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Know your options when considering a divorce

Sadly, divorce is a fact of life in Florida and the rest of the country. Near 50 percent of marriages still end in divorce. While people don't normally anticipate ending up in divorce court on their wedding day, the reality is that nearly half of them may. Divorce may not be a pleasant experience, but being armed with some sound knowledge and advice can ease the process.

If the split is an amicable one, a collaborative divorce may be possible. A collaborative process allows the couple to work with a team who act as intermediaries in working out the split of any assets and liabilities. If the effort fails, then new attorneys are retained by each party and a more traditional process ensues.

Domestic abuse has no boundaries

No one should have to live in fear of domestic abuse. Sadly, domestic abuse is very prevalent in society today and knows no boundaries. Anyone, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status or race can be at risk for domestic violence. In a recent Florida case, a female police officer says she was the victim of an attack by her boyfriend.

According to the woman, the boyfriend confronted her one morning as she was getting ready for her shift. He accused her of cheating and demanded to see her text messages. Though she complied, she says he grabbed her by the neck and attempted to choke her. She escaped the attack and left for work, but says he followed in his car and attempted to cut her off. Eventually the two cars pulled over and he eventually drove off.

Collaborative law can provide a friendlier divorce

Gray divorce is a term used to describe older couples who are seeking to divorce in Florida. It is becoming a more commonplace phenomenon among baby boomers and older Americans. While divorce is never easy, there is a friendlier alternative to the court litigated procedure. It is called mediation or a collaborative divorce. Collaborative law is becoming more accepted and available.

In a litigated divorce, both parties have an attorney and most communication is carried out between the attorneys. In a collaborative divorce both parties sign an agreement to participate in the process. Each party may have his or her own attorney, and in addition, there may be financial advisers, mental health professionals and a mediator. All parties sign an agreement to participate in the process. Information is shared freely among all participants.

Tax law changes may impact those who divorce in Florida

No two divorces are exactly the same. Numerous issues, such as child-related matters, property division or finances, may impact the ultimate outcome in a divorce. Recent news headlines suggest upcoming tax law changes will impact many divorces in Florida and throughout the nation.  

It may be that the wealthiest of those who divorce will be the ones affected most by federal tax regulation changes in 2019. Prior to that time, people could deduct alimony payments on their tax returns. Anyone filing for divorce or seeking modification of an existing divorce court order before 2019 will reportedly still be able to claim alimony as a deduction on their tax forms.  

Digital dating can lead to domestic abuse

Online dating is becoming more and more prevalent in our society and in Florida. But with the increased prevalence does not come increased safety. There are still far too many instances of domestic abuse that occur among people who have met online. One such case involves a woman who traveled to meet the man she met online. She became a domestic abuse victim.

The woman had met the man online, and after communicating for a period of time, she agreed to travel to meet him in person. He paid for her plane ticket to make the trip. During the time they were together the woman claimed that the man became increasingly abusive. At one point she claimed she was handcuffed and duct taped to a chair. She said her abuser threatened to shoot her and then kill himself.

Victim of domestic abuse rescued by love of a dog

Dogs are man's best friend. In a recent case in Florida a dog proved to be a woman's best friend too. A woman in an abusive relationship was able to use her boyfriend's affection for their dog to escape her situation. The woman, a victim of domestic abuse, convinced her boyfriend the dog needed to see the vet. The three of them set off to the vet together.

While at the vet's office, the woman managed to slip a note to a staff member asking for help. The note said her boyfriend was abusing her and had a gun. The note requested that the staff not tell the boyfriend about the note. The authorities were called and the boyfriend was arrested. He faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and false imprisonment.

Divorce helps with determining joint versus separate assets

When two people are married, often they pool their resources and acquire both property and debts together. If the pair decide to divorce, then they must take steps to untangle their finances and figure out who owns which property. One recent case highlighted some confusion that can occur during a marital dissolution. The woman's questions were about the family home and a second home in Florida. 

The woman had separated from her husband in 2017. She said that he left the family home, and that the family home was in her name only. However, she claimed that her soon-to-be ex-husband has a home equity line on the home in his name only. He ran up the equity line, and she wanted to know if she was on the hook for the debt.

How to establish a parenting plan in Florida

Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. that no longer identifies one parent as the custodial parent and the other as the visiting parent after a divorce. As you may know, during your divorce you will need to work with your former spouse to create a parenting plan to schedule how and when your child will visit each of you.

Divorce is already a painful and frustrating process, and having to meet, potentially multiple times, to schedule when you will see your child can give way to a new level of stress. Try to remain calm and remember that you’re doing this for your child.

Man arrested during traffic stop for child support nonpayment

Whether one is an unmarried or newly-divorced parent, court-ordered support for a child often means one parent must adjust his or her budget to meet the obligations. Florida courts typically consider many factors when arriving at an amount of child support, including the supporting parent's ability to pay. When orders for support become a burden, the paying parent has the option to seek a modification through the courts as an alternative to failing to pay what is due.

One man is facing the ramifications of failing to pay child support. The 39-year-old man was recently arrested following a routine traffic stop. Police stopped the man because a headlight on his vehicle was out. When they ran a check on his out-of-state license, they discovered it was currently suspended for nonpayment of child support.

Preventing child custody issues at school

Some parents find themselves struggling to co-parent with a partner after ending a marriage. Once the child custody decision is finalized, the parents could have a difference of opinion in how it is implemented or one parent could choose to ignore the order entirely. While ignoring a custody order in Florida is never a good idea, some do. Parents with school-aged children can take certain steps to keep the school informed of the parameters of the custody order and minimize problems in the future. 

One suggested way to ensure that the order is followed during school transitions is to provide the custody order or any other documents like a restraining order at the beginning of the school year. By informing school officials and teachers of the specifics of the order, they will know what to expect in the coming months. Also, they will be able to prevent individuals from violating the order with unauthorized visits or removals. 

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