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Brandon Legal Blog

Is your spouse committing financial fraud?

As you and your spouse begin contemplating a Florida divorce, you may have the uneasy feeling that (s)he is attempting to hide marital assets from you so as to obtain a better financial position for himself or herself in your property settlement negotiations. Your suspicions likely are greater if the two of you are a high-asset couple

Spousal asset hiding represents a not uncommon practice. Greedy and/or vindictive spouses often engage in this form of financial fraud.

Managing the new expenses of living single

There are many benefits to being married. You can expect lower tax rates, shared living expenses and the stability of a joint income. Indeed, many of the benefits you may enjoy are financial. In fact, many couples find the motivation to marry because of the financial benefits matrimony can provide. When you divorce, how can you readjust to single life and handle an increase in expenses?

There are a few tips you can take to make this transition a little easier. Whether you are freshly divorced or still dealing with the financial adjustment several years out, you can benefit from applying these ideas to your life and ensuring that a separation does not wreak financial havoc on your life.

Acceptable ways to spend child support beyond the necessities

Now that your divorce is over and you are starting to receive child support, you decided to celebrate your newfound freedom from an oppressive and controlling marriage by taking your kids to Walt Disney World. You mainly funded the trip from your own income, but you used a portion of your child support for meals and gifts for your children.

Upon arriving home, you weren't very surprised, but certainly intimidated, when you received angry text messages from your ex demanding a breakdown of your child support spending during the trip. Can he control how you spend child support?

    Get an accurate appraisal of personal items for a fair settlement

    When you get to divorce court, if you and your spouse have not been able to settle on a property division agreement, the judge will take a look at your list of assets and decide how best to divide them fairly. However, the judge probably does not have much of an idea of the fair market value of your antiques or your spouse's art collection. He or she may simply assign one to you and the other to your spouse without worrying about whether one is worth more money. 

    If your spouse's art collection is worth thousands of dollars or more, you should receive other assets to balance it out. The potential loss from failing to valuate personal property could be significant.

    What does Florida consider when awarding alimony?

    If you are a Florida resident who is navigating your way through an impending divorce, you may have concerns about how your life will change and whether you will be able to provide for yourself in the absence of your partner. Often, in marriages, one party will put his or her education or career on hold for the sake of the other party’s. While this can benefit your family if you stay together, it can also make things harder on you should you split and need to return to the workforce.

    If you are hoping to receive alimony after your divorce, you may be wondering what the court weighs in deciding whether to grant it to you. You can expect that the Florida court system will consider the following factors.

    Personal Injury & Non Disclosure Agreements

    Personal injuries in automobile accidents should not be settled with protective Orders or Non Disclousre Agreements.

    This is why Non Disclosure Agreements are a bad idea. Goodyear has fought the disclosure of the NDA's settling claims with families for years, claiming that they are "trade secrets."

    In a fight with Goodyear to make these NDA's public, the Judge ruled, among other things:

    How Does a Debt Become An Asset?

    This actually happened in a high asset divorce case. 

    Crazy question, I know, but recently an opposing attorney in an alimony case actually made this claim in a dissolution proceeding.  The short answer is that a debt is a debt, not an asset from which the Court can determine

    A divorce later in life can make finances difficult

    Just recently this Florida family law and divorce blog discussed an interesting trend in American divorces -- marriages are ending at a higher than average rate for older individuals. Often termed "gray divorce," the end of a marriage between people who have spent a significant number of years together can be more than just emotionally taxing -- it can be incredibly costly.

    When older couples divorce they often do not have to contend with some of the more major issues that plague couples with young children - custody, visitation, and child support. Instead their concerns may revolve around their retirement accounts, their real and personal property, and the intangible investments that they hold jointly with their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

    Knowing what to expect when dividing property is helpful

    The division of assets can be a concern at the top of the list of many divorcing spouses. Divorcing couples may wonder how their property will be divided if they divorce. In Florida, equitable property division rules are followed which means that the court will seek to arrive at a property division settlement agreement that is fair and equitable for the divorcing couple.

    The division of assets can be a complex and emotional process and it can be challenging to achieve an even fifty-fifty split of assets which will guide the court in the divorce settlement process. The process of dividing assets typically involves an equitable, rather than equal, division of assets which is more practical than dividing assets in half. It can result in compromises such as one spouse keeping a family business and the other spouse keeping the family home which may be viewed as a fair outcome.

    What is a gray divorce?

    Throughout the United States, including Tampa Bay, Florida, and the surrounding area, "gray divorces" are becoming more common. A gray divorce is defined as a divorce of a couple over 50 years of age. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, gray divorces have doubled over the last 25 years.

    Generally speaking, the longer a couple has been married, typically the more complicated the divorce with regards to property division. If you are considering divorce, it might be wise to first consider a legal separation. This can lead to a "cooling down" period which allows you to gather your thoughts and reassess the situation, presumably with less emotion involved in your decision-making. It is not uncommon in divorces for couples to be so upset that they make less than ideal decisions.

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