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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 4d ago

Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a person's life. You've finally found the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. The sad fact of the matter is that not all marriages will end happily ever after. With more and more divorces occurring each year, it's best to protect yourself and your assets prior to saying your vows. A common question asked is if I am married, are all my assets marital property?

One of the best ways to protect your assets if a divorce were to occur is to have both individual and joint accounts. If you want a joint account for expenses, be sure to open a brand new joint account instead of adding your spouse to an existing individual account. It's a good idea for you and your spouse to also keep open individual accounts in your own names.

It's in your best interest to keep the best records possible regarding your assets. If you own an entity that is difficult to value, like a business, have it appraised prior to getting married. This will help put a value on the business prior to the marriage. Keep copies of all wills or trusts that provide you an inheritance. Do the same for any monetary gifts you receive. Keep copies of the checks.

Be extra careful with any real estate you own. You might think it's alright to add your spouse to the titles and deeds, but if they have children from another marriage, those children could become co-owners upon the death of the spouse. This might be a situation you never planned for or wanted to happen.

Division of property in a Florida divorce can be quite complicated. It's definitely a situation that you should not attempt to handle on your own if you are getting divorced.

Source: The News-Herald, "You’re married, but your assets don’t have to be," Feb. 12, 2018

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 1w ago

Most Florida couples can see the advantages of mediating their divorces. In the best of circumstances, your mediation will be faster, cheaper, less stressful and less complicated than litigating your divorce in a Florida family law court. However, once the decision to mediate your divorce has been made, you'll need to decide what kind of mediation to use.

Here, we will discuss what evaluative mediation is, and what an evaluative mediator can do for you:

Imagine you and your spouse sitting across from each other at a table. Both of you are represented by your lawyers, and both of your lawyers are trying to get you the best deal possible. It could be difficult to cut through to the core of the issue and determine what will actually happen in a real live court settling. This is where an evaluative mediator comes in.

Evaluative divorce mediators are experts on Florida divorce family law. They will be able to sit down with both sides, look at the facts and circumstances of the case, hear what each side has to say and give their determination on how a real family court judge will likely decide the matter.

This insight can be immeasurably valuable to the spouses who are in conflict. If one spouse is stubbornly sticking to his or her guns, but the evaluative mediator illuminates the law in such a way that shows this stubborn spouse will likely lose in court -- it can help the spouses cut through to a settlement quickly and effectively. That said, in order for this process to work, the spouses definitely need to have trust for the expertise of the mediator.

Deciding which method is best can be difficult if you're not clear about what each variety of mediation entails. If you feel that mediation could be the right decision for your divorce case, educate yourself thoroughly on all the divorce mediation options available.

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 2w ago

If you are heading for an impending divorce, you have a lot of things on your mind. While going through a divorce is emotionally difficult, it is crucial to not forget about the big picture. You must take steps to protect yourself and your future. 

Safeguarding your assets is an important pursuit as divorce becomes inevitable. Here is a guide for getting your finances in order to protect your money while divorcing.

1. Open individual accounts

It is imperative for you to separate your finances from your spouse as soon as possible. Freeze or close any joint credit card or bank accounts so you do not become liable for any spending sprees or new debts by your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Opening your own bank account and applying for an individual credit card will help divide your finances and unlink you from joint debts.

2. Take note of your assets and debts

You will need a clear picture of all individual and joint assets. Make copies of any credit card statements, loans, tax returns, home equity lines and business debts. This will help you understand where all your money is so the property division process will go smoother.

3. Be ready to share retirement funds

Just because only your name is on your IRA or 401(k) does not mean your spouse will not get part of it. The courts often designate these accounts as marital property and will probably split them. Prepare to fight for your interest in these retirement funds and negotiate accordingly.

4. Be rational

According to CNBC, an important way to protect your finances during divorce is not sweating the small stuff. Avoid overvaluing your assets out of emotional attachment. Rely on professional appraisals so you do not end up with a financial disadvantage.

Dealing with your finances in a divorce is complex, but if you adhere to these guidelines and get help from a divorce attorney, you can make it through without losing everything.

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 3w ago

The most devastating words your spouse can say in a marriage are, "I want a divorce." The words are so final. It means that the marriage is over and there's no turning back. Maybe you are resigned to the fact that the marriage has to come to an end. Maybe you would rather fight for the marriage as much as possible. Whatever your situation, divorce can be difficult to think about and discuss. Here's how you can handle the emotions associated with divorce.

One of the first things you should do to take control of your emotions during divorce is set restrictions. Find out what it is that upsets you the most regarding the divorce and prevent yourself from getting that far into the problem. If this includes speaking to your former spouse about anything, have someone else communicate for you or do so via email instead of phone or in-person.

You need to take care of yourself when going through divorce. This includes getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right and avoiding stress. All of this seems difficult to tackle but it's all very important. When you are healthy physically, you will see a big difference in your emotional health.

Surround yourself with family and friends who can offer plenty of support. This includes help with your children, chores and who can spend quality time with you either at your home, their home or out on the town.

Consider speaking to an experienced therapist about your situation. Seeking help of this kind can make a major impact in helping you handle the emotions you will experience during divorce.

Were you stunned by your spouse's mention of divorce? Even if you are shocked, you still need to prepare for what's to come in Fort Lauderdale. This includes getting your finances in order, speaking with a divorce attorney, preparing for life after marriage and knowing how to handle the emotions you will experience.

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 3w ago

A potential new law in Florida would require couples wishing to marry read a guide prior to saying their nuptials. Many people ask advice from friends and family members before they get married. Well, this new marital guide could be a requirement in Florida if you wish to obtain a marriage license. Lawmakers in the Sunshine State believe that if this becomes a requirement, it could help to reduce the rate of divorce.

The legislation, HB 1323, was introduced recently by a Republican lawmaker from Jacksonville. The bill, if it were to become law, would require couples to read a guide that would cover some common marital topics. Those topics include domestic violence, communication, parenting responsibilities and more.

The marriage guidebook proposal has so far cleared one of three committees of lawmakers. The guidebook would also provide couples with marital advice that could be used for failing marriages and extra education prior to exchanging vows.

Of course, as with any legislation, there are detractors. Some believe that simply making people read a guide prior to obtaining their marriage license will not do much to reduce the divorce rate in the state. Others believe that it's a decent start that could eventually help couples survive marriage.

If the bill becomes law, the guide would be created by the committee known as the Marriage Education Committee. The committee would be made up of six family and marriage education advocates. Should it pass, it would go into effect beginning on July 1, 2018.

Divorce is a an all-too-common issue in Florida and around the country. It's best to know what is at stake prior to getting married. This can be done by speaking with friends, family members, counselors, mediators and even family law attorneys in Fort Lauderdale.

Source: WTSP, "Bill would require couples to read 'marriage guide' before saying 'I do'," Jan. 25, 2018

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 3w ago

If you are preparing to get married in Fort Lauderdale you should take a long look at signing a prenuptial agreement. The agreement must be signed by both parties entering into the marriage. As you prepare for the marriage you should sit down and speak with your future spouse about this important document. So, what cannot be included in your prenuptial agreement?

Trying to add a provision to the prenuptial agreement for something that is illegal? Don't take any steps other than thinking about this because it will not be allowed. Should you still add in a provision for an illegal activity it can void the prenuptial agreement altogether and you will have to start from square one.

Never waive your right to alimony in a prenuptial agreement. This is one of the most common provisions that is negated by the courts. You will want to leave the alimony discussion up for the divorce proceedings, if you should ever reach that stage in life.

Any rules listed in the prenuptial agreement that are not related to financial issues will be removed by the court. This includes rules regarding personal matters such as who will do the chores, who will take whose name and where the holidays will be spent.

Any provisions in a prenuptial agreement regarding child custody or child support will be defeated by the courts. The calculation of child support is conducted by the family law courts.

As you sit down to prepare for your upcoming wedding in Florida be sure that a discussion about a prenuptial agreement occurs. You simply want to protect what is yours and the same for your future spouse. It's a document that you hopefully will never have to use.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," accessed Jan. 19, 2018

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Lawmakers in more than 20 states across the country will consider bills this year that would either make it legally required to share parenting after divorce or encourage this parenting option. These bills, if passed into law, would require parents to co-parent even if they disagreed with the situation.

The legislature in Florida passed a bill in 2016 that would require equal time when creating parenting plans for child custody. This bill was eventually vetoed by the governor. Florida, like many other states, have moved towards creating these bills due to fathers feeling left out of parenting plans for decades.

Those who are against these bills argue that controlling former spouses will have too much access to the children and their former spouse. They also argue that the decision is taken out of the hands of family law judges, who are tasked with ruling in the best interest of the child in the case.

Opponents to these shared parenting bills also claim that they would only apply to couples who are divorcing and cannot come to an agreement on how to handle the custody arrangements, which applies to roughly 10 percent of divorcing couples.

Creators of these bills argue that if written into law the old notion of winner takes all in a divorce would soon disappear since both parents will still be able to parent their children.

Are you headed for divorce in Fort Lauderdale? It's best that you speak with an experienced family law attorney about your situation so you know how to protect your rights. You will also be able to ask questions about shared parenting plans in the state.

Source: Observer-Dispatch, "Shared-parenting bills could reshape custody battles," Dec. 31, 2017

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 3w ago

A couple of new family laws went into effect on January 1 in the state of Florida. The laws cover both shared parenting time and divorce in the state, according to a news report. These laws went into effect when the clock hit 12:01 a.m., on January 1. We will take a look at these new laws in today's post so you are informed should you ever face a situation like divorce or shared parenting in Fort Lauderdale.

One of the new laws that immediately took effect on January 1 in Florida centers around getting divorced and the time sharing plans that parents must create when children are involved. The legislature in the state has worked to revamp the laws that cover time sharing agreements for couples who are separated or divorced over the past couple of years.

A brand new standard parenting plan surrounding time is now available to parents who cannot come up with a plan on their own. The standard plan will handle all of the following items for the parents:

  • One visit in the evening each week
  • Every other weekend is set at Friday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m.
  • All of the holiday breaks from school are included (Thanksgiving, winter, spring and summer)

The state hopes that the focus shifts back to the best interest of the child in these cases with the development of the standard plan. The state has also created a new website that makes it easier for making child support payments.

Do you need guidance on either of these new laws in Florida? If so, a family law attorney can provide more information about the laws and how they affect your situation before making any legal decisions.

Source: WFLA, "Hello 2018: New Florida laws immediately go into effect in the new year," Dec. 31, 2017

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 3w ago

Many people believe that high-asset couples who divorce will inevitably "battle it out" in court. However, this is not necessarily the case. Although the financial stakes are clearly higher in a divorce where there are significant assets, this fact does not absolutely determine whether a couple will contend with a litigious divorce.

Couples in high-asset situations can explore the positive benefits of mediation and collaborative divorce. These options can help decrease strife and conflict while allowing both spouses to retain more control over the decision-making about their future than they would otherwise have in a protracted, drawn-out court battle.

Cost savings and control

Just because a couple has a high net worth does not mean they are not concerned with keeping costs as reasonable as possible. Divorce has meant financial ruin for many couples, including those with extensive wealth. Considering mediation is an excellent first step for divorcing couples who want to manage the overall costs of divorce proceedings. Estimates on the average cost of a divorce in the United States range from $15,000 to $30,000. Mediation reduces costs because it reduces the hours that an attorney bills for services. Collaborative law is another option, in which both spouses retain a lawyer but they work together to find shared solutions. 

Another benefit of mediation and collaborative law divorces is that the couple maintains control over the decision-making. When a couple takes their divorce to court, ultimately they put their fate in the hands of the judge. With mediation and collaborative law, the couple and their mediator or attorneys work to find solutions that make the most sense for the family in terms of their future.

Other options for high-asset divorces

Sometimes, the circumstances in a high-asset divorce are such that it is not possible to mediate or use a collaborative law approach. This can be the case when one spouse is hiding assets to avoid sharing their wealth post-divorce. In these cases, mediation is not a viable option because there is underlying distrust and bad faith. 

In cases where a couple is willing to find common ground, mediation can be a positive solution. Contacting an attorney who is also trained to work as a mediator can be a positive first step in beginning a post-divorce future.

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Barry I. Finkel | Divorce by On Behalf Of Law Offices Of Barry I.. - 3w ago

If you are in the midst of a divorce, you and your spouse may be battling over who gets to keep the house. While it is always best to come to an amicable decision between yourselves, sometimes the decision does wind up being made by the judge.

It's understandable to want to remain in the family home. You're emotionally attached, it's a hefty asset and if you have children, you don't want to force them to move elsewhere.

Below are some things you should understand if you want the house but your ex opposes you.

  • Neither of you may wind up with it. The court can order the property to be sold and the profits divided between the spouses.
  • The parent with custody of the kids could wind up with the property. In keeping with their intention of doing what is in the children's best interests, judges may grant possession of the family home to the parent who will have physical custody of the kids. The order could further state that the house must be sold after the kids have grown up and moved out.
  • You have to be able to afford it. It's useless to fight to keep a property that you can no longer afford. Mortgage payments, maintenance and property taxes all add up, and may not be offset by spousal and/or child support.
  • An inherited property is likely to remain with the heir. Even if both of your names are on the property deed, if your husband or wife inherited the home from parents or other deceased relatives, the courts are likely to factor that into the decision of post-divorce ownership.

Sometimes fighting tooth and nail for the home is unwise. For instance, trading your share of the 401(k) or pension benefits for the home can be a bad deal. Real estate markets fluctuate, and the value of the home could wind up being significantly less than the trade-off.

Your Fort Lauderdale family law attorney can advise you of the best path to take when it comes to keeping the home or divesting your interest in the property.

Source: Realtor.com, "Getting a Divorce? Here’s Why You Might Not Get the House," Warren Christopher Freiberg, accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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