Law Office of Dolly Hernandez, PLLC

Miami Florida Family Law Blog

The details of alimony

In addition to the expected stress of divorce, determining alimony distribution can be a significant point of tension for spouses in Florida. The details always depend on the individual case, and deciding payment amounts can take time and careful planning.

The Florida Bar offers informative descriptions of the steps in the divorce process, and states that the court can consider an alimony award after equitable distribution takes place among the spouses. Before the court can award alimony, the spouse requesting the alimony must demonstrate the need for such an award and the ability of the other party to pay. The court must review all factors before awarding the property type and amount of alimony. The length of a marriage can also determine the type and amount of alimony awards. The following helps determine these specifics:

  • Short-term marriage of less than 7 years
  • Moderate-term marriage of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years
  • Long-term marriage with a duration of 17 years or greater 

The professional valuation expert and your high asset divorce

Dividing personal property during divorce may be a challenge if you have antiques, collections and other items that have fluctuating value. At the Law Office of Dolly Hernandez, PLLC, our team understands when experts are needed to appraise assets so that property division is fair for both parties, and so there is no confusion about value when cases are litigated.

An item such as your vehicle may not require a valuation expert if it is listed in the Kelley Blue Book or another common source that identifies how much it would sell for in its current condition. However, determining the fair market value is often not that simple. In fact, as the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers points out, there are many methods professional appraisers use to arrive at a specific price tag. The Appraisal Foundation has issued the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice as a guide for experts, and it is widely used in the U.S. In some cases, a judge may reject an appraisal if it does not conform to these or other acceptable standards.

What should be considered in a time-share?

Florida parents still have a duty to raise their child as well as possible even after splitting up. The Law Office of Dolly Hernandez strives to give you every tool you need to craft a good time-share plan, which can help provide your child with the support and time of both you and your ex-spouse.

Parental plans or time-shares are considered key by many when it comes to the overall happiness and coping capabilities of a child of divorce. Since the best interest of the child is always taken into consideration first by courts, and likely by you and your ex-spouse, it's generally thought to be necessary to provide a solid time-share plan.

Protecting a business from divorce

Divorce is a stressful and heartbreaking time for all involved, but for Florida business-owners, there is added pressure in protecting the business from suffering too. As Business.com explains, a company that grows in value during a marriage can have that amount be considered joint property by the court in divorce proceedings. For this reason, business owners are encouraged to get prenuptial agreements before getting married, despite how uncomfortable those conversations can be with a future spouse.

This advice, however, is only helpful to those who had already established a business before getting married. For those couples who were married when a company was formed, it is important to realize that if both partners contributed to a business, the court is likely to consider it joint property of the couple. In order for the business to remain intact, one spouse may have to buy the other out through stock options or perhaps by giving the other the family home.

Can you make modifications to your alimony?

Divorced Miami couples likely have some knowledge of how alimony works, but may be wondering about lesser-known things related to spousal support. For example, can it be changed at any point, or will the amount of spousal support you have at the time of your divorce stay the same indefinitely?

Fortunately, you can make alimony modifications, but it can be somewhat difficult. According to Florida Legislature, alimony modifications can only happen in certain situations that have caused enough change in your life to require the monetary amount to be changed as well. A few examples of life changes that may merit alimony modifications include:

  • Joblessness
  • Severe or chronic illness
  • Retirement
  • Remarriage or cohabitation

What methods do spouses use to conceal property?

When you entered into your Florida marriage, you probably had nothing but the utmost trust in your new life partner. Regrettably, however, relationships and marriages change over time, and in some cases, the person you once trusted becomes a source of constant stress and uncertainty. This may be particularly true if you believe your spouse is trying to hide assets from you so that these possessions do not factor into the equation during divorce proceedings.

Per AOL, if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, he or she may use certain tactics in doing so. For example, he or she may open a separate bank account at a different financial institution and slowly begin moving money into it. Your spouse may also begin taking small amounts in “cash back” transactions at big-box retailers, thinking that the extra money will go unnoticed, or that you will assume he or she spent it as part of the shopping excursion.

Donative intent cited in decision including assets in settlement

Many financial and family law experts will recommend that engaged couples in Miami enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to being wed when both parties bring significant assets into a marriage. This may help to resolve the issue regarding what may or may not be marital property should a couple later choose to divorce. However, even with a prenuptial agreement in place, there may be certain situations where the intent of one spouse to gift an asset may be cited by another as a reason to exclude said asset from the terms of the couple’s agreement.

Such is the argument being made by a local woman battling to have two distinct properties included in her divorce settlement despite having signed a prenuptial agreement with her ex-husband prior to their marriage back in the late 1980’s. She claims that since the family had used the properties as residences, her ex-husband had thus demonstrated donative intent. A trial court agreed with her, citing her ex-husband’s different treatment of other premarital properties that he owned was competent and sufficient evidence to determine the two properties in question as being marital assets. However, a district court subsequently overturned that ruling, stating that the woman’s assertions did not meet the standard for a preponderance of evidence. A final ruling issued by the Florida State Supreme Court reinstated the trial court’s ruling, saying that the district court was incorrect for applying the preponderance of evidence standard in this case.

4 factors that can have a dramatic impact on property division

In the state of Florida, divorcing spouses face many unknown factors as they navigate the legal process. How will custody work? Where will I live? Am I going to lose everything Unfortunately, these are just a few of the questions people often have that do not have easy answers.

For instance, there is no hard-and-fast rule for how your property will be divided, except that it will be divided in a manner deemed equitable, or fair, by the courts. There are, however, certain factors that can have a considerable impact on this process. Knowing these can help you manage your expectations.

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The Law Office of Dolly Hernandez, PLLC
1001 Brickell Bay Drive
Suite 1812
Miami, Florida 33131

Phone: 305-846-9200
Fax: 305-846-9204
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