Are Florida divorces making our children overweight?

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Just like parents, children in Florida suffer whenever a marriage is dissolved. New research conducted by an overseas institute of public health shows that, for children, suffering in a divorce may lead to physical symptoms as much as it can lead to emotional symptoms. Indeed, the research provides evidence that children of split families show a higher propensity for abdominal and general obesity.

The recently published findings of the researchers say that divorce could be contributing to obesity problems. The researchers gathered weight, height and waist size information for a total of 3,166 children with a median of 8.3 years of age. Allegedly, children whose parents are divorced show a 1.54 times higher chance of being obese. Among that group, there was a corresponding ratio of 1.89 times higher chance of abdominal obesity.

Researchers even tested the data against other factors that can cause higher childhood obesity rates, such as parental education levels, ethnic origin information and where the children live. However, this information did not alter the results. The research indisputably shows a higher risk of child obesity among children from divorced families.

Florida parents in the throes of divorce may be having a difficult time keeping their own emotions and physical conditions in check. However, after looking at the results of this study, parents with shared or full child custody may wish to evaluate the potential for their children suffering from physical health concerns.

One way that parents can help themselves and their families while going through a divorce is to limit the stress involved as much as possible. So long as both sides are working to stay on the same page and are able to reach agreement and accord in a divorce, the process can proceed as painlessly as possible. For example, sometimes, divorce mediation can be an excellent way for parents to resolve differences quickly and easily without the need for painful and sometimes expensive court proceedings.

Florida court doubles Marc Anthony’s child support payments

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The world famous fashion designer and singer, Marc Anthony, has been ordered by a judge in Florida to pay more money for the support of his two children. He shares the children with his ex-wife, Dayanara Torres, who filed claims asking for an increase in child support payments from the singer. Instead of awarding her the 10-fold increase in child support that she requested, however, the judge ordered Anthony’s obligation to be doubled.

Dayanara Torres requested initially that the singer pay $123,426 per month in child support. However, on June 12, the judge ultimately increased Anthony’s $14,400 per month payments up to $26,800 instead. The singer’s ex-wife also claimed that he had neglected his children by spending just 35 days with them in 2013. Anthony argued that those numbers were not accurate. He also submitted court papers that show he spent 71 days with his kids in 2012.

The singer’s ex-wife filed her request for a child support increase in late 2013. As her reasoning for the increase, she sited changes in lifestyle and other financial child support needs. For example, she said that she required a housekeeper and a nanny, and this would cost at least $7,000 per month.

As per their initial divorce agreement, Anthony’s ex-wife was provided with the couple’s house in Florida, two cars and vacation money. In addition to the increase in child support, the judge further ordered Marc Anthony to increase his ex-wife’s annual vacation budget to $12,000 annually.

Changes to alimony and child support are not uncommon after a Florida divorce. If the financial circumstances of the receiving and/or paying spouse have changed, for example, a formal request can be made to the court in order to have payments adjusted to more accurately reflect the current financial circumstances of each spouse.

Source: Examiner, “Marc Anthony court order doubles his monthly child support payment to $26,800” Richard Webster, Jun. 13, 2014

Protesting dads bring attention to National Fatherless Day issues

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A number of fathers recently gathered in Florida and at various venues across the nation to honor a new and unpopular holiday invented to bring attention to fathers’ rights. The day, which they have dubbed “National Fatherless Day,” occurs two days before the real Father’s Day. Men who gathered to bring attention to the Fatherless Day movement say that they are protesting against unfair family court systems.

Various studies provide evidence that children may suffer more anxiety and stress after a family court ruling favors one parent over the other. Activists are protesting for the change of family law codes in Florida and other parts of the nation in the hopes of bringing more equality to mothers and fathers when it comes to child custody, child support and alimony. According to one family law attorney, who has been in practice for approximately 30 years, more and more clients have been coming to him who want equal custody of their children. In many cases, this translates to one week and one week off parenting arrangements.

In Florida, a law that would have provided for these kinds of equal custody arrangements was not approved. Now, a number of unhappy fathers are gathering to speak out. One protestor said that divorcing parents must be careful about bringing their disagreements to court because it is possible that one of the parents could unfairly lose custody rights.

Indeed, when it comes to child custody decisions, it is preferable that parents resolve their differences outside of court wherever possible in order to avoid the risk and unpredictability of leaving such decisions in the hands of a Florida court of law. Divorce mediation may be one way that divorcing parents can reach agreement when circumstances are difficult. Nevertheless, in the case that court litigation is necessary, the matter must be handled carefully to try to ensure that both parents are equally treated under the law in the best interest of the child and/or children involved.

IRS finds errors in tax returns of alimony payers and recipients

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A recent report has revealed numerous discrepancies in the tax filings of divorced spouses who are paying or receiving alimony. The Tax Administration’s Treasury Inspector General claims that ex-spouses who are paying alimony are not reporting the same as ex-spouses who are receiving alimony in many cases. The IRS will now be scrutinizing tax filings that involve alimony in Florida and the rest of the nation in order to identify discrepant tax forms.

When it comes to IRS tax return filings, those who are paying alimony have the right to deduct those payments from their total income. Conversely, those who receive the alimony payments must report the income on their own tax return.

In 2010, approximately 570,000 tax returns noted included deductions for alimony payments. The deductions totaled approximately $10 billion. However, about 47 percent of these deductions did not match the alimony income reported by the corresponding alimony recipient. Other errors found involved the inclusion of the alimony recipient’s social security number. When an alimony payer fails to include a tax identification number for the alimony recipient, it could result in fees as much as $50 for the alimony payer.

Those who have recently gone through a Florida divorce involving alimony may want to double check their alimony incomes and/or alimony payments before reporting them on IRS tax forms. Indeed, a mistake in this regard could inspire an audit from the IRS, especially given the fact that the federal government is now looking more closely at filings with an alimony component. A consultation with one’s divorce attorney, CPA or financial advisor could help identify any mistakes so that they can be reported immediately.

Man jailed after custody dispute leads to international abduction

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A Florida girl who has been missing for nearly four years has been reunited with her family. Her kidnapper is allegedly her own father, who took the girl across the border to Mexico after a child custody dispute. The 55-year-old man is now facing criminal charges for the international abduction.

The girl had spent a weekend with her father in August 2009 and was supposed to be dropped off to her mother at a local daycare center. Instead, her father took her to Mexico. In September 2009, police issued a warrant for the man’s arrest.

Law enforcement officials in Volusia County searched high and low for the girl, now 12 years old. Their big break finally came on May 12, when someone reported that the girl and her father were seen in a rural area in Mexico. U.S. and Mexican authorities worked together to apprehend the man and bring the two back to the United States.

The man is now in Volusia County Branch Jail on a $50,000 bond. He faces a felony charge for removing the child from the state illegally. Additional charges could be pending. The girl has been reunited with her family in Miami.

When courts make decisions regarding child custody, they keep the best interests of the child in mind. However, parents do not always agree with the custody order, and in extreme cases, they may plot to kidnap the child. The best thing to do is seek a child custody modification. This would allow both parents to work together and compromise on a custody plan that works for all parties involved.

Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Dad found with daughter in Mexico now in Volusia County jail” Anthony DeFeo, May. 21, 2014

Elin Nordegren happy in Florida after divorcing Tiger Woods

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Going through a divorce when you have children isn’t easy. When Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods were going through their high-profile divorce, they had two children to think about. In a recent interview, Nordegren says that she tamped down the animosity with Woods just for the children’s sake. Now, she says they have come to a place where they respect each other.

Florida residents might remember some of the details of the divorce. Woods was found to be a serial cheater, which led to the divorce that was finalized in August of 2010. Nordegren walked away with a $100 million settlement.

She says that she and Woods now have a relationship that is centered around their two children. She calls him a “great father.” She is living in Florida, dating a billionaire and raising the children. Woods is dating Lindsey Vonn.

Nordegren admits that there was some hurt when she would attend events for the children when Vonn and Woods were also there. She said she never suspected anything was going on with Woods during those 3.5 years he was being unfaithful.

The Woods-Nordegren relationship shows that putting the best interests of the child at the forefront of a divorce is vital to ensure that the children have two parents who love them. Anyone who is going through a child custody battle might need to take that lesson to heart. Because child custody battles are emotional, it is easy to lose sight of what is important — the children’s happiness.

Knowing your rights as you go through the divorce and child custody hearing can help you to ensure that you get a settlement that helps you as start over. It also helps to ensure that your children have what they need to learn to live their new life with divorced parents.

Source: The Washington Post, “Elin Nordegren on Tiger Woods: ‘We are doing really good’” Cindy Boren, May. 22, 2014

Parenting agreement about circumcision under dispute by mother

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Parenting a child when you aren’t in a relationship with the other parent can be a challenge. Each parent has a specific way he or she thinks the child should be raised. These ways sometimes conflict with each other. When that happens, trouble might follow. A recent Florida case highlights how tense things can get when the unmarried parents of a child can’t agree on certain aspects of the child’s care.

The 3-year-boy at the center of this child custody battle isn’t circumcised. His mother agreed to let his father have him circumcised at the father’s expense. That agreement was made in a child custody agreement the mother signed in December of 2011. The father then signed the agreement, which was entered into the court record in January of 2012.

Now, the woman is trying to go back on that agreement. She says that since the child is three, she feels the risk of the anesthesia is too great for him to get the circumcision. The boy’s father feels like the circumcision is still in the best interests of the child.

A pediatric urologist has asserted that having the boy circumcised can lower his risk of contracting HIV, as well as penile cancer. He also says that the procedure is considered safe up until the age of 10, at which time the risk of torn sutures is increased due to puberty.

The mother petitioned the court to stop the father from having the child circumcised. A Palm Beach County Circuit Judge declined the mother’s request; however, the 4th District Court of Appeal has issued a stay in the case. Now, the fate of the boy’s circumcision is on hold pending the court’s decision.

Parenting agreements are usually a good idea for unmarried parents; however, this case shows that even with an agreement, things aren’t always clear cut. Any father who is having child custody issues should make sure he understands how he can exert his rights to make sure that his child is cared for in a manner that puts the child’s interests first.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Boynton mom sues to stop circumcision” Scott T. Smith, May. 14, 2014

Spike in silver divorce caused by a variety of factors

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Some senior citizens in Florida are part of a growing group that they probably never thought they would be in — silver divorce. A recent study by demographers at a university shows that while the divorce rate has gone down or remained consistent for some groups, in the aging “silver” population, that divorce rate has suddenly spiked. In fact, the rate of divorce per 1,000 women age 65 and older has gone up to around five times what it was in 1970.

Some are attributing this spike to one spouse suddenly deciding to divorce after the children are all out of the house. That, however, is one of the many reasons why this population might be heading to divorce court. Another plausible reason is that as a whole, this group isn’t going to deal with a lukewarm marriage. Mediocrity seemingly isn’t acceptable for them. Finally, the mainstream acceptance of divorce seems to have come into play because the stigma of divorce that was present in the past is not present now.

For some senior citizens, being married to a second or subsequent spouse is the reason for the divorce. Ex-spouses and adult children from previous marriages might place a strain on the new marriage, which could lead to divorce.

No matter what the reason for the divorce, it is important for this aging population to make sure that they are protected during the divorce. Knowing about asset division is one way that they can make sure they have the best possible settlement that will help them as they try to enjoy all life has to offer them for their remaining years.

Source: The Daily News Online, “Suddenly single: Boomers lead the way in silver divorces” Ana Veciana-Suarez, May. 05, 2014

Child custody cases in Florida cannot use foreign law

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A new measure was passed in Florida to make it so that foreign laws and all related articles are not going to be legally usable in court cases. Specifically, this change will have an impact on child custody cases, divorce cases or child support cases.

The proposal passed through the House, meaning that it has been sent on to the governor. It passed in the House by a vote of 78-40.

The only time that foreign law could come into play, under this new policy, would be if the law did not take away any of the rights that the parties on both sides have in the United States and under the laws in Florida. A judge would have to examine the case to make sure that those rights were not violated.

Those who opposed the bills said that it was not necessary to put it into law. They wanted the supporters to show when foreign laws had even been used, implying that it was something that did not happen often. Some opponents felt that the law was aimed at Muslims and that it was little more than an insult.

The bill will not be used in many cases, such as those involving businesses or those where state laws are overruled by federal laws.

If someone is involved in a custody dispute, this law could have a realistic impact going forward, so it is good to be aware of the changes to the law. As noted, it will not change many cases, but it is never wise to overlook anything that could come into play when fighting for custody rights and the best interests of a child.

Source: 610 KDAL, “Florida legislature forbids use of foreign law in state court” Bill Cotterell, Apr. 30, 2014

Wal-Mart heiress sues husband over business asset discovery

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An heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune has filed for a divorce from her husband. The divorce case and civil lawsuit that followed show just how important it is for Florida residents to have a prenuptial agreement and to know exactly what is going on with their finances during a divorce. This is especially important when business assets are part of the divorce.

The heiress filed for divorce from her husband citing irreconcilable differences. The two have been married since 2004. She will pay the man alimony based on a prenuptial agreement the two signed. Now, the heiress has filed a civil lawsuit that alleges her soon-to-be ex-husband has been stealing money from a company the two own.

The couple purchased a shopping center in 2011. They hired Rosch Company, LLC to complete a renovation and expansion project on the shopping center. Her husband is listed as a vice president of the company’s Florida branch on a business listing from 2008. That Florida branch isn’t on the company’s website and currently has an inactive filing status.

In her civil lawsuit against the man, she claims that he hired a friend as co-manager for the shopping center. She says they both made themselves general managers of the project at the shopping center. She alleges that they aren’t qualified for these contracting positions.

She alleges that her husband is being paid $250,000 annually to manage the shopping center project. On top of that, he is also collecting other fees. She alleges he and his co-manager friend increased their monthly fees to $70,000 from $15,000.

The Wal-Mart heiress is doing what she needs to do to protect herself during the divorce. For couples that have joint business ventures and who ultimately divorce, knowing exactly what is going on with the business is important. Without knowing what was happening financially with the shopping center project, this heiress might have stood to lose a lot of money just because she filed for a divorce from her husband. He allegedly has become greedy despite her agreeing to pay him alimony.

Source: The Malibu Times, “Report: Wal-Mart Heiress Files For Divorce, Claims Husband Funneled Money Through Malibu Shopping Center” Knowles Adkisson, Apr. 22, 2014