Thompson Family Law, P.A.
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Fort Myers Divorce Law Blog

A Florida mom is arrested for interfering with child custody

Florida parents have two different options when it comes to reaching agreements about how to share custody of their kids. They can broker a deal among themselves whether alone or with the help of a mediator. If they can't work out a resolution among themselves, then Florida parents can litigate their custody cases in front of a judge. A court has to sign off on any parenting agreement. Penalties including criminal charges may be assessed if a parent violates a parenting order. One Florida mom learned this the hard way this past week.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) put out a Missing Child Alert for two 7-year-old Washington County twin sisters just after school let out on the afternoon of Jan. 14. The FDLE gave a physical description of the girls and noted that they were perhaps in the company of their 39-year-old mother and traveling in her blue 2020 Nissan Altima. The FDLE also provided the Chipley address where the three had last been seen. The state agency asked for the public's help in tracking the trio down.

How can divorce mediation help with pension discussions?

Divorces in the past used to only be able to be resolved by couples duking it out in front of a judge in a Florida courtroom. Many spouses who disagree with one another now pursue mediation instead of litigation though. If you and your ex have pensions that you don't feel comfortable parting with, then you may want to have a mediator step in to help you reach an agreement with your spouse about what should happen to them.

One of the great benefits of pursuing mediation is that you and your ex can decide to split up your assets (including pensions) however you want to. Your Florida mediator isn't there to act as a judge and to render decisions for you. They instead serve as a referee. Their explicit goal is to help you and your ex figure out what it's going to take to reach an agreement.

Concerned about cost? Consider a pay-as-you-go attorney

Many people are worried about cost when they look into divorces and the expenses that can pile up because of them. It can be overwhelming to hear someone say that a divorce cost them thousands of dollars, for example.

There are ways to handle the costs associated with divorce, though, if you know where to look. Many attorneys will set up payment plans or help with financing. Others work with the "pay-as-you-go" method.

What situations may result in you losing custody of your kids?

Most Florida judges aim to keep kids and their parents together whenever they can. They do this because they believe that it's in the best interests of the children to do so. Some instances are just too serious that it becomes impossible to allow a parent to continue having custody of their child. It's in these instances when judges often award sole custody to only one parent.

Any parent who is accused of abusing or neglecting their child is likely to be investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). If child protective services deems that some type of ill-treatment toward their son or daughter occurred, then the judge will likely take away their custody rights. Judges may require the parent who loses custody to take a parenting class or that they complete various supervised visitation sessions before ultimately restoring their custody rights.

Remember that alimony payments will handled differently in 2020

If you're preparing to file for divorce, and you've begun researching what's involved in doing so, then you've likely come across information about alimony. Unless you've checked to make sure that you're reading an article that's been written in the past year, then it's likely that the information you read was outdated. New tax laws for handling alimony payments go into effect this filing year.

Husbands and wives who finalized their divorces in 2019 will likely be filing their first individual tax returns this year in 2020. Spouses who pay alimony won't be able to qualify for a reduction in their taxable income just because they make spousal support payments. Recipient spouses will have the amount they receive taxed. This means that both parties may end up falling into a higher tax bracket than they would have anticipated.

What happens with bonuses and other perks when you divorce?

If you're thinking about getting divorced and you have a job where you receive a salary plus some other type of special compensation, then you may be fairly certain that you know what will happen with your standard pay once you finalize things. You may be a little less clear about what happens with your special compensation though. The truth is that it varies depending on the perks that you receive.

Spouses who receive commissions may have their earnings classified as a marital asset. Your husband or wife may only be entitled to lay claim to any commission that you've earned before legally separating or divorcing though. This is why you may benefit from speeding up your filing process if you're expecting a sizable commission.

Mediation can be instrumental in resolving parenting differences

When many couples hear their attorney mention the idea of resolving their differences with the help of a divorce mediator, they often feel as if this isn't the right option for them. Many spouses have been conditioned to believe that mediation is only something people with high-net worths do. This isn't true though.

While it's true that divorce mediation is often a go-to option for couples who want to keep their custody, alimony and property matters off the public record, many others pursue this type of alternative dispute resolution for other reasons. Many parents rely on divorce mediators to help them navigate discussions about co-parenting matters.

What role does age play in a family law judge's decision-making?

Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that your Fort Myers judge will weigh the contributions each of you made to the marriage when deciding how to split up any marital property that you have. They'll also carefully weigh what's in the best interest of your child when making any custody decisions. While family law judges are supposed to only weigh these factors in rendering decisions, the ages of the petitioner and respondent often figure into their decision-making as well.

Age may play a role in a child custody decision that a Fort Myers family law judge renders. This is especially the case if one parent is particularly older than the other. The court may order for a child to remain in the primary custody of the younger spouse if there's some concern that the older one has some mental or physical health problems that may affect their ability to adequately care for their son or daughter.

Reasons any couple may consider a prenuptial agreement

With more families having two spouses work out of the house, there are more assets and considerations than ever before for couples who choose to end their marriage. Given how common divorce is, especially among people who have been previously married, it makes sense for people getting married to want to protect themselves from the devastation of divorce.

While prenuptial agreements were once relatively rare, they are increasingly popular for a number of reasons. Although you may not have thought about whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your fiance, the truth is that many relationships will benefit from the creation of one of these documents.

Keep this in mind when sharing custody during the holidays

It doesn't matter how long you've been divorced. Spending the holidays away from your kids may become less hard on you over the years, but it still hurts. There are some things that you and your ex can do to make sharing your kids during this holiday season a bit more pain-free for all parties involved though.

While your kids should always be the focus of your attention, it's even more crucial than they are center stage during the holiday season. Family gatherings and celebrations tend to be occasions that leave lasting impressions on your kids as they grow into adulthood. They should remember joyous occasions in which everyone played nice instead of chaotic, dysfunctional gatherings.

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Thompson Family Law, P.A.
3949 Evans Avenue, Suite 206
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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