Law Office of Daniel E. Forrest, P.A.

Till death do us part: Waiving your elective share

A spouse’s “elective share” refers to his or her legal right under state law to choose to receive a specific, fixed share of the other spouse’s estate at death in lieu of receiving what was (or wasn’t) left to the surviving spouse under the deceased spouse’s will. Broadly, the concept of the elective share evolved to protect surviving spouses from disinheritance, which was particularly important historically when almost all wives were homemakers without careers. 

The elective share in Florida is currently “30 percent of the elective estate.” Determining what property is within the elective estate can be a complicated legal question because the elective estate can be larger than the amount of property passing under a will, reaching some property that normally passes outside probate court.

A shot of conflict: Vaccine disputes in divorced Florida families

Floridians sometimes have differences of opinion about whether vaccinations are safe for children. When a divorcing, divorced or unmarried parent’s belief about whether vaccinations are in the best interests of his or her children conflict with that of the other parent, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about legal issues and potential legal remedies, depending on the circumstances. 

First, there may be government or school regulations or policies requiring certain vaccinations as well as opt-out procedures in some cases. An attorney can advise you about this in your particular jurisdiction.

Part 1: The exes who party together, pay together?

Sharing in the cost of a quinceañera or bar or bat mitzvah after divorce 

During the stressful time of a divorce, especially if there are children to care for, some things may not occur to a parent as he or she heads into negotiations with the soon-to-be ex over the terms of their divorce. For a religious family, it is a good idea to think through related expenses that will come up along the way to adulthood -- like those affiliated with religious milestones.

Who pays for the children’s braces in a Florida divorce?

Today, many children and teens get braces or other orthodontic treatment to straighten or adjust overcrowded teeth, correct an overbite or underbite, enhance tooth or jaw placement, or improve smiles. According to KidsHealth, the average length of time a child wears braces is approximately two years at a price tag of about $5,000. 

Braces, headgear, retainers and similar orthodontic equipment and treatment are an expensive investment in a child’s health for which insurance coverage tends to be skimpy. For an unprepared parent, the unexpected expense can be difficult to budget, especially if the orthodontist requires a large down payment.

Oi vey: Getting the get in a Florida divorce

A Jewish woman in Florida facing divorce may encounter a legal challenge if it is important to her to receive a “get” from her husband. A get is a religious document the husband must sign to release the wife from their marriage. Without a get, a rabbi will not normally remarry her if she wants a subsequent marriage performed within the Jewish faith. 

According to, without a get, “in the eyes of Jewish law the couple is still 100 percent married,” and there may nowadays be incentive for husbands to sign gets because rabbis will not remarry either party without one.

Divorce and dementia: Dissolution of marriage and the elderly

When a spouse shows signs of dementia, issues related to marriage and divorce can get complicated. In some circumstances, dementia can cause difficult behavior and symptoms that challenge the foundations of even a good relationship. 

But what if the spouse with dementia no longer even recognizes his or her spouse? When is it okay for the healthy spouse to move on? Sometimes, it can even go the other way, with the spouse with dementia wanting to get out of the marriage.

Enforcing prenuptial agreements from other states in Florida

With some exception, when a couple executed a valid prenuptial or premarital agreement in another state and one of them wants to enforce it in Florida, usually in a divorce proceeding or after one of them has died, the agreement will be enforceable. This is a significant principle, given that a spouse may have given up significant property rights in the prenup.

Visitation rights for Florida grandparents are extremely limited

A child can benefit from a loving grandparent relationship, especially if there is discord or dysfunction at home or between the parents. A grandparent may provide a loving bond, a safety net, an advocate, a tie to family tradition and extended family, wisdom, guidance and fun companionship. 

When the child’s parents divorce or separate, are estranged or in conflict, or struggle with addiction, mental health, incarceration, domestic violence, physical illness or other challenges, a strong relationship with a grandparent can provide a life line for the grandchild.

Alimony awards as parties in Florida divorce near retirement

Given Florida’s popularity as a retirement destination, the issue commonly comes up about how to structure alimony when divorcing parties are nearing retirement age. This is a multifaceted question of some complexity.


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