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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Law Blog

Dividing property in a divorce when there is a family business

Some Florida couples run a business together during their marriages. In the event of a divorce, each party is entitled to a portion of the company's assets. This can make dividing property in a divorce challenging.

Often, it is necessary to have a third party come in and conduct a valuation of the business from the date the couple was married to a date certain. Determining the end date for such an analysis could be the first hurdle. Many times, that date is the date the couple separated. Once that date is established, several factors are used to determine how much the business has grown during the marriage.

Understanding the family finances may simplify a complex divorce

In many Florida marriages, one party may primarily handle the finances. This can be convenient while times are good, but not understanding the family finances could result in a complex divorce. Even if one spouse has not actively participated in the family's finances, it is possible to get up to speed in order to ensure that both spouses are going into divorce negotiations with a complete picture.

The first thing to do is compile a list of the couple's assets and liabilities. This includes assets and debts that are considered both marital and separate. Not all separate property has to be acquired prior to the marriage in order to be considered the sole property of one party. Certain assets acquired during the marriage, such as an inheritance, can be ruled separate property so long as it is kept in an account in the heir's name only.

Prenups can foster open communication before marriage

Newly engaged couples across the country and here in Florida often sit and dream of what their life together will be like. They discuss things like where they will live and how many children they will have. However, some couples fail to talk about the reality of marriage and its potential pitfalls. Prenups can help couples have an honest dialogue about the things they may not want to talk about, but often need to consider.

Some people may wonder why they should talk about divorce before they are even married. Prenups are sometimes seen as something that interrupt the bliss of being in love and bring up topics that are difficult to talk about. The truth is that if a couple finds it hard to talk about the assets and liabilities that each party brings to the marriage now, it may only get more difficult during the marriage.

High asset divorce settlement too much for Terrance Howard

Many Florida television and movie fans may know that Terrance Howard is an actor who starred in the "Best Man" movies and is currently working on two television shows before production begins on another movie. It may not be as well-known that Howard has two ex-wives. Currently, Howard is back in court over his high asset divorce settlement with wife number two.

It seems Howard owes his second ex-wife somewhere in the neighborhood of $325,000, according to their settlement. However, Howard says he is unable to pay her because he pays a substantial sum each month to his first wife. He claims that, after that payment, he has only $6,000 a month on which to live.

How family pets factor into asset division in a Florida divorce

For years, Florida courts have dealt with child custody battles. Now, a trend seems to be growing wherein couples with pets are asking judges to decide who gets to keep the family pet. Unfortunately, the law considers a pet to be property, which puts it under the rules for asset division and not custody.

However, that does not stop many couples from spending time and money arguing in court. One out-of-state woman claims that her estranged husband is only taking her to court over the family dog in order to prolong the divorce process. Her soon-to-be ex-husband, however, says he just wants the court to recognize that the dog belongs to him as well as his wife.

Should a parent's disability affect child custody?

Millions of Americans, including many here in Florida, suffer from physical or mental disabilities. Many of those Americans have children. For some of them involved in a divorce, their disability has adversely affected child custody.

Parents who take care of the day-to-day needs of their children may be denied custody based on the fact that they are somehow disabled. For instance, a parent who suffers from bipolar disorder or is bound to a wheelchair can still be a wonderful parent. However, a judge -- who is bound by law to do what is in the best interest of the children -- could make a determination that, because the individual suffers from a mental or physical disability, custody of the children should be given to someone else.

When a high asset divorce is imminent, go online and make changes

Regardless of whether an individual is the one who asked for the divorce or the one with the divorce thrust upon him or her, it may be beneficial to take care of some digital issues from the start. This could prevent potential complications from arising during the proceedings and after. There will most likely be enough challenges in a Florida high asset divorce without adding anything else.

The first order of business is to change passwords on personal accounts such as email or social media. If a party has reason to believe that a soon-to-be ex used some sort of tracking software, it may be necessary to back up any information and completely reset the system back to factory specifications. Otherwise, any changes made to passwords will be ineffective.

Odd child custody battle to begin in Sherri Shepherd divorce

Florida fans of "The View" may already know that Sherri Shepherd and her husband have filed for divorce. At the center of the court proceedings is an odd child custody battle. The baby they are battling over has not yet been born.

In fact, Shepherd is not even pregnant. She and her husband tried to get pregnant and even attempted in-vitro fertilization to no avail. When nothing worked, the couple hired a surrogate.

In the end, a complex divorce may boil down to money

One of the most prevalent arguments of nearly every couple here in Florida and around the country is over money. Money issues have led to the end of numerous marriages over the decades. When the issues of a complex divorce are stripped down to their foundation, money is often at the heart of it.

In fact, once the papers are signed and the parties have walked out of the courtroom, money could continue to be a point of contention between the parties -- especially if the couple has children. It is partly for this reason that the parties need to put aside their emotional issues during the divorce process in order to negotiate an equitable settlement. The more money issues that are worked out civilly, if not amicably, the greater the possibility that both parties will be willing to fulfill their obligations to each other after the divorce is final.

Do all prenups survive the scrutiny of Florida judges?

Prenuptial agreements are often viewed as unbreakable contracts between married couples. However, under certain circumstances, Florida judges have been known to throw out prenups in divorce proceedings. Judges look at two important factors when evaluating whether an agreement should be upheld.

If the agreement appears to be unfair to one party, it could be invalidated. It is not unusual for one party to give up something in a prenup such as alimony or certain property. However, in making the determination as to whether an agreement should be upheld, a Florida judge may look at the difference between what he or she would award versus what the prenuptial agreement provides. When a considerable difference exists between what one spouse receives compared to the other spouse, it could raise a red flag with the court.

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