Orlando Florida Family Law Blog

Does divorce mean splitting your pension or retirement account?

Getting a divorce is often nerve-wracking for everyone involved. Both spouses are often uncertain about the social and financial impact of splitting up, especially if they are getting close to retirement age. Chances are good that you planned for retirement assuming that the funds would support you and your spouse in a single home, perhaps with additional income from your spouse.

Divorcing generally means dividing that retirement account or pension with your spouse. That can leave you with substantially lower assets than you had originally planned for. You may not be able to stay in the same home or retire at the same age you had previously hoped. With a little planning, however, you can minimize the impact of a divorce on your financial situation and retirement.

Wrongfully relocating with a child has consequences

A previous post on this blog discussed the ways in which a child's custodial parent in Florida can relocate with the child. Relocation can either be done with the consent of the noncustodial parent, or can be done through an order of the court, if appropriate.

Unfortunately, some custodial parents will act rashly and try to relocate with their child without going through the proper channels. Sometimes this is done when the custodial parent has animosity towards their ex, feels the existing child custody schedule is unfair or thinks their child will be better off not seeing the noncustodial parent. However, custodial parents should keep in mind that there are serious consequences for relocating with their child without the noncustodial parent's consent or a court order.

Who gets the family house in a divorce?

There is a lot to think about if you're moving forward with the divorce process. Even if you understand that this will bring many benefits to your life, such as the ability to chase your personal dreams, you understand that there are many questions to answer.

Like many, the biggest question on your mind pertains to who gets the family house in divorce.

How can paternity be established?

Fathers in Florida play an important role in their child's life. When a child knows who his or her father is, that child benefits greatly. The child will have a greater understanding of his or her medical history, will possibly have access to health insurance through his or her father and most importantly, when a child's father plays an active role in the child's life, it provides the child with love, stability and emotional and financial support.

If a child's parents are married, the husband will be presumed to be the child's father. However, if a child's parents are unmarried, and are no longer in a relationship with one another, in order for the father to pursue child custody or visitation and in order for a mother to seek child support from the father, paternity will need to be established.

On prenups and how they can be legally challenged

Prenuptial agreements can be integral parts of any divorce. But it goes without saying that if you bring more assets to the table as a couple, then a prenup is more important to you and your marriage. This is why many high asset divorces involve prenuptial agreements: there is simply more to protect and thus a prenup is critical to this process.

However, you shouldn't be fooled into thinking that if you have a prenuptial agreement, you are set for life. In fact, there is a misconception out there that prenuptial agreements can't be legally challenged. Don't believe this. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for a spouse to file a legal challenge against their prenup. Consider some of the following circumstances:

Get your property division settlement right the first time around

When you realize it's time for divorce, you may feel overwhelmed or so distraught that you simply want to bury your head in the sand and wait for it to pass over. Unfortunately, a divorce can have enormous implications for those with significant assets. Unless these issues receive proper attention, despondent divorcees may wake one morning to realize that they missed an important opportunity by failing to fully engage in the divorce process.

High asset divorce is never easy, but it doesn't have to be mean or messy. However, it is important to get the property division agreement right the first time around. Otherwise, you risk losing out on assets you rightfully deserve. Similarly, attempting to modify a property division agreement after a divorce is finalized is always a gamble. That process may take so much time and resources to redress that it drains your assets unnecessarily.

A property division checklist can provide guidance

When dividing marital property, it's only natural to have a variety of questions. While some of these are easy to answer, others are sure to throw you for a curve.

In a general sense, the only thing that matters is that you feel good about the property you're receiving as a result of your divorce. While this is easier said than done, there are steps you can take to get on the right track.

Shared custody in Florida is often 50/50 custody for parents

One of the most difficult parts of a divorce is the realization that you won't get to be with your children 24/7 like you were during your marriage. Even in the best case scenario, which is likely fully shared custody, you'll be missing out on half their evenings, half the holidays and every other weekend. You probably also worry about how custody could impact any child support the courts may order. 

Sometimes, one or both spouses request full custody in a divorce. In general, the courts are unlikely to award full custody to one parent unless the other doesn't want custody or there are serious issues, like abuse or addiction. Barring that, it's possible that you and your ex will end up sharing custody and legal decision-making power in a 50/50 custody situation. 

The many ways social media can impact your Florida divorce

Social media has infiltrated every aspect of modern life. In fact, social media could be part of the reason you and your spouse plan to divorce. Seeing the heavily edited and carefully crafted posts about the thriving marriages of your friends can make your own marriage seem mediocre by comparison. Being able to reach out to an ex at the tiniest impulse doesn't help things either. You may have even disconnected from your real life relationships in favor of your online support network. 

It's tempting to rely on social media to help you work through your emotions during a divorce. Doing so is even more of a mistake than turning to social media when your marriage is struggling. Once you put something out on social media, it could end up getting used against you in court. Being very careful about what you post is critical to a successful divorce with a positive outcome, especially if you want shared custody. The courts need to believe that co-parenting is possible  in your case. 

How do courts handle retirement funds in a Florida divorce?

When you start thinking about divorce, a million questions come up. One that far too many people wait to worry about is the impact on retirement plans. Divorce can wreak havoc on your potential retirement, even if you've been carefully saving and investing for years. After all, you planned your retirement budget and savings based on the idea of having one household and two people living there. Now, those same funds will probably have to support two households through retirement. 

Whether you have an employer-sponsored pension or a privately held retirement account, such as a Roth IRA, chances are the courts will divide the funds in divorce. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement on record stating that the pension or retirement account belongs to only one spouse, most of the money in the fund is likely marital property. 

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