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In any Florida divorce that involves any type of financial issues such as property division, debt division, child support, and more, each spouse is required to disclose certain information regarding their finances to the other spouse. This trading of information is referred to as Mandatory Disclosure and is required by the Florida Family Courts Rule of Procedure 12.285.

In accordance with Mandatory Disclosure Rules, both spouses must submit the following:

  •         A financial affidavit using a particular long form for income over $50,000 or another short form for income under $50,000. The information on these forms includes a detailed breakdown of your gross monthly income, monthly deductions, expenses, liabilities/debts, and assets.
  •         Three years’ worth of personal federal, state, and personal property tax returns.
  •         Three years’ worth of corporate or other business tax returns if applicable.
  •         Evidence of income for the past three months, such as pay stubs.
  •         Leases, promissory notes, or deeds in which the spouse has or recently had an ownership interest.
  •         Any loan or credit applications prepared within 12 months.
  •         Three months of statements for any credit cards, loans, leases, or other types of debt.
  •         Certain number of account statements for all checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, brokerage accounts, and more.
  •         All life, health, or dental insurance policies covering you, your spouse, or any dependent children.
  •         Statements for all retirement accounts including pensions, 401(k), IRA, 403(b), and more.
  •         Any court orders for current child or spousal support obligations.

In addition to the above information, if you or your spouse is claiming that certain property is nonmarital and thus not subject to equitable distribution, evidence supporting that claim must be submitted as part of the mandatory disclosures. Also, a spouse must submit any premarital agreements they claim are will come into play in the divorce.

While it may seem daunting to have to compile and disclose all of the above financial information, your spouse must also do the same. These Mandatory Disclosures ensure that your spouse is not lying about his or her financial situation in order to avoid paying certain support or to influence a property division determination. Such disclosures will give both sides a clear view of the whole financial picture of the marriage, which can help ensure that any division or support decisions are fair.

There are certain situations in which Mandatory Disclosures may be waived, including simplified divorces and collaborative divorce proceedings. A financial affidavit may still be required in those situations, though the additional paperwork may not be necessary depending on your situation.

A Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Can Assist You

You always want to make sure to give an accurate picture of your situation in Mandatory Disclosures to ensure that you receive the property and support that you deserve in your divorce. Additionally, correctly reporting all of your liabilities may help make sure the court does not require you to pay more support than you can afford. Alan R. Burton is an experienced divorce attorney in Boca Raton who can help you through every step of the divorce process and make sure your rights are protected. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

 

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In many divorces between celebrities, business moguls, or other individuals with significant assets, the media reports numerous headlines regarding long, drawn-out court battles for property, spousal support, and more. High worth divorces are often associated with acrimonious couples who each want a large settlement. However, some celebrity couples have been able to divorce in an amicable manner.

Media outlets recently reported that reality television stars Bruce and Kris Jenner have filed for divorce after 23 years of marriage and after living separately for over one year. Together, the couple has substantial wealth and property resulting from various professional endeavors. Additionally, the couple reportedly did not sign a premarital agreement prior to their 1991 wedding. In many cases, the lack of a premarital agreement in a high asset divorce can easily create more complications and drama since there is no clear guideline for the equitable division of assets. However, the media reports that the Jenners have come to an amicable agreement on all aspects of their divorce without heading into court.

The parents have agreed to have joint legal and physical custody of their only minor daughter and neither spouse is requesting any spousal support. Additionally, property division determinations have been reported as follows:

  • Real property—Kris is keeping their home in Hidden Hills, CA; Bruce keeps their home in Malibu
  • Assets—Kris gets $50 million; Bruce gets $20 million.
  • Personal property—Kris is keeping five luxury cars and her own jewelry; Bruce is keeping two luxury cars.
  • Retirement accounts—Each will keep retirement investments worth $10 million apiece.

Sources state that Kris Jenner is receiving more assets because of her greater contributions to their wealth due to her role as manager of their daughters. If the family court approves their settlement agreement, the Jenners may be a seemingly rare example of an amicable celebrity divorce.

Complications in High Asset Divorces

Many divorce cases involving substantial wealth can be complicated for the following reasons:

  • Many different types of property must be divided, including business interests, investments, vacation properties, and much more.
  • Generally one spouse requests significant spousal support.
  • One or both spouses may try to hide assets in offshore accounts or other methods.
  • Spouses in such a situation may not be opposed to spending money on lengthy litigious battles.

Not every high-end divorce needs to be unpleasant and drawn out, however. If you have a skilled attorney handling your case, there are many methods of dispute resolution that can help you reach a settlement outside of court. In short, high asset divorces do not have to be highly unpleasant experiences.

Consult with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer Today

The assistance of an experienced attorney can be invaluable in settling high assets divorces without costly litigation. Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton is highly experienced in all types of divorce cases, including those involving a substantial amount of property and assets. If you are considering divorce, please do not hesitate to call our office at (954) 229-1660 to schedule a free consultation today.

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When most people think of divorce, they may immediately think of long, drawn-out battles in court, with each spouse accusing the other of wrongdoing and fighting for every piece of property and custody of the children. However, the truth is that most divorce cases in Florida are much less dramatic and much more amicable than what you see in movies and on television shows.

In fact, many couples are able to agree on the major issues in their split, and thus are able to proceed with a relatively uneventful uncontested divorce. One photo that recently went viral on the Internet actually shows a Florida couple taking a “selfie” after their divorce was finalized. The former spouses both appear to be happy, getting along, and they stated they were celebrating the time they had together as a married couple.

The Uncontested Divorce Process in Florida

“Uncontested” means that the spouses can agree on all major issues of the divorce. Such issues include:

  •         Parent time-sharing;
  •         All aspects of the parenting plan;
  •         How all marital debts will be divided;
  •         How all marital property will be divided;
  •         The amount of all child support and how long the support will last; and
  •         The amount of all spousal support and how long the support will last.

If you can come to agreements on all of these issues, an attorney can submit your proposed agreement to the Florida family courts. If the court approves the settlement agreement, you may have your divorce finalized without any major court hearings. This means that couples who are able to complete an uncontested divorce often save time, money, and stress associated with numerous court appearances. Uncontested divorce still requires couples to provide full financial disclosure and also requires six months residency of at least one spouse in the state.

Unfortunately, uncontested divorce does not work for every couple. If there are substantial debts or marital assets, it may be more difficult to agree on how such debts and property will be equitable divided. If domestic abuse is an issue, a court may wish to step in on custody determinations to make sure all arrangements are in the best interests of the child. If the spouses have significant power struggles, it also may be hard to reach a settlement. This is often the case when one spouse has a much higher potential for earnings or employment opportunities than the other, or when one spouse is seeking significant financial support.

Deciding What is Right for You

Whether or not you and your spouse believe that you may succeed in an uncontested divorce, an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney can help you explore your options for as simple a case resolution as possible. Options such as simplified divorce, collaborative divorce, mediation, arbitration, and more can help you avoid costly litigation regarding any contested issues and come to your own arrangement with your spouse without extensive time spent in court.

If you are considering divorce, call the Boca Raton office of family lawyer Alan R. Burton for assistance. We offer free consultations, so please call us today at (954) 229-1600 to set up a meeting.

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For many people, going through a divorce can be an extremely acrimonious process. After all, if you and your spouse were getting along, you would likely not be getting a divorce in the first place. Divorce can affect almost any aspect of a person’s life, including his or her living situation, access to any children of the marriage, finances, and may even require that a person reenter the workforce after a significant hiatus. These are serious issues, and the outcome of any divorce proceedings can have a significant impact on all of them. As a result, it is important that anyone going through a Florida divorce discuss their options with an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with our state’s often complicated and difficult to understand divorce laws. Here are some of the ways that a divorce lawyer may be able to help you:

Act as an Objective Advocate

When a couple decides to end their marriage and divorce, emotions can run high. In many cases, an argument over “who gets the house” may not be about the house at all, but rather be about years of unresolved conflict clouding each party’s judgment. An attorney, while advocating for his or her client’s interests, is not emotionally involved in the relationship. As a result, communicating through a lawyer to your partner’s lawyer can often result in much more fruitful negotiations than speaking directly to your spouse. Successful negotiations outside of the courtroom can often keep litigation costs down and can also result in an outcome which is more favorable to both parties than one imposed by a judge.

Ensure that your Legal Rights are Protected

Individuals who are ending a marriage have certain legal rights as to marital property, parental rights, and the ability to request alimony. Florida divorce courts have wide discretion in many areas and are authorized by statute to consider “all relevant factors” in many of these determinations. An attorney who understands how judges make these determinations can make sure that your case is presented in the best light possible. In addition, the assistance of a lawyer can make sure that you are not taken advantage of in any settlement that may occur outside of court.

Help You Find Alternatives to Litigation

Litigation can be extremely expensive, often costing thousands of dollars. There are many alternatives to going to court to determine the ancillary issues often raised when a married couple decides to divorce. Informal negotiation, mediation, and collaborative divorce are just a few of the options that an experienced family law attorney can help you explore. In many cases, employing these alternatives to litigation can help keep the divorce process as inexpensive as possible while ensuring that your legal rights are protected and your needs are met.

Contact a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Anyone who is considering a Florida divorce should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with family law attorney Alan R. Burton, call our office today at (954) 229-1660.

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Imagine the following scenario: A woman with a one-year-old daughter marries a man who is not the biological father of her child. The stepfather takes an active role in parenting the little girl and considers her to be his own child. The biological father does not play a significant role in his daughter’s life. After twelve years of marriage, the woman decides to get a divorce and wants to cut all ties with her former spouse. The stepfather wants to seek visitation rights of the child he has considered to be his own for many years.

With the constant blending of families in recent decades, a stepparent’s right to visitation with a stepchild is a common issue that arises in divorce cases. Many people seek legal advice asking the following question: Do I have visitation rights regarding my stepchild following a divorce? Unfortunately, in Florida, the short answer to this question is no. Florida is actually one of four states that provide no rights to stepparents for visitation or parenting following a divorce. Though a stepparent will not have any legal rights regarding stepchildren on which to fall back, there are certain steps that a person can take to have a better chance of preserving the ability to visit with stepchildren after a divorce.

Work for an Amicable Divorce

Just because a stepparent has no legal rights to visitation does not mean that the divorcing spouses can never agree to visitation on their own terms. There are many tools that allow couples to decide their own fate in divorce and leave the decision-making power out of the hands of a judge. If you work to keep the peace with your spouse and engage in positive problem-solving techniques such as mediation or cooperative divorce, there is a better chance your spouse will recognize your honest desire to continue a relationship with your stepchildren and will agree to visitation.

Consider an Adoption

If the biological parent is truly not in the parenting picture and is willing to give up parenting rights, you may be able to adopt your stepchild as your own during the course of the marriage. Once you adopt a child, you will have the full rights and responsibilities of a biological parent, including rights to visitation and shared custody following a divorce. Though stepparent adoption is not an option in every case, it is always an option worth pursuing to ensure you retain access to your stepchildren should your marriage relationship sour.

If you are a stepparent who wishes to make sure you preserve a relationship with your stepchildren should you face divorce, it is a good idea to explore your options well before marital problems start, if possible. If you wish to pursue an adoption or simply want advice for an amicable divorce, experienced Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton can help you. We work for creative family law solutions that are the best result for everyone involved, so please do not hesitate to contact our office for help today.

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In previous decades, divorcing spouses may have hired private detectives or other surveillance to catch their spouses in lies or questionable behavior. In recent years, however, such resources have become almost unnecessary since many Americans tend to broadcast nearly every detail of their lives online. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and more allow people to post statuses and photos that allow a look into their daily activities. Such posts can make it very easy for divorcing spouses to catch each other in lies or combat arguments made to the court.

No matter how often divorce attorneys warn clients to stay off social media, we are constantly surprised by how many people ignore this basic advice. Some clients believe their online activities are okay because they “defriended” or “blocked” their spouse. However, you likely still have some online contacts in common with your spouse, and those “friends” may always report information back to your spouse. Information online is widely discoverable, so it is always the best idea to stay off these sites or even suspend your profile until after your divorce is final. The following are some issues that social media posts may adversely affect in your divorce.

Spousal Support and Property Division

If your spouse has significantly greater earning capacity than you, you may likely want to seek a greater portion of the marital assets and property or spousal support. However, social media posts may belie your claims of financial hardship and need for support. Photos of you on vacation, at concerts, or even a simple “check-in” at an expensive restaurant may give your spouse ammunition to fight against any spousal support orders.

Child Custody

If you and your spouse are arguing about any custody or time-sharing issues, you never want to risk looking like an unfit parent. For example, if you post any status updates or pictures that may indicate you are participating in excessive use of alcohol, drugs, or other partying activities, your spouse may use those to try to demonstrate that you are not acting in the best interests of your children.

Additionally, even if you do not post your own photos, there is always the chance that a friend will tag you in a post or photo. Even associating with questionable people can cast doubt on your reputation and your ability to act as a fit parent and role model.

The Ability to Negotiate with Your Spouse

It is often very tempting to air dirty laundry on social media sites. When emotions are running high, people may post negative messages regarding their estranged or separated spouse. This may cause tensions to rise and can make your spouse less likely to want to work together to come to agreements in divorce. Such acrimonious relationships often lead to litigation and lengthy battles to decide even the smallest of issues in a divorce.

In short, it is always best to stay off social media sites during a divorce and never risk that something you post may be taken the wrong way. If you are considering divorce, experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney Alan R. Burton can assist you with every aspect of your case.

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When most people think of divorcing couples who own homes, they may likely think of the question: who will get the house? This question usually implies that one spouse or the other will remain in the family home, while the other spouse must find a new residence. However, there is another option that many spouses do not consider—that neither spouse will get the house.

If a couple cannot reach an agreement regarding who may stay in the home, the issue will have to be litigated in court. The court will look for a way to most equitably divide the property in accordance with Florida divorce law. Often, this may require the couple to sell the family home at fair market value, pay off the mortgage, and then divide the net proceeds equitably, if there are any.

Note that equitable distribution of property is not always 50/50 as the court considers many factors when deciding how to fairly divide property. For example, if one spouse had an affair, gambling problem, shopping addiction, or other factor that caused them to waste marital funds, the court may award that spouse significantly less proceeds for the home sale.

Selling the home may not always be preferable for divorcing spouses, especially if there are children who do not wish to be uprooted or if there will not be enough net proceeds for future down payments on separate properties. While a court will examine all of these circumstances, there is always a chance that the judge will order the sale of the family house in a Florida divorce even if it is against the wishes of the spouses.

The Importance of Working Towards Agreements in Divorce

Divorce can be complicated, especially if you and your spouse own a home or other substantial property. If you cannot agree on certain matters, such as who will remain living in the house, you risk leaving those decisions up to the divorce court. The decision by the court may not be the solution either of you preferred, so it is always better to negotiate and work together to agree on important matters. Working together may be difficult if your relationship has deteriorated beyond a certain point, and in such situations, an experienced divorce attorney can work to negotiate on your behalf.

An attorney will not let emotions cloud his judgment during the divorce process and is therefore able to focus on what is best for you. Spouses who have qualified attorneys often have a better chance of coming to agreements and avoiding litigation. This is usually preferable as litigation can be costly, time-consuming, stressful, and will often end up in a less desirable result—such as selling the home and dividing the profits.

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for Assistance

Alan R. Burton is a highly experienced divorce attorney who has many resources to try to keep divorcing spouses out of court and come to agreements on their own. If you are facing divorce, contact our office today for help.

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While for many couples obtaining a divorce is a contentious and emotionally charged affair, some people who decide to end their marriage are able to work together to ensure that each party receives a fair outcome. For couples in this situation, collaborative or cooperative divorce may be an option. Both options are designed to avoid litigation and have the couple seeking a divorce work together with their attorneys as well as other professionals in order to reach a mutually agreeable settlement as to whatever issues they may deem critical. Although these negotiations are entered into with the best of intentions, it is still important that each party retain legal counsel to ensure that their legal rights are fully protected. Divorce law can be complicated, and there may be issues that could potentially arise of which non-attorneys may not even be aware. As a result, anyone considering divorce, collaborative or otherwise, should be sure to consult with a lawyer before entering into any legally binding agreement.

What is Collaborative and Cooperative Divorce?

The key issue in a collaborative divorce is that both parties enter into an agreement in which they commit to resolving the issues salient to their divorce without going to court. If they are unable to do so and resort to litigation, both attorneys are required to withdraw their representation. Both parties agree to deal with each other respectfully and in good faith, and also agree to use neutral specialists to resolve contested issues. As such, the parties to a collaborative divorce are heavily invested in the process, as giving up on the negotiation process would involve “starting over” with new attorneys, meaning that all attorney’s and other professional fees up to that point would have been wasted.

One of the significant advantages of the collaborative divorce process is that both parties are able to use jointly hired professional in order to resolve complicated issues such as the valuation of a business or guidance on issues regarding parenting. This is significantly different than the situation that occurs when both parties bring in adversarial experts, relying on a court to decide between two sometimes vastly opposing positions on a contested issue.

Cooperative divorce is very similar to collaborative divorce, but the parties’ attorneys are not required to withdraw, should negotiations break down.

Regardless of whether a person or a couple chooses to pursue a collaborative, cooperative, or traditional divorce, it is extremely important to retain legal representation. There are many important issues that can arise in divorce proceedings, including the following:

· Division of property;
· Child custody;
· Maintenance (alimony);
· Child support;
· Business interests;
· Relocation;
· Legal protections from domestic violence; and
· Visitation.

Many other issues could potentially arise in a divorce, and will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation.

Contact a Boca Raton Family Law Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

Anyone considering a divorce should be certain to discuss their situation with an experienced Florida divorce lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Florida attorney Alan R. Burton, call our office today (954) 229-1660.

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When you are facing a divorce, it is always important to have a skilled, experienced attorney handling your case. In addition to knowing the rules and procedures of family courts, a qualified attorney has many resources that may help you get a favorable outcome in your divorce. One such resource is a vocational expert.

What is a vocational expert?

A vocational expert is a professional who studies which skills are most in demand in the current job market and, additionally, how much income a person should potentially be able to earn with those skills in certain careers. A vocational expert will examine an individual’s education level, professional experience, interests, abilities, and other factors and compare those with others in the job market. As a result, these experts can estimate for which jobs a person may qualify and how much money that person may expect to earn.

How does a vocational expert help in divorce?

When a person is facing divorce, there are several ways a vocational expert may help. First, if you are seeking alimony, your spouse may insist that you do not need support. Even if you have been staying at home for years, a spouse may assert that you are qualified for a career with a large income and therefore can fully support yourself. A vocational expert can give an objective opinion on your chances of securing work in the current employment market and the kind of income you may expect to receive. This evidence can help show the court that you will need spousal support to pay the bills, at least for a certain period of time.
Additionally, your spouse may attempt to avoid paying spousal or child support by suddenly reporting a significant decrease in income. It is not unheard of for a high-earning spouse to actually resign from a position and take a lower-paying job to try to influence the court to order less child support or alimony. A vocational expert can examine your spouse’s true earning potential based on available jobs and your spouse’s qualifications and report their findings to the court. This can help expose any devious tactics your spouse may be using to avoid paying the true amount of support you deserve.
Finally, if your spouse reports a change in circumstances post-divorce that may modify court-ordered child or spousal support, a vocational expert may analyze the situation and determine whether there was truly a necessary change of circumstances. Additionally, if you have suffered a change in circumstances that renders you unable to pay court-ordered support, a vocational expert can corroborate the fact that your circumstances have truly changed due to illness, injury, or other factors that may affect employability.
If you believe you are on the brink of divorce, your first call should be to the Boca Raton office of Alan R. Burton. Mr. Burton provides the highest quality of representation for divorces and all family law matters and works to ensure that every client receives the best possible outcome. Do not hesitate to call our office for assistance today.

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Everyone in the United States should be planning for retirement to ensure they can support themselves after they leave the workforce. No matter how carefully you plan, there may always be events or factors that throw your plan off course. One such event is a divorce, especially if you and your former spouse planned for retirement together. If you have divorced, you may worry that you will lose all benefits associated with your former spouse’s Social Security. Fortunately, this is not always the case, as the Social Security Administration lets you collect under your former spouse’s Social Security record as long as certain criteria are met.

Receiving Social Security Benefits as a Former Spouse

The amount of Social Security benefits to which you are entitled upon retirement is based on your record of employment during your working life. The more you paid into Social Security via paychecks, the higher your benefits may be. In marriages where one spouse worked significantly more than the other, the spouse who stayed home is entitled to receive benefits based on their spouse’s work record. A spouse may receive 50 percent of the benefits to which the working spouse is entitled.
If you were counting on a spouse’s work record to receive Social Security benefits, yet then you divorced, you may worry that you are no longer eligible for those benefits. The good news is that you may still be eligible, whether or not your former spouse has remarried, as long as the following criteria apply:
· You are at least 62 years of age;
· You were married for at least 10 years to your former spouse;
· You have not remarried, or any subsequent marriage ended in annulment, divorce, or death. If you had more than one marriage end, you may receive benefits on the record of one of those former spouses, but not both;
· Your former spouse qualifies for either retirement or disability benefits from Social Security;
· The benefits you would receive based on your former spouse’s employment record are higher than the amount you would receive based on your own work record;
· If your former spouse is qualified to receive benefits but has not yet applied to do so, you may apply for benefits on their record two years after the date of divorce; and
· If you apply for benefits on a former spouse’s record while you are still working or before you are at full retirement age, a limit will be placed on the benefits you receive.
An experienced divorce lawyer can assist you in figuring out whether it is in your best interest to apply for benefits under your former spouse’s record.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale for Help

If you have any questions or concerns regarding retirement benefits or any other issue related to divorce or family law, experienced Florida attorney Alan R. Burton can help you. At our office, we handle a wide array of family law cases and strive to achieve the very best results possible for each of our clients. Do not hesitate to call us today to schedule a free consultation.

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