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Seminole County Florida Divorce Law Blog

How pediatricians can assist during child custody cases

When a Florida family is going through divorce, parents often have a difficult time remaining objective about matters related to their children. Once a couple enters into child custody negotiations, emotions and tensions often rise. It is important that parents are able to place the best interests of their shared children at the forefront of all divorce decisions. One excellent resource that can assist in this area is the family pediatrician.

A pediatrician has a professional obligation to place the safety and well-being of the child first. Even more importantly, the pediatrician is a neutral party, and can bring an objective perspective on matters related to child custody. Parents should schedule an annual examination for each child, and should take the time to speak with the pediatrician concerning the changing family dynamic.

Child custody and relocation: What you need to know

Sometimes it is necessary to move, be it for a new job or to take care of a sick relative, there are often circumstances that require it. If it was just you, on your own, it would be an easy thing to do, but if you have children and are divorced, moving more than 50 miles away from where you and your children currently reside can be much more complicated.

The court process for seeking permission to relocate can be very complex and usually requires that you seek the advice of a Florida attorney experienced with child custody and relocation matters.

How to avoid common property division mistakes

When it comes to handling the disposition of the family home, many divorcing spouses encounter obstacles. It is important to understand some of the more common property division mistakes that can occur during the sale of a Florida home, in order to avoid a negative outcome. It is also important to understand that divorce is an emotionally charged time, and that individuals may not always behave in a logical or rational manner. Simply acknowledging that fact can help many people avoid making decisions that are based more on emotion than on financial acumen.

In many cases, the family home will need to be sold in order to distribute assets fairly. During the sale of the home, it is absolutely essential to allow the real estate professional hired to handle that sale to do his or her job. This means avoiding turning to the real estate agent for divorce-related concerns. The agent is focused on handling the marketing, negotiation and eventual sale of the home, and should never be asked to function as a marriage counselor.

How dissipation of assets can impact property division

For most Florida spouses, the financial outcome of a divorce will have a lasting impact on their financial security. That is why the property division process is such an integral part of transitioning from married to single. Spouses should be on guard for any action that serves to reduce the marital wealth available for division. Dissipation of assets is a serious matter that should be guarded against.

Dissipation of assets can take many different forms. One of the most common ways that one spouse intentionally depletes marital wealth is by conducting an affair. When marital wealth is used to support an extramarital relationship, there is less to divide between the spouses. Being able to prove that one spouse spent significant sums of money to support an affair can help the wronged party reach a favorable outcome during negotiations.

High net worth divorce in the digital age

Technology is advancing at a pace that is nearly incomprehensible. It has become increasingly difficult for individuals to stay abreast of technological developments, even for those in Florida who work within the tech sphere. When it comes to high net worth divorce, it is important to understand the ins and outs of data storage. Failing to do so can lead to an unfavorable outcome, no matter what side of the courtroom one is on.

Many people still believe that when they delete something from their computer, that is the end of the story. In reality, however, it is incredibly difficult to actually eliminate data from a computer. That means that anything stored on a computer, external hard drive or any type of cloud-based storage can be used as leverage during a divorce.

Mother and former prostitute regains child custody

Florida parents who are facing a custody battle should be prepared for every potential challenge. Child custody cases are among the most contentious fights that enter the court system, and parents will throw virtually any type of mud to get the desired outcome. An example is found in the headline-making case of a former prostitute who seemingly lost custody based on her line of work, even though that work had no impact on her child.

The woman has two children, and she and the father broke up in 2010. At that point, she had primary custody of the kids, who lived with her for approximately two-thirds of each year. In 2013, the father filed for primary custody, claiming that he was made aware that the mother had been working as a prostitute in a legal brothel located in a different state. He won, largely because the court took issue with the mother's line of work.

Keep your eye on your assets in a "gray divorce"

Young married couples whose marriages hit the skids tend to focus more on child custody issues when facing divorce. While this is not always the case, younger couples usually haven't acquired very many valuable marital assets that need to be halved between them equitably.

But the baby boomer generation faces a different set of divorce challenges centered around the division of the couple's retirement accounts and pension funds. The National Center for Family & Marriage Research conducted a study over the 20-year period from 1990 to 2010, and discovered that the rate of divorce for those couples over 50 had doubled. What may be even more startling is that for those married couples older than 65, during those same approximate years, the divorce rate tripled.

How does adultery impact property division in a Florida divorce?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state which means that neither of the parties seeking divorce needs to provide a reason for the filing. The mere statement that the irreconcilable differences caused an irretrievable break in the marriage is sufficient. Although one party's accusation of the other spouse committing adultery will not have much of an impact on property division, it may be considered in some of the court's other decision-making processes.

Some tips to keep in mind in a divorce resulting from adultery -- for the victim and the adulterer -- include the fact that it will have little or no impact on the divorce settlement. All assets will still be divided as prescribed under the equitable distribution law of the state, although, under these circumstances, it may be tough for the spouses to reach a settlement agreement on their own. The presence of adultery will also not affect child custody -- unless it can be proved that the adulterer is an unfit parent.

During property division, consider downsizing

During the course of a Florida divorce, some spouses refuse to accept the reality that many aspects of their lives are about to change. One of the most difficult realities to come to terms with is the fact that it is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain the exact same lifestyle on one income that was possible with two. This is especially true in regard to home size. For those who can accept the many benefits of downsizing, this property division transition can be far easier to manage.

One of the most obvious benefits of moving into a smaller or less elaborate home involves cost. A smaller and simpler home will be far less expensive to maintain, leaving more money for savings or investments. In most cases, individuals who go through divorce require far less space in their new homes. It can be helpful to look for new living arrangements that offer benefits other than size, including an attractive neighborhood, proximity to friends and family or reduced commute time.

Covering all of the details during property division

As a couple in Florida nears the end of the divorce process, there is often an urge to get things signed, sealed and delivered as quickly as possible, so that both parties are able to move on with their lives. This is an understandable approach, but it is important to avoid rushing through the final stage of divorce without ensuring that all of the details have been addressed. Once those papers are signed, it is difficult to go back and address things that were not completed prior to the legal end of the marriage, especially when it comes to matters of property division.

Dividing marital wealth often involves the division of retirement or investment accounts. That process requires a number of phone calls and several types of forms. In the case of retirement savings, a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order, outlines how the asset is to be divided. It is important to make sure that all of those terms have been met prior to signing the final divorce papers.