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Toll Free: 888-550-6071
Local: 239-243-9297

Fort Myers Divorce Law Blog

Requesting to relocate with your child

When custodial parents choose to relocate with their children, it can greatly disrupt their child custody situations. More commonly than not, the noncustodial parent may object to the relocation on the grounds that the long distance relationship between parent and child will create an unnecessary rift between the two.

Because of this, judges are deliberate in weighing the perceived benefits associated with making such moves. Ultimately the decision they make is supposed to center around what is in the best interest of the child, even if that involves denying the custodial parent's request to move out of state with the minor children.

How to ready yourself financially before filing for a divorce

One of the reasons so many people fear getting divorced is because of the degree of financial uncertainty that comes with having to go back to trying to covering expenses all on one's own. If you know that a divorce is looming, however, it doesn't have to be a such a scary, unpredictable time in your life. You can make certain financial decisions early on to help make your transition back into being single a much less painful one.

If you're thinking about divorce, while your online research and friends can be helpful in gaining some initial perspective as to how to handle finances, it may not be applicable in your case or state. By speaking with a local attorney in your area, you can rest assured that the advice you receive is most relevant to your unique situation.

How gifts and inheritances are handled when divorcing in Florida

When a couple decides to divorce, finances can quickly become a contentious issue, especially when an individual is faced with having to give up some of his or her hard-earned money, a portion of his or her inheritance or a piece of a monetary gift he or she previously received. The right your spouse has to this money depends greatly as to whether the funds are considered to be either separate or marital property and if your state is a community property or equitable distribution one.

In a state like Florida, which is an equitable distribution one, assets are divided between the couple in a "fair and equitable" way. What this means is that each spouse is entitled to stake a legal claim to any and all marital assets, regardless of who the legal owner is. While the idea of what is fair and equitable doesn't mean that assets are split right down the middle, a judge will base his or her determination as to a proper split on a number of different factors.

Questions to ask before making changes to child custody orders

Custody and visitation decisions during a divorce can be difficult. Once a custody agreement is in place, making changes to the child’s permanent residence can be even more challenging. However, the circumstances of either parent may change, as well as the child’s needs, and the decision may be necessary. Until a parent demonstrates otherwise, the court presumes that the final orders are correct, based on the information available to the judge at the time. To make a modification to a child custody order, the court has a two-pronged test. 

In Wade v. Hirschman (No. SC04-1012), the Supreme Court of Florida established a clear test for all modification cases. The parent seeking the modification must show two things: 

  • The circumstances have significantly and materially altered since the original order.
  • The change of custody is in the child’s best interests. 

What a Florida Parenting Plan is and how to draft one

In the state of Florida, all parents who wish to share custody or enjoy visitation with their child are required to draft a Parenting Plan. This declaration, known as Family Law Form 12.995(a) was approved by the Florida Supreme Court in November of 2015.

The child's biological parents are required to fill this document out regardless of whether their time-sharing request is in dispute or not. It must ultimately be approved by the family court judge before it is deemed to be enforceable. In cases in which the parents are unable to reach an agreement or it's not upheld by the court, a judge may impose his or her own Parenting Plan.

How mediation can help resolve child custody disputes

Two parents coming to an agreement as to which one is going to retain custody of their shared child is not an easy process. It can be even more complicated for those embroiled in a bitter divorce where a child is being utilized as a negotiation tool.

If you have the slightest bit of an ability, though, to get along with your child's other parent, you may greatly benefit from attempting to reach a custody agreement via mediation.

Tax implications associated with receiving alimony

While alimony can help you bridge the gap as you attempt to get back on your feet after a divorce, it's important to keep in mind that the receipt of these funds carries with it many tax obligations as well. Although property settlements or child support are both non-taxable, alimony is the complete opposite.

In fact, under the Internal Revenue Code, not only is alimony seen as a taxable type of income for the person who receives it, but for the ex-spouse paying, it is a deduction which they can claim when filing their taxes. As a result, failing to file taxes on alimony received as income can result in red flags for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Divorces among baby boomers on the rise; watch your retirement

If you're a baby boomer getting a divorce, you might have moved beyond the stage at which you need to fight it out with your soon-to-be ex over child custody. There are plenty of other issues that can make divorce negotiations just as heated. Among those, is deciding who is going to gain access to retirement accounts.

We live in an era in which divorce is on the rise among baby boomers, or adults over the age of 50. In fact, according to the National Center of Family & Marriage Research, divorce rates among those of this population have more than doubled the 1990 rate. And for the next generation that came before them, those 65 and older, divorce rates have more than tripled.

Know points regarding child custody cases

We recently discussed what might happen if you are pregnant while you are going through a divorce. That is only one of the things that we can help you with in regards to child custody.

Whether you are pregnant, have a young child or are raising a teenager, we can help you learn about your options for child custody. You might be surprised at some of the options that you can use now. The old days when the only parent had custody of the child seems like a thing of the past now.

Can different children be split between two homes?

Suppose you and your spouse are divorcing and the both of you have two children. Is it possible to come to a custody agreement where you take one child most of the time, and your spouse takes the other child? The short answer is yes, it is possible, but perhaps not in the best interests of the children. Absent truly compelling reasons, you should avoid such a solution.

One way it can get tricky