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Broward County Divorce Law Blog

Census numbers show grandparents with parental responsibility

Florida residents may be interested in some statistics about the prevalence of grandparents with parental responsibility in the state. Government statistics reveal some interesting facts regarding demographics, as well.

In the state of Florida, 2010 census data revealed that grandparents or other relatives were the head of household for 12 percent of children under the age of 18. In all, this included 476,474 minor children, of which just over 350,000 were with their grandparents. Of these, grandparents had parental responsibility for 161,689 children, with nearly 60,000 of these children living solely with their grandparents. The total number of Florida grandparents responsible for their grandchildren was approximately 150,000. In Jacksonville, this amounted to just over 7,500 grandparents. Miami had just over 3,000 grandparents with parental responsibility, according to the census.

Conversations about prenuptial agreements awkward but advisable

The media reports regularly on celebrity marriages and divorces and the use of prenuptial agreements to determine the division of assets. However, any Florida couple considering marriage may want to deal with the sensitive issue of a prenuptial agreement before the wedding in order to minimize possible disputes in the event of divorce or separation.

Statistics indicate that many individuals believe that prenuptial agreements are important for other people but not necessary for themselves. It is often difficult to even raise the subject of a prenuptial agreement during the romance and excitement of wedding planning. But a prenuptial agreement is one of the primary asset protection tools available to protect both spouses if the relationship fails.

Invalid premarital agreements

While not all Florida couples decide to discuss what should happen to their personal assets prior to getting married, others make the point to have a prenuptial agreement drafted and signed. Prenuptial agreements can keep certain assets safe in the event that the couple later decides to get a divorce. However, certain things can render a prenuptial agreement invalid.

One of the biggest mistakes that couples can make is to not have the agreement written out. Premarital agreements that are based solely on spoken agreement cannot be enforced. Likewise, if the agreement was not signed prior to the marriage, the agreement may also not be valid or enforceable. Additionally, if a person was pressured into signing a premarital agreement, was not given enough time to read the document or was not given time to consider the terms, the agreement may not be enforceable.

Understanding the definition of alimony and how it affects taxes

Broward County couples who are looking for a divorce may be interested in how alimony payments may affect their taxes. The answer generally depends on some specific qualities of the payments themselves.

When a person has to pay alimony to their former spouse after a divorce, this can have some serious implications for both parties on their federal income taxes. The person who is making the payments is allowed to deduct those payments on their tax return, resulting in less taxable income. The ex-spouse receiving alimony, however, needs to declare these payments as income on their own return. Each spouse must give the other their social security number so that it may be included on their respective taxes. Failure to do this may result in penalties levied by the IRS.

How alimony reform could affect Florida divorces

Floridians who are preparing to divorce may need to learn about proposed legislation that could greatly impact alimony orders. The bill, which was unanimously approved by the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, would make several important changes.

According to the bill, permanent alimony orders would no longer occur. Instead, courts would use a formula to determine the length of the payments and their amounts. The bill would also provide 50-50 child-sharing for divorcing couples who have children. It would not apply retroactively to divorce cases that are settled prior to the law's passage.

How a divorce after 50 impacts Florida residents

For couples over the age of 50, the beginning of the calendar year is a prime time to file for divorce. Between 1990 and 2013, the divorce rate has doubled for couples over the age of 50, and those who remain single after divorce may encounter financial difficulties. Research shows that 30 percent of divorced single women over the age of 62 are living at or below the federal poverty line.

Of men who divorce after the age of 62, 14 percent of them are in poverty. There are many reasons why older people who get divorced may have financial issues. Two of the biggest reasons include the fact that many investments held by older folks are not liquid, and there is greater salary uncertainty as workers get older. To further complicate matters, it can be difficult to divide Social Security benefits among those who have been married for more than 10 years.

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.