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Fort Myers Florida Family Law Legal Blog

Why might spouses in Florida choose lump-sum alimony?

One thing couples in Florida who are undergoing a divorce may wish is to have as little contact with one another as possible. However, one aspect of divorce that could tether spouses to one another even after their union is dissolved is alimony, also known as spousal support. It is often assumed that if one party is ordered to pay alimony to the other post-divorce, it could mean monthly alimony payments for a certain length of time.

However, especially in a high net worth divorce where one party makes substantially more than the other or if the marriage lasted a long time, permanent alimony may be awarded. For those who don't want to remain in monthly contact with their ex indefinitely or until their ex remarries, paying alimony in a single lump-sum may be an attractive option. Florida statutes permit lump-sum alimony.

Is divorce mediation always a good idea?

Most divorce attorneys will agree that you can't go wrong by mediating a divorce. Even if the mediation fails, at least you've given it a shot and, by doing so, had a chance at the many benefits that mediation can bring -- like saving money, time, stress and preserving your and your future ex's good relationship in the future.

All that being said, however, a wise attorney will admit that some situations do not bode well for the mediation process. Most of these involve the mindset of you and your spouse. One spanner in the gearbox of your mediation process -- regardless of who it happens to be -- can make it an exercise in futility.

Collaborative law offers litigation alternatives for divorce

Divorce is known as the one kind of litigation that a large percentage of the population will experience during their lifetime. Because things like child custody, child support, property division and alimony are often at issue, divorce has a reputation for being an extremely unpleasant experience. Most of us here in Fort Myers know people whose divorces were painful or infuriating. Is there an alternative to litigation for divorcing couples?

For many couples, there is. If each spouse is willing to give it a go, a collaborative divorce may be a great alternative. Instead of the fight and win approach that is so common in litigation, a collaborative divorce uses a troubleshoot and problem-solve approach. The two spouses use negotiations to try to settle their divorce without a family court judge. A collaborative divorce can save time, money and happens in a less formal atmosphere. It allows the parties to negotiate an agreement that works for them, and it allows them to decide how to settle post-agreement disputes before they happen.

Divorcing couple's artworks included in equitable distribution

Last week we talked about some of the issues that come up when a divorcing couple needs to divide assets held in the form of artwork. This week we learned about a very affluent couple who is encountering this very issue in their divorce after nearly 60 years of marriage. What happened when they had to divide assets amounting to over half a billion dollars?

Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda Macklowe have been locked in an acrimonious divorce for the past two years. One of the issues in the property division process is the couple's large trove of important and valuable artworks, valued between $625 million and $788 million. The couple's total assets have been estimated to be worth $2 billion. Included in the artworks are pieces by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning.

Who gets the artwork in a divorce?

Bidding adieu to artwork can be one of the most devastating aspects of divorce for some couples. Some pieces you might have collected on your travels, while others you might have received as a gift for one of your anniversaries. These pieces are likely special to both you and your spouse, which can create an issue in the event of a divorce.

Like other marital property, each couple generally has an equal claim to artwork. The laws of equitable distribution require each spouse to receive a similar distribution of marital assets. Unfortunately, artwork cannot be divided as easily as other assets.

We can help with divorce mediation in Fort Myers

Divorcing couples often realize they do not want to put themselves and their children through a potentially knock-down, drag-out divorce litigation. Sometimes, couples decide this immediately, other times it happens after the divorce process has been underway for a while. Also, in divorce litigation, many private and personal details are placed in the official court records, with the danger that the details may become public knowledge. These are serious concerns, and one solution could be divorce mediation.

This blog recently had a post about the divorce mediation process in more detail. The parties work everything out themselves with the help of a trained mediator. Although the process can sometimes be time-consuming, it is worth it if the parties can come to a mutually acceptable agreement. All that is needed is an open mind and a willingness to negotiate.

Things to know about divorce mediation

As you move closer to divorce mediation, you are likely to have a variety of questions about the process. From how it works to your responsibilities, there's no shortage of information to collect.

Learning more about divorce mediation will give you the confidence you need to use the process to your advantage. The first thing to understand is the goals of mediation:

  • To create an equitable divorce agreement, regardless of the circumstances
  • To avoid the high cost associated with litigation
  • To reduce the amount of stress and trauma often associated with litigation
  • To minimize bad feelings, which is important if you'll be co-parenting

When is a premarital agreement non-enforceable in Florida?

Premarital agreements, or prenuptial agreements, as they are commonly called, are excellent tools for both preserving your marriage and making your Florida divorce exponentially easier. However, for the courts to consider your prenuptial agreement valid and enforceable, it must meet certain guidelines. Moreover, the circumstances surrounding and leading up to its creation must be lawful and contain no fraudulent actions. If one party can prove the existence of fraud, duress, coercion or other wrongful doings, the courts may deem your agreement unenforceable.

Per title VI of the Florida Statutes, section 61.079, your premarital agreement is considered unenforceable if the person against whom enforcement is pursued can prove that he or she did not voluntarily execute the agreement, was not provided a just and judicious disclosure of the other party's assets and liabilities or did not have, or could not have reasonably have had, a sufficient knowledge of the assets or liabilities of the other party. Moreover, your agreement may be unenforceable if you or the other party can prove that your agreement was the product of coercion, fraud, duress or overreaching, or if, when executed, your agreement was in anyway unconscionable.

Is talking about a pre-nuptial agreement a bad thing?

You and your fiance are preparing to get married in Florida and the rollercoaster of emotions leading up to your big day is both exciting and exhausting. Recently, you have been interested in discussing a prenuptial agreement with your fiance to secure the best interests of both of you should the relationship end sometime in the future. While your intentions are good, bringing this topic up can be difficult and daunting. 

To begin, make sure that you wait for an appropriate time to discuss a prenuptial and not a time when tensions are already running high. Additionally, do not wait until it is too close to your wedding and the stress of last-minute details is already affecting both of you. According to Business Insider, if your significant other responds with a bit of dissatisfaction, keep yourself from becoming defensive and overly emotional. Instead, listen to his or her opinion and try to be clear that you want to protect both of your future. Approach your concerns in a conversational manner instead of demanding that your fiance takes immediate action. 

How can I help a friend who is being abused?

An abusive relationship is devastating to not only the person in the relationship but those who care about that person. If you have a friend in Florida who is in such a relationship, then you may wonder how you can help. You probably want to tear the person away from his or her abusive partner, but your best course of action is to simply be a good friend.

According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, it is very important that you are supportive of the person even if he or she does not choose to leave the relationship. You should avoid judging your friend and never get yourself involved in the violence. You can encourage him or her to get help and help him or her develop a plan to get away.

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