Alimony may be part of maintaining lifestyle after divorce

On average, an estimated 4,000 divorces are filed every day in this country. Many of these marriages had lasted for years and included an unequal income ratio between the spouses. While states have set guidelines concerning how much alimony should be awarded, the majority, including Florida, do not have an online calculator to help spouses determine an equitable amount.

There are tools that can be used to help couples work through how much alimony might allow both former partners to maintain a lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. Thirteen states offer online calculators to help determine what may be a reasonable amount to make up the difference once the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, it appears that these calculators are not as accurate as other tools when trying to assess the amount needed to fill the gap between unequal salaries.

One example is a couple who had been married for 20 years and was made up of a spouse who earned approximately $750,000 and a wife who earned an estimated $25,000. According to an alimony calculator, the wife would need approximately $252,000 a year in order to enjoy a lifestyle consistent with the one she had while she was married. The online calculator supplied by the state estimated significantly less, which would not permit the wife to maintain her lifestyle and could negatively impact her retirement plans.

An alimony estimator is a useful tool for couples who are capable of amiable negotiations. If they are unable to come to terms, then a judge may be tasked with ordering an amount that will hopefully meet the needs of the lower-earning spouse. Florida residents who are contemplating a divorce and are concerned about how the settlement agreement will affect their financial well-being may choose to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can ensure that their agreement will meet their needs.

Collaborative law is changing the face of divorce for many

The prospect of filing for a divorce may conjure images of cold courtrooms, harried judges and warring spouses. However, recently there has been an effort to revise the approach that many couples take when choosing to end a potentially unhappy marriage. Collaborative law divorces may allow Florida residents an opportunity to untie the knot without becoming completely undone emotionally and financially.

Several celebrity couples have publicly advocated for a less hostile ending of a marriage for the sake of their children and their own emotional well-being. In many situations, a couple may be ideal candidates for seeking a divorce through a form of mediation. This approach to divorce is moderated by a neutral mediator who helps a couple work through the details of their dissolution without the animosity that may accompany the end of a relationship.

Couples who choose this form of divorce work together to discuss how to parent their children and how to divide their assets in the most equitable manner while meeting their individual needs. Once an agreement has been worked out, each spouse may choose to have the agreement reviewed by an experienced attorney. Once the settlement has been approved by each side, the divorce is filed with the court.

Though this type of divorce is often quicker and much less expensive, it might not be a viable alternative for every couple. If the two parties are unable to work together, or if domestic abuse is an issue, then a traditional divorce might be more appropriate. Florida residents who are seeking to end a marriage but wish to avoid the bitterness that can come with litigation may benefit from exploring the options afforded by a collaborative law approach. An attorney who is experienced in the area can provide a person with advice and assistance throughout every step of the process.

In considering divorce options, what is your ultimate goal?

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, do you assume that a traditional court proceeding is your only option? How will litigation affect your family both now and in the future?

You do have an option in collaborative divorce that might be the best solution for the good of your family going forward.

The Florida law

The Collaborative Law Process Act went into effect on July 1, 2017. Now the dissolution of a Florida marriage does not have to be a litigious matter guided by the decision of a judge. The parties to the divorce can settle their differences outside of court in a more dignified fashion. 

Collaborative benefits

Collaborative divorce is a private matter, whereas a court proceeding is a matter of public record. You and your spouse control the pace and the outcome of the process, which is a much less costly option than traditional litigation. Your attorneys will be part of a team of professionals who will assist as needed on financial, parenting and relationship issues.

Most important, collaborative divorce is a process in which the best interests of children are always top of mind. Collaborative divorce is also much less stressful for children. You can spare them the residual effect of a bitter court battle.

Retaining family ties

When you think of the future, what do you envision? Your children will grow up and go out on their own. They will marry eventually and start a family. You and the other parent will have grandchildren to enjoy. There may be times when the two of you will interact. Chances are, you will see each other in family circumstances, such as attending the weddings of your children or the various events in which your grandchildren will be involved.

If your divorce is a civil affair that is far less contentious than a court battle, your future will begin on solid footing. You will not alienate your ex and in time, you will be able to interact in a respectful manner that will be good for everyone. If preserving family ties is your ultimate goal, collaborative divorce may be the solution.

Take measures to protect a business from a high asset divorce

The hard work that one invests into growing a successful enterprise may be one of the most satisfying experiences in life. If a divorce were to threaten the success of this business, the business owner could be left with little more than shattered dreams. There are steps that Florida residents can take to protect a business in the event of a high asset divorce.

There have been many individuals who have lost all they worked after a dissolution. Instead of suffering such a fate, one can take steps before a marriage to ensure that a business survives in spite of a failed relationship. Those who have worked to start a company are urged to enter into a prenuptial agreement with the intended spouse. Such an agreement can stipulate that the company and its assets will remain in the hands of the original owner if the marriage should end.

If a marriage commences before such a contract was signed, then the two parties may wish to draw up a postnuptial contract. Though these documents are not as secure as a prenup, they may still offer protection for a business. Before either of these agreements are executed, it is important that both parties have their own representative who can ensure that their own best interests are provided for and that the contract is a fair as possible.

It may be helpful to consider these agreements as an insurance policy for a business. The work that one puts into growing a successful venture entitles one to take measures to protect it in the event that a spouse later seeks to obtain a portion of a business that he or she did not take an active interest in before the high asset divorce. Florida residents may wish to consult with a skilled attorney in order to ensure that their own hard work is secured for the future.

In some situations, collaborative law divorce may be best option

Every family is unique in its own way, and no one solution will work for every problem. The same is true when it comes to a divorce. Though most Florida residents may imagine a court room setting for their impending divorce, a collaborative law approach may actually be a better fit.

There are four general categories of divorce. The first one is referred to as a do-it-yourself divorce, which is seldom appropriate except in only a handful of scenarios. The second option, mediation, has the potential to result in an unsatisfactory ending. Mediation requires negotiation and cooperation, which many divorcing couples may not excel at, especially if one party has been the domineering factor in the marriage. The more submissive spouse may wind up agreeing to an unfair settlement rather than assert him- or herself during the process.

A collaborative divorce is another possible option. If the two parties are able to work together with their respective attorneys to resolve the major points of contention and are not seeking a high-asset divorce, then this process may work well, as each party has his or her own attorney who will work to ensure that a settlement is as equitable as possible. Furthermore, this option may reduce conflict for children and result in a less acrimonious process. 

The litigation divorce refers to the fact that a lawsuit has been filed for a divorce, which is especially accurate when the dissolution is only desired by one party. Though some cases do require court hearings to resolve more contentious points, the majority of divorces can be settled out of court. A collaborative law approach may especially appeal to Florida residents who wish to keep the proceedings private and are optimistic that they can resolve their differences with the assistance of trained professionals. An experienced attorney can provide information regarding which approach would work best for a particular situation.