Orlando Florida Family Law Blog

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. 

Child custody issues common when state intervenes


When most people think of child custody issues, they typically think of one of two situations. The first occurs when a married couple decides to divorce and, as part of the marriage dissolution process, they have to decide how to resolve child custody and visitation issues. The second situation arises when an unmarried couple must figure out how to settle the same matters. Here, a couple may have to deal with paternity issues, as well as concerns about what kind of arrangement furthers the best interests of the child, which are similar to divorce child custody matters.

Although these two scenarios make up the vast majority of child custody issues, there is also a third situation that can arise. Here, a parent may lose custody to his or her child if the Office of Child Welfare gets involved over concerns of child abuse or neglect. Under state law, those who believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect must make a report. Therefore, Floridians may find themselves the subject of an investigation merely because of thin suspicions.

Baseball player faces Florida paternity and child support case


Family law resources can help couples with paternity and child support concerns. Baseball player Miguel Cabrera is facing a paternity and child support suit in Florida. A 35-year old woman recently filed a child support suit in Florida. Cabrera is married with 3 children and has requested paternity tests for the two children he is currently paying child support for under the Florida child support order. The 34-year old baseball player has earned $216 million during his baseball career. He is guaranteed another $184 million under his current contract that runs through 2023.

The suit brought by the woman in Florida alleges that Cabrera cut back on child support payments after helping her purchase a home worth $1 million. Cabrera currently pays greater than $6,200 a month in child support. According to the woman's representative, under Florida child support guidelines, Cabrera's salary after taxes could mean he pays greater than $100,000 a month in child support. The woman is also seeking medical expenses and other expenses to be paid by Cabrera.

Child custody questions and concerns answered


When couples make the difficult decision to divorce, one of the first concerns they may have is which parent will receive custody of the children. Child custody concerns are reasonable and understandable concerns the family law system helps parents resolve when they have decided to end their marriage. Parents can agree to a child custody agreement, and are encouraged to do so, but if they are unable to agree, the family law court will make a child custody determination.

The family law court makes all child custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. The court looks at a variety of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. The may also look to which parent is considered the primary caretaker of the child. To determine which parent is the primary caretaker, which is considered an important bond, the court considers which parent has direct care-taking responsibilities for the child.

How to minimize the effects of divorce on children


Divorce can take an emotional toll on all parties involved, including children. Although marriage dissolution can occur amicably, far too often it results in heated disagreements over a myriad of issues. Depending on how these arguments are handled, this process can have a dramatic effect on couples' children. There are some useful tips, however, to help minimize the impact of divorce of children. This is especially true when it comes to child custody and visitation matters.

Generally speaking, the first two years following a divorce are the toughest on children. Children within this time period may be subjected to abnormal behavior, mood swings and changes to their mental health. For some children, these effects can be exacerbated and continue into adulthood.

Why does child support often seem overly burdensome?


Depending on which side of the fence they fall, many parents in Florida struggle to either pay or recover support payments. However, paying and receiving child support are important for a host of reasons. For those who are court-ordered to pay it, fulfilling their obligation will ensure that they don't face additional penalties, which can be far-reaching and include jail. For those who receive child support, the money can mean financial stability for their children, which can directly affect their health and education. However, many noncustodial parents who are ordered to pay child support find themselves financially unable to do so.

Why? One reasons is that a significant portion of these noncustodial parents are below, at or near the poverty line. Unfortunately, those who find themselves in this position often wind up facing child support orders that account for a vast majority of their income. In fact, one study found that those who have a mere income of $10,000 see child support orders that account for 83 percent of their income. This is contrasted to the 11 percent of income that child support orders make up for those who earn $40,000 a year or more.

Former football player jailed for not paying child support


Penalties and consequences in Florida for failure to pay child support can be significant. A former NFL player recently spent most of the night in jail in Florida for failure to pay child support. Former New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray recently turned himself in and was jailed for failure to pay child support. The 27-year old former NFL player paid a cash purge of $7,924 and was released from jail.

Though the amount of child support owed was not known, the 33-year old mother of the child filed a paternity petition last year following the child's birth in the fall of 2015. The court will hold a parent who has failed to pay child support in jail on a cash purge until the amount determined to be owed is paid in lieu of bond. The former NFL player faced 30 days in jail prior to paying the $7,924 and was released after the payment was made.

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