Better communication helpful in marriage and collaborative law

Most people assume that a family law attorney is focused on ensuring that his or her client receives the most equitable settlement possible. Though this is the main role of these professionals, there are times when one may work to help couples find healthier ways to communicate, whether within the structure of a marital relationship or during a divorce. Florida residents who are headed for a divorce but wish to avoid the acrimony that accompanies a traditional process may find that a collaborative law divorce is a less-stressful option.

One divorce attorney who has struggled to help his clients work through a contentious divorce has come up with an idea that he hopes may help a struggling couple avoid filing for a divorce. He developed conversation starting cards that may enable spouses to talk about topics outside of the usual conversations concerning children and finances. The cards include an activity that the developer describes as intended to spark deeper conversations while the couple are out for an evening alone.

The cards are a product of in-depth interviews with married couples concerning the types of topics that are often hard to approach in the midst of every day life. Couples who are busy raising children and working often drift apart and find that they seldom engage in meaningful dialogue that could help strengthen their marriage. One of the most appreciated topics involve discussions over forgiveness and mistakes.

It is hoped that couples can use such tools to help prevent a relationship from growing cold over time. However, this experienced attorney stated that not every marriage can be salvaged. In spite of the effort spouses may invest, a divorce may be the only viable solution. Florida residents who are able to communicate and negotiate without undue animosity may elect to enlist the services of a family law attorney who is skilled in the collaborative law approach in order to arrive at the most suitable settlement.

How one is compensated can have impact on property division

In today’s employment market, there are many forms of compensation. While this is not an issue most of the time, during a divorce, different forms of compensation can affect the property division negotiations. Florida residents who are preparing to file for a dissolution may benefit from reviewing all of their assets. 

For those who earn a straight salary, the division of marital assets will likely be fairly simple. Those whose pay includes non-traditional forms of compensation may need to time their divorce filing carefully, or ensure that the terms for dividing assets will not lead to some assets being over-valued. Some payments that may need careful consideration are bonuses that include a “claw-back” provision. These are bonuses paid upon employment but which could be subject to repayment if one loses employment due to under-performance or other employee-performance reasons. When these bonuses are counted as marital assets, there may need to be provisions that will ensure a spouse will also have to re-pay his or her portion of these monies.

Two other payments that can affect property division are year-end bonuses and commissions. If a year-end bonus is included in marital assets, it is important that this compensation is not double-counted when it comes to calculating support payments. If commissions are part of one’s pay, then it may be important to stipulate whether these payments were received before or after a divorce filing. If after, it may be argued that they are separate assets. Other forms of payment that may have a bearing on negotiations are stock options, new job bonuses and other perks that may be counted as marital assets.

If one is in a position to determine his or her own salary, it is important that salary meets the going market rates. During a divorce, the property division negotiations may significantly impact future financial stability. In order to arrive at the best settlement, Florida residents may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney.

Property division in divorce often difficult prospect for spouses

The end of a marriage is filled with many conflicting emotions and important decisions. While child custody is often the most important matter for parents, property division is a topic that can lead to considerable conflict. Florida residents who are divorcing likely have a number of questions regarding this important issue.

The family home where children were raised is often a central focus of divorce proceedings. Does it matter if a home is titled in only one spouse’s name? If the home is a marital asset, as opposed to the separate property of one party, the name on the title usually does not matter. If one spouse is insisting a home be sold, negotiations can center on whether one spouse can buy out the other spouse’s interest in the equity.

The parties can either agree upon the value of the home or get a formal appraisal. The home can be sold and net proceeds divided or one spouse can retain the home and refinance any remaining debt in that individual’s name. If the spouse keeping the home does not have the separate funds to buy out the other spouse’s share, his or her interest in another marital asset might be an acceptable substitute. If a spouse invested money into a home before the marriage or inherited the property, it is usually possible to recoup those separate funds, though it is sometimes challenging to determine which portion of a property’s equity is to be considered separate, especially if marital assets were used for upkeep and/or mortgage payments.

If the real property is not the residential home, similar solutions may still apply. Rental income may contribute significantly to the value of the property and may also be taken into consideration when deciding matters relating to support. Florida residents who are preparing for divorce proceedings may benefit from the advice of an experienced attorney who can work to ensure that the property division settlement will best meet the needs of the client.

High asset divorce can be significantly different than others

No matter one’s income bracket, when a relationship ends, there is often emotional and mental fallout. However, when the couple involved are headed for a high asset divorce, the nature of the process may be much different than one between average-earning couples. Florida residents who are preparing for a divorce will likely benefit from the assistance offered by professionals.

When couples with modest means file for divorce, the process may get bogged down in the details of property division. Since there may be fewer assets, the need for an equitable split becomes more pressing. For those with a high net worth, the issue of an equitable division becomes less important. Instead, tax advantages and deciding how best to value rare collectibles and divide stock holdings may take more time and finesse. Those who have vast holdings and assets owned through shell companies may find the proceedings to be much more complicated.

The change in the tax code that eliminated the alimony deduction impacted high net worth couples in a disproportionate fashion as an estimated 20% of wealthy spouses benefited from this tax break. Another difference for the top-earning couples is establishing residency as many own several different properties in various locations throughout the world. The vast amount of holdings these couples possess makes the process more complex, with each side typically needing the guidance of several financial professionals to arrive at an acceptable settlement.

While the process of obtaining a high asset divorce is more complicated, in many situations, the proceedings are more amicable as the couple relies more on proxies to work through the details. An example is the divorce between Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, which was resolved in short order based on the decision of the couple to end the relationship amicably. Florida residents who are hoping to resolve their divorce in a timely manner — without undue animosity — may wish to consult with an attorney who routinely handles these complex divorces.