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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Does child support enforcement effort invade privacy?

Numerous collection efforts are available in the state of Florida when a noncustodial parent falls behind on payments. Most states have similar means of enforcement. One state, however, uses a passive method of enforcement that one man says is an invasion of his privacy.

Like many parents here in Florida, the out-of-state man pays his monthly support obligation without hesitation. He receives monthly postcards from the state reminding him of his duty to pay child support. Apparently, even parents who are up-to-date and diligent with their payments receive the notices.

Florida couples do not have to go through a complex divorce

Many Florida residents can attest to the fact that ending a marriage can be a messy prospect. Emotions are often at an all-time high, and each party is warily looking toward a future alone. Sometimes, this means that the parties spend their time and money in a courtroom, but more often than not, a couple is not doomed to go through a complex divorce.

Entering into a divorce in an emotionally charged state only sets up the parties for an acrimonious battle. In some cases, a short separation is in order to provide both parties with the time and space they need in order to let the anger, hurt and other negative emotions die down. Doing so could help the parties avoid protracted and expensive litigation over something that neither party would fight for otherwise.

Preparing for property division can help beat the financial odds

Financial security can seem elusive to a newly divorced Florida resident. It is nearly impossible to avoid a loss of income and an increase in expenses. Understanding that fact from the beginning of the divorce can change how an individual prepares for the property division process.

Far too many people fail to have a clear understanding of the marital assets and liabilities when they sit down at the negotiating table. In order to combat this, it is essential to gather as much documentation as possible beforehand. Tax returns can be particularly helpful and can point a person in the right direction when attempting to locate marital assets. In addition, the party should locate statements for bank accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts. Information on the marital debts should be documented as well.

How will the children remember the divorce?

Most Florida parents want their children to look back at their childhood with fond memories and happiness. Parents who are going through a divorce or separating are often concerned that the process will be traumatic for their children and could potentially leave them with scars that they will take into their adult lives. Even though there may not be a way to completely insulate them from the divorce, parents might be able to greatly reduce its affects.

Many Florida parents would agree that the most important part of the divorce is creating a parenting plan. Even when parents no longer get along, they are still able to recognize that each of them is a loving parent, and the children deserve to have both parents in their lives as much as possible. Therefore, negotiating a child custody agreement that accomplishes that goal is essential.

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.

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