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.

If a divorce takes place, retirement savings become part of the property division process. For couples who’ve not taken advantage of a prenuptial agreement, dividing those assets can become a central focus in the divorce process. If the divorce is a contentious one, this can create a stressful scenario for everyone involved.

Deciding how to divide retirement savings in the event of a divorce is a topic best addressed at the onset of a marriage. At that point, both partners have each other’s best interests at heart, and are able to negotiate a division that is fair on both sides. All too often, that is not the same approach taken at the end of a marriage.

Prenuptial agreements are powerful tools that Florida couples can use to safeguard their eventual retirement. For those who are uncertain how to proceed, working with a Florida family law attorney is a great place to begin. That professional can guide couples through various options and help them find a solution that is in line with their current and future needs and goals.

Source: fool.com, “Can Divorce Destroy Your Retirement?“, Wendy Connick, Oct. 13, 2017

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.

Fish’s former wife, Diane Singer, has accused him of not paying any alimony. Over the years, the unpaid money has accumulated to $180,000. He has claimed that the alimony has remained unpaid because his ex-wife has never provided proof of her income, and his income has decreased over the years. To complicate matters, each suffers from their own health problems. Fish claims that he is diagnosed with diabetes and leukemia, and his former wife has partial blindness from brain tumor removals.

Fish’s ex-wife does not believe her former husband’s claims of financial debt due to the vacations and fancy dinners he has chosen to afford. She claims to have been evicted from her home and can no longer work due to her health problems. People in Florida who continue to disagree with their court-ordered alimony will likely benefit from an experienced lawyer to advocate on their behalf throughout court proceedings.

Source: New York Post, “Composer jetted off with new gal pal instead of paying alimony: ex-wife“, Julia Marsh, Oct. 8, 2017

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.

1. Put your kids first

According to Parenting.com, prioritizing your kids and co-parenting is one of the best ways to divorce peacefully. Instead of using your children as pawns or bad-mouthing the other parent to them constantly, think about what is best for them. If you focus on the happiness of your children, it will diffuse tension and help you make healthier decisions. 

2. Do not play the blame game

While one of you may have made a giant mistake recently, you both played roles to get to this place in your life. Do not place all of the blame on your soon-to-be ex-spouse. On the other hand, do not put all the fault on yourself, either. Focus on the future instead of what either of you did to get here.

3. Find healthy outlets for your emotions

Instead of taking out all your anger on your spouse or your kids, find a productive way to express your feelings. You may even consider talking to a therapist. Even just talking to a close friend who is not close to the other parent can help. Try taking up a new hobby or exercising regularly. 

If you think you are willing to follow these three tips, you can be on your way to a cooperative divorce. This will have a much better outcome for you and your family than turning your separation into a warzone. 

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.

The ability to claim Social Security spousal benefits after a divorce will impact some individuals more than others. In some cases, this financial planning approach can make a world of difference in the eventual bottom line in terms of retirement income. Being able to claim spousal benefits allows an individual to postpone claiming against his or her own earnings record. That allows the benefit to grow until he or she reaches the maximum retirement age.

The best way for Florida residents to make a savvy property division strategy is by gaining a thorough understanding of all matters related to both property division and Social Security retirement planning. That is best achieved by working with a trusted family law attorney and a financial professional. Such an approach ensures that no details are overlooked when it comes to creating a fair and favorable property division settlement.

Source: madison.com, “Divorced? Here’s What You Need to Know About Social Security“, Dan Caplinger, Oct. 12, 2017

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.

Most spouses benefit from engaging the services of a financial advisor during this time. That professional can evaluate the full scope of current finances, in addition to identifying goals for the future. With that information in hand, a financial advisor can guide an individual toward investments that are in line with those needs.

Determining one’s level of risk is an important part of that process. As a single person, one’s risk tolerance could be higher or lower than it was during the marriage. A number of factors combine to determine risk tolerance. They include existing debt, the age of one’s children, their own age and projected employment information.

Divorce marks the end of one stage of a Florida resident’s life. However, it is important to keep in mind that divorce is also a doorway to a new future. Achieving financial stability is the best way to support one’s needs and goals, and property division is a critical component. A newly devised investment strategy is a great way to enter the next phase of one’s life.

Source: CNBC, “Financial planning for divorce? It’s not just for women“, Beth Lynch, Oct. 2, 2017