Michael E. Golub, P.A.

Tavares Family Law Blog

How an attorney can help with divorce mediation

If you and your spouse are planning to go to mediation to end your marriage, you might think you can handle matters without the help of an attorney. While it is true that you do not require legal representation in a mediation setting, an experienced family law attorney in Florida can still offer you important advice that might make or break your upcoming mediation.

Per FindLaw, attorneys can offer important counsel before the mediation begins. Depending on the issues involved, a lawyer can let you know if a course of action will be counterproductive and harm your case. Here are some areas than an attorney can help you with.

What constitutes a fair property settlement agreement?

Your property settlement agreement represents one of the most important parts of your Florida divorce. Most couples arrive at a fair and equitable property division on their own, but a court can decide this issue if you and your spouse fail to agree.

You may never have thought about it before, but Florida is a fair distribution state when it comes to marital property divisions, not a community property state. But that leaves you and your spouse to determine what constitutes a fair and equitable division. The Huffington Post reports that whatever “fair and equitable” may mean, the one thing it does not mean is that the two of you must split your marital property 50/50. Rather, since “fair and equitable” has no precise meaning, you and your spouse can divide up your property in whatever manner your situation calls for, as long as it does not leave one of you in a disadvantaged position.

Divorcing in 2019? Know these new tax laws

If you count yourself among the many people across Florida who expect to divorce this year, know that recent changes to tax laws may have far-reaching effects when it comes time to file your taxes. Whether the new changes will impact you will depend on several circumstances, such as whether you have kids or expect to seek or have to pay alimony. Many going through a divorce in 2019 or after will find that at least some of these changes affect them.

So, what are some of the new tax laws that take effect this year, and how may they impact your taxes?

Will divorce mediation work for you?

Divorce mediation allows couples who decide to separate in Florida to take control over their divorce and make informed decisions regarding their futures. The benefits of mediation are many and include less stress, lower costs, less time commitment and a higher compliance rate for settlements. For these reasons and countless others, divorcing couples often prefer mediation over litigation. That said, mediation is not for everyone. Lifehacker shares a few signs mediation may not be right for you.

If you or your spouse hold a lot of resentment toward the other, and if either of you wish the other the worst in his or her future endeavors, mediation will not work for you. For mediation to work, both parties must wish each other well.

Florida resident helps authorities find missing child

Disputes over child custody can be difficult to resolve and result in emotional distress for both parents. However, there is always a better solution available than one parent simply taking the child away. The noncustodial mother of a 10-year-old girl from Utah allegedly did just that, separating the child from her father for approximately one year before authorities located the girl and her mother near Lake City, Florida, in a vehicle at a rest stop and took the child into protective custody. 

Last summer, after a court granted the girl's father sole custody, her mother allegedly kidnapped her. Authorities in Utah, where the child lived at the time, have been looking for her ever since. There was a break in the case earlier this week, thanks to a Florida resident whose identity is unknown. Specifics are not available, but the tipster reportedly noticed something suspicious about the woman and her daughter. An online search yielded news stories about the alleged kidnapping, and the tipster got in contact with law enforcement in Utah. 

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. 

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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