Michael E. Golub, P.A.

Tavares Family Law Blog

Could your spouse hide their assets?

Floridian couples who are in the midst of a divorce will be dealing with a lot of heated financial matters. What makes these matters worse is if both parties aren't being completely honest with each other. Michael E. Golub, P.A., is here to describe some potential signs that your partner may be attempting to hide assets from you during the divorce proceedings.

Often, a partner who is hiding assets will display some signs or leave some sort of physical evidence behind, though the degree of obviousness varies from one situation to another. Emotional signs that assets may be being hidden include:

  • Sudden snappishness any time financial matters are brought up
  • A refusal to voluntarily offer information about their financial situation
  • Acting evasive when questioned about inconsistencies
  • Blaming their partner for finance-related issues

What can void a prenuptial agreement?

If you have a prenuptial agreement and are facing divorce in Florida, you may think you are all set. You will not have to worry about any surprises during the divorce proceedings because the document already lays out what will happen. While this is usually true, you may also run into issues where your prenuptial agreement becomes void or parts of it do.

Forbes explains that in the past prenuptial agreements were pretty solid and hard to void out, but there have always been some situations that could invalidate the document. To begin with, this type of document is a legal contract, so it has to follow all the rules of a contract. This means it needs to be signed willingly and it has to be legally filed. If you fail to follow those rules, it could be void.

What things is a prenuptial agreement unable to do?

The subject of prenuptial agreements can be a confusing and controversial topic, especially if this is your first marriage. Like other Florida residents, you may think that drawing up a prenup ruins the romance. You do not plan on ever getting a divorce, so why would your spouse-to-be even think about suggesting it? Before you scrap the idea of a prenup, you may want to consider the possible reasons to get one. It can also help to understand what a prenuptial agreement is unable to accomplish.

A prenuptial agreement would serve to protect your assets and property if you and your spouse divorce, but it can also be helpful if your spouse dies, especially if you have children from a previous relationship. However, as you might imagine, prenuptial agreements are not a one-size-fits-all solution nor able to supersede certain orders from the court. For example, you would not be able to include the following points in your prenuptial agreement:

  • Visitation and custody rights of your children – The courts determine child custody on a case-by-case basis. A prenup will not dictate that you get the kids full-time and your ex only gets periodic visitation.
  • Child support – Income-based laws carefully mandate child support orders, and every child has the right to be supported by both parents. You will not be able to get out of paying child support by putting that in your prenup.
  • Common property division issues that are not in your prenuptial agreement – If you do not outline it in your prenup, a judge will make the decision for you.
  • Illegal stuff – Common sense applies here.

Is joint custody your best option?

Everyone knows that getting a divorce in Florida or any other state is one of the most stressful events in your life. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have children, your divorce can be even more stressful, not to mention devastating for your children. Fortunately, agreeing to post-divorce joint custody can not only reduce the overall stress of your divorce, but also can be the best of all possible worlds for your kids.

Admittedly, joint custody does not fit all situations, especially those in which the parents cannot or will not cooperate with each other with regard to their children’s upbringing or those where there has been a history of family abuse. For virtually all other divorced couples, however, child psychologists, judges, divorce attorneys and parents alike all agree that joint custody represents the preferred custody arrangement.

How the court determines a child's best interest

We at the law office of Michael E. Golub in Florida understand that you want nothing more than what is best for your child, even as you and your spouse prepare to divorce. You should know that you are not the only ones who want this. The court has a responsibility to seek the child's best interest in every decision that it makes. It is one of the foremost guiding principles in family law. 

However, while everyone involved wants what is in the child's best interest, it can be difficult to determine what it may be. As loving and concerned as you and your spouse no doubt are in regard to your child, it can be difficult for each of you to regard the matter without self-interest. The court has the ability to assess the case as a disinterested party and render an objective decision. 

How to help the divorce mediation process succeed

Many couples in Florida believe that their divorce cannot proceed unless they go to court, but we at the law office of Michael E. Golub disagree. Nearly every case has the potential for a resolution through mediation. However, mediation success depends in part on the attitude of you and your spouse toward the process. 

If you or your spouse come into the session fixated on certain positions and are unwilling to listen to suggestions, meditation is unlikely to be successful for you. However, mediation is more likely to yield a resolution if you are open to the process and willing to listen to the mediator as well as one another. 

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.

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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