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Divorce need not be contentious

The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one and one that is seldom made lightly in Florida. The hurt and anger that so often follow the decision to divorce can be a challenge to deal with particularly when young children are involved. There are steps that can be taken to make the process easier on everyone.

First, one should make sure that there really is no other option. Couples have disagreements and fights. Make sure that a divorce isn't a permanent solution to a temporary problem that time and cooler heads might be able to resolve. If one is past the point of no return and the decision is irrevocable, try to maintain respect for the other person. If young children are involved, they may pick up on feelings of animosity that can add to their hurt and confusion.

“Ghosting” can be grounds for divorce

In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find and communicate with someone. So, if a person chooses to suddenly halt communication with a significant other, it’s usually intentional. The slang for this action has been dubbed, “ghosting” among pop culture.

If your spouse has left you like this, you have the right to move on after an extended period of time. Here’s when you can get divorced on the grounds of ghosting, or as it’s referred to legally, abandonment.

Social media posts can affect child custody case

Social media has become so intrinsic to people's everyday lives that there is hardly an aspect of one's life that is free of it in Florida or elsewhere in the country. It has become an issue in a child custody case in another state. The case involved Facebook, a mother and a judge ruling in a child custody case.

The case involved parents with shared custody of their child. The mother was looking to get sole custody and child support. This was in part due to charges of abuse by the mother against the father. The judge hearing had heard testimony but had not issued a ruling when the child's mother sent him a friend request on Facebook and the judge accepted it. The father was not informed of this.

War as a metaphor for divorce

The language of war can be a metaphor for the ending of a marriage. And like a war, a divorce can have a lasting and detrimental affect on one's life. A war can be full of minefields, harmful explosions and crippling injuries. A contentious divorce in Florida can also be full of minefields, explosions and injuries that can cause emotional harm to one's former spouse and children.

There are steps that can be taken to lessen the harmful effects of a divorce, particularly where children are involved. People must realize that victory is not a realistic expectation and that no one is really the victor in a divorce. The goal should be to arrive at a truce that is agreeable to all parties. A divorce can mirror a marriage, and issues that caused problems in the marriage could become a minefields in the divorce. Being aware of this and being proactive to deal with contentious issues can disarm them before they explode.

Collaborative law could limit contention during divorce

Ending a marriage is typically a traumatic process that could be exacerbated by the presence of contention. However, collaborative law offers couples in Florida and elsewhere the opportunity to finalize a divorce amicably. Those who can sit down together and negotiate an agreement can save time and money, and they might even limit the conflict and trauma.

A collaborative divorce requires each spouse to retain the services of an attorney with special training in this field of family law. After meeting separately with their respective lawyers to discuss their needs and wishes, all four will come together for negotiations. If necessary, professionals to advise on financial, real estate, tax or child-related issues can be brought in to assist the parties to reach a settlement agreement.

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.

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