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Seminole County Florida Divorce Law Blog

Considering tax ramifications during property division

For many Florida business owners, the end of the marriage entails numerous financial decisions, not all of which are directly related to the union itself. Unless specific provisions were laid out in a prenuptial agreement, business assets will become part of the property division process. An important consideration during the early stages of negotiations involves comprehensive understanding of the tax ramifications associated with various options.

For example, many spouses make the mistake of taking a narrow focus of an expansive topic. For example, arguing over who will retain the family home is a common scenario. For business owners, it may make more sense to cede interest in the family home in exchange for a greater share of business assets.

One state rules on same-sex child custody rights

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court created a path for same-sex couples to legally marry, cases have come before courts in Florida and across the nation to clarify how other laws should be applied to those couples. An example lies in a multitude of child custody cases in which one partner claims that the lack of a biological connection precludes the other partner from having child custody rights. Recently, one state ruled on the matter, finding that same-sex parents should have the same rights as heterosexual parents.

The case centered on a legally married lesbian couple who wanted to expand their family. One woman gave birth to a child, whom the couple raised together for a period of time before separating. At that point, the biological mother claimed that her former partner had no legal right to their child due to the fact that there was no biological relation.

Could amnesty assist in child support collections efforts?

For many Florida parents who are separated or divorced, obtaining sufficient financial support to raise their children is an ongoing challenge. Unpaid child support is an issue that affects many families. There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to child support matters, and many people make snap judgments about parents who are not up to date on their child support obligations.

In reality, however, many people fall behind on child support due to financial circumstances that are outside of their control. When an illness, injury or unexpected job loss occurs, it takes very little time to fall seriously behind in child support payments. That can prompt a number of negative outcomes, including court proceedings aimed at collecting unpaid child support.

Inmates can face serious property division obstacles

Going through a divorce is an onerous process for anyone, but for Florida spouses who are incarcerated, a divorce can seem like an impossible goal to accomplish. That leaves many inmates in a terrible position when it comes to property division or other matters. One state has created a program aimed at assisting spouses in various family law matters, even while they remain behind bars. The success of the program could spark similar efforts across the nation.

All jurisdictions have a specific set of rules when it comes to how cases are processed. Very often, initiating or furthering a case requires a party to appear in court or at the courthouse to file documents. That can be a hurdle for inmates, who have no ability to gain transportation to court. While they may be able to receive transportation for an existing case, they are often unable to gain transportation for the purpose of initiating their own legal proceedings.

Benefits of collaboration in Florida property division

Most Florida spouses understand that being able to process the details of their divorce in a collaborative manner is the preferred approach. Most people, however, only think about the emotional advantages of working through a collaborative process to end their marriage. There are also numerous practical benefits that come with collaboration, many of which relate to the property division process.

One advantage is the increased flexibility available to Florida families. Through collaboration, couples are able to construct a unique divorce settlement that is in line with their particular set of needs. That increased flexibility allows spouses to reach an agreement that preserves marital wealth, which can then distributed to both parties.

Jurisdiction is important in child custody actions

For Florida residents who are preparing to divorce, the manner in which that process is initiated can inform and shape both the process and the eventual outcome. That is especially true in regard to child custody cases, where laws vary from state to state. An individual who carefully plans his or her divorce and child custody strategy can achieve a significant advantage when the time comes to file. Jurisdiction is everything when it comes to family law matters.

A parent who anticipates a lengthy or contentious child custody battle should think carefully about where his or her best interests lie prior to filing for divorce. Filing in a state that has advantageous custody laws in place can make a world of difference in the outcome of the case. In order to file in another jurisdiction, there are often residency requirements that must be met.

Program hopes to restore child custody rights to parents

Living with drug addiction is a constant struggle, both for the addict and his or her loved ones. When a parent becomes addicted to drugs, the safety and security of the child becomes the top priority. To that end, many addicted parents in Florida and other states lose their child custody rights, often to state authorities. That can be a devastating outcome to both parent and child and is a cause for concern. One state is trying a new approach to these cases and is hoping that restoring custody rights earlier rather than later can lead to positive outcomes for everyone involved.

The program is called "Best for Babies" and creates a team of professionals who work with parents to restore their child custody rights. The program was created based on research that suggests that children have a strong need to bond with their parents before the age of three, while they are going through critical stages of development. Participants are given the support of social workers, child development experts, attorneys and even judges.

Child custody determinations sometimes center on intelligence

There are a number of ways that Florida parents can lose custody of their children to the state. Abuse and neglect are the most common reasons why the authorities get involved and remove kids from their parents' care. There are child custody determinations around the nation, however, where kids are removed from their homes for reasons that fall far outside of matters of abuse or neglect. An example is found in the case of a family who are fighting to have their son returned to them after he was removed over concerns about the intelligence level of the parents.

The couple have been fighting the system for nearly four years, after the state took custody of their newborn son just hours after his birth. That decision was made based on an assessment that the parents have "limited cognitive abilities" that prevent them from providing adequate care for their child. The mother is believed to have an IQ level of around 72, and the father tested at around 66. Both of those IQ measures are well below what is considered average, which is 90 to 110.

Children of domestic violence require a special approach

When one parent is subjected to acts of violence at the hand of his or her partner, a very careful approach is required in matters of divorce and child custody. Research suggests that an abusive parent is likely to turn that abuse toward his or her children when the relationship ends. Unfortunately, the Florida court system has few protections in place to address this risk, leaving children exposed to harm even after one parent has made every effort to remove them from an environment of domestic violence.

It is estimated that more than 580 children have been killed by a parent during a child custody, child support or divorce case over the past decade. According to child safety advocates, many of those deaths could have been prevented if the courts had listened to parents who warned of the risk of abuse. That need led U.S. Representatives Pat Meehan and Carolyn B. Maloney to introduce a resolution that would increase protections in cases that include allegations of domestic violence.

Avoid unexpected expenses during property division planning

When preparing for divorce, Florida spouses should make every effort to become fully informed on the process and all associated expenses. That is especially true when it comes to making property division decisions. Unless an individual has a clear idea of how his or her financial landscape will look after a divorce, it is impossible to make wise property division decisions.

One of the most obvious, yet often overlooked financial matters associated with divorce involves alimony and child support. The spouse who is expected to receive support payments should create a post-divorce budget that is in line with their projected income. The spouse who will be tasked with making those payments should plan their own future financial obligations accordingly.