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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Preparing for a complex divorce while hoping it's not

When it comes to handling challenging situations, many Florida residents prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Applying this adage to an impending divorce might ultimately make things go more smoothly. For this reason, it might be beneficial to prepare for a complex divorce but do whatever possible to keep things amicable.

Taking a few simple steps might allow each party to have the necessary knowledge to enter into settlement negotiations. The more issues the parties are able to work out on their own, the less time they will need to spend in court. Therefore, gaining a clear understanding of the parties' financial situation is essential.

Preparing for life after a Florida divorce

Once a Florida couple decides to end their marriage, they must face the fact that nearly every aspect of their lives is about to change. Issues such as property division, child support and child custody will dominate the near future. Fortunately, the divorce process itself can be used to prepare for the changes that are coming for each party.

Ending a relationship is an emotional time for anyone. Changing perspective and looking at it as a beginning is one way to stay focused on the settlement negotiations. Each party needs to be able to retain some objectivity in order to work toward a fair and equitable settlement of the parties' issues.

Imputing income in order to calculate child support

Most Florida parents want what is best for their children during a divorce. However, that does not stop some parents from voluntarily being underemployed or unemployed in order to avoid paying more in child support. If the court is convinced that a parent is voluntarily making less money -- or no money as the case may be -- state law allows the court to attribute an income to him or her.

Of course, the court will only do so after making sure that the unemployment or underemployment is out of the parent's control. Further, the court must make certain findings of fact for the record. Once the decision is made, how much the imputed income will be depends on several factors.

In 2014, NFL put domestic violence in the spotlight

Each year, The Associated Press votes on what the number one sports story for that year was. For 2014, the National Football League's issues with domestic violence came in at number one. As deplorable as some players' actions were, their exploits brought a difficult subject into the light here in Florida and across the country.

Nearly everyone has at least heard about the incident involving Ray Rice, a running back for the Ravens, and the woman who is now his wife. Back in Feb. 2014, he struck her hard enough to knock her out. In July, the NFL's commissioner felt that suspending Rice for just two games would be sufficient sanction for his actions. The amount of contempt and disdain showed by the public highlighted just how inadequate those sanctions were. Therefore, the commissioner later announced that, in the future, sanctions would be more appropriate.

Asset division often proves more complicated for business owners

According to statistics released by the American Psychological Association, nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. While this statistic may not seem surprising, it may surprise people to know that the divorce rate for business owners is higher. Due to this, it is wise for Florida business owners to consider their businesses' futures before and during their marriages in order to understand how their businesses could suffer from future asset division and to prevent issues from arising should their marriages end.

Business owners who are about to marry may want to consider the need for prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements can provide much-needed protection for their businesses' futures by outlining if and how their businesses will be divided should they later divorce their partners. If a prenuptial agreement is not an option due to a spouse's objections, it is possible to set up a trust for the protection of assets. This way of protecting a business does not require the approval of a fiance or spouse. 

I think I'm eligible for alimony, what can I do?

While a divorce will allow two individuals to move on with their lives in the way they see fit, it can also devastate personal finances. Not necessarily because of the expense of the process, but, simply because taking a loss of income can make living expenses harder to manage. To help ease the financial fallout often seen with divorce, Florida residents who believe they are eligible for alimony have the right to pursue these support payments as part of their divorce settlement.

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is based on two basic factors. These are the financial need of the receiving spouse and the financial ability of the other spouse to make payments. If a need is determined and ability to pay is established, a number of other factors are considered before any amount is ordered. These can include the length of the marriage and the accustomed standard of living.

What orders for protection cover and who can apply for them

Domestic violence is as pervasive a problem here in Florida as it is around the country. For this reason, Florida law allows victims to apply for orders for protection, which are designed to protect vulnerable individuals from another person who may intend to do them harm in the future. Below is a brief outline of what protective orders cover and who can apply for them.

In order to obtain a domestic violence protective order in family court, there has to be a specific relationship between you and the abuser. For instance, a spouse, live-in partner or another relative by either marriage or blood are qualifying relationships. An exception to this is the parent of your child. Even if the two of you were never married or lived together, you may be able to obtain an order of protection against him or her. The Florida criminal justice system also issues orders for protection, and those orders are not necessarily dependent on a specified family or domestic relationship between the parties.

Consider the future when dividing property in a divorce

Ending a marriage is often fraught with emotion and is never easy. In light of this, Florida residents need to make a concerted effort to put aside their emotions when it comes to dividing property in a divorce. Otherwise, going into settlement negotiations with emotions running high could end up costing a party in the end.

Ultimately, the goal of dividing the marital property and debts is to be in the best financial position possible when the divorce is over. Many Florida couples approach settlement negotiations as ending the marriage. However, a more accurate description of what the divorce process is about is preparing for a future as a single person.

Dealing with the holidays during a Florida divorce with children

The custody of the children is often the most important consideration to a Florida couple that is ending their marriage. Being in the middle of a divorce during the holidays can be especially challenging for both parents and children. How parents deal with making the holidays special for their children is an important part of any child custody agreement.

Outside of normal visitation schedules, the holidays need to be given special attention since they are often filled with traditions and anticipation for children. In some cases, parents decide to continue to spend the holidays together despite the divorce. For example, this is what singer Mariah Carey and her husband Nick Cannon have chosen to do, even though they are embroiled in a custody battle for their twin boys.

Settling child custody issues involves several factors

When a Florida couple has a child together, they are forever bound as parents. They may go their separate ways and not remain a couple, but their mutual connection to their child will require them to interact on a regular basis. This means settling child custody issues in a way that allows both parents the opportunity to be a part of the child's life.

Numerous factors are considered by the Florida courts when considering issues such as visitation, time sharing or the desire of one parent to relocate with the child. The standard used by state courts is what is in the best interest of the child. In attempting to attain this standard for the child, the court may look at the home lives of each parent, which parent may provide more stability for the child, and the relationship that each parent has with the child. Older children may be given the opportunity to express their opinion on the subject as well.

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