Candance Parker, WNBA star, settles alimony with one-time payment

Those who play professional sports are likely accustomed to having their private lives exposed to media scrutiny. As such, when these individuals seek a divorce, the settlement details, including any alimony agreements, often become public knowledge. Florida fans who follow basketball news may have been surprised when WNBA star Candace Parker was ordered to make alimony payments to her former spouse.

Parker reportedly made a decision to offer her former spouse of 10 years, Shelden Williams, a one-time lump payment of approximately $400,000 rather than make regular payments over the designated period of time. Because Williams was a star player for the NBA, fans may have been surprised that Parker, whose net worth was estimated to be around $2 million, was ordered to make such payments. Her former husband reportedly earned approximately $12 million during his career.

Other terms of their divorce settlement included dividing the assets from the sale of the couple’s home, which was recently sold for approximately $3.75 million. The couple also agreed to a joint child custody plan for their 8-year-old child. Neither parent was ordered to make child support payments as they purportedly agreed to share the expenses of raising their daughter.

It is unknown why Parker was ordered to make alimony payments, though fans of Williams reportedly supported the decision. There were no details released concerning the amount of monthly support Parker would have been required to pay if she had not arranged to make the one-time payment. Florida residents who are seeking a divorce of their own may have many questions regarding the financial aspects of any settlement agreements. In order to secure the best agreement possible, residents may be best served by consulting with an experienced family law attorney who can provide valuable insight and guidance throughout the entire process.

Source: atlantablackstar.com, “Why WNBA Star Candace Parker Is Paying Husband Alimony“, Kiersten Willis, April 20, 2018

If these occur in marriage; prepare for property division talks

There is no disputing that relationships are hard work, especially as time goes by. According to one researcher, if certain behaviors are occurring in a marriage, they may indicate that property division discussions will be occurring in the not too distant future. Some Florida residents who are dealing with any of these issues may already be considering how to end their marriages.

Every couple argues from time to time. According to one researcher who has spent four decades studying communication in relationships, the presence of certain behaviors during disputes may be a strong indication that a divorce is in the future. What may be surprising to many is that these behaviors are not usually seen as outwardly aggressive, yet they still play a significant role in the demise of relationships. 

The four strongest predictors of communication breakdown are the cold shoulder, contempt, defensiveness and criticism.

Of these four, shutting one’s partner out may be the hardest to overcome, as the injured party often feels emotionally alone in the relationship. There are suggestions that may help overcome this reaction, though it may take self-control and an ability to seek other forms of emotional control before engaging in difficult discussions. There are coping mechanisms that couples can employ when attempting to overcome the urge to stonewall each other during certain conversations.

Unfortunately, if these behaviors have become entrenched in everyday interactions, then it may signal that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Florida residents who have come to the realization that a divorce is their best option may benefit from seeking the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can help them through all steps of the divorce process, including property division, so that they can better focus on moving toward a brighter future. 

If not carefully crafted, prenuptial agreements may not be valid

Regardless of their level of wealth, any couple intending to marry may benefit from pre-marital contracts that are meant to safeguard loved ones or those assets not intended for division in the event of a divorce. When couples decide that prenuptial agreements may play an important role in protecting certain assets, it is helpful to ensure that these documents are correctly written. Florida residents may be surprised to learn that there are times when divorce courts may not enforce an existing agreement.

In order for the courts to enforce an existing agreement, it is vital that both parties are fully aware of all of the assets that may be included. If it is determined that one partner attempted to conceal certain assets from the other, or failed to fully disclose all assets, then a court may find that the document is invalid. Other factors that may make these documents useless include coercing a spouse to sign or if either party does not read fully read or understand the document.

In addition, if a prenup contains provisions that would be grossly unfair to the other party or if either spouse did not retain his or her own legal advisor, then the agreement may not be upheld. Likewise, if the contract deliberately attempts to leave a former spouse without financial support or intends to circumnavigate state laws, then a judge will most likely overrule the contract. Lastly, if the contract is not a recognized legal contract, then it will not be considered a valid document.

In most circumstances, couples will draft prenuptial agreements in an effort to safeguard certain family assets or to provide resources for children from a previous relationship. Couples do not need to have numerous assets in order to seek the protections these documents can provide. Florida residents who are interested in drafting these types of contracts would benefit from seeking guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

Source: Forbes, “How To ‘Bust’ Prenuptial Agreements“, Russ Alan Prince, April 4, 2018

Pit bulls: when lawyers want to fight

There are lawyers and then there are lawyers. Which one is right for you depends on what type of legal issue you face and how you want to go about facing it. If you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney, hire a pit bull. But if you want a low-stress, amicable Florida divorce, hiring a golden retriever is a far better choice.

If you have ever owned a golden retriever, however, you know that just because (s)he smiles a lot and generally behaves in a laid-back manner does not mean that (s)he is a wimp. (S)he is, in fact, a strong powerful dog who can hold his or her own with anyone and anything and will protect you and your kids to the death. It is to your advantage if your divorce lawyer has similar characteristics.

Collaborative divorce

More and more divorcing couples nowadays seek to end their marriage in a reasonable, respectful and cooperative manner rather than in a stereotypical nasty drawn-out court battle. If you and your spouse share this desire, perhaps the most important thing you can do is hire attorneys who are completely on board with the purpose and goals of collaborative divorce.

What are the purpose and goals? To give you and your spouse the opportunity to maintain control over your own lives by resolving your own differences in a nonthreatening, respectful and cooperative out-of-court setting. In collaborative divorce both you and your spouse hire your own attorney to attend the negotiation meetings with you and be right by your side to protect your interests.

Choosing the right attorney

Obviously, not only must you and your spouse cooperate with each other, your respective attorneys also must cooperate with each other. They must be part of the solution, not exacerbate the issues that you and your spouse are attempting to resolve. All four of you must work together.

Always remember that attorneys are people, too. As such, not every attorney is cut out to be a collaborative divorce lawyer. Zealously representing a client does not necessarily equate to militantly representing him or her. The attorney you choose to guide you through the collaborative divorce process should be well aware of the difference and act accordingly.

 

Property division in divorce also pertains to marital debts

Though the divorce rate has declined slightly in recent years, there may still be a 40 to 50 percent chance that a marriage will end in divorce. When it comes to property division, how assets are divided often depends on the state where one lives. Florida is an equitable distribution state and that also pertains to how debts will be addressed.

In an equitable distribution state, the court will work to ensure that debts are divided as fairly as possible in the absence of a prior agreement. One of the most common types of marital debt is a mortgage for which there are options available to settle this matter. If the home is titled in both names, then one spouse may choose to retain ownership and seek to refinance the debt in his or her name. The former spouse could either be bought out or a home equity loan could be obtained to pay the former spouse. The home could also be sold and the profits divided.

Credit card debt could be divided equally if the account was a joint account, or the parties could seek to have the debt split into separate accounts. These debts could also be handled between the spouses privately according to a separation agreement. Auto loans and student debts are two other types of debts that may be subject to division — even if the debt was obtained by only one partner.

One of the main reasons why couples may be best served by dividing debts through a settlement agreement is to ensure that one party does not become liable for payments due to default by the other spouse. If a former spouse willfully breaches the settlement, then he or she could be found in contempt. Florida residents who are planning to divorce may seek the advice of an experienced attorney in order to reach the most equitable property division agreement.

Source: wisebread.com, “What Happens to Debt After Divorce?“, Holly Johnson, March 30, 2018