The process of a divorce is not only emotionally draining, but can be financially draining, as well.  There are the normal expenses that occur because of a divorce; child support, lost income, and spousal support.  But, according to Samantha Fraelich, vice president of Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, a wealth management firm out of Chevy Chase, Maryland, there are other ways in which divorce affects finances.  In an article on latimes.com, Fraelich lists the five most common ways divorce affects one’s finances.

  • Legal Expenses:  Even if the divorce is amicable it will cost you thousands of dollars.  In the case of a contested divorce, plan to spend much, much more.
  • Taxes:  There are tax breaks a married couple receive that an individual filing single will not receive.  Expect an increase in your income taxes once you are no longer married.
  • Childcare Expenses:  Expect to pay more in childcare expenses for your former spouse will not be as accessible as he/she was when you were living in the same house.  The majority of divorced parents find they are paying more in childcare expenses than they were when they were married.
  • Insurance:  When a couple is married, the one with the better health insurance plan covers the family.  This coverage usually extends to short-term and long-term care insurance and life insurance, as well.  Once you are divorced, your former spouse will no longer be covering you  and you will need to purchase these types of policies.
  • Retirement: When married, you have two people contributing to retirement accounts.  However, once you divorce, expect those contributions to increase if you expect to have a comfortable  income when you retire.  It pays to seek professional advice when planning for your retirement.

When you have made the difficult decision to file for divorce, seek the advice of an experienced Florida divorce attorney.  An experienced, dedicated attorney will not only assist you in resolving your differences, but will protect your interests as well.

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In 2010, a lesbian couple placed an ad for a sperm donor on Craigslist in the state of Kansas.  Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer wanted to have a family and thus needed someone to donate sperm to do so.  When William Marotta responded to the ad, he agreed to be the donor with the stipulation that he would not be involved in the child’s life in any way.  To ensure he would have no connection whatsoever with the child, Marotta signed a contract waiving parental rights and responsibilities.

Schreiner became pregnant with the donated sperm and gave birth to a baby girl.

Unfortunately, three years after the birth of the child, Schreiner and Bauer separated, and the two now share custody of their three-year-old daughter. 

After separating, one of the two women became ill and could not financially support the child.  Schreiner, as the girl’s birth mother, applied for state health insurance for her daughter, but to receive aid from the state of Kansas, she needed to reveal the name of the sperm donor.

Unfortunately for Marotta, although he signed a contract waiving his parental rights, which, he thought, included any financial responsibility for the child he fathered, the state of Kansas disagreed and has sued him for $6,000 in back child support. 

Kansas not only does not recognize same-sex relationships, but because the sperm was not artificially inseminated by a licensed physician, the state also contends the contract Marotta signed is invalid.

Only Marotta and Schreiner, the birth mother, are parties in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for both Marotta and Schreiner argue that Bauer should be fully involved in the financial support of the child since she signed the sperm donor agreement as well.  They have asked a judge to consider Bauer as a full-fledged participant in the case. 

The attorneys cite a recent Kansas high court case,  Frazier v. Gouschaal, which established that a non-biological mother of children in a same-sex relationship has the same rights as a biological mother.

Marotta’s attorney filed a motion last week asking the court to make Bauer a “necessary party” or dismiss the case.  He also argued Kansas should recognize Bauer as the legal parent of the girl, not Marotta.  Schreiner as the birth mother, does have legal custody of the child, but cares for the child in the evenings with Bauer caring for her during the day.  The former couple has drawn up a parenting plan for their child, and if approved by the state, would resolve those legal  issues of custody and child support.

Marotta’s attorney also claims the case is political in nature and said, “The state will do anything to push their traditional notion of families and suppress any non-traditional type of parenting.”

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On April 4, the Florida Senate voted 29-11 in favor of Senate Bill 718, which is also known as the alimony reform bill. 

Bill 718 eliminates permanent alimony, which requires one spouse, usually the male, to pay alimony for the rest of his life.  Permanent alimony was instituted years ago when the husband was the money maker of the family, and the wife stayed home to raise the children.  In the majority of modern marriages, both spouses work and, thus, in the event of a divorce, have  means of support other than alimony.

According to an article on yahoo.com, the bill “replaces permanent alimony with bridge-the gap, rehabilitative, or durational alimony to consistently ensure swift resolution for families.”

With the passing of the bill, the former spouse must prove they have a need for alimony and must also prove the obligor has the ability to pay alimony, as well.

Senate Bill 718 was sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel because she felt the state needed a fair way to deal with this emotional issue.  “This bill creates guidelines for our judges to follow, but maintains judicial discretion,” Senator Stargel said.

A not for profit organization, Family Law Reform, fought for passage of the bill.  Alan Frisher, co-founder and president of the organization, said that while the bill is not perfect, it is fair and equitable and updates Florida’s antiquated alimony laws.

House Bill 231, which is  companion legislation to Senate Bill 718, will go to the House for a full vote next week.

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When a couple with children separates or divorces, the issue of child support will need to be addressed.  Divorce is already an emotional issue, but often when the issue of money is involved, it can become a contentious issue, as well.  Although the majority of parents realize their children need their support and acknowledge this by paying their child support obligations each month, there are those parents who shirk this duty.

One such parent is Pedro Quezada.  Quezada owes $29,000, according to New Jersey authorities, in child support.  The New Jersey man’s name has been in newspapers around the country recently since he just won a $338 million Powerball jackpot. 

Quezada was scheduled to appear in New Jersey state Superior Court in Paterson last Monday.  The hearing stems from a child support warrant that was issued for the 44-year-old man who has not paid his support payments since 2009. 

According to NBC News, a spokesman for the Passaic County Sheriff’s office said the warrant was stayed temporarily until his court appearance.  Quezada owes support for his five children, although it’s unknown which children are covered under the support payments.

Quezada  chose to claim his jackpot win in one lump sum, which, after taxes, would be $152 million.  Usually, according to Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Maer, winnings are not released by the State Lottery Department until court judgments are satisfied.  However, in Quezada’s case, he claimed his $152 million in winnings last week before satisfying his back support payments.

Quezada, who is a native of the Dominican Republic, told the Daily News he felt “pure joy” in winning the lottery, and would use the winnings to help his family.  Hopefully his family includes his five children which he has failed to support these past four years.

When a former partner fails to pay his or her court ordered child support payments, an experienced attorney can work aggressively with you to pursue your child support claims.  Contact a knowledgeable, experienced Florida family law attorney to resolve your child support issues.

Original story found here.

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