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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

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.

Amber Heard accuses Johnny Depp of domestic violence

Many people who think they know a couple are often surprised when allegations of spousal abuse are made. Singer Charlie Rich might have said it best in his 1989 song "Behind Closed Doors." The song has a line that says, "no one knows what goes on behind closed doors." Even though he was not referring to the issue, those lyrics never ring truer than when it comes to domestic violence. Victims around the country and here in Florida are often fearful of coming forward because they are afraid of retribution from their abusers.

Actor Amber Heard recently made allegations of domestic abuse against Johnny Depp, which might have surprised many Florida movie fans. Heard went to court recently to file for divorce from Depp. While there, she showed photographs of herself to the court that intimated that Depp had hit her. She requested -- and received -- a restraining order requiring Depp to remain at least 100 yards away from her.

A parenting plan can help avoid conflict in front of the children

Under the best of circumstances, parenting can be a challenge. When Florida parents divorce, it can feel nearly impossible due -- at least in part -- to emotional conflicts. Fortunately, a well thought out and documented parenting plan might be able to help parents avoid conflict in front of the children.

In recent years, the media has been full of co-parenting stories about parents who are able to cooperate with each other in order to continue raising their children despite a divorce or separation. For many couples, this might be a viable option; for others, another alternative will need to be found. That is where something called "parallel parenting" could be useful. Under this type of parenting, the parties have very little contact in order to avoid arguments in front of the children. They still cooperate to raise their children, but avoid each other.

Prepare for the future while dividing property in a divorce

Outside of issues regarding children, money is the biggest part of nearly every divorce -- whether here in Florida or elsewhere. A recent university study found that a divorce reduces the income of each party by approximately 77 percent of that of a single person. This makes dividing property in a divorce an integral part of planning for the future.

Assets that were once providing for one family will now need to support two households. At the same time that the assets are being spread thin, expenses increase. In order to keep these truths from causing serious financial hardships, planning is essential.

Can a Florida resident get a divorce during pregnancy?

Having a baby is supposed to be one of the most joyous times in a couple's life. Sadly, there are some Florida couples who discover that they are expecting a child while either contemplating divorce or in the middle of one. The state does allow couples to divorce despite a pregnancy, but each couple needs to determine whether it would be better to wait for the birth or proceed as planned.

If the parties decide to proceed, and the baby is born afterward, it will be necessary to return to court. Since the child is born out of wedlock, determining paternity might be the first order of business. Once established, the issues of custody and child support can be decided. The parties can either have the court makes these decisions, or they could work out an agreement on their own.

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.