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Sarasota Family Law Blog

Your prenuptial agreement may be invalid in Florida

Before choosing to walk down the aisle, you and your partner may have thought a great deal about individual assets and marital property. You may have even done some contingency planning to help you prepare for an unlikely divorce. If you have a prenuptial agreement, though, you should realize that it may not be legally valid. 

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that spouses enter before their marriage. These agreements typically record the property that each party owns and outline individual rights after the marriage ends. Like any contract, though, prenuptial agreements must meet some legal criteria. In Florida, there are a few different grounds that may render such an agreement invalid. While not a complete list, here are some important ones: 

How to create a visitation schedule for an infant

A divorce for Florida parents can mean they need to create a schedule for custody and visitation. If the child is an infant, the visitation schedule may involve short visits a few times as week. Overnight visits can be beneficial in building a bond between the child and the noncustodial parent, but some courts prefer to wait until the child is older. Frequency of visits is more important, and the child will still bond with the other parent whether or not there are overnights.

A custodial parent may experience some anxiety over visitation. As the child's main caregiver, the custodial parent understands the child's cues, cries and needs and may be concerned the other parent will not. However, that parent can learn, and the schedule can take the child's needs for sleep and food into account.

Tips to help a person protect their assets during a divorce

Some Florida couples divide up household tasks, including managing financial accounts. When a couple decides to get a divorce, it is important that each individual has access to login credentials, bank and investment accounts, and other pertinent information regarding their assets and debts. This is just one thing that couples need to do to minimize financial fallout during the divorce process.

Another step that individuals should take is updating their account beneficiaries. Many couples decide to designate their spouse as their beneficiary if they are incapacitated or die. In order to avoid messy situations for everyone involved, taking the time to contact financial professionals and institutions in order to remove an ex-spouse's name and designate a new beneficiary is essential.

The potential pitfalls of a strategic divorce

Generally speaking, couples in Florida and throughout the country get divorced because they're no longer happy in their relationships. However, some couples have begun to contemplate divorcing for strictly financial reasons. Couples who file their taxes jointly could be subject to the "marriage penalty" if they are in the 37% tax bracket. Ultimately, couples who had more than $612,350 in taxable income in 2019 may be better off if they were single.

Of course, there are many financial benefits that married couples enjoy that single individuals don't. Financial professionals also say that getting a divorce to reduce a tax bill could have a variety of unintended consequences. For instance, a spouse may be the primary beneficiary of a 401(k) plan. However, if a couple divorces, that individual may no longer have rights to money in that account if the owner dies.

The impact of social media before and during divorce

Many stressors push down on a relationship. Between the pressure to achieve and maintain social status and the need to show it off online, Florida couples may start to feel cracks in their relationship grow.

Working too many hours, dealing with children and growing debt may all work against you to weaken your marriage. Once it declines, divorce may seem like the only plausible scenario. Social media plays a significant role in life, and when it comes to divorce, it does not stop. Find out how much of an impact this online connector may have before and during a divorce.

Divorce more likely for some couples

There are many ways that couples in Florida realize it is time to go their separate ways. Whether they are experiencing infidelity or addiction or have grown apart over time, the end of a marriage may be the best way for people to move forward from an unhappy relationship. Of course, divorce is not only a major emotional milestone; it is also a serious financial and legal issue. People do not decide to divorce lightly; they base their decision on serious thoughts for the future. There are several common issues that many couples experience before they decide that divorce is the right decision for them.

For example, when couples stop spending time together, this can reflect an underlying problem in the marriage. Some experts note that couples who no longer eat dinner together are more likely to divorce. On the surface, this might reflect something as simple as changing work schedules. However, in practice, it can highlight a more fundamental disconnect in the marriage. Similarly, couples who stop dating each other or abandon fun shared hobbies may find themselves with little in common. Instead, they may only connect around mundane issues and live a roommate-like lifestyle. Unhappy couples may find themselves staying late at work and otherwise avoiding returning home to spend time with a spouse.

What traits do abusers have in common?

Domestic abusers in Florida can be hard to recognize. They tend to behave much better in public and around casual acquaintances. People outside the relationship often find them to be nice, pleasant or charming. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, only 10% of people who commit domestic violence have criminal records, and most only pose a threat to their intimate partners. Even if you are the one experiencing the abuse, it can be difficult to recognize a partner's behavior for what it is. This is because there is a psychological component to the abuse that causes you to doubt the evidence of your senses. 

Abusers are also difficult to recognize because they do not share one typical personality. However, they do tend to exhibit recognizable patterns of behavior. The following are traits that domestic abusers tend to have in common. 

The link between gray divorce and poverty

If you are like most people in Florida and around the United States who are approaching a divorce, you may well be a bit fearful about how you will be able to provide for yourself once your marriage has ended. This is a reasonable concern given that most spouses end up having to share some or all of their assets with their former partner. At the same time, people have to establish single residences which can cost more than sharing a home with another person.

According to Bloomberg, these two factors are just some of the things that may contribute to serious monetary issues for divorced people, especially if they get divorced after they have turned 50 years of age. One of the reasons that a divorce after 50 can be so financially worrisome is that a person quite simply does not have as many years left to work and recoup the money they lost in their divorce.

Domestic dispute ends with actress' arrest

It is not uncommon to learn that underneath the facade of a supposedly happy marriage in Sarasota lies the grim reality of domestic violence. Many often question why those who are experiencing domestic violence at the hands of their spouses do not simply seek a divorce. The fact is that such victims may indeed want to leave, yet they fear that if they do, the violence being perpetrated against them will escalate (or extend to their children or other family members). Domestic abuse victims need to know that there are resources in place to help them escape from a violent marriage. 

The most obvious of these resources is law enforcement. The recent arrest of actress Stacey Dash serves to confirm just how serious authorities take accusations of domestic violence (regardless of who they come from). Dash was arrested recently after law enforcement officials were called to an apartment in Florida to intervene in a domestic dispute. The actress was taken into custody for allegedly pushing and slapping a man who was later identified as her husband (authorities also say that he appeared to have scratches on his arms). Dash was sent to a local detention center; no word has yet been given as to whether or not she has since been released. 

The different types of alimony in Florida

As you prepare for your divorce proceedings in Sarasota, many may be telling you that (if you were not the primary income earner in your marital home) that you will be automatically entitled to alimony. Such is the assumption that many of those that we here at Schipani & Norman, P.A. bring in to their divorce cases. Like them, you may be surprised to learn that not only is awarding of alimony not automatic, it is not even meant to be a long-term source of financial assistance.

Indeed, the general purpose of alimony is to help you afford the same standard of living you enjoyed while you were married in the immediate aftermath of your divorce (if it appears that you will not be able to swiftly secure the funds to afford such a standard on your own). To achieve this purpose, the state has set up five different forms of alimony. According to Section 61.08 of the Florida state statutes, these are:

  • Lump-sum alimony: This is a one-time payment made to you at the conclusion of your divorce proceedings (typically paid to help cover your legal fees)
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony will help support you as you work to re-establish your professional skills to the point of being able to secure gainful employment
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony: This form of alimony is usually paid over a short period of time to help you transition into your post-divorce life
  • Durational alimony: This is an alimony award that is given for a pre-determined time period
  • Permanent alimony: This type of alimony obligation remains in place for an indefinite period of time
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Sarasota, FL 34236

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