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Child custody in the interim

There are many issues that need quick resolution when a married couple separates. From questions about shared bank accounts and credit cards to housing and income concerns, a freshly divorcing couple will have to address it all. One particularly important issue is the question of child custody, if the couple has children together. Individuals in Florida may be wondering how to handle child custody concerns in the interim, before a legal agreement is created, and also when negotiating a permanent agreement. 

Immediately in the aftermath of the separation, the custody of any children is a kind of no man's land. Each parent has an equal claim to the movement and care of the children, but it is likely to be in the parent's benefit to make a temporary arrangement to keep both parents on the same page. A temporary treaty will allow both individuals to form expectations of where the kids will be and who will be responsible. 

During divorce, make sure retirement accounts are split correctly

One of the blessings of the do-it-yourself age is that individuals can easily access the means to complete legal transactions. Unfortunately, the do-it-yourself approach does not train individuals in the legal specifics or account for considerations regarding certain circumstances. In most cases, it is preferable to contact a lawyer to avoid costly blunders. This is especially true for splitting retirement accounts during a divorce in Florida. 

Pension plans, IRAs and other investments can come with rules on how the funds can be allocated, switched and withdrawn. Sometimes an early withdrawal can come with a hefty tax as well as a withdrawal penalty. Sometimes, in the event of a breakup, the only option is to withdraw early. But is a penalty avoidable? 

Child support dispute for ballplayer and his Florida family

How much support is fair and how long should the support be offered? These are questions that are typically resolved in a family law court by a judge if the two parents cannot come to an agreement. In some cases, child support orders are modified if certain circumstances come about, but usually, the orders are binding. In one recent news story, a baseball star is being taken back to court in Florida over allegations that he is failing to pay court-ordered child support payments. 

The man is already married with three children by his wife, but he has also been ordered to support two other children he supposedly fathered with another woman in Florida. He had been making payments of $6,200 per month to cover the children's expenses. He had also helped the woman purchase a home valued at almost $1 million for herself and the children. 

Florida program aims to help domestic abuse victims

A person who has left an unsafe environment with a volatile partner may find that they face a new set of problems. For some, they have suddenly lost the main source of their financial security. In fleeing the domestic abuse situation, a person can be crippled by the loss of income and stability. One Florida program aims to aid women who have left violent partners by helping them prepare for their own economic stability. 

The program, hosted by the Citrus Abuse Shelter Association, is called the Economic Justice Program. Since many women have been stay-at-home moms, or have had limited employment opportunities, when they leave their abuser, they may lose their income, health insurance, transportation and access to credit. The Economic Justice Program aims to provide steps for women to get back on track. 

A daughter may increase divorce risk, study says

Arguments over curfews, makeup and dating aren't the only risks associated with raising a teenage daughter. Scientific research shows that a marriage is more likely to fail under the strain of raising girls. Luckily, the effects on divorce are slight and may have more to do with traditional gender norms than women themselves. Florida families may be able to glean some useful information from this recent family study. 

The study looked at families in the Netherlands for the most complete information. Prior U.S. studies have returned conflicting information about the issue, but sometimes, the American studies relied on personal accounts and memories. In the Netherlands, more hard data was available, so the objective results were more clear. The study showed that all families had about the same risk of breaking up whether the child was male or female until puberty. At puberty, families with daughters faced a greater risk of dissolution, peaking at age 15 and dropping back off once the child turned 19 years old. 

Does divorce mean a split from the child, too?

The end of a marriage, like many other endings, can be painful. An individual in Florida facing divorce will likely be grieving the loss of the romantic relationship, but is it necessary to grieve the loss of a child, too? Traditionally, courts have tended to award physical custody to one parent or the other -- usually the mother -- since, in the past, the woman was more likely to stay at home and be the person responsible for child care. Fathers were sometimes separated out of a child's life. Family norms have changed, and recent research about custody arrangements shows that a new approach is supported by science. 

A Swedish university and a research institute paired up to investigate the relationship between certain types of custody arrangements and child welfare. The study looked at different types of families, and also analyzed behavioral reports from parents and teachers to gauge the mental health of the children. After analyzing the data of approximately 3,500 families, they found that children from joint custody arrangements tend to do better. 

Divorce can provide a productive reshuffling

Most people will experience a life-changing event at least once in their lifetime. For many, a divorce changes their lives in dramatic ways. Whether they choose a collaborative approach, or whether the dissolution is adversarial, divorced people will contend with similar lifestyle changes and issues. Some experts think that one can adjust more readily to the challenges of post-divorce lifestyle with just a few minutes per day of focused activity. Florida folks facing the end of their marriage may take comfort in learning about strategies to improve their lives after a breakup. 

After the separation is the perfect time to focus on self-care. By allotting as few as five minutes a day to meditation, exercise or clothes, a person can start to pick the pieces back up and embrace one's new life. Another important area of focus will be personal finances. Since the financial situation is likely to have changed, a person should examine bank accounts, budgets, and spending habits to ensure that the new adjusted income can meet the needs of the person. 

Three traps of co-parenting you can work to avoid

Florida courts typically favor both parents remaining actively involved in their child’s life unless there are circumstances that warrant a different course. This makes shuffling between two homes inevitable for most divorced parents.

Raising children in one home is challenging enough; if parents end their relationship and live separately, it presents difficulties that are nearly impossible to avoid. Knowing about these issues ahead of time provides parents an opportunity to discuss strategies for how to handle them and how to minimize the frustration they create.

Divorce can affect Social Security payouts

Anyone familiar with governmental rules knows that they can be wordy, tough to understand and come with contingencies. The rules for Social Security payouts after divorce are no different. While there are a few straightforward policies, there are also some twists and turns for individuals, including folks in Florida. But the rules are designed to protect ex-spouses from being exploited by the vindictive behavior of their ex. 

The basic policy is that a couple must be married at least 10 years in order to be able to claim benefits on their ex-spouse's work record. But what about couples who divorce and then remarry -- and then divorce again? How is the 10 year policy calculated? A couple must have remarried within one calendar year in order for the two marriages to be counted together for the 10 year rule. 

Florida social worker comments on domestic violence bill

The legacy of family violence reaches far and wide, and through the generations. One Florida social worker even believes that domestic violence has reached epidemic proportions, and so supports a new federal bill that would prevent a domestic abuser's access to guns. The social worker shares domestic violence facts and education in a recent news article. 

The bill currently being reviewed in Congress is known as HR 2670, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act. This bill would prevent domestic abusers from possessing or receiving firearms, and therefore offer greater protection to victims of domestic violence. By reducing the harms of family violence, the law would not only help the victims and their families, but also reduce strains on the health care system, the criminal justice system, businesses and friends of the victim and the abuser.

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