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Punta Gorda Family Law Blog

Many Florida spouses settle their divorce outside of court

Many couples choose to negotiate the details of their divorce through their attorneys, outside of a court of law. That is often a far better path for Florida spouses, as it can reduce the time and expense of a divorce, and also keep their private matters out of public display. High profile couple Jesse Jackson Jr. and Sandi Jackson recently settled their divorce, but only after years of highly visible strife. 

It appears that both sides wanted to have allegations of adultery play a large role in their divorce. Jesse Jackson Jr. tried to subpoena a former police superintendent who is currently running for mayor. While that effort never got far off the ground, it did get plenty of headlines. Sandi Jackson tried to subpoena multiple individuals, including her husband's one-time travel companion and the owners of a strip club and bathhouse. Those efforts were also unsuccessful. 

Do embryo cases require a child custody attorney?

One state's new law is creating heated debates around the nation. The law centers on disputes between parties who created and stored embryos prior to a divorce or breakup, and are using a child custody attorney to fight the issue. In the past, courts in Florida and elsewhere have been reluctant to grant one party the right to have a child against the will of the other. This new law, however, gives preference ot the party who wishes to become a parent, which effectively forces parenthood on the other party. 

It's estimated that more than one million embryos are currently stored across the nation. When couples go their separate ways, those embryos are usually destroyed. However, there are cases in which one party wishes to have a child using the embryos, while the other does not. Couples often sign a contract at the time the embryos are created, which outlines what will occur in the event of a breakup. Very often, however, these contracts are disputed in court.

Did this man follow the advice of a child custody attorney?

Going through a divorce is never an easy matter, especially for couples who share one or more children. Some Florida spouses experience a great deal of stress during a divorce, which can cause them to make choices that are not in line with their best interests. An example is found in another part of the country, where a man most certainly did not follow the advice of a child custody attorney when deciding to forge his wife's signature on their divorce papers. 

It's hard to imagine what line of reasoning the man took in making that decision. The terms of their divorce were already worked out and agreed upon. Before forging the signature, the man made some very minor changes, essentially giving himself two extra weeks of summer visitation with his son and reducing his monthly child support by $300. 

Divorcing after 50? Avoid these 3 mistakes

If you are at least 50 years old and getting a divorce, you are not alone. In fact, according to CNBC, the rate of divorce among adults 50 and older has doubled over the past two decades. While divorce can happen to anyone, it is important to know that there are unique considerations for what is known as a "gray divorce."

Divorcing at an older age can have huge financial consequences, especially for your retirement plan. Because of this, you must be especially careful while ending your marriage. Here are some pitfalls to avoid.

Tips for name change after a Florida divorce

Ending a marriage necessitates an ever-increasing list of "to do" items. For many Florida spouses, one of those items includes changing their name once the divorce is made final. While not everyone seeks a name change after a divorce, for many it is a symbol of a new start in life, and a way to reclaim their identity as an individual. This article offers a range of useful tips for a post-divorce name change.

The first place to begin is with identification documents, as these will be required to make many secondary name changes. While no one relishes the thought of a visit to the DMV, that's an appropriate place to begin. Be sure to collect all documentation as outlined on the DMV website, including documentation of the divorce. The next step for most is a trip to the Social Security office to have a new card issued in the new name.

Trying to divorce, some in Florida find they were never married

In today's world, few people remain in the state of their birth. In fact, relocating for work, school or personal pursuits is incredibly common. For those in Florida who are married, it is important to understand that the validity of that marriage depends on whether state guidelines for marriage were followed. If not, a marriage can be declared void by a court of law, leaving the parties with none of the protections afforded couples who divorce. 

For example, some couples choose to have a friend or family member officiate their union. Getting the authorization to serve as a minister for that purpose is very easy. One organization by the name of Universal Life Church offers the opportunity to become a minister through an online process, with no training or demonstration of skill. 

Safeguard finances in retirement years after a divorce

When a Florida couple decides to end their marriage, regardless of age, there are a significant amount of issues to resolve. If a couple is over the age of 50 when the breakup occurs, questions may arise about how retirement funds will be handled.  Advisors have offered several tips on how to protect one's finances both when going through a divorce and in the following years.

Tax laws enable anyone over the age of 50 to contribute more funds to an IRA or retirement plan. It would be helpful to save as much as annual limits allow if one is able to do so. In addition, some workers may choose to continue with their jobs a few years and delay retirement. Any extra funds that can be added to a retirement account will help stretch the dollars available for the future. After retirement, it may be prudent to get a part-time job to generate more income; however, make sure that taxes or any government benefits are not adversely affected with a new job.

Could Florida parents lose custody over poverty?

When children are found living in extreme poverty or are homeless, the authorities often get involved. For some Florida families, that can mean losing custody of their kids until they are able to improve their living circumstances. An example is found in a West Coast case in which two parents were jailed and three children removed from their custody after authorities discovered the family living in what amounts to a shack in the desert.

Authorities arrived at the property, which is owned by the parents, to investigate an unrelated matter. They discovered the family of five living in a one room shack with no electricity or running water. There were reports of piles of garbage and human feces spread throughout the property. As a result, the parents were taken into custody and the children placed into the county's child protective services department.

A temporary divorce court order can give structure to separation

When a marriage ends and a Florida couple separates, there are typically multiple issues to decide. Life goes on, and in the time leading up to the divorce, there will be rental or mortgage payments, the children will need support, and if one of the parents was a stay-at-home parent, that person might need spousal support. It could take weeks, months or even years to finalize a divorce, and that is where a temporary divorce court order can play a role to give structure.

Such an order will set the rules by which the spouses must live until a final divorce decree is issued. If these rules are acceptable and work well during the separation, they might even form part of the ultimate settlement agreement. Child-related issues to include will cover who will pay child support and how much. Also, who will have custody of the children, visitation arrangements for the other parent, and whose responsibility it would be to carry health insurance for the children and pay for extracurricular activities.

3 tips for new stepparents

Becoming a stepparent is not an easy task. It can be difficult to blend your family together. If you are planning to adopt your stepchildren, you must navigate the journey with a lot of patience and unconditional love.

Bonding with your new stepchildren may not be simple, but it will be rewarding and fulfilling. Here are some tips for being the best stepparent you can be.