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Divorce could be more costly in 2019

January is here and a new year has begun. People strive to remake themselves in the new year through resolutions and other changes. One of those changes is divorce and consequently January has become known as divorce month. For any one divorcing in Florida or elsewhere in Jan. 2019 or later, that divorce may be more expensive.

A new tax law was passed at the end of 2017 and some of the components of that law did not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2019. One of those changes concerns how alimony is now handled for tax purposes. Before January 1, the higher-earning partner who was paying alimony could deduct the amount of the alimony from his or her taxable income. The change brought about by the tax law states that the person paying alimony must pay it with after-tax income and will not get a deduction, as it was under the old law. The recipient now has no tax liability for the alimony received.

Options available if financially unable to pay child support

Divorce is never easy and can be further complicated when children are involved. Child support arrangements are meant to provide for the continued health and well-being of the couple's children in Florida. While child support agreements are often established by the court, the court does understand that circumstances can change. Child support payments can be revisited if a person's financial circumstances change. However, simply failing to pay child support can result in jail time.

A man in another state was recently jailed for failing to pay $114,000 in child support. He had been divorced in 2000 and the support amount was set at $780 per month. According to court records, the man worked as a plumber for different companies over the 17-year period. Over that time, he reportedly paid over $24,000 in support payments but fell significantly behind the amount owed. According to his ex-wife, he had not paid any amount since Sept. 2014.

Divorce, like marriage, can be successful

Marriages begin with a promise and anticipation of a long partnership, building a family and growing old together. In reality, this is not always the case in Florida. People grow apart, goals change and couples may choose to separate. Divorce does not need to be contentious. Particularly if children are involved, an amicable separation and divorce is preferable.

Couples plan a wedding and marriage with an eye to what the future married life will look like. A collaborative divorce allows couples to plan a divorce in a similar way. Each party has an attorney but the couple agree to disclose all information, respectfully discuss issues and work out arrangements that are in the best interest of any children involved. The couple has more control over the schedule of proceedings, further reducing the stress level. This approach is less contentious and can provide for a healthy post divorce relationship for the entire family, and it is often faster and less expensive than a traditional litigated divorce.

No excuse for domestic abuse

Being a police officer can be a very stressful profession. Seeing violence day in and day out can be wearing and frustrating. Regardless, there is never an excuse for domestic violence. A Florida police officer recently resigned from the force after being accused of domestic abuse.

The officer was arrested after being accused of assaulting his girlfriend and also pulling a gun on her. There were reportedly children in the home at the time of the incident. The couple have one child together.

No one should live in fear of domestic abuse

Living in fear of violence in the home can give rise to anxiety, depression and fear for one's life. No one in Florida should have to live in such a situation. Sadly, these situations are far too common. A recent series of reported incidents involving a Miami-Dade high school teacher is a current example of an alleged domestic abuse case.

The teacher, 6' 8" and 280 pounds, was recently arrested and charged with repeated incidents of abuse that allegedly took place over a four month period in 2017. The last reported beating is said to have included attempted strangulation, kicks to the ribs and to her back. The wife stated that her husband reminded her that he had experience and training in mixed martial arts (MMA). The argument was allegedly about the wife speaking with other women.

Domestic violence can present itself in surprising ways

Many people, including individuals who are potentially experiencing abuse, think that domestic violence only includes physical violence. In reality, there are many ways that domestic violence can present itself, apart from physical aggression.

More than 20 million individuals, both women and men, are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking each year. This breaks down to 24 individuals each minute. Domestic violence is unfortunately very common, which is why it is important to be able to spot less common instances.

Protective injunctions offer protection from domestic violence

No one should have to live in fear of a family member or other person in Florida. Domestic violence or domestic abuse is sadly an ever present threat for too many people. Protection from abuse can sometimes be obtained through a legal document called a protective injunction, also known as a restraining order.

A person does not have to be physically harmed before he or she can request that a protective order be issued. If a person feels threatened or in fear of being kidnapped or imprisoned, that can be sufficient cause for a restraining order. Other factors considered would be damage to personal property or harm to pets resulting in death.

No one should have to suffer domestic violence

The risk of domestic abuse is faced by many people in Florida. In numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) one in four women and one in nine men are victimized by domestic violence in any given year. That breaks down to a woman being abused every nine seconds. The problem is not limited to any race, economic income bracket, religion or education level.

Many people place blame on the victim for remaining in the situation. Leaving is not always an easy option. The fear of retribution by the abuser is a factor that contributes to a person remaining in the relationship. A person's self-esteem is often beaten down and one's confidence to fight back may be nonexistent.

Divorce becoming an issue for the elderly

Deciding to end a marriage has been around as long as the decision to marry in Florida. What may be changing is the age of couples when they decide to divorce. The overall rate of divorce is on the decline, but the rate for those couples aged 50 and over has been on the upswing. The divorce rate for those over 50 doubled from 1990 to 2010. Even couples over 90 are seeking to end their marriages.

Among current divorce proceedings, nearly one in four cases involves a couple over the age of 50. This phenomena is also referred to as 'gray divorce.' Many of these divorces are commenced by women. This is in part due to the increased number of women in the workplace, resulting in more financial independence.

Navy officer found dead from a possible domestic violence dispute

A Florida woman who was a member of the U.S. Navy and had just received a promotion to chief petty officer did not live long enough to celebrate the promotion. The woman received news of the promotion on a Friday and was found dead in her home the following Monday, possibly as a result of domestic violence. While no details were available, it was reported that she did not die from natural causes.

The chief petty officer had been granted a protective order two weeks earlier following a report of domestic violence. She reported that she had been kicked and that the man she was living with pulled a gun on her. The argument was about household bills, and she was due to appear in court on the Monday she died.

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