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Broward County Divorce Law Blog

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.

Protecting business interests during a Florida divorce

A divorce can be a complicated and emotional time for both parties, but it might be even more so if one spouse owns a business. This is because a spouse may be entitled to some stake in the company unless the proper steps are taken. Two ideas to consider are a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement may override state property division laws and are generally respected as is by divorce courts.

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must be in writing. It is often recommended that the agreement is signed in front of a judge to reduce the odds that any party to the agreement claims it was signed under duress. Such agreements should also be signed well in advance of a wedding and should contain reasonable terms. Agreements that are signed the night before a wedding are likely to be invalidated in court.

How is property divided in a divorce?

Many couples that divorce in Florida are unable to reach an agreement about property division outside of court. If a judge must determine how to divide marital assets between two spouses, the judge does so according to the principle of equitable distribution that is followed in Florida and in the majority of other states. Equitable distribution means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally.

Before making decisions about property division, a judge will set aside all assets and liabilities that are designated as separate property. These non-marital assets might be property that one spouse acquired before the marriage or during the marriage through a gift or an inheritance. Likewise, any debts that were acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage will not be the responsibility of the other spouse after a divorce.

Handling 401(k) accounts in a divorce

Many Florida workers have 401(k) accounts. It may intrigue them to know that, during a divorce, this kind of retirement account may be considered a marital asset, thereby subjecting its accrued contents to distribution between the divorcing parties.

Although the laws governing these retirement accounts normally provide a penalty for early withdrawal, which is significant enough to deter many account holders from touching their 401(k) before the trigger age, this penalty may be temporarily lifted after a Qualified Domestic Relations Order indicating that an ex-spouse has legally acquired partial ownership of the account's funds has been verified. This order, often referenced by its acronym, QRDO, is issued by the court presiding over the divorce, and it specifies the portion of the 401(k) belonging to the ex-spouse. The account's new beneficiary may then withdraw his or her assigned portion without penalty in a cash lump sum, which is subject to taxes.

Reasonable visitation agreements in Florida and how they work

Ending a relationship is never easy, but when a child is involved, the whole situation becomes far more complex. Florida courts will always consider what's in the best interests of a child when deciding custody, but when it comes to visitation, parents have the option of agreeing to a reasonable visitation plan. Under this visitation agreement, the two parents themselves, without the help of the courts, will decide upon their own visitation schedule.

A reasonable visitation plan means parents can work around other responsibilities in their lives, but for this to work, the parents involved must be fully willing to cooperate. If the relationship is contentious on even one side, this type of visitation agreement might not be the best. Additionally, if two parents opt for this type of agreement but it becomes obvious that one isn't being treated fairly, it's possible to go back to the courts and request a fixed schedule.