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Miami Divorce Law Blog

Congressman’s long-term marriage annulled in Florida court

On April 7, a Florida judge announced the annulment of a 24-year marriage between a U.S. Congressman and his wife. The hearing was initially scheduled to review whether the marriage between the U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and his wife was valid due to allegations that she was still married to another man at the time she married the congressman.

The annulment announcement has put the matter of bigamy on hold for now in the wake of the judge's determination. The annulment also puts an end to a rather contentious divorce battle between the couple that included allegations of bigamy, financial abandonment and battery.

Who decides how much child support must be paid in Florida?

Under Florida law, child support payments are set according to what the statutes refer to as guidelines. Specific provisions are contained in Chapter 61 of the laws governing civil practice and procedure known as Title VI of the Florida Statutes.

When a marriage ends, couples with children are often at odds. The emotions of the breakup are difficult enough, and worry over their children's well-being can foster contentiousness. Unlike division of property and other divorce settlement issues, financially providing for minor or disabled children is something the court may handle in certain situations.

New Florida alimony law also contains child custody component

On April 8, the Florida State Senate approved a bill aimed at modernizing the state's alimony laws. Also contained within the statute is an important provision that may affect your child custody in the future.

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is a form of support one spouse pays to the other, usually after the divorce is final. This amount is usually determined by a formula based on the couple's income. The spouse ordered to pay the alimony is known as the obligor. The new law, which goes into effect Oct. 1 of this year, puts a cap on the amount of money that an obligor can be required to pay to their ex-spouse. After Oct. 1, a court cannot order alimony payments in excess of 55 percent of the obligor's total income.

Are common law marriages valid in Florida?

While common law marriages were fairly common in the 19th and even 20th centuries, these marriage are no longer considered valid in every state. In 1877, the Supreme Court ruled that it was up to individual states to decide if they wanted to prohibit common law marriage. As of 1968, Florida no longer recognizes common law marriages as legally valid. This includes marriages that originated in a different state that do still recognize common law marriages.

If the marriage was established prior to 1968, however, it will still have legal standing in Florida, provided it has all of the elements of a common law marriage. These include both parties being free to marry and not obligated to any other present marriages, agreeing to the marriage of their own free will and living together as husband and wife.

Prenuptial agreements and Florida law

It may sound cold and calculating to consider the assets husbands and wives will bring to a marriage as something to be distributed properly in the event of a divorce. Love, trust and sharing are attributes that define a relationship, so there shouldn't be a need to think about divorce before rings are exchanged and vows are made. But husbands and wives these days are often older, with established professions and accumulated wealth or real estate. Many times, they have been married before, and they have children that will form a blended family upon the marriage.

In situations like these, a prenuptial agreement may be a wise choice in order to fairly protect the whole family. It doesn't mean a lack of trust exists, it can be what preserves family relationships since no one can predict what the future will hold.

Could the proposed alimony rules affect my Florida divorce?

There are a variety of reasons why couples eventually decide to end their marriages. Perhaps some form of marital misconduct like infidelity or abandonment played a pivotal role. Still, for some others both spouses may have simply grown disinterested in continuing the relationship. Regardless of the reasons for divorce, the fact remains that fairness regarding the split should be a paramount concern to both parties.

Florida family courts have traditionally attempted to interject fairness into some divorce cases by awarding alimony in certain circumstances. Alimony is the term used to refer to money paid by one ex-spouse to another after a divorce. Typically, a court might award long-married spouses with limited means of providing for themselves alimony from those spouses with greater financial security.

Getting your fair share through marital property division

Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means all assets and property a husband and wife acquire while they are married are divided equitably between them upon divorce. The important thing to note here is that equitably doesn't automatically mean in half. Because of this, an otherwise generally amicable end to a marriage can become fraught with complexities.

Our law practice has extensive experience and a solid success rate in working through these complex property division issues. Our skill-backed focus is making sure our clients receive their fair share in every divorce we handle.

Understanding your toddler’s best interests during a divorce

Divorce is never easy for children of any age, but for toddlers, the end of a marriage can be an especially confusing time. One of the reasons this is so troublesome for younger kids is that they are still at a point in their development where they require bonding and attachment. When couples decide to separate this can unfortunately bring about some regressive behaviors. For example, a toddler may react to the disruption of one parent moving away by internalizing feelings of abandonment. This can be particularly disturbing at the end of visitations when toddlers become rather clingy and somewhat aggressive as the parent begins to leave.

The good news is that you and your ex-spouse can work together to help your toddler adjust to life beyond living with both parents under the same roof. Before your divorce is complete, it's a good idea to prepare your toddler for the eventuality that one parent will soon be living somewhere else. It is also vital for both parents to reassure the toddler that the decision to divorce is completely detached from them. Toddlers must also understand that both parents love them and that you and your ex-spouse's decision to separate will not diminish that love and support.

Celebrity divorce: Big dollars, but child support issues typical

Divorce cases involving children reflect the state guidelines for child support as a matter of course. Parents' incomes are taken into account, as are changes as time goes on. With personalized, experienced legal counsel, agreements can be reached between parents, and children can be provided for with court approval.

A recent news report shows insight into what it means to deal with child support calculations at a much higher income level than is the norm for Florida families. A well-known executive and his wife are presently in the midst of a divorce case. The question is reportedly her assertion that his gross monthly income is about $100 million. She believes he is more than capable of paying more in child support than he maintains is appropriate.

Your child’s health insurance and your child support order

Issues involving the calculation of child support can become hotly contested when parents decide to divorce. This is especially true in matters of health insurance coverage for children of the divorce. But which parent should pay for that insurance?

The short answer is that it depends on the child support order. In Florida, the living arrangement between divorced parents and their children is known as "time-sharing". As a general rule, there are two types of time-sharing. Parents can share custody of their children equally or the child can reside with one parent for a majority of the time. Typically, Florida courts will require child support payments from a parent who does not provide the primary residence for the children.

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