Collaborative gray divorce may avoid significant wealth reduction

When couples decide that it is time to end a decades-long marriage, a collaborative process may avoid dividing assets based on the decisions of a Florida divorce court judge. According to a study reported in Bloomberg magazine, an individual’s wealth can drop by about half after a gray divorce. 

Reportedly, women may see their standard of living drop by nearly 45%. Men, however, may only experience a 21% reduction in their standard of living after a gray divorce. While some individuals may view a late-in-life marriage dissolution as an opportunity to start a new career, others may find themselves unable to enter or rejoin the workforce. 

Maintaining a standard of living may require financial support 

For individuals over the age of 50, dividing assets to secure a comfortable retirement arrangement may be the most important issue to consider. Individuals who have earned income through a long-term career may look forward to retiring with the financial means to do so provided by an employer-sponsored plan. Others, however, may require financial assistance to get by and request alimony or spousal support. 

Coming to an agreement before going to court  

Negotiating alimony or financial support with a soon-to-be ex-spouse may be a quick and much smoother process through a collaborative divorce. Couples living together already understand how to maintain their household budget. Coming to a mutually agreeable arrangement through the collaborative process may involve little more than an amicable and realistic budget discussion. 

When distributing property in a way that meets each spouse’s needs, a collaborative divorce process allows for open discussion and negotiation. Settling matters out of court may enable a divorcing couple to reach a more equitable and satisfactory agreement, as noted by Reader’s Digest magazine. 

How does Florida decide child custody?

When parents divorce in Florida, they have the opportunity to create a custody and parenting plan that addresses both the needs of the child and their rights as parents. When former spouses are unable to agree, however, the family court judge decides on behalf of the family. 

Learn more about the factors the state uses to determine child custody. 

Types of custody 

Florida recognizes both legal and physical child custody. The court usually orders shared legal custody, which is the ability of each parent to make important decisions on the child’s behalf. Although the presumption in Florida is for shared physical custody, the exact parenting time schedule depends on the specific needs of the child and the family. 

Safety and health of the child 

Florida favors parenting arrangements in which both parents share responsibility for raising and caring for their children. The exception occurs when one parent has a history of neglect, abandonment, child abuse or domestic violence. The judge will also consider whether each parent is mentally and physically able to care for the child, including any history of or current substance use. 

In addition to a child’s physical health and safety, parents must demonstrate attention to the child’s emotional and developmental needs. Factors in this type of support include consistent discipline, knowledge of the child’s daily life, the ability to provide routines, and whether the child can emotionally handle a schedule involving equal time with both parents. 

Communication and co-parenting 

Parents must demonstrate a willingness to encourage a healthy relationship between the other parent and the child. This includes adherence to any existing time-sharing schedule, communication about important events and milestones in the child’s life as well as schedule changes, and whether either parent disparages the other in front of the child. 

Parents must present the court with a parenting plan, which will be legally binding if the judge approves. This document should include details about sharing time and responsibilities of parenting and information about how the parents will communicate with one another. 

How can I help my child with special needs after divorce?

While divorce is difficult no matter if the individuals involved have children or not, children have a way of making the process much more complex. This is true for all children, but if you are going through a divorce in Florida and there is a special needs child involved, you have even more considerations than most. Collaborative divorce is a positive way to work through the situation, but it becomes even more important if there is a child who requires special provisions. According to the Autism Community in Action, a Special Needs Trust is vital. 

Basically, both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse need to be making provisions for your child’s care when neither of you are around to do it any longer. This is what the Special Needs Trust will take care of. Make sure that this trust is the beneficiary of your ex’s 401K as well as yours if both parents possess them. 

Both parents should also make sure that they have full life insurance plans and keep the payments up regularly. This way in the event that either you or your ex-spouse die prematurely, your child will still have care. 

Medical decision-making is also of paramount concern. In a collaborative divorce, both parties will work together in order to make the best decisions for their child. However, in the case of a special-needs child, it is not unusual for parents to have disagreements about care, even if they are married. Both parties need to be on the same page where medication and dosing are concerned, and where diet is. Both parties need to agree to continue this course of care when the child is in their custody. 

Benefits of avoiding social media during divorce

Venting about feelings to close friends is often a healthy way to process the difficult emotions that come with divorce. But when you express anger, rage and heartbreak to hundreds of social media followers, you risk legal complications and reduce your risk of achieving an amicable end to your marriage. 

These are the key reasons to consider taking a break from Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts during this transition. 

Limited privacy control 

You may think that only designated “friends” can see a post about your ex-spouse, but privacy settings on social media are notoriously difficult to use and tricky to master. The risk of accidentally posting an emotional rant to everyone you know (including your former in-laws) is high. What is more, anyone who sees your post can take a screenshot and share it regardless of privacy settings. 

Increased risk of conflict 

Your goal is to save time and money by pursuing a collaborative divorce. You still have fond feelings for your former spouse, even though the marriage did not work out, and you want the process to be as painless as possible. Unfortunately, social media can compromise the likelihood of a peaceful coexistence with your ex-spouse. Whether one person posts images with a new partner or simply celebrates his or her newly single lifestyle online, the potential for hurt feelings and resulting legal conflict increases. 

Shielding your children 

Most parents share images and videos of their children on social media, but the fact is that babies, toddlers and preschoolers cannot consent to displaying their photos publicly online. Older children may be extra sensitive about what their parents share online, especially as they navigate the challenging life changes that accompany divorce. Consider coming to an agreement with your ex-spouse about what you each will and will not share about your kids online. 

When taking a break from social media, try completely deleting the apps from your phone. If you need to actually get on a computer and log onto Facebook or Instagram, you will likely lose the urge to make posts and check your feed and notifications. 

The advantages of working toward a collaborative divorce

As a Florida resident, divorce may be one of the most stressful events you can experience because it affects so many facets of your life. From agreeing on custody points to dividing up belongings, the process can be emotionally draining, especially if you and your spouse cannot agree on many of the decisions you must make. At Sheldon E. Finman, P.A., Attorney at Law, it is our goal to guide clients through collaborative divorces in order to reduce emotional strain for both spouses. 

While you and your partner have agreed to a divorce, it may be difficult to avoid the types of arguments that cause hurt feelings and lifelong resentment. The Huffington Post reports that collaborative divorce may be a better option, especially if you and your spouse must maintain a relationship to co-parent your children. Under this type of agreement, both married individuals avoid a courtroom battle and end their marriage in a way that is fair and free of drama. In most cases, couples include divorce coaches and other qualified experts in the proceedings, which can make this process simpler and easier to understand. 

A divorce can be especially strenuous when children are involved. However, if you agree to a collaborative divorce, you, your spouse and your kids can take advantage of the coaching specialists and learn how to speak to each other in a way that is calm and productive. 

It may seem almost impossible to avoid stress and pain when your marriage is ending, but collaboration often eases the strain. For more information about the finer points of collaborative divorce, please visit our website. 

Simple ways to make a child feel comfortable in two homes

When couples in Florida divorce and children are involved, they must face a new reality of living in two homes rather than one. Whether the divorce is amicable or tense, most parents want what is best for their kids. One of the hardest things kids often face after a divorce is the reality that they will be living in two different homes. Even if one spouse keeps the marital home, they will not see both parents every day like they are used to. Fortunately, there are things parents can do to make the process easier on their kids.

Parents.com suggests that the child have a say in many aspects of their new home. From paint colors to picking out their own sheets and bedding, making them feel like they have a choice when many things seem out of their control can get them excited for a new home.

Another way to help kids adjust is to keep the new home as familiar as possible. The child should be allowed to have some familiar items in the new home. Whether they are moved from one house to another or extra items are bought to keep them at each house, something as simple as a blanket or familiar toothbrush can soothe their nerves and worries.

Family Education encourages parents to establish a ritual for each time a child arrives to a different home. This provides an emotional connection to the new environment that makes it feel more like home. The ritual can be something as simple as a hug, a high five or a special handshake.

In both households, children should have responsibilities and chores. This allows them to buy into the system and have some ownership in the place they are living. It is easier to make a connection with something they work for.

Simple steps can simplify the lives of both parents and their children. Rather than increase the emotional upheaval that often accompanies divorce, these changes can decrease stress and sadness.

3 advantages to using mediation in a divorce

In a traditional divorce, lawyers on both sides play tug of war in an attempt to negotiate and resolve issues. If there is no decision, the divorce, the arguments and the stress head to court. 

You know that you and your spouse can come to an amicable agreement. So why should your grievances be aired in a public forum? Have you ever thought about mediation? There are several advantages to using mediation to come to an agreeable end to your marriage. 

Mediation is a way for people to talk about their concerns with the help of an objective, third-party person – mediatorThis person does not decide the outcome of your dispute but helps steer you toward a peaceful goal. 

1. Improved communication

The mediator will give you and your spouse options to help you create a resolution. He or she will focus on your specific needs which may include: 

  • Child custody and support 
  • Alimony 
  • Division of property and debts 

2. Privacy

Whereas a traditional litigated divorce is public, mediation is privateFlorida statute mandates that all mediations are confidential, and a participant in a mediation cannot speak about the process to an outside person. If the court orders the mediation, there can be sanctions by the court. 

3. Decreased cost and time

On average, a divorce in Florida can cost around $13,000. But this depends on the issues involved. High-asset divorces with multiple properties or businesses can increase the cost significantly. The rate to mediate is far lower. With meetings, preparation of agreements and any additional documents, costs could range from $500 to $2,500.  

Timing could be substantially shorter. This all depends on a contested or uncontested divorceA contested divorce may take years to finalize. When using mediation, you and your spouse decide how long the process will take, depending on the issues 

After making all the decisions and writing up the agreements, you and your spouse must attend a final hearing, and the judge will sign the documents. Using mediation to dissolve your marriage could guarantee you a certainty of outcome which can give you peace of mind. 

What is the role of a mediator in your divorce?

Florida couples like you who would like your divorce to go as smoothly and conflict-free as possible may also want to know if there are any tools you can use to aid you with this goal. Fortunately for you, this is where divorce mediators may come in. 

FindLaw breaks down some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce mediation, including the overall role of a mediator within divorce. Sometimes, it is misunderstood that divorce mediators are here to act as “therapists”, attempting to bridge misunderstandings between you and your spouse.  

That is not the case. A divorce mediator’s primary job is to act as a bridge of understanding when it comes to deciding on the terms of your divorce. For example, are you having trouble figuring out how you want to handle spousal support? What about matters of child custody? These are all potentially heated issues that arguments often occur over. When these arguments do happen, it’s the job of the mediator to step in and try to help you both reach a mutually agreeable conclusion. 

Divorce mediators are also valued for their ability to bring a neutral, third-person perspective to the situation. Naturally, since you and your spouse are directly involved in the emotional aspects of a split, it will be a sensitive and heavily bias-colored ordeal for both of you. Having that third opinion from the lens of someone caring but unrelated can help clear some matters up. 

If this sounds like a potentially useful tool to you, consider divorce mediation to help you achieve your goal of a streamlined divorce. 

What is a grey divorce?

Once you have been married for a long time in New Mexico, it may seem as if you are free from all the chaos and tension that often accompanies younger married couples. The truth is that according to Forbes, there seems to be a trend of older couples divorcing that started long before 2004 when the term “grey divorce” was coined to refer to the increasing rate of divorce for people over the age of 50. Many erroneously believe that marriage gets easier as you get older and are surprised to find there are plenty of reasons divorce is a serious likelihood when they are older.

Financial management is a big issue that can arise as couples age. When one or both spouses have trouble managing finances, debt becomes an issue. Fights about finances often lead to divorce. On the other side of the coin, if one spouse makes most of the money to support the household and makes all financial decisions, couples often fight about mismanagement of funds or overspending. Studies show that marriages fail more often when a woman’s earnings increase but are stronger when the husband makes more money.

At times, couples simply grow apart once the kids have left the home. The spark that comes when you are first married has often faded, but it is hard to notice while you are both busy raising kids and making a life. If the kids are gone and life has settled into a pattern, it is common for couples to realize they are missing the initial connection they had.

Infidelity is often a problem for older couples. Infidelity may not carry the negative connotation it did when couples were younger. Older spouses are often attracted to younger men and women and find it easier to connect with them now that dating sites and apps are so prevalent.

No matter what age you are when you seek a divorce, you should not face the process alone. A good family law attorney can protect your interests and assets if you decide to end your marriage.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

What does science say about divorce being contagious?

If you have friends who have divorced in New Mexico, it would seem there is no reason to think that your marriage may be in danger. According to the Chicago Tribune, a large study found that divorce can be contagious between friends for many different reasons.

The study was completed by researchers from Harvard University, Brown University and the University of California at San Diego. Results show that if you have a friend of a friend who divorces, you may be 33% more likely to get divorced and if a close friend divorces, you are 75% more likely to seek your own divorce. This may be because watching a friend go through the process can inform you of possibilities you had not thought of previously. Once one couple starts it, friends start to assess their own lives and consider they may be able to find happiness elsewhere.

Another factor can be that when couples are divorcing, they tend to speak to their friends with complaints about their spouse. Once they start, the other friends may chime in and start complaining about their own spouses, making problems that were minimal before seem much larger now.

After a divorce, many people go through a temporary high where they feel light and free. This can be deceiving to those who are still fighting for their marriage. The recently divorced person may have new friends or start a new relationship that seems exciting from the outside, leading married friends to believe the grass is greener on the other side.

It is suggested that couples spend 16 hours of undivided attention with each other each week, and six of those should be outside the home. It can be difficult to find the time and energy to carve out time for your spouse. If you and your spouse are ready to end your marriage, it does not have to be complicated and tense. A good family law attorney can help simplify the process with a quick, effective solution.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.