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.