to end your marriage, you might have a lot of questions about what type of agreements you will have to make. For marriages that have lasted many years, it is not uncommon for one spouse to pay the other person alimony for some period of time after the divorce is final. However, the new tax code that went into full effect this year may not make that your best bet.

As explained by CNBC, if you are the spouse who might have to pay spousal support, you would now be liable for the taxes on any money you pay instead of being able to deduct the payments from your tax return. If you are the spouse who might receive alimony, this change may mean you could end up with less in alimony than you would previously have received. CNBC indicates that these realities make it worth your time to consider alternatives to spousal support.

Erratic schedules and child custody

In some instances, determining child custody is very straightforward and both parents have a favorable view of the way in which custody was awarded. In other cases, deciding how to award child custody can be complicated, especially if one parent or both parents have erratic schedules. It is not uncommon for people to work demanding jobs that have unpredictable hours, and this can be true for men as well as women. If you or your child’s other parent are in this position, it is especially important to approach child custody carefully.

Sometimes, parents who face these hurdles are able to cooperate and work out an arrangement that suits their needs and serves the best interests of their children. In other situations, communication may be impossible, and a contentious dispute may arise. Every custody case is unique, so there are many factors that could affect how custody is awarded. Regardless of the options you have, it is critical to do what you think is best for your child. If you can stay on good terms with your ex, this may be very helpful both during and after a custody dispute.

What matters can you address in a parenting plan?

Co-parenting with your ex is not always easy, and at times, it can prove downright difficult. Increasingly, divorced parents across Florida are working to eliminate the potential for fights with their former partners by establishing parenting plans that establish guidelines for the co-parenting relationship.

Per Psychology Today, a parenting plan is a written document that dictates how you and your one-time partner plan to parent your child or children now that you know longer live together or have a romantic relationship. While the contents of a parenting plan can vary broadly based on the needs of each family or child, there are certain elements that today’s most effective parenting plans typically have in common. Most parenting plans, for example, include an overview of expectations as far as parenting time and general responsibilities with regard to the shared child.

What can happen if your ex fails to pay child support?

When you count on your ex to help you support your shared child in Florida and then he or she fails to pay child support when it is due, it can leave you at best, feeling frustrated, and in some cases, facing a desperate situation. There are, however, certain measures the state’s Child Support Program may be able to take to help force your child’s other parent into compliance.

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, if your ex fails to comply with the terms of your child support agreement and still fails to pay support after receiving notice the payment is late, he or she may need to meet with someone from the program to sign a written agreement. The terms of the agreement will vary to some degree, but your ex must abide by its payment terms or risk a range of other penalties.

Handling an estate when someone doesn't leave a last will

Serving as executor, administrator or trustee for the estate of a loved one requires a lot of work. Even in the best circumstances, this job is often fraught with emotional and legal complications. When you have to handle the estate of someone who did not leave a last will or estate plan behind, your job becomes that much more difficult.

It is critical that you handle the estate in a way that complies with Florida probate law. When there isn't a last will or estate plan on record, the estate will have to go through probate in order for the courts to address the situation.

Homes and mortgages in a divorce

When a couple in Florida makes the difficult decision to separate and eventually to get divorced, there can be a virtual onslaught of tough decisions to be made. One of these decisions can often be what to do with the marital home. It is not uncommon for one spouse, often the wife, to wish to keep and stay in the home. This is particularly common when young children are involved as parents want to maintain stability for their kids.

However, as Bankrate explains, spouses should be very careful about allowing their former partners to keep a home unless a new mortgage is first obtained in their name only. If a joint mortgage remains in effect even once the ink on the divorce decree is dry, both people can be pursued for repayment on that loan. Missed or late payments can appear as negative items on both people's credit reports.

What do artists face when it comes time to divorce?

Florida artists who are getting a divorce face the complicated question of how to divide artwork that they have created during the marriage. According to the Huffington Post, the courts have ruled that artwork can be considered community or marital property. This means that artwork created by a professional artist is subject to the rules of division that govern marital property, which include inventorying assets, valuating them, and eventually dividing them between the spouses.

When an artist begins a divorce, the first thing that should happen is an inventory of all the art created before and during the marriage. If the artwork was made before the couple tied the knot, the art is considered separate property and the non-artist spouse has no rights to it. The next step is to document the sales and prices of art that has been sold, and to list the art that has not been sold. From there, the unsold art needs to be valued.

Understanding the gray divorce phenomenon

When people enter into the bonds of marriage, they vow to stay together ‘till death do us part.’ However, even after years of marriage, problems may occur that can cause a couple to part ways. Gray divorce is used to reference people who decide to separate after the age of 50-years-old, and the rates of this type of divorce are growing.

A study released by Bowling Green State University revealed that incidents of gray divorce may grow to over 800,000 annually by 2030. In 2009, the number sat at 600,000, or one in four, gray divorces every year. Researchers also found that people who were involved in their second or third marriages were more likely to divorce than those who were still in their first marriage.

Mental illness and child custody

From domestic violence to financial challenges, there are many factors that can have an impact on how custody is awarded. In this write-up, our law office will examine some of the issues surrounding mental illness and child custody. Whether you are struggling with a mental disorder or the other parent of your kids has some type of mental problem, it is important to carefully take this matter into consideration if you are in the middle of a custody dispute (or if you believe that your ex is no longer able to provide your child with the care they need).

Many parents who struggle with a mental illness are able to raise their children in a healthy environment. If you are in this position, it will be pivotal to prove to the court that your mental challenges will not interfere with your parenting abilities. On the other hand, some people are falsely accused of suffering from a mental condition. For example, a bitter ex may want to gain an advantage during a custody dispute by saying that the other parent is “crazy” or incapable of taking care of the kids because of a mental disorder, even if the allegations are baseless.

Digital visitation can make your time apart less difficult

It is common to see parents who have a lot of anxiety about being away from their children after a divorce, but they're also aware that they have to give up some of their time together so that the other parent has a chance to be present in their children's lives. As a parent who feels anxious when your child isn't at home, it can be hard to manage those feelings. The good news is that there is an option that could help.

Good communication is the key to relaxing when your child is away. Digital visitation is a possibility, even when your child is in the other parent's care. Here is how it could work.