Long, Murphy & Zung, P.A.

Naples Family Law Blog

Florida is ideal for dads looking to gain custody of their kids

A new study published by Custody X Change suggests that Florida may be one of few states that offer dads the best chance being awarded shared custody of their children with their ex.

Researchers working on the study discovered that Florida fathers are more likely to be awarded 50/50 custody in Florida among other states including Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Jersey, Nevada and Wisconsin. Dads in Georgia, Mississippi, Illinois and Oklahoma were least likely to receive equal custody of their kids.

How divorcing later in life can impact your retirement

Getting a divorce is often a difficult and expensive process. Our society has rapidly changed its attitudes toward divorce. While a divorce was once a mark of shame that could impact everything from social relationships to career advancement, these days it is just part of modern life and relationships. The reduced stigma on divorce has resulted in more people choosing to end unhappy relationships.

Even couples married for decades may choose to divorce. In fact, since 1990, the divorce rate amount people aged 50 and older has doubled. In other words, more people at or near retirement age are splitting up with their spouses. If you're considering a divorce in your golden years, you need to think about how it will impact your retirement.

What's the benefit in having a cohabitation agreement in place?

If you and your partner are moving in with one another, then you're both likely fairly in love with one another and can't imagine ever breaking up. Life changes happen, though, and you never know if you and your partner will feel the same about one another on down the road. This is one of the reasons that it's important to have a cohabitation agreement (CA) drafted before you two move in together with one another.

Having an attorney draft a CA that you two sign is critical, especially if you two are looking to go in and purchase a home together. It's to umarried couples what a prenuptial agreement is to soon-to-be married couples. It serves the purpose of clearly defining what each of you owns coming into your newfound living arrangements and clarifies what each of your preferences are if you two were to split up.

How should we split up our marital home when we divorce?

Any time a couple divorces, it can be a tumultuous time for both parties involved. Although you may want to do whatever it takes to put your failed marriage behind you and move on, it's important that you step back and handle things cautiously instead.

At this vulnerable time, you may find yourself so desperate to divest yourself of all assets that were acquired during marriage and think that by signing over your rights to your home, you'll be able to move out much more quickly than you otherwise could. This may be true in part.

What's required to relocate with my child outside of Florida?

In the state of Florida, parental relocation with a child is restricted under Florida Civil Statute 61.13001. Under that law, any move over 50 miles from a parent's principal place of residence for 60 days or more warrants relocation proceedings being commenced.

Before a relocation like this occurs, it's important for the parents to come together and mutually agree for it to happen. It's important that both parents provide written consent for the relocation to occur. They must also clearly document how they intend to modify their time-sharing agreement.

What can and cannot be agreed to in a prenup?

To a layperson, a prenuptial agreement may be seen as a catch-all type of document. Future husbands or wives that have assets may think that they can easily include anything in it that they want to remain theirs if an eventual divorce happens and that a judge will let it fly.

If you're hoping for this, then think again. There are many restrictions as to what can and cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement.

Do I have to pay child support if I have joint custody?

Florida, like just about every other state, has a formula for determining child support obligations that one parent may have to pay another when it to cover the basic necessities of the child.

How much one parent has to pay in child support often depends on the amount of days that a child is scheduled to be with each parent each month. Oftentimes, the parent who brings in the most income pays the most in child support. One exception to this rule, though, is if the existing formula used to determine the amount of support that should be paid shows that it would be cost-prohibitive or otherwise unfair to do so.

Placing a value on unusual assets in a complex Florida divorce

Financial and professional success early in life can begin to feel like a curse if you're considering divorce. You may have spent years building equity in your home and funding a retirement account, only to lose half of what you had acquired. The more assets you have, the greater the potential for complications in the asset division process and disagreements with your spouse during your divorce.

After all, you probably both have strong opinions about what would be a fair and reasonable outcome to the divorce process for your family. You will also have many more assets for the courts to review and decide how to split up. However, in order to do that, the courts require that you provide an accurate and thorough financial inventory of all your possessions, assets and debts. Many couples struggle with how to fairly value complex or unusual assets in a divorce.

What happens to my inheritance if I file for divorce in Florida?

Florida is an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing up assets during a divorce. In states like ours, property is divided up according to how each spouse contributed financially to the marriage. This contrasts from other states where community property rules are in effect. In states like those, assets are often divided equally among spouses. This is an important factor that impacts how inheritances are handled when a couple divorces.

Inheritances are one of those things that are traditionally exempt from equitable distribution. Family law judges in Florida have traditionally been steadfast in understanding inheritances to belong only to a husband or wife that they were specifically designated for and not to both when making decisions about how to split up their assets.

Sooner is better when discussing summer child custody plans

As summer fast approaches, many parents will likely want to take their kids on vacation or have them for extended periods of time while they're out of school. When it comes to making child custody and visitation arrangements, it's important to always try to balance what's in the best interest of your child with what you and your ex need.

Starting early and asking your children for their input as to what they may wish to do over the summer while out of school is important. If you have younger kids, they may wish to stay close to their primary residence to participate in a summer camp with some of their classmates. If you have teenagers, they may cause problems if you tell them that they have to go stay with another parent if they don't want to.

Breaking Free

Breaking Free

Rebecca Zung's road map for navigating the emotional, legal and spiritual challenges of divorce.

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I Want Me Back!

I Want Me Back!

John Long's guide for getting through divorce with your self-esteem intact.

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