Legal Blog

Jeff Bezos is Divorcing – 4 Ways He Might Approach Divorce

Recently, the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos announced he and his wife are divorcing.  While he may have significantly more money than the average person filing for divorce, his options for how he approaches his divorce are the same as everybody else’s.  He and his wife, guided by their lawyers, may choose mediation, negotiation, collaboration, or litigation to resolve their issues.

Mediation

Mediation is a process that involves the parties, their lawyers, and a neutral third party.  The neutral third party listens to the wants and needs of both sides, and works to arrive at a resolution the parties are happy with.  One benefit of mediation is the parties can be creative in how they approach their situation and address their needs.  For example, there is no provision in the law that permits a judge to order a spouse’s new girlfriend to refrain from worshiping at the same church as the current spouse.  However, this may be a mediated condition of the divorce. read more

Five Money Mistakes You Should Avoid During Divorce

Divorce can be a tumultuous time for anyone.  Often times, people dealing with the stress of divorce find themselves making poor money choices.  Unfortunately, all to often, people only realize their mistake after the mistake has been made.  Recognizing common money mistakes people make during divorce can be the key to avoiding them during your own divorce.

Money Mistake #1: Hiding Assets

Hiding assets has consequences.  When filing for divorce, the parties are expected to be candid and forthcoming about their assets and debts.  By concealing assets, one party is withholding important information from the court.  This could result in both civil and criminal contempt charges.  In other words, you could go to jail.  It simply isn’t worth it. read more

Co-Parenting After Divorce: 3 Benefits for Your Family

Different people experience different levels of animosity towards their ex spouse (and maybe their new love as well).  Regardless of how you feel about your ex’s life choices, if you have minor children together and share parenting time, you are going to both be present in your children’s lives.  Making the conscious choice to co-parent can benefit your family and thus, should be considered.

Moving Into New Roles: Understanding Co-Parenting

When couples focus on co-parenting exclusively, they can effectively shift their relationship to one based on their mutual commitment to raising productive, kind, and thoughtful human beings.  Consider approaching this project as you would a long term business arrangement.  Using a professional tone, and keeping the boundaries clearly set can help.  It will take time to adjust to the new roles, so give yourself, and your ex, a break if one of you temporarily forgets and asks about the new girlfriend or the purpose of the out of town trip the week you don’t have the children. read more

Father of Serena and Venus Williams Alleges Forgery in Divorce Case

It has recently been reported that Richard Williams, father of Serena and Venus Williams, is alleging his estranged wife either forged his signature, or, in the alternative, that he was not mentally capable of understanding what he was signing in a document that turns ownership of his Florida home to his estranged wife exclusively.  Of course, in every divorce case, there are far more facts than those reflected in court filings.  While the facts of that case will play out in a Palm Beach, Florida courtroom over the coming weeks and months, the mere allegation offers a cautionary tale for people getting divorced. read more

Lifestyle Choices that Impact Your Future Earnings

Many people enter into divorce proceedings assuming the assets and debts will be divided equally between the parties.  However, this is not the case under Florida law.  In the state of Florida,  courts divide assets and debts equitably, taking into consideration a host of factors, including the choices the couple made while they were married.  Some decisions a family makes have more of a financial impact on one party than the other.  Courts will often take the impact of family choices into consideration when dividing assets and debts.  Some of those considerations are outlined below. read more

Pets are People, Too – At Least in California!

In most states, pets are considered property in divorce cases.  Because of this, courts allocate pet custody the same way the decide who gets the boat, who gets the house, and who gets the coin collection.  Florida law requires property division be equitable, which is not the same as equal.  An equitable division of property could result in one person getting a larger share of the marital property than the other.

A New Way to Deal with Pets in Divorce in California

In California, the law recently changed, allowing for a new way to deal with pets in divorce.  Under the new law, courts have the power to consider what is in the best interests of the pet, rather than treating the pet like property.  In fact, courts are required to view pet ownership differently than boat ownership, or house ownership.  Courts may consider how the pet is cared for by the parties and has the discretion to create a shared custody agreement.  Not surprisingly, the law was sponsored by state Assembly member Bill Quirk, a dog owner. read more

Redefining Roles and Setting Boundaries After Divorce

One of the biggest challenges of divorce is redefining roles and establishing boundaries after the divorce is final.  Couples without children may choose to happily go their own way, never to see each other again.  On the other hand, for couples with children or a common set of friends, never seeing each other again is an unlikely result.  As such, it is critical to redefine roles and set boundaries going forward.  Below are some examples where boundary adjustments may be necessary.

  1. You are Now Co-Parents, Not Partners

As co-parents you have a job to do together.  However, this job is limited to encouraging happy and healthy kids to get through adolescence and into adulthood – ideally while knowing they have the complete love and support of both of their parents.  If you are able, you should both attend school functions.  You should be flexible with parenting time when the circumstances merit flexibility. However, as co-parents your communications should be limited to the children and their best interests.  Leave finances, new romance, talk of vacations planned, or promotions hoped for out of the discussion. read more

Three Mistakes You Should Never Make When Testifying

In most divorce cases, the issues are resolved without the need for testimony from the parties.   However, there are some cases wherein testimony is taken in a divorce case.  If you are preparing for courtroom testimony, it is best to keep in mind there are three mistakes people make that can lead to unfortunate results.  However, it is easy to avoid making these mistakes once you know what they are.

Do Not Answer Immediately

This may seem counter intuitive.  After all, if a question is put to you and you know the answer, why wait.  The mistake people make is they don’t always think about the actual question asked.  Sometimes, they answer with the first thing that comes to mind.  By pausing just for a moment and actually thinking about the question asked, you give yourself time to come up with a complete answer to the question. read more

Understanding Child Support: 3 Things Every Parent Should Know

If you are a parent of a minor child, separated from or divorced from your child’s other parent, you may be entitled to child support, or you may be obligated to pay child support.  How much is paid, under what circumstances, and how that child support is used are three things every parent should know.

Understanding How Child Support is Calculated

There are a number of factors that impact how child support is calculated.  When calculating child support, courts consider:

  • The income of each party
  • The amount of time each party spends with each parent
  • Florida’s child support guidelines.

Each of these variables will impact the amount of child support paid or received.  This part of the child support calculation is basically a simple mathematical calculation.  A word of caution: You may find a “child support calculator” online.  This is designed to provide a general rough estimate of the child support you may be required to pay or eligible to receive.  It is not a substitute for legal advice from a qualified family law attorney. read more

Parenting Time in the 21st Century – There’s an App for That!

In a world where we have the answer to just about any question imaginable in the palm of our hand via our cell phones, it is a small wonder that there are now parenting time-sharing apps available.  When both parents join forces to use a parenting time-sharing app, the benefits can be tremendous.  Whether you and your former spouse are old hats at co-parenting or are barely on speaking terms, a parenting time-sharing app can make scheduling and co-parenting less stressful and more efficient.

There are of course many parenting time-sharing apps available and this blog post does not intend to endorse one app over another.  Instead, this blog post briefly highlights some of the apps available to call to parents’ attention the resources that are available.  Of course, an app only works if the parents use it.  It may take some time and a bit of trial and error to find the app that works best for your family, but is definitely worth the effort. read more