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Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Complex Divorce Blog

What are some good methods for negotiating?

Dividing property isn't always easy during divorce, but there are a few methods you can use to do so. Even if you and your spouse are at odds with one another, these methods of dispute resolution can work.

First, here are four methods that are often used to divide the marital property and settle other issues related to your divorce:

  • Open negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Trial (litigation)

How do bonuses and other benefits impact a Florida divorce?

Divorce is emotional, to be certain. But once divorced couples are able to get through the heart-wrenching moments, they must confront the financial aspects. And for Florida residents whose paychecks are tied to something other than base pay, divorce could prove even more challenging.

What happens in the case of divorce for those people who have bonuses linked to performance? Or an upfront bonus that requires you to repay some of it if you leave your job? That's when the timing of a divorce could come into play, as well as the conditions tied to a financial settlement.

Tips for the first divorce conversation

Divorce mediation can be a helpful tool for couples who can work together. It gives them more control over what happens during the divorce and it's often faster than going to court. If they have children, there is far less conflict.

These are all positive things, but the key lies in being able to work together. Not all couples can. The way that you bring up divorce for the first time may heavily influence how this works for you and your spouse.

How do you prove that your spouse hid assets before the divorce?

For couples facing divorce, the most pressing or contentious issue will be the way that they split up their possessions and debts, especially if they don't share children or if their children are no longer minors.

Concern about needing to share assets with their ex can motivate some people to do unethical and frankly illegal things, such as intentionally diminishing the marital estate through dissipation or even attempting to hide assets from their spouse and the courts.

What are the upsides to mediation?

You have a lot of options when you decide to get divorced. For instance, while the most common way to split up is by having a court case, you don't necessarily have to do so. You can choose divorce mediation instead.

How is mediation different? The goal is cooperation. It doesn't happen in court. Instead, you and your spouse, along with the mediator, sit down together at a neutral location. The three of you work together to find solutions to things like property division and child custody. You then present the agreement to the court, which does have to approve it, but you don't need the judge to make the decisions for you. Advantages of this system include:

  • You make the choices, not the judge.
  • The atmosphere is more relaxed.
  • You and your spouse can cooperate to find the best solution for your family.
  • It may be faster and it may cost less money.
  • It keeps your children out of a high-stress court case.
  • You and your ex may be on better terms after the divorce since there is no contentious divorce case.
  • You do not have to make your case a public event.

How do we divide retirement benefits in a divorce?

When divorcing, you want to get all assets to which you are entitled. It's always prudent to split the retirement benefits at the time of your divorce rather than waiting until later to do so, no matter what your ages may be when you split.

When you split up the retirement pensions, you should seek the counsel of your financial adviser in order to dodge any pitfalls related to taxes you might owe.

How can you get on the same parenting page with your ex?

There are a variety of concerns that may lead a couple back to the negotiation table or the courtroom when they're going through a divorce or even after they've settled one. Differences in parenting styles are one of the many factors that cause former spouses to seek out modifications of court orders. If you and your ex are struggling with seeing eye-to-eye about how to parent your kids, then there are some things that you may want to try before filing any motions with the court.

If there's any way for you two to have a civil conversation with one another, then you should do that. The two of you must acknowledge that you're both on two separate pages about how you want to raise your child. You should try to find some common ground rules that both of you can agree on and enforce those with your child.

Using mediation to share marital property

Divorce can be challenging for any couple. If you are looking to avoid a costly and lengthy court battle, though, you may be thinking about pursuing mediation. After all, divorce mediation has many advantages over traditional court proceedings. 

Divorce court often requires spouses to follow rigid guidelines and procedures. However, you may have some creative ideas about how to distribute marital property. If so, engaging in divorce mediation may allow you to share either ownership or usage of certain pieces of marital property. 

Will divorce cost you your inheritance?

As you move toward a divorce, you know that you and your spouse need to split up your assets. That's fine with you for much of what you own, as you bought it jointly anyway -- your home, your car, etc. You also both make roughly the same amount of money, so splitting up earnings and savings seems fair.

What concerns you is your inheritance, which your parents left to you. Does your spouse get to claim part of it? Will you lose your parents' money at the end of your marriage?

Lawmakers introduce bills that would change alimony in Florida

Bills have been introduced in both houses of the Florida legislature that, if passed, would alter the current alimony laws in place.

In the state House of Representatives, a subcommittee gave the alimony bill its first approval, allowing it to advance. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Alex Andrade (R-Pensacola), proposes to shift alimony from lifetime payments to a "bridge the gap" system and also would limit how long alimony could be paid.

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