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Prenuptial agreements could aid in promoting open discussions

Marital contracts used to be a tool reserved for the wealthy and famous. However, even the average couple could potentially benefit from entering into more simplified types pf prenuptial agreements. Though Florida is an equitable distribution state, residents who have a prenup in place will have already settled most of the property division upfront.

For most people, the beginning of a relationship is an exciting time. Unfortunately, the end of one can be a draining ordeal. Fights over insignificant items can lead to increased animosity and expense. A prenup can help alleviate these types of arguments as questions over separate property and spousal support may have already been settled. Though couples may feel that an open discussion concerning assets and liabilities before a marriage would be awkward, these types of discussions may allow each partner to begin the relationship with more confidence.

Better communication helpful in marriage and collaborative law

Most people assume that a family law attorney is focused on ensuring that his or her client receives the most equitable settlement possible. Though this is the main role of these professionals, there are times when one may work to help couples find healthier ways to communicate, whether within the structure of a marital relationship or during a divorce. Florida residents who are headed for a divorce but wish to avoid the acrimony that accompanies a traditional process may find that a collaborative law divorce is a less-stressful option.

One divorce attorney who has struggled to help his clients work through a contentious divorce has come up with an idea that he hopes may help a struggling couple avoid filing for a divorce. He developed conversation starting cards that may enable spouses to talk about topics outside of the usual conversations concerning children and finances. The cards include an activity that the developer describes as intended to spark deeper conversations while the couple are out for an evening alone.

How one is compensated can have impact on property division

In today's employment market, there are many forms of compensation. While this is not an issue most of the time, during a divorce, different forms of compensation can affect the property division negotiations. Florida residents who are preparing to file for a dissolution may benefit from reviewing all of their assets. 

For those who earn a straight salary, the division of marital assets will likely be fairly simple. Those whose pay includes non-traditional forms of compensation may need to time their divorce filing carefully, or ensure that the terms for dividing assets will not lead to some assets being over-valued. Some payments that may need careful consideration are bonuses that include a "claw-back" provision. These are bonuses paid upon employment but which could be subject to repayment if one loses employment due to under-performance or other employee-performance reasons. When these bonuses are counted as marital assets, there may need to be provisions that will ensure a spouse will also have to re-pay his or her portion of these monies.

Property division in divorce often difficult prospect for spouses

The end of a marriage is filled with many conflicting emotions and important decisions. While child custody is often the most important matter for parents, property division is a topic that can lead to considerable conflict. Florida residents who are divorcing likely have a number of questions regarding this important issue.

The family home where children were raised is often a central focus of divorce proceedings. Does it matter if a home is titled in only one spouse's name? If the home is a marital asset, as opposed to the separate property of one party, the name on the title usually does not matter. If one spouse is insisting a home be sold, negotiations can center on whether one spouse can buy out the other spouse's interest in the equity.

4 potential emotional benefits of collaborative divorce

Few relationships in life are more important than husband and wife. While you may have fond memories of your wedding day and the years that followed it, some marriages end in divorce. How you approach your divorce likely makes a difference in your mental state. 

When thinking about dissolving your marriage, you are virtually certain to face a variety of emotions. In fact, some experts liken emotions tied to divorce to dealing with the death of a loved one. While there is often no shortcut when working through emotions, choosing a collaborative divorce may help you better manage your feelings. Here are four potential emotional benefits of collaborative divorce: 

High asset divorce can be significantly different than others

No matter one's income bracket, when a relationship ends, there is often emotional and mental fallout. However, when the couple involved are headed for a high asset divorce, the nature of the process may be much different than one between average-earning couples. Florida residents who are preparing for a divorce will likely benefit from the assistance offered by professionals.

When couples with modest means file for divorce, the process may get bogged down in the details of property division. Since there may be fewer assets, the need for an equitable split becomes more pressing. For those with a high net worth, the issue of an equitable division becomes less important. Instead, tax advantages and deciding how best to value rare collectibles and divide stock holdings may take more time and finesse. Those who have vast holdings and assets owned through shell companies may find the proceedings to be much more complicated.

Need to keep divorce costs down? Collaborative law might help

The number of "gray" divorces has continued to climb. Unfortunately, the costs of dissolving a marriage later in life can be a significant factor in the decision to file a petition for divorce. Though Florida residents who are preparing for a divorce after a lengthy marriage may worry about the costs, there are ways to reduce the expense, including choosing a collaborative law approach.

It is estimated that a divorce for those aged 50 and older may run about $50,000 to $100,000. There are ways that spouses can cut these costs significantly. One of the first is to try to avoid the courtroom trial approach. There are other ways to seek a divorce that can help cap the expenses, depending on a particular situation. Those who can work cooperatively through separate attorneys may find that a collaborative law method can keep costs to a minimum compared to a trial divorce.

Changes in tax laws may bring surprises to those who pay alimony

Last year, changes were made to the Internal Revenue Code, some of which took effect in 2019. One of the most debated changes involves alimony tax rules. Now that the changes are in place, Florida residents may be in for a few surprises when they file their 2019 taxes next year.

Up until last year, spouses who were ordered to make alimony or spousal maintenance payments to a former -- or soon-to-be former -- spouse could deduct the amounts paid from their income for tax purposes. Furthermore, recipient spouses were required to include these monies as income on their own taxes. Starting Jan. 1, 2019, the paying spouse can no longer take a deduction, and the recipient spouse is no longer required to report these payments as income.

Prenuptial agreements growing trend among millennials

When a marriage ends, one of the most difficult tasks is deciding how to divide marital assets. In the past, the majority of couples would choose to pool their assets once they married in order to meet their shared goals as a couple. However, younger couples are electing to keep assets separate in the hope of avoiding the difficulty of dividing them. In reality, one of the best ways for Florida residents about to marry to protect their assets is to enter into prenuptial agreements.

According to recent financial surveys, spouses are seeking to avoid the animosity of property division negotiations by choosing to deposit their individual assets into separate accounts in addition to a joint household account when marrying. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that assets will be considered separate should the marriage end. Likewise, keeping property in just one name also will not prevent such property from being declared marital property in a divorce. 

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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
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