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Miami Divorce Law Blog

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.

Legal issues that can complicate prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are intended in part to make a divorce easier, setting up rules before a marriage even begins regarding what will happen when it ends. However, these agreements sometimes have the opposite effect in Florida if they are not handled properly, making things more complicated. Below are some of the main issues that could crop up.

First off, the agreement may not have been crafted properly, following all of the necessary steps. For example, if you and your spouse were supposed to have your own legal advisers and you both used the same person, the agreement could then be disputed.

Does technology endanger domestic violence victims?

When faced with a domestic violence situation, many individuals in Florida and other states are unable to clearly think about all the ramifications of the situation and their actions. Often, a response is about survival. One thing that may be important to surviving and getting out of an abusive situation is understanding how technology might put you at greater risk.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline states on its webpage that technology can be used both as a safety mechanism or as a way to further jeopardize someone's safety. The site points out that control and power often play a role in an abusive relationship, which can lead to the abuser using technology to track the movements and actions of the other person. They might also hack into social media pages or review activity on cellphones, looking for evidence that control is in jeopardy.

Child support by the numbers: Who isn't paying?

Florida parents may be interested in child support numbers that don't support traditional beliefs about who isn't paying. According to 2011 data from the United States Census Bureau, over $14 billion in child support was owed and unpaid at the time the census numbers were calculated. According to an expert from fivethirtyeight.com, the 2011 census data was the most current available as of a March 2015 interview with NPR.

The expert noted that the data included details about the breakdown of who owed child support, and she was surprised to see that moms who are ordered to pay child support are less likely statistically to do so than dads. The expert noted that this seemed counterintuitive to cultural beliefs. According to the report, 25 percent of moms with custody reported not receiving any of the support they had been awarded. That contrasts with 32 percent of dads.

Your Florida divorce and your social media accounts

When couples divorce in Florida, they must make decisions regarding the distribution of their property. If couples cannot decide about how their marital property should be divided, then the court will have no choice but to step in. Florida courts exercise the concept of "equitable distribution" when it comes to divvying up marital property between spouses.

At first glance, equitable distribution seems like it might involve a fair split, right down the middle, between both parties. However, it might surprise you to learn that a court will generally look at many factors when deciding how to divide marital property. For example, the court may consider the level of contribution of each spouse towards acquiring the property as well as the desirability of either party to retain certain assets. Most importantly, the court will also consider how that marital property might affect the best interests of any children involved in the divorce.

Florida legislature to vote on alimony reform

Florida is one of the few states that still allows courts to grant alimony payments for a lifetime -- some say it's a throwback to past family cultures, when women were less likely to work outside the home. Today, many other states have limitations on how alimony can be awarded, and Florida legislators have been trying to enact similar rules in the state for several years.

Two years ago the legislature passed a bill that would have eliminated the ability to grant lifelong alimony. At the time, the governor vetoed the effort, stating he was worried the bill would allow alimony to be taken away from individuals who were already receiving and relying on it.

Do property division rules apply to pets in Florida divorces?

When couples decide to end their marriages, there are generally two paths to the finish line. Couples who are able to remain civil with each other may elect to negotiate important decisions regarding their children and the division of property. The second path involves feuding couples who often rely on the courts to make those decisions based on evidence and testimony.

Although your family pet may be a well-loved and cherished member of your family, it is important to know that under Florida law, pets are considered property. As property, pets are not afforded the same considerations that we extend to children. A Family Court judge is most likely just going to decide on giving the pet to one spouse based on the theory of ownership. If this is the case, then make sure you can find your receipt from where you purchased the pet or any paperwork regarding its adoption.

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