Michael E. Golub, P.A.

Tavares Family Law Blog

How does divorce mediation work?

If you and your spouse have been discussing ending your marriage, one of the things you might be fearful of is the process that can often be associated with a divorce. Most people have heard virtual horror stories about the emotional and financial cost of divorce and this may be enough to deter someone from getting divorced even if they know it is the right thing for their family.

Fortunately, not every divorce needs to turn into a virtual war that leaves both parties in shambles. There are today options, often referred to as alternative dispute resolution. One of these methods is mediation, an approach that has been utilized to negotiate differences and conflicts in business for some time. As explained by Forbes, a primary purpose of mediation is an outcome that is not only acceptable to both parties but that has been achieved without undue collateral damage.

3 important steps in preparing for divorce

Even a relatively peaceful divorce can bring on stress. Many divorces also involve complicated negotiations and a high level of negative emotion.

Taking some vital steps to prepare for your Florida divorce can help the process go better. Every case has its unique aspects, so discussing your situation with an attorney can give you additional, personalized guidance.

The new tax law and your divorce

Couples in Florida who have made the choice to get divorced will now be moving into new territory as the Tax Cut and Jobs Act takes full effect after New Year's Day. One of the biggest changes for divorcing spouses will be the elimination of a tax deduction for the person who might be paying alimony. Similarly, the person who would receive alimony will no longer claim that money as income and therefore not have to pay tax on it.

The ability to deduct alimony payments from a tax return was often a type of concession that made it more palatable to agree to such payments. Without this in place, spouses might need to get creative in their divorce settlement agreements. As explained by CNBC, instead of making spousal support payments a key element to a settlement, people might instead choose to use their property division settlements as a way to come to a final agreement.

What happens with custody for unmarried parents?

If you are the father of a child and you were not married to his or her mother, then you need to act fast to get parental rights in Florida. According to the Florida Statute, the mother of the child retains custody and parental rights if unmarried. For you, that means you have no legal rights to your child until you establish them through the court.

Even if you are on good terms with the mother of your child, it is still a good idea to establish paternity and parental rights. Without legal guardianship rights, you cannot make decisions for your child. You cannot demand visitation time or gain custody. You also may not make medical decisions or any other decisions regarding your child. Even if the mother allows you to have input, she holds the final decision-making power as the sole legal guardian of your child.

What is gray divorce?

Florida has long been known as a state that is popular for retirees. The lovely and warm weather all year long understandably brings a lot of people in their 60s or older to the area. Many people in their 50s who may not be retired yet but who are planning to retire in the coming decade or so may also find Florida a good place to relocate to. It seems, however, that many of the people in this age group may also be facing another major life change: divorce.

As reported by MarketWatch, the number of people over the age of 50 who are getting divorced has virtually doubled since 1990. According to an American Community Survey by the Pew Research Center, a good number of these divorces happened in remarriages. For every 1,000 married people, 16 of those divorced had been married at least once before. Divorces in first marriages were found to happen for eight of every 1,000 married people.

The most effective divorces are calm and quiet

We often find that people start their divorce with an idea that it will be a dramatic and emotional process. It is half true — emotions do tend to run high for our clients. However, at the office of Michael E. Golub, P.A., we sometimes get some confusion as to when the action should start to happen — when they will have their day in the Florida courts.

The fact is that divorces are often far less animated than fictional accounts might have you believe. Even the real-world news stories of high-profile divorces tend to condense days, if not weeks, of back-and-forth communications, courtroom proceedings, negotiation sessions and various time-consuming events. 

What if I cannot afford to pay child support anymore?

When it comes to child custody in Tavares, some parents think they can sweeten their divorce settlement by agreeing to joint/50-50 custody. Though there are many advantages to shared custody, it is not uncommon for some people to use it in an attempt to pay less in child support. When the courts establish child custody and support, one of the most important factors they consider is each parent’s financial profile. In other words, if you are the higher-earning spouse, you will probably end up paying more in child support than you might think or like. 

One question you may have on your mind is what happens if you cannot afford to pay child support after the divorce is final or your income takes a slight dive. No matter what your circumstances are, the law has provisions to help you stay in compliance and ensure your child does not miss out on the financial support she or he deserves. 

What's the intention of divorce mediation?

Floridian residents like you who are getting a divorce may want some outside help while you're going through this difficult period. One potential option to look into is divorce mediation, which can offer stability and assistance in a turbulent time.

But what is divorce mediation, exactly? FindLaw provides a helpful frequently asked questions page all focused on what divorce mediation can do for you. For example, many people falsely believe that the goal of divorce mediation is to get you and your spouse back together again by "mediating" issues you might have and trying to "fix" them somehow. That isn't true at all, though. Divorce mediators are actually just there to facilitate discussion of the details of your divorce such as who gets what, where the money goes, and custody issues. Since couples tend to argue over those things, mediators help referee those arguments and provide an outsider's point of view.

Confidentiality in divorce mediation

Settling a divorce in Florida through mediation offers you several potential advantages over a traditional divorce proceeding in court. We at the law office of Michael E. Golub have found that mediation typically proceeds more quickly than a court case, is less expensive, fosters a cooperative atmosphere to avoid an adversarial environment and preserves communication on all sides.

Because divorce involves the end of an intimate relationship, there are personal matters that may arise which you may prefer to keep confidential, even from your spouse. While a divorce mediator works with both parties at the same time, it is not always necessary or desired for both parties to be in the same room during the mediation. If it is the case that your spouse and his or her representative are not in the same room and you give information to the mediator that you do not want the other party to know, you would need to inform the mediator that the information is to remain confidential. Be aware, however, that any information included in the final agreement will become part of the public record once filed with the court.

What is the best way to tell kids about divorce?

Despite the best of intentions upon getting married, many spouses in Florida find themselves making the decision to get divorced. If you are in this situation and have children still at home, you may understandably be concerned about the best way to break the news to your kids. Your thoughts are reflective of your concern for your children and their needs and this is a conversation that requires preparation.

In fact, Today's Parent indicates that one conversation may not be all that is involved in telling kids about a divorce or helping them through it. Also important to know is that what you tell your children will to a large degree depend on their ages. If you have multiple children, having an initial conversation with all of the kids together is recommended. This prevents a situation where one or more children learn about the divorce first and then are forced into keeping a secret until their siblings have been told. This can be a big burden on children.

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Michael E. Golub, P.A. 819 West Main Street, Suite B Tavares, FL 32778 Phone: 352-508-1637 Tavares Law Office Map