Florida couple can divorce thanks to stronger economy


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


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

Cohabitation or a supportive relationship can affect alimony


In Florida, alimony is awarded solely on the judge’s discretion; however, there are many factors that play into a judge’s decision. There are four different kinds of alimony that Florida judges may award, according to the state’s statute 61.08. Those include bridge-the-gap, durational, rehabilitative and permanent.

If you’re paying alimony, you may feel frustrated if your ex-spouse is living with someone else. This is especially true if your ex tells you that he or she won’t be getting remarried because the alimony would be discontinued. However, did you know that the law in Florida provides for a termination or lowering of alimony payments if the person receiving them is in a supportive relationship?

There are many things that factor into this, such as whether your ex is living with another as a perceived married couple. This might include sharing the same address, referring to one another as “my husband” or “my wife,” or using the same last name. The length of time that your ex has been living with his or her new partner is also important.

It’s up to the person paying alimony to prove to the court “by greater weight of the evidence that a supportive relationship exists.” An appellate court in Florida has held that if a supportive relationship is established, alimony payments must be eliminated or reduced.

While you may not relish the idea of trying to prove that your ex is in a supportive relationship, the idea of paying less in alimony will likely make the prospect of the task at hand a bit easier. It might be wise to speak with an attorney about your current situation in order to ensure that you have covered all your bases before heading into court.

Source: Naples News, “It’s The Law: Supportive relationship can terminate alimony” William Morris, Jan. 28, 2014

Is shared parenting in the best interests of the child?


Divorcing parents have to decide which parent will be the custodial parent and which will be the noncustodial parent. However, a growing number of parents are opting for a shared parenting arrangement. Shared parenting means that both parents have equal time – and equal say – in the upbringing of the children. Orlando readers may be interested to learn that state legislatures throughout the country are starting to consider the approach.

Several states, including Florida, have attempted to pass legislation that would require parents to make more equal parental arrangements. Florida legislatures passed a law in 2012 that would have included a shared parenting plan, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. A similar issue also occurred in Minnesota. The legislature passed a parenting law that would have increased the minimum custody from 25 to 35 percent, but the governor vetoed the bill.

Although governors might not be willing to sign these pieces of legislature, advocates of shared parenting are undeterred and convinced the arrangement is in the best interest of children. Because there are more fathers acting as primary caregivers, the arrangement ensures that both parents will continue to have equal access to the children. They do concede that in cases where there was abuse, it is not the ideal arrangement.

Although it is true that in most cases children benefit from having equal access to both parents, those who oppose legislation making shared parenting a requirement believe judges need to have the latitude to determine how much access each parent has in deciding legal custody. For anyone who feels his or her parenting arrangement is not ideal, speaking with an experienced legal professional can help a parent determine the best course of action that will better serve everyone involved.

Source: USA Today, “Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome” Jonathan Ellis, Jan. 28, 2014