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Kissimmee Florida Divorce Law Blog

There are many factors to consider when negotiating alimony

There are often two issues that divorcing couples often wait up until the eleventh hour to settle before finalizing the end of their marriage. Child custody and alimony seem to be what couples most often have difficulty reaching an agreement about.

One of the reasons that alimony is so difficult for couples to reach an agreement on is because it ultimately involves one spouse giving up a portion of what they make to support their ex.

Gray divorce and its implications on retirement

The end of your marriage will have a long-reaching impact on various aspects of your life, particularly your financial future. You may have significant concerns about how divorce will affect some of your plans for the future, and these fears can be especially prevalent if you are older. Older couples in Florida and across the country are choosing to divorce later in life.

Many people call this trend gray divorce. This is when a couple near retirement age chooses to end their marriage, often after decades of combined finances and long-term savings efforts. There are often significant assets and wealth at stake, and this can mean a big change in what you had planned for your golden years. While divorce will affect retirement, it is still possible to emerge from this process with a solid financial future intact. 

Student loan debt to blame for 13 percent of divorces

A recent Student Loan Hero study in which 800 recently divorced adults were interviewed about the reasons that their marriages fell apart is quite revealing. At least 13 percent of them claimed that either theirs or their spouse's student loan debt resulted in them heading to divorce court. Another 20 percent blamed the end of the marriage on some other financial issue.

Data published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently shows that the percentage of Americans that have amassed in excess of $50,000 in debt has increased by 300 percent in the past 10 years. The credit reporting agency Experian reports that the average American currently owes just shy of $35,000 in debt, an amount that marks as much as a 60 percent increase over what it was for consumers a decade ago.

Women are often financially surprised, crippled by divorce

A study published by Worthy Living during the final week in July captures how nearly half of all women who get divorced end up being financially surprised as they look to settle their divorces. These surprises aren't the good type of ones either. Instead, they're ones that leave women financially blindsided or crippled.

The researchers polled just under 1,800 women. Each was either seriously considering filing for divorce or in the midst of negotiating a settlement. At least 22 percent of those had settled their divorces and were age 55 or over.

Doing away with alimony tax deductions to affect the wealthy

If you've thought about walking away from your marriage, then the year to do so may be 2018. If you're someone who has a sizable investment portfolio, an executive's salary or other valuable assets, then you'll want to consider how the change in spousal support laws at the end of the year may affect you.

President Donald Trump's new tax reform bill will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Once it does, any spouse ordered to pay alimony will no longer be able to take a tax deduction for his or her payment as he or she has been able to do during previous years.

Who can get permanent alimony?

Florida is one of the few states that allows the awarding of permanent spousal support as part of a divorce settlement. The court does not give it to just anyone, though. Who can get permanent alimony? How is the amount determined?

Permanent alimony is for those individuals who were in long-term marriages and require support coming out of them. The amount awarded depends on a number of factors. What factors will the court look at to determine if permanent alimony is appropriate and how much to award if it is?

There's an order you need to access an ex's retirement account

Splitting up collectibles such as artwork, china, cars, coins often involves an appraiser coming in and assigning a value to the different items. That value is then used to equitably split up such assets between exes. Splitting up investment accounts, a pension plan or IRA account proceeds can be perhaps even more difficult though, especially if former spouses want to avoid having to pay early withdrawal penalties or exorbitant taxes for doing so.

One of the best approaches for dealing with splitting up a 401(k) plan is to have your attorney draw up a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for your ex and your judge to sign off on.

Divorce may stem from these communication habits

Communication issues can ruin a relationship, and studies have linked it repeatedly to divorce. While poor communication may not be as obvious of a cause as infidelity or financial problems, it still causes a lot of couples to split up.

Examples of communication habits that can do this include the following:

  • Your spouse may say all of the right things, but his or her body language does not match those words. For instance, your spouse may say that everything is "fine" while rolling his or her eyes and indicating that nothing is fine.
  • Your spouse may not be authentic. You never know when you're getting the truth. Some people worry about arguments and lie to prevent them, but this just causes long-term tension.
  • Your spouse may constantly talk over you. You find it impossible to get a word in. Whenever you have an important discussion, your spouse just cuts you off and takes over, never giving you a chance to speak.
  • Your spouse may never be polite. It feels like a small thing, but there is a huge difference between saying "Would you please help me clean up a little bit?" and saying "You need to clean up this house." When people are constantly short with each other and have negative interactions, it turns them against one another.
  • Your spouse may act like he or she has to "win" every conversation. You spouse constantly wants to prove you wrong or get you to change your opinion. This turns even minor conversations into arguments.

Divorce stalls retirement and alimony tax deductions end

A study published late last month by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research (CRR) shows that many divorcees may have to buckle up and spend an extra few years in the job market or otherwise plan to live on a lot less money in the future.

Currently, the CRR's National Retirement Risk Index shows that at least half of all Americans have less retirement savings than is projected to be necessary to live on for the rest of their lives. Somewhere around 57 percent of recently divorced individuals have too little saved up to live on in the future.

Do you really need representation by a divorce attorney?

Those just beginning the divorce process often believe they can handle the entire matter without representation. Sometimes, this is true and the two spouses experience few, if any, problems. Other times, however, things fall apart and one or both spouses discover that not seeking counsel was a mistake.

Examples of divorce situations that might not require attorney representation include:

  • Very short marriages
  • Marriages in which no children were born
  • Spouses have very few assets (or none)
  • Complete spousal agreement on most or all divorce elements

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