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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.

Child support enforced by Florida Department of Revenue

A government agency has policies in place to protect families, but is it working? The Florida Department of Revenue (FDR) Child Support Program exists to assist both custodial and noncustodial parents with child support payments. In a recent news story, some parents are saying that the department is not doing enough to help them get needed payments. 

The FDR reports that it has collected more than $1 billion in current and past-due child support, with a collection rate of over 80 percent, but that it is still tracking down $1.2 billion more in unpaid support payments. Some parents reported frustration with their co-parents dodging payments. The unpaid child support was because noncustodial parents simply would not work, or would even file fraudulent tax returns in order to avoid having them garnished by the state agency. 

A new look at divorce that allows for change

The beliefs that people hold can be so limiting. Even traditional structures should be examined from time to time to allow for adjustments based on new research and insight. Marriage and divorce are no exceptions to this rule. In Florida, and all around the country, the old ways of sticking with the same person, no matter the circumstances, are being revised in the face of new research and new ways of thinking. A recent news story shows the positive aspects of planning for the possibility of divorce. 

One therapist sees the benefit in moving away from the shame-based model of marriage, the concept that once people marry, they are in it for life. She cites the work of a Harvard psychologist who teaches that people do not anticipate how much they will change over the course of a decade. Allowing for the potential dissolution of a marriage shows empathy to one's future self and to one's partner. If a person feels safe to ask for what they need in the future if the circumstances change, they are more likely to live a happy life. 

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?

Going through divorce is never easy, but some couples do not realize they have choices about how the process takes place. Litigation in court is not the only option. Collaborative law allows couples to reach their own divorce agreement through methods such as mediation. However, collaborative law is not the right choice for everyone.

Here are 4 conditions that could indicate a collaborative divorce is a good choice for you:

Handling an HSA during divorce may be confusing

Property division is one of the most challenging aspects of the dissolution of a marriage in Florida. This is the case no matter how many assets a couple may have. One asset that may cause confusion during the divorce process is the health savings account, or HSA.

An HSA is a custodial account that allows one to make a tax-deductible contribution that does not exceed a certain annual amount. The benefit of such an account is that it does not feature any income restrictions when it comes to making a contribution. This type of account is used in tandem with a high-deductible insurance plan for health care.

Children need help coping with divorce

In a marriage that is filled with discord, getting divorced can offer much-needed relief for both spouses and even for the children. Unfortunately, the process of getting divorced in Florida can still be emotionally traumatizing during the divorce proceeding and even for several years thereafter for the children. A couple of tips may be helpful for making a divorce proceeding easier for the children to endure.

In some cases, the children think that they are the ones responsible for their parents' divorce. These children would benefit from having their parents clear up this misconception. For instance, parents can provide the children with a clear reason for why they agreed to separate. Being patient with the children and reassuring them that both parents love them and will continue to love them after the divorce is paramount.

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