Michael E. Golub, P.A.

Tavares Family Law Blog

How children can benefit from joint-custody arrangements

If you, like so many others across Florida, are navigating your way through a separation or divorce, you probably have quite a bit on your plate. While figuring out how to rebuild your life after divorce can prove difficult in and of itself, learning how to do so when there are shared children involved can present even more obstacles.

While you may initially wince at the sound of the term, “joint-custody arrangement,” research shows that having such an arrangement can prove highly beneficial for your kids when compared with having your child live exclusively in your home, or your partner's. Of course, there are always exceptions, and no child should have to live with a parent who is abusive, neglectful and so on. However, under typical circumstances, children who spend time living in the homes of both parents tend to experience certain advantages.

How do I handle divorce with a family business?

For many couples, the ability to own a business together is a dream come true and many make this work very well. Married couples certainly should know each other's strengths and weaknesses and how to communicate with each other and these things may well contribute to the succesful running of a business. However, when the marriage sours, deciding what then will happen to the business can be tough. If you are in this situation, you will understand this all too well.

Forbes explains that you have a few options and reviewing each one is wise before making a final decision. One of your options is to shut the company down altogether. This may be a choice to consider if your company is also having financial challenges and neither you nor your partner can afford to keep it running. You may be able to sell your business which allows the company to survive yet releases you from responsibility and may even provide you with some cash.

How mediation might help you

The stereotypical divorce process that many in Florida think about generally involves thoughts of two very bitter people at odds with each other who are virtually unable to communicate other than via arguing. However, you may be in a marriage that is coming to an end yet you are able to communicate to some degree with your spouse. If so, you may be able to take advantage of mediation as a means of determining your divorce details.

As explained by the Florida Courts, mediation may offer many benefits including the ability to get your divorce completed quicker and less expensively than via traditional litigious methods. It is important that you understand the mediator is not really a replacement for a judge insofar as the mediator makes no decisions in your case. In fact, the mediator does not even make recommendations for any decisoins in your case.

The alimony tax break clock is ticking

Once the decision to get divorced has been made, some couples in Florida almost seem to rush into getting things taken care of while others may drag their feet before even being willing to consider filing an initial petition for dissolution. There is certainly no right or wrong to either approach per se but this year if one or both partners in a marriage believes that the heretofor standard system of how taxes and alimony are handled is right for them, waiting could end up being rather costly.

As explained by CNBC, any divorce that is finalized after December 31, 2018 will find alimony payments subject to a very different taxation model. Instead of the paying spouse deducting this money from their tax return and the receipient spouse, who is likely in a lower tax bracket, paying the income tax, it will be the the paying spouse in the likely higher tax bracket who will get hit with the tax liability for these payments.

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce, as many come to discover, is often the opposite of simple. There are aspects such as alimony, child support and assets to consider during the process; these challenges only add to the emotional toll divorce can take for anyone involved. Floridians who prefer to avoid traditional separations in a court environment may turn to divorce mediation. However, understanding this process can become an obstacle on its own.

How, exactly, does this option differ from a traditional court process? LiveAbout explains that divorce mediation is one way ex-spouses find solutions to the various issues of marital separation, including spousal support and child support. The main difference resides in the fact that divorce mediation does not typically require a formal court visit. Instead, the parties of the divorce and attorneys involved will meet with a third party, who ideally helps settle any lingering disputes at hand. Most turn to this option to save money, as well as to maintain privacy. 

When might you need a prenuptial agreement?

If you are planning to marry, it is unlikely that you are entering into a union with someone with anything other than the best intentions. Regrettably, however, history has shown time and time again that not all marriages go the distance, and many marrying couples choose to create prenuptial agreements for precisely this reason.

If you are entering into a marriage with personal or business assets of your own, it may prove wise to give some serious consideration to drafting a prenuptial agreement. Even if you are not particularly wealthy, you may have assets or valuables that you want to maintain exclusive control over during and after your marriage, and your prenuptial agreement can help you avoid potentially costly legal disputes down the line. Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement may benefit you if:

How should I address a failing marriage and high debt?

If you and your spouse are struggling with serious financial problems and also planning to get divorced, you are not alone. Many couples in Florida find themselves facing these issues as money can be a common issue in many marital challenges. If your debt or lack of sufficient finances to support your life is severe enough, you might even be contemplating filing for bankruptcy but that may logically lead you to wonder if you should do that before or after you get divorced. 

Divorce and bankruptcy can each be draining experiences but both may offer you the fresh start in life you need. As My Horizon Today explains, whether you tackle your bankruptcy first and then your divorce or your divorce first and then your bankruptcy depends in part on multiple factors. One of these is how well you and your spouse would be able to work together to file a joint bankruptcy. A joint bankruptcy will require some cooperation so understanding this is essential.

Splitting student loans in a divorce

If you and your spouse in Florida have come to the realization that you should no longer remain married, you will have to work through the often challenging process of splitting up your assets. However, you may also have to figure out how to split your debts. While many people automatically assume that any debt in one person's name only would remain that spouse's responsibility, that may not always be the case.

A good example of this is student loan debt. As explained by Student Loan Hero, a few things might play into the ultimate determination that your spouse's student loans are at least in part your responsibility after you get divorced. One factor that will be taken into consideration is when the student loans were taken out relative to when you were married. If the loans were obtained prior to your marriage, you may not be liable for them. If, however, your spouse went to school after you got married, that might make a different outcome.

Should you share custody of the children?

There are so many decisions you have to make following a divorce. It would be easy for you and your former spouse to become overwhelmed figuring out how to split assets, how to divide sentimental possessions and how soon to sell the luxury house in the Florida Keys. 

One decision the Institute for Family Studies is making much simpler is the monumental one about the kids. Whether or not you are splitting amicably or working hard to remain civil toward each other, the IFS says you should plan for joint custody of your children unless - and this is the one exception the IFS points out - the kids need your protection from an abusive parent. In that case, sharing custody may be completely off the table.

How parenting plans work in Florida

If a divorcing couple in Florida has minor children, courts require a parenting plan as part of the divorce process. The plan consists essentially of a custody agreement that covers important practical considerations.

The parents can submit their parenting plan as part of their uncontested divorce. They can also work with a mediator to agree on a plan during an otherwise contested divorce. In either of these cases, the court still has to approve the plan and may order a change in any provisions it deems not in the best interest of the children.

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