Tampa Florida Family Law Blog

What should you understand about property division issues?

Florida residents who are getting ready to go through a divorce understand that they will need to sort through quite a few issues -- even more if there are minor children involved. But, aside from issues having to do with children, perhaps, the most contentious issue in a divorce case is how to divide assets and debts. So, what should divorcing spouses understand about property division issues in a divorce case in our state?

Well, for starters, the most important aspect of property division in a divorce to understand is that assets and debts will not be split "50/50." In Florida, the law asserts the concept of "equitable distribution" for assets and debts. This means that, if the parties cannot agree on their own as to the overall distribution of assets and debts, the family law court will determine what is fair and just -- which does not always come out to an even split. If one of the soon-to-be ex-spouses appears to be situated with better financial prospects post-divorce, the other spouse may end up with more in assets and less in debt once the case is all said and done.

How will a divorce impact your finances?

Many of our readers in the Tampa area know that a divorce can result in a significant impact on finances, for both spouses who go through the process. In fact, the financial aspect of a divorce is why many couples try very hard to work through their marriage issues. However, some people may not realize that the financial impact of a divorce can be greater for those who are older - the so-called "grey" divorces.

A recent report analyzed the impact of divorce on older Americans, specifically those who are age 63 or older. Nearly 27 percent of women over that age who went through a divorce later in life qualified as "poor" under the applicable criteria. For men, the percentage stood at just over 11 percent. In broader terms, the recent report noted that the divorce rate for Americans age 50 and over has doubled in the last thirty years or so.

Actions that can negatively impact your custody case in Florida

A divorce can be one of the most stressful processes an individual goes through during their life. If you have children, the process will likely be even more complicated.

Though the divorce process can be highly emotional, it is important to not let your emotions get the better of you. Doing so may lead you to act in a way that could be detrimental to retaining parental responsibility of your children.

Could bad drafting and negotiating sink your "prenup"?

When celebrities and wealthy people get divorced, details about those legal proceedings usually make the news headlines. And, one term that often comes up in those cases is "prenuptial agreement." Our readers in Florida probably know that the point of these documents is to protect assets and keep them separate in the event that a marriage ends in divorce. But, could bad drafting and negotiating in the lead up to signing the document actually invalidate a "prenup"?

The short answer is yes. While every prenup will be unique to the realities of each individual relationship that is the subject of the document, there are certain requirements that need to be met or, in the worst-case scenario, a court may invalidate the document if and when it is set to be enforced. Florida residents should be mindful of these requirements if they want to have the best chance to have their prenups enforced when they are needed.

Age differences when it comes to the rate of divorce in America

Some of our readers in Florida may have seen news reports in recent years that generational shifts in thinking about relationships and marriage is having an impact on the divorce rate in America. Many of these reports note that the younger generation among us - so-called "millennials" - are waiting longer to get married, are staying in devoted dating relationships longer before getting married and, in general, are more financially secure prior to getting married than older generations might have been. The result? The overall divorce rate in America is declining, with one recent report noting that the divorce rate in our country is at its lowest point in the last 40 years.

However, there is a difference in the divorce rate when it comes to older Americans. Our readers may have heard the term "gray divorce," and it is a real phenomenon. Among older Americans - those age 55 and above - the divorce rate is actually rising quite a bit, even doubling, according to some reports.

How stock options might figure into a divorce

Many executives, professionals and other well compensated employees in the Tampa area may be offered a number of generous benefits in addition to their cash salary. Among others, an employer may offer the employee stock options.

To be clear, a stock option does not give the owner any actual interest in a corporation. However, they do give the employee the right to buy stocks in their employer at a later time.

Investment properties can complicate a split

The recently announced divorce between two powerful people in the world of real estate illustrates important points to Tampa residents may also have considerable wealth tied up in commercial or investment properties.

According to reports, the couple, who between themselves own millions in pricey commercial office buildings and other real estate, have managed to negotiate a settlement between themselves as to how they will divide their property.

What does the abbreviation QDRO stand for?

The abbreviation QDRO stands for qualified domestic relations order. Many Floridians who live in the Tampa area and other parts of the state will need to be familiar with this term, particularly if they are going through a divorce or legal separation. This is because many of this state's retirees or soon-to-be retirees have a lot of wealth tied up in pension, 401(k)s or other retirement plans.

As is the case with other marital property, a court will divide up a couple's retirement plans, or at least a share of them. However, ordinary court orders will not work to convince the administrator of a retirement plan to divvy up the funds.

A prenup may be helpful before a second marriage

As readers of this Florida-based family law blog know, marriage is an important decision because it has legal significance. When a person gets married, they lose their status as a single person, and for many purposes their identity is tied to that of their spouse. Married people often share property, wealth and decision-making power with their partners.

But as readers also know, not all marriages last. A person may grow apart from their spouse or one day may be shocked to learn of offensive or illegal behaviors that the other party has undertaken. Divorce is the legal process that breaks marital bonds and returns individuals to their single identities.

Important factors to understand regarding alimony awards

Not every Florida divorce will result in an award of alimony. Alimony is generally only ordered when one of the parties to a divorcing couple is financially unable to provide for their own needs following the end of their marriage. As previously discussed on this blog, alimony can take on different forms depending upon the needs of the receiving party and the capacity of the paying party to support them.

In order to determine if alimony should be awarded and what form it should take if it is necessary, courts look at a number of important factors. Certain factors relate to the age and condition of the recipient party. A person who is of advanced age or deteriorating health may be unable to reenter the workforce and may not be able to train for a new employment position.

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