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Tampa Florida Family Law Blog

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.

Certain provisions are barred from prenuptial agreements

To some, making important financial and personal decisions about how their divorces will proceed even before they are married may seem fatalistic or even depressing. For others, having these and other matters addressed prior to their wedding dates can provide security and peace since they know that they have communicated with their partners about important decisions. Floridians who want to learn more about prenuptial agreements can discuss them with their family law attorneys, but readers should know that some topics cannot be addressed in premarital agreements and contracts.

A prior post on this blog discussed the fact that prenups cannot establish child custody schedules as such matters must be based on the best interests of the children. Since couples may not have kids before they get married these provisions are barred from inclusion in prenuptial agreements. Additionally, couples cannot contract to engage in illegal enterprises or actions through the execution of their prenups.

What readers can learn from Jeff Bezos' divorce

Most people know who Jeff Bezos is. in the last year, he was named the richest man in the world. However, even if his name is not familiar to Tampa residents, the company that he runs is likely something that they have heard of: Amazon. In the last few weeks, Bezos has been in the news for a reason unrelated to his ubiquitous company or alarming wealth.

Bezos and his wife recently filed for divorce and plan to end their 25 year marriage. The two share four children, and between them, they have billions of dollars in assets to divide up as they work to settle or litigate the separation of their lives. While at first glance a reader may not see any similarities between the divorce experience that Bezos and his wife will have and their own family law situations, they are encouraged to use this national news story as a learning opportunity regarding the process of divorce.

Be prepared to disclose all financial assets during divorce

While it is true that no divorce is easy, it is possible to say that some divorces are more complex than others. A divorce between two Tampa residents who have strong careers, no children and minimal property may be emotionally difficult; however, it likely does not present the same challenges as a divorce that involves child custody and support negotiations, spousal support and property division issues and other complex themes.

One factor that can significantly increase the complexity of a divorce is when the couple owns significant assets and financial interests. Though many individuals have retirement accounts, savings and checking accounts and other common financial devices, complex high asset divorce cases may also include the division of business interests, stock options and portfolios, pensions, real property and hidden assets.

Planning for divorce in the New Year

A Tampa resident may resolve to live a happier life once the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve. They may make plans to increase the joy that they experience each day, and these plans may involve making small and big changes to the way they approach life. For some, living a happier life may mean slowing down to appreciate what they have. For others, it may mean altering the fundamental relationships that they have with others, putting themselves in a more positive space for living.

Divorce can therefore be a component for some to improve their lives and find greater happiness. The joy a person may have experienced when they were first married can fade as issues and unresolvable problems develop between spouses. Though it is never easy, a divorce can be an important tool to guiding a person back to the positive life they once expected to live.

Don't Fight Alone

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