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Sarasota Family Law Blog

Should you avoid using social media amid divorce?

If you are among the many Florida residents who are currently going through a divorce, you may find that you are relying on social media more than usual, whether for support, entertainment or in an effort to help combat loneliness. There are, however, certain actions you can take online that can hurt you in your divorce and affect your ability to secure alimony, maintenance or what have you. Thus, you might be wise to tread carefully when using the internet until your divorce becomes final.

According to the Huffington Post, social media is increasingly becoming a factor in many American divorces, and if your situation with your former partner is particularly acrimonious, you should anticipate that he or she, along with his or her legal team, will work through your online presence in an attempt to find something to use against you.

Balancing alimony, taxes and divorce settlements

People in Florida who make the choice to get divorced have many factors to evaluate before they agree to a final settlement with their former partner. Some of these things are emotional, some are financial and some may be a bit of both. In the division of assets and debts, there is generally some type of tax liability that accompanies different assets and this liability can go a long way toward changing the actual amount of money a particular spouse either pays or receives. One way this is balanced for some couples is with the allotment of spousal support payments.

As explained by the Internal Revenue Service, these alimony payments are considered income and therefore taxable to the person who receives them. These payments are also deductible on the tax return of the person who makes them. This rule has been in effect for many decades and sometimes makes agreeing to pay alimony palatable so that an agreement can be reached.

When your child’s other parent is a substance abuser

As a Florida parent, you likely want the very best for your child, but when your child’s other parent abuses substances, it can raise questions about exactly what “best interests of the child” really means. At the Law Office of Philip J. Schipani, we understand that you want to protect your child, and we have helped many parents facing similar circumstances navigate co-parenting with a substance abuser.

Per Livestrong.com, your former partner’s substance abuse issues have the potential to affect visitation, custody and, in certain cases, even parental rights. In most cases, courts base decisions about these and related matters on what they consider to be “in the best interests of the child,” and when proof exists of parental substance abuse, the abusing parent may see a reduction in parenting time.

The many advantages of a mediated divorce

At the Law Office of Philip J. Schipani in Florida, we know that going through a divorce is one of the most stressful and emotionally draining periods of your life. We also know that more and more couples, regardless of their differences, wish there were a better way to obtain a divorce than the traditional litigation process that often becomes a courtroom battle between opposing lawyers on behalf of their intransigent clients. There is a better way. It is called mediation.

Not only is mediation less stressful, less time-consuming and more cooperative, the American Bar Association reports that it also typically costs 40-60 percent less than a traditional litigated divorce. Perhaps the greatest value of mediation, however, is that it allows you and your spouse to retain control of your lives. You are the decision-makers, not a judge. Actually, Florida requires mediation in all family law matters prior to litigation.

How to financially prepare for divorce

Going through a Florida divorce is rarely easy or seamless, but there are certain steps you can take before, during and after the process that can streamline it and help you adapt in its aftermath. At the Law Office of Philip A. Schipani, we understand the many financial considerations that come into play as you prepare, file and adjust after your divorce, and we have helped many clients navigate their way through the process and achieve solutions that meet their needs.

According to Nerdwallet, it is important to note that every divorce is quite different, so the solutions that worked best for, say, your friend or neighbor, may differ broadly from those that might be best for you. However, most people can help make things easier on themselves, financially, with regard to their divorces, if they take the time to do several specific things.

Is joint custody worth the effort?

Divorcing parents in Florida have lots of decisions to make, and one of the biggest relates to child custody. If you are wondering whether your child should stay mostly with you or move back and forth in a shared - or joint custody -  arrangement, you may want to consider a study Swedish researchers released in 2015.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study found that children "in joint physical custody...report better psychosomatic health than children living mostly or only with one parent." Researchers explored this topic because many parents had grown concerned that moving back and forth between homes was too stressful for their kids. If this describes you, notice what the scholars discovered.

How does same-sex divorce affect child custody in Florida?

Although federal law has allowed for same-sex marriage across the nation, state laws on same-sex divorce are still trying to catch up. Just as heterosexual couples are prone to divorce, so are LGBTQ couples. Divorce is already messy enough under any circumstance and even more so when children are involved. Adding in the same-sex factor can complicate things even further.

One of the most affected areas is child custody. With biological parents, it is easier to establish paternity and parental relationships. With same-sex parents, it can be more challenging due to assisted reproduction and other birth situations. Custody will come down to the children's background and legal relationships with each parent.

Do Florida grandparents have visitation rights?

If you live in Florida and have a grandchild who has separated, divorced or imprisoned parents, a time may come when you want to pursue legal visitation with your grandchild. Perhaps your child’s other parent is hesitant to allow you to spend time with your grandchild, or maybe you fear for your grandchild’s well-being when he or she is in the company of his or her parents. Regardless of your reason for pursuing visitation, though, your situation must meet certain criteria for your quest to prove successful.

Per the Florida Legislature, Florida Statue 752.011 is what stipulates state laws with regard to grandparent visitation. Essentially, it dictates that you, as a grandparent, can pursue legal visitation with your grandchild if your situation meets one of two circumstances.

3 reasons you may want a prenuptial agreement

If you are getting married soon, you may be feeling a lot of emotions. While you are likely experiencing mostly positive feelings, you may have some nerves and concerns too. You may be wondering what marriage will truly be like or if it will really last forever.

Sometimes things work out, but sometimes they do not. If you have concerns about protecting your finances or assets, you may want to think about enacting a prenuptial agreement, or prenup, before you tie the knot. Here are some reasons you should consider getting a prenup.

How to tell your kids their parents are getting a divorce

After you and your spouse file for divorce in the Sarasota area, you might want to focus on your emotions while you rely on your divorce attorney to help you navigate legal matters. However, there are still some major responsibilities you must undertake if you have children.

Divorce often causes children to feel stressed, afraid and confused about all the changes that are happening. Consider the following information on how to break the news of divorce to your kids to try to minimize its effects.

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Law Office of Philip J. Schipani
1605 Main Street, Suite 608
Sarasota, FL 34236

Phone: 941-549-8981
Fax: 941-366-7331