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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Mother wins back child custody from the state of Florida

A parent's values and beliefs have a great influence on how he or she raises a child. So long as the child is thriving and safe, a parent should have the freedom to follow those values and beliefs and pass them on to his or her child. This point was illustrated in the case of a mother who was forced into a child custody battle with the state of Florida that essentially came down to the fact that she is a vegan.

The woman took her infant son to the doctor for a checkup. During the visit, the doctor determined that the baby's weight had dropped approximately 10 percent since birth. He recommended that the mother take the baby to the hospital. However, the mother decided to try giving him a vegan soy formula in addition to breast milk to raise his weight before resorting to taking him to the hospital.

Divorce in mid-life makes asset division critical to the process

Estimates indicate that nearly 25 percent of all divorces involve couples including those in which at least one partner is 50 years of age or older. Sources believe at least part of the reason is due to the fact that people are expected to live longer than in years past, and many people here in Florida and around the country do not wish to spend the rest of their lives with their current spouse. Getting a divorce in mid-life makes asset division critical since the parties are closer to retirement.

Divorce nearly always has a financial impact on the parties. Going from one household to support to two can have a devastating effect if the parties fail to keep an eye toward the future. It can be tempting to spend a lot of time and money battling in court, but that may only diminish the marital assets. On the other hand, attempting to keep things friendly by giving in to the other spouse's demands may also be a detriment.

Keeping a high asset divorce out of the public eye

Once a divorce begins, any documents filed with the court become public record. At least some -- if not all -- of the information regarding a high asset divorce could be available for the public if requested. Further, if the parties end up in court, members of the public may sit in the courtroom and listen as a Florida couple's issues are aired to the judge.

It is possible, however, to keep as many of the details of any settlement reached between the parties private. Some celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes signed a confidentiality agreement to keep the details of their settlement private. However, a couple does not have to live in the public eye to want their divorce kept confidential. Such an agreement could be useful in order to keep as much financial and other personal information out of the public record with the Florida court system.

How a Florida high asset divorce affects taxes and retirement

Property division and custody issues tend to dominate divorce proceedings. Even if a couple is not going through a high asset divorce, every Florida couple that is divorcing will likely need to address these issues. In the midst of dealing with these issues, it can be easy to forget the effects that divorce has on taxes and retirement.

Filing income tax returns will change after a divorce. Each party will need to file as single rather than married. Therefore, both parties need to plan for their tax structure to change in some way. Unless both parties earned roughly the same amount of money each year, one or both individuals may discover that they have moved into a higher tax bracket. For this reason, who claims the children as dependents each year becomes an important consideration.

Parenting after a Florida divorce

Once a couple has decided that their marriage is over, numerous issues need to be resolved. One of the most important issues for any Florida couple with children is structuring a parenting plan. This could be one of the integral parts of any divorce when children are involved.

Florida parents who have gone through a divorce already know that, just because the marital relationship ends, this does not mean that the parental relationship ends. In some cases, that relationship will put the parents together more often than when they were married. Structuring a new parental relationship can be a challenge.

The case against going to trial in a Florida high asset divorce

Hurt, resentment and anger can easily overtake the divorce process. The process takes on a life of its own and quickly propels the parties into an arena they most likely never would have chosen otherwise. If this happens, a Florida high asset divorce could end up becoming a time-consuming and expensive courtroom battle in which neither party comes out the winner in the end.

Fortunately, estimates put the number of divorces that end with a settlement at over 90 percent. Couples are able to overcome their emotions and sit down at the negotiating table to hammer out an agreement with which both parties are satisfied. In cases where there is a substantial amount of money and assets at stake, a civil -- if not amicable -- resolution provides the couple with the opportunity to frame their own futures.

Complex divorce of Florida legislator heats up

These days, the idea of an amicable divorce seems to permeate the media. While that would be preferable in many ways, neither party should feel obligated to give up something to which he or she may be entitled just to follow the current trend. It is not always possible for a Florida couple to avoid a contentious and complex divorce.

Right now, no one knows this better than a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida. The divorce between him and his wife is apparently becoming quite antagonistic. Rep. Alan Grayson's wife was reportedly a stay-at-home mom living in the couple's home here in Florida. She reports that repairs are needed to fix leaks in the home that are causing further damage to the home.

What factors can invalidate a Florida prenuptial agreement?

Florida couples who are contemplating marriage are turning to prenups more often. One of the main purposes of these agreements is to outline who will receive what assets in the event of a subsequent divorce, and many people view them as unbreakable. However, certain factors can invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, each party must give the other full disclosure regarding his or her assets. If one spouse discovers later that the other was not completely honest, the court may throw out a portion or all of the agreement. When it comes to the distribution of assets, an agreement may also be invalid if one party stands to gain a disproportionate amount of the assets.

The case for joint child custody in a Florida divorce

Recently, experts from three groups reviewed research and data gathered regarding child development.  They found that the way courts are currently predominantly deciding child custody cases could be detrimental to some children.  They recommend that the courts across the nation -- including those here in Florida -- increase the use of a joint custody arrangement instead of awarding one parent sole custody.

Researchers reviewed data from 33 studies conducted between 1982 and 1999.  The studies included 814 children whose parents were awarded joint custody and 1,846 from homes where one parent was awarded sole custody.  It was determined that the children whose parents shared custody developed as well as children in two-parent homes.  The parents also fared better since there were no winners or losers, and neither parent was overloaded with the responsibilities of raising the children.

Considerations for signing prenups in second marriages

Often, much more is at stake financially in a second marriage.  Many Florida residents getting married for the second time are older, further along in their careers and have amassed substantial assets on their own. These are some of the reasons why prenups may be seen as essential for these couples.

After the first divorce, it would not be unheard of for each party to focus on rebuilding his or her assets and credit. Anyone who has been through a divorce understands that it can cause significant damage to a person's credit history. A party may also have been awarded substantial assets, the children -- for which he or she is receiving child support -- and alimony. 

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