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Broward County Divorce Law Blog

Changes in alimony and child custody could come to Florida

If you're marred for a significant amount of time, you may find that your attorney informs you about the ability to seek alimony. This is particularly common in relationships where you are a home-based parent or work a job that supports your spouse; you may also be given alimony as a way to receive payments to raise your income and provide you with a similar lifestyle as you had in your marriage.

A new Florida bill could change the rules of divorce though, taking away alimony early from many people who would otherwise receive it permanently, and it's making some people wary of the potential consequences. According to a Feb. 8 report, lawmakers in the state are considering changing how alimony works and changing how much time parents who are not the primary custodians of their children get to spend with their children. Both potential changes have significant numbers of advocates along with those who disagree with the terms of the changes.

Is alimony still legal in Florida? Who can receive it?

During a divorce, one troubling factor may be whether or not you can afford to live on your own. For people in your situation, alimony comes into play. Alimony is still part of the divorce process in Florida. The court can decide to grant alimony to either party, regardless of gender or age. There are a few kinds of alimony that could be awarded. These include alimony to bridge the gap, durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, or permanent alimony.

With alimony meant to bridge the gap, payments are made to help a person get settled and back into a normal lifestyle. The party receiving it will be expected to go back to work and support him- or herself as necessary.

The Hague Convention and parental kidnapping

Parental kidnapping is a horrible situation where one parent, usually the parent without custody, takes his or her children away from the custodial parent and flees. In these cases, many parents flee the country because of the hope that there are protections there to prevent them from being sent back to America. It can also be much harder to locate those who have fled the country.

Fortunately, parents who find themselves in this situation have a few options. If a parent has fled to a country that is a treaty partner of the United States, then you may be able to use the Hague Convention to have the parent and your children returned to the United States by order of the United States courts.

Multi-million dollar divorce feud reaches national news

Getting a divorce can be difficult for both parties, but when there's a large amount of money at stake, even small disagreements can be seriously difficult to overcome. In this case that has made national news for its unusual aspects, it's been reported that two people have spent millions on a divorce that's still not settled. The divorce itself is over, separating the two, but there are still aspects in the courts.

One major problem the wife has is that her ex-husband doesn't want to release parts of his trust funds to her. Those trusts are worth millions of dollars, but they were set up by her father-in-law for his son. The court must decide if the woman is meant to continue living the life she was accustomed to with her husband or if a more modest payout is what she should receive.

Alimony: Still necessary in the world today

If you and your partner have decided to get a divorce, one of the things you may have to discuss is the possibility for alimony or spousal support. This can be a difficult subject, since one party may not feel obligated to pay the other after the marriage is dissolved. Is alimony really necessary in today's world? Should a man or woman be paid by his or her ex-spouse for leaving a relationship?

The truth is that alimony is still very necessary for a number of reasons, and your attorney may explain why it could benefit you in your case. First of all, it's there to sustain someone while he or she finds a job, increases his or her earnings, or to help him or her have a similar lifestyle to when the couple was together. There's no harm in wanting to be on equal footing leaving a marriage, especially since couples are often working together to get where they are in the world.

What is collaborative law?

If you feel your relationship with your spouse isn't negative or violent and want to work through your divorce in a positive and constructive way, then collaborative law may be the best way for you to move forward. This kind of law focuses on you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse working together to determine how to divide your assets, how to take care of your children, what to do with pets and other important decisions.

How do you start a collaborative process?

Biases: Custody and the bias for a mother's care

If you're getting a divorce and are worried about child custody, you may be concerned that the courts rule in favor of mothers receiving custody over fathers. Are custody decisions really made that way, though? Is a bias still in existence?

The fact is that, as of 2011, custody decisions are more likely to be in favor of a mother receiving primary residential custody. There is, however, a heavy movement toward equal residential custody, but primary residential care still seems to fall to mothers. According to an article from 2011, fathers were likely to receive primary custody only 8 to 14 percent of the time with equal custody only 2 to 6 percent of the time.

What are some prenuptial agreement facts?

Prenuptial agreements may not seem appealing when you're considering getting married, but even though they may not feel romantic, they can be a way to protect yourself and your soon-to-be spouse. These agreements work in both parties' favor, which is why it's important to consider one before marriage.

What's the benefit of a prenuptial agreement?

Alimony law changes head to the legislature in Florida again

Alimony, which is paid to a spouse following a divorce, has been in Florida's news over the last several years as the laws have been changing and amended. For those with high-asset divorces, any changes made to alimony rules can have a major impact. For instance, if alimony used to be allowed for a lifetime and then suddenly is limited to 10 years, one spouse could lose out on the income that he or she requires.

Florida's alimony law is going to the state legislature again in 2016. According to a news report from Dec. 13, the law currently impacts 80,000 people each year as people get divorced. In 2013, a reform bill was passed that altered alimony, but that wasn't enough. Now, supporters of new legislation claim that the new rules, formulas and guidelines would be more fair to families.

Should men receive alimony payments?

Alimony isn't just for women. In the past, maybe that was true much of the time, but now, since 40 percent of all breadwinners are women, it seems right that more men should be in on the alimony side of divorce. Actually, only 3 percent of men who were married are receiving payments from their ex-wives. Hundreds of thousands of men are seemingly eligible for alimony but are not receiving it.

Experts say that the reason this is true is that die-hard gender roles take precedence even today. There is a bitter identity from macho-prideful males and tart breadwinning wives. Believe it or not, gender equality is still relatively new in the span of history. Old stereotypes are still around. Successful men are considered breadwinners and asking for alimony is emasculating to them.