Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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Kissimmee Florida Divorce Law Blog

Adultery and divorce in Florida

As a nation, we all must face the fact that people cheat on one another in a relationship far too often. If a couple is unmarried, it is often easier to make a clean split when adultery breaks the relationship irreparably. However, when a couple is married, cheating may complicate the relationship as well as the divorce.

A betrayal of intimacy in any form is devastating and has the power to destroy a relationship. If the couple cannot overcome adultery, divorce may be the logical next step. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that neither party bears fault in the eyes of the law. However, the betrayed often needs to hold the alleged cheater to account in some way. Doing so promotes healing and empowers the wronged spouse to move on with life.

When is it important to establish paternity?

As an unmarried father in Florida, you may know that it can sometimes be difficult to protect your role in the life of your child. Many parents who were unmarried at the time of the child's birth find that they are able to work together to provide stability and security for their child through mutual agreement. However, verbal agreements do not always work, and it may be necessary to take specific steps to protect your rights as a father.

In some cases, whether because you want to fight for regular access to your children or you want to provide security for your children, it may be necessary to legally establish paternity. Matters pertaining to the establishment of paternity can be complex, but you may find it beneficial to seek experienced guidance as you walk through this process.

Looking for hidden assets in a high-asset divorce

You may already realize this, but divorce can bring out the worst in even the most reasonable people. When you add wealth or valuable assets to this already potent mix, the entire situation may devolve into absolute chaos.

As family law attorneys, we cannot say with any authority why a person would try to hide assets during the property division process. We can only say that it happens more than you might think while offering a few tips to help you uncover these assets.

  1. During property division, each party must disclose information about their assets. Obviously, if a spouse discloses nothing, it is a sure bet he or she is lying. Most people do make voluntary disclosures so it falls upon you to look over these disclosures carefully to detect omissions, errors or falsifications. Your divorce attorney can be a big help in finding such discrepancies.
  2. If you suspect that your spouse has failed to disclose all of his or her assets, you can have your lawyer make a formal request for information. The request can center on specific financial information or general information. Your spouse is required to respond to this request within a specified time frame and must answer truthfully while providing applicable documentation.
  3. The third tip is to seek professional assistance to uncover hidden assets. Most attorneys experienced with high-asset divorce are an excellent resource in this endeavor. You and your lawyer may also consider working with a forensic accountant to ensure all finances are disclosed for accurate property division.

This is what divorce judges might tell you if they could

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you were able to have a counseling session with the judge presiding over your divorce? You might be able to find out some tips for achieving the outcome you desire in your case. Unfortunately, this is not possible because your judge is an objective party in all divorces. Speaking so candidly with either spouse would be unethical and wrong.

The good news is that you can hear some of the things your judge might say while communicating with your lawyer. Attorneys and judges share similar knowledge about divorce in general, courtroom conduct and other important family law matters. Following is some advice that a divorce judge might offer if it were permitted.

Situations in which annulment is an option in Florida

Those who are contemplating the end of a marriage understand that divorce is the most common option. Divorce ends the marriage in the eyes of the law, leaving both spouses free to embark on a new chapter of their lives. What many Florida residents may not know is that a marriage annulment may also be an option, although it is much less common than divorce.

Annulment is not possible in all situations. However, in the interest of being fully prepared to end your marriage, it is a good idea to learn more. For example, an annulment can only be used if the marriage was legally invalid in the first place. Below are descriptions of circumstances in which an annulment may apply.

A lawyer's perspective on waiving alimony in a prenup

Prenuptial agreements are valuable when it comes to protecting one's personal assets in a marriage. Couples can use this tool to identify and address financial matters that often complicate a divorce if your marriage ends. You can include items in a prenup such as:

  • Identifying separate property and marital property
  • Detailing how your marital property will be distributed
  • Defining each spouse's marital responsibilities
  • Stipulating that inheritances or family heirlooms remain with your family

When assisting couples with premarital agreements, we hear one question repeatedly: Can we waive our rights to alimony in a prenup? In Florida, the general answer to this question is yes as defined in Chapter 61, Section 79 of the state's Civil Practice and Procedure statutes.

Can alimony wage garnishments apply to Social Security?

You know that wages can be garnished to pay alimony. For instance, if your spouse was ordered to pay you $1,500 per month and fails to do so, that money can be taken from his or her paycheck and directed on to you. By working with employers, the government ensures that employees have to pay what they owe under current court orders. The same thing may be used for child support payments.

But what about Social Security benefits? Can those also be garnished after failure to pay child support or alimony?

Changes to the tax plan could mean changes for Florida divorces

Divorce is a complex process, and the decisions that Florida couples make during this time will impact their lives for years to come. There are financial ramifications to the choices you may have to make in your divorce, such as which spouse should keep the family home or how much alimony you may be able to receive.

There are new tax laws that will be effective in 2018 and 2019, and some of these changes could impact Florida divorces. If you were waiting for the New Year to divorce, you may find it beneficial to learn how some of these changes could have a real impact on your divorce and your post-divorce life. It's wise to make decisions that are not only smart in your present situation, but will also allow you stability in the future as well.

In what circumstances are mental illnesses an issue in divorce?

A marriage is often a complex relationship. Many issues affect whether a marriage is successful or whether it is destined for divorce court. Some of these issues include financial instability, infidelity and differing religious beliefs. Another issue that may affect the success of marriage is mental illness.

It can be extremely difficult to cope when a spouse suffers from such an illness. At the same time, the person who is ill may feel that he or she has become a burden to the other spouse. In nearly all cases, the presence of a mental illness adds stress and anxiety to marriage.

Why choose mediation for property division?

When you are facing the end of your marriage, you likely have concerns about how this step will impact your financial future in Florida. While it will certainly affect your finances, there are ways that you can pursue a settlement that allows you to have stability and security long into the future. One of ways that you can do this is to choose to mediate your divorce rather than opt for traditional divorce litigation. 

Mediation can be a beneficial option for many reasons, but it can be particularly useful for couples facing a high-asset divorce. Mediating a property division settlement instead of fighting it out in court can lead to a better, more beneficial and more sustainable settlement.

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