Lakeland Family Law Blog

Major league baseball player faces major child support case

Miguel Cabrera has been a household name for baseball lovers since his debut in 2003. Like many professional athletes, he has struggled with personal matters off the field. Primarily, Cabrera has struggled with alcohol addiction and infidelity, which have resulted in a tangled web of legal matters.

Cabrera’s wife, Rosangel, and mother of three of his children, has remained by his side through alcohol abuse treatment and his upcoming paternity case this November.

How to help your kids express their feelings during divorce

If you are divorcing or have recently divorced, it’s important to have regular discussions with your children about the feelings and thoughts they are having during the transition.

Read on to learn more about the steps you can take to encourage your child to express, accept and resolve feelings he or she may be experiencing after the divorce.

This high asset divorce continues to rage on

Most Florida couples reach a point in their divorce when they accept the end of the marriage and begin to focus on their futures as single people. That, however, is not always the case, as evidenced by a high asset divorce in which the parties remain deeply mired in bitterness and anger even after their divorce was made final. It's hard to imagine why two people in their 60s and 70s would choose to continue to fight when they divided assets worth nearly $2.5 billion. 

Sue and Bill Gross were married for 32 years before their high asset divorce. They negotiated a division of multiple homes, pets, and other assets. The pair continue to struggle with one another on many of those issues. Sue Gross claims that her former husband mistreats their cats during his "visitation" time with the animals. Bill Gross claims his wife turns off his utilities and brandished a knife at him during a family event. 

Estate planning during and after a high asset divorce

With the recent tragic loss of two high profile personalities, many in Florida are talking about estate planning and divorce. Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were separated from their spouses, but not yet divorced. While there is no way to know why either Spade or Bourdain chose to delay a high asset divorce, what is clear is that in doing so they complicated their estate planning. 

If an individual passes away while still married, their spouse will usually have a great deal of control over their estate. That's true even if the spouses were estranged at the time of the death. While that arrangement might work out for some, many spouses would prefer that someone else manage their final arrangements and finances. 

Time is running out for claiming alimony as a tax deduction

For those in Florida who are planning to end their marriage in the coming months, timing could play a big role in how the financial side of things works out. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will eliminate the alimony tax deduction, starting with divorces made final after the last day of 2018. That may seem like a long time away, but in reality, time is running out to reserve the right to claim that tax benefit. 

Most divorce cases take a while to wrap up, even when both spouses agree on the majority of terms. When there is contention or disagreement on certain issues, the timeline can become far longer. That means that time is short in regard to completing a divorce by the end of the year. 

Child support modification: Read this before filing a petition

The marital break down you experienced with your former spouse before you divorced has nothing to do with your children, meaning your divorce was not their fault. Like most Florida parents who have gone through similar situations, you may realize this but find it challenging to convince your children of the same. That's because kids often internalize their parents' issues. However, with love and support, you can help your children cope and understand that they did not cause the situation.

You no doubt did your best during divorce proceedings to make sure your children's best interests were a central focus. As the first months played out following the court's order for you to pay child support, you may have been quite pleased with how things were going. Your kids seemed to be adjusting well and you were making payments on time. In fact, even your ex seemed satisfied with the situation, that is, until you changed jobs and determined your payments were no longer feasible.

Helpful ideas for post-divorce summer time with the kids

If your children were upset when you told them you were getting divorced, it was not an uncommon reaction. Many kids experience a wide range of emotion upon learning that their parents are ending their marriages. As a non-custodial parent, you may be wondering how to make the most of the time you'll have with your kids this summer. You want them to know your divorce was not their fault and that you're there to support them as they adapt to their new lifestyle.  

Like most good parents in Florida, you have their best interests in mind. Since you work full-time (and can't afford to lose hours, especially since you'll now be paying child support) you may not get as much summer time with your kids as you'd like. That doesn't necessarily have to mean you can't make new, happy memories together, however. By thinking ahead and speaking with other parents who have gone through divorce, you can help your kids come to terms with the situation and enjoy your summer visits together. 

Time's running out on claiming alimony as a tax deduction

For those in Florida who are preparing to divorce, timing is a very important consideration, especially this year. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, spouses will no longer be able to claim alimony payments as tax deductions beginning in 2019. That means time is running out to take advantage of this important tax benefit. For some spouses, the ability to claim those payments as deductions makes a big difference in the bottom line each year. 

Divorces made final before the end of 2018 will still follow the current rules, which allow those paying spousal support to claim those payments as tax deductions. Spouses who receive spousal support must claim those payments as income. After the first of the year, however, alimony becomes tax neutral, meaning the payments cannot be claimed as deductions and also will not count as taxable income. 

Don't let a military divorce tank your health

Ending a marriage can place a toll on Florida residents and can even cause negative health ramifications. According to researchers, people who divorce have a higher likelihood of serious health consequences as compared with those who are married. Understanding these statistics can help Florida spouses take steps to protect their health and wellness during and after a military divorce.

Specifically, researchers found that divorced people were more likely to smoke or live a sedentary lifestyle as compared to those who were married. It's possible that spouses serve an important role in calling out poor health choices and supporting positive diet and exercise changes. A divorce can also bring on a type of grieving period, which some people may respond to with poor nutrition and feelings of lethargy.

Paternity issues not always a simple matter for unmarried dads

More and more people are choosing to delay marriage, or are simply avoiding the institution altogether. This approach could simplify many Florida breakups, but not for couples who choose to have one or more children together. In such cases, unmarried fathers can face an uphill battle when it comes to establishing and protecting their paternity rights.

Each state handles custody rights differently when it comes to unmarried men. In most cases, the mother is automatically assumed to be the custodial parent of her child. If an unmarried father wants to assert his paternity rights, he must take steps to do so. The earlier that process begins, the better the outcome.

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