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Santa Rosa Beach Law Blog

After divorce, written agreements help with back child arrears

After a Florida divorce, child support is a hot-button issue that affects many couples as well as their children. If it was a high conflict divorce, the likelihood is that the parting of the ways will not eliminate all the issues that were evident when the divorce took place. That can sometimes impact child support and lead to disagreements, including the failure on the part of the supporting parent to make the child support payments on time and in full.

Although there are many viable reasons why a supporting parent might fall behind on the child support, it still must be paid. Rather than deal with the penalties that the state can use to compel the parent to pay, such as a driver license suspension, the suspension of a professional license, passport denial and more, it could be beneficial for the supporting parent to sign a written agreement. Understanding the written agreement and how it is useful is imperative before signing.

How Florida law differs from most others regarding last wills

The Sunshine State remains one of the most popular destinations for retirees from all over the United States. Florida's warm, humid climate can drastically improve the quality of life for those suffering from the pains of aging, such as arthritis.

Additionally, Florida has many active retirement communities and activities for older adults looking to divert themselves during retirement. From golfing to aquatic adventure opportunities, there are many benefits to moving to Florida for one's golden years. However, those who stay in Florida until they die may encounter an unexpected complication.

What should I know about a Florida living will?

Floridians who are vigilant about their estate planning needs will want to cover all the bases as efficiently as possible. For many, that includes detailing how they want any potential end-of-life issues handled. This is where a living will is important. Many will understand the basics of estate planning with wills, trusts, asset protection and more. They might not understand what a living will is and, more critically, what it does. Knowing the law for this is a key factor in having a fully comprehensive document that addresses the person's goals. Also essential is legal assistance.

The living will states such requests as how the person wants his or her medical care handled if, for example, it is necessary that they have artificial life-support. Some do not want that and this can be stated in the document. This is not a "will," per se. However, it allows the person's desires to be adhered to if these circumstances arise. Knowing the basic elements of a living will can help in deciding on how it should be formulated.

How does a court decide on questions of alimony?

When a Florida marriage ends, one spouse will often seek spousal support, also referred to as alimony, as part of the case. This is true whether it is a high asset divorce or a divorce of more modest means. Simply because there is a request on the part of one spouse to receive alimony does not mean it must be a high conflict divorce. However, even while some cases are relatively amicable and one spouse does not have a major issue paying alimony to the other, there are many cases where the situation is contentious and a dispute is likely. No matter what, knowing what factors will be considered is something everyone should understand.

The court will make factual assessments regarding the need for alimony and the other party's ability to pay. Once it is decided that there is the need and the ability to pay, there are many factors that will go into how much it will be. The marriage will have had a certain standard at which the couple lived. That must be maintained when determining alimony. The length of the marriage will be a factor. The spouses' ages and their physical and mental conditions will be weighed.

Top Florida Insurance Firm and Northwest Litigation Firm Partner to Help Victims of Hurricane Michael

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Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle on October 10, 2018 as a Category 4 - the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental US since 1992. The total estimate of insured losses has reached $3.4 Billion and 125,356 insurance claims have already been filed. According to a recent report, less than 60% of them have been closed.

IRS proposal will shield gifts from tax and help asset protection

It goes without saying that Floridians will want to make certain their loved ones are shielded and get the maximum of their inheritances when an estate plan is created. That can be accomplished through wills, trusts and proper implementation of asset protection strategies. For those with significant assets, the new Trump Administration tax plan was a boon when trying people were seeking to provide loved ones with large gifts and avoid onerous tax implications.

A concern about this, however, was that the exclusion was set to last for a finite period and would end in 2025. It had been believed that after 2025, the Internal Revenue Service would revert the tax to what it was before the change and people would be forced to pay taxes on their gifts. This was known as a "clawback." Fortunately for those concerned about this, the IRS has stated in a proposal that it is not likely to move forward with the clawback.

How do premarital agreements impact a Florida divorce?

Many who are planning to get married seek to give themselves a layer of protection with a premarital agreement. There is often a perception that these agreements are limited to those who have significant assets, but anyone can have a premarital agreement, if they choose to. The document itself comes to the forefront when the couple decides to divorce. Whether it is a high asset divorce or a divorce of more modest means, a premarital agreement can add to the complexity of the case. Understanding what the law says about these agreements, what can be in them and when they are unenforceable is critical for both sides.

A premarital agreement can cover the following issues: the parties' rights and obligations to property belonging to either or both regardless of when and where it was acquired; the rights to do whatever they choose -- sell, buy, use and more -- with the property; the right to dispose of the property when the couple separates, divorces, if one dies or if another event happens or does not happen; establishes, modifies, waives or eliminates spousal support; adhering to a will trust or other device; the ownership and disposition of a life insurance policy and its benefits; the law that governs how the agreement is constructed; and any other issue that arises.

Ensuring you receive a fair outcome in your Florida divorce

Divorce is typically a time of great personal upheaval. In many cases, you may have to find a new place to live. Other times, you may worry about how to fairly split the assets you have acquired during marriage. Custody of your minor children and the right to visit them is also a common concern.

It is easy to feel disheartened at the end of a marriage, which can lead some people to make critical mistakes in their divorce. While you don't necessarily want to engage in a protracted court battle with your ex, you also don't want to concede to every one of their demands either. You need to advocate for yourself in order to ensure that the outcome of your divorce is fair.

What are the basics of "probate"?

There are many legal terms that Florida residents have probably heard before, but perhaps they are not too familiar with. "Probate" is likely one of them. When it comes to estate planning and end-of-life needs, probate is an important term to learn. So, what are the basics of probate?

Well, for starters, "probate" refers to the transfer of a person's assets to other entities or individuals upon a person's death, as well as the process of addressing outstanding debts and paying taxes. It is a legal process that is overseen by a court, in most cases.

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