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Sarasota Family Law Blog

Dealing with debt during a divorce

Florida residents who are facing a marital separation or divorce know that they will end up having to figure out how to split their assets. However, it is important for them to remember that their debts will also need to be dealt with during the process. Spouses should learn what is involved with debt division during a divorce in order to protect themselves down the road.

An important thing for people to learn, according to Money Management International, is that a divorce decree alone may not be enough to keep a creditor from coming after them for a debt. In the eyes of a creditor, anyone named on an account is responsible for the debt associated with it. When it comes to homes, divorcing spouses should be very careful about letting their partner keep a home without requiring them to get a new mortgage in their name only.

Justifications for modifying alimony in Florida

Many people have heard about divorce horror stories. One Florida couple filed for divorce in 2008, and they ended up spending over $400,000 in court costs and attorney's fees. The case initially settled, but it re-opened recently due to the wife wanting to modify alimony. 

Fortunately, most divorces do not end up this way. Many people can settle this matter in a few months or a little over a year. However, over time, one spouse may want to change the terms of the arrangements. People often want to change alimony agreements due to a shift in circumstances. A judge will not alter alimony for small issues that arise over the years, but there may be cases where a change is due. 

How can you fit a summer vacation into your custody schedule?

As your children's school year in Sarasota enters its final few months, your thoughts inevitably turn to how to maximize the additional time that you will have with your kids during their long summer break. Part of that typically includes an extended family vacation, which can be difficult if you share custody with your ex-spouse. You certainly do not want to spend your time on vacation with the cloud of strife between you and your ex-spouse hanging over you. How, then, can you make a summer vacation work. 

The easy answer may seem to be coordinating your vacation time with that of your ex-spouse, agreeing to give up certain days for them to be with kids in exchange for added days to accommodate your plans. This can be done, but perhaps not without difficulties. For example, both of you may want to plan the optimal time to travel, which could cause your plans to interfere with one another. Thus, one of you is left having to sacrifice the perceived ideal vacation time in order to placate the other. After many years of this happening, resentment can build and lead to unnecessary discord. 

How do you establish a domestic partnership in Florida?

If you and your same-sex partner wish to make your relationship legally binding in Florida, one of the ways you can do this is by establishing a domestic partnership. As the City of Sarasota explains, a domestic partnership consists of two adults who have met the criteria and who have filed an affidavit of domestic partnership registration.

Domestic partnership criteria vary from place to place, but in general consist of the following:

  • You and your partner must be at least 18 years old and not related to each other by blood.
  • Neither of you must be currently married to someone else or a partner in another domestic partnership.
  • Each of you must consider yourself a member of the other’s immediate family.
  • The two of you must reside in a mutual residence.
  • Each of you must agree to immediately notify the proper Florida authority if one or both of you decide to terminate the domestic partnership.
  • Each of you must declare your intent and desire to designate the other as your health care surrogate and your agent with regard to your funeral and burial.

Update your estate plan after your divorce

If you are one of the many people in Florida who is in the midst of a divorce or who may even be recently divorced, you might naturally put a lot of your attention on getting your divorce decree completed and finalized. While an important milestone indeed, it is far from the last thing you will need to take care of.

It is important for any divorced person to update their estate plans as soon as their divorce settlement is complete. As Forbes indicates, most married persons list their spouses the beneficiaries on life insurance policies or retirement accounts, for example. Unless a divorce decree stipulates that a former spouse must remain such a beneficiary, it is probably best to have this changed as soon as possible to avoid an ex-partner from receiving a windfall that one would rather see go to their children.

When can kids decide which parent to live with?

Divorce has the potential to upend both spouses' lives for a while. There is a significant financial toll to consider because neither household will have as much total income. However, there is also the toll to relationships to consider. 

Spouses with children together need to determine where the kids will live. Most of the time, parents split custody. However, there are circumstances where a child will only live with one parent. Many spouses worry a child will decide to live with one parent and the other will never see him or her again. This is rare because the courts do not automatically give children the option to decide where to live. 

How can I recover financially from a divorce?

Divorce can really take its toll on a family. This is especially true when it comes to finances, which are often negatively impacted after a marriage breaks up. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to bounce back from the financial aspects of divorce, as explained by Entrepreneur.

Review your current financial state

Do postnups differ from prenups in any way?

Millennials have begun to marry at later ages than previous generations. As a result, the divorce rate has begun to decline in recent years. The belief is that millennials marry when older and wiser. They recognize the importance of marriage and do not rush into it. Additionally, millennials have increased the rate at which married couples acquire prenuptial agreements, according to The New York Times

Although many people think crafting a prenup is unromantic right before the marriage, it is a vital document to have in case the marriage ends in divorce. However, if a couple fails to get a prenup, then they can always get a postnuptial agreement later. A lot of people assume there must be some differences, so it is good to clear up some myths about these documents. 

What factors go into child custody determination?

If you are a parent in Florida and are going through a divorce, one of your biggest concerns is probably what will happen to your children. There are numerous factors that a judge considers when making this decision, and it usually comes down to what is in the best interest of the child.

According to Very Well Family, parents often go into a custody battle thinking they know what the best arrangement should be but, ultimately, it is up to the judge to decide, and he or she uses the best-interests standard. There is no set rule or algorithm to figuring out what is best for each individual child, but the judge does consider certain aspects. One is the age of the child and the role the caretaker currently has. Other factors include

  • The physical and mental health of all parties
  • The primary caretaker up to this point
  • The type of relationships between each kid and each parent
  • The ability to provide a sufficient living space as well as a loving environment
  • Evidence of abuse

How will the changes to alimony laws affect you?

If you are ordered to make alimony payments in your divorce settlement, you have been able to write those payments off on your taxes in years past. Previously, alimony payments were tax deductible under federal law. However, changes to this federal law have restricted this right for people in Florida and throughout the United States. In 2019, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible, and this change may have a significant effect on your taxes, your finances and your life.

Since you are now required to pay taxes on your alimony payments, you may notice a substantial increase on your federal and state taxes. This leaves less money for you to spend on other things necessary for your household. It may be more difficult to pay your mortgage, keep up on car payments and afford other life needs. Money may be tight, which could cause an extreme deficit to your funds, your lifestyle and your quality of life. If children are involved, you may have less money to make child support payments or support your children with other financial endeavors.

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

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