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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Taking the first step toward being free from domestic violence

Many people who are in an abusive marriage do not believe that there is a way out. Taking the first step toward freedom from domestic violence is not always an easy one. Therefore, Florida law provides for restraining orders and orders for protection, which are often one of the first legal steps you can take to protect yourself, and possibly your children, from your abuser.

Most Florida residents know that a domestic violence restraining order requires the other party to stay away from and stop hurting you and/or your children. What many people might not realize is that they can provide for other relief as well. For example, the other party could be required to vacate the family home and pay temporary child and/or spousal support. The order could also give the victim temporary custody of the children.

Keeping the children out of child support matters

Florida parents who are ending their marriages have many issues to resolve before they can go their separate ways and settle into their separate lives. During the marriage, they were both responsible for the physical, emotional and financial needs of the children, and those obligations continue after the divorce. Most parents would never think of involving their children in the financial affairs of the family, and the same should be said for child support.

Just because the parties are no longer married does mean that one parent is now more responsible for the financial needs of the children than the other. Many people argue over child support in front of the children and even have them deliver messages regarding its payment back and forth. The children should not be involved in these discussions because they are not the ones who are getting divorced, and all they really need to focus on is the fact that both of their parents still love them.

Minimizing the effects of divorce on the children

It can be challenging at times to remember that even though a Florida couple's marriage is over, the children still love both of their parents and want to continue to have a relationship with each of them. Making this happen often requires both parents to put their feelings for each other aside and focus on how to create a supporting and loving atmosphere for the children despite the divorce. When parents work together, they can minimize the effects that the divorce will have on children.

Many aspects of life are going to change, and this can make children feel insecure. Combating this does not have to include suspending their routines or discipline. In fact, those are the very things that make most children feel secure and loved. Extra hugs and time with each parent might be in order to let them know that even though the parties will no longer be married, they are still a family and loving parents.

Debts need to be divided along with the marital property

Financial matters -- including spousal and child support -- are often tied with custody as the number one issue that parties are anxious to resolve when they end their marriages. Many Florida couples focus on what will happen to the marital property. However, they also need to consider how the parties' debts will be divided in the divorce settlement.

It is not enough for one party to agree to pay a debt. Some sort of follow through is often required, such as removing the other spouse from the account. Otherwise, the creditor retains the right to seek payment from the other spouse if the one who agreed to pay the debt does not do so. Furthermore, even though it might be possible to take the non-paying spouse back to court to enforce the settlement, that takes time during which the credit of each party could be affected.

Avoiding a complex divorce could hinge on the choice of attorney

The decision to part ways is often not an easy one -- even if a Florida couple agrees that the marriage has ended. Couples who want to have an amicable divorce still need to resolve the same issues as those who are bound for a courtroom battle. Avoiding a complex divorce could hinge on the attorneys involved.

It is no longer necessary to engage in the traditional adversarial system in order to get a divorce. Couples who want to save time, money and heartache are turning to collaborative divorce or mediation. These alternatives allow a couple to negotiate their own settlement, which often leaves each of them feeling more satisfied with the outcome. Every family is unique, and creating an agreement that tailors to their family could make any future interactions more amicable, which would certainly come in handy if the parties have children together.

The relationship between a high asset divorce and social media

Florida residents may agree that it would be difficult to find a person these days who does not have some sort of online presence. Under ordinary circumstances, social media keeps people connected and entertained. In a high asset divorce, however, social media can go from being a friend to an enemy.

First, anyone about to enter into the divorce process should know that deleting online accounts can be construed as destroying discoverable evidence by the court. Therefore, it is best simply to avoid writing posts or uploading photos during the divorce. Friends might also be cautioned, since the parties could still be connected through a mutual friend.

Asset division can affect a person's financial future

Dividing up property is perhaps one of the most crucial and potentially contentious parts of nearly every divorce. This is most likely because asset division can directly affect the financial future of each Florida resident. Therefore, it needs to be handled appropriately in order to keep one party from having an unfair advantage over the other.

One of the biggest obstacles to receiving a fair settlement is knowledge. Without a complete a picture of what assets, income and debts make up the marital estate, it will be difficult to negotiate a fair settlement. In many marriages, one party primarily handles the finances, which means that the other party might not fully understand the couple's financial situation as the divorce begins. Therefore, it will be necessary to gather as much documentation as possible.

Understanding the uses of a post-nuptial or prenuptial agreement

More couples here in Florida and across the country are considering what will happen to their assets in the event of a divorce. Therefore, more couples are considering entering into a prenuptial agreement (before marriage) or post-nuptial agreement (after marriage). Understanding what these documents can do for a couple is necessary prior to drafting one in order to get the most use out of it.

The primary use of prenuptial agreements is to identify the separate property of each party, which will ensure that it does not become part of the marital estate. The agreement can also specify that any increase in a piece of separate property will not be subject to division during a divorce. Post-nuptial agreements can do the same thing, except the agreement cannot leave one party at a disadvantage financially, which can be construed as being the result of one party exerting undue influence on the other.

Do you need to file a petition for paternity?

Many unmarried couples here in Florida and elsewhere that have children together might assume that putting the biological father's name on the birth certificate is enough. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. In order for the father to enjoy all of the legal rights and responsibilities he deserves, it will most likely be necessary to petition for paternity before the courts.

Unmarried couples can go their separate ways just like married ones do. In order for the father of a child born out of wedlock to receive visitation rights, paternity needs to be established legally. On the other hand, receiving child support is also contingent upon paternity. Therefore, even if there is no conflict between the parties regarding who is the biological father of the child, the courts could still need to make it legal.

What happens to insurance in a Florida high asset divorce?

Considering all of the issues that Florida couples need to address when they end their marriages, it might not be surprising that some insurance issues could be in danger of falling through the cracks. Many people consider health care coverage and life insurance policies, but other forms of insurance also need to be addressed during high asset divorce proceedings. Otherwise, the parties might have to go back to court later in order to resolve the matter.

For example, many people have disability insurance through their employers. This type of insurance covers a certain portion of a person's income in the event of an injury or illness that prevents him or her from working. Data gathered by the Social Security Administration indicates that people in their 20s have a one in four chance of becoming at least temporarily disabled. In contrast, they only have a one in eight chance of dying prior to the age of 67. Therefore, it might be beneficial for each party to discuss the issue of disability insurance while negotiating the divorce settlement.