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Living arrangements are key to divorce strategy

When Florida couples decide to end a marriage, one of the first issues is working through living arrangements. Thinking about where to live can be overwhelming, but it is a necessary part of the process. Divorcing couples must balance individual needs with emotional, logistical and financial realities to find the right situation.

For many, there is strong desire to remain in the marital home, and the home is sometimes a focus of litigation. When children are involved, familiar residential surroundings can offer a bit of stability during uncertain times. Neighbors can provide playmates and a form of support for suddenly single parents. Unfortunately, mortgage qualification can be a difficult hurdle for single parents and should be factored into divorce planning along with maintenance and other necessary expenses such as insurance and lawn care.

Avoiding a custody battle in divorce

Parents in Florida who are getting a divorce and want custody of their children might want to avoid a fight with their spouse about the issue. Conflict between parents during a divorce can be upsetting for children, but parents might be able to resolve their issues without turning to a long court battle.

Parents may want to consider mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes to reach an agreement regarding child custody without going to court. The advantage of these processes is that they focus on finding a solution that satisfies everyone involved. This might not be the case in a courtroom.

The types of child custody

Parents in Florida who are getting a divorce might be curious about the different types of child custody options that exist. The two main kinds of child custody are physical and legal. Physical custody dictates which parent a child lives with, and legal custody signifies which parent has the right make decisions about things such as the child's health care, religion and education. Both of these kinds of custody could be sole or joint.

There are many different arrangements available to parents when it comes to joint physical custody. For example, "bird's nest" custody is an arrangement that allows the children to remain in the family home while the parents take turns living there. In a more traditional type of joint custody situation, children might alternate weeks with each parent or spend a few days with one parent and a few days with the other one each week.

Fighting back against violations of your rightful parenting time

Simply because a divorce is over does not mean there are no longer issues and complications between two Florida parents. Sharing custody and parenting together is a difficult thing, even if all issues have been technically resolved in a custody and visitation plan. Sometimes, these complications can lead to one parent attempting to interfere in the rightful parenting time of the other.

If you believe that the other parent of your children is trying to alienate you, refusing to cooperate per the terms of your parenting plan or otherwise compromising your role as an active parent, you have rights. It is possible to fight back and seek a beneficial outcome to your concerns.

Working out co-parenting agreements during divorces

When Florida couples who have young children decide to get divorced, it may be difficult for them to initially get past the harsh feelings that they have towards each other so that they can focus on custody and visitation. Fortunately, it is possible for many of them to draft co-parenting plans that might be beneficial for everyone who is involved.

Couples should try to place their children's needs first while setting aside their emotional conflicts. If it is not possible for the parents to talk to each other, they might want to communicate via text message or email about their children. Both parents should try to support their children's relationships with the other parent.

Complications with art collections in a divorce

Division of property in some Florida divorces can be complex. For example, some couples may have art collections to split, and this could lead to complications in determining the value of the collection and who purchased the artwork. Others may have prenuptial agreements, but if they do not specifically address the art collection, these complications could remain.

In one divorce case, a woman who was a trustee for two major art museums and her husband, a real estate developer, owned works by Rothko, Warhol and other major artists. However, appraisals of the collection estimated its value from $1 billion to hundreds of millions dollar less. Furthermore, despite the woman's position in the art world, her husband claimed to have paid for at least some of the art.

Shared parenting on the rise in child custody agreements

In 2016, Florida became one of several states that passed a bill that would designate equal parenting time the default in child custody plans. However, the governor vetoed the bill. Despite this failure to get the bill passed, shared parenting is a growing trend throughout the country. However, some legal associations and women's groups oppose legislation, arguing that it may reduce protections for women from domestic abuse. They also say laws may reduce the likelihood that mothers will receive child support, which is an important tool for reducing income inequity between men and women.

The legislation and shared parenting, in general, has had support from fathers' rights groups that oppose the traditional model of divorced parents, where the father has a small amount of visitation time with the children, who live with their mother most of the time. Studies across 15 countries show that children benefit emotionally, physically and behaviorally from shared parenting situations. However, opponents of legislation argue that these studies are based on situations in which the parents get along and that in those situations, there is typically shared parenting without the need for legislation.

Company sues Mel Gibson's ex in child support-related dispute

Florida fans of actor Mel Gibson may be aware that he has a child by his former partner, Oksana Grigorieva. She had hired a forensic accounting firm to investigate Gibson and get an increase in her child support payments to more than $22,000 monthly for their daughter.

However, Grigorieva filed for bankruptcy in 2015 before hiring the company. The company alleges that since she hired them after the filing, she must pay it the full fee. Gibson has paid the bulk of it, but there is an outstanding balance of more than $108,000.

How to sell a home during a divorce

Some estranged Florida couples might need to sell their home before their marriage legally comes to an end. One real estate website found that this is the case in almost two-thirds of divorces. Selling a home can be stressful at the best of times, but during a divorce it may be particularly difficult. However, there are steps a couple can take to make the process go more smoothly.

The couple should choose an agent they are comfortable with and who is sympathetic to the emotional difficulty of the situation. The couple should discuss their responsibilities and goals for the sale with the agent. However, it may be best for only one spouse to handle communications with the agent after this point. This person can also communicate back to the other spouse. Neither spouse should try to get the agent to take sides or try to involve the agent in their personal turmoil.

What are your rights as a Florida dad?

As a Florida father, you know how important it is to maintain to a strong relationship with your children. However, there are times when it can be difficult to do so, especially if you are not married to the mother of your children or there is a dispute about paternity.

You would be wise to know your rights as a father. The first step in protecting yourself can be to make the effort to know your entitlements then fight for your rightful role in the life of your kids. It may take time and legal guidance, but you can pursue your rightful role as a present, active and loving father.

Blanton Law, P.A.

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Bradenton, FL 34203

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