Empty nests likely major contributor to gray divorce

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It’s the end of summer and for many parents in Orlando, Florida, that means helping their children move off to college to begin a life outside of the nest. Many older couples have found themselves struggling with an empty nest, a situation that can lead to divorce if it goes unaddressed. There are ways to work to save such marriages from dissolving but even so, one in four divorces involves a person who is 50 or older. This is an age that many parents are either already at or are approaching when their children go off to college. When divorces occurs, this is known as gray divorce.

In order to combat an increasing rate of gray divorce – a jump from one in ten divorced individuals in 1990 to the aforementioned one-in-four figure from 2009 – experts have many suggestions about marriage as the children come of age. Some suggest becoming curious about your partner again. It is likely that at this point in the relationship, you have spent well over a decade together and may have convinced yourself that you know everything about your spouse. This is likely not the case as each day brings with it new things. This is why becoming curious and establishing a daily routine of asking each other about your days is important. Basically, it boils down to being mindful of the relationship and not taking it for granted.

Instilling such habits before the children fly away from the nest can help prevent a high asset divorce from occurring. Even though you may not think you have much wealth, a number of assets are often intermingled between spouses who have been together for more than a decade. With children out of the home in most gray divorces, custody is generally not an issue. Instead, the focus will be on property and any accounts that contain wealth, especially those pertaining to retirement.

Source: MPR News, “How parents can adjust to an empty nest, avoid ‘gray divorce’” No author given, Aug. 27, 2013

Former football star in hot water over child support payments

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Many football fans in Orlando known the name Andre Rison; if not for his plaudits on the field, then for his eventful life off of it. Rison was a star wide receiver in the National Football League for a number of teams. He was also involved in one of the more remarkable off-field moments in recent football history: in 1994, Rison was in a dispute with his girlfriend, the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Lopes burned some of his possessions during the dispute, which resulted in his home being destroyed.

Rison is in the news again, after he failed to pay more than $330,000 in child support, which was agreed to in court. Rison narrowly avoided prison, instead suffering a year-long extension of his five-year probation, and being reordered to pay the back child support.

This story is a reminder that failing to pay your child support is very serious. Not only could it hurt you in a variety of ways (wage garnishment, jail time and many other penalties are possible), but ultimately, it also hurts your child. Those support payments are meant to pay for things that your child will need to grow and develop.

However, there are many cases where the paying spouse experiences a dramatic change in his or her life circumstances, necessitating a change in the support plan. In order to earn a modification to your divorce agreement or your child support payments, you’ll need to consult an experienced family law attorney to help you build your case.

Source: MLive.com, “Andre Rison dodges prison sentence after more failed child support payments,” Ross Maghielse, Aug. 16, 2013

With school year approaching, be civil with your former spouse

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As parents in Orlando and all across Florida prepare for their children to return to school (and as the kids soak up those fleeting summer days), many divorced parents are coming to the realization that they will have an increased amount of interaction with their former spouse. The school year means that pick-up and drop-off schedules must be arranged; that post-school activities are planned and known; and that the former spouses are aware of everything going on entering the school year regarding classes.

So how can divorced parents get along under these tough circumstances? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Remember to be civil: This is a crucial part of this “back to school” process. You and your former spouse may not have ended on the best of terms, but when your child is involved and his or her schooling, it is best for both of you to set aside some of the disdain so that you can focus on what’s really important: your child’s happiness.
  • Talk things out and come up with a schedule: Make note of days that you are unable to pick up or drop off your child; discuss the after-school programs, sports and lessons your child is a part of; and be prepared to negotiate and collaborate so that things work for everyone.
  • Dealing with homework: You want to make sure your son or daughter stays on track with his or her schooling. So, you and your former spouse could have a talk about what types of homework each of you will help your child with. This way, both parents are actively involved in the child’s schooling.

Source: Huffington Post, “Co-Parenting Tips for Kicking Off This New School Year On The Right Foot,” Diane L. Danois, Aug. 12, 2013

Cone you dig it? Man must pay added alimony for wife’s ice cream

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When a couple goes through the divorce process, the matter of alimony can often be the most contentious issue. Many divorced couples in Orlando have had to deal with spousal support negotiations, which are complicated discussions that require diligent work from both parties and their attorneys.

If there is no prenuptial agreement involved, the two spouses need to come to an agreement on how much the monthly spousal support payments will be (a prenup will usually outline alimony terms); and there must be justification for the amount being quoted, usually substantiated by the length of the marriage and the standard of living that was established as a result. If the spouses cannot come to terms, then a judge will have the ultimate say.

Alimony is undoubtedly a serious issue in divorce. But a recent spousal support story caught our eye — and our sweet tooth — for a quirky and entertaining clause in a divorce settlement agreed to by an Indian couple.

The divorced husband and wife took their divorce claims to a court in Mumbai, India, where a judge was presiding over the alimony discussions. The man was separating from his wife, in part, because of her love for ice cream. He claimed she drained his savings buying ice cream.

So when it came time to make a ruling on the divorcing couple’s alimony disagreement, the judge decided on a monthly payment of roughly $1,300. Just one thing: an extra $2.50 per month had to be paid by the man to his ex-wife so that she could get some ice cream.

Source: The Inquisitr, “Man Must Pay For Ex-Wife’s Ice Cream In Best Divorce Settlement Ever,” Dusten Carlson, Aug. 6, 2013