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Those in a high asset divorce benefit from having focused goals

No matter the individual circumstances, a divorce is seldom a process that anyone joyfully anticipates. However, those who will be enduring a high asset divorce often face complexities that the majority of divorcing couples will not have to unravel. Florida residents who are preparing for a high net worth divorce may benefit from having clear priorities. 

Recently, the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, issued a joint statement concerning their intention to divorce. The former couple announced their hopes for an amicable parting that would permit them to remain parents and partners while allowing them to pursue a new life as individuals. Though their intentions are sound and admirable, the realities involved in a high asset divorce often make for a contentious split, unless the parties are able to focus on their priorities and are willing to compromise.

Mediation or collaboration: What are the differences?

If you and your spouse are like most Florida couples contemplating divorce, neither of you likely looks forward to a protracted court battle. 

If you seek a more amicable divorce approach, you may consider either mediation or collaboration. Both give you and your spouse the opportunity to resolve your own differences and issues yourselves rather than leaving important post-divorce decisions up to a judge. While similar, mediation and collaboration are two distinct processes. Here's how they differ:

Creative thinking may help when it comes to property division

The prospect of getting married and then divorced later in life may seem daunting.  However, with age comes the experience to find creative solutions to problems that a younger person may not consider. In many situations, when it comes to property division, Florida residents may be able to work out a solution that will enable them to still achieve their dreams. 

No matter how old one is when he or she chooses to marry, he or she hopes that it will last. Unfortunately, a marriage may become unsustainable, and then a divorce becomes the best option. When a couple sits down to work out a settlement agreement, they may discover that they are no longer able to afford the upkeep on the marital home. Under these circumstances, many will choose to either sell the house and split the proceeds, or one spouse will attempt to refinance. 

Tips on having conversations about prenuptial agreements

No one is dreaming about a divorce on their wedding day. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and whether a marriage ends in divorce or death, it will eventually end. Florida residents who are concerned about their financial security when that happens may need the protections offered by prenuptial agreements.

The idea of bringing up the topic of a prenup may feel like the perfect way to damage a fledgling relationship. However, family law professionals suggest that this is a conversation that should happen early in the relationship. If one is worried how a partner will react, it may help to bring it up in a casual manner, such as avoiding a nightmare dissolution that a friend or relative may have endured. In addition, it may be helpful to stress how much conflict these contracts can alleviate, since the major issues concerning finances will be addressed ahead of time.

Ex-husband chooses jail over payment after high asset divorce

Those who have amassed considerable assets during their lifetime may have concerns about entering into a marriage. In the event that the relationship becomes unsustainable, it is possible that an individual could face significant losses if he or she is ordered to pay a former spouse in the aftermath of a high asset divorce. Florida residents who are preparing for a dissolution may have many concerns about protecting their financial well-being in the future.

According to one former wife's account, her ex-husband elected to remain in jail rather than pay an $18 million settlement. The 82-year-old man reportedly fled the country after the divorce judgement was announced in an apparent effort to avoid paying his ex-wife. He was arrested after he had returned to the country for a relative's college graduation. He has been in jail for the past several months after alleging that he does not have the financial resources to either post bail or pay his former wife.

Prenuptial agreements can be valuable tool for a 'gray' marriage

Though the overall divorce rate is declining, that is not true for those aged 50 and older. The divorce rate for older couples has increased significantly and is referred to as a 'gray' divorce. In Florida and elsewhere, many of these divorced individuals are choosing to remarry, and many may benefit from signing prenuptial agreements before walking down the aisle gain. 

Those who remarry later in life have unique concerns. Retirement needs and ensuring that both their new spouse -- as well as their children from a previous marriage -- will be cared for after they are gone are likely their primary concerns. A well-drafted prenup can ease these worries while allowing for an easier blending of the two families once the financial aspects have been addressed.

Navigating Florida's property division laws in divorce

The decision to marry is often based on emotions. Unfortunately, when a marriage ends, the matter of determining which spouse gets which assets cannot be based on emotions as this would likely result in an unfair agreement. In order to protect each party, Florida has specific laws regarding property division during the settlement proceedings.

While there are a handful of states that are community property states where the assets and property that are accumulated during a marriage are considered jointly owned and are therefore usually divided in half, the majority of states subscribe to the equitable distribution policy. This means that a court will strive to ensure that the division is equitable, though not necessarily equal. In order to arrive at an equitable split, the court will take several factors into consideration.

3 myths about men's rights during divorce

Going through the divorce process is scary no matter who you are. If you are nervous about divorcing your spouse, then it helps to learn about what the process is like in Florida so that nothing takes you by surprise. 

Many men worry about divorce because they believe they will lose everything, especially if they are the primary breadwinner. Many myths have popped up about how courts treat men in divorce. The truth of the matter, particularly these days, is that both spouses receive the same treatment. 

Well-written prenuptial agreements fulfill multiple purposes

A couple need not be a celebrity or come from a wealthy family in order to employ a marital contract before exchanging their vows. While there may be a few engaged Florida residents who will not necessarily need prenuptial agreements, chances are that more couples would benefit from having a well-drafted contract in place. There are likely many couples who could derive peace of mind from a prenup if a marriage does not survive.

It is recommended that older couples and those with children from a previous relationship have a prenup in order to protect the rights of their children or those of an aging or ailing spouse. If either or both spouses have ownership in a business or hold a professional license, these contracts provide much needed protection during a divorce settlement. Likewise, if either spouse is involved in the public or entertainment sector, then these contracts can prove to be a means of preserving one's reputation and resources. Furthermore, these contracts can ensure that a wealthier spouse can shield his or her assets while providing for the other in an equitable manner.

Property division in a gray divorce may be even more important

It is never an easy decision to end a marriage, especially after many years together. While the divorce process can be complicated at any age, proceedings that occur after many years of marriage may intensify during property division negotiations. Florida residents who are facing a so-called 'gray' divorce may have many concerns about how it will impact their finances.

One consideration may be whether a spouse may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on their former spouse's earnings. There are rules and conditions that apply, but if there are no impediments, then one may be entitled to receive up to 50 percent of the value of their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. The good news is that the spouse whose work record is relied upon for Social Security will still receive his or her own full benefits. There may also be retirement or pension accounts that are subject to division, and there are rules and procedures that will need to be followed when dividing these particular assets.

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Fort Myers Family Law

Sheldon E. Finman, P.A.
2134 McGregor Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Toll Free: 877-214-3207
Phone: 239-332-4543
Fax: 239-334-7828
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