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What happens to Valentine’s jewelry after divorce?

What has Valentine’s Day brought into your life? Some might roll their eyes about the holiday, but others value the focus on romance or even the fun the day of love can inspire among the children in the home.

If Valentine’s Day has brought more than romance and fun into your life — such as something glittery — there are some family law matters to consider. If your marriage ends, you will be faced with the question of whether you get to keep that once-romantic gift after the divorce.

If you are currently clutching your Valentine’s pearls out of anxiety over wanting to file for divorce, there are some basics about how jewelry and similar assets are handled in the case of divorce:

The most basic question is whether the jewelry is considered separate or marital property. Were you given the article of glitz as a gift before you were married? Did you inherit the diamond bracelet from a loved one? If so, the item/s would likely stay in your possession if you were to get divorced in Florida.

Where the matter gets more complicated and somewhat less predictable is when you are given a gift of jewelry during your marriage. In this scenario, marital funds are used to purchase the decorative piece. The saying, “What’s yours is mine; what’s mine is yours,” is basically what applies.

Therefore, the gifts your spouse gave to you while you were married will likely be treated as most other marital assets are treated in the divorce process. All items should be properly appraised, and the value of those assets will make up a portion of the overall marital estate.

Do you hope to keep the jewelry collection you acquired through marriage after the divorce? If so, that might be an option. However, what your ex would receive out of the property division would reflect your decision to choose the jewelry. Maybe your ex would get more out of your collective savings or out of real estate, for example.

It is important to keep in mind that there are unique factors in every divorce case. Also, state laws differ on this matter and on property division in general. Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that the marital estate would be divided fairly, not necessarily equally. This gives a court a bit of flexibility when assigning certain assets to certain individuals.

What do you hope to protect for yourself or your kids to keep through your divorce process? Be honest about your goals with your trusted family law attorney, and he or she can try to best guide you effectively.

Divorce considerations and tax implications

Death and taxes – those two things are certain in life. However, with half of all marriages ending before “’til death do us part,” divorce and taxes could be something you face in your life. Just because assets are split doesn’t mean the process is simplified. High-asset couples often face a complicated tax situation and divorce can add another pile to the paperwork.

Asset division is usually the most contentious point of a divorce. People are more financially vulnerable after a marriage ends, and failure to consider tax liabilities can lead to unwanted burdens down the road. When asset division is near 50/50, the black and white numbers can look even, but is the money green in the color of life?

How can a person going through divorce maximize financial security while minimizing tax liability? No one can absolve their legal responsibility, but with the right guidance, there is a balance to be found between duty and disunity.

Capital gains taxes

Items with monetary value are usually subject to taxation when they transfer from one person to another. However, taxes can be avoided if divorce is cited as the reason for the exchange. Still, accumulated assets like mutual funds and stocks that change value over time may be subject to a capital gains tax when one ex-spouse “purchases” the account from the other.

Alimony

Payments for spousal maintenance have tax implications for both the payer and the beneficiary. Alimony payments are tax-deductible for the paying spouse and taxable for the ex receiving them. The spouse making payments must also be careful to consider the timing of payments. Paying too much too soon in alimony as well as ending payments when a child becomes an adult can trigger attention from the IRS.

Children and dependents

The spouse that is awarded primary custody of children will also be able to claim them as dependents. Unlike alimony, child support is not tax-deductible for the paying spouse, but it is possible that the larger settlement could offset the tax implications.

Good advice is worth more than two cents

Taxes and divorce are multifaceted issues with lifelong implications. Although you could be single soon, your tax issues should not double. When there are few certainties in life, it is important to take the time to do divorce right.

Things to consider when divorcing a business partner

For some couples, getting married is not just about sharing their lives. It can be about sharing their business and professional ambitions as well. While this type of partnership can be very advantageous for both parties when things are going well, it can create even greater complications if the couple decides to dissolve their marriage.

Before you start taking steps toward divorcing your partner, you will want to dedicate some time to determining what options are available to you and which of those available options would be most beneficial in your particular situation.

Prenuptial agreements

If you and your partner had the foresight to agree to a prenuptial agreement, then your divorce may be less complicated than it would be otherwise. Instead of a prenuptial agreement, it is very possible for couples to draft and agree to other documents that explicitly state how their shared property will be treated in the case of a divorce. However, it you did not establish such an agreement there are certainly other courses of action.

Amicable cooperation

Just as in business, most partners achieve more when they have a good working relationship. Even if both parties have decided that a marriage is not the most beneficial form for their relationship to take, it is very possible to continue the partnership outside of the marriage. In fact, an amicable divorce will most likely achieve a number of things for you, including,

· More beneficial property division agreements.

· A better functioning business.

· A prime example of creative problem solving and conflict resolution for children.

Business valuation

Once you have definitely decided to dissolve the marriage and your business partnership, you will want to hire a business-valuation firm. Property cannot be divided well until the value of that property has been established.

In these situations, it is highly suggested that both parties work together to choose a single business-valuation firm that will serve as a neutral third party when analyzing their shared business. Choosing a single firm will also save both parties considerable time and expense.

No matter how you choose to go about the process, you will most likely want to know that your best interests are being cared for. As such, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional early on in the process. They will be able to get the whole process started in a way that will have the interests of both you and your business in mind.

What does Florida lawsuit against ‘other woman’ teach others?

Perhaps it sounds silly to you. A husband cheated on his wife. The wife finds out, gets upset and files a lawsuit against the woman with whom her husband had an affair.

The situation begs a deep question: is the woman trying to ease emotional hurt with legal tools? That is up to the Florida woman to ponder and decide. From a family law, legal perspective, this case might have more cause than simply hurt feelings.

There are some serious, significant financial considerations in this case to consider, too. According to news reports, the marital estate of the couple in this story is large. The woman and her estranged husband both claim that the husband has spent millions of their marital funds in order to support his affair.

Any divorce includes the process of property division. Florida uses equitable distribution laws, which tend to lean toward 50/50 division but also rely on what is fair. If there is no doubt that an affair has occurred and led to the breakdown of a marriage and the divorce filing, a court might let an affair impact financial terms of a divorce.

This especially may be true if the court sees that a significant portion of a marital estate was spent on a party’s infidelity. Sources indicate that the husband in this case affirms that he has spent at least $11 million to support the other woman in her life.

How will the wife’s lawsuit against the other woman turn out? We cannot say. From a divorce law perspective, it is safer to say that the concern regarding money spent on an affair does have a place within an alimony and possibly a property division argument. She does have rights as a wife within a divorce process to try to protect the dissipation of the assets within her marital estate.

Did adultery play a role in moving you or your spouse toward divorce? If so, while this news story is somewhat of an unusual case, it serves as an valuable reminder. Talk to your trusted family law attorney about the financial impact an affair might have had or continues to have on your joint assets.

Getting married? Take time to plan for your financial future

You have the dress. You have the venue reserved. You have the meal planned and the cake designed. Of course, you have the perfect man. You have given your wedding much thought, but have you planned to protect your financial future?

The wedding is only your first day of marriage. Ask any divorce attorney about the leading causes of divorce, and they will probably tell you that finances are a prominent reason couples split. So while you sort out the details for the big day, do not forget to talk to your spouse about how you will handle finances in the future.

Here are a few things you should consider:

1. Create a game plan

When it comes to finances, you and your future spouse might have different expectations. Because of this, it is crucial to create a “game plan” before tying the knot. While these conversations may not be ideal and might feel far from romantic, they are necessary. They can help you build a foundation for having financial conversations – and avoiding disputes – throughout your marriage.

Having these conversations prior to tying the knot is a good way to maintain your financial goals and remain successful in the business endeavors you take on together.

2. Know that ‘what is yours, is also mine’

If you are like most people, you will combine your assets to a certain degree, if not completely, when you get married. This includes a savings account, checking account or investments. Once married, you will likely take on the responsibility of helping pay your spouse’s debt as well.

So what does that mean? It is vital you know exactly what you are getting into when you get married. Once you start making those big and important financial purchases, you will be thankful that you understood your spouse’s financial reputation and habits ahead of time. Also, keep in mind that the debts you incur during the marriage will be a factor should you divorce.

3. Taxes

There is a good chance that you will pay more taxes once married than you would when you were single, and this is true of higher income individuals in particular. The popular name for one of those tax increase, is the “marriage penalty.”

While paying more in taxes should not make you rethink a marriage, you should prepare for these financial changes and challenges that you will face together.

4. Prenup (and the lesser-known postnup)

When your money and property are on the line, a prenuptial (prenup) or postnuptial (postnup) agreement can prove crucial. While it is not the most romantic subject in the world, you should be reasonable. At minimum, you should learn more about these agreements and how they may benefit you.

Today, marital agreements are a norm in our society. You should consider them to be a preventive or proactive contract that helps you and your future spouse set expectations and protect your assets, whether or not you think divorce is a possibility in your future.

A typical prenup usually sets terms for how property should be divided or designated and how spousal support should be handled in the event of a divorce.

A postnup is the “nup” that you do not hear about as frequently. The postnup is helpful in the event that a spouse has a major change in financial situation during the marriage or you acquire substantial holdings or investments as a couple.

5. What if divorce does happen?

While you have likely heard it before… It is important to repeat; divorce does happen. The statistic that “50 percent of marriages end in divorce,” is accepted as general knowledge.

In the end, do not allow your emotions to trump your judgment. The wonderful news of your upcoming marriage is nothing but wonderful. But, do not let the excitement cloud the fact that there are important financial factors to consider prior to tying the knot.

Taking the time to discuss finances or draft a marital agreement prior to walking down the aisle could not only help you maintain harmony in your marriage but, if divorce should happen, it can make the process much smoother.

What are ways my spouse might be hiding money from me? Pt. 2

In a previous post, we began a discussion about how an estranged spouse might try to mislead you about finances during a divorce. Are you worried that your ex is lying about the assets that make up your marital estate? If you are suspicious, don’t hesitate to talk to your divorce attorney about your anxieties.

While we understand that there are various priorities to protect amid a divorce, such as kids, for example, we also stress that ethics and transparency in property division to be a priority. If your soon-to-be ex is lying and engaging in unethical actions to hide money and assets, your stability could suffer post-divorce.

No one divorces because they want to land in a financially precarious position after the marriage is over. To best protect your financial interests, the following are more deceitful tactics that you might want to watch out for amid your divorce process:

Lavish purchases that you might overlook

The Huffington Post warns that your ex might find ways to hide money in material goods that you might not think to have included in the valuation of property. Examples of such items might be artwork, collectibles, jewelry, etc.

IRS shenanigans

Has your ex been someone who’s dreaded and complained about paying taxes during your marriage but then oddly was eager to pay the IRS this year? He or she might even pay the IRS too much in taxes in order to shield that money from division and ask the IRS to apply that overpayment to coming years. Sure, this sounds crazy, but it happens in some divorces.

 

Why are you suspicious of your spouse? Hopefully, you feel comfortable to voice your fears and suspicions to your divorce lawyer. Most lawyers who are experienced in property division and high-asset divorces have faced many situations involving marital fraud. Your worries are valid; your rights to your fair share of your marital estate are real and worth protecting.

What are ways my spouse might be hiding money from me? Pt. 1

If you are contemplating or going through a divorce this time of year, you are doing so with the dazzle of the holidays around you. During this season, money tends to be on the mind because of the cost of parties and gifts. Wouldn’t we all love to afford to give our loved ones their hearts’ desires?

Having money on your mind can help result in a fair divorce settlement for you. Financial focus should be thorough and involve something that many might not be used to: suspicion. Are you someone who has given into suspicion during your marriage? Whether you are or not, a sleuth-like mode of operating during your divorce can help get you what you really deserve in terms of financial justice.

Money is often named as a primary reason why couples divorce. Maybe there is a difference in spending habits or financial priorities. Maybe you went into the marriage not knowing the full scope of your spouse’s debt and unhealthy money habits. Especially if you have a reason to doubt your partner’s honesty, consider the potential that he or she might try to hide assets from you in the divorce.

The Huffington Post lists the following as just some of the many ways an estranged spouse might try to unethically shield marital assets from you:

Transferring assets: Your ex could take this relatively simple route of taking money from a joint account and putting it into an account of which you are unaware. This could be a new account your ex opens or even the account of a friend or family member who might be helping in the concealment.

Falsifying expenses: Does your ex own his or her own business? If they do, it can be easier for them to get creative regarding the expenses of running their business. Make sure you have an experienced set of eyes looking at all financial documents in order to flag any questionable expenses your ex might list.

Sparkman Law has experience uncovering the truth and, therefore, what is fair, in complex and high-asset property division matters. An upcoming post will list more methods that some try to utilize in order to try to get out of a marriage with more than they are legally entitled to.

Don’t forget post-divorce tax liabilities when dividing property

Florida courts divide a marital estate equitably, rather than in an exact 50 percent split. Yet what is fair? Florida law and statutes apply several factors in answering that question.

A divorce court typically considers each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the economic situation of each party. The factors are also not necessarily given equal weight. The unique context of each marriage may call for one or more factors to predominate.

A variety of assets may comprise a high-asset estate. In addition to traditional assets like motor vehicles, real property, bank accounts and personal items, large estates may also include business interests and substantial holdings in securities and retirement accounts. Keep in mind that the name on the title to an asset is not necessarily conclusive of its classification in the marital estate. If an asset was acquired during the marriage, it is generally subject to division, even if only one spouse’s name is on the title. Marital estates may also have liabilities, such as mortgages, credit card accounts and other loans.

Unless a spouse understands the potential post-divorce tax treatment of marital assets, he or she will not be able to make informed decisions about property division. For example, distributions from a retirement account may trigger tax liabilities. Alimony payments must also be characterized as income on the recipient’s tax return, and may be deducted on the other individual’s tax return. Payments to third parties on behalf of a spouse may also be characterized as payments in cash. However, child support and real property settlements are not characterized as alimony.

In a high net worth divorce, negotiations about property division should not be undertaken without preparation. In particular, our Florida divorce law firm conducts substantial research into the inventory and tax implications of marital assets before proposing ways to equitably divide them. That approach acknowledges the complexity that accompanies property division negotiations.

Source: Yahoo, “4 Tips for Retooling Your Retirement Plan After Divorce,” Rebecca Lake, Nov. 8, 2016

Five tips to celebrating the holidays during a divorce

If you are newly separated from your spouse or going through the divorce process without finalized agreements in place, the stress of marital issues can dim the light of the holidays. Family is the focus of the season and the relationships you have with your loved ones shouldn’t be ignored even if you are feeling uncertain about your future.

Here are five tips to celebrating the holidays during a divorce:

1. Celebrate

Sticking to your family holiday traditions through a divorce is important to your psychological and emotional health. Taking part in holiday traditions away from your spouse may alter the logistics of your celebration, but you should make an effort to do it just the same.

2. Find a new tradition

While a divorce might leave some of your holiday time in limbo, you will also have the chance to establish a new tradition. A weekend you once spent with your spouse’s family could turn into a new tree decorating celebration with friends or a weekend spent sightseeing holiday light displays.

The relationship gaps or spousal disagreements you encounter during the holidays can help you shape financial and custodial arrangements through the divorce process.

3. Share the joy

Gift exchanges are a part of many holiday traditions. The joy you feel through giving gifts can have a positive impact on your emotional wellbeing.

As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

The positive feelings fostered through the holidays can help you be more resilient through your divorce.

4. Keep it simple

If you are separating from your spouse, you’re likely simplifying your home and finances. While the holidays may have you searching for positive emotional comfort, it is important not to go overboard with gifts and planning. As the saying goes – less is more.

Keeping it simple can help you avoid the stresses of over planning and adding more to your to-do list than you can handle.

5. Ask for help

The holidays are a time of goodwill, and many are willing to share in the comforts of the season. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help and confidence of a friend, neighbor, loved one or clergyman if the stresses of the holidays are too much to handle. These people can provide necessary emotional and moral support for you moving forward in a divorce.

When you’re ready to take on the legal challenges of divorce, it is important to seek the help of a caring, goal-driven attorney who will look out for your best interests. Divorce is a complicated issue, but you can get through it by appreciating the simple pleasures the holidays have to offer.

Does a high-asset divorce require the help of financial experts?

In several recent posts, we’ve discussed some of the unique issues facing couples in a high-asset divorce. Although minimizing divorce costs can be a concern for any divorcing couple, it will save time and money to do things right the first time. To avoid mistakes, individuals who are of a high net worth should consult with a law firm that focuses on this boutique aspect of family law.

Our Tampa law firm has helped many clients divide sizable assets in a divorce. We start with an inventory of the marital estate, and then we get to work valuing those assets. We typically consult one or more valuation experts with whom we have established relationships. Such experts can help value special types of assets, such as a spouse’s share of a partnership or other business, or investment-related interests.

It is important for an attorney to work with valuation experts because an attorney can issue spot for commonly overlooked assets in property division. Life insurance is one example. The IRS provides guidance for how to divide this asset in a divorce. Yet couples may overlook it, which is an easy mistake considering that many other types of insurance are not marital property, such as car or home insurance.

An attorney can also provide counsel about assets that should be excluded from the marital estate. For example, property that was owned before the marriage may fall outside the definition of marital property, especially if the couple executed a premarital agreement. However, an exception may apply if the spouse directly or indirectly contributed to the asset’s increase in value. On the other hand, appreciation that resulted from outside influences, such as the market, would generally be considered passive, thus preserving the classification of non-marital property.

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Sparkman Law Firm
313 South Bungalow Park Avenue
Tampa, FL 33609

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Phone: 813-374-2000
Fax: 813-374-2031
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P: 813-374-2000
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313 South Bungalow Park Avenue
Tampa,FL33609
Phone
813-374-2000
Fax
813-374-2031