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Brandon Legal Blog

How can retirement accounts affect the property division process?

You and your spouse likely worked incredibly hard to accumulate assets over many years into a retirement account. The original thought was that one day a married couple would have enough money set aside in that they could quit their jobs and live out their remaining years together. However, for many Tampa residents, that idea gets snuffed out when a marriage doesn't quite make it to retirement ago. What happens to the retirement account now?

Retirement accounts are almost always considered marital property. Marital property is property accumulated during the marriage that both spouses can lay claim to, even if their wages weren't contributing directly to the account. The courts generally see 401(k)s and similar retirement accounts as property that is to be divided fairly between the spouses in cases of divorce. It is possible to separate funds from a 401(k) in a one-time divorce acquisition during the property division process.

Seeking primary custody of your child may be best

Being a parent comes with a lot of responsibility. There also isn't any greater joy than seeing your child thrive and grow. Parents can seek primary custody of their child in both a physical and a legal sense. Being awarded primary custody can mean a variety of things affecting families today.

Primary custody usually means that a parent has been awarded most of the responsibility as far as physical custody goes. Physical custody refers to where the child is residing the majority of the time. Physical custody determinations are different from legal custody decisions, in which the big decisions are made for the child. Decisions like religion, schooling and things that affect a child's future are granted to parents who are awarded legal custody.

Asset division, property division can include spousal support

Marriage comes with a lot of incentives. Incentives include tax benefits on annual tax returns for filing jointly, saving on co-habitation expenses and other financial pluses. These financial benefits can cause people to be hesitant about filing for a divorce. Oftentimes, people who are filing for divorce are looking at a situation in which they will be living a single life, and the financial changes can make people anxious about how the change will affect them.

However, there is a big incentive to filing for divorce. That incentive is that one no longer needs to be married to someone that they do not want to be with anymore. Financial aspects can be hammered out in the divorce proceedings, and a divorce decree will lay out the finalities in great detail. One aspect that may find its way into the divorce decree is the possibility for one spouse to receive alimony, or spousal support, from the other.

Highest Florida court gives final ruling on marital property

One Florida couple in the midst of the asset division portion of their divorce took their disagreement all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. The couple had been married for nearly 30 years before making the decision to get a divorce. The process of their asset division was complicated by their signing of prenuptial agreements prior to their marriage in 1987. One spouse alleges that separate property in that agreement was marital property due to the spouse's using the assets for residence.

Since the husband's name was the only one listed on two properties the couple used for residence, he alleged that they were separate property. The wife, on the other hand, argued that the properties actually qualified as marital property since the husband practiced donative intent. The trial court found the woman to be correct, while the appeals court sided with the husband in the property division dispute.

Who owns what in a divorce?

A successful marriage may have lasted ten, fifteen or even twenty-plus years. However, that doesn't mean that two people won't wake up, look at each other and realize that they want to go their separate ways. Sometimes people grow apart. So what does that mean for their accumulated marital property?

When talking about marital property to be divided during a high-asset divorce, the goal is to have an equitable division that is fair to both parties. That is all well and good, but what happens if both parties want the same assets? This is where it can get tricky. One may have to bargain for the asset they truly want by giving up something else -- unless the other party can be persuaded otherwise. However, certain marital assets can be split.

An equitable property split is possible for divorcing couples

Sometimes a divorce can feel like each party just wants to look out for their own interests. In some cases, it can feel like the best interests of the other party are then sacrificed. But it doesn't always have to be this way. There is a way to prioritize both interests of divorcing spouses during property division.

The best way to do this is for each party to focus in on what is most important to them. For example, it may be really important for one spouse to keep the house, especially if they will have the majority of physical custody of the kids. Or let's say one spouse owns a business. It may be really important for the business assets to remain in the possession and in control of the one spouse who runs the business. Since either spouse has different points that are most important to them, they may be able to come to a decision by prioritizing the aspects that are most important to each person.

The importance of parenting plans for joint custody families

If you and your child's parent have decided to call it quits, there is a process associated with determining custody of that child, among other topics. Maybe you and your spouse have been living separately for awhile now and you want the child custody situation to be more defined. Whatever the motivation, Tampa family court can hand down a decision to a family's custody situation. Many parents decide that drafting a parenting plan is helpful is outlining the duties and responsibilities of both parties.

When it comes to child custody, many parents (and courts agree) that joint custody is an optimal custody arrangement. Joint custody offer some level of split-custody of a child for both parents. However, raising a child from separate households can be challenging. What parent is expected to do what task and so on? This is where parenting plans come in.

A review of Florida law on child custody parenting plans

Parenting is hard, even when both parents live together under the same roof. However, when Florida parents go through divorces or choose to separate, then making sure their kids are well cared for can become even more difficult. In Brandon County and throughout the rest of the state, parents execute parenting plans to organize how they will share the responsibilities of caring for their children.

According to Chapter 61 of Title VI to the Florida Statutes, there are a number of considerations that must be included in a court ordered parenting plan. First, the parenting plan must outline how the parents will manage the daily needs of the child. Daily needs can include but are not limited to providing the children with food and shelter, as well as providing them with transportation to and from school.

A divorce can be a threat to a family business

Many Florida residents dream of becoming their own bosses and managing corporations or businesses of their own creation. Though not every dreamer is able to turn their self-employment plans into reality, those people that do start their own businesses often spend a great deal of time, money, and energy in the effort to see their entities grow. Self-owned businesses often become family businesses when business owners marry or start their entities after they have entered into legal marital relationships.

Businesses that are owned by spouses who are ending their marriage can be dealt with in a number of ways. The divorcing parties may choose to maintain their business relationship despite the end of their personal relationship; not all divorcing couples are able to do this because of emotional difficulties and discord.

We can help you through your high asset divorce

There is no such thing as a "one size fits all" divorce and Brandon residents who are exploring the option of legally ending their marriages deserve to work with legal representatives who will treat them as individuals. At the Tampa Bay Legal Center, our clients are given the information and specific resources they need to make the best choices about their personal divorces.

That information can pertain to a variety of divorce-related topics, such as child custody and support, spousal support, and property division. For couples that earn high incomes or possess significant assets, knowing how to approach wealth division negotiations can be particularly important.

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