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South Florida Family Law Blog

Under 30? Perfect! Start estate planning now

Many people think that estate planning is something only wealthy people over the age of 50 do. In reality, estate planning is important for everyone. If you are under 30, unmarried, do not have children and do not feel like you have enough assets to worry about, you should still engage in a bit of estate planning. It is impossible to know what tomorrow will bring and, since accidents happen every day, it is vital that you take steps to make your wishes known should the worst happen.

Estate planning consists of more than just writing a will. You can create instructions in case you end up in a state where you can no longer make decisions for yourself. For example, if you were in a car accident that leaves you in a coma, it is important that you have someone you trust act as your medical power of attorney and carry out your health care directive. Here are some other reasons why you should start estate planning early.

Should I wait to divorce until our kids grow up?

When you realize that your marriage isn’t working out, it can be scary to imagine all the changes a divorce could bring to your life. Not only would a divorce affect your future, but it could be hard on your children, too. You might contemplate “holding it together” to shelter your young children, but this could be a huge mistake.

The longer that you stay in a troubled marriage, existing issues can become more serious. Assets and credit can be much more complex to separate in divorce over time. For example, if you disagree with your spouse’s lax spending habits, you could accumulate shared debt that hurts your credit.

A PI discusses the hiding of assets in divorce

In old, black-and-white movies, private investigators were chain-smoking tough guys who were quick with their fists and cynical observations about life. In real lives, private investigators are less glamorous and much less likely to use fisticuffs to get their jobs done.

In a recent newspaper column, a PI wrote that one of the common jobs in his line of work is finding assets hidden by one spouse from the other in a divorce. "Hiding assets is not only unethical," the PI writes, "it's illegal."

How you can keep the business in divorce

For some people, the most important asset they own is their business. If you are a business owner and you are going through a divorce, you have probably started to worry about the eventual division of assets.

Although your ex-spouse may receive a portion of its value, you don’t necessarily have to leave your company behind. Selling might be a last-ditch option, but it’s certainly not the only choice.

How to protect your assets before divorce

Around the holidays, money tends to be on everyone’s mind. Between shopping for gifts, taking vacations, and budgeting for the new year, you may be thinking about how to manage your money. If you’re also going through a divorce, however, you probably have a whole new level of concern for your finances.

Because divorce likely involves the majority of your assets, it’s crucial to prepare your accounts early in the separation. In our last post, we wrote about one way divorce could cause unintended expenses. This post, however, will center on ways to protect your money and prevent damage to your credit.

Financial experts: Cheap Florida divorce can be costly

There are online services that promise cheap, easy, fast Florida divorces. While do-it-yourself divorce might make sense for people in certain circumstances -- they have been married a short time and have few financial assets -- it can be disastrous for people who own property or have other significant assets.

A recent news article pointed out that for people who have substantial retirement accounts or a pension, division of property can be complicated. Far too often, people who try to divide retirement assets in divorce without legal representation wind up with large tax bills and penalties. In worst-case scenarios, some wind up with nothing at all.

How to handle co-parenting during the holidays after a divorce

Under the best of circumstances, the holidays are a pretty stressful time. There are family visits, trips, presents and big meals to plan for, as well as increased outside social obligations. Although some people get time off from work, that often means a heavier work load the week before and after a major holiday.

For parents with children, the holidays can be incredibly demanding and overwhelming. Co-parenting isn't easy in the best of times. During the holidays, it can feel practically impossible.

Money matters: Complications in gray divorce

As relationships change, concerns evolve. In the early stages of romance, couples often spend a lot of time deciding on which restaurants to visit, movies to see and when to introduce the new love interest to family. When an older couple becomes serious about a relationship, there are often additional issues to talk through that typically don't concern couples in their 20s or 30s.

Discussions of finances can help older couples resolve potential differences on money matters and also work out concerns they might have about marriage and divorce involving significant assets.

Tax proposal would have major impact on spousal support

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently unveiled a much-anticipated tax reform proposal. The bill already has many supporters and detractors, divided mainly along partisan lines. While we have no interest in taking sides in this space, we do want to point out a section of the proposal that has so far received scant attention.

If enacted, the proposal would do away with the current federal tax deduction for spousal support (also known as alimony), a change that would rearrange many future divorce settlements.

Risk factors can mean increased likelihood of divorce

It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage last. In many cases, however, all the hard work in the world is for naught. Some marriages are simply mismatches of two good people unsuited for each other. Other marriages that end in divorce might have never had a chance because of risk factors associated with one spouse or the other -- or both.

It should be noted that risk factors are not themselves the cause of divorces. Also, even if you find a risk factor or two present in your marriage, it does not mean that your union will inevitably wind up in a Broward County courtroom.

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