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Destin Law Blog

Tips for recognizing parental alienation syndrome

Some parents in Florida might have to contend with parental alienation syndrome. This can happen in any kind of custody and visitation arrangement and involves one parent turning the child against the other parent. It may occur when one parent suffers from a personality disorder, so a parent divorcing a person who has been diagnosed with personality disorders, particularly narcissistic or borderline, may want to be especially vigilant.

There are a number of warning signs of this syndrome. A child who never had problems before may become oppositional. The child may want to exclude the parent who is being targeted from attendance at extracurricular activities or parent/teacher meetings. The child may express explosive rage at the targeted parent and no longer recognize positive experiences between the two. However, the child may insist that none of this originates with the other parent even when the child may use the same language that parent used to denigrate the targeted parent in the past.

Retirement savings are a critical asset in divorce

Retirement savings are a critical asset to many people in Florida, including those going through the end of a marriage. Divorce can carry with it an array of strains, including the visible emotional and psychological stresses caused by a split. However, another important element in a divorce is the financial aspect and the division of property between the spouses. There are many types of marital property that can be subject to distribution in a divorce, from retirement savings accounts to investments or real estate.

For many people heading toward divorce, one of the largest and most important assets handled in the split is a retirement savings account. For people with plans designated as "Qualified Plans," especially defined benefit retirement programs and 401(k) plans, distribution during divorce is covered by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. This document enables divorcing spouses to divide these plans as agreed in the divorce settlement without taxation or the 10-percent early withdrawal fee.

Why do many couples divorce in the beginning of the year?

Divorce has been a way of American life for decades now. There has been heavy research in numerous areas of the topic, and a report from The Atlantic found that many couples file for divorce around the beginning of the year, especially around Valentine's Day. 

Naturally, attorneys see couples filing for divorce all year round, but there seems to be a particular influx of divorce filings in January and February. Some couples come to the realization the marriage simply no longer works, but there is no present danger that necessitates filing for divorce immediately. Therefore, they decide to wait. Since it is almost the end of 2017, it is worth it to look into why some couples choose to delay filing. Naturally, if anyone is in a marriage that is actively detrimental, they should seek help right away. 

Child custody issues before the divorce

Florida parents who are getting a divorce might be faced with the issue of temporary custody for their children. In the earliest stages, with no legal solution in place, custodial rights are equal, but it is best for children and parents if some guidelines are put in place.

Parents need to reach some sort of agreement about how custody will play out during the divorce. Structure is important at this time. It may be unrealistic to expect time to be split 50/50 between parents, but the custody arrangement should allow children to spend ample time with each. Parents should be flexible and communicative. For example, one parent might be unable to take the children on one custody weekend. Parents should avoid using their children to exchange messages. Courts will consider it a mark against a parent who does not communicate with the other. Parents should also avoid conflict in front of children or making them feel that they need to take sides.

Smart financial moves to make in a divorce

Florida residents or others who get divorced in their 40s or 50s may face unique financial challenges. For instance, living on one income late in life may require an individual to rethink their retirement plan. It may also be necessary for those who may not have experience in the workforce or managing their own money to forge their own financial future.

Those who did not work for at least 10 years generally don't qualify for social security benefits on their own. However, it may be possible to qualify based on a former spouse's work record if the marriage lasted for 10 years or longer. It may also be possible to get a portion of a 401k through what is known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). That money may be used to help a person save for their own retirement or can be cashed out to help make ends meet now.

When divorce is better for the children

Florida parents might be considering putting off their divorce because they are concerned about how it might affect their child's emotional state or even the likelihood that their child will attend college. Studies show that a child of divorced parents may also be more likely to get a divorce. However, there may be some cases in which getting a divorce is the right decision.

For example, if the relationship is abusive, divorce might be the right choice. Parents might also be unable to hide their conflict and unhappiness from their children. They might have tried counseling and made other efforts to fix the relationship without success. Unhappiness in the marriage can cause anxiety for children, so it might be in their best interest to go ahead with a divorce.

Factors that are correlated with higher divorce rates

Each year, a number of people in Florida file for divorce. While people do not get married with the idea that they will eventually get divorced, it still happens to a sizeable number of people. Multiple studies indicate that there are a number of factors that may predict the likelihood of getting divorced.

A researcher at the University of Utah found that couples who marry young have a much higher chance of getting divorced as do people who get married after age 32. Other research has identified additional factors that predict divorce. For example, researchers at Harvard found that the division of labor between husbands and wives may also increase the chances of divorce. In marriages in which the husbands only work part time, divorces are much likelier.

Divorce rates for young people

Many Floridians end up divorcing before they have reached age 40. Some individuals even divorce in their 20s. States with the highest divorce rates among individuals younger than 30 are primarily located in the Deep South.

Just as with other characteristics like obesity or education levels, divorce rates also vary from state to state. According to Zippia, a website that offers career guidance, people in their 20s had the highest likelihood of divorcing in Arkansas, Idaho, Alabama, Oklahoma and West Virginia. Arkansas has the highest divorce rates for individuals in their 20s at 20 percent. The lowest divorce rates for people younger than 30 are in the northeastern states. Florida had a divorce rate of 11 percent for people in their 20s.

Florida’s simplified dissolution of marriage procedure can save

A Florida divorce need not be a multi-years long battle for some couples. Sometimes it can be an uncontested divorce that can save a lot of headaches. While not helpful or even possible for everyone, it can be cheaper and quicker than a regular divorce. That expedited divorce may even avoid some of the acrimony that may develop as a result of a protracted divorce itself.

Florida has a simplified dissolution of marriage procedure. This kind of divorce is sometimes known as an uncontested divorce. Certain criteria must all be met, including the following:

  • Agreement to use simplified process and existence of irretrievably broken marriage
  • No minor kids
  • Neither party is pregnant
  • Neither party seeks alimony
  • Both parties already agreed to splitting of assets and debts
  • One spouse resided in Florida for last six months

Reasons why couples divorce

Some of the most common reasons for divorce are money problems, infidelity, addictions, incompatibility and "irreconcilable differences". Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that people seeking a divorce do not have to allege a particular reason why they are doing so, only that they no longer wish to be married.

Money problems are a very common reason why couples choose to divorce. Partners in a marriage may have very different ideas about how money should be spent, which can lead to arguments. Living in poverty can also add additional stress to a marriage that is already falling apart.

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Wood & Associates, P.A.
980 Airport Road, Suite A
Destin, FL 32541

Phone: 850-502-8978
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