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Are More Millennials Getting Prenups?

Posted on: April 10, 2019 by in Divorce
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Millennials Getting Prenups

Millennials are famous for starting and ending popular trends. The generation that brought you the selfie has a new focus on their horizon. It turns out; the prenuptial agreement is something that they’ve deemed necessary in their lives. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers discovered that 51% of lawyers recently noticed a significant increase in millennials getting prenups. Why the sudden jump in this premarital contract? Millennials are approaching the prenup from a very different perspective than previous generations. They’ve offered some sound reasons why they believe prenuptial agreements are essential. In addition, the traditional concepts of marriage have shifted with millennials. To help you understand this new phenomenon, here are ten reasons why millennials getting prenups is a move in the right direction.

 

  1. Marrying Later in Life

 

There’s been a steady and significant trend in marrying later on in life. Millennials have proven that they’re in no rush to get married and start a family. Instead of the traditional path of marrying right out of college at 23 years old, this generation is more likely to wait until their mid-30’s to settle down. They’re able to see marriage from a realistic and mature perspective, which helps them to see the prenup in a more reasonable light.

 

  1. Bringing More Assets Into a Marriage

Since they’re marrying later on in life, they’ve had the opportunity to earn more money and collect more assets at this point. Unlike their parents’ generation, they’re entering marriage with more to protect. This is one of the main reasons millennials getting prenups has become such a popular trend.

 

  1. More Women in the Workforce

The days of women being called ‘spinsters’ at 30 years old is over. Society should retire the word altogether. The fact is, there are more women in the workplace than ever before. The traditional idea of the male making more money and demanding a prenup is dying. Statistics are showing more millennial women requesting prenuptial agreements.

 

  1. Traditional Gender Roles are Changing

Millennial couples are more interested in sharing responsibilities. In the past, men have taken more control over their finances while women watch over household budgets. Men have traditionally set the terms and conditions on joint bank accounts, insurance, or credit cards in prenuptial agreements. Millennials getting prenups are more likely to want to share ownership and responsibilities when it comes to their finances.

 

  1. They See Themselves as a Team

When asked why they deem a prenup necessary, millennials will often say that they see themselves as a team. As a team, they set their expectations for marriage and divorce together. They want to set these terms now while they’re on the same page instead of years from now when conflict could cloud their judgment.

 

  1. Consider it a Business Deal

In addition to millennials getting prenups as a team, they also see it as a business deal. The emotional aspects of it aren’t as prevalent as they have been in the past. Prenups are no longer seen as a pessimistic approach to marriage. Prenups are simply business agreements that both parties form together.

 

  1. Protect Their Independence

Millennials getting prenups are protecting their independence in case disaster strikes later on in life. They understand that they can set terms to protect their property, finances, and assets. Passing up this level of protection is seen as juvenile or naive by this generation.

 

  1. They Understand the Realities of Divorce

One thing the Internet has offered to millennials is the ability to do their research. They’re well aware of the fact that divorce rates have steadily hovered around 50% for decades. They’re much more realistic about marriage and divorce than previous generations.

 

  1. They Set Terms that Can Potentially Save Their Marriage

A lot of millennials also see that a prenuptial agreement could save their marriage. Since you’re able to set conditions on divorce, like mediation, trial separations, or marriage counseling, more millennials are choosing to place these terms in a prenup. For instance, they might make it mandatory that they attend three weeks of marriage counseling before reaching an agreement on divorce.

 

  1. Millennials Getting Prenups Have Peace of Mind

Last but certainly not least, millennials getting prenups can experience peace of mind. They can sign this premarital contract and, hopefully, never have to look at it again. People can say what they want about millennials and their trends, but this trend with prenups is indisputably smart. They’re approaching marriage realistically and maturely. They know that protecting themselves and their assets is important. If you plan on getting married in the near future, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. These millennials have pointed out some incredible reasons why this contract can offer security and peace of mind. Contact an experienced attorney today to learn more about how you can create a prenuptial agreement for you and your future spouse.

 

Fact or Myth: Courts Favor The Mother in a Child Custody Case

Posted on: March 29, 2019 by in Family Law
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Courts Favor The Mother in a Child Custody Case

When parents get divorced, the terms of child custody can weigh on the entire family. Not knowing who gets custody can be stressful and frustrating. Not only is the process stressful, but parents can become confused and misled by all the myths circling around child custody cases. Gossip from other families’ divorce cases can spark a lot of fear. For instance, many people believe that the courts favor the mother in a child custody case. This myth has been proven wrong time and time again, but the idea still haunts a lot of fathers out there going through a divorce. The truth is, the courts do not favor one parent or the other without hearing from the family first. There are a lot of factors that are taken into consideration before a final custody decision is made. In this article, we discuss why people may believe the courts favor the mother in a child custody case, how one parent gets full custody, and what you have to prove to make that happen.

 

Courts Favor The Mother in a Child Custody Case: Myth

Today, family courts all over the country will approach a child custody case with an open mind and a balanced perspective. They encourage both parents to be a part of the child’s life whenever possible. Leaning towards one parent or the other before hearing the case is not common practice. However, there’s a good reason why people might still believe this myth that the courts favor the mother in a child custody case. This is because it used to be common practice for the courts to lean towards putting custody of the child with the mother. This was especially true if the children were young (toddlers or early elementary school age children). This was also at a time when mothers served more traditional roles in the home. Now, it’s more common to see both parents working full time and sharing responsibilities. That’s precisely why this practice has been phased out. The judge will rule on whatever path is in the best interest of the child.

 

What Factors Determine the ‘Best Interest of the Child’?

Since we’ve established that you can’t trust that the courts favor the mother in a child custody case, we can cover the factors that do matter. When deciding a child custody case, family courts will want to determine what is in the best interest of the child. The courts will want to know:

  • Both parents’ medical histories, mental and physical. Is one parent or the other physically or mentally incapable of caring for the child?
  • The financial stability of both parents. Do they hold steady employment? Does one parent make a significantly higher salary than the other? Are they able to provide basics like shelter, food, clothes, and medical care?
  • The child’s age and gender.
  • The child’s medical history, both mental and physical.
  • If the child is over the age of 12, what is their desired outcome? The courts will ask what they prefer in these cases.
  • Is the child more emotionally connected to one parent or the other? The emotional bond is an important factor in all custody cases.
  • What do the parents want? Is the arrangement amicable? Do they agree on joint custody? Is there a chance the ruling will be challenged?
  • Does each parent support and encourage the child to have a connection with the other parent?
  • The quality of life each parent can provide.
  • Each parents’ lifestyle and habits. Is one parent struggling with alcohol, drug, or gambling addictions?
  • Is there a history of domestic abuse in the home?
  • How long will it take for the child to adapt to their new home or lifestyle? Does living with one parent over the other disrupt the child’s routine? Will the child have to change schools? Will it involve moving to a new city or state?

 

Is Full Custody a Possibility?

As mentioned above, when it comes to child custody, the family courts want both parents to be involved in the child’s life whenever possible. However, of course, full custody is possible in certain circumstances.

  • If one parent moves away and shows little to no interest in caring for the child
  • If there’s a long history of physical or sexual abuse with one parent
  • If one parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • If one parent has no home or shelter to provide for the child

These sort of situations might lead to full custody of one parent. However, you’ll have to provide evidence of these circumstances in order to get full custody.

 

For More Information on Child Custody Cases

If you’d like more information, contact a trusted child custody attorney. They can provide you with all of the resources you need in order to move forward with your case. Connect with an experienced attorney today to learn more about your child custody options!

What Is A Supportive Relationship?

Posted on: March 16, 2019 by in Family Law
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What Is A Supportive Relationship

After a divorce, there’s always a chance that one spouse will have to pay alimony to the other. Alimony payments serve an important purpose. Alimony is seen as necessary financial assistance to the spouse that earns significantly less than the other. But what happens if these circumstances change in the future? What if your ex-spouse meets someone new and moves in with this person? Does this change the amount you pay? Can this new supportive relationship terminate alimony payments altogether? These and other questions are answered in this summary of supportive relationships and their effect on alimony payments after a divorce.

 

Can Alimony be Modified or Terminated?

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that alimony can be modified due to a number of factors besides remarriage or death. For instance, a significant change in income or cost of living could modify alimony payments. Even tax laws, a sudden disability, or financial emergencies could all spark an adjustment in alimony payments. In addition, if the person receiving alimony payments becomes involved in a supportive relationship that provides financial assistance, this could also be a reason why alimony payments are modified.

 

What is a Supportive Relationship?

Florida legislature passed the Supportive Relationship Statute in 2005. This opened the door to legally adjusting alimony payments if the alimony recipient is receiving financial assistance from a new supportive relationship. The entire point of the legislation was to prevent an alimony recipient from receiving regular alimony payments as well as substantial financial support from a new relationship. However, this legislation never specifically defined what a supportive relationship is, making it difficult to prove that this relationship exists. Divorce attorneys and alimony payers are responsible for providing evidence that an ex-spouse is in a supportive relationship that offers considerable financial assistance.

 

How Do You Prove a Supportive Relationship Exists?

It’s important to note that if you strongly believe that your ex-spouse is in a supportive relationship, you can’t simply stop your alimony payments based on these beliefs. As stated above, this needs to be proven in a court of law. A judge will only terminate the payments if the supportive relationship is proven “by a preponderance of the evidence”. The alimony recipient is not responsible for disproving any of the evidence that is brought forward by the spouse paying alimony. The judge will review various economic and lifestyle factors before he or she can determine if alimony payments should be modified. For instance:

 

  • How long have the two individuals been living together? Would this location be considered a permanent residence for both of them? Florida courts will want to know the extent of time of their cohabitation. The longer they’ve lived together, the more likely the chances are of proving a supportive relationship exists.
  • What does the relationship look like? Are they in a romantic relationship? Is it a business relationship? Are they open about this relationship in public? A judge might ask about how the two individuals met and how they spend their time together.
  • Are they sharing assets? Do they have joint bank accounts? Do they split bills down the middle or is one person paying utilities and rent? If they’re sharing assets and bills or if the new partner is providing all of this, it’s more likely to be labeled as a supportive relationship.
  • Have they purchased properties together? Have they made any sizable purchases together? For instance, if they both purchased a car that they share and pay for together, this could be a strong sign of a supportive relationship.  

 

What Does NOT Qualify as a Supportive Relationship?

To properly understand what a supportive relationship is, it helps to know what is NOT a supportive relationship. If your ex-spouse moves in with their parents after the divorce, this is not considered a supportive relationship. Even if your ex-spouse is receiving financial assistance from their parents, it’s still not a supportive relationship. Blood relatives or relatives through marriage do not count as supportive relationships. In addition, if your ex-spouse is cohabiting with a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend, but they keep all of their finances completely separate, it’s not considered a supportive relationship. Remember that spouses paying alimony need to be able to prove that substantial financial assistance exists.

 

For More Information on Supportive Relationships

If you’re currently paying alimony, but you believe your ex-spouse is in a supportive relationship, action should be taken. It’s unjust to make payments if their financial lifestyle has significantly changed. Since it is challenging to prove a supportive relationship in court, it’s highly recommended to work with an attorney. An experienced divorce attorney can provide you with the guidance you need in these circumstances. They’re experts in alimony modifications and providing evidence to prove a supportive relationship exists. Contact a divorce attorney today to learn more!

 

What is a QDRO?

Posted on: March 8, 2019 by in Divorce
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QDRO

After most people go through a divorce, their focus tends to turn to their future. There are always immediate issues to deal with, such as living arrangements, child custody, or alimony. But after that, there’s retirement. That’s when QDRO comes into play. QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and it’s a requirement for anyone looking to split up a retirement plan, after a divorce, legally. Since it’s both a complicated and necessary document, it’s important to understand the drafting process, how long it takes, and who should be involved in the creation of this type of court order. Without a QDRO, you can’t guarantee that you will benefit from an ex-spouse’s retirement savings. In this article, we provide everything you need to know about the Qualified Domestic Relations Order process.

 

QDRO Defined

Many divorcing couples will hear of a QDRO for the first time with their divorce attorney. That’s because retirement plans are under heavy protection federal law and they used to be excluded from divorce proceedings. However, after 1984, Congress passed a law that made a special exception. They created qualified domestic relations orders to allow for retirement plans to be split after a divorce or legal separation. In effect, specialists started focusing solely on drafting QDROs and creating legal pathways for 401(k)’s, retirement plans, and pensions to be divided up. In order to complete a QDRO, you’ll need to include:

 

  • The retirement plan owner’s full name and the address of their permanent residence
  • The payee’s full name and the address of their permanent residence
  • The percentage that the alternate payee will receive
  • How the attorneys determined that percentage
  • Amount of payments  that will be included in the QDRO
  • The processing of payments

 

Obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

After the finalization of your divorce, there will be a judgment regarding the separation of assets. This is when you’ll know if you were granted a portion of your ex-spouse’s retirement plan. However, when a judge simply states that you’ll receive a portion of the retirement plan, that doesn’t automatically make it complete. This is when a QDRO becomes necessary. For instance, let’s say that a judge grants you 50% of your ex-spouse’s retirement plan. This judgment alone does not immediately make it true. It’s at this point that you and your attorney should begin to discuss drafting a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

 

How Long Does the QDRO Process Take?

Unfortunately, the procedure doesn’t move along as quickly as most would like. However, it is an important document that passes through a lot of important hands, so it needs to be completed accurately. It’ll take anywhere between three to six months for a QDRO procedure to be complete. Of course, when the two parties and plan administrators agree to the terms of the QDRO, each step moves along quickly and efficiently. If the parties can’t agree to the terms of the QDRO or if one of the plan administrators gets held up along the way, it could take a lot longer. It’s also important to remember that every retirement plan is unique and has different terms and conditions. Finding practical ways to divide them can take time.

 

Here are the basic steps in a Qualified Domestic Relations Order process:

 

  1. Begin drafting the QDRO.
  2. Obtain a plan administrator’s approval.
  3. Have all of the parties involved approve and sign the QDRO.
  4. Submit the signed QDRO to the court for final approval by a judge.
  5. Send a certified copy of your finalized QDRO back to the plan administrator.

 

Who is the Alternate Payee?

The spouse that’s required to split their retirement plan is referred to as a participant. The alternate payee is the individual that’s receiving the portion of the retirement plan that’s stated in the QDRO. Most of the time, this will be an ex-spouse that has a significantly lower income than the income earner. It’s important to remember that the alternate payee doesn’t necessarily have to be the ex-spouse. However, it can’t be a close friend or extended relative either. Under federal law, the alternate payee can be a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependents of the participant.

For More Information on Obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

If you’ve been granted a portion of your ex-spouse’s retirement plan, it’s never a good idea to wait to complete a QDRO.  A divorce attorney can get the process moving as quickly and as smoothly as possible. As mentioned above, the process can be long, complicated, and include a lot of discussions with attorneys and plan administrators. It’s important to be able to depend on a legal expert to explain each step and navigate any legal issues that may arise along the way. The process is a lot less daunting when you’re working with an experienced attorney that can help you to understand your options. Contact one today for more information!

Planning for Divorce – Cynical or Proactive

Posted on: February 28, 2019 by in Divorce
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Planning for Divorce

Getting married is always an exciting time in anyone’s life. It’s a time to celebrate love, new beginnings, and commitment. This is why it’s often difficult to bring up the idea of divorce when people are engaged to be married. Many couples find the idea of discussing divorce before marriage to be the least romantic thing on the planet. It is true that planning for divorce before you get married can seem cynical or pessimistic. But does planning for divorce before marriage have to be so dark? Could it be considered proactive to make a plan that protects you and your assets if a romantic disaster occurs?

Discussing plans for a potential divorce has become more and more popular these days. This is especially true amongst millennials and younger generations. These young couples are very aware of the realities of divorce. They know that it’s not necessarily cynical to be prepared. They understand that it’s essential to protect yourself and plan for a divorce before you walk down the aisle.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement (often referred to as a “prenup” or “premarital agreement”) is a written contract that you and your soon-to-be spouse will create together. Prenuptial agreements will usually list each persons’ property and assets and specific instructions on how everything will be divided if the marriage fails. However, a prenuptial agreement can include much more than that. Prenups can include guidelines for specific scenarios. For instance, you can state in a prenuptial agreement that you will agree to see a marriage counselor for a certain length of time before you decide to divorce. It’s strongly advised to speak with a divorce attorney at this stage to help you decide what kind of conditions you’d like to set for you and your spouse in an unfortunate case of divorce.

 

Why Would You Want a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many engaged couples will avoid planning for divorce at all costs. Some believe that planning for divorce before marriage can curse the relationship. Of course, the thought of separating at this stage of a commitment can be uncomfortable and even awkward. However, this is a perspective that’s been evolving over the years. First, discussing divorce before marriage can help you and your partner understand the weight of marriage and what it involves. It’s an opportunity to discuss expectations and responsibilities.

While some couples only see marriage as a romantic commitment, others realize that it’s also a business relationship. You’ll have shared properties, assets, and even debts in the future. It’s important to talk about the possibility of untangling these items before they’re tied together. With the recent increase of prenuptial agreements, it’s clear that more couples are seeing this contract as a sign of strength and protection instead of a sign of weakness and pessimism.

 

What Happens if We Don’t Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

This is one of the most important questions that a newly engaged couple can ask themselves. In the worst case scenario, what happens if we do not prepare for divorce? What if we don’t have a prenuptial agreement? The truth is, there’s a lot that lies outside of your control if you don’t have a premarital contract. The state’s laws will dictate who owns what property that the two of you have accumulated during the marriage. Depending on how the marriage ends, you could end up paying alimony, child support, and splitting your retirement or pension with your ex-spouse. The point is that without a prenuptial agreement, the splitting of assets, income, savings, and property can become very messy. Planning for divorce before marriage allows you to prepare for the worst. Many engaged couples will feel more secure in the marriage knowing that a prenuptial agreement contract exists.

 

Who Should be Planning for Divorce Before Marriage?

A common myth is that only celebrities or wealthy couples should be planning for divorce. It is true that when you have a lot of money, assets, and property, it’s better to have a premarital contract. However, the days of only wealthy people planning for divorce are over. Every couple should plan for the possibility of divorce. Having a contract can help you both to express your ideas for your financial future and identify how you’d like to move through financial obstacles if you’re no longer together.

 

For More Information on Planning for Divorce

If you’re planning a wedding, it’s highly recommended also to have a plan for what would happen in the event of a divorce. A Boca Raton divorce attorney can help you identify certain terms and conditions for your premarital agreement. Since divorce is so prevalent, nowadays, it’s important to prepare beforehand. Contact experienced divorce attorney, Lewert Law, today to learn more about how you can protect your financial future and create a premarital contract with your future spouse today.

10 Things You Should Know About Mandatory Disclosure in Florida

Posted on: February 18, 2019 by in Family Law
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Mandatory Disclosure in Florida

For most people, blending finances and assets is a natural step when you get married. You’ll likely share bank accounts, credit cards, property, and savings. Of course, when you divorce, you have to go through a process of untangling all of those items. This act of identifying and disclosing all the financial documents for the purpose of separation is called mandatory discovery. Mandatory disclosure in Florida (Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285), is one of the most critical steps in a divorce. It’s also one of the most time consuming and frustrating steps in the divorce procedure. Most people find the process invasive and challenging, but it is a critical step that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. To fully understand the concept of mandatory disclosure in Florida, we’ve composed a list of the most important things you should know about this process.

  1. Mandatory disclosure is part of the litigation process in which both parties request and provide essential documents. These are financial documents that will be reviewed by the courts to make fair and just rulings in regards to the separation of finances and assets. If children are involved, you must include any documents that describe their financial role in the home as well. This might consist of private school tuition, extracurricular activity costs, or summer camp costs.

 

  1. Mandatory disclosure in Florida contains a list of sixteen financial items that should be disclosed by both parties. These documents include but are not limited to: bank account statements, pay stubs, tax returns, retirement or pension plan statements, debts, and other official documents.

 

  1. You can also request answers to a list of questions, called Interrogatories. It is a requirement to answer these in writing.  Remember that these are considered official court documents for mandatory disclosure in Palm Beach County. You can be charged with perjury if you provide any false statements to these questions.

 

  1. Mandatory disclosure in Florida also allows each party to provide a Request of Admissions, which is when you ask the other party to admit to something or deny something in writing. Again, this will be an official court document, so, false statements can result in perjury. Putting statements like this early into the mandatory disclosure process can help to move the divorce proceedings along faster.

 

  1. Both parties also need to provide a Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit and file it in the court. A Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit is an official court document and sworn statement of your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

 

  1. In certain circumstances, it is possible to waive the requirement to hand over your financial documents, but waiving the Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit is not possible. Regardless if you’re going through mandatory disclosure or not, completing this step is always necessary.

 

  1. Mandatory disclosure in Florida requires all parties to hand over the documents requested within 45 days of the initial petition of the divorce. The documents must then be copied and inspected for legitimacy.

 

  1. You can request an extension for the mandatory disclosure process. Up to five days before the deadline, either party can request an extension, but both parties must agree to it. Requests are often granted when you need more time to collect certain documents from banks or other financial institutions.

 

  1. There are certain circumstances when mandatory disclosure in Florida doesn’t apply.  Simplified divorce cases usually do not involve minor children, and each party has already agreed on the terms of the divorce and the separation of finances, debts, and assets.

 

  1. Disclosing these documents and providing all the necessary information during this process helps to make it more efficient and cost-effective. While neither party may want to disclose this information, it’s essential to provide these documents to your divorce attorney. Handing over all required documents can help lower your expenses during the litigation process and make the divorce move forward. Any legal expert will tell you that it’s in your best interest to collect and provide these financial documents as soon as possible.

For More Information on Mandatory Disclosure in Florida

If you’d like more information on the mandatory discovery process and what it includes, contact an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney can help you to understand why this process is necessary and how to complete this step efficiently and smoothly. Remember that when both parties make the mandatory disclosure process difficult or refuse to disclose certain documents or statements, it can not only become frustrating, but it can also become more expensive. It’s vital to gather and disclose these financial documents so you can find resolutions to the terms of the divorce and move forward. Contact a trusted Boca Raton divorce attorney today to learn more about your options.

 

What Should You Know About Florida Guardianships?

Posted on: February 10, 2019 by in Family Law
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Florida Guardianships

If you’re reading this, you might be in the position of becoming a guardian in the state of Florida. Becoming a guardian can be a daunting process for some, as it is a very important position with many responsibilities. However, if you become more aware of the guidelines and you understand the roles and rights of guardians, you can start feeling more comfortable with your new title. That’s why we composed this list of things you should know about Florida guardianships. You’ll learn more about what a guardian is, how these roles are legally obtained, and how to terminate a guardianship if necessary.

 

What Is a Guardian and Why Are They Necessary?

Florida guardianships are an important part of the family law and child services departments in the state. Basically, a guardian is an adult who is legally assigned to make decisions for a minor or an adult who is not capable of making decisions on their own, commonly due to an illness. There are a variety of reasons why someone would need a legal guardian. In the case of becoming a guardian for a child, it’s likely that the parents have passed or they have no other family members to care for them. Florida guardianships are also used in cases of adults who are incapacitated, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or suffer from some other illness that deems them incapable of making sound choices.

 

How are Guardians Selected?

Of course, it’s always better if a guardian is a spouse, a close relative, or a friend close to the family. With legal documentation, the child or adult in need (often referred to as the ‘ward’) can also designate a guardian for themselves. If none of these options are possible, the court will choose a guardian for the ward. When considering a guardian for a ward, Florida courts take many factors into consideration. This includes the guardian’s experience caring for others, their education, finances, medical history, mental stability, suitability of their home, and other characteristics. While all of these factors are considered for Florida guardianships, having a lower income or a limited education will not disqualify any individual from becoming a guardian.

 

What Exactly Does a Guardian Do?

As stated above, a guardian is someone who is designated to make decisions for the ward (a minor child or an incapacitated adult). But what kinds of decisions are these? How significant are these decisions for Florida guardianships? The decisions made by guardians are normally decisions that hold a lot of weight in the ward’s life. For instance, a guardian will often make decisions regarding their medical care, education, and finances. In addition, a guardian will assist in their everyday purchases of basic necessities like food, clothing, and other personal care items.

 

What are the Two Types of Guardianships?

Florida Guardianships are broken down into two separate categories: testamentary guardianships and temporary guardianships. A testamentary guardianship is when parents assign a person as a guardian in the case that one or both parents pass away. These are the types of guardianships that you normally see stated in wills. Parents will often name a relative or family friend as a guardian to watch over their children in the event of a devastating illness or accident. A temporary guardianship is one that is legally provided for a limited amount of time. Normally, there’s a reason why someone needs a temporary guardian. For instance, an adult with a disability who is undergoing surgery might assign a temporary guardian to make medical decisions. Once the surgery is complete and the ward has recovered and is of sound mind, the guardianship is terminated.

 

How Do You Terminate Florida Guardianships?

There are a number of different scenarios that might result in a guardianship being terminated. One was briefly mentioned in the example above. If a ward has recovered from an illness or surgery and is now of sound mind to make decisions on their own, the guardian can terminate their role. A guardianship may also be terminated if there’s a change in the ward’s legal residence. In these cases, it’s important to make sure that the ward’s case file is moved to the new location. Of course, a guardianship can also be terminated upon the passing of the ward. In any case of termination of a Florida guardianship, proper legal proceedings need to take place. Guardians can’t simply quit or stop being guardians on their own. The state has specific legal procedures to follow.

 

For More Information on Florida Guardianships

If you need more information on becoming a legal guardian in the state of Florida, it’s important to speak with a Boca Raton Guardianship attorney. In addition, if you are currently a legal guardian and you wish the terminate the relationship, you will also need the assistance of an attorney. You can face a long list of legal troubles if these types of relationships aren’t created or terminated properly. While we don’t handle guardianship cases at Lewert Law, we do feel that it is important to put this information out there for anyone considering a Florida guardianship. For any other family law matters, contact Lewert Law today for a consultation!

How To Prepare For A Divorce

Posted on: January 29, 2019 by in Uncategorized
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How To Prepare For A Divorce

When you’ve decided that it’s time for you and your spouse to divorce, life can feel a bit chaotic. Conflict and stress will naturally go hand and hand in these situations. Your emotions may be running high and it can seem almost impossible to communicate. Of course, if kids are involved, it can make the situation even more complicated. That’s why sitting down and preparing yourself for a divorce can make life a little bit easier. People will often underestimate how organization and preparation can create a more peaceful transition. That’s why we’ve composed this list of tips and advice for those who might need assistance on how to prepare for a divorce.

 

10 Tips on How to Prepare for a Divorce

 

  1. Take Responsibility

When you are absolutely certain that a divorce is the right path for you, you need to take responsibility before you move forward. Remember that you were an active participant in the marriage and you will also be an active participant in the divorce. When you take responsibility, you take control of the situation. Being passive or unassertive is not the best way to prepare for a divorce. Trust yourself that you’ve made the right decision.

 

  1. Be Civil

This is one piece of advice that many divorcing couples see as a challenge. You may be feeling hurt, regretful, guilty, stressed out, or depressed. These emotions are not exactly built for being civil, but it’s very important to keep the lines of communication open. Try to avoid digging up the reasons for the divorce and focus on getting through the divorce.

 

  1. Give the Kids the New Together

If kids are involved, it’s always better to give them the news together, especially if they’re young. If both parents are giving separate and different accounts of what happened and what will happen, it can be very confusing for a child. This is one area when it’s much better to be on the same page.

 

  1. Talk With Friends Who Have Also Gone Through Divorce

Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends that have also gone through a divorce. It’s important to see how people live after the divorce storm has passed. Not only is it nice to have support from someone who has gone through something similar, but it’s a great reminder that things will get better.

 

  1. Avoid Social Media

Advertising your break-up on social media is no way to prepare for a divorce. You never know when a comment or picture can come back to haunt you. It’s better for you and your family to keep the conflict private until everything is resolved.

 

  1. Visualize Your New Living Situation

Where do you see yourself after the divorce is finalized? What’s the best case scenario for you? It’s important to know where you want to live in order to negotiate. When you prepare for a divorce, visualize yourself in your space without your spouse. Is it better to stay in your home or move to a new home? You should have the answer to this question before speaking with a lawyer.

 

  1. Organize Your Documents

Start collecting all of the documents that you may need. Any kind of paperwork that your divorce lawyer will want to see should be together in a file. To prepare for a divorce, you need to dig through all shared bank accounts, property, and contracts. Staying organized and keeping tabs of documents you have and documents you need to find will help to reduce stress.

 

  1. Know the Value of Your Shared Assets

To make the separation of assets easier, have a professional appraise the value of your shared property and holdings. If you want the most out of your divorce settlement, it’s better to have an exact value of your possessions than just a random number.

 

  1. Understand Your Financial Future

In order to prepare for a divorce, you must make a monthly budget. Know exactly what your monthly spending looks like now so you can understand how you will meet that financial expectation after the divorce. If you want to keep your lifestyle, you’ll want to know how much it costs. If you have children, remember to include a budget for them as well. Keep in mind what life might look like in the future. If one of your children is about to go off to college, have a plan of how you and your spouse will handle college tuition.

 

      10.  Find the Right Divorce Lawyer

Without a doubt, the best way to move through a divorce is to have the right divorce lawyer on your side. Let your lawyer know your visions of your future and what you want out of your divorce. If you see you and your spouse resolving issues through mediation, then explain that this is your goal. An experienced divorce lawyer will be there to walk you through all possible scenarios. Contact a lawyer today to learn more.

 

10 Tips For Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

Posted on: January 17, 2019 by in Divorce
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Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

If you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you know that untangling the web that’s formed by marriage can be messy. Going through the act of separating property, valuables, credit cards, bank accounts, and even time with the kids can take its toll on you. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced. While the task may seem small or insignificant there are a lot of things you must do differently when filing after a divorce. That’s why we’ve composed this list of tips and facts that every new divorcee should be aware of when filing in 2018.

Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced:

 

  1. There’s a new alimony update for the 2018 tax year. It’s always important to be aware of any changes in the tax laws and codes. For instance, this year there’s been a change to how you file alimony payments. If a divorce was finalized by January 31, 2018, there are no changes to the way in which you would handle federal income tax of alimony payments. If you make alimony payments, they can be written off on your 1040 form. These payments do not have to be itemized. The spouse receiving the alimony payments must list them as income for 2018. However, if your divorce was finalized after December 31, 2018, a new law removes the deduction for alimony payments. The spouse receiving these alimony payments will not be including them as taxable income.

 

  1. Know your filing status. If you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced, you must know the status of your separation before filing. For instance, if you are already separated, but your divorced hasn’t exactly been finalized yet, you still need to file as ‘married’. You can file as Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. However, if your divorce was finalized by or before December 31st, you can file as Single or Head of Household.

 

  1. Remember to deduct IRA retirement contributions. If your divorce hasn’t been finalized or you are not considered legally separated by December 31 of 2018, you can deduct contributions to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s IRA.

 

  1. Take advantage of Special Enrollment Periods in the Marketplace for health insurance coverage. If you’ve suddenly lost your health insurance due to a divorce or legal separation, you’re eligible to enroll in during the Special Enrollment period. It will show on your 2018 tax returns that you did indeed have insurance, but you lost coverage due to a major life event. This will help you to avoid paying any penalties for lacking health insurance coverage throughout the year.

 

  1. Understand how to claim dependents. If you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced, and you have been named the primary custodial parent, you will claim the child or children as dependents. However, if you’ve been separated but your divorce has not been finalized, you can either file separate returns (Married Filing Separately) and you each can claim the child as a dependent on your returns, or you can file jointly and claim the child together.

 

  1. Remember that child support is different than alimony. Alimony and child support are not filed in the same way, despite the fact that they’re both payments to your ex-spouse. You cannot deduct child support payments on your 2018 tax return.

 

  1. Child Support payments are not reported as taxable income. Regardless of when your divorce or legal separation was finalized, you don’t have to report child support payments as income.

 

  1. Alimony payments can be deducted if you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced. These payments can classify as a tax deduction if they are:

-in the form of cash

-authorized by court order for divorce

-not filed as a joint tax return for you and your spouse

-paid when you are your spouse are not living in the same primary address

-not part of a child support payment.

 

  1. You must report any alimony payments that you received. It’s important to remember that if you are an alimony recipient, you need to state these payments on both federal and state income tax returns. The new tax laws do not apply to you yet.

 

  1. Beneficiaries of transferred properties do not have to pay tax on the transfer. If you’ve received property from your ex-spouse, the transfer itself is not taxed. However, if you later sell that property, you will pay a capital gains tax.

 

For More Information on Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

 

It’s always strongly recommended to have a tax expert assisting you when you file after a divorce. While the tax laws and codes are readily available to you, deciphering them in a way that works for you should be left up to a tax professional. To get more information on how to handle your tax returns this year, contact a trusted divorce attorney for all of the resources you need.

 

How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

Posted on: January 7, 2019 by in Divorce
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Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

Everyone knows that divorce can be difficult. It’s rarely a seamless process filled with casualness, simplicity, and cooperation. Of course, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is living overseas, then life at home could possibly lack the dramatic and emotional scenes that most households have during a separation. Unfortunately, serving divorce papers overseas can be much more difficult than simply putting documents into an envelope and placing them in a mailbox. In order to serve divorce papers overseas, you must follow a specific step-by-step process to ensure that you’re doing it legally and effectively. You must keep in mind that each step will be determined by the location of your spouse and the jurisdiction of where he or she is located. If you want to know more about how to serve divorce papers overseas, here is a brief guide to help get you started.

Step One: File the Petition and Summons

First, you’ll start with your own location. However, you have to take into consideration where most of your marital property is located. If you have multiple properties and choose to live in different areas throughout the year, always go with the location that holds the majority of the properties that you own together. This will be where the state court holds jurisdiction over your properties. This is where you will file the divorce petition and summons. You’ll also need to determine if you’ll be seeking property in another country. If so, it’s important to know that country’s service laws. Having an experienced divorce lawyer is highly recommended at this stage if this is the path you’ll be taking.

Step Two: Find Where Your Spouse Is Located

This legal procedure is referred to as “service of process”. Because you’ll need to follow the law of the overseas jurisdiction, you need to know the legal way to serve divorce papers overseas. It’s very important to have a specific address of where he or she is located. It would be frustrating and costly to go through the procedure of service of process if you have the wrong address or you’re unaware of their specific location. It’s vital to know exactly where your spouse is.

Step Three: Long Arm Statute

It’s also important for your divorce lawyer to know and understand the extent of your state’s “long arm” statute. Basically, this is a statute that permits a local court jurisdiction over foreign defendants. This will determine if you state can or cannot serve your spouse or rule on your case.

Step Four: Determine Your Method of Service

You must consider a number of different factors at this step if you wish to effectively serve divorce papers overseas. It’s important to know if you believe your spouse will attempt to avoid the service of process or if he or she is willing to sign and follow appropriate protocols. For instance, if you believe your spouse will evade the service of process, you may need to know the service of process laws of the jurisdiction of the particular country where your spouse is located. If this country is a member of the Hague Service Convention, then you’ll have to follow certain procedures that match their international service of process laws. You’ll also have to determine if the divorce papers need to be translated into the native language of the country.

Your divorce lawyer will help you to decide if the documents should be mailed through service by publication, personal service, waiver of service, service by rogatory, service by certified mail, or service through a central authority. Of course, getting your spouse to waive service and sign documents at an American embassy is the simplest way to handle service of process overseas.

Step Five: Follow-Up

As mentioned above, the details and tasks in each of these steps will change according to the country that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is located. Many of these procedures can become easier or more complicated depending on the nature of your case and the country you’re dealing with. It’s imperative to follow-up in the country where your spouse is located to assure that you’re following proper protocol and the documents are prepared correctly.

For More Information on How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

If you’d like more information on how to serve divorce papers overseas, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to help guide you through the process. As mentioned above, these steps can be incredibly complex and require extensive research into local jurisdiction as well as knowledge in the process of service laws in another country. It’s never recommended to go through this process alone. Divorce can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally taxing. It can become even more difficult to attempt to serve divorce papers overseas without any legal experience. Call a trusted divorce lawyer today to ensure your moving in the right direction.

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Kelley Ms. Lewert never lost sight of the practical realities of my divorce. Although she listened compassionately so that she understood what she needed to, she did not let me lose sight of my goals and what was acheivable within the system even when things got emotional. She protected my financial interests and my personal interests. Thanks to Ms. Lewert, I no longer have to deal with a difficult ex-. She didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear, but because of that, my case did not drag out longer than it should have. I never felt that she put her own interests ahead of mine. Her judgment was reasonable and her advice sound. She and her staff were good at dealing with difficult and unreasonable people in a professional and ethical way. Thanks to Ms. Lewert, I never got drawn into senseless battles, recovered as quickly as possible from my divorce and was able to move on and enjoy a better life. I have recommended her repeatedly to others who need an excellent family lawyer.

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