Divorce is tough. Emotions are swirling and stress levels are high. No one is quite sure what the future will hold. Especially for children, it can be an extremely confusing time. When parents are splitting up, it’s very common for children to feel like their lives are being turned upside-down. This feeling can continue after the divorce is finalized. It’s important to work out a parenting plan so that both parents continue to have frequent and continuing contact with their children. A good parenting plan allows both parents to share in the rights, responsibilities, and joys of childrearing.
In Florida, parents can draft their own parenting plan, which then needs to be approved by the court, or the court will establish a parenting plan for the couple. When couples can agree on a plan and work out the details themselves, everyone benefits. But there are many divorces where the couple cannot agree, and the court must step in.
Parenting plans cover issues such as custody, visitation, and parental responsibility. The plan will state whether parents have shared parental responsibility or if one parent has sole parental responsibility. The plan describes how parents will share the day to day tasks associated with raising a child, as well as how the parents will handle healthcare, school-related matters, and other activities. The plan will explain how the parents intend to communicate with each other and with the child. Additionally, Florida legislature requires the couple to file a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) form as part of the parenting plan.
Whether the couple creates the plan or the court orders one, a parenting plan helps all parties involved know what to expect both during the divorce and after it is finalized.
To read more about parenting plans, click here.
When planning and preparing for a divorce, there are many things to consider. If the couple has children, child custody and child support payments have to be worked out. Then there will be the splitting of assets. For most people, this includes houses, cars, material goods, and cash. But couples who own a business together are also faced with the tricky decision of how to split up the family business. For many, running a business together after a divorce is not a viable option.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are an estimated 3.7 million businesses owned jointly by spouses in the United States. The type of business owned and the role each spouse plays in the business will determine if and how the business will survive the divorce.
There are several options when it comes to splitting up a business. First, it must be determined who wants to keep running the business. Take for instance a medical office in which one spouse is the medical professional and the other spouse handles the clerical work. It would be possible to outsource the clerical work, so the medical professional would likely keep the business. In a case like this, one spouse will typically buy out the other spouse. Buyouts can be tricky, especially getting both sides to agree on how much the business is worth, and how much of that value should be applied to the buyout. If, in another example, a couple owns a medical office and both spouses are medical professionals, the business would likely be split. As a last resort, if no agreement can be reached on who will keep the business, selling outright and splitting the profit is the only option.
Getting a well-drafted prenuptial agreement before getting married can alleviate many of the issues that arise when getting divorced. If the business is started after marriage, the couple may consider a shareholder agreement that spells out the role of each partner. Having these documents can save couples from lengthy court battles that can end up destroying the business that they invested so much time and effort into building.
Read original article here.
As the saying goes, the best way to prevent a problem is to be prepared for it in the first place. Fortunately, no matter what issue you’re facing, someone has been there before, and has documented the pitfalls and secrets so that you don’t have to learn by experience.
This post today will be talking about an area that often is neglected until it is too late: Planning for post-divorce finances while still being married.
That might sound pessimistic, selfish, and even fatalistic, but the truth is that while married, any reasonable effort you expend on your own personal finances will benefit the marriage as well, so it’s a win-win.
One of the most important things to remember for any sort of future planning is the 4% rule. Known by financial experts the world over, the 4% rule states that for a retirement account to maintain itself for its desired length, withdrawals should be no more than 4% per year. As the market fluctuates, and people’s desired retirement age changes, that amount could fluctuate, but it’s a good rule of thumb to apply to any retirement situation.
Naturally, that requires quite a bit of advanced planning. If you plan to retire on $30,000 a year, that means that you should plan to have $750,000 saved up in retirement accounts. If that amount sounds shocking, it’s for a good reason: Retirement is expensive, and you do not want to turn 83 and find out that you are completely broke. There is no age where it’s too young to start saving for retirement, and it is a solid fact that the sooner you start saving, the better. It is always possible to be employed part-time while you are in your retirement years, but employment gets increasingly harder to find the older you get, and you will be simply unable to perform certain demanding tasks any more.
It might seem strange to talk about retirement planning and divorce together, but the reality is that middle-aged and elderly couples are getting divorced at increasing rates, and the absolute last thing you want is to walk out of family court single and virtually penniless in your 50s or 60s. You do not have to be actually facing divorce to plan for a single future.
With hits such as “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open,” the band Creed’s albums have sold over 25 million copies, and spent more than a year (cumulatively) in the #1 spot. For the early 2000s, you almost couldn’t turn on the radio without a Creed hit greeting you. Since 2004, the band members have been doing their own solo projects, and living their lives peacefully.
At least, that is what was thought. As it turns out, Creed lead singer Scott Stapp’s wife has filed for a divorce, stating drug-and-alcohol-related bizarre behavior, and irreconcilable differences. In the filing, she is also seeking full custody of their children, saying that Stapp is overall unable to take care of his children.
The 2 have been married for 8 years, and currently reside in Boca Raton with their 3 children.
Jaclyn Stapp, former Miss New York USA, stated that Scott vanished without warning back in October, hasn’t been telling her or their kids where he’s staying, and that he’s been doing so many different drugs (crystal meth, steroids, and amphetamines) that he is not the same person he used to be. She states that she fears he will act on his previous threats of suicide and harming the family.
Also included in the petition are a collection of texts sent from Scott that she is trying to use to get a Marchman Act petition approved. If a judge rules in her favor, it could require Scott to go into treatment for at least 5 days, and up to 5 months if the judge-approved treatment requires it.
According to Jaclyn’s attorney, “her primary concern remains, as it always has been, the best interest of her children.”
Divorce is a hugely significant moment in a person’s life. It quite literally sets the stage for the entire second part of an individual’s life. Families split or form lines, property is divided, houses are moved out of, and finances are cut in half.
That is the theme of the post today: Finances. While anyone who has ever heard of divorce has also heard of alimony and child support, what a lot of people don’t realize is that the financial changes due to a divorce are much more drastic and much more life-altering than that.
That being said, here are some tips on how to deal now with your future post-divorce finances.
Don’t be afraid to pay alimony, and don’t be afraid to ask for alimony!
- It might seem odd that these two are together, and while it’s true that you cannot both pay and receive alimony (why would you want to?), they are both sides of the same coin. The point is that alimony serves a valid purpose; it is to help the dependent spouse transition into a self-sustaining life of their own. The first day after the judge’s gavel falls is the first day of the rest of your life, so don’t start it penniless and destitute, and don’t force the spouse you once devoted your life to to suffer the same.
Create a budget!
- This cannot be overstated. Not only is a budget always a good thing to have, but for many couples, the drop in income once the marriage is dissolved can be shocking. You need to plan out every cent that will be coming and going after you are divorced. Housing expenses won’t suddenly cut in half, and neither will utilities, insurance bills, or (most likely) food and cell phone bills. You will likely find that your monthly expenses will take up a larger chunk of your single income than they did your previous joint income. Be prepared for that, or it will quickly get on top of you.
Watch your impulse spending
- Keeping in line with the previous tip, you will probably find that your expendable income is stretched somewhat thinner once you are divorced, and as such, an impulse buy can turn from a hassle to a serious, can’t-pay-my-bills-this-month affair. The last people you want to deal with are bill collectors, so plan everything out carefully, and then be even more
Keep things as “normal” as possible for a while
- Divorce is often equated to death, and there is some wisdom there. It is as massively emotional event, even permanently scarring. It is the dissolution of something that was once a central part of your life, and it will continue to play a minor hand in events for a large part of the rest of your life. That is why you need to take a period of 6 months to a year in order to let yourself adjust. Don’t move to a new state, or switch up careers, or anything like that. Allow the emotional buildup to leave your system over time, re-acclimate to what your life will be from here on out, and try to find some peace in how things turned out.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how you live your life after a divorce, but hopefully these tips have either given you some insight, or at least given you a little push towards finding your own answers.
If you ever have any specific questions, or just need a little advice, you can always talk to a family law attorney. They are immersed in the industry, and will know the ins and outs of not only preparing for the divorce and going through it, but also how to set yourself up for the best possible post-divorce success story.
So your divorce is finalized, and you’re on your way out of the courtroom. Do you head home and relax, getting your bearings on your newly-single life, or do you drive out to a gun range to shoot some automatic weapons before heading to an airfield for some skydiving?
That might seem like an utterly bizarre question, but lately, there has been a huge business building around the concept of divorce celebration.
That, too, might seem weird, but there’s a valid reason for celebration. When a couple gets a divorce, it is usually the sign that the marriage was irretrievably broken. Going through the divorce process itself can be extremely emotional and painful, and it is not unexpected to feel completely drained once it is finalized.
That being said, the rest of your life starts now, so why not have a little adventurous fun to kick-start the next chapter in your life? At least that’s the thinking of the growing divorce party planning industry.
The first major divorce party planning company started up in Las Vegas. The company, which is only a few years old, offers packages that give anything from a round of golf, to a shooting range trip where you get to demolish your wedding dress/tux, all the way to a skydiving trip and weekend package.
It is understandable that there are many out there who will roll their eyes at such gratuitous celebrations of an event as unfortunate as a divorce. However, there are just as many who will see their newly-single life as a gift, and will choose to “re-release” themselves back into their own lives, if you will.
While still a fairly new business model, the idea of divorce celebration has some wisdom behind it, and it’s not hard to imagine that the market will spread.
It looks like Kim Rothstein, who spent most of her marriage away from her Ponzi-scheming husband Scott, is facing some delays in breaking free and getting her name (literally) restored.
Anyone who has been following Florida news in the past few years has undoubtedly heard the name Rothstein, and for good reason. Scott Rothstein created and ran one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in Florida history, and is currently in prison with a 50-year sentence. Kim Rothstein was spared from that sentence, but she is serving 15 months in prison for hiding jewelry from federal investigators.
The no-fault divorce hit a snag when neither of the Rothsteins could attempt a brief court hearing, due to both of them being in prison. That was expected, and concessions were made, allowing Kim to phone in to the court and testify remotely. However, that too turned problematic when no one in the prison was able to put her under oath.
As Florida law requires that at least one person be able to swear in and say that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” the hearing had to be postponed. Kim is the one on whom this task has fallen, since her husband has shown no interest in battling any of these charges or contesting anything in the divorce proceedings.
Even once the hearing is complete, though, Kim will hit another snag, as Circuit Judge Merrilee Ehrlich has stated she has no intention of giving Kim her maiden name back. She said “she has a felony conviction, that’s a basis for not restoring [her maiden name].”
Kim will be released early next year into a halfway house, and transitioned into house arrest from there. The judge has granted her a 2008 Cadillac that used to belong to her, but prosecution and bankruptcy costs have left the couple completely penniless otherwise.
As most people who have been through a divorce can tell you, the process is often messy in a metaphorical sense. Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, however, is currently facing a divorce that his soon-to-be-ex-wife is calling literally messy.
She is claiming that the house she is sharing with their 4 children is quite literally falling apart, with broken windows, leaks in the roof, a serious mold problem, and more due to the congressman’s negligence in paying for repairs.
In the papers filed with the court, Lolita Grayson is claiming that she is financially dependent on her husband, and he has cruelly cut her off, leaving her to fend for herself.
Alan Grayson’s attorney disagrees, stating that more then $10,000 a month is being paid by the congressman, for the home’s mortgage, utilities, and expenses, as well as child support, college tuition for one of their children, and more. He says that “if she is a poor housekeeper, that’s her issue, not his. For her to slant it in such a way that he is not providing his fair share is wrong and untrue.”
This is only the latest development in a rather contentious divorce. The first issue arose in March, when the congressman’s wife filed a restraining order against him after accusing him of shoving her against a door during an altercation at the house. After video evidence arose showing that the congressman was in fact being pushed around by his wife, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office found there to be no evidence supporting the claim, and dropped it.
The second big fight came about in April, when Alan Grayson accused his wife of already being married when the two of them were wed in 1990. His wife states that she was already divorced, but there is a formal hearing taking place to discover the truth of the matter. If it is found out that his wife was already married, their marriage will be considered null and void.
It is not known how the divorce proceedings will turn out, but for now, it seems the spotlight on divorce in Florida is focused firmly on the struggle of this couple.
If you are facing a divorce, or helping someone else make their way through one, there are undoubtedly a thousand little questions floating around up in the air. We will try to answer some of the more common ones here.
Q: My wife and I went through mediation, and we collaborated and signed an agreement that is beneficial to both of us in every way. Do I still need to be at the final hearing?
A: Yes. Florida law states that a petitioner is always required to be present for their final hearing.
Q: My wife and I have been separated for over 3 years. Am I still required to get a Marital Settlement Agreement, and if so, what should I do if she refuses to sign it?
A: A signed Marital Settlement Agreement is required for a simple dissolution of marriage (no children/pregnancies, both parties agree on property division) or any sort of uncontested divorce. If you do not (or are not able to) obtain a signed form, you will have to proceed with a contested divorce.
Q: I really want to file an uncontested divorce, but I am unable to track down my spouse. Do I have any options?
A: Unfortunately, if you are unable to track down your spouse, you will be unable to file an uncontested divorce (as both parties’ cooperation is required). You will still be able to file for a divorce, but you will have to put in a good-faith search for your spouse first. That usually requires you to put out a notice in a local newspaper, contact all friends and family members who might have any information as to their whereabouts, and make sure you document everything. You will need to prove to the court who you contacted, when you contacted them, how long you were in contact, and what was discussed.
Q: When will my divorce be final?
A: Once the judge signs the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. It’s quite possible for 2 individuals, who their respective friends and family would call “the nicest, most honorable person in the whole world,” to get locked together in a bitter divorce proceeding.
You could even be one of those individuals, and you could have every facet of the moral high ground supporting you. You could have everyone you know, including your spouse’s friends/family, backing you up with emotional support.
However, the judge does not know that, and given your limited interactions with the judge, they will likely never know that. All the judge knows is what is in the filing, and unless it is specifically spelled-out for a valid reason, an individual’s character is relatively unimportant.
That is why it is critical to put everything down on paper. Ask as many questions as you possibly can (especially when signing documents), fact-check every single thing you are told (especially when coming from your spouse), and do not expect anyone to see things from your perspective.
This often seems to be particularly tricky when you are trying for a cooperative divorce, but it’s really not. It is one thing to treat your spouse with civility, and quite another to blindly accept every word they say. You can still work together while you keep a cool, wary distance. The alternative is to get embroiled in a nasty, heated battle which will benefit no one. Just remember, divorce is a very serious event, with life-altering consequences, so take nothing on blind faith, and double (maybe even triple) check everything you can.
The court will not see things from your perspective, but if you and your attorney work together, you should be able to spell the situation out in language that any judge could understand.