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Palm Harbor, Florida Family Law Blog

Legalities of divorce

The end of a marriage can be one of the most upsetting and stressful times in a person's life. It is the ending of their happily ever after and may cause some to feel as though they have failed in some way. The divorce rate in Florida and across the U.S. continues to rise, however, showing divorcees that it is more common than they may think. There are several legalities of divorce that are important to note.

Once upon a time, it was extremely hard for a person to get out of a bad marriage. Before a court would even consider granting a divorce back then, the filer had to show a strong reason why the marriage was irrevocably damaged. Now, in all 50 states, the law allows for a no-fault divorce. One does not have to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other party in order to be granted a divorce.

Your divorce and the search for hidden assets

The subject of hidden assets may not come up in every divorce, but it frequently enters the conversation when the couple’s personal or business assets are substantial. The law requires equitable distribution of the marital estate, but one partner or the other may not want to share everything.

Hidden assets may indeed exist. In fact, the spouse who has property the other has never heard about or cash carefully squirreled away may have been preparing for the possibility of divorce for some time.

Florida opiod epidemic leaving kids in need of adoption

Many parents in the state have found themselves unable to care for their own children because of drug abuse. It has become such a large epidemic that there is now a name for the kids from these situations. They are known as Florida's opioid orphans, and many of them may be in desperate need of adoption.

Perhaps some of the most tragic of these children are the babies who are born already addicted. Shaking and constant crying are just some of the symptoms are brought on by their withdrawal, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. There has been a shocking increase of 1200% of cases in the southern part of the state alone.

Remember the 401K in divorce property division

There are several assets which tend to be overlooked in a divorce. A spouse's retirement plan, such as their 401K is one of those assets. There are a few requirements that must be met, but once this is done, the 401K can be made a part of the divorce property division. These laws not only apply in Florida but in the rest of the country as well.

According to federal law, an employee's 401K cannot be assigned to anyone other than the employee. That includes the employee's spouse. This law was put into place to make sure that the retirement benefits that a company grants an employee actually go to that employee. But there is an exception to this rule. 

State seeks to end paternity rights of sports doctor

One state has moved to end the parental rights of a sports doctor who has been accused of the sexual assault of several females. According to the report, attorneys have filed their petition against the 53-year-old after citing testimony from the FBI. It is a case in which a man could lose custody of his children despite the fact that he has never been accused of abusing them in any way. While this case is unique, paternity rights cases are heard daily in Florida courtrooms.

The FBI testimony alleges that videos and images of child pornography were discovered at the residence of the man. Videos of him assaulting girls were said to have been included in the videos. There are no charges that would indicate that his own children were involved in any way.

Adoption advocate has helped find homes for over 200 children

A man whose wife was adopted at the age of 6 months has come to be known as an advocate for adoption. It all started in Florida in Jan. 2005 when six babies who were about to be born needed permanent homes. The man's wife of just 11 months volunteered herself and her husband, and together, they arranged for the adoption.

Although the birth mother ultimately decided to keep the babies, it opened the door for the man to start a journey that he'd never dreamed of being on. Since then, he and his wife have adopted two kids and found homes for over 200 more. They also have one biological son.

Changes in life often prompt changes in divorce agreements

No matter if it stems from changes in your own life, something of note popping up in the life of your child or a troubling situation that developed with your former spouse, a new circumstance may mean that you need to alter your divorce agreement to suit.

If you and your ex cannot agree to the change, you can turn to an experienced divorce attorney for help in resolving the matter.

Mediation in child custody

Anyone who has ever been through a divorce in which children were involved can attest to the stressfulness of the entire situation. Child custody decisions can be the most important choices that parents ever make for their kids. In Florida, when divorcing parents cannot come to an agreement concerning who will get custody of the kids, divorce mediation may be a way to solve the matter amicably.

Some parents may wonder why they should even attempt mediation before going forward with a divorce. They may mistakenly believe that the mediator is there to choose sides or determine who is right and who is wrong. This is simply not the case. It is the mediator's job to remain neutral and help the parties communicate.

One state fights to make shared child custody mandatory priority

A representative of one state is fighting to make it mandatory for family court judges to make it a priority for parents to share their kids after a divorce. While many couples make the decision of who will get child custody before they ever reach the courtroom, the family court judge is left to make that choice when the parents cannot agree. A new bill was introduced recently that will provide new rules on how those decisions are made. Though the bill was not presented in Florida, it could have an affect on family courts all over the country.

According to the wording of the bill, a family judge will be required to start every case with the assumption that it is in the best interest of the child to spend equal time with each parent. This is meant to protect the child's right to have a meaningful relationship with both the mother and father. The representative who drafted the bill feels that there are too many cases in which child custody is decided according to where the parent lives and what the judge decides, instead of what is best for the child.

Avoiding a financial crisis while going through divorce

While divorce is rarely a happy occasion, the financial hardship that comes with it is often the worst aspect of the whole ordeal. In fact, many who go through a divorce end up in a financial crisis. For those who are considering a divorce in Florida, there are ways to ensure that the process doesn't break the bank.

Many times, the divorce turns into an all-out war because each party fails to adequately predict how much he or she will have to pay out throughout the proceedings. For instance, while the husband may feel that he is being very generous to his soon-to-be ex-wife, she may feel that he is being selfish and greedy. The same can be true of the wife and her soon-to-be ex-husband. All too often, both parties end up paying out far more than they anticipated.

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