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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Consider the future when dividing property in a divorce

During a divorce, Florida couples often tend to focus on what property they are going to receive when it comes to asset division. However, when dividing property in a divorce, future financial considerations -- such as whether a particular asset will be affordable -- need to take center stage. For instance, it is worth investigating whether a newly single person's budget can cover the upkeep on a particular asset, such as the marital home.

The parties may have the same incomes as they did during the marriage, but each will now likely be responsible for maintaining a separate household. A new budget will need to be created based on the fact that there will be fewer resources for the same types of expenses, such as housing, utilities and even groceries. This could change how a party approaches settlement negotiations.

Do not enter into a complex divorce without preparation

Too many Florida residents announce that they want to end their marriages and file for divorce without preparing for it. Emotions run high, communications break down and gathering needed information becomes complicated. It can be difficult to undo the damage done in the early days of a complex divorce.

Before informing a spouse of the intention to divorce, it may be a good idea to gather as much information regarding the marital estate as possible. Records regarding the couple's assets and debts are invaluable in any proceedings. A party who does not have as complete a picture as possible could end up not having the tools needed in order to get through the divorce proceedings and start a new life alone. 

The new property division dilemma facing courts -- frozen embryos

The ability to freeze and store embryos has given numerous couples across the country -- some of whom may be here in Florida -- the option to have children of their own at a later date. However, not all marriages last, and courts across the country are dealing with the dilemma of what will happen to these embryos when a couple divorces. Property division laws have not yet caught up to many technological advances, including this one, and it is left to the courts to struggle with this issue.

Most of the contracts signed by couples dictate that the embryos will be destroyed in the event of a divorce. Even sources following court decisions relating to this issue are unable to agree on what should be done. One source indicates that the majority of current case law supports upholding agreements signed when the procedure was done. However, another source says that courts are unable to come to a consensus on whether these agreements are enforceable.

Devising a parenting plan when relocation is necessary

In a "perfect" divorce, one parent and the children will stay in the family home, and the other parent will be close by in order to spend as much time with the children as possible. Unfortunately, that is not always feasible, and Florida parents need to consider relocation when devising a parenting plan. With proper planning and cooperation by the parents, the transition can be as smooth as possible for the whole family.

It does not matter whether the custodial parent and the children are moving across town or to another state. Moving is never easy for anyone involved, and for the children, it can make an already uncomfortable situation even more of a challenge. If the move will limit the time that the children will be able to spend with the non-custodial parent, any plan needs to account for this eventuality.

Property division should be treated like a business transaction

Ending a marriage is often compared to a roller coaster of emotions, but those emotions rarely serve the parties when it comes to the divorce proceedings. When Florida couples bring those emotions into settlement negotiations, the odds of ending up with a contentious courtroom battle increase. However, treating property division more like a business transaction can provide each party the clarity needed in order to look toward the future instead of back at the past.

The reality is that one household is going to become two households, and each one will have somewhere around half of the resources that the combined household had during the marriage. This means that a close look at what will be needed in order to live apart is in order. The best place to start is by looking at the marital finances to determine how the couple was living during the marriage.

Timing might play a significant role in dividing a marital estate

Florida readers who follow celebrity happenings are most likely aware that after years of speculation, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are getting divorced after 10 years and one day of marriage. Many sources believe that the timing of the divorce is no coincidence. A couple's 10th anniversary may be the magical one when it comes to dividing a marital estate.

Many jurisdictions consider any marriage that lasts 10 years or more to be long term. This could affect the amount of spousal support to which the lesser earning spouse is entitled. In addition, some prenuptial agreements include incentives to stay together for a certain number of years. For instance, the spouse earning less money at the time of the divorce may be entitled to a specified amount of money for each year of marriage with a bonus for any time over a certain number of years.

Can an economist's software make a complex divorce simple?

Many Florida residents have likened a divorce to the dissolution of a business. The assets and debts are divided between the parties in some manner, they sign the dissolution papers and go their separate ways. However, the reality of divorce is rarely that simple, yet an economist says that software can help make a complex divorce simple.

Estimates indicate that nearly 5,000 couples file for divorce each day in the United States. American couples have a slightly better than 50 percent chance of staying together if it is the first marriage for both parties. The statistics are not encouraging for second marriages, which seem to fare worse.

Standing together for the children in a Florida divorce

Fortunately, more Florida couples are deciding to end their marriages through mediation or collaborative divorce instead of battling in a courtroom. This is especially important for parents who want to give their children the best possible start to a new life. Of course, parents must get over the first hurdle, which is telling their children about the divorce.

How parents present this information can also set the tone for how they will negotiate their child custody agreement. Parents need to devise a plan before discussing the divorce with their children. More than likely, the kids will have a lot of questions. If their parents have already talked about the answers to those questions, they are already on their way toward an agreement.

Child support is often a point of contention for Florida parents

Most Florida parents have no problem supporting their children financially. Oddly enough, what they often have an issue with is paying child support. This issue is one of the most problematic between parents who are either divorced or separated.

The determination of child support is governed by statutory guidelines. Judges can deviate from those guidelines to a certain extent, but a non-custodial parent will be always be responsible for some amount of financial support for the children. Any agreement between the parties is not valid unless approved by the court. This is for the protection of both parents.

Doing some research could help one to avoid a complex divorce

Florida couples who are contemplating divorce have more options than just going through the traditional adversarial system. When the decision to divorce is made, it may be beneficial to do some research into alternative methods for ending a marriage. Avoiding a complex divorce could ensure that the parties come to an agreement with which both can be satisfied.

Mediation is one alternative method of dispute resolution that is gaining popularity with divorcing couples. When the fact that most divorces never go to trial is taken into consideration, it may be better to start with mediation and save the time and money of preparing for litigation. However, choosing to mediate does not mean that the parties should not do their research and prepare for negotiations.

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