Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

Factors That Influence Child Relocation Decisions in Florida

Posted on: November 28, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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Child Relocation

The dissolution of marriage is a hard enough process, but child relocation discussions can magnify them exponentially. Sure, the divorce will be hard for the child either way; but having to decide where they will live makes things so much harder. Custody is one issue, child relocation is another. There are plenty of factors that can determine the outcome of this negotiation. Both the parents and the child are traumatized by the entire ordeal, so it is best to keep it as simple as possible. There is always a possibility to make it a little smoother, and that is what is best for the child. But, it all boils down to one parent proving that it is in the best interest of the child. You can read more about it here, but this is a quick rundown:

The reasons each parent gives for their cases, whether it is for the stay or child relocation.

The judge will hear all of the reasoning given and that tends to lay the groundwork for support of the parent’s argument.

 

Whether good faith backs the relocation.

This often means the non-relocating parent and their financial support or keeping to scheduled visits.

 

The career that the objecting parent is in and what their prospects may be in the area sought for the child relocation.

If the relocation could be handled by both parents relocating, that may be a consideration for the court.

 

History of both parents.

The court will likely consider any history of domestic abuse, drug abuse, rehabilitation, counseling, run-ins with the law and financial support problems.

 

The child’s relationship with a relocating parent and the non-relocating parent are big factors in this decision.

Courts always want children to have the benefit of both parents, but that isn’t necessarily something that is always achievable. The consideration for proposed methods of attaining that shared goal is almost a guarantee.

 

The child’s age and needs.

There is always consideration given to how a move will affect their development. If it is considered something that could be negative; it is likely they will have the child stay with the non-relocating parent.

 

The court’s ability to maintain the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent is something that belongs under advisement.

If there is a compromise that will keep the integrity of the relationship and consistently, there is no reason that the child should have to stay.

 

The child’s preference is another consideration.

If the child feels more connected to one parent than the other, it could be traumatic to keep them apart. This is something that no court would inflict on a child, especially since it will affect them in the long run.

 

How the child relocation will affect the life of the parents, as well as the child.

If the is belief that relocation can contribute to the wellness or enhancement of the child’s life, the court may acquiesce. The child is the most important focus in these cases and what is best for them tends to be the ruling of the court.

 

The current financial situation of each parent and how the child relocation would correlate with them.

In some cases, if the parent that the court would prefer to keep the child feels that they could improve their financial situation because of a job offer in another city or stay with a parent, that might be considered.

 

Any other factor regarding the best interest of the child.

It can be hard to list every possible influence. But, anything that is an influence on the child’s well-being and happiness is taken into consideration, no matter how small or great.

Child relocation is a very complex process that is hard for everyone.  Tensions will already be running high from the dissolution of the marriage, the easier the child relocation discussions can go; the better. Naturally, that process will extend the divorce; but it doesn’t have to be as painful and lengthy as it can be. You need someone who has experience in this focus of the law, to keep the damage and time to a minimum. They will be able to find a great compromise that works for everyone and as quickly as possible. You don’t want to compromise your rights or what is best for your child. But, you don’t want to traumatize them, either. Have someone represent you who truly stands for what you want and what your child needs. The more experience they have, the better. But, they will also need a deep understanding of the laws at play. That will give you an advantage that other attorneys cannot offer. Be honest and open about everything, so they can play for your strengths and prepare for the downfalls.  You can start your research here.

 

Military Divorce While Overseas

Posted on: October 30, 2017 by in Divorce
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Military Divorce While Overseas

Divorce is never a straightforward process. However, a military divorce while overseas can be a particularly difficult process. If you need a divorce while you are overseas, you might have many questions. Read on to find out everything that you should know about the process.

How does military divorce while overseas work?

There are a few common questions that people have about overseas military divorces. First and foremost, they ask if the local laws apply. You might worry about needing to adhere to local divorce laws. In some countries, this could be a major disadvantage for you or your partner.

Fortunately, a military divorce while overseas ignores the local divorce laws. Instead, it relies on US divorce laws. While you might be living in a foreign country, you still follow US divorce law. If you want a valid divorce, you need one that your home state recognizes. If you get a divorce that adheres to local standards, it won’t apply back in the US. You could have a divorce in one country and a legal marriage in the US.

However, your legal home could be in a foreign country. In this rare case, you would need to adhere to the local divorce laws. These laws vary from country to country. In some situations, you may have several legal homes. If you do, then you can choose where you file for a divorce.

How can you get a divorce?

Another common question relates to the process of getting a military divorce overseas. It is not enough to go to the legal assistance office for a divorce. Instead, you need to go to court. In most situations, you need a private attorney. The only exception is during uncontested divorces. If you and your partner can agree on everything, then you might not need a private attorney.

It’s worth noting that the legal assistance office can still help you. If you go to them, then they may be able to advise you on the divorce procedures. Additionally, they may be able to prepare and witness the signing of a separation agreement. If you want an uncontested divorce, the office can explain the process for that.

For a contested divorce, you need the help of a lawyer. He can help you through the filing process. In some situations, you may need to hire a lawyer from your home state. If you have several “homes,” you need to choose one from the place where your legal home resides. You need to be able to qualify for in-state college tuition at the residence. While you may consider your military home your home, you need to make sure it meets the legal definition of your legal home.

Can you get a cheap or quick divorce?

Some overseas couples decide that it might be easier to get a divorce in a place like Mexico or the Dominican Republic. Although divorce in these places is cheaper than the US alternative, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s likely that your home state will not recognize the divorce.

Making the Decision

Unlike civilians, military personnel often have the flexibility to choose where they file for divorce. If you have multiple homes that qualify as your legal home, then you have the luxury of choosing. Every state in the US has different divorce laws. Likewise, every country has unique laws. Before you file, you need to decide which is the best option for filing. And you need to be certain that you file in the state or country that applies to your marriage.

If you have a hard time finding out where your legal home or homes may be, there are a few tricks. First, look at where you are registered to vote. Then, you should consider where you pay your state taxes. Make a list of the states in which you have baking accounts, drivers licenses, and car titles. If you pay real estate taxes on property in certain states, that can also count towards your legal home.

Once you know where you can file for divorce, you need to consider the perks of each state. In some states, there are no-fault divorces. When you file for your divorce, you don’t need to prove that the other party was at fault in any way. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, this could be a good thing.

Getting the Help You Need

Filing for military divorce while overseas is complicated. If you make one wrong move, you could get a divorce statement that means nothing. It’s important that you get your divorce right the first time. Additionally, it’s important that you complete the process in the easiest possible way.

If you’re a service member, the legal aid office can be very useful. They can advise you on the procedure. However, you may need more extensive help. If you have concerns about your divorce, you should contact a lawyer. With his help, you may be able to get the ideal outcome from your divorce.

Mid-Life Divorce Rates On the Rise

Posted on: October 19, 2017 by in Divorce
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Mid-Life Divorce Rates On the Rise

Compared to 20 years ago, divorce is common. It’s become some common that people often expect children to have divorced parents. While you might be well aware of the increasing occurrence of divorce, you might not realize that divorce effects one demographic more than others- midlifers. Mid-life divorce is on the rise throughout the US. Instead of making things work, midlife couples are calling it quits. Find out about the newest trend in divorce.

The Statistics of Mid-Life Divorce

You don’t need statistics to know that divorce is common in the US. By now, it’s common knowledge. However, there are some interesting statistics that show the rise of mid-life divorce.

Although divorce is common, the divorce rates for 20 and 30 year-olds is down by 21% since the 1990s. And younger individuals seem to think that divorce isn’t the best option for ending a relationship. In one poll, 44% of young Americans said they would prefer to divorce in an unhappy marriage. The rest would be willing to stick it out.

However, older Americans don’t share that mentality. In the same poll, 66% of Baby Boomers said that they would prefer to divorce in an unhappy marriage. The mid-life divorce statistics support those numbers. Since the 1990s, the divorce rate of people aged 50 and older has doubled. According to the statistics, the younger generation is more likely to stay married. Once they get older, they may change their tune.

The Reasons

The divorce statistics may seem contrary to logic. In the past, midlifers were more conventional and complacent. Meanwhile, the younger generation seemed more flighty and willing to make a drastic life change. While roles may not have completely reversed, things are different. And there are a few trends that could explain the rise in mid-life divorce.

1. More of a focus on individual happiness

In the past, midlifers had less of an individualistic mentality. They worried more about the happiness of their partner or children. Today, midlifers finally realize that they deserve happiness too. If you look at some of the best-selling self-help book titles, you can clearly see that self-happiness is a priority. Bookshelves are full of books that

2. The kids aren’t around to keep you together

Many couples stay together for the children. Although a couple might have some trouble, they think of their children first. When things get difficult, they put off divorce because of the children. There’s the fear of what the emotional distress of divorce will do to the children. Then, there’s the worry about coming up with a custody arrangement. When children are part of the equation, divorce is often a last resort.

Once most couples hit their 50s, their children are older. For the first time in their life, they can make decisions that revolve around them. Midlifers might finally realize that a divorce is an option. They can put their needs first, and those needs might result in a divorce.

3. The empty nest

When you spend your whole life taking care of children, having an empty house can seem strange. Many midlifers experience empty nest syndrome. When kids are in a home, life is busy and stressful. There’s always something to do and someone to take care of. A married couple doesn’t have much one-on-one time. Everything is about the family.

As the children in a home grow up and move out, the house gets quiet. Once everyone is out of the house, a relationship can suffer. A woman might find that she has nothing to discuss with her husband. Or, both individuals might find that they grew apart over the years. In some cases, they find that they fell out of love in that time. The only solution for them is a divorce.

4. The desire to do more

As individuals get older, they start to realize the value of life. A woman might realize that she never accomplished her dream of traveling to Africa. Meanwhile, her husband might realize that he never got a chance to pursue his favorite hobby. Midlife couples might be more likely to opt for divorce because they want more with their lives.

Often, the desire to do more means less time with your partner. Even if you have similar desires, your relationship could suffer because of your new interests. Too much time volunteering could leave your partner alone and unhappy. In the end, it could lead to divorce.

5. Remarrying has a lower success rate

Another reason for mid-life divorce relates to remarrying. After the age of 50, remarriage is quite common. They decide to remarry a new partner, which increases the chance of another divorce. According to statistics, second and third marriages are less stable than first marriages. As a result, the chance of divorce is greater. The divorce rate is two times higher for remarried Baby Boomers than it is for other Baby Boomers.

There are many reasons for the rise in mid-life divorce. While you can’t prevent divorce from happening, you can prevent a bad outcome from your divorce. With an experienced lawyer, you can get the best possible outcome.

The Benefits of Hiring a Board-Certified Divorce Lawyer

Posted on: October 10, 2017 by in Divorce
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Board-certified Divorce Lawyer

There is a long list of qualifications that most people look for in their divorce lawyer. However, people often overlook the most important piece of the puzzle – finding a board-certified divorce lawyer. There are many benefits to hiring one, and it may be what it takes to make your case successful.

What it means to be a board-certified divorce lawyer

Before you can understand the benefits of hiring a board-certified lawyer, you need to understand hat it means. A lawyer can legally practice law without a board-certification. However, some choose to go above and beyond. Those lawyers obtain a board-certification in a certain field.

A board-certification is the highest possible level of education that the state bar association can offer. If a lawyer has such a certification, there is nothing more he could do to educate himself in that field. Receiving the certification requires a long examination in a specific niche. For example, a divorce lawyer would take an exam that asks questions about all aspects of divorce law. In order to take the exam, a lawyer usually needs approval from the state bar association. They consider a lawyer’s experience and qualifications. Then, they decide if the lawyer has what it takes to qualify for the exam. Not every lawyer can qualify to be a board-certified divorce lawyer.

The Benefits of a Board-Certified Divorce Lawyer

1. You get someone who has specific experience

The law is very complex. And each niche of law has its own specific set of laws. For example, a real estate lawyer might know nothing about divorce. While he might know how to put together a court case or appear in front of a judge, he won’t have an in-depth knowledge of divorce. If he tried to represent someone in a divorce case, he would need to spend hours studying the laws. Even with that research, he might not fully understand the nuances of divorce. You could end up with poor legal representation.

Hiring a board-certified divorce lawyer means that you hire someone who has specific experience with divorce. In fact, the lawyer has more than just specific experience. She has years of experience working on divorce cases. This means that she knows all of the ins and outs of divorce law. With her experience, she may know something that can get you the outcome that you want. All of her years working on divorce strategies and learning about divorce law can pay off.

2. You hire the best of the best

If you were going to see a doctor for a life-threatening condition, you wouldn’t want to go to any doctor. In fact, you would probably go to great lengths to find the best in the field. You might compare doctors and look for the ones that have the highest certifications in the most relevant field.

Finding a lawyer to represent you is no different. Your divorce puts your whole life at stake. If you care about the outcome of your case, you should do everything you can to find the best lawyer. And that means finding a lawyer with a board certification in divorce. In the legal world, there is no higher certification than a board certification. Hiring a lawyer with this certifications means that your case is in good hands.

3. You won’t put your children or valuable assets at risk

Often, divorce cases involve high-risk negotiations. You might be fighting for custody of your children or fighting to keep your family home under your name. If you have a lot to lose in your divorce, you should choose your lawyer carefully. Choosing an unqualified lawyer puts your children or your assets at risk.

When you hire a board-certified lawyer, you take less of a risk. You can be confident when you go into court. With a track record of success, a board-certified lawyer will give you the best representation that you can get.

4. There’s no doubt about their abilities

When you hire a new lawyer, you can’t be certain about their skill level. While they may promise you great things, you can’t be certain that they will deliver. A board-certified lawyer is different. The certification means that you can trust their skill and ability.

5. There aren’t many other lawyers with as much experience

In divorce cases, the lawyers do the fighting for you. Often, the case comes down to a simple question of whose lawyer was better. When you hire a board-certified divorce lawyer, you get a lawyer with a great deal of experience. In fact, only a small percentage of lawyers have enough skill, knowledge, and experience for a board-certification. There’s a good chance that your partner’s lawyer won’t have the same level of certification as your lawyer.

By hiring someone with a certification, you have a better chance at getting a great outcome. You give yourself a better chance at getting what you want and deserve.

Tough Conversations: Talking to Your Children About Divorce

Posted on: September 27, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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tough conversations

Going through a divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Children have a particularly tough time getting through a divorce unscathed. In fact, the divorce talk may be one of the most tough conversations you have as a parent. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to make the conversation easier. With these tips, you can learn how to tackle these tough conversations with ease.

1. Understand that tough conversations are often long-lasting memories

While you might think that a tough conversation is quickly a thing of the past, that’s far from the truth. The conversation that you have about divorce is one that your children will remember. Years later, they will look back on the conversation. If it goes well, they may find comfort in it. However, a bad conversation will cause pain.

You should only have the divorce talk with your children when you realize the significance of your words. Before you have the talk, you should take the time to plan your words carefully. Tough conversations like this one can be forever engrained in your children’s minds. Don’t take the situation lightly.

2. Avoid secrets

Many parents make the mistake of telling one child, and not the rest. While you may think that telling your oldest first is a good idea, it’s not. It forces your child to keep secrets from everyone else. No one should have the pressure of your divorce on their shoulders alone. Instead of telling one child at a time, tell everyone at the same time. To accomplish this, you can call a family meeting. Make sure that everyone is present, and share the news with everyone.

In addition to forcing children to keep secrets, telling children about your divorce separately causes another problem. It makes some kids feel less worthy than others. For example, you might choose to tell your youngest child last. In doing so, you send a message that they can’t handle a difficult situation. You also may send a message that you trust them less than your other children. While that may not be the case, your child can interpret it that way.

3. Speed up the process

Divorce proceedings can be long, and they can be stressful. As much as you and your partner might disagree on the divorce terms, you should try to finalize the divorce quickly. Drawing out your divorce is difficult for your children. It makes them question whether or not you will divorce. Additionally, it makes them bear the stress of the divorce for longer than they need to.

For the sake of your children, try to speed up the divorce process. If you have to, hire a mediator. Take advantage of the best lawyers that you can find and work hard to come to a swift solution. In a divorce, no one really wins or loses. You may as well come to a quick solution and let your children escape the stress of the situation.

4. Don’t make assumptions

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make before having tough conversations like divorce is to assume. Don’t assume what your children are feeling. Instead, ask them how they feel about the situation. Listen to their answers and address their concerns. Their answers may surprise you. If you had a prepared speech based on assumptions, your speech might make them feel worse about the situation.

Every child handles a divorce differently. While one child might act out in anger, another might fell some relief at the prospect of divorce. You can’t know how your child will react until you talk to them. Once you know how they really feel, you can have a conversation about the issue. Until then, you should avoid speaking about it.

5. Don’t belittle their feelings

Sometimes, a child responds to a divorce with emotions that seem ridiculous to an adult. No matter how silly you think your children are acting, don’t belittle their emotions. The way they feel is the way they feel; they can’t change that. While it’s your job to make them feel better, you should be careful how you go about doing that. Be sensitive to their emotions and don’t invalidate their feelings.

6. Put your emotions aside

While a divorce can be hard on you, you need to keep your emotions in check when you discuss it with your children. Leave any childish emotions and behavior at the door. Instead of playing the blame game or arguing with your partner, be an adult. Join forces with your partner for a few minutes to show your children that everything will be okay.

If you and your partner can keep things amicable for a short time, your kids will benefit from it. They will feel more at ease about the divorce process. If you can’t keep your emotions in check, your children might worry about their future. Let them know that things will turn out for the best, even if you have your own doubts about it.

The Challenges of Same Sex Divorce

Posted on: September 19, 2017 by in Divorce, Family Law
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same sex divorce

Although it’s been a couple of years since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, there are still some hiccups with the issue. Particularly, there are challenges with same sex divorce. Divorce happens, and settling a divorce under any circumstances can be difficult. However, divorce in same sex marriages pose some additional challenges. Here’s a look at some of the challenges faced by same sex couples during the divorce process.

1. Social Security

Prior to the country-wide legalization of same sex marriage, gay couples had no way to get social security benefits. After the legalization, the Social Security Administration announced that more same sex couples could be entitled to Social Security benefits or Supplement Security Income payments.

After your marriage ends, you need to take action to receive the benefits that you deserve. You have to let the Social Security Administration know about changes in your marital status as soon as possible. Additionally, you need to apply for your benefits immediately. Don’t hesitate to file for survivor benefits or social security spousal benefits, or you may miss out. If the administration denies you, don’t give up. Many times, it’s necessary to appeal a decision before you get your benefits. A denial doesn’t mean you won’t get benefits; it means you need to try again.

2. Alimony

Since 2013, same sex couples have received the same tax treatment as heterosexual couples by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury. Employers and employees received a notice that explained how to handle employment taxes and overpayment adjustment issues in same sex couples.

Despite the equal tax treatment, there is an issue that same sex divorce often encounters regarding alimony taxation. At one time, same sex couples couldn’t deduct alimony payments on their taxes. As a result, there were high gift taxes. If you want to get the right tax benefits, you need the help of a lawyer who understands how same sex alimony taxes work. One with experience in the industry can tell you what tax deductions you can make with your alimony payment.

3. Taxation

Another challenge for those going through same sex divorce relates to federal taxation. Before same sex marriage was legal, same sex couples couldn’t file joint federal taxes. Now, married same sex couples have the same rights as married heterosexual couples. But that doesn’t mean that things are easy. Although same sex couples now have more financial advantages when filing taxes, divorce can get complicated.

If you get a divorce, your tax status can change. Usually, a joint filing status means that you have better tax treatment. If your income bracket is high, you can pay more in taxes every year after a divorce. However, a lower bracket means that you may pay less. Your first time filing taxes after your divorce could be shocking. To prepare yourself, you should speak to an accountant or an attorney. They can help you learn how to file your taxes for the best result.

4. Marital settlements

Before the legalization of same sex marriage, property transfer between two homosexual people in a relationship was difficult to handle. They needed to consider tax liabilities and gift taxes. This makes marital settlements difficult for same sex couples to understand. Often, they don’t know what to expect in a marital settlement.

If you and your partner are going through a same sex divorce, you need to understand the process of marital settlements. There are some consequences that could impact you. Before you start the process, you should understand what the outcome should be. You are eligible for the same benefits as heterosexual couples, but you should know about the process to make sure that you get what you deserve. Only then can you ensure that you get what you deserve.

5. Family home transfers

When gay marriage was not recognized throughout the whole US, family home transfers for homosexual couples during a divorce was difficult. There was a confusing maze of taxes to navigate through. They often needed to pay capital gains taxes. Transferring family homes became quite complicated and costly. Meanwhile, heterosexual couples could transfer family homes without needing to pay taxes.

Of course, now same sex divorce allows for the tax-free transfer of a family home. But the challenge is understanding how to avoid taxes in the transfer. You should arm yourself with the knowledge to understand how to make a tax-free transfer.

6. Finding a same sex divorce lawyer

Many people make the mistake of hiring a divorce lawyer with no experience in same sex cases. However, this can mean that you don’t get what you deserve. If you want to make the most of your divorce, you need a divorce lawyer who understands same sex divorces.

Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in same sex divorces. With their help, you can get through your divorce ready to handle all of its challenges.

Florida Common Law Marriage and Cohabitation: What You Should Know

Posted on: September 11, 2017 by in Divorce
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common law marriage

Marriage can be a hot topic, with a lot of misconceptions. None more than Common Law Marriage. There are a lot of myths, and it can be a very confusing concept. In many cases, the differences are in the eyes of the law and not the relationship itself. This can make it very confusing for anyone who is trying to figure out where they land on that scale and what their options are.

Common Law Marriage

A Heterosexual Couple

Common law marriages don’t apply to same sex marriages. Those unions require paperwork and definition. Regardless of any of the other factors, these partnerships do not qualify for common law marriages. They would, instead, be classified as cohabitation.

Length of Time

Contrary to popular belief there is no set length of time. This is something that the state will review, as it is relative. In some cases, the time is said to have been years, but the fact remains that there is no stated time.

Perception of Marriage

If you share a last name, refer to each other as spouses and file a joint tax return, this will add legitimacy to your common law marriage. If the relationship is treated as a marriage and accepted as one, the requirement is met.

The intention of marriage- If you intend to be married, common law marriage can be used as a step before that. Intending to be married could be expressed with an engagement ring or a marriage license.

All of the above factors have to be true for a state to recognize a common law marriage. Not all states have common law marriage. Florida is one that does not but does recognize common law marriages that are from other countries.

Cohabitation

In 1868, Florida made it illegal for two people to live together. It was considered “lewd and lascivious” for two people to live together before they were wed. A second-degree felony, it was punishable by 60 days in jail and a five hundred dollar fine, until 2016. By the time the law was changed, Florida was one of only three states where it was illegal to cohabitate without marriage.

Separation

In the state of Florida, if you are not married, you do not have any rights that married couples would have. This holds true for common law marriages. You cannot reside in Florida and have the state establish a common law marriage. It will recognize a common law marriage from another state, however. Should you desire a dissolution of your common law marriage, you would have to acquire it from the state that established it. Because Florida doesn’t have common law marriages, it will not terminate one.

Cohabitation doesn’t entitle you to any particular split or partition of property or assets. If you cannot discern who gets what and you have to go before a judge, the whole ordeal could get messy. It would be wiser to obtain a cohabitation agreement. Think of it as a prenup, without the marriage. The document will determine who gets what in the event of a split and a court will consider it a binding contract. It is a document you will want to see an attorney about. There will be plenty of details to cover, and you want to make sure that you account for everything. Properly submitting the paperwork is an important step. It’s better to leave these things in the hands of professional divorce attorney.

Understand Your Rights

Common law marriages and cohabitation can be complex distinctions. They are also messy when they end. If you are on the messy end, you want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you find out what your options are, the less of a loss you’ll suffer. You can read more about it here. You don’t want to take the chance of waiting too long while your partner is finalizing documentation to secure assets.

When it comes to legal matters, it is better to prepare paperwork for a worst case scenario before it happens. Should the event arise that you decide to separate, personalities can change quickly and, hotter heads will take over. Staying calm will help you and your ex-spouse reach a solution much faster. It is better to decide these things while you are thinking calmly and rationally. That is the best way to make sure that everything stays fair and even. Even if it has to end, it should be amicably and fairly. You want to figure things out like adults. This will make it easier for you to move on and start your new life.

How Does a Prenuptial Agreement Work?

Posted on: August 9, 2017 by in Divorce
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prenuptial agreement

At one time a prenuptial agreement was only for the rich and famous. However, more and more couples are deciding to have a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. Prenups aren’t just for those among us that have an enormous amount of assets to protect. Almost anyone can benefit from some form of prenuptial agreement. Prenups cover a range of issues from alimony to retirement accounts. Given the fact that nearly half of all marriages will end in divorce, it may be wise to consider a prenup.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people that are going to marry each other or enter into a civil union. These agreements are also known as a premarital agreement, a marriage contract, an antenuptial agreement or a prenup for short. The purpose is to settle financial matters in advance of a divorce. While this may seem like a rather unromantic thing to do before marriage, it could prove as a smart financial decision.

Your prenup can cover exactly what you wish. There isn’t a set standard for a prenup that you must use. If you wish to include information about your property or your retirement accounts you can. There are a few things that you can’t include in a prenup; we will discuss those in more detail in the rest of the article.

What Do Prenups Include?

A prenup can include many different provisions depending on the wishes of the couple. These provisions include but are not limited to:

  • Alimony: A prenuptial agreement can set guidelines for future alimony payments. It can also dictate that neither spouse will receive alimony.
  • Division of Property: A prenup can include provisions for who receives what property. Also, they can spell out how children from a previous marriage will receive part of the property. Lastly,  these agreements can include information about what happens to the property if one of the spouses dies.
  • Retirement Accounts: One common provision to this type of agreement is what to do with each spouses retirement account. Rather than splitting retirements accounts after a divorce, many couples opt to just keep their own.
  • Debt: In a marriage, both parties are usually responsible for any debt. However, a prenup can determine how the couple handles the debt after a divorce. This is especially useful for those individuals whose spouse’s own businesses.
  • Division of Household Duties: A prenup can even cover what tasks each spouse should perform. However, it is probably best to leave those sorts of stipulations out of your prenup. Sticking to financial matters is probably the best when to go when drafting your agreement.
  • Morality Clauses: Prenups can also include clauses for infidelity. If one spouse cheats on the other, they may lose their rights to part or all of the marital assets. Morality clauses are increasingly more common.

What Can’t a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?

A prenup can’t cover anything illegal. Also, a prenup cannot cover things that go against public policy. For instance, a prenup can not cover child custody. In cases of child custody the court considers what is in the best interest of the child and not a contract between you and your spouse. At the time of the agreement, one spouse may be able to provide a better life for their children. However, things change. What is best for the children at the time of the agreement may not be at the time of the divorce. Therefore, courts do not allow child custody provisions in prenuptial agreements.

Preparing a Prenup

The most important part of preparing a prenup is honesty with your partner. If you want an agreement in place before your marriage, don’t wait until a week before to spring it on them. Discuss the possibility of a prenuptial agreement long before your wedding day. This will help you avoid any resentment or unneeded stress in your relationship. Sit down with your partner and discuss everything you want in the agreement and ask them their thoughts. Be open to compromise, because after all, you hope never to have to use this agreement. Discuss when the prenup should start and how long it should last. Maybe, after 20 years of marriage, you want to eliminate the prenup. While most prenups start on the day of the wedding and last forever, yours could be different.

Gather all of your financial documents including retirement accounts, the property you own, your bank statements, and anything else that the agreement could cover. Sit down with a prenup attorney and hash out the finer details of the agreement. While it may seem like a cold and calculated decision, it could save both of you a lot of time and money in the event of a divorce. Lewert Law can help you decide whether or not a prenup is right for you. Contact us today to learn how they can help.

Four Ways A Divorce Mediator Can Help A Messy Divorce

Posted on: July 7, 2017 by in Divorce
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divorce mediator

Everyone has a dream of growing up and finding a perfect love. However, for some people, this is not always the case. Some people never marry, and some people marry and live happily ever after, some marry and then divorce. A divorce can become a very hostile and adverse situation for both parties. In a divorce, there can be fights over numerous things. Some of the most contentious points are money, property, and child custody. When kids, especially young children are involved, it is not uncommon for visitation rights and scheduling to be the most heated issue when settling the divorce. There are a few different ways for both sides to come to agreeable terms in a cordial manner. Possibly, the most efficient way is to have a divorce mediator.

It is a Much Faster Option

In Florida, if your divorce is uncontested then it should not take you more than a little over a month to get in front of a judge. However, if your divorce is disputed and the courts must make decisions regarding your divorce then you better have a lot of patience. A contested divorce can very well not go to court for six months or longer. In Florida’s busiest counties it is possible to wait over a year to get in front of a judge. By hiring a divorce mediator, you streamline the process instead of waiting an unknown amount of time. This is very important to consider because you honestly do not know how long it could take to go before a judge. When you are going through a divorce all you want to do is move on with your life; you do not want to have the weight of a divorce holding you down for what will most likely by a few months at least.

Takes a Lot of the Emotional Burden Off

Sometimes as a society we forget about how heartbreaking a divorce can be. It has become so standard in society today we forget what’s behind a divorce. Two people who were once madly in love with each other and planning to spend the rest of their lives with each other are calling it quits. That is not a feeling anyone wants to feel. Divorces quickly and often take a contentious route. Having a divorce mediator there to keep the best interest of both parties as the number one priority can drastically change the environment of your divorce. Instead of fighting with your soon to be ex-spouse over issues such as child support, alimony, property, or other assets you can calmly sit down with the divorce mediator and work out a plan that works for both of you. During a time when emotions are running high, any step that can be taken to avoid a hostile environment should be made.

Cost

The cost of going through a divorce mediator is much smaller than if you were to go to court. The biggest contributor is the how much less time it takes. When deciding to go to court over a contested divorce, you are going to wait months to go before a judge and in all that time lawyers can keep charging you. After a while, this starts to build up, and you can end up with a steep bill at the end of the divorce. The second reason is that in a divorce your personal lawyer will always try to get you to keep pushing. This is because as long as you keep pushing and the divorce does not settle they can keep charging you. A divorce mediator has both parties best interest at hand and will work to resolve your issues as fast and easy as possible.

Life After Divorce

This point somewhat feeds off the previous paragraph. Because a mediator can help smooth over a divorce it will make life after divorce much easier; this is especially true when a divorce involves children. Having a friendly relationship with your ex can make a huge difference in your life. It will make things much easier for you, your ex-spouse, the children, and everyone involved. If you have a good relationship with your ex, it creates a much more positive environment for your kids. In a divorce, kids feel as though they need to pick a side which is very unhealthy for any family. This can create even more tension between the two parties in the divorce. Having a healthy relationship with your former spouse makes scheduling the kids much easier. When planning the children’s schedule is easy the rest of the divorce can usually follow suit. This is because children are often the strongest point of conflict in a divorce. A healthy environment is critical for kids as they grow up. If one parent talks badly about the other, it creates an awkward situation for the children.

 

 

 

Do It Yourself Divorce on the Rise

Posted on: June 21, 2017 by in Divorce
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do it yourself divorce

When it comes to divorce, you’re likely looking for the most inexpensive method possible. Do it yourself divorce offers a way to save money, as it is entirely lawyer-free. However, there is a right and a wrong way to go about DIY divorce, and knowing all the details will help you in the long run.

What is It?

Simply put, DIY divorce is a cheap alternative to divorce court. Some feel lawyers are far too costly, or their lawyer has recently dumped them. DIY divorce offers an easy fix for both issues. Many feel that by opting for the route without lawyers, they’ll maintain a friendly relationship with their ex.

As long as there is no contest in the divorce, you can file all of the paperwork yourself. After submitting the paperwork to your local courthouse (or online in some cases), you may be finished with the process. In other cases, the court will mail you an appointment for mediation. The mediator will not have a side in the divorce, rather guide the conversation and the topics that you and your spouse should cover.

The Pitfalls of Do It Yourself Divorce

Many who opt for a DIY divorce find it comes back to bite them. Typically, those seeking a divorce do not fill out the paperwork correctly. Sometimes online divorces have no financial agreements or consent forms signed. So your spouse may be entitled to any wealth you acquire after your divorce. For example, if you did a DIY divorce and won the lottery months later, your ex could be privy to some of the cash. The divorce itself doesn’t protect you from your ex bringing claims against you.

Because there is no tangible, court-certified document verifying the divorce, couples are still married in the eyes of the court. If you have a do it yourself divorce and remarry years later, police could arrest you for bigamy.

These divorces also have a one-size-fits-all approach, meaning documents do not take additional assets and issues regarding children into account. It is strictly administrative, rather than keeping all financial assets in mind.

What Can You do to Prevent Pitfalls?

DIY divorces are simple if you have all of the facts and know where to go for questions. Follow these tips and tricks to be sure you’re doing what’s best for you in your divorce:

  • Ask yourself if you addressed all financial questions in your divorce. You should have zero doubt that your finances are just that — yours.
  • Obtain a Decree Absolute. This verifies to the court that your divorce is legal and officially recognized.
  • Remember the pensions. Up to 85% of women don’t realize they can account for their spouse’s pension plan, which can end up being worth thousands of dollars.
  • Obtain a court order to dismiss any and all financial claims. This will give you a clean financial break, as financial assets are one of the biggest pitfalls of a do it yourself divorce primarily because there is no time limit to file a financial claim.
  • Seek legal advice beforehand. In instances where you represent yourself before the court, they may refuse your petition.
  • Amending the petition can be costly between the court fees, so it is best to acquire legal counsel before filing.
  • Know what you need. You will irritate everyone in the courtroom if you show up with your files out of order, or worse, missing. If you’re unsure of what you need to take, take all of your legal documents to be safe.
  • Have a system. Whether you are going to divorce court DIY or submitting your divorce online, having your affairs in order is a priority. Many lawyers organize by file type then by date. It doesn’t matter how you organize, but you must have easy access to any document a judge or prompt requests.

Specific to Courtroom DIY

  • Dress to impress. While we can all individually believe that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the outside counts in the courtroom. Judges want to see you show respect for the court, so showing up in sweatpants or swimsuits is not ideal for your case.
  • If you’re on time, you’re late. There is a lot to figure out in courthouses, and you should allow yourself the time to find everything — parking, security, the courtroom. The case can and will proceed without you.
  • Judge is king. Do not argue or speak over the judge, and know the rules of the courtroom you’re in (which vary from house to house).

DIY divorce can be a service to you, however contacting a lawyer beforehand is in your best interest. Contact us for a consultation to keep your best interests and assets at heart.

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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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