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Tampa Florida Family Law Blog

How an inheritance may be treated in a high asset divorce

Throughout Tampa, individuals attempt to prepare themselves and their family members by preparing estate plans that outline how their assets should be divided up when they are no longer alive to manage them. Through their estate planning documents, they may leave sizable inheritances to their children, spouses and friends.

Receiving an inheritance can be a special experience for a person, but that experience can quickly become a headache if their inheritance becomes a point of contention during a divorce. As with other financial matters related to high asset divorces, courts will look carefully at how the recipients of the inheritances came into possession of their inherited assets to decide if and how they should be divided.

What are the requirements of a valid prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts and, as such, they must follow certain rules in order to be valid. This post will touch on some of the important requirements that Florida residents must follow in order to keep their prenups valid, but, as with all legal matters, it is imperative that readers seek their own legal guidance on matters specific to their family law needs.

Although other types of agreements may not require this component, prenuptial agreements must be written contracts. They cannot be oral agreements and when a prenup is put to paper the parties to it must both sign their names to it to demonstrate their consent and agreement to the terms. Both of the parties to the prenup must also have the time and opportunity to read it over before signing.

What grounds for divorce are available in Florida?

Readers of this Tampa-based family law blog may be familiar with the terms "fault" and "no-fault" when it comes to preparing a pleading for divorce. Generally, if a divorce is based on fault then one of the parties is considered responsible for the failure of the marriage and is at fault for the dissolution. If a divorce is based upon discord between the parties without a specific element of fault then the divorce is considered a no-fault proceeding.

Florida does not recognize fault-based divorces; if a person wants to pursue a divorce, called dissolution of marriage, in the civil courts of the state then they must use the recognized no-fault grounds for ending their marriage. They do this by claiming that their marriage is irretrievably broken and meeting the other filing requirements of divorce.

Valid reasons for alimony modification in Florida

In the state of Florida, judges make careful decisions regarding alimony, and must have significant reason to issue an alimony modification. The state has created a formula by which they must abide. Alimony is almost never modified immediately following a divorce, and can be modified later only when specific circumstances are present.

One point which must be proven is that there has been a substantial change in circumstance. A substantial change is one in which there has been an unplanned, involuntary, and permanent change that will affect one party's financial status. Disabling health issues, sudden loss of a job, retirement, death, criminal charges, or winning the lottery are all examples of such a change.

Child custody: understanding Florida time-sharing rights

Parents facing divorce are often concerned about how much time they will be able to spend with their child. The Florida courts system uses the term “time-sharing” when referring to child visitation and contact. Time-sharing is a visitation arrangement wherein one parent is awarded majority time-sharing and the other parent is awarded visitation. The courts generally determine that each child should have frequent and continued contact with both parents after a divorce.

Defining a standard of living to determine alimony

In any divorce in which alimony is considered, a standard of living which took place during the marriage must be examined and determined. So, what exactly defines a standard of living?

First, a court will look at marital finances. A judge will seek out the answers to several questions: Who worked? Who did not work? What were the respective incomes of both parties? Did one party help the other to make money? Who paid all or most of the bills? What qualifications does each party have to obtain work that will support a certain lifestyle?

What is a post-nuptial agreement?

A post-nuptial agreement is the equivalent of a prenuptial agreement, with the exception that it takes place after a couple is married. Some couples may say that if their spouse approached them about a post-nuptial agreement, it would be a deal breaker that would end the relationship. While that may be the case in some instances, in other it can actually be a step towards saving a marriage.

So when would a post-nuptial agreement be necessary? There are many reasons for consideration, but here are a few examples.

Alimony Enforcement in Florida

If an ex-spouse has been ordered by a Florida court to pay alimony, but refuses to do so, there are some remedies available. These fall under section 61.14 of Florida statutes, in particular, under subsection (5)(a).

Alimony is calculated by the court based on an obligor's present ability to pay. This means that the amount will be based on a party's income at that exact time, not what it was the prior month, or what it may be a month ahead. An order is then entered, and the obligor becomes immediately responsible for making those monthly payments to his or her spouse. If the obligor's ongoing income should decrease, he or she may apply to the court for a modification of the alimony order. However, until an order reducing the amount of alimony due is signed by a judge, the original order remains in force. A verbal notice of inability to pay is insufficient. Any change in payment amounts require a new court order to become legally enforceable.

Complex matters in a high-asset divorce

Divorce is no fun for anyone. Though parties may find themselves happier when all is said and done, the divorce process itself is not usually enjoyable. Just a simple, no or low-asset divorce by consent can be emotionally draining and stressful. That being said, one can only imagine the stress and complexities of wading through a high-asset divorce with multiple major decisions to be made.

High-asset divorces are in a league of their own, and often require a full team of professionals to complete. In addition to a knowledgeable attorney, other professionals who may work on these cases are accountants, tax professionals, and private investigators. For this reason alone, these divorces can quickly become very costly. It is of utmost importance that the best decisions possible are made due to the business and tax consequences that can later occur.

Prenups: what can and can't be included in this contract

Prenuptial agreements have become a much more popular pillar of marriages (and divorces), and as such it is important for people who are soon going to be walking down the aisle to understand these contracts and what they can do.

Knowing what you can, and can't, include in a prenuptial agreement is obviously critical. So today let's talk about these factors. What provisions can you include in the prenuptial agreement? Consider this:

Don't Fight Alone

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