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Fort Myers Divorce Law Blog

Uncovering assets hidden during a divorce is far from impossible

In an equitable distribution state like Florida, a judge is often called upon to determine how to fairly distribute marital assets between the couple in alignment with the contributions they've made to the marriage. Even with this approach to asset division in place, it's not uncommon for a spouse facing an end of his or her marriage to try to hide money, property or other valuables, especially if he or she fears losing them in a divorce.

Among the more common ways sneaky spouses attempt to hide their assets is by placing them in either safes or safety deposit boxes. They may also sink funds into secret investment portfolios or stock accounts. Spouses wanting to hide assets also often take the initiative to set up offshore accounts or buy foreign real estate. Others simply transfer ownership of their assets to close friends or family members.

How is Florida alimony calculated?

In some jurisdictions, child support awards are determined using a formula whereby one parent's income, the amount of children he or she has and other factors may affect how much the other one is ordered to pay. While modifications can be made in some cases outside of the formula based on extenuating circumstances, in most cases, rates remain relatively the same.

No such formula exists to determine alimony in Florida, though. Instead, it's the responsibility of the judge to determine recipient spouse need for it.

Protecting a child from abduction by a parent

Each year, hundreds if not thousands of children are abducted by a parent. A parent, who fears losing custody of his or her child, may disappear with his or her child to another state. Or another, concerned that his or her child is being abused at the other parent's hands, may travel to another country with no plans to return.

These types of abductions can occur when a child is dropped out for visitation. The other parent often only finds out his or her child is gone once his or her child is not dropped back off again.

How will the tax changes to alimony affect divorcing couples?

Just before their holiday break, Congress passed and President Trump signed the much-talked-about and highly-debated tax reform bill. Among the changes in the sweeping bill is that alimony will no longer be a factor when divorced people file their income taxes, whether they are paying it or receiving it. It will be a non-issue to the Internal Revenue Service, just like child support is.

However, the change, which does away with the 75-year-old tax rule that allows these deductions for the payer and lets the recipient claim it as income, will have a significant impact on many divorcing couples.

Why choose mediation for resolving your child custody case?

Mediating child custody cases has become a popular alternative to long, drawn out courtroom battles in recent years. One of the reasons more couples have turned to mediation in cases like this is because it's been shown to be a less stressful option on the kids and parents alike.

Custody cases that are presided over by a mediator ensure that both sides will get to express their points of view as thoroughly as they wish to. While the same could be said about a courtroom, a judge is often restricted in terms of scheduling to give each parent the time they want to really delve into their concerns.

2 times to alter a prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a document both spouses sign stating how to divide certain assets in the event the marriage ends in divorce. Many spouses want these documents to protect their money and property, but there have been plenty of instances when a court overturned a prenup because it did not meet the court's standard of quality. 

Both people in the marriage may be completely fine with a prenup before the marriage. However, after the wedding is far gone in people's memories, one or both spouses realize a change is necessary in the agreement. As long as both people agree to it, then it is completely possible to legally modify a prenup after a wedding. This is a postnuptial agreement, and there are several circumstances where it can be extremely advantageous. 

What happens with the house when we divorce?

When a husband or wife first receive divorce papers from their spouse, one of the first things that runs though their mind is what will happen with their home. In a state like Florida, where equitable distribution is king, the judge will generally split up property in a way that he or she deems fair or equitable.

In an effort to be both equitable and fair, a judge may decide to award two-thirds of ownership rights of the home to the higher income-generating spouse. In contrast, he or she may decide to award the other spouse as little as one-third ownership stake in it.

How does taking charge of my child's schooling impact custody?

If you've recently split from your ex and you're looking to gain increased visitation or custody of your child, then some legal experts suggest that you should become more involved in his or her schooling.

That's because it's not uncommon for a contentious custody battle to involve your child's teacher being summoned to appear in court. If he or she is, then he or she is likely to be asked to answer questions about your involvement in your child's academics.

What are the benefits to mediating your prenuptial agreement?

When it comes to prenups, there's often only one party that's interested in having it drafted. In that situation, the other would be just as happy for it not to exist. It's often when couples begin negotiating a prenup that the less affluent partner's feelings get hurt. Situations like this can make for a difficult way to start the marriage off.

Oftentimes crafting prenups is left to attorneys. The lawyer representing the more affluent spouse is the one to actually draft the prenuptial agreement after speaking with his or her client about what he or she wants to protect. The other party generally hires an attorney to essentially review the contract to ensure that it's not blatantly unfair.

What to do with your business when you're headed for divorce

As if divorce weren't complex enough, deciding what to do with a jointly run business can make things even more complicated. There aren't any recent statistics that capture just how many couples jointly own a business. However, one statistic captured in 2000 suggested that just under 7 percent of all 22 million American small businesses were owned by couples that year.

When it comes to joint businesses, there's no one size fits all approach to how to handle them in a divorce. Instead, what you choose to do will depend greatly on what assets you value most and how well you get along with your soon-to-be ex.

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

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