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.

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

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

Man going through divorce liable for estranged wife’s accident

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When going through a divorce, one of the big obstacles that many couples have to deal with is property division. As you and your spouse begin to split up assets, you have to make sure that you keep yourself protected. One of the necessary steps for accomplishing this involves having your name removed from anything that will remain in your former spouse’s possession. A recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court serves as a harsh reminder to get your name taken off of the things you aren’t keeping as part of the divorce settlement.

The case involved a man who was killed when he was struck by a woman driving a car. The woman’s estranged husband didn’t have keys to the vehicle that struck the victim, nor did the husband have access to the car. A jury originally found that the estranged husband wasn’t liable for the accident, but the victim’s wife appealed that decision.

The Supreme Court ruled that the husband was still responsible for the man’s death because his name was still on the title and because he owned the car. The couple’s divorce wasn’t yet final, but they were living apart.

Anyone who is going through a divorce needs to make sure that their interests are protected throughout the divorce process. Getting answers to any questions you have and working toward a divorce settlement as expeditiously as possible might help you to protect yourself so you can enjoy your new life when the final decree for your divorce is issued. Also, these issues become even more important if you have a large amount of expensive assets such cars or houses. This case goes to show that big assets need to be handled quickly in a divorce before they end up having a negative effect.

Source: Jacksonville.com, “Florida Supreme Court rules estranged husband liable for wife’s striking, killing of man” No author given, Apr. 10, 2014

Same-sex couple facing asset division challenges in Florida

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Under normal circumstances, a Florida couple seeking a divorce is not really considered news. What happens, though, when a same-sex couple attempts to dissolve their marriage in this southern state? Since Florida does not recognize same-sex unions, divorce becomes a tricky matter, and dividing marital property is suddenly a serious headache. Now, two women who are seeking a divorce in Florida are pushing for marriage equality in the state — not so they can wed, but so they can “untie” the knot.

The couple in question married in Massachusetts four years ago. That state is one of 17 that permit same-sex unions throughout the nation. Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage.

When the couple decided to pursue a divorce, they consulted experts in Massachusetts for advice. The answer was disheartening: They would have to move back to Massachusetts for a year before they could officially file. Since that life-changing move was not feasible, one of the woman chose to file for divorce in Florida, anyway.

Even though news reports show that judges in the state of Florida have granted same-sex divorces in the past, those cases have largely flown under the radar. Now, this couple is striving to bring those asset division cases into the light by claiming that a ban on same-sex marriage has a deleterious effect on same-sex divorce, not to mention the fact that it is unconstitutional. The couple in this case have already come to a legal agreement about dividing their marital property through collaborative methods, but they are still pursuing additional rights through the Florida court system.

Many Florida couples struggle through the asset division phase of their divorce. A Florida attorney may be able to provide additional information and assistance to ensure that clients receive their fair share of the marital estate. These professionals may serve as important allies in a divorce courtroom or mediation proceeding.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Tampa couple’s divorce could challenge same-sex marriage ban” Leonora LaPeter Anton, Mar. 24, 2014

Florida couple can divorce thanks to stronger economy

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A couple in Florida has wanted to get a divorce for years, but they felt that it was impossible because of the state of the economy. Putting aside their emotional and romantic issues, they stayed married when they both mutually wanted to split, putting their struggling business ahead of their personal relationship. They needed each other if they were going to have any chance to make the business work, and the economy was just too weak to sustain it unless they were in it together.

The problem was that they were facing a complex asset division situation. They both owned the business, so they were not sure how it would be divided. The husband wanted to keep it, but it was not making enough money for him to pay off his wife’s share and buy her out. The only real way to divide it may have been to liquidate it, something else that is not a sure bet in a struggling economy, and then divide the money. If they did that, the business would be gone. All of those jobs would be lost.

Now that the economy has strengthened again, the company has expanded, adding new employees and earning far more than it was for the past few years, and the couple has finally gone to court to file for a divorce. They are both equally happy with the decision. All in all, they are just glad that they can finally move on with their lives in the way that they have been wanting to for so long.

Divorce situations that involve a business can be very tricky because both sides have a right to the value of that business if they both put money and time into it. It becomes an asset that must be divided. In a recession, this can make a divorce financially difficult, and so divorce can act as an indicator of a healthy economy.

Source: Businessweek, “Worsening U.S. Divorce Rate Points to Improving Economy” Steve Matthews, Feb. 18, 2014

Reality star copes after filing for divorce

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A divorce is a painful experience for everyone. However, for those who are in the spotlight, such as a high-profile couple, it can feel like the process is happening under a microscope. Reporters are constantly asking for details, and the public is not shy about offering their opinion regarding whether an alimony request should be granted or who should get the beach house.

Orlando readers might have heard that Ramona Singer, one of the stars of the reality series, “Real Housewives of New York City,” filed for divorce from her husband, Mario Singer. It was recently revealed that Mario, who works in manufacturing, has been having an affair with a 27-year-old woman. The couple have been married for 22 years. The case was filed during the last week of January.

The details of the divorce have been sealed but considering they both have successful careers, it is likely there are substantial assets to be considered in the divorce proceedings. There has been no mention of a timeframe for the case to proceed. Ramona has been spending her time visiting Florida with friends and enjoying Fashion Week in New York City.

Depending on whether Mario Singer decides to countersue in the divorce proceedings, the divorce could take between a few months to a few years. In many cases, the more assets there are, the longer it takes to come to a settlement. For people with less assets to consider, a divorce can be settled more quickly. Receiving advice from an experienced legal professional may help keep the proceedings on track and may help ensure an equitable result.

Source: EOnline, “Ramona Singer Reveals How She’s Coping After Filing for Divorce From Husband Mario” Peter Gicas, Feb. 13, 2014