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South Florida Family Law Blog

What the rich should understand about divorce

If you are going through a divorce in Florida, and you have a lot of money and assets, you should understand that your divorce is different from those in the middle- and lower-classes. There are different factors, such as child support, asset-valuation and legal proceedings, that make a divorce more complicated, so you should prepare in advance.

According to Forbes, there are three major mistakes wealthy couples make when going through a divorce, especially if there is not a prenuptial agreement. A major one is they do not completely address all the financial components. With a high asset divorce, you should always spend the money to hire financial analysts. Another mistake is going through the court process. There may be better options for those with money. Finally, couples often make the mistake of following advice from family and friends who do not fully understand what is at stake. While it is good to have a support system, you should always get advice from expert professionals.

Identifying the different types of alimony

When people are married for a significant amount of time, they often become financially dependent on one another. If one person worked and made money to support the family, the other person may be out of luck when it comes to supporting themselves once the couple separates. Alimony is designed to help the financially dependent party get back on their feet or live after their financial provider is no longer available. There are four different types of alimony available to divorcees in Florida, including permanent, durational, bridge-the-gap, or rehabilitative.

Permanent alimony is awarded to people who are unable to provide themselves once the divorce is finalized. This type of alimony may be used in a long-duration marriage, as well as a short-duration marriage where extenuating circumstances are involved. For example, if a couple has been married for 30 years, and one party was the sole-financial contributor to the family, the other party may not have the means, skills or education to provide for themselves.

How Florida determines “the best interests of the child”

As someone who is involved, or who may soon find yourself involved, in a Florida child custody case, you may begin hearing the term, “best interests of the child,” tossed around frequently, but you may not fully understand what it means or how it may impact your custody case. At the Law Office of Cheryl Bucker, P.A., we understand that the “best interests of the child” often play a significant role in child custody decisions. We have helped many people facing similar circumstances understand the concept and demonstrate how certain living situations would, in fact, be in their child’s best interests.

According to the Florida Legislature, the "best interests of the child” may come into play anytime you need a new custody arrangement, or anytime you or your child’s other parent wishes to modify an existing custody order. While the person wishing to modify a custody order will need to demonstrate that a change would be in his or her child’s best interests, he or she will also need to approve that a substantial change in circumstances took place since the custody order originally took effect.

Could a postnuptial agreement help you stay married?

Many people associate prenuptial agreements with planning to fail in a pending marriage. That negative connotation may also extend to postnuptial agreements. Much like prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements involve couples setting terms for the end of their marriage and outlining marital expectations for one another.

However, it happens after the marriage has taken place. In some cases, a couple married for years or even decades could realize that they need to execute a postnuptial agreement. Believe it or not, these agreements could help you save your marriage if you are struggling right now.

Signs it may be time to modify your child custody arrangement

When you file for divorce in Florida, the judge presiding over the case will issue a child custody order in the final divorce settlement. Whether you came to a parenting agreement amicably through mediation or the judge determined the custody schedule for you, you are bound to the orders presented in the settlement. The situation, however, may change through the years and your child custody arrangement may need to be altered to adapt to life circumstances. How do you know when it is time to modify your child custody agreement?

If the current child support order no longer meets the best interests of your child, it may be time to reconsider the plan. If you or the other parent has moved to a distant location, it may interrupt the child’s school or activity schedule to continue to the current parenting plan. You may have to rework visitation to account for traveling time and other activities.

What constitutes marital property?

Going through a divorce or legal separation can be overwhelming. Not only are there strong emotions involved, but you may find it difficult to face certain tasks while creating the final divorce settlement. One of the most trying issues to tackle may be that of property division. Distributing all of the marital items you accumulated throughout your marriage may be difficult. In Florida, and in many other states across the nation, all marital property amassed during the marriage is divided according to what the judge deems fair and equitable. In order to ensure you get everything you are entitled to in the divorce settlement, it is important to understand what constitutes marital property.

There are some items you do not want to overlook when drafting the divorce settlement. Some marital property and assets include the following:

  •          Expensive collections, such as antiques, cars, coins, art and wine
  •          Intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents and royalties earned from these
  •          Loyalty points, rewards points and flight miles
  •          Lottery winnings and income tax refunds
  •          Exclusive golf course and country club memberships
  •          Gifts given on one another during the marriage

Your co-parenting New Year’s resolutions

Almost everyone in Florida and elsewhere makes a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of each year. Whether your goal this year is to get fit, to become more productive or something else, there is nothing wrong with making improvements in your life. At the Law Office of Cheryl Bucker, P.A., we also know that it can benefit you and your loved ones to make positive goals after a divorce.

Child custody is one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, and the conflict can continue for as long as your children are growing up. It isn’t always easy to get along with your ex-spouse, but there are some improvements you can attempt that may reduce some of the tension and enhance the relationship between you, your ex and your children, even if you never actually become friends with your ex. The Huffington Post offers the following suggestions:

  • Put yourself in your ex’s shoes. You don’t have to agree, but you might resolve an issue by being open to communication and compromise.
  • Be flexible about visitation and willing to change the schedule if it benefits either of you or the children.
  • Respect your ex’s time with the children and try not to interfere.
  • Understand which conflicts are worth fighting for, and which are better letting go of.
  • Enjoy the downtime when it’s the other parent’s turn to have the kids.
  • Consider counseling or mediation if your ex consistently makes things difficult or your children are having trouble adjusting to the divorce.

What makes for a fair and equitable property settlement?

As you and your spouse go through the divorce process in Florida, your property settlement negotiations likely will play a huge part. You probably already know that Florida is a “fair and equitable” state, meaning that the property settlement agreement you and your spouse arrive at must, in fact, treat both of you fairly and equitably.

The Huffington Post, however, points out that “fair and equitable” has little, if anything, to do with a precise 50-50 split of your assets. In fact, since no statute or court has ever given a one-size-fits-all definition for “fair and equitable,” what is fair and equitable for you and your spouse may well not mirror what would be fair and equitable for another couple in different circumstances.

After a divorce, don’t forget to change your will

Any divorce can turn up unexpected complications, especially for couples who have spent a significant portion of their lives together when their marriage ends. For many people, it is not always easy to know when a divorce is finally over and done with, because the process can affect so many areas of a person's life.

One of the most important tasks that every divorcing spouse should consider is updating their will. If you recently underwent a divorce, you must take the time to protect your rights and priorities. If you do not update your will to reflect your divorce, you could cause the ones you love a great deal of heartache when the time comes to execute the will following you written wishes.

What must I do to move my child out of state after my divorce?

If you are a Florida parent looking forward to your post-divorce life, be aware that you cannot just pick up and leave if you decide to move somewhere else. Per Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes, you cannot move more than 50 miles from your current residence without court approval.

Most judges readily approve a divorced parent’s relocation, particularly if the child’s other parent agrees to it. Consequently, the first thing you should do when you start thinking above moving is to notify your former spouse. Make sure to tell him or her how this move will benefit not only you, but also the child you share with him or her.