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Fort Myers Divorce Law Blog

Understanding when to seek sole custody

For many parents who are in the middle of a divorce in Florida, it may be difficult to put the needs of their children first when they are so frustrated with their failed relationship. Often, feelings of anger, sadness and even confusion can create situations that are less-than-ideal for children. While it is highly recommended that parents put the needs of their children at the forefront of their obligations when arranging a child custody agreement, more often than not, creating a functional and beneficial arrangement can be fraught with tension and disagreement. 

While there are undoubtedly times when a parent sees the need to fight for sole custody of his or her children, it is imperative that both pros and cons are carefully assessed before making that decision. According to verywellfamily, one of the biggest positives for children who are in the sole custody of one of their parents is that they can live consistently in one place and do not have to switch between parents. However, transitions like this especially when children are used to living with both of their parents, can be difficult and will take time to acclimate to. 

Enabling healing after your child has witnessed domestic violence

Due to recent conflict in your home, you have decided that you need to divorce your spouse for the safety and wellbeing of yourself and your children. However, you are concerned about how the trauma of domestic violence will impact your children and their future relationships. You know that despite your best efforts to hide the ongoing tension and physical abuse in your relationship, that there were times that your children witnessed domestic violence. At Fried and Fried, P.A., we have helped many people in Florida to work through the complications resulting from domestic abuse. 

Your concern for the welfare of your children is justified and something that should be addressed immediately if you are to have any chance at facilitating the process of helping them to heal completely. According to, some of the proactive steps that you can take to help your children when they have witnessed domestic violence include the following:

  • Help them understand which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Talk to them about creating boundaries in future relationships that will protect them. Discuss the importance of being assertive and standing up for themselves. 
  • Do whatever you can to help them feel safe. Get their input about what changes can be made to help calm their fears. Even if you do not include details, share evidence that a solution is being implemented to prevent further abuse.
  • Enlist the help of a professional therapist or psychologist who is experienced in helping children overcome difficult situations. Encourage your children to continue maintaining important relationships with people who will provide support and help with healing.

Violent domestic dispute results in child's death

A more prevalent problem in Florida than many people realize, domestic violence often occurs without the knowledge of people close to the victim. In some cases, friends and family of the victim may suspect that something is wrong, but in many situations, the perpetual mistreatment is not fully understood or even visible. Despite the victim's best efforts or intentions to escape the abusive relationship, doing so safely can be incredibly daunting and even dangerous. 

A recent incident out of Garden Grove, California resulted in the death of an 11-year-old girl after her step-father committed a violent act against his family. Reports started coming in early in the morning and when authorities arrived at the scene of the family's home, they found a young mother who had been both shot and stabbed. She told responding authorities that it was her husband who was responsible for the crime and pointed to where he was hiding. When he was found, he was threatening to hurt himself and had already inflicted injuries on his body. 

Can you keep your money safe during divorce?

If you have recently filed for divorce from your spouse in Florida, you are probably dealing with a lot of inner conflict. While you are satisfied that you will have your freedom back and are no longer required to deal with ongoing conflict, you are now faced with many difficult and important decisions related to your future and that of your children. During this time of inconsistency and unexpected roadblocks, it is critical that you take the right steps to protect your future. 

One of the most important things for you to do is to keep your money safe. It can be easy to overspend, make irrational financial decisions or neglect to make budget adjustments based on your new circumstances. In addition, if you are not careful, your spouse may take advantage and get a hold of more financial assets than is fair. According to U.S. News, some of the things you can do to make sure your money is secure include the following:

  • If you have retirement benefits that you share with your ex, see what can be done about splitting them equally to guarantee that you get enough to help you rebuild your retirement future. 
  • Reassess your budget and make sure that you live within your means. 
  • Modify the beneficiaries you have named on your financial assets.
  • Protect your retirement funds and continue to plan for the future despite the chaos of your current situation. 

A look at how non-custodial parents can still make an impact

One of the most contentious and time-consuming parts of many divorces in Florida is negotiating and arranging a child custody agreement. In many cases, parents fight each other for primary custody of their children and the outcome can vary significantly depending on the situation. Child custody is often determined after the courts look closely at the condition of each parent's finances and living arrangements. They also assess a child's needs, age, gender and comfort in determining which arrangement would ultimately benefit each child involved. 

When two people are involved in a custody battle, it is imperative that they prepare for the worst outcome. They should openly acknowledge that they will need to compromise and be flexible in negotiating the terms and conditions of their agreement. They should also be willing to accept that their children may have varying opinions about which parent they would prefer to live with. Acknowledging these facts without internalizing them can help people to feel better prepared going forward. 

Reassessing your mortgage to avoid foreclosure during divorce

You and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, but now you are concerned about how that decision will affect the home you own together in Florida. With both of your names on title documents, you are both legally responsible for continuing to make payments on the property. At Fried and Fried, P.A., we have helped many people to reach an amicable solution in the separation of assets during their divorce. 

One of your biggest concerns may be the possibility of having to fund the mortgage on your home by yourself and not being able to afford the required payments. When this happens, your property may be foreclosed on leaving you with nothing. Understanding your options is critical to help you make a well-informed and confident decision about which direction to go. According to SFGATE, one of the most important things you should be aware of is how important the names on your title document are. Even if you and your spouse agree that you will no longer be responsible for making the payments, if your name remains on the title, creditors will demand the money from both you and your ex if payments are not made on time. 

Should you think about divorce alternatives?

When people think about divorce, they may immediately think of messy court battles and arguments. Divorce involves many different factors and it can be difficult to decide how to divide all your assets and figure out a settlement.

However, divorce does not always have to be messy and involve a long trial. There are alternatives to the "traditional" divorce process. One of the more common alternatives is mediation.

Coaching staff under fire after allegations of domestic violence

Marital problems are something that plagues every relationship between husband and wife. However, in serious cases where people do not understand or try to control their emotions, domestic violence can become a problem that puts the safety of victims in harm's way. While many people in Florida suffer silently from this pervasive problem, there may be confidants of the perpetrator that are aware of the ongoing abuse, but do nothing to stop it out of fear, denial or deliberate ignorance. 

In a recent case that has taken the nation by storm, the football coaching staff at Ohio State University is under intense pressure as allegations of domestic violence against one of the members has been actively publicized. It began when a coaching assistant was fired after his ex-wife was successful in securing a protection order against him in an Ohio court. Shortly after, she came forward with allegations that he had been physically abusive to her as early as 2015. She claimed that when the initial abuse occurred, she had informed the head coach's wife of what was happening. The coach's wife indicated that she had shared the information with her husband, but nothing was done following this alleged communication and the assistant continued coaching. 

Division of retirement assets in a Florida divorce

The financial aspects of a divorce can be extremely complicated and often confusing. Florida law, among other states, can be difficult to understand when determining how to divide financial aspects in a divorce. Retirement accounts, like other assets that qualify for marital property, are divisible in a Florida divorce.

Retirement benefits that a couple acquired after the marriage can be equally distributed, even if the account began before they wed. A marital asset qualifies as a benefit if it increased during the marriage. A 401k, for example, would likely be separate property if the spouse contributed funds before marriage. Any contributions after the marriage would make the 401k eligible for division of marital property.

How serious is paternity fraud?

While you have long claimed that you are not the father to a child that you are paying child support for, your story has not been proven otherwise so you are continuing to provide paternal support to raise the child in Florida. However, as the years go on, you wonder if there cannot be something you can do to establish paternity and get a clear answer. Understanding what paternity fraud is and how to detect it is critical in giving you guidance in determining what you should do. 

According to, paternity fraud is when you are asked to sign a document that states that you are the parent of a child that you are not biologically related to. Often, this happens in states where only a birth certificate is required to establish paternity. One of the first things you can do is to request and take a DNA test that will provide unarguable results that are either in your favor or prove that you are indeed the child's biological parent. 

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