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West Palm Beach Florida Family Law Blog

Don't forget these items in your prenuptial agreement

You and your soon-to-be spouse have decided to put a prenuptial agreement in place before the big day. That's a wise decision. You each should detail and protect the money, property and other assets that belong to you before you begin making purchases together and opening joint bank accounts.

However, there are some other things that you shouldn't overlook. Your Florida family law attorney will help you determine what you should and should not include. However, your attorney doesn't know what you don't tell them.

When should you consider a 'split custody' arrangement?

One custody option that some parents with multiple children choose after divorce is called "split custody" or "divided custody." It's when each parent takes primary physical custody of one or more of their children, so the siblings aren't living together.

Split custody isn't common -- for good reason. Many parenting experts don't recommend it because it involves splitting up siblings at a time when they may need each other's support more than ever.

Medical expenses are a key component of child support

If you've been ordered or agreed to pay child support, you're likely expected to pay for some, if not all, of your child's medical expenses. In most cases, this will include any expenses above and beyond what your insurance covers, such as deductibles and copays. It may also include the cost of procedures and treatments not covered by your insurance policy.

If you and your co-parent are splitting these expenses, your child support order may state the percentage that each parent is responsible for. If your child develops a medical condition after the support agreement is put in place that is extremely costly or has a treatment or procedure that's not medically necessary, they might want to add that to the support order and detail how expenses will be split.

Fighting over Fido? How to avoid pet custody problems in divorce

If you decide that your marriage is no longer viable, you will likely have to make many decisions as you move toward a divorce settlement. Florida laws that govern such matters will no doubt influence your decisions, especially if you are a parent. Divorce is never easy, even when both spouses agree that it is the best course of action in a particular situation.  

One decision that can be surprisingly emotional to make in a divorce is determining whether you or your spouse will have custody of your pet. It's not uncommon for people to bring pets into a marriage, meaning you or your spouse already had a dog or cat (or bird or whatever) when you started dating, and the pet became an automatic member of your household when you married.  

The physical and emotional impact of 'gray divorce'

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can experience. The stress and other circumstances of a divorce can be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health, no matter what your age. However, divorce can more seriously impact the health of older people.

Divorce among people in their 50s and well into their senior years has doubled within the past three decades. This so-called "gray divorce" phenomenon has prompted researchers to look at how the end of a marriage can impact people's mental and physical well-being.

Bringing your co-parent's new partner into the parenting circle

Your ex-spouse has met the new love of their life. Maybe they're engaged. Perhaps the new significant other is living with your ex. Either way, this person is now going to be part of your children's lives -- and yours.

It's natural to have mixed feelings about this. It's good for your kids to have another adult who loves them and can help take care of them and strengthen their support system. However, you may be concerned that you now have to compete with this person for your children's affection. You may also fear that your co-parent's new partner will undermine your parenting.

When should you consider modifying your parenting plan?

If your children were young when you and your spouse divorced, you likely assumed that the parenting plan you put in place would need to be modified at some point as your kids grew up. Children's needs change, as do their parents' circumstances.

However, many other situations may warrant a parenting plan modification. For example:

  • A parent relocates to another geographical area.
  • A parent's job schedule changes significantly.
  • The children are no longer safe alone with a parent.
  • A child's school or extracurricular schedule has changed.

Couple behind famous Plantation Christmas display divorcing

For many South Florida residents, the Christmas season isn't complete without a trip to see the famous (or infamous) Hyatt family Christmas display in Plantation Acres. Dubbed "Hyatt Extreme Christmas," the display has included a Santa's workshop, Ferris wheel and some 200,000 lights. However, after over two decades, it may have come to an end.

The couple behind it is divorcing -- and it's complicated. The husband is Plantation councilman Mark Hyatt. His wife says that he walked out on her after 27 years this past January without explanation.

When can you seek to lower or eliminate alimony payments?

Since your divorce, you have been paying alimony to your ex. Maybe you reached a spousal support agreement yourselves, with the help of your attorneys. Maybe you couldn't agree on an amount, so a judge had to get involved to make the decision. However it was done, your spousal support payments were likely based in large part on your financial situation and that of your soon-to-be ex.

Any number of circumstances can change in both of your lives that may warrant a change in your spousal support obligations. A person who's paying alimony may want to seek a modification if any of the following happens to them:

  • A job loss or significant decrease in income. Either of those must be involuntary. You can't just quit your job or decide to go part-time and expect to owe less alimony.
  • A disabling injury or illness that impacts your ability to work.
  • A new child. If you have another child, you may be able to argue that because you have this new financial obligation, you can't pay as much in alimony.

What causes divorce? According to some, these issues might

Whether you've been married for 30 years or are one of many newlyweds in Florida, if you're married, you've likely learned that there are good days, bad days and some in between. Like life, marriage is more of a journey than a single event. Various circumstances, people and issues can impact your marital relationships.

When asked about their reasons for divorce, spouses who have ended their marriages often cite the same types of issues. Your exact situation may not be identical to another person's, but if you talk to others who have gone through divorce, you might find you have something in common or can at least relate to shared experiences. Many people who divorce find it quite helpful to seek outside support as they adapt to new lifestyles.

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Phone: 561-328-0718
Fax: 561-253-6353