Rubinstein & Holz | Family Law Attorneys

Fort Myers Family Law Blog

Should you take a lump-sum alimony payment?

Alimony, also called spousal support, is a thorny issue in Florida. In the last several years, there's been a concentrated push to revise the rules in ways that would sharply limit the kind of alimony that dependent spouses are entitled to receive. In addition, changes in federal taxation laws have made alimony a more substantial burden on payers than it may have been in the past (when it was tax-deductible).

This has many dependent spouses thinking about ways to mitigate their risks going forward -- and that has made lump-sum alimony payments much more attractive than they once were.

What are your top financial concerns if you anticipate a divorce?

Most of the time, a divorce doesn't come as a surprise to either of the parties involved. Often, they've both been waiting for the other person to make the first move.

If you sense that divorce is coming in your future, don't simply wait on your spouse to make the announcement that the marriage is over. There are a few specific financial concerns you need to address right away.

Minimizing taxes without the alimony deduction

The alimony deduction has been an essential part of divorce strategy for more than 50 years. The ex-spouse who paid alimony was able to deduct his or her payments and the receiving ex-spouse paid taxes on the amount they received.

While divorces in Florida and elsewhere finalized before the new tax law will keep that status, all divorces during and after 2019 will no longer allow those who are paying support to deduct alimony, while recipients will no longer have to pay taxes on support.

Mothers face uphill battle in court when abuse alleged

In the 1980s, a psychiatrist named Richard Gardner put out a theory (and numerous articles and books) about something called "parental alienation syndrome."

Essentially, it described the actions of a parent -- usually the mother, in Gardner's scenarios -- who purposefully turned a child against the other parent -- usually the father. The child was usually coached to believe that the father was abusive, especially in a sexual manner. The goal of the mother was generally to take revenge on the father for their divorce or other perceived wrongs and to obtain full custody.

Are you ready for back-to-school time after divorce?

Back-to-school season after divorce presents some unique challenges that you may not have anticipated. It's important to have everything ready so that you don't have any unexpected problems while you're prepping your kids for the start of the year.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

What is 'good fortune' child support?

Florida takes a unique approach to the issue of child support when it involves a paying parent whose income is very high. That's when the issue of "good fortune" child support comes into play.

Child support guidelines are designed to make the system as fair as possible to both payers and payees -- and the children they share. However, it's a mistake to think that guidelines can't be adjusted when one parent has an income that well exceeds the norm. This is often the case for high-powered executives, sports stars who make millions per year and other celebrities.

Choosing the right divorce attorney matters

Choosing a divorce attorney can feel like an overwhelming prospect. You know you need someone who will give you the objective advice you need, the compassion you deserve and the representation necessary to protect your interests -- but, how do you know you've found that person?

Here are some signs that you're on the right track:

Three steps can help you get started preparing for divorce

Deciding to end your marriage can be difficult for everyone in the family. After breaking the news, emotions are likely to be running high throughout your household. While it is important to take time to address your emotional state and the emotional well-being of your children, it can also be advantageous to start getting organized.

Generally, the sooner you can begin preparing for divorce, the better. Those who get organized early tend to have the relevant facts at their fingertips throughout the divorce process, which can help them reach better divorce outcomes.

What should you do when you cannot pay child support?

What happens when you reach a point when you are no longer able to meet the requirements of your child support agreement? Things continue to change long after a divorce is final, and you may find that these changes affected your financial capabilities. If you cannot pay, you have options available to you, including the possibility of modifying your existing child support order.

When you find yourself in a position where you are unable to pay some or all of your child support amount, you will want to take certain steps to ensure that you communicate with the other parent and reduce your chances of additional complications. It's smart to speak up about your need to modify your support amount rather than simply stop paying and hope for the best.

Why isn't 'permanent' alimony necessarily permanent?

The issue of "permanent" alimony has been a contentious one in Florida for several years now -- and the legal wrangling isn't likely to abate any time soon.

Many divorcing couples don't fully understand how alimony works. That can put a dependent spouse in a precarious position. It's particularly difficult when the dependent spouse is older, has no real job skills or is disabled. Even "permanent" alimony can suddenly dry up.

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Rubinstein & Holz | Family Law Attorneys

Rubinstein & Holz
1375 Jackson Street
Suite 304
Fort Myers, Florida 33901

Phone: 239-790-4314
Fax: 239-332-5078
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