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Tampa Florida Family Law Blog

Searching for hidden assets in your Florida divorce

You have probably heard the following phrase many times: Divorce brings out the worst in people. This is certainly the case in many situations, especially when a large amount of property or money is at stake. High-asset divorces occur frequently in Florida with each spouse typically harboring concerns about the fairness of the property settlement.

Sometimes, these concerns are so strong that one spouse will attempt to hide assets from the other spouse. This is both morally wrong and unlawful, but it happens all the same in high-asset divorces. If you are planning a divorce with valuable assets at stake, it is probably worth the effort to do some investigating.

Consider this alternative if it is too late for a prenup

When you find love, it is often a head-spinning experience. Most people on the path to matrimony do not stop to think about future financial matters. As such, they do not have prenuptial agreements in place when they get married. If trouble comes along after the wedding, they may regret not taking steps to protect their assets.

Fortunately, there is a highly effective alternative when it is too late to draft a prenuptial agreement. This alternative -- a postnuptial agreement -- works in much the same way as a prenup in terms of protecting your personal assets. As its name suggests, postnuptial agreements are put in place after a couple is already married.

Will divorce filings spike in January in Florida?

Anyone in Florida who has ever gone through a divorce probably knows that there isn't exactly a right time to begin the process. In many cases, the divorce simply occurs whenever it becomes obviously that the marriage in question cannot be saved, and that the spouses would be better off without each other. However, a recent report noted a trend that, based on some statistical studies, seems to have merit: divorce filings oftentimes spike in January.

The report noted that in certain states, including Florida, the month-to-month comparison between divorce filings in December and January does indeed show an increase in the number of divorce filings in the first month of the year. There could be any number of reasons why states throughout the country see this increase in January. The recent article noted that, for some people, the start of the new year is a time when they reflect and believe that they will be better off with a new start, and that includes with their relationship.

What do you need to know about prenuptial agreements?

Not many people in Florida would think that a discussion about a prenuptial agreement would be an easy conversation to have, but the fact is that these agreements can be vital for those who take a pragmatic approach to marriage. After all, the common refrain is that about half of all marriages end in divorce, although that may not be as true as it once was with changing societal norms. But, divorce is still incredibly common, so many people in Florida would probably like to know how a prenuptial agreement might help them with their relationships.

So, what do our readers need to know about prenuptial agreements? Well, for starters, it is important to understand what these agreements can legally address, and what they cannot. Prenups are primarily intended to protect one party from the other in financial terms. For example, one spouse may be entering the marriage having already accumulated wealth and assets, and that spouse wants to ensure that those assets remain outside of the marital assets that might be accumulated during the marriage. Or, one spouse may have significant debts prior to the marriage, and the other spouse wants to ensure that those debts do not become jointly-owed debts.

Addressing visitation issues in a divorce case in Florida

Couples who have minor children and who are going through a divorce have many different concerns as the case proceeds through the family law court system. Both soon-to-be ex-spouses may be worried about how long the divorce case might take -- which is usually longer when children are involved. They may also both be worried about the costs involved in the divorce. But, primarily, the parents, despite their own disagreements, usually want what is best for the children. The problem is, the parents oftentimes do not agree on what that is.

Visitation issues, in particular, can be difficult to address. Unless the divorcing spouses work out some type of arrangement on their own that they both feel is mutually beneficial, it will be up to the family court judge to decide child custody and visitation issues. While joint custody is the preference, that is not always possible. Sometimes, one parent will get primary custody and the other will get visitation rights.

How will "equitable distribution" effect high asset divorce?

Our readers in Florida may have heard the term, "equitable distribution" as it relates to property division in divorce cases. However, this legalese-type term may leave some people wondering what, exactly, it means. So, how will "equitable distribution" effect one's divorce?

First, it is important to understand that equitable distribution essentially means that the split of assets and debt in a divorce will be "fair" as opposed to being split 50/50. Of course, this means that subjectivity becomes an essential part of the divorce case, as both sides attempt to prove their beliefs as to what should be a "fair" distribution of assets and debts.

Making the holidays peaceful with a strong custody agreement

Child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce. It is not easy for two Florida parents to agree on what is best for their children, especially when they are already dealing with the complex emotions that come with the end of a marriage. The holidays can exacerbate these feelings and make it even more difficult to make things work for the sake of the children.

If you are going through a divorce, you may want to give careful consideration to how holiday visitation will work after the process is final. It is beneficial to include this in your custody order, as these details can help you avoid conflict in the future. There are several ways you can ease the stress of this time of year and give your children the ability to enjoy continuity of lifestyle

Discussing specific issues in prenuptial agreements

When a couple in Florida is preparing for a wedding, a conversation about a prenuptial agreement is, understandably, a somewhat delicate issue. Some people may worry that discussing or signing a "prenup" is a "jinx" on the marriage. Others may be completely shocked when their soon-to-be spouse even broaches the issue. However, once the conversation begins, much good can come from having a solidly drafted prenuptial agreement in place.

For example, these days many people are waiting longer to get married -- until they are in their 30s, as opposed to in their 20s. Naturally, that means that people have lived a longer "adult" life and probably have financial concerns of their own prior to marriage, including debt and possibly even significant assets. Keeping these finances separate can actually alleviate a potential source of stress on a marriage before it even begins.

Avoiding mistakes in a divorce case

A divorce can be one of the most impactful events in a Floridian's life. There is no denying the complete change that can go into effect for a man or woman who is ending a marriage to go on with their separate life, sometimes, after years of being married. As important as a divorce case is, it is important to avoid mistakes.

A recent news article pointed out some mistakes that men, in particular, make when it comes to divorce cases, but some of the mistakes noted in the article should equally be avoided by women as well. One of the primary mistakes the article points to are the discussions -- and promises -- made between the soon-to-be ex-spouses, both before and during the actual legal proceedings of the divorce case. If, for example, one said they were going to give some asset to the spouse, the promisor better believe they will be held to that promise in the courtroom.

Protecting your rights in a high asset divorce

In any divorce, the stakes are high. Sensitive issues that need to be addressed, such as property division, alimony, child custody and child support, mean that the ultimate decisions on these issues can have a life-long effect. However, in a high asset divorce, the property division process of the case takes on a much more significant role.

In such a case, it is important for Florida residents to protect their rights. It starts with getting a full understanding of the assets -- and debts -- that will be part of the property division discussion. In many cases, people own more assets than they realize. High asset divorces often involve forensic accountants and real estate appraisers, as well as experts to appraise the value of such possessions as pieces of art and other valuable collectibles. Hopefully, people do not have more debt than they realize.

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