Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer Blog
Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer Blog
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Divorce is always stressful, as it can mean many life changes. However, divorce can be especially stressful when there are business interests on the line. Owning their own business has become more and more popular for married couples, either due to the fewer job prospects in today’s economy, the flexibility that online businesses can now offer, or simply because they want to work for the good of their family and not for a corporation. However, owning a business can be complicated if two married owners decide to get a divorce.

What will happen to a business in a divorce depends on many different factors, including whether one spouse owned the business first and whether one or both spouses want to continue with the business after the divorce.

If You Owned the Business Prior to Marriage: If you came into your marriage with an established business, Florida would consider the business interests at the time of the wedding to be non-marital property and you would get to keep that. However, if the business increased in value during the marriage, your spouse will be entitled to division of the additional value. The same goes if your spouse came into the marriage with a pre-existing business. Continue reading →

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The winter holidays have arrived and this time should be one of peace and celebration for your family. For spouses considering divorce, however, the holidays present many emotional issues, grave decisions, and other challenges. Despite having serious marital problems and wanting to end their marriage, many people choose to hold it together during the holidays for the sake of their children and other family members and to avoid “ruining” the holidays. This is one of the many reasons that reports indicate that the rate of divorce filings often spikes at the beginning of a new year.

Though spending the holidays on the brink of divorce is not fun for anyone, there are some things you can do to ease the tension and to make it easier once you do file, including the following:

Make an agreement — If your spouse is aware that you want a divorce and you have both agreed to wait until after the holidays, lay certain ground rules for making the most of the holidays with your kids and families, such as avoiding insults and fighting. Continue reading →

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Many individuals who are facing divorce have never been to court before. While some simpler, uncontested divorces may only require one, or even no court appearances, other cases that are contested and/or involve complex issues can require both spouses to be present at numerous hearings before their dissolution of marriage is final. While court hearings may be inconvenient and may interfere with work or other schedules, it is highly important that you take these appearances seriously. Additionally, if your spouse fails to appear in court, there can be consequences for them and effects on your case.

The consequences of failing to appear without previously notifying the court can vary depending on the type of hearing scheduled, the reason for the hearing, and the reason for the failure to appear. For example, the following can occur:

  • If your spouse fails to appear at the first court appearance and has also not filed a written answer to your divorce petition, you may request that the judge enter a default judgment granting the divorce. While your marriage may be dissolved with a default judgment, other issues including child custody or property division may not be settled
  • If your spouse does not come to a hearing to decide certain issues in the divorce, the judge may either reschedule the hearing or may decide the issue based on your testimony alone, which can often work in your favor.
  • In some cases, if the you believe your spouse is intentionally not showing up to hurt the case, you can ask the judge to hold them in contempt of court and they may face criminal penalties and an arrest warrant can be issued.

A former Florida state senator was held in criminal contempt after he failed to show up at two different divorce hearings and failed to give one of their dogs to his wife as ordered by the court. His appeal of the contempt finding went all the way to the Florida Supreme Court and has recently been sent back to the trial court due to due process considerations. This case goes to show how a failure to appear can drag out legal issues as the failure to appear occurred in 2011 and the case is still persisting. Continue reading →

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When you get married, it makes sense to name your spouse as the beneficiary of various financial accounts and insurance policies. Even if you have children, you likely trust that your spouse will use the proceeds of your accounts to their benefit. In the event of a divorce, it is highly important that you revisit all of these accounts and change the beneficiaries to someone other than your former spouse. The following should be addressed when changing beneficiaries:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts

To make sure you do not forget to change an account, you should have an experienced attorney take inventory of all of your accounts and policies.

Consequences of Failing to Change a Beneficiary

If you fail to change a named beneficiary before you pass away, your former spouse may inherit the proceeds of your accounts, which you likely would not want. In addition, your children will not have a right to these funds being used for their benefit. This is especially important if your children are from a previous relationship and your former spouse has no legal parental obligations to support them. If your children wish to challenge the inheritance of your former spouse, it may require a costly legal battle. Continue reading →

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The legal system recognizes that children are generally incapable of adequately supporting themselves and, therefore, parents are required to provide financial support. In cases in which two parents are no longer together, one parent generally has the obligation to pay regular child support to the other parent. When a child reaches the age of 18, he or she is considered an adult and child support obligations generally cease.

There are two important exceptions under Florida law to the rule that child support terminates on the child’s 18th birthday and these exceptions are as follows:

  • The child is 18, lives at home, attends high school, and there is reasonable expectation that the child will graduate before their 19th birthday; or
  • The child is over 18 but remains dependent on their parents because of mental or physical incapacity that started when they were younger than 18.

The second exception is important for any parents of children who are either born with a disabling condition, develop a condition during childhood, or who sustained a catastrophic injury that left them unable to care for themselves. Continue reading →

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Recent research has focused on the growing trend of older adults deciding filing for divorce. A study called “The Gray Divorce Revolution” conducted by sociologists at Bowling Green University focused on the rising number of divorces that occur in later stages of life. In 1990, less than one-tenth of divorcing individuals were over 50 years old, but today that number has increased significantly to one-fourth. In addition, one in ten divorcing spouses are over the age of 65, which is more than twice the number 30 years ago. With the increase in “gray divorces,” it is important to examine some of the legal issues that may be more prevalent for these divorcing spouses.

Keeping the House

Staying in the family home may not be a priority for many younger spouses who end their marriage, but older homeowners may have potential benefits in being awarded their house. The following are some benefits of homeownership in retirement years:

  • As you age, you may become eligible for tax waivers and exemptions for your real estate;
  • Owning a home can provide benefits when applying for Medicaid or other public benefits;
  • You may need the tax benefits of deducting mortgage interest to offset higher tax liability in retirement;
  • Homeowners age 62 or older become eligible for a reverse mortgage, which can help with financial support;
  • Even if you choose not to live in the home, it may provide rental income or significant equity if you have owned the home for a long time.

Continue reading →

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Often, a divorce may be the first encounter you have with the court system and legal process. You will likely not be familiar with the many laws in Florida that govern divorce and set out your rights and responsibilities during and after the dissolution of your marriage. For these reasons, you should always seek out assistance from a highly skilled and experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney who can ensure that your best interests are protected in your divorce.

Many individuals may not know where to begin in selecting a divorce attorney and how to make sure they make a quality choice. While you may be tempted to simply do a quick internet search and choose the first name, this may or may not be the right decision for you. Divorce is a sensitive legal matter that can have significant and long-lasting effects on your life, so you should always choose an attorney as carefully as you would choose a surgeon or other life-changing professional. The following are some things you may want to consider when you are deciding you will represent you throughout your divorce.

Do Your Friends Have Recommendations?

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A child custody and parenting plan order will set out many different guidelines about how you and your child’s other parent should share parental rights and responsibilities while your children are still dependents. These guidelines can involve primary physical custody, visitation schedule, how you will share in making decisions for your child, and much more. However, there are situations in which the circumstances of one parent may change and the provisions of the custody agreement are no longer feasible. One common change in circumstances is the need or want to move the child to another area of Florida or even to another state. There are many legal issues involved in child relocation and you should always seek the assistance of an attorney if relocation has become an issue in your case.

If You Agree to Relocation

If a parent plans to take a child over 50 miles away for more than 60 days, Florida law states they must obtain permission to do so from the other parent. In some situations, the other parent may simply agree to the relocation. Even so, the parents must submit an agreement to the court for approval before the move can take place. This agreement must also set out the new visitation and time-sharing schedule for after the move.

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Domestic violence or the threat of violence can endanger the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of you and your children. Many victims of domestic abuse from a spouse are hesitant to leave their marriages out of fear of the potential retaliation from their spouse. Anyone who is fearful should be aware of legal tools in Florida that can help to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. For example, a protective order will legally prevent a spouse from coming near or contacting you or your children or they may face serious legal penalties.

If a victim of domestic violence does decide it is time to leave a marriage, it is understandable that he or she would want to legally dissolve the marriage as soon as possible. Some individuals run into difficulties, however, if they have only recently moved to the state of Florida. This is because Florida law requires you to live within the state for six months before a family court judge will grant you a divorce.

Bill to Make an Exception for Domestic Violence Victims

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If you are no longer married or in a relationship with the other parent of your child, you will need to make many legal decisions regarding time-sharing and visitation. These are the terms that have largely replaced the term “child custody” in Florida, since Florida law sets out that maintaining continuing and frequent contact with both parents is in the best interests of the child unless there is evidence to the contrary. No longer do the courts presume that the mother should automatically have full custody and the courts make this type of determination hoping to uphold both parents’ rights to share in raising their child.

Determining how to share time and legal custody of children is not a simple matter and many parents may consistently argue over specifics of the arrangement. To avoid this, parents who have joint physical and/or legal custody over children must have a parenting plan approved by the courts. It is always preferable for parents to agree to the specifics of a parenting plan and then have the court approve it, as they know their child’s schedule and specific needs firsthand. Unfortunately, in some cases, parents cannot agree on all of the specifics of a parenting plan and the court must intervene and decide for them. No matter who decides the specifics, however, a parenting plan must include certain provisions.

Necessary Provisions in a Parenting Plan