Andrew D. Washor P.A. attorney and counselor at law
Local 954-769-0685
Toll Free 877-709-9701

Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Prenuptial agreement protected Kaley Cuoco's millions

One of the stars of the hit television show "Big Bang Theory," Kaley Cuoco, recently finalized her divorce from tennis player Ryan Sweeting. Thanks to a prenuptial agreement that the couple signed prior to the marriage in 2013, Cuoco is able to keep all of her earnings from the show. Florida readers might find it interesting that under the actress's contract, she was to earn $1 million for each episode she appeared in, which amounted to $72 million.

Fortunately for Cuoco, that contract was signed prior to the marriage, and the parties agreed to keep their respective incomes in the event of a divorce. She also gets to keep the two homes that the couple used during their marriage, which lasted approximately 21 months. Sweeting did not fare as well, however.

Most Florida parents can avoid a complex divorce

In recent years, celebrities have escalated the expectation that people can end their marriages amicably. Gwyneth Paltrow characterized her divorce from Chris Martin as a "conscious uncoupling," which meant that they made an effort to make their separation drama-free for the sake of their children. Reality television stars Jon and Kate Gosselin decided that "bird nesting" -- in which the children remain in the family home and the parents alternate living with them -- was the best way to help their children through the divorce. Fortunately, Florida parents do not have to go to these lengths to avoid a complex divorce.

Florida parents who want to reduce the stress their children go through as the marriage ends can do so by putting aside their emotions and working together to come up with a divorce settlement that works best for the whole family. This does not necessarily mean that the parties have to be friends or overly accommodating. However, it does mean that they will need to be willing to compromise and give each other a say in how issues are resolved.

Keeping retirement in mind when dividing property in a divorce

At any stage of life, ending a marriage can be difficult, emotionally and financially. The older a Florida resident is at the time he or she gets a divorce, the more that maintaining a retirement plan becomes a priority. Fortunately, it is possible to keep retirement in mind when dividing property in a divorce.

The challenge comes from the fact that after divorce, an individual's living expenses can increase around 25 percent, while the income available is lower. Retirement accounts are often around 50 percent less as well. Many people stop contributing to their retirement plans in order to make up for this difference, but that only further jeopardizes the ability to retire.

What to know before dividing property in a divorce

During marriage, Florida couples might not keep a close eye on how much their assets are worth. However, when dividing property in a divorce, this information becomes crucial. If the parties are not able to agree on how much a particular asset is worth, it could lead to a long, contentious and costly court battle.

In the beginning of a divorce, each party should complete a financial statement that lists all of the marital assets and separate assets of the parties, including an estimated value. This could immediately identify any potential conflicts the parties will have in dividing their property. If the parties are far apart in the value of any asset, it might be a good idea to have it valued before proceeding.

Child custody issues require undivided attention to the details

When a Florida couple decides to divorce, life can often be chaotic. Finding the ability to focus on one issue can seem elusive. However, because parents love their children, they often find the strength to put aside everything else and focus on figuring out the best course of action for their children. This is needed because child custody issues require the parents' undivided attention in order to cover as many eventualities and details as possible.

These days, parents are much more sensitive to how a divorce affects the children. They strive to make the inevitable transition as smooth as possible. Children need security and stability, and parents try to achieve this as they negotiate their parenting plans.

Start your marriage with a prenuptial agreement

One of the biggest issues in many marriages is money. In order to reduce the impact finances have on parties during a marriage, many Florida couples are considering executing prenuptial agreements. Not only does this force the parties to discuss this often-contentious issue prior to their nuptials, but a prenuptial agreement can also take the pressure off the parties since this is one less issue to be dealt with if the marriage ends.

There are any number of reasons why a prenup would benefit a couple. If either party owns a business, the fate of that business, if the marriage ends, can be outlined in the agreement. Many Florida residents have been married before and have children from those relationships. Making sure that there are assets available for those children to inherit can be addressed in the prenuptial agreement as well. Some people anticipate that they will receive inheritances during marriage, and stipulating in the agreement that an inheritance will remain separate property is essential.

Pets and dividing property in a divorce

These days, many people around the country, including many here in Florida, consider their pets to be part of the family. During divorce proceedings, couples might wish to have the court determine custody of the pet, but few courts will entertain this request since animals are considered to be property. Therefore, if the court is making the decisions about dividing property in a divorce, the fate of the pet will be determined as part of that process.

Pets are surprisingly empathetic creatures and can sense tension in their household. They might already be aware that something is amiss and will act out much like a child will under the same circumstances. The loss of one member of its family often brings on feelings of separation anxiety and confusion. Many sources encourage pet parents to be kind during these times and enjoy the love and silent support that a pet can provide.

Hidden assets in a high asset divorce lead doctor to prison

Divorce can cause otherwise rational people here in Florida and across the country to do things that they would not do otherwise. For instance, in a high asset divorce in which millions of dollars are at stake, one party could be tempted to hide assets from the other party and the court in lieu of having to share them. Those individuals should be aware that hidden assets are often found, as is illustrated by the cautionary tale of a doctor from another state.

The doctor and his wife were married for approximately 28 years before a divorce was filed in the latter part of 2007. Shortly thereafter, the doctor disappeared for nearly six months. It was later discovered that he secreted away millions of dollars in cash and gold.

Protecting yourself and family members with restraining orders

Several professional football players have helped to keep the problem of domestic violence in the news. Sadly, many of the NFL players accused of spousal abuse are still not being brought to justice quickly enough to protect their victims, which could be the case for many abusers here in Florida and elsewhere. Therefore, many people need restraining orders to help keep their abusers away.

A restraining order, which is also called an injunction for protection here in Florida, is often the first line of defense for a victim who has gathered up the courage to leave an abuser. After getting somewhere safe, a call to a family law attorney who deals with domestic violence issues should be made. Obtaining a restraining order as quickly as possible will alert the court that the other party might have a violent history and provides legal consequences to the abuser if he or she violates the injunction.

Mediation could make property division easier

Just the thought of having to battle it out in court could be enough for many Florida residents to seek an alternative way to handle their divorce issues. Many couples are turning to mediation to resolve their property division, support and custody issues. In most cases, the parties are able to save time, money and unnecessary stress and confrontation.

In fact, many judges here in Florida and across the country encourage couples to work out a settlement outside of the courtroom. One judge from upper Midwest says that couples go into the divorce process without first understanding what it entails and how decisions will be made. This can lead to one or both parties being dissatisfied with the outcome, which could result in more litigation down the road.