Florida bill addressing alimony may interest residents

Many Florida residents may be interested in potential changes regarding alimony. It was recently reported that a proposed bill regarding alimony has moved forward in the Florida Senate. Apparently, the bill would utilize a formula to determine when spousal support is warranted and when modifications of payments may be allowed. The bill could potentially “remove the emotion” from decisions regarding this support.

One instance in which a modification may be allowed is at the time of retirement. Individuals who have retired may request a change in their support from the court. Of course, some individuals oppose the bill, and one senator stated that, without the bill, individuals would still be able to request modifications at the time of retirement because a significant decrease in income would take place. 

At the same time, it was reported that the bill still allows the court system to have complete discretion when it comes to making decisions regarding modifications. Outcomes would be based on case-by-case circumstances, and the courts do not necessarily have to abide by the parameters of the bill if they feel they are not suited to the cases in question. There are also various previsions in the bill pertaining to income increases and child custody.

If Florida residents are concerned about how this bill could potentially affect their alimony situations, they may wish to stay updated on its progress. Additionally, if individuals feel that they are currently facing issues regarding their spousal support, they may wish to discuss their cases with family law attorneys. Individuals could potentially be able to seek modifications to their payments if they feel the need.

Source: wfsu.com, “A Bill To Reform Alimony Moves Forward In Senate“, Regan McCarthy, Feb. 25, 2016

Why discussing money is essential prior to marriage

One of the biggest challenges for newlyweds is the process of merging their finances. While prenuptial agreements are strongly recommended, even if you opt not to get one, it’s essential to talk about money and to be completely open with your soon-to-be-spouse about your financial situation — particularly all of your debts and financial obligations.

Most couples, no matter how perfectly-matched they are, have some differences in their attitudes toward money. Often these attitudes have been ingrained in them since childhood. It’s no wonder that money is the leading cause of marital strife.

Here are a few key topics to discuss before you walk down the aisle (or if you’re just moving in together, before you take that step):

— Are you going to have joint accounts, separate ones or both? Many couples have a joint account for paying household expenses and making large purchases. However, it’s a good idea to have some money in separate accounts and a credit card in your own name for your protection and just to use as you choose.

— Talk about your financial plans for the future. Are you going to focus on saving for a house and kids or do you have enough discretionary income to splurge on a European vacation? Generally, one person in the couple is better at saving than the other. That can be a problem if you’re on a tight budget or saving for something special. It’s also essential to have an emergency fund in case of a job loss, illness or unforeseen expense.

— Determine how you’re going to handle the debt that you’re bringing into the marriage, including student loans, mortgages and credit cards. Are you going to work to pay it off together or is the person who accumulated it taking full responsibility? If your betrothed is mired in debt, it can impact your credit score as well, so be careful. Responsibility for debt can be spelled out in a prenup.

Having a serious conversation about finances before you wed is a good start. You may determine as you get into the nitty-gritty of money issues that you’d benefit by having a prenuptial agreement in place. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you with this.

Source: ctwatchdog.com, “Valentine’s Day Tips for Merging Finances,” Feb. 11, 2016

Should I consider a social media clause in your prenup?

It doesn’t take much effort to find information about people online. After all, people share more on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter than ever before. With a few clicks of a mouse, we can track down information about just about anyone.

Most people would expect this and understand that what they put on these sites paints a pretty detailed picture of their lives. However, when the pictures they are painting are about others — like an ex — the line between what should and should not be shared can get blurry. Because of this, many people have started to include social media clauses in prenuptial agreements.

Social media clauses basically work to limit the damage that can be done when people end a marriage and no longer have an interest in protecting each other. If you are getting divorced, then you may actually find yourself tempted to spill your ex’s dirty secrets, bad habits or hurtful statements made over the years on Facebook just to hurt that person.

Technically, this would be quite simple. Put up the information on social media and it becomes instantly available to followers, friends and/or strangers. However, doing so could have legal and financial repercussions, particularly if you addressed this in a prenup. 

In order to stop protect each other’s online reputation, couples are including clauses limiting what can and cannot be disclosed on social media. This information, called “Protected Information,” can be detailed in the prenup as well as the consequences for violations.

However, if and how these clauses can be enforced depends heavily on factors like state laws and whether the prenup itself is even enforceable. 

Social media is not going away any time soon and people continue to evolve in how we use it. Users already take steps to protect themselves from threats like hackers, cyber bullies and spammers, but it may also be wise to consider your options for protecting yourself from the bitterness and angry rants of an ex.

Discussing your legal options for how you may be able to do this with your attorney can help you gain some peace of mind in knowing that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself.

Source: Forbes, “Changing Your Relationship Status This Valentine’s Day? Consider A Social Media Clause,” Jeff Landers, Feb. 9, 2016

Protecting yourself after marriage with a post-nuptial agreement

Addressing the financial aspects of a divorce is something that many people prefer to avoid until the time comes when it becomes necessary. They think that if they make plans and set rules for ownership and division of assets, it is a sign that they are not confident in a marriage. However, the truth is making these plans by signing a prenuptial agreement is not an indication of anything other than an interest in protecting individual financial interests.

Another misconception is that if you don’t sign a prenuptial agreement, you will have no options to make these financial determinations later on. However, the fact is if you don’t have a prenup, you can still complete a post-nuptial agreement after marriage, which can serve the same purpose.

A post-nuptial agreement can be created at any time after a couple gets married and before they divorce. There are specific requirements that must be met in order for these documents to be valid and enforceable so it is wise to have an attorney help you figure out the proper steps you need to take to create and review these legal documents.

People consider post-nuptial agreements for a number of reasons after marriage. In some cases, the financial status of spouses has changed considerably over the years and one or both people want to clearly define ownership of assets and debts. If one spouse decides to stay at home with the kids and steps away from the workforce, a post-nuptial agreement can reset financial expectations for after a potential divorce.

It should be noted that many people do create a post-nuptial agreement if their marriage is on the rocks. As this ABC News article points out, it can provide some peace of mind knowing that both people are still committed to a marriage, or it can act as a safety net if efforts to reconcile are unsuccessful.

Whatever reasons you may have for considering a post-nuptial agreement, it can be crucial that you explore your options with an attorney. With legal guidance, you can find solutions that help you protect yourself, your finances and your future.