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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

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. 

Florida's county clerks draw attention to domestic violence

October is domestic violence awareness month, and that is not going unnoticed by Florida's county clerks. Data gathered last year reveals that some 1,300 domestic violence petitions were filed in 2013. This equates to approximately six people per business day who turned to the courts for help.

The plight of these victims received attention across the country when a video surfaced of National League Football star Ray Rice hitting his now-wife so hard that she was knocked out.  Since that incident gained coverage by the national media, the demand for space in shelters has risen dramatically. Unfortunately, they quickly run out of room.

Courts are bound by property division laws when it comes to pets

The question of who will get to keep the family pet in a divorce can be complicated.  If the parties are unable to agree, the court will step in to make a decision on their behalf as part of the process.  Unfortunately, courts around the country and here in Florida are bound by the rules of property division, since pets are considered property under the law.

Even so, many judges will not be so callous as to treat the family pet as he or she would a couch or sofa.  Evidence may be accepted regarding who spends more time with the pet and is primarily responsible for its care.  However, there will not typically be any judicial determinations made regarding visitation and other issues typically decided in child custody cases since the law does not support those types of orders.

Florida parents can avoid a complex divorce by focusing on kids

The demise of a marriage happens for any number of reasons, but divorces generally either go one of two ways -- amicable or not.  A complex divorce is not always due to the assets or other issues involved.  Sometimes, it can be because of how a Florida couple interact with each other during the process.

For instance, Tea Leoni and David Duchovny are getting a divorce after a rocky few years.  The couple separated once before when Duchovny checked into a rehabilitation center, reportedly for his sex addiction.  They got back together, but then separated again in 2011.  The divorce was filed in June of this year.

Domestic violence against Florida residents comes in many forms

One of the biggest betrayals any Florida resident can face is discovering that the person they should be be able to trust the most has turned against him or her.  Some people have no idea at the beginning of a relationship that the person they love may become an abuser.  Domestic violence comes in many forms, and it can be subtle at first.

Physical abuse is what most people think of when it comes to domestic violence, but that is not the only tactic that abusers employ.  It may be difficult to believe that someone in a relationship can suffer sexual abuse, but it does happen.  The goal may be to demean the other person and prove the abuser has control and power in the relationship.

Types of alimony allowed under Florida law

Most everyone understands what alimony is, but many people may not understand that there are different types of alimony.  Judges can award different types of alimony based on the circumstances.  Some of those types are discussed below.

A short-term form of maintenance described in Florida's alimony statute is called "bridge-the-gap" alimony.  It is awarded for a maximum of two years to give the receiving party the time to ease into being single after the marriage ends.  If either party passes away or if the party receiving it remarries, the award terminates.  It can also not be extended or modified.

The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984

Many custodial parents in Florida are not receiving regular child support payments. In some cases, the noncustodial parent does not have the financial means to make court ordered payments, and it may be possible to modify the order. On the other hand, there are noncustodial parents who may be able to pay, but fail to do so. This is where the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 comes into play.

State attorney generals and district attorneys obtained the authority from the Act to collect past due child support payments. When a noncustodial parent fails to make up the back payments, the Act provides for certain enforcement efforts. It is not believed that putting a non-paying parent in jail is productive, but it is an enforcement measure of last resort.

Property division in a Florida divorce

When it comes to dividing property in a divorce, Florida is an equitable distribution state. An important thing to remember when it comes to property division is in our state is that equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Judges use several criteria to determine how assets are divided.

If there are any assets that are considered the separate property of one spouse, he or she will be awarded that property. When it comes to marital property, Florida judges may begin by looking at how long the couple was married and the family's financial situation. Whether one of the parties gave up a career to either raise children or help the other spouse complete his or her education and other contributions of each party are also examined.

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