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Want a fair property division? Consult an attorney early

Once a marriage is showing signs of instability, some may feel that exploring their options is a last resort. However, if one desires an equitable share of the marital assets, consulting with a family lawyer is a prudent step. Florida residents who are concerned about how the property division will affect their future security benefit from seeking guidance sooner rather than later.

Some may feel that consulting with an attorney is akin to giving up on the relationship too soon. However, choosing to get information early can only help in the end, especially once the petition to divorce has been filed. If a couple has children or significant assets, then waiting until the other spouse has contacted a lawyer may be counterproductive. Furthermore, it is recommended that the other partner is not informed about a consultation ahead of time unless the couple has already decided that a mediation approach is the best fit for their situation.

Property division involving a business requires careful planning

A divorce is draining on many resources, especially time, energy and emotions. If the property division will include a family-run business, careful planning is required in order to avoid unpleasant financial repercussions. Florida residents who own a small business have reasons to be concerned over how the divorce will impact their future.

Small business owners make up most of the successful enterprises across the country. As such, those who devised the tax codes have taken steps to ensure that these companies are taxed appropriately. However, the recent changes to the tax code may have many owners worrying about how to avoid possible tax penalties. Determining the accurate value of the business requires that allowable exemptions will not lead to a higher tax rate or that assets are not double valued for support payments. In many cases, it is difficult to separate personal income from business assets.

Collaborative law divorce allows for a more peaceable settlement

When a couple is headed for a divorce, one of the last words that come to mind is peaceful or amiable. In fact, it is often the lack of these two elements that may have played a role in the decision to divorce. However, for Florida residents who wish to avoid much of the hostility of a typical divorce, a collaborative law approach works well.

One impression of the word divorce is a tension-filled courtroom with former spouses ready to do battle over custody and marital assets. While lawyers are willing to fight for their clients' fair share, for many couples, this adversarial approach is unsettling. For those couples for whom compromise is an attainable goal, collaborative law offers an opportunity for the two parties to sit down with the respective attorneys and work out a settlement that meets most of each party's needs.

Tips for reducing conflict during your divorce

It is no surprise that ending your marriage is difficult. In fact, it may be one of the hardest experiences of your life. Breaking up with your spouse can lead to a lot of negative emotions, including anger, sadness, hurt and resentment. 

While it is normal to experience these feelings during your divorce, you should not let them run the show. If controlled by these emotions, your divorce will be full of more conflict. A contentious divorce is not only emotionally unpleasant, but it can drain your finances, too. Here are some tips for reducing conflict during your split.

Prenuptial agreements provide protection in unusual situations

For many engaged couples -- especially those who are older or own considerable assets -- the wedding plans are not complete without certain legal contracts. Prenuptial agreements can ensure that assets are not only protected, but that a spouse will not be treated unfairly in a divorce. No matter the circumstances that may have led to the end of a marriage, these contracts can provide Florida residents with peace of mind if the marriage comes to an end.

Recently, during one high-profile divorce hearing, a judge determined that an existing prenup would be upheld. According to the report, this particular divorce between a newspaper publisher and his wife has been ongoing since 2017. When the couple married in 2010, the prenuptial agreement stipulated that the wife would receive approximately $900,000 if the pair divorced. The husband, Joseph Soldwedel, not only asked the judge to rule that the prenup was invalid but also requested that the marriage be annulled.

Could a collaborative law approach to divorce work for you?

While the decision to marry may be impetuous, filing for divorce requires careful deliberation. The mental picture of the divorce process involves courtrooms and bitter fighting. However, there are various avenues to seeking a divorce, and many Florida residents may find that a collaborative law approach meets their needs.

In general, there are five options to consider when filing for a divorce. One option that might sound appealing but is usually only appropriate for a small number of couples is the do-it-yourself divorce. This is usually only applicable to those spouses who were married for a short time and do not have children or numerous assets. An option that may work better for couples who are able to compromise readily is the mediation method. This involves having a neutral third party assisting spouses as they work out details relating to a settlement, and it can include outside professionals to ensure a fair and equitable solution.

Collaborative divorce versus divorce mediation

People may choose to divorce for a variety of reasons, and sometimes the split is amicable. In such instances, the two parties may not deem it necessary to seek a divorce through the court.

Many divorcing parties appreciate the benefits of alternative divorce options, such as a collaborative divorce or divorce mediation. When choosing between the two, it is important to understand what sets them apart.

A high asset divorce can be exceedingly costly in many ways

Those who are considered to be extraordinarily wealthy attract more than their fair share of media attention. To that end, when a marriage ends, the ensuing high asset divorce typically draws a great deal of attention and speculation from news outlets and social media. Fortunately, for most Florida residents, their privacy will remain intact while they work through the details of their own dissolution.

A divorce is a complicated undertaking no matter the circumstances. There are many important decisions that must be resolved, and if a divorce involves minor children, then it can become even more complex. For wealthy couples who did not have a prenuptial agreement in place, the costs of obtaining a divorce could be devastating. In light of the recent divorce between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his former wife MacKensie, a list was compiled of the most expensive divorce settlements to date.

Prenuptial agreements validity questioned in contested divorces

Years ago, only those with a family legacy were inclined to enter into marital contracts. More recently, more Florida couples are electing to draft prenuptial agreements so that they are in agreement over how to divide property in a divorce. However, there are times these contracts are contested, especially during a contentious divorce.

In 2000, Natalie Maines, known as the lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, married actor Adrian Pasdar. The couple signed a prenup that stipulated property division if their marriage ended. Unfortunately, the couple did eventually file for a divorce, but Pasdar is now contesting the terms of the agreement. According to Pasdar, the terms of the previous agreement would leave him in an impoverished state and unable to meet his expenses and provide for the couple's children.

Take steps to prepare for high asset divorce before marriage

Though not pleasant for engaged couples, discussions involving a possible future divorce are a prudent measure. Approximately half of all marriages end in a divorce, and those who own considerable assets may do well to prepare for a high asset divorce even before the wedding. Florida residents who are concerned about such an eventuality can take steps to ensure their financial security. 

If either party cannot have a serious conversation about the possibility of a divorce, it may indicate that communication problems already exist. When one or both parties own considerable assets, it may be best to enter into either a pre- or post-nuptial agreement.  Ideally, both spouses will be knowledgeable about the property division laws in their state and will set up their finances in the manner best suited to their needs. If either partner owns property, it is recommended that he or she remains separate and that tax and other property related liabilities are maintained under the individual's name.

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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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