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Tampa Family Law Law Blog

Basic necessities and more -- what child support covers

Providing necessary financial support is just another part of being a parent. This is relatively straightforward when a child lives with their parent who deals with all of those little daily costs as they arise, such as paying the rent, buying groceries and making payments during doctor visits. Less clear, however, is how Florida parents should split these costs when they are no longer married. Child support orders ensure that children continue receiving that financial support from both parents, even if they are divorced. 

In general, primary custodians can expect to receive child support from their exes. These payments should cover a range of child-related expenses. Most obvious are the child's basic necessities, which covers things like a safe and comfortable home, food and adequate clothing. Medical care -- including insurance premiums and co-pays -- can also be covered by child support. 

Father granted full custody after wife lied about abuse

For Florida parents, children are typically the focal point of their divorce. Decisions about everything from property division to where each person will live may always fall back to the same question -- How will it affect the kids? While this intense respect for the children's best interests can be helpful in most cases, some parents take matters too far as they try to shift child custody in their own favor. 

An out-of-state court recently upheld a ruling that gave sole custody of six children to their father. The mother had initially been granted custody. The couple married back in 1998 and had six children, whom the mother cared for while the father worked. In 2014 he moved out of the family home, ultimately filing for divorce a year later. 

Does having student loans lead to divorce?

Teenagers across Florida the rest of the United States usually all hear some version of the same story -- if they want a good career, they need to go to college. Every year young adults take out more and more student loans to afford their college degrees, and although most realize it is a large sum to pay back, few realize how many facets of their life the debt might affect. Experts are now realizing that student loans can even lead to divorce. 

A 2015 study found that financial problems are the biggest stress in any relationship. The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts reports that money issues are one of the top three reasons people file for divorce. With around 44 million Americans holding $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, it may be easy to see why student loans are so problematic in marriage. 

Prenuptial agreements minimize fighting in divorce

Worth more than $5 million? One family law expert says that this is the financial threshold where fighting during divorce takes a nosedive. What about the upper middle class, who typically have anywhere from $1 to $5 million at their disposal? Well, he recently nicknamed them the fighting class. 

Many people in Florida have the image of wealthy couples going to war during a divorce, but this is not totally accurate. While wealthy couples who have more than $5 million might fight over some things, they do so far less frequently and with the aid of proxies, who handle the details for them. Turns out that fighting more because more money is involved simply is not true, because once those finances are split both people can still live comfortably. 

How will a divorce affect your long-term financial well-being?

The end of your marriage will bring significant financial changes to your life, and you may have serious concerns about your future security. A divorce will require adjustments and compromise, but you can still have a strong and stable future. One of the smartest things you can do during divorce is to make decisions that are smart and beneficial for your long-term financial well-being.

Choices and decisions made during divorce will certainly affect your life for years to come. There is significant benefit in proceeding carefully and thoughtfully through the divorce process, especially when it comes to money, marital assets and valuable property. If you are a Florida reader moving toward divorce, you may benefit from careful preparation so you can make prudent choices.

Alimony -- can I get it or will I have to pay?

In the not-too-distant past, most people in Florida assumed that men always end up having to pay their exes spousal support. Although it is true that men typically pay alimony more frequently than their female counterparts, it is not because of their gender. Several factors come into play when figuring out who -- if anyone -- pays support.

Alimony -- commonly called spousal support -- is not an easy subject to deal with. After all, no one particularly likes the idea of making regular payments to their ex even after their divorce is finalized. Still, alimony is an important topic for many reasons. If you did not work during your marriage you may need time to develop a financial safety net. If your ex took on less responsibilities at work to take on extra child rearing duties then he or she might require job training. Alimony provides the necessary financial support until you are ready to be on your own.

Divorce and the military -- what you need to know

Military families deal with uniquely trying circumstances. From frequent moves to long periods of separation and demanding jobs, the pressure on marriages is tremendous, and it shows. Florida military members divorce at much higher rates than their civilian peers and must also handle more difficult issues during the process. 

Being a parent is not at odds with serving in the military, but it can make divorce extremely complicated. With one or both parents likely to move every few years or deploy on short notice, creating a child custody arrangement that reflects a child's best interests can be difficult. It is essential for parents to take the time to craft the best parenting plan possible. This means including contingencies for military moves, deployments, temporary duties and more. 

Have questions about permanent alimony?

While many states have abandoned permanent alimony, Florida is not one of them. Here, there is still a belief that it is a necessity in some divorce cases -- but not all. If you are preparing to go through the divorce process, you may have some questions about permanent alimony, such as: Who can get it, is it really permanent, and is it ever adjustable?

This type of spousal support is really for individuals who have been in long-term marriages. There are a number of factors that the court will look at before deciding if permanent alimony makes sense and how much the receiving spouse should get.

Older adults face unique property division challenges

According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for adults over the age of 50 has doubled over the last two decades. This trend, known as "gray divorce," means that many Florida couples who are retired or nearly retired will be undergoing property division. These individuals may have unique concerns and challenges during the divorce proceedings.

Getting divorced at a later age can seem somewhat easier at first. Child support and custody are rarely issues at hand, and breakups between older people who grow apart can often be more amicable. However, the way in which a couple splits up retirement funds can have a big impact on their lives at this age.

Ask questions and avoid trying to "win" during divorce

Many of the challenges that come with divorce are due to a misunderstanding of the legal, financial and emotional realities. Some people can be too focused on "winning" in a divorce. However, the better approach may be to ask the right questions to your Florida divorce professionals, like a lawyer and financial planner, to avoid making a mistake or not covering all bases. Being proactive and careful rather than treating it like a competition is a less aggressive and often more effective way of behaving in a divorce.

The most important thing to do when going through a divorce is to ask the right questions. For example, it would be helpful to ask a financial advisor questions about what lifestyle changes may need to be made. A third party advisor may also be able to clarify whether a person is effectively approaching the divorce by offering unbiased guidance. 

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