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Fort Myers Family Law Blog

Can I protect my business from divorce without a prenup?

Many high-asset divorces are complicated, but few are as difficult to navigate as those that involve a business that may be considered marital property. If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about how to protect your business in the settlement negotiations, you need to make some very difficult choices and take action immediately.

Depending on the factors of your situation, such as how involved you spouse was in the business, the length of your marriage and when the business was founded in relation to you marriage, your spouse may have a legitimate legal claim on your business as a marital asset. However, even if you did not protect your business with a prenuptial agreement, you may be able to keep it intact though the divorce settlement process.

How can a prenuptial agreement protect my business?

There are many reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement, but if anyone should absolutely not enter into marriage without legal protection, it's a business owner. Depending on a number of factors, your business may be treated as a standard marital asset in the event of your divorce, which could make it exceptionally difficult to keep the business intact though a divorce settlement negotiation.

Fortunately, it is possible to avoid this disaster altogether with a well-crafted prenuptial agreement. However, a prenuptial agreement must be made according to fairly strict standards to ensure that it is enforceable. Creating a poorly-crafted agreement or falling prey to common mistakes like having both represented by a single attorney in the creating of the agreement can undermine its enforceability.

There are many divorce lawyers in Florida: How to choose the best

No two marriages are the same. Most Florida couples wed assuming their unions will last their lifetimes. Studies show, however, many will end in divorce. The decision to divorce often leads to complicated challenges regarding issues including, but not limited to, child custody, finances, business and estate planning. Someone navigating the family law system will obviously want to protect his or her personal rights and interests. This is often easier when outside support is available.

Experienced divorce attorneys often assist their clients in a wide variety of ways beyond the courtroom. For instance, a concerned parent in need of a counselor for a child may benefit from a list of resources provided by his or her attorney that includes names and contact information of local counselors. Lawyers tend to focus on different primary issues in their practices; therefore, finding one that best suits a particular need and goal may increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

High asset divorce case coming to a close after 10 years

When couples with significant assets divorce, it must be handled very carefully. The greater marital assets are within a marriage the greater the potential conflicts, which can lead to expensive, protracted legal warfare between spouses. Just such a legal disaster finally looks like it coming to a close after more than a decade since the divorce was officially filed. The divorce in question involves a business fortune that was partially used to found several world-renowned cancer treatment centers.

Although the couple at the heart of the dispute has been separated for nearly 10 years, deciding on a fair settlement has proven exceptionally difficult, with both sides crying foul at the other. The husband claims that the wife is seeking unfair support that will only go to subsidize an overinflated lifestyle, while the wife claims that she is intrinsically entitled to a significant portion of her husband's business assets because of the practical contributions that she made to his success throughout the course of their marriage.

Approach your prenuptial agreement honestly for best results

Prenuptial agreements can be a lifesaver when things don't go as planned in a marriage. They can even help create a stronger marriage that goes the distance by relieving the relationship of many areas of stress. However, these agreements still hold bad social stigma in some circles, and broaching the subject with your partner may be easier said than done.

Understanding some steps to create a helpful dialogue can ensure that both you and your partner get what you need, while acknowledging the difficulty of creating a prenuptial agreement.

Women doctors are more likely to divorce than their male counterparts

For decades, it was presumed that doctors divorced at higher rates than the general public. As detailed on the Harvard Medical School news site, many speculated that physicians were "more likely to be divorced...because of the long hours they keep and the stress associated with the job."

However, a recent study published in The BMJ (once known as The British Medical Journal) offers evidence to the contrary. While the divorce rate for workers outside the health care industry hovers around 35 percent, doctors had only a 24 percent likelihood of divorce. Similar professions carried similar rates - 23 percent for pharmacists and 25 percent for dentists (and 27 percent for lawyers).

The numbers, though, were drastically higher for women than for men.

Florida lawmakers eye alimony do-over

Florida lawmakers are gearing up to spar over one of their most perennially contentious issues — permanent alimony. Currently, bills are introduced to both the house and senate to re-examine the standards for determining permanent alimony, with very strong supporters on both sides of the issue. If the bills are successful, the guidelines for when to assign permanent alimony and how much one must pay will be tightened.

Those who support the change claim that, under the current system, the burden is simply unfair and is costing them more than is reasonable. On the other side, those receiving alimony claim that the changes amount to a penalty for keeping a home or raising children with a former spouse.

Woman claims husband hid assets, sues charitable recipient

When a couple with a great many assets decide to divorce, one spouse or another may choose to drain their accounts in surprising ways. The emotions at the heart of a divorce often express themselves in spouses trying to punish each other by doing anything they can to keep their spouse from getting a large chunk of the marital property. A Florida woman is accusing her husband of doing just during their divorce. The woman has gone so far as to sue the recipient of a large charitable donation from her husband, claiming that she is entitled to much of the gift herself.

According to a suit brought against the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the woman alleges that her husband hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts while they were negotiating a fair divorce settlement. After the divorce was finalized, she claims that he took more than $40 million and it to the school as a charitable donation. The gift is, at the moment, the largest single donation from an individual in the school's history.

Celebrity child support is still contentious

Just because you're a celebrity doesn't mean that you are immune from child support laws that effect the rest of us. Recently, singer and actor Marc Anthony lost a legal battle over increasing child support payments to his former wife and Miss Universe winner Dayanara Torres. Under the terms of the case, the former beauty queen sought significant increases to her children's already robust support payments, claiming that the disparity in the quality of her home and Anthony's was upsetting to her children.

The case resulted in a win for Torres, compelling Anthony to more than double his previous payments of child support for the two sons he fathered with the pageant winner, from roughly $6,500 per month to over $14,000 per month. The mother and winner of the case noted that this award was more than she had initially sought.

Former governor faces divorce but has a prenuptial agreement

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist has filed for divorce from his second wife, telling a Florida newspaper, "I think the world of Carole. She's an amazing person. It just didn't work out for us." The two were a surprising pair who often operated at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Crist was elected to governor as a Republican, while his wife was an outspoken democrat socialite. Despite their political and personal differences, the two anticipate settling their divorce in a straightforward manner using collaborative law.

While it still remains to be seen how the divorce will actually play out, and if it will indeed be a rare low-conflict process for a relatively high-profile couple, it is admirable that the two are attempting to face the difficulties of divorce head-on. Hopefully, their example can resonate with other couples considering divorce, and demonstrate that a divorce does not have to be a bitter battle between mortal rivals. Divorce can be a civil process that prepares both sides for a healthy new season on the other side, if the couple is willing to let it.