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.

Gray divorce and property division require skillful negotiation

The divorce rate among younger couples has decreased over recent years. The same is not true for the older generations, as the so-called “gray” divorce rates have climbed significantly since 1990. Though there are many reasons why these older spouses are calling it quits, what is common to most is the importance of property division for older individuals. Florida residents who are divorcing at a later age may benefit from consulting with financial professionals.

At this stage in life, many unhappily married spouses are choosing to seek more enjoyment by divorcing rather than remaining with a partner who no longer provides the companionship they desire. However, due to age and possibly limited options for financing retirement goals, the need for negotiating a suitable settlement becomes the focus. If either spouse has retirement savings or plans that were financed during the marriage, they will likely be split as evenly as possible. Other assets, such as stocks or other holdings may require more skill to determine how they can be divided. 

If one spouse has a lower income, or did not have outside employment, the negotiations may include a provision for alimony, though the paying spouse may object based on a fixed income in the near-future. Social Security will likely be an integral component within the discussions over assets. If the assets include a small business, the negotiations may become more complex, unless there is a pre-existing agreement covering how it will be handled in the event of a divorce. 

Those who own separate assets may also encounter difficulty, especially when both parties are worried about planning for their financial future. Every divorce requires careful consideration, no matter the circumstances. Florida residents who are planning for a new future after their divorce may benefit from the guidance of skilled professionals, especially a divorce attorney who can ensure that the property division will provide for a secure financial foundation.

Want a fair property division? Consult an attorney early

Once a marriage is showing signs of instability, some may feel that exploring their options is a last resort. However, if one desires an equitable share of the marital assets, consulting with a family lawyer is a prudent step. Florida residents who are concerned about how the property division will affect their future security benefit from seeking guidance sooner rather than later.

Some may feel that consulting with an attorney is akin to giving up on the relationship too soon. However, choosing to get information early can only help in the end, especially once the petition to divorce has been filed. If a couple has children or significant assets, then waiting until the other spouse has contacted a lawyer may be counterproductive. Furthermore, it is recommended that the other partner is not informed about a consultation ahead of time unless the couple has already decided that a mediation approach is the best fit for their situation.

It is also not recommended that parents enter into an informal agreement over child custody or support. Doing so may make it more difficult to change the terms once the divorce process has started. Since the process of filing for a divorce can be costly, it is helpful to have an idea of the fee schedule and what the terms of a contract for services will include, which is another reason to contact an attorney early.

Lastly, seeking a consultation with an experienced attorney early does not mean that the marriage is over. In fact, having a clear picture of what one’s rights may bring enough peace of mind to allow a spouse time to analyze whether a relationship may be repaired. In the end, if Florida residents do decide that a divorce is the appropriate solution, the time spent on early planning may ease stress, which may lead to less contentious property division negotiations for all of the parties involved. 

Property division involving a business requires careful planning

A divorce is draining on many resources, especially time, energy and emotions. If the property division will include a family-run business, careful planning is required in order to avoid unpleasant financial repercussions. Florida residents who own a small business have reasons to be concerned over how the divorce will impact their future.

Small business owners make up most of the successful enterprises across the country. As such, those who devised the tax codes have taken steps to ensure that these companies are taxed appropriately. However, the recent changes to the tax code may have many owners worrying about how to avoid possible tax penalties. Determining the accurate value of the business requires that allowable exemptions will not lead to a higher tax rate or that assets are not double valued for support payments. In many cases, it is difficult to separate personal income from business assets.

In addition to determining the company’s current worth, it is prudent to ensure that possible tax consequences are taken into consideration when working on a settlement agreement. It’s possible that property purchased for use in the business may be transferred to a spouse who will convert it to personal use, and this may lead to a tax recapture that could affect future earnings. In addition, spouses who need to set up support payments may elect to use life insurance agreements that will become part of the divorce settlement.

A divorce that involves a business requires more time, planning and finesse than a straightforward proceeding. Florida residents may find that they will benefit from the assistance of financial advisers who are experienced in helping determine how the property division will impact the future of the company. Regardless of one’s particular circumstances, a divorce deeply affects all aspects of life; therefore, those who are preparing for a divorce may be best served by consulting with an experienced family law attorney to reach the best possible solutions.

Family business in a divorce can complicate property division

A divorce can be an emotionally and financially exhausting process. For those who own a family business, decisions involving that company may complicate property division negotiations. Florida residents who own a business are likely concerned about the best approach to dividing their assets when a marriage ends.

Operating a business requires a significant investment of time, energy and assets to ensure its success. When a divorce becomes the best option for a troubled relationship, the question of how to handle that business may be a difficult one to resolve. The first step is obtaining an accurate assessment of the value of the company. After that, there are three options that may be considered — the first being that one spouse will retain the company by buying out the former partner’s share. This option is the most popular, as it is usually tax neutral and allows the company to continue.

If one spouse lacks the liquidity to purchase the shares outright, an agreement for settlement payments can be drawn up that will avoid the possibility of capital gains tax consequences. A second option for couples who remain cordial is to continue operating the company together after the divorce. This may not be an attractive option for the majority of owners, as it is often difficult to work with a former spouse.

The final solution is to sell the business outright. While this may be best for many owners, it can lengthen the divorce process, as selling a business takes time. Once the company is sold, the spouses can split the profits and use them as they see fit. One of the most important considerations for Florida residents who are seeking a divorce is the property division, because this may help determine their financial stability in the future. An experienced attorney can help ensure that a settlement agreement allows one to reach future financial goals.

Creative thinking may help when it comes to property division

The prospect of getting married and then divorced later in life may seem daunting.  However, with age comes the experience to find creative solutions to problems that a younger person may not consider. In many situations, when it comes to property division, Florida residents may be able to work out a solution that will enable them to still achieve their dreams. 

No matter how old one is when he or she chooses to marry, he or she hopes that it will last. Unfortunately, a marriage may become unsustainable, and then a divorce becomes the best option. When a couple sits down to work out a settlement agreement, they may discover that they are no longer able to afford the upkeep on the marital home. Under these circumstances, many will choose to either sell the house and split the proceeds, or one spouse will attempt to refinance. 

One woman explained that, when she married in her 40s, she and her husband purchased a dream home. After they decided to divorce a few years later, they realized that, on their own, neither would be able to afford the house, which was located in an upscale neighborhood. Once the wife was able to secure a mortgage in her name, she decided to rent out a portion of it. In this way, she was able to retain her dream home and achieve her goal of wanting to operate a scaled-back version of a bed and breakfast.

Though no one ever sets out to divorce, this woman found an opportunity to make a better life for herself after her divorce. Going through a divorce can be a difficult process for many Florida residents, especially when it comes to the property division aspect. A family law attorney can provide the experience and guidance necessary in order to arrive at an agreement that will ensure a secure financial future.

Navigating Florida’s property division laws in divorce

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. 

Property division in a gray divorce may be even more important

It is never an easy decision to end a marriage, especially after many years together. While the divorce process can be complicated at any age, proceedings that occur after many years of marriage may intensify during property division negotiations. Florida residents who are facing a so-called ‘gray’ divorce may have many concerns about how it will impact their finances.

One consideration may be whether a spouse may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on their former spouse’s earnings. There are rules and conditions that apply, but if there are no impediments, then one may be entitled to receive up to 50 percent of the value of their ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. The good news is that the spouse whose work record is relied upon for Social Security will still receive his or her own full benefits. There may also be retirement or pension accounts that are subject to division, and there are rules and procedures that will need to be followed when dividing these particular assets.

Health care is an important consideration regardless of age, but for those who are older, this insurance coverage often takes on even greater importance. Those whose insurance was previously under a spouse’s plan may be able to continue coverage under COBRA, though this option is relatively short-term and usually costly. Finding new insurance could prove to be difficult if pre-existing health conditions are a factor. Along with health insurance, some couples may also have long-term care insurance to work through, depending on existing policies and their particular circumstances.

When couples divorce later in life, there are many additional factors that will need to be addressed during the asset and property division phase of their proceedings. Because these divorces are occur much closer to retirement age, each spouse may benefit from taking careful stock of their financial position in order to gauge how best to proceed. An experienced Florida attorney can offer guidance and ongoing support with a view toward achieving a settlement that will place the client on sound financial footing.

Divorce can lead to financial and property division mistakes

The prospect of freedom from a bad marriage can lead the former spouses to make impulsive decisions that can result in long-lasting financial problems. Clear thinking during property division and afterward can avoid common mistakes. Florida residents facing a dissolution may benefit from the assistance of experienced professionals.

In many situations, spouses may fight over the ownership of a home. If the property has been owned for some time and has accumulated value, it may make financial sense for one spouse to retain ownership. However, if the home has negative equity or will be a financial hardship to maintain, it may be a fiscally sound decision to sell it. Likewise, if an IRA account will be divided in a divorce, choosing to roll over the portion into a separate IRA account can avoid costly tax consequences and penalties.

Furthermore, not tapping into cash reserves set aside for future plans will avoid the tax complications that can be a result of cashing out retirement savings. Some may be tempted to engage in shopping therapy in an effort to boost their emotions. However, the costs of these purchases can result in financial setbacks since the payments may be outside the scope of a tighter budget. There are also some who may quit a job in an effort to avoid alimony payments, which will have a negative impact on financial well-being.

There are looming changes to the tax laws that may negatively impact finances, but careful planning can help offset some of these problems. Lastly, financial professionals urge those going through a divorce to draft financial plans that can help ensure goals will be met in the future. Florida residents who are going through a divorce are encouraged to make careful decisions during the property division in order to preserve a stable financial future. An experienced attorney can provide assistance in drafting a suitable settlement agreement.