Those who have amassed considerable assets during their lifetime may have concerns about entering into a marriage. In the event that the relationship becomes unsustainable, it is possible that an individual could face significant losses if he or she is ordered to pay a former spouse in the aftermath of a high asset divorce. Florida residents who are preparing for a dissolution may have many concerns about protecting their financial well-being in the future.
According to one former wife’s account, her ex-husband elected to remain in jail rather than pay an $18 million settlement. The 82-year-old man reportedly fled the country after the divorce judgement was announced in an apparent effort to avoid paying his ex-wife. He was arrested after he had returned to the country for a relative’s college graduation. He has been in jail for the past several months after alleging that he does not have the financial resources to either post bail or pay his former wife.
The ex-wife claimed that her husband began moving his assets into overseas accounts shortly after agreeing to her demands for a divorce in 2012. She further alleges that he maintains several bank accounts in a variety of locations around the world and chooses to remain in custody to spite her. The ex-husband claims that he lost the majority of his assets through failed banks and other unexpected events. He asserts that his remaining $5 million is located in an account that he cannot access due to his incarceration.
His attorneys have been unable to secure his release even though his poor health and advanced age make him a poor flight risk. A judge disagrees and has refused his release until he arranges for his ex-wife to receive the amount she is due. Florida residents who are struggling to resolve the issues involved in their own high asset divorce may be best served by obtaining the assistance of a skilled family law attorney.
Though the overall divorce rate is declining, that is not true for those aged 50 and older. The divorce rate for older couples has increased significantly and is referred to as a ‘gray’ divorce. In Florida and elsewhere, many of these divorced individuals are choosing to remarry, and many may benefit from signing prenuptial agreements before walking down the aisle gain.
Those who remarry later in life have unique concerns. Retirement needs and ensuring that both their new spouse — as well as their children from a previous marriage — will be cared for after they are gone are likely their primary concerns. A well-drafted prenup can ease these worries while allowing for an easier blending of the two families once the financial aspects have been addressed.
One of the first issues that can be addressed with a ‘gray’ prenup is how to handle specific retirement accounts and how and to whom the funds may be disbursed. If a couple feels that they do not need all of the accounts that they hold, they may designate which ones will be directed toward their children when the time comes. Furthermore, with the escalating costs of skilled nursing care, spouses may wish to purchase specialized insurance that can offset the cost of care without draining either their individual estates or joint assets.
Without the protection afforded by prenuptial agreements, changes in estate plans can create problems. As a couple works together to decide what to include in a prenup, they may find that other accounts, such as life insurance policies, need to be updated with current beneficiaries. Florida residents who are preparing to marry may benefit from seeking the advice of an attorney who can guide them in preparing a prenuptial agreement that will best meet their needs.
The decision to marry is often based on emotions. Unfortunately, when a marriage ends, the matter of determining which spouse gets which assets cannot be based on emotions as this would likely result in an unfair agreement. In order to protect each party, Florida has specific laws regarding property division during the settlement proceedings.
While there are a handful of states that are community property states where the assets and property that are accumulated during a marriage are considered jointly owned and are therefore usually divided in half, the majority of states subscribe to the equitable distribution policy. This means that a court will strive to ensure that the division is equitable, though not necessarily equal. In order to arrive at an equitable split, the court will take several factors into consideration.
These factors will include the amount and effort that each spouse contributed to the marriage. The role and sacrifices that each party may have contributed, including whether a spouse was a stay-at-home parent instead of working outside of the home. The current economic situation of each spouse will be reviewed as will how long the marriage lasted and the value of assets that each may have brought into the marriage.
The court will also take into consideration the sacrifices one spouse may have made for their spouse or whether one spouse was deemed wasteful with income or other assets within a 24-month period before or during a divorce petition. The courts will also review both marital and individual assets and the value of those assets in relation to the needs of the both parties. The courts will also review any prenuptial agreements that the couple may have signed. Florida residents may benefit from working with an experienced attorney in order to ensure that their property division settlement will provide them with a financially sound future.
Going through the divorce process is scary no matter who you are. If you are nervous about divorcing your spouse, then it helps to learn about what the process is like in Florida so that nothing takes you by surprise.
Many men worry about divorce because they believe they will lose everything, especially if they are the primary breadwinner. Many myths have popped up about how courts treat men in divorce. The truth of the matter, particularly these days, is that both spouses receive the same treatment.
Myth #1: If you commit adultery, you will lose it all
The role adultery plays in many divorces has diminished in recent years. Some states consider infidelity, but Florida is not one of them. Florida is a no-fault state, which means a couple needs no reason to divorce. The only way cheating would impact the divorce proceedings would be if the unfaithful party spent marital funds on the affair. At that point, the judge would seek the compensate the other spouse.
Myth #2: The mother always gets full custody
Courts aim to do whatever is in the best interest of the child. Most of the time, that involves the child being able to see both parents an equal amount of the time. As long as both parents live in the same area, a judge will likely award 50/50 custody as long as there are no extenuating circumstances as to why one parent should not see the child.
Myth #3: The mother can block visitation if you fall behind on child support payments
The mother cannot automatically block you from seeing your child if you fall behind on one payment. To revise the visitation schedule, the mother would need to go back to court for a judge’s approval. This is also an opportunity for the man to present his case as to why he failed to pay.
A couple need not be a celebrity or come from a wealthy family in order to employ a marital contract before exchanging their vows. While there may be a few engaged Florida residents who will not necessarily need prenuptial agreements, chances are that more couples would benefit from having a well-drafted contract in place. There are likely many couples who could derive peace of mind from a prenup if a marriage does not survive.
It is recommended that older couples and those with children from a previous relationship have a prenup in order to protect the rights of their children or those of an aging or ailing spouse. If either or both spouses have ownership in a business or hold a professional license, these contracts provide much needed protection during a divorce settlement. Likewise, if either spouse is involved in the public or entertainment sector, then these contracts can prove to be a means of preserving one’s reputation and resources. Furthermore, these contracts can ensure that a wealthier spouse can shield his or her assets while providing for the other in an equitable manner.
Once a couple decides a prenup fits their needs, there are protocols that must be followed. The first is full disclosure of all assets, and each party is required to have separate legal counsel to ensure that the contract will be as fair as possible. It is recommended that these contracts be as simple and straight forward as possible. Contracts that stick to how to divide marital assets and related legal issues are more likely to be accepted by the courts.
Couples can begin the process of preparing prenuptial agreements by discussing how to manage their expenses, retirement assets and marital income. Maintaining separate assets may facilitate the divorce process should the relationship end. An attorney who is well-versed in these agreements as well as Florida’s divorce laws can provide sound guidance in drafting a suitable contract.