Collaborative law worth considering for many divorces

The prospect of seeking a divorce likely comes with visions of protracted court battles and significant expenses. For some couples, there may be another option through collaborative law. While this is not the most common divorce option, it is a viable option for many Florida residents.

There has been a push in some areas of the country to make a collaborative divorce more available to those couples for whom it would be most suitable. It is an approach that requires each spouse to be able to communicate openly and find ways to compromise. Each side has an attorney, but the effort is on working together to find a fair and comprehensive solution to all material family law issues.  

When there are minor children involved, a professional who is experienced in providing neutral evaluations of children’s needs can offer guidance in creating a suitable parenting agreement. Financial consultants can provide assistance in obtaining an agreeable monetary settlement. The cost of working through this type of divorce is usually considerably less than going through the court system.

If at any point during the process communications between the parties break down, either one can decide to seek a more traditional divorce. However, if the couple chooses to take the issue to court, then both would need to seek new legal representation. The attorneys that handle these types of alternative dispute resolution proceedings are described as less aggressive in their approach and focus on making the process less adversarial. Florida residents who believe that a collaborative law approach could possibly work for them can seek more information from an attorney who is experienced in this area of family law.

Source:, “Minnesota lawyers are trying to make divorce… friendly?“, Hannah Jones, May 21, 2018

Business owners can prepare for property division in a divorce

Two of the most significant events in a person’s life may include having a family and starting a business. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life, and while a divorce may not be avoidable, there are steps one can take to protect some assets during the property division — including preserving a growing business. Florida residents who are currently going through a dissolution may benefit from the input of financial professionals.

When one has worked so hard to grow a successful enterprise, the news of an impending divorce may cause anxiety as to whether a business will survive. One of the first steps toward that goal is acquiring an accurate valuation of the asset. A thorough evaluation of both the company’s assets and liabilities will make it easier to determine how much it may cost to buy out a spouse or to accept if one elects to walk away. 

Having the most accurate valuation of a company will pay dividends if a spouse is attempting to get a portion of the value during the divorce settlement or has attempted to conceal financial information concerning contracts or debts. An experienced financial expert can provide a thorough review of all aspects pertaining to the business in order to obtain a clear understanding of the company’s potential worth going forward. These professionals can also assess the company’s potential growth based on recognition and marketing strategies.

Building a successful company takes years of effort that could be wasted if one is not fully prepared. Each state has its own laws concerning property division during a divorce — though there are agreements that spouses may enter into that preserve the company while allowing the other party to obtain a suitable settlement. Florida residents who own considerable assets — including a business — may benefit most from seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney who can help ensure that one is financially stable after the final decree.

Source: Forbes, “How Divorcing Women Entrepreneurs Can Get What They Deserve“, Kerry Hannon, Accessed on May 21, 2018

Wife granted artwork in property division replaced it with fake

There are few times in life that can be more acrimonious than a bitter divorce. When it comes to the property division settlement, the two sides often fail to come to an agreeable solution on their own. Florida residents who are struggling to resolve these disputes may seek the input of a neutral professional.

A recent divorce between Wall Street investor, Bill Gross, and his former wife took an unusual turn. According to the woman’s account, she was granted permission to remove any of the artwork or furnishings from their home that she desired. For reasons that are unclear, the wife chose to take a Picasso painting that they had jointly owned since 2006 without telling him of her decision to do so. The painting had been appraised for approximately $35 million.

Several months later, the couple decided to settle ownership of the painting by way of a coin toss. Though the wife won, she still did not inform him that she had already taken possession of it. Instead, she had replaced it with a replica that she had created herself.

As the husband was preparing to have the painting transferred to her residence, she told him that the one in his home was a forgery. During the divorce trial, she was questioned about her actions, though she did not explain why she hung the forgery. She further admitted that she also had possession of a statue that her husband was not aware she had taken.

This case may seem unusual in that the former couple had come to an agreement in how to decide ownership of some of their marital possessions. The husband had purportedly praised his wife’s artistic abilities in the past, including her ability to replicate famous works of art. Florida residents who are unable to arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement when it comes to their property division may be best served by consulting an experienced attorney who can provide knowledgeable assistance.

Source:, “Wife got prized Picasso painting in divorce, hangs fake version anyway“, Carleton English, May 11, 2018

Why a judge making parental decisions is often a bad idea

In some divorces, the parents cannot agree on child-related issues such as custody, parenting time, visitation time and key issues in parental plans. The result can be a contested divorce, the parents giving up control of their parenting path to a judge or the judge making decisions that both parents are unhappy with and that ultimately are not in the children’s best interest.

Bottom line: In almost all situations, it is best for the parents to work together to agree on parenting issues rather than leave them up to a judge. There can be exceptions in cases of, say, domestic violence or child abuse. Unfortunately, even in such cases, there might not be proof of the abuse, and the judge can make someone who was abused feel victimized all over again with his or her decision. The reality is that many parents who have gone through this process say that if they had to do it again, they would swallow their pride, aggression, anger and whatever other emotions they were experiencing toward the other parent and try to work the issues out.

Lack of resolution

One reason it is usually best for parents to work out disputes is that even with a judge deciding, there is usually no true resolution of grievances. For example, say that Sally and Jack both wanted primary custody of their children with limited visitation from the other parent. The judge decided that they should split custody 50/50.

This type of decision may have happened anyway if Sally and Jack had worked it out themselves, but a key difference exists. Sally and Jack would have shown each other the ability to work together for their children and to make joint decisions. Instead, they said horrible, harmful things about each other in court that they still believe, a judge made the decision for them and their negative emotions continue to boil under the surface. There is no internal resolution like there could have been otherwise, and the children are likely to pick up on that.

After the property division and divorce decree, a celebration?

The process of going through a divorce is rarely a happy one. Spouses must endure the process of resolving property division and other settlement arrangements while awaiting that final decree that signals the end of a chapter. Florida residents who have gone through the process may be unsure how to move forward with their lives.

One trend that is starting to gain in popularity is the divorce party. This is a celebration that many people are electing to throw in an effort to mark the beginning of a positive change in their lives. These parties may entail any manner of themes and can be as elaborate or low-key as the celebrant chooses. There are some suggestions that may be helpful to keep in mind.

When a couple divorces, it usually has a lasting impact on many relationships with family members and friends. When one decides to hold a party to mark the start of a new life, it may be uncomfortable for friends who wish to maintain relationships with both former spouses. Likewise, family members may choose not to attend in order to protect the feelings of the other spouse. If children are involved, parents may wish to describe the gathering as a way of moving forward in a positive manner instead of speaking ill of the former partner.

No matter whether one chooses to officially celebrate a divorce, it may be best to wait a few weeks after the decree in order to adjust emotionally and mentally to this major life change. A divorce usually marks the end of an unhappy period while affording spouses an opportunity to start again. Florida residents who are preparing to file for a divorce may benefit from seeking the advice of an experienced attorney who can offer guidance concerning the best property division arrangements that will provide the most secure financial footing for the future.

Source: HuffPost, “Divorce Parties: Inside The Trend That Makes Ending A Marriage Look Fun“, Sabrina Rojas Weiss, Accessed on May 6, 2018

Prenuptial agreements can be product of in-depth discussions

Wedding planning can take months of work in order to ensure that the day goes as smoothly as possible. Strangely, many couples seem to approach the drafting of prenuptial agreements in a much more hurried fashion. Unfortunately, if both spouses are not fully aware of all aspects of what the document covers, then Florida residents may find that a judge will not enforce these contracts.

Even though it is often stated that approximately half of all marriages will end in a divorce, that statistic does not tell the whole story as the divorce rate varies depending upon a variety of factors such as education, age and socioeconomic standing. That being said, having a well-written prenup in place can provide peace of mind to both spouses as long as the contract was a joint effort. To that end, one financial advisor has developed a course that helps guide engaged couples through the process.

This particular course is intended to provide an in-depth analysis of a couple’s financial goals, outlook and approach to money. Though it is set up to last about six months, the founder believes that a year-long course would be more appropriate. His course helps each individual gain a more thorough understanding of how the marriage would work financially and how each would fare if the relationship were to end.

Though not every engaged couple will enter into such a detailed process before writing their prenuptial agreements, it is suggested that having open discussions early concerning money would be beneficial to couples and their extended families. During a contested divorce, these contracts may help provide much-needed financial security. Florida residents who are interested in drafting these types of contracts — or are concerned about the validity of ones they have already signed — may benefit by consulting with an experienced attorney who can guide them through the process.

Source:, “Getting married? Let’s talk about money“, Paul Sullivan, April 28, 2018