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Seminole County Florida Divorce Law Blog

Could embryos be subject to property division?

When a Florida couple goes through divorce, a great deal of focus is placed on dividing their marital assets. In some cases, however, the assets in question fall outside the bounds of what the law is equipped to handle. An example is found in a high profile legal dispute between actress Sophia Vergara and her former partner. While not married, the two are embroiled in an unusual property division dispute regarding their frozen embryos.

In an attempt to have a child, the couple went through the process of creating multiple embryos, and even tried the surrogacy process two separate times. Those attempts failed, and the couple decided to part ways. The agreement that they signed at the time the embryos were created states that the embryos would remain frozen in the event that the couple could not agree on how to move forward.

What if I quit paying alimony?

Alimony payments in the 21st century are a contentious issue. The work environment has changed since the laws went on the books, with women making up roughly half of the work force today and dual income households becoming the norm.

The Florida legislature is working to change current terms, but it remains a work in progress. Many of Florida's alimony settlements are higher and more permanent than other states that have enacted formulas and payment caps.

If you're fed up, what happens if you simply quit making your payments?

How domestic violence can impact child custody

When it comes to matters of child custody, acts of abuse between family members can have a great deal of impact on the eventual outcome. Many in Florida believe that the party who has been subjected to acts of domestic violence will automatically have the upper hand in a custody case. In reality, however, the courts take a very careful approach to all child custody matters, including those that contain allegations of domestic violence.

This means that simply being a victim of domestic violence may not sway the court to award primary or full custody to the abused party. In some cases, the courts feel that domestic violence claims are a matter of "he said, she said" and cannot be adequately documented. In other cases, the courts simply feel that the relationship between parents, even if violent, does not necessarily extend to how each parent relates to his or her child.

Addressing child custody matters during divorce mediation

Many Florida families choose mediation to work through the details of their divorce. When it comes to child custody matters, some families struggle to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. It is important to make every effort to set aside feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger or spite in favor of working together to reach a child custody outcome that places the needs of shared children at the forefront.

One common roadblock to mediation involves a spouse who seems dead set against compromise. In some cases, this approach is not really indicative of a passionate desire to maintain the bulk of parenting duties. Instead, it is simply a tactic employed to try and make the divorce as uncomfortable as possible so that the other party might just decide to move away from the divorce process and reconcile.

How to handle college savings during property division

Many Florida families have taken steps to ensure that their children will be able to afford a quality college education. One of the most popular savings options for funding higher education is a 529 account. When a couple is facing divorce and property division, however, a 529 plan becomes just another asset that should be included in negotiations.

In most cases, the parent who will retain primary custody will also become the "owner" of that child's 529 account. The presumption is that the custodial parent will be the one handling the majority of tasks associated with sending the child off to school, and should therefore have the ability to direct the accumulated funds from the 529 account to cover the cost of an education. However, there are cases in which those plans do not ultimately come to fruition.

How social medial use may impact your marriage

Divorce lawyers are seeing more marriages terminate due to social media and the way it affects lives of partners. Many things about social media usage can change the way people think of each other and act toward each other, making relationships more complicated than ever before. 

Don't neglect property division during Social Security divorce

While most Florida spouses look forward to parting ways with their spouse after their marriage comes to an end, this is not always the case. For some couples, divorce is a strategic financial planning move, albeit an unconventional one. For example, many spouses consider a divorce on paper that will allow one spouse to collect Social Security benefits based on his or her former partner's work record. While a valid strategy, this type of divorce still requires a thoughtful property division approach.

If an individual is nearing retirement age, he or she may wish to collect on a former spouse's Social Security record in order to allow his or her own benefits to continue to grow. In order to do so, the claiming party must be single, and also must have been married to the former spouse for a period of at least 10 years. In addition, the claiming spouse's own benefit amount must be less than that of the former spouse.

Child custody outcome leads to outrage from many

When two parents divorce, the focus is almost always on making things easy for their shared children. In some cases, one or both parents are concerned about the safety and well-being of their kids while in the custody of the other parent. This is especially true in cases in Florida and elsewhere in which there are other parties involved, such as stepparents or romantic partners of one or both parents. One recent child custody case centered on a father's concern about the safety of his two daughters, who were living in the home of their mother and her new husband, a convicted sex offender.

When the father found out that his children were living under the same roof as a sex offender, he took steps to try and gain custody of the girls. Even more distressing to the father was the fact that the child that the man had molested was his stepdaughter from a previous marriage. Adding even more complexity to the case is the fact that this is not the first sex offender that the mother has chosen as a partner; a former boyfriend was convicted of molesting one of her other daughters (from a different relationship.)

Weight loss can result from high net worth divorce

Moving from married to single can be a difficult process, even in cases where divorce is clearly the best step for all involved. For many Florida spouses who are going through a high net worth divorce, losing weight will accompany the process. This can be a good thing for some, but can lead to health issues for others. No matter if an individual is looking to shed a few extra pounds or is already in peak physical condition, it is important to make wise health decisions during this intense period of time.

People lose weight during divorce for a number of reasons. Some experience high levels of stress as the process unfolds, which can lead to a suppressed appetite. For others, eating meals was a significant part of their life as a married spouse, and without that other person in the mix, it can seem like too much trouble to prepare a healthy meal for one. Some spouses turn to exercise when they are experiencing stress or anxiety, which can help the pounds fall off. No matter the reason behind the weight gain, it is absolutely essential that individuals do not lose sight of the importance of being healthy, especially during a trying time.

What happens if child support payments are not made?

Court orders entered in conjunction with family law matters are binding for the parties who are involved. This means that there are often repercussions for both parties if one of them fails to meet the obligations outlined in those orders. Therefore, if a parent ordered to make child support payments does not make them, he or she could be found in contempt and face enforcement measures outlined under Florida law.

Many Florida parents rely on child support payments to help make sure that their children do not suffer because their parents are no longer together. When those payments do not come, they are the ones who pay the price. Parents can go back to court and request that the non-custodial parents be found in contempt and ask that enforcement actions begin.