Tampa Florida Family Law Blog

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.

A high asset divorce requires committed legal guidance

In the end, a high asset divorce has the same result as a regular divorce: two individuals end their legal relationship and make important decisions about how they will share their wealth, children and property. To this end, Tampa residents may not see the need to work with high asset divorce attorneys when they choose to bring their marriages to their ends.

However, getting legal help from attorneys who understand the challenges and differences that high asset divorces can present is important for men and women who possess significant amounts of wealth. High asset divorces are about more than money: they are about protecting the assets that individuals have taken years of their lives to build. They are about ensuring that individuals who entered marriages with wealth take with them the separate property that they are entitled to preserve.

Getting organized before divorce can help prevent challenges

Divorce can be a challenging and stressful process. However, if you are preparing for divorce, there are some actions you can take to help get yourself organized. Getting organized early can help make some parts of the process easier, ease some of the stress later on and can even help improve the outcome in some instances.

Know what you have

How long does a child support obligation last?

Although a divorce ends the legal relationship between two people, Florida residents who were previously married may find themselves tied together by shared responsibilities that survive the end of their union. This is generally the case when the parties had children together who require custodial and financial care in the wake of their parents' divorce. For some parents required to pay child support, that responsibility can last for a very long time.

Most child support obligations end when the children reach the age of majority. That end point may be extended if they are still in high school or the child's parents may agree to continue to support them as the child pursues additional education. Children who emancipate from their parents may see their child support payments stop since the child has declared that they wish to take care of their own finances and provide for themselves.

Gifts and property division during a Florida divorce

Throughout the course of a couple's marriage, the partners may exchange gifts and other tokens of their love for each other. While some of the items they buy for each other may become shared tools, such as appliances or vehicles, others may be exclusively used by the recipient. For example, a wife who receives an expensive ring from her husband may exclusively wear and use the ring without any further ownership in it by the giver.

Some gifts between spouses can be expensive, and when it comes to dividing up property during a high asset divorce, the classification of those gifts as separate or marital property can be important. For readers who are not familiar with Florida's marital property laws, marital property is divided based on the principle of equitable distribution and not based on the community property principles that are used by other states.

What kinds of alimony are available in Florida?

Most people think of alimony as the monthly payment of money from a person to their former spouse. While this is how some alimony arrangements work, alimony can look very different based on the needs of the involved parties. This post will discuss some of the forms that alimony can take on in Florida; however, it does not offer legal advice but provides information about alimony options in Florida. The facts and circumstances of different divorce cases will greatly impact if alimony is awarded and what form it will take on.

Periodic payments of alimony are the most recognizable form of the obligation, and those periodic payments can be established for set durations of time or can be established indefinitely. An alimony agreement or order may state when the payments are to stop or may require the paying party to continue these payments permanently.

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