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Sarasota Family Law Blog

Should you fight to keep your full 401k?

Your divorce in Sarasota will no doubt prompt a good deal of emotion, and often that will come into play when making decisions throughout the process. There may be instances where such feelings help in making wise choices, and others where it could potentially cloud your judgment. Where the potential exists for the latter to occur, you will want to carefully consider every option to ensure that you are doing what is best for you. 

Consider the handling of your 401k. Your ex-spouse is entitled to an equitable portion of the contributions made to that account during your marriage. You may have several reasons to want to retain its full value, such as wanting to ensure that your retirement goals remain unchanged. Yet according to The 401k Help Center, keeping the full amount of your 401k will likely require you to relinquish your claim over another marital asset of equal or comparable value. 

First 4 steps to take after parental abduction

Some divorce cases are nastier than others. If you won a custody battle against your ex-spouse, your ex could take matters into his or her own hands. This could lead to the terrifying reality of parental abduction.

The first steps you take after realizing an ex-spouse has abducted your children are critical. Acting fast and notifying the right parties could make all the difference. Having a child abduction response plan in place could help you prepare for the worst.

Determining the custody of pets

Most in Sarasota would likely agree that going into a divorce, one of the most potentially contentious issues a couple will deal with is the custody of their children. Family matters often involve a great deal of emotion, yet it should be remembered that parents and children do not always make up the entirety of a family. What about a couple's pets? Oftentimes, they are also viewed as being part of family. How, then, does the court determine who gets custody of them? 

Some might think that pet custody is dealt with in much the same way that courts determine who gets the kids. Yet an important element of child custody cases is missing from those involving the custody of pets: the best interests of those involved. While animals may indeed be able to demonstrate emotion, actually understanding their best interests (short of demonstrable evidence of abuse or neglect) is virtually impossible. Thus, as the Animal Legal Defense Fund verifies, pets are considered to be personal property. 

Reclaiming a relationship with your grandchild

Family dynamics in Florida are often complicated. If your child has divorced their spouse or passed away, you may no longer enjoy spending time with your grandchildren due to visitation issues. At Schipani and Norman, P.A., we often represent clients who file for grandparent visitation rights.

According to FindLaw, the court evaluates several factors before granting visitation rights to grandma and grandpa:

  • Is there an emotional bond between the child and his or her grandparents?
  • Has one parent died, gone missing or in jail on a felony charge?
  • Are the parents unfit?
  • Does the child experience emotional harm as a result of the family unit disruption?
  • Does the child wish to see grandma and grandpa?

Can you set alimony in a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements have gotten a bad reputation for causing rifts between couples. The fact is, devising a premarital arrangement allows you to lay all the information on the table. It is a process where you get to go through all the assets each partner brings to the marriage, ensuring each person is on the same page.

Regardless of either spouse’s current work status, it is permissible to draft stipulations for spousal support upon divorce. This includes setting a predetermined amount that one partner will pay the other or waiving the receipt of alimony altogether. Here is what you will need to know when addressing this in your premarital contract.

My ex is a narcissist, now what?

Co-parenting is not without its ups and downs. This is especially true when your ex is given to narcissistic behaviors. Co-parenting can seem all but impossible under these circumstances, but you must ensure your children feel loved and supported at all times. Psychology Today explains how you can co-parent with a former spouse when he or she proves difficult to deal with. 

Narcissists have a hard time warming up to concepts that aren't in line with their narrow way of thinking. When it comes to your kids and their interests, the other parent may routinely dismiss or belittle a child's pursuits, to the point where they are no longer enjoyable. If this is an issue with your ex, try to reframe the interests in a way that gives them value to your former spouse. While it may seem unfair to cater to his or her warped point of view, the important thing is that your child feels safe and secure expression herself while growing up. 

Is your ex-spouse in a supportive relationship?

Despite the circumstances that led to your divorce in Sarasota, you may have no issue in helping your ex-spouse move on after your marriage has ended. That may include paying them spousal support (if you were the primary wage-earner in your marital home). Yet the purpose of spousal support is not for your to remain indebted to your ex-spouse indefinitely. If they have come to rely on that support as part of their income, they may look to do all they can to keep you obligated to pay it. 

This may include refusing to remarry once they find a new romantic partner. They may believe that if they instead choose to cohabitate, the requirement that your support obligation continues until they remarry remains in place. Yet according to Section 61.14 of Florida's state statutes, you can your alimony obligation if you are able to show that your ex-spouse has entered into a supportive relationship. 

Funding college for kids after a divorce

For many parents in Florida, it is a dream for them to send their children to college. A higher education degree is often associated with the opportunity for a better future than perhaps what the parents may have had. When a couple makes the choice to get divorced before their kids reach the age of applying for college, it can be helpful to discuss their approach to funding a college education when the time comes.

As explained by the Student Loan Hero, if no plan is in place in a couple's divorce decree, that can leave the door open for disputes when the college search begins. As far as seeking financial aid, the government will consider the parent with whom the student spent the greatest number of days with in the year before applying for aid to be the custodial parent. This may not necessarily be the person identified as the custodial parent per the divorce decree. This person is the one who must provide financial data on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Can dating apps hurt your child custody case?

Like most parents, you want to provide the best upbringing possible for your children. If you are going through a divorce, though, you may worry about losing either legal or physical custody of your kids. While committing to being an effective parent is a good strategy for keeping custody, you also must think about what you post online. 

Dating apps have become unbelievably popular in recent years. Instead of leaving your home to meet potential new partners, you can scroll through thousands of prospects from your couch. While there is nothing inherently wrong with either moving on with your life or downloading a dating app, your online profile may harm your child custody case. 

What are signs a spouse might be hiding money?

If you are a married person in Florida and concerned about the future of your marriage, you may have noticed some differences in how your spouse has been behaving for a while. These differences may be directly related to the future of your marriage but they may also be important to you financially. Divorce, like marriage, is an event that may have significant financial repercussions for both parties. In some marriages, one spouse might try to stash away assets before commencing a divorce to avoid some financial loss down the road.

As explained by Forbes, hiding assets can be done in a variety of ways and you might not always have immediate proof that this is happening but you may well notice behaviors that tip you off to this potential. One of these behaviors might be your spouse too often forgetting to share details about certain expenses or costs with you. If historically both of you have been very open about what you spend on things and this starts to happen, you might want to take note.

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Avvo Clients Choice | 2012 | Family Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb | Top Attorney Family The American Society of Legal Advocates | 2014 Top 40 Under 40 The Florida Bar Certified | Marital and Family Law Super Lawyers | Philip J. Schipani | 2015-2017

Schipani and Norman, P.A.
1605 Main Street, Suite 1110
Sarasota, FL 34236

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