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Stay-at-home fatherhood could shift divorce terms


Throughout households in Florida and across the U.S., there aren’t many families who can financially pull off having a stay-at-home parent while only one of the parents works outside of the home. Life is expensive. Kids are expensive. And, hey, many adults simply want to work. The idea of not using their education and skills makes them uncomfortable.

Still, there are some households wherein one parent is at home with the kids and one parent goes to work to financially support the family. In a tradition-shifting twist, there are more and more households wherein it is the wife who is financially supporting a household wherein the father stays at home.

Fathers Rights Attorney, Florida

The Pew Research Center reports that there were around 2 million dads staying at home to raise the kids. Researchers looked at more than those numbers; they looked at the reported reasons for the non-traditional household situation. Basically, there were two common reasons why a dad was staying home: he couldn’t work or he preferred to be home to raise the kids.

Of those pools of stay-at-home-dad households, the households with the dads who choose to be home tend to make more money than those with the dads who are unable to work. That means the mothers who support the family through their work are making relatively healthy incomes on their own.

This societal trend does have potential divorce repercussions. For example, if there are more men staying at home, it is natural to assume that more women will be asked to provide alimony for their ex-husbands after divorce.

If you are one of those women and are worried about the amount of money your ex wants and the duration of alimony payments, work with a divorce attorney who has your best interests in mind. Spousal support arrangements should reflect the reality of what you can afford but also what your ex can earn on his own.

Teenage Daughters & Divorce Study

On behalf of Sparkman Law Firm posted in Divorce on Sunday, November 12th, 2017

New Study Says That Parents of Teenage Daughters are More Likely to Get Divorced


There’s no doubt that having teenagers in your home can increase the stress level overall as your child begins to adjust into young adulthood. This can put pressure on an already strained relationship. Whether it’s a broken curfew or talking back, these are facts of life for parents of teenagers but it could also be an indicator of the stress level already present in the parents’ marriage.

Parents With Teenage Daughters Heading For Divorce?

A new data analysis from Australia found that parent with daughters are more likely to separate than those with sons but this increased risk of divorce only comes during the teenage years. It’s the strained relationship that occurs between the daughters and the parents that could bring a couple to the point of talking to a divorce attorney. More than 2 million marriages were analyzed throughout the Netherlands over the course of a decade and they found that divorce risks increased with the children’s ages until those children reached adulthood.

However, those parents with teenage daughters were at much greater risk of getting divorced. This risk could disappear in situations in which the father grew up with a sister and is already familiar with the teenage behavior of women. Several studies in the United States have already identified that parents with firstborn girls are more likely to divorce than parents with firstborn boys.

There has been no evidence, however, from developed countries showing that daughters strained marriages. There are many different pressure points that may emerge in a marriage to cause you to think about divorce. Perhaps you and your spouse have different parenting styles that do not converge when it comes to a teenager child and this has put a strain on you two as parents. Ultimately, you may decide that scheduling a meeting with a divorce lawyer in Tampa is a good way to understand your rights.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce and need to consult with a knowledgeable divorce attorney, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation to get answers to your questions and to learn more about the next steps you should take to protect yourself.


What struggles do the re-married face? Pt. 1

There are no same answers across the board for all men, women and families who go through divorce. Studies do show some commonalities, however, within various divorce and family dynamics.

The Huffington Post shares a piece about one particular type of family dynamic: remarriage. While some second and subsequent marriages last until death, others clearly do not. In fact, the rate of divorce among subsequent marriages is relatively high.

So, while it may be somewhat uncomfortable to essentially strategize a divorce plan for your second or further marriage, it can be helpful to understand the downfalls of remarriage in order to try to protect your best interests. Someone who has been through divorce at least once before would likely want to try to mitigate the common stresses and losses associated with divorce.

What are the common issues that lead to divorce after remarriage? According to various marriage therapists, the following are several of the divorce-risk factors to keep in mind:

  1. Understanding and experiencing divorce already, divorcing again is less daunting.
  2. A second marriage can often be more than two people remarrying; it is kids from a first marriage and exes all having to work together to make it work. Sometimes, this gets too complicated and stressful.
  3. The disappointment can be bigger if a subsequent marriage doesn’t make someone happy. Frustration, sadness and anger can feel extreme and lead to a quicker response to file for divorce. After trying to fix a first marriage and that not working, one might already know and take action once discovering a second marriage is broken.

We will continue this list of remarriage struggles in an upcoming post. The reason why these hardships are worth sharing is because the knowledge of a higher divorce rate among those who remarry can instill wisdom.

With a real chance of divorce before you, it can be in your favor to work with a family law attorney to prepare a prenuptial agreement. This kind of preparation can mitigate the length, stress and cost of a possible future divorce.

Controversial Florida alimony laws may change

Time passes. Life changes. Societal norms change. Injustices rise to the surface. Some people in Florida believe a current family law norm in the state is an injustice. Will the arguments against Florida’s spousal support laws be enough to finally prompt new alimony legislation?

Senate Bill 412 is on the table and, if passed, would revolutionize terms of alimony laws in Florida in ways that best serve various parties associated with the support cases: exes, new spouses and children. So what are the proposed changes to the sensitive area of family law?

For years, critics of current alimony laws in Florida have complained that the laws can be unfair and damaging to relationships. The main issue of contention is permanent alimony. Does it make sense to require someone to support an ex until one of them dies? What if the receiver of the support is relatively young and able to work? Couldn’t he or she be able to eventually build financial security on their own?

Of course, every divorce case is unique, with unique financial realities and unique family dynamics. Will you be or are you already the recipient of alimony and know that you should be supported by your ex for the rest of your life? Permanent alimony can be the fair arrangement in some Florida divorces.

Maybe you are the spouse who will be obligated to potentially support your ex after divorce and want to ensure the support arrangement is fair to you, your future and the future well-being of your ex. Some critics of permanent alimony believe the arrangement reduces the chance that some divorced parties will reach their full career potential.

What are your divorce concerns and needs? Don’t be afraid to candidly talk to your divorce lawyer about why you believe alimony should go one way or another. Your attorney can help strategize, given current spousal support legislation, to get you the divorce settlement that is best for all.

If Gov. Rick Scott approves bill 412, alimony laws could officially change. We will post updates regarding the matter as the issue progresses. Do you think the laws will or should change? Feel free to share your opinions on our family law blog.

Dissipation of marital assets: What is it? What’s your recourse?

Divorce is understandably tough on anyone. Acknowledging that your marriage is irretrievably broken, thinking about budgeting for the same expenses with half the income or realizing that you are single, again, are heavy subjects.

Dealing with a spouse who does not want to play fair – like one who tries to dissipate assets – only adds to your stress. Worse, it can cause lasting problems if your attorney is not ready for the challenge or experienced in these types of cases.

What is dissipation?

Dissipation is the legal term for situations in which one spouse wastes marital assets that would have been subject to division in a divorce. It is one of the go-to tricks for spouses who want to play dirty, often affecting women.

Examples of dissipation could include things like:

  • Purchasing extravagant gifts for a girlfriend
  • Racking up credit card debt
  • Harming a business
  • Gambling
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol

Do you have any recourse?

Under Florida law, a court can award you a larger share of the marital estate during property division to compensate you for the assets you would have had absent dissipation. The tricky part is proving it.

Before the court will award an unequal distribution based on distribution, you must establish a few things:

  • That the waste was intentional: The standard here is not beyond a reasonable doubt as it is in criminal courts, but that does not make it easy. For example, is spending too much money at the bar an indication of intent or a symptom of addiction? Did business profits dip because of the market, bad management or sabotage?
  • That the waste was substantial: The court likely will not consider one meal at a nice restaurant dissipation. The financial misconduct must be much larger, substantially affecting the value of the marital estate. There, however, is not a minimum dollar amount. The determination is relative to you and your spouse’s financial situation.
  • Timing: Florida statutes state that the waste must have occurred after you filed the petition for divorce or during the two years leading up to the divorce. This might seem like a hard line, but judges have the authority to exercise discretion when they believe it necessary for a just or equitable result.

Evidence often proves crucial in these cases. Protect yourself by obtaining detailed copies of financial records, taking screen shots of social media posts and pictures or otherwise documenting any suspect behavior.

The basics of inheritance and divorce

Inheritance can be a sticky subject when going through a divorce. There’s so much in question about how much things are worth and who gets what, it’s overwhelming. The longer you’ve been married the harder it becomes to recognize the difference between separate and marital assets. So where does inheritance fit in? Is it considered separate property?

No matter if the inheritance was obtained prior to or during the marriage, it is legally considered separate property. There are very few situations where a judge will grant both spouses access to one’s inheritance.

What if inheritance money was used on marital assets?

Things get tricky when inheritance money is used as payment for marital property. For example, if money from the inheritance was used to pay the mortgage, it doesn’t mean the house belongs to you. Using inheritance money on marital assets doesn’t give you ownership; both parties will be considered equal owners of property obtained during the marriage.

If inheritance is deposited into a joint bank account used by both spouses during the marriage it loses its immunity and will be considered marital property. Comingling assets blurs the lines and is much more difficult to fight in court. A judge could give both spouses a portion of the remaining inheritance if they determine the money is necessary for them to survive on.

What should you do if you’re unsure about the state of your affairs?

If you’re facing divorce and unsure about what will happen to your inheritance, contact an attorney. They will be able to offer advice, answer questions and give you a more realistic idea of what to expect.

What could politics have to do with marriage trends?

It is not often (or ever) that we discuss political issues on our Florida divorce blog. A recent report about an important political matter, however, suggests political decisions have had an impact on family trends. Therefore, it makes sense to talk about the issue of economic decisions in the U.S.

A hot topic politically has been and continues to be the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. Sending factory, blue-collar jobs out of the country leaves less work for a large demographic of Florida people and others in the U.S. According to an MIT study, the loss of jobs is leaving fewer jobs in the country, as well as fewer marriages among blue-collar men.

The economic study led to family-related findings that may have some application to the conversation of divorce. Before getting to the potential divorce implications of this reported trend, let’s first go over points researchers take from their study:

  • With fewer manufacturing jobs in the U.S., more men are unemployed and, therefore, making little income.
  • This reduces the likelihood that a person would want to marry the low- or no-income group of men.
  • The economic impact of outsourcing manufacturing jobs leaves more men not just unemployed, but likelier to engage in risky behaviors.
  • Behaviors such as drug use, addiction, engagement in crime, etc. lead to men whom are not marriage material or interested in marriage.
  • Risky behaviors kill some of the men or put them behind bars.

Enough about those who do not get married. There are certainly those who despite financial hardships or risky behaviors of one partner go ahead and get married. Or maybe employment difficulties and/or risky habits pop up later in a marriage. Stress due to money and an unhealthy, risky change in behavior most certainly can result in the need to divorce.

Are you tired of fighting with your spouse and worrying about money? Have life’s difficulties such as unemployment or stress caused your spouse to engage in habits that are unhealthy or even dangerous to the well-being of your children? A divorce lawyer can listen to your story and explain what divorce could do for you and your family.

Happy Engagement! Here is a gift of marriage classes?

Anyone who is married or is in the process of wedding-planning knows a lot goes into the wedding preparation. But what about marriage preparation? What did you and your spouse do in order to feel ready for marriage? If you are currently engaged, do you have any plans beyond the wedding details in order to prepare for the supposed forever together?

We bring this up because of a current news story about a trend in Asia. A Forbes contributor shares how a new wedding gift is on the rise in Asian countries: marriage counseling. The goal of the education is to reduce the rate of divorce in countries like China. How would you feel to receive the gift of counseling?

Many couples in Florida do go through pre-marital counseling. Generally, couples will do so because they are getting married in a church or by a clergy member who requires such education. The hope is that couples who go through the counseling address issues that could impact their future marriage, including any potential hurdles that might lead to divorce.

Despite pre-marital counseling, couples in Jacksonville and across the country still tend to face marital conflict. Does the counseling that they went through keep them from divorcing? This depends on each case, the people and the workings of their relationships. Studies reportedly show, however, that couples who go through pre-marital courses have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce.

With the rise of pre-marital education in Asia, one might expect the divorce rate in some Asian countries to decline. While saving some marriages most likely is a benefit and gift to certain families, protecting marriage is not necessarily what’s best for all. Many men and women who choose to divorce do so after giving trying and trying to make things work. They also might make the choice because their marriage is so unhealthy that it’s dangerous to their physical or mental well-being.

What is troubling you within your marriage? What is not working, and are you prepared, equipped or willing to try to get through the marital hurdles? If you simply cannot withstand the hardships within your relationship anymore and you know you must move forward with divorce, you are not giving up. Rather, you might be renewing the invaluable relationship you have with yourself as a person deserving of something better.

Special concerns in high-profile divorces

A politician divorce has recently come up in the news here in Florida. The politician in question is Charlie Crist, a current Florida U.S representative and former Florida governor. It was recently announced that Crist has filed for a divorce from his wife of nine years.

Politicians are one of the many types of public figures who can find themselves in a high-profile divorce. There are many special concerns a person can have in such a divorce.

Among these are concerns regarding reputation. Reputation can matter greatly for a public figure and their family members, both when it comes to their career and their life in general. Things that can impact what effects a divorce ends up having on a person’s reputation include the actions they take during divorce proceedings, their spouse’s conduct during such proceedings and what sorts of privacy protection steps are taken during the divorce.

Also, unique issues related to marital assets can be present in the divorce of a public figure. For one, such high-profile dissolutions of marriage can be dealing with some high-value property. Also, some of the marital assets in such a divorce could be ones that are a big part of a high-profile figure’s public life or career. These special issues can bring up a range of different worries and questions for a public figure or their spouse when it comes to property division.

A public figure and their spouse can be greatly affected by how these sorts of special concerns are addressed when they divorce. So, when going through a high-profile divorce, a person may want guidance from an attorney who understands the unique legal needs that can come up in connection to such a divorce.

Source: Miami Herald, “Charlie Crist files for divorce from wife, Carole,” Adam C. Smith, Feb. 24, 2017

More about how e-communications can impact your family law case

By now, you probably know not just about the benefits of our digitally-connected world but also the dangers. The Internet can create frightening legal circumstances. It is not just criminal cases that can stem from irresponsible online activity; family law matters can take root in the form of electronic communications.

A recent post began the conversation on our divorce blog about how social media can play a surprising role in the divorce process. It isn’t just social media sites, however, that could help or hurt you in family law matters. Emails and texts can serve valuable purposes in court, too.

With the popular reliance on email and text communications, you and your ex now both have documented records of things you have told each other. No longer would you have to convince a judge that your ex verbally hinted at getting a big bonus at work; you might have email or text message evidence of that financial information.

If you are feeling dubious about the financial situation and your ex’s honesty about money in your divorce, therefore, you might want to look back at your electronic communications between you and your ex. Look for potential evidence that there might be more money on the table than your ex lets on. Find that possible evidence and print it out. Show it to your lawyer.

We’ve focused on the financial aspects of divorce that can be impacted by electronic communication. Keep in mind, too, that social media posts, emails and texts that suggest unfit behavior of a parent could play a role in child custody matters.

To sum this matter up, understand that the content you post online, email to your spouse or ex and send via text messages provide more thorough pictures of the family situation for a family law court to analyze. If you suspect your ex is lying, weeding through communications that could confirm your suspicion might be a helpful option for you.

An important note, too, is to think about how you portray yourself on social media and whether what you share makes an accurate and fit picture of you, particularly as a parent. While going through divorce, it is safer to assume that your ex and the court are looking for a reason to rule in favor of one party over the other in a child custody dispute. You do not want to lose time with your kids over posts that not only portray you as unfit but portray you inaccurately.

Have any questions or concerns about your divorce and whether online or other electronic activity might affect matters? Talk to a trusted family law attorney to understand the reality of your specific case.

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