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Broward County Divorce Law Blog

Florida custody agreements

The issue of child custody is a primary concern for most parents seeking a divorce. A custody agreement aims to emphasize an arrangement between the parents that will keep the best interest of the child a priority. In Florida, a family court judge will indicate the parameters regarding physical custody, visitation and decision-making on the child's behalf.

In order to promote consistency in a child's routine, most parenting agreements indicate which parent will have physical custody. Physical custody refers to the residential arrangements for the child. The custodial parent will be responsible for meeting the child's daily needs. In the event that joint custody is granted, both parents will be expected to consult with one another in accordance with the terms of the custody agreement when handling important decisions involving the child, such as educational or medical issues, regardless of which parent was granted physical custody. When one parent has sole custody, on the other hand, the custodial parent may not be obligated to include the non-custodial parent in these decisions.

Complex asset division in South Florida

If you are preparing to divorce in Florida, you will necessarily go through the division of your marital property. In Florida, assets are deemed as either marital or nonmarital property. Marital property will be divided equitably between spouses, while separate property will remain the property of the spouse who brought it into the marriage.

Although property division may sound as if it will be a simple undertaking, it can be complex in the event your estate is large, you or your spouse is a business owner or your spouse is attempting to hide assets. If you divorce is a contentious one, your spouse may be trying to hide assets in order to try to keep you from receiving your rightful share or may be claiming that marital property is his or her separate property.

Dividing art assets when artists divorce

When undergoing a divorce, spouses often face a long and difficult process of dividing property. In states that have equitable distribution, like Florida, calculating the worth and appropriate division of assets can be a complex process, since distribution may be unequal depending on each spouse's financial circumstances, the needs of children, and the length of the marriage. When artists divorce, property division can be especially challenging due to the complex nature of art assets.

For artists, who often feel a deep personal connection to their work, the idea of considering their art as "property," and furthermore, property to which a spouse might be entitled, is difficult to accept. Nonetheless, the law considers art pieces divisible assets, and as such they need to be inventoried and appraised during a divorce process. Divorcing artists are advised to make an accurate listing of their pieces, specifying the value of the work and identifying when it was produced. Copyrights and licensing agreements also count as artwork and need to be included in the inventory.

Alimony and lump sum payments

One of the things Florida couples undergoing a divorce must often negotiate is the alimony payment. Many people opt for a monthly payment, but this is not the only choice available to them. In some states, divorced couples can also opt for a lump sum payment, just as long as the lump sum is at least equal to the total amount the payee would have received in future monthly payments.

There are benefits in opting for a lump sum payment for both the person paying alimony and the person receiving it. The person paying alimony might choose a lump sum payment to avoid missing a payment later on or to move on with their life without the complication of a monthly reminder of their previous relationship.

Children's religious beliefs after divorce

Florida parents who are in the midst of a custody dispute or divorce may not be aware that their child's religious upbringing may become an issue. The judicial system has no conventional guidelines that are followed when addressing a child's religion, so a judge will use its own discretion in making a decision that will be in the child's best interests while also considering the parents' religious rights.

Generally, a custodial parent will have more latitude in determining what religion their child will practice. However, a child may practice two different beliefs if it causes no detrimental effects to their mental and physical well-being. If a parent feels that a child is being put in harm or risks being put in harm by the other parent's religion and can prove so to the court, a judge can deny the child from practicing that particular religion.

The importance of a prenuptial agreement when remarrying

Florida residents who are thinking of remarrying might also be wondering if a prenuptial agreement is right for them. There are many benefits to having a clear prenuptial agreement, particularly if there are children from previous marriages involved and the prospective spouses want to prevent any disputes later on.

Prenuptial agreements can be the key to avoiding disputes when goods are being divided after a death. Most types of goods, from a family business to an art collection to actual cash, can be listed in a prenuptial agreement. However, the agreement must include a clear, detailed list of all the items meant to be protected for it to be effective. Any items left off the list might then be involved in a future dispute.

High net worth divorce representation in Florida

When you have worked hard for many years, you and your spouse may have built up significant assets that need to be divided when you decide to get a divorce. You might each have retirement accounts, joint and separate bank accounts, stocks, real estate holdings, business interests and other asset types. You may be uncertain of the value of your holdings.

You might also believe that your spouse may be concealing assets. He or she may have transferred high-worth assets that you both would have otherwise divided to a friend or a relative and you might not know how to prove your suspicions. In the event you believe there are hidden assets or fraudulent transfers, you might need to get the help of financial experts that can help uncover them.

Division of debts and assets during divorce

Florida individuals who are divorcing must divide debts as well as assets. Individuals should be aware that while a divorce decree may name one individual or the other as responsible for the debts, creditors might still be able to pursue either spouse.

Since Florida is not a community property state, neither spouse should be responsible for the individual debt of the other. However, if an individual shares a joint account with a spouse, that individual may be jointly responsible for the debts even if they are primarily or solely incurred by the other spouse. If an individual has a credit card that is not a joint account but authorizes the spouse to use it, debt may be reported on the credit reports of both individuals. However, the owner of the card would be the one considered responsible for it.

Determining who gets alimony in Florida

After a Florida divorce, a judge may award alimony to either party if it determined that it is needed. The alimony may be provided on a permanent basis or for a duration of time as determined by the court. Financial assistance may be used to help one spouse get on his or her feet or help him or her make it through a financial gap. Those who are granted bridge-the-gap alimony may not receive payments for more than two years.

Payments may be made in a single lump sum or over a longer period of time. To determine if an individual may need alimony, the court will look at a variety of factors. For instance, it will take into consideration the length of the marriage as well as the standard of living established during the marriage. A court will also look at the physical and mental health of a party as well as the ability to make money in the future.

Virtual visitation as part of a custody order

As technology continues to move forward, virtual visitation is a practical tool being discussed and utilized in family court systems as part of divorce proceedings. Florida and other states already have laws in place that permit the use of virtual visitation, which allows noncustodial parents and their children to enjoy time together through such methods as video conferencing and social networks. Courts in some states that currently do not have specific legislation are allowing this form as well as part of an approved parenting plan and custody order.

Some of the benefits to virtual visitations include instances where the custodial parent and child live a considerable distance from the non-custodial parent. In this situation, utilizing webcams or video conferencing methods could allow children to interact more readily with an absent parent. This type of virtual visitation may give some parents and children the ability to share events such as school plays and athletic activities.