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Prenuptial agreements: Some include more than financial agreement

Some Florida couples decide to make decisions about their marriages before they begin. Some may choose to legally bind the decisions in a prenuptial agreement. Not only do prenuptial agreements allow couples to make financial decisions before a marriage begins, but some agreements also include stipulations about sexual and romantic decisions, family boundaries, and financial responsibility decisions while married.

Some celebrity couples have made specific clauses in their prenuptial agreements that involve more than their finances. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are reportedly worth $74.5 billion and reportedly agreed on a romantic clause prior to their marriage. They agreed to one date a week and 100 minutes of alone time outside of their home and work. Nicole Kidman was aware of her husband's struggle with alcohol and drugs prior to their marriage. Reportedly, Keith Urban will receive $600,000 for every year that he does not excessively indulge in either vice.

Republican tax plan could cut alimony deduction

Many Florida spouses are carefully watching the progression of the Republican tax plan. There are numerous controversial aspects of the plan, but one that has sparked debate involves the elimination of the alimony tax deduction. That could change the financial landscape for hundreds of thousands of Americans, which is an unwelcome change in many households.

Currently, the spouse who is tasked with making alimony payments is able to deduct those payments from his or her taxable income. The recipient, on the other hand, is required to claim alimony payments as income and expected to pay the appropriate taxes. This differs from child support, which is tax neutral in either direction.

3 questions to ask before starting a divorce

In your anxiousness to be free of your spouse and make the process as quick as possible, you may want to jump right into a divorce. However, simply knowing you both want a divorce is not enough to begin the process.

The approach you take will set the tone not only for your divorce proceedings, but also for the years after. Therefore, it is wise to sit down and ask yourself, as well as your spouse, these three questions first.

Proposed tax plan could reduce alimony deduction

As Florida residents debate the recently proposed GOP tax cuts, they may want to take a close look at the provisions within the proposal. One of the ways that Republican lawmakers plan to pay for tax cuts is by eliminating the tax deduction for alimony payments. That can make a big difference in the bottom line for many Americans.

Currently, individuals who make alimony payments are able to reduce their taxable income dollar for dollar. If that tax deduction is eliminated, estimates suggest that the government will gain nearly $8 billion over the next 10 years. That could change the negotiation tactics used in divorce cases across the nation.

Collaborative law can be a great fit for Florida families

Many Florida couples are looking for a non-traditional path to ending their marriage. Long gone are the days when divorce followed a very narrow path. Today's couples have many choices when it comes to processing the end of a marriage, including collaborative law. This approach harnesses the best intentions of both parties toward seeking a mutually beneficial settlement.

Collaboration is also a great fit for parents, who can begin to construct their co-parenting relationship as they navigate the ins and outs of their divorce. With the shared goal of making the situation as beneficial as possible for shared children, couples can often resolve issues with far less contention than in a traditionally litigated divorce. This can lead to outcomes that are better for everyone involved.

Prenuptial agreements can stave off retirement disaster

Many Florida residents aren't thinking about retirement as they plan to walk down the aisle, but perhaps they should. Planning ahead is the best way to reach one's goals, whether in regard to a long and happy marriage or a secure and stable retirement. When it comes to the risk of divorce, those two goals are closely connected. Prenuptial agreements are tools that couples can use to ensure that both parties are able to comfortably retire even if their marriage should end in divorce.

Many people enter into marriage having already set aside significant sums of money in retirement accounts. For some couples, both spouses will work through the duration of the marriage, taking advantage of various retirement savings options as the years go by. Over time, the value of those accounts can and should rise considerably.

Trial scheduled for couple's argument over unpaid alimony

Any Florida couple that has been through a divorce knows that it is a difficult experience. For some couples, the finalization of a divorce does not signify the end of marital turmoil. Many couples continue to argue in family law court years after divorce over disagreements of child custody or alimony. One couple in another state has an upcoming trial to settle their alimony disagreement.

The man, Peter Fish, is an Emmy-winning composer who has written music for many television shows, and according to his ex-wife, he still is paid to compose. Although he claims that he is no longer financially successful, court records indicate that composing was a lucrative career for him in years' past. Due to his recorded income the year the couple's divorce was finalized, his wife was awarded $6,000 a month. Her court-ordered alimony would be adjusted according to her income.

3 tips for divorcing peacefully

Believe it or not, divorce does not need to be an all-out war. You may love the idea of divorcing amicably, but you probably think it is impossible. While a peaceful divorce may not be achievable for everyone, if you put in the effort and are committed to your family, you can make your divorce easier than you originally thought. 

But how do you actually split up with your spouse without nasty fights and never-ending bitterness? Here are some tips to divorce far more peacefully than you could imagine.

Factoring Social Security into property division decision-making

Most Florida residents will tell you that it is never too early to begin planning for retirement. That is especially true for spouses who are going through divorce. The decisions made during the property division process will shape the income of both parties for many years to follow. One financial planning matter that is often overlooked is the impact that divorce will have on each spouse's Social Security benefits.

Many people are unaware that, if their marriage lasted for 10 years or more, they may be entitled to claim Social Security benefits against the employment record of a former spouse. That is true even if the former spouse remarried, or predeceases the spouse making the claim. Best of all, such a claim has absolutely no impact on the other party's ability to access his or her own Social Security benefits, or to share spousal privileges with a new partner.

Property division creates need for new investment planning

During a divorce, far too many Florida residents focus on the money they are losing rather than the money they are gaining. While divorce does entail the division of marital wealth, each individual walks away from the property division process with a share of those assets. That money can be reinvested in a manner that is best for each individual. In this way, property division creates a need for investment planning.

In many cases, a spouse has a completely different set of financial needs after a divorce has taken place. Restructuring the way that one handles income, savings, debt and investments is all part of preparing for the future. Creating a plan for investing the proceeds of the property division process should be a top priority.

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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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