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Punta Gorda Family Law Blog

Postnuptial marital agreements have varied purposes

When couples in Florida get married, they combine not only their lives but also their assets. While marital agreements can protect each spouse in the event of a divorce, not all couples feel comfortable discussing a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. Some feel it is unnecessary because they both enter the union with little or no assets. However, those circumstances can change, and this is where a postnuptial agreement can show its value.

A marital agreement can ensure that -- in the event of a divorce -- each spouse can hold onto the assets that he or she brought into the marriage. One or both might learn about an imminent inheritance or trust fund payout that was not addressed in a prenup. This might give rise to the need for a postnuptial agreement to help prevent these funds from becoming part of the marital assets.

Reasons to ask a family law attorney about collaborative divorce

When many people think about collaborative divorce, they envision a process that bears no resemblance to a traditionally litigated divorce. In reality, however, Florida families who pursue a collaborative divorce still have all of the protections and advocacy afforded to traditional divorce clients. The only difference is that a family law attorney who focuses on collaborative divorce begins from a position of collaboration, rather than adversity.

Both parties in collaborative divorce have their own independent attorneys. Those professionals advise clients on the pros and cons of various options regarding property division, child custody and other matters. The attorneys also work to guide the divorce process forward in a collaborative manner.

A property division lawyer can assist in uncovering hidden assets

In most Florida divorces, spouses are open and honest about the full scope of marital wealth. They share information about income, assets and debt, which is then used to structure an equitable and comprehensive property division settlement. In some cases, however, a Florida spouse may be faced with a set of unique challenges when it comes to hidden assets. In those instances, a property division lawyer and a financial advisor can work together to help a client achieve a fair division of wealth.

Divorce fraud can take a number of different forms. In many cases, dissipation of marital wealth is involved. This is the process through which one spouse intentionally spends marital assets for purposes that are unrelated to the marriage or family. That can occur through transferring small amounts of money to a secret account, or purchasing items of property that the other party is unaware of.

Some Florida parents face unexpected child custody disputes

When a spouse is preparing to divorce, it is perfectly normal to worry about how contentious the process will become. Very few people want to move through the process with a high degree of discontent with their soon-to-be ex. In reality, however, it is impossible to control the way that another person will choose to move through the divorce process. For many Florida parents, child custody negotiations take an unexpected turn for the worse.

An example is found in a current case that has placed a mother at risk of jail time for failing to comply with a court order. The woman holds strong beliefs about the safety of immunization. She and her husband intentionally delayed immunizing their son so that he would not receive multiple vaccinations in a short period of time.

Establishing paternity in Florida

If you believe you fathered a child but the child’s mother was not your wife at the time of the birth, you do not have any rights to that child until you establish legal paternity. Establishing paternity can have tremendous benefits not only for your child, but for you, and every child deserves to know his or her parentage.

As a parent, you may want to establish paternity so you can pursue custody or otherwise have a say in decisions affecting your child’s life, and the child’s mother may also want to establish paternity so she can collect child support from you to help provide for food, clothing, education and so on. In addition to giving you legal rights as a parent, knowing who his or her father is can have a considerable and positive impact on a child.

Unwed Florida parents enjoy equal access to court

When unwed couples have a child prior to separating, they can face an unusual set of legal needs. Unlike married parents who go through a divorce, Florida parents who are unwed may face child custody needs, but do not normally have to go through the process of property division and other matters. Fortunately, unwed Florida parents have the same access to family court as those who were married.

That is not always the case, as evidenced in a recent change made in one Midwestern state. There, unwed parents who were unable to resolve their child custody differences were sent to a separate court than those who were pursuing divorce and child custody. Legal challenges to that policy led to the elimination of what was referred to as "parentage" court.

Celebrity dad raises money for child custody attorney

Many Florida readers are familiar with Jon and Kate Gosselin from the television show "Jon and Kate Plus 8." The couple were among the first reality TV stars, with a show based on their experience raising sextuplets in addition to older twin girls. While the show was still in production, the couple began experiencing marital troubles. They are currently divorced, and have been embroiled in a heated child custody case for many years. Recently, Jon Gosselin set up a crowdfunding account, seeking assistance in securing the services of a child custody attorney.

Over the years, both parents have made multiple court appearances regarding the care and custody of their eight children. Both have gone through ups and downs in their individual careers, and have encountered financial difficulties. It appears that Jon Gosselin is planning to return to court to ask for a modification of their existing custody order.

Obtaining business valuation during a Florida divorce

Owning and operating a business is a lifelong goal for many people. It takes a great deal of time, effort and investment to get a business up and running. For many Florida spouses, protecting their business from loss during divorce is a top priority, although reaching that goal can seem like an insurmountable task. Part of that process involves obtaining a business valuation, which provides the information necessary to begin discussing this important property division topic.

A business valuation is simply an estimated value that encompasses all aspects of a business. It is important to hire an independent expert to complete this process, one who is familiar with the size, type and scope of the business being valued. The estimation of a business's value depends on a number of factors.

How will your divorce affect your adult children?

When you have grown children living independently, you may not consider as much how you and your spouse getting a divorce will affect them. However, the rise in gray divorce has highlighted this question as more adults are experiencing the end of their parents' marriages.

While it is true that concerns such as custody will not be applicable, it is also true that your divorce may still have a significant impact on your older children. Knowing what these effects are can help you be a better parent during this difficult time.

The Protective Prenup: Tips for Florida couples

For many couples, considering a prenuptial agreement is a source of dread. Far too many people approach the topic of prenuptial agreements with the belief that these marital contracts always begin and end from an adversarial position. In reality, Florida couples often choose a prenup to protect each other from financial loss related to existing debt or anticipated business expenses.

For example, consider a couple where one party is in the process of opening a restaurant. A great deal of time, energy and money will be required in order to get that business off the ground. It may be several years before the restaurant turns a healthy profit, and during that time, debt is likely to accumulate.