Tag: money

Tending to Money Issues Immediately, part 2


Below are a few steps to follow to help protect your finances during your separation and divorce:

  • Copy documentation about all of your assets – any investments, retirement plans, bonds, mutual funds, savings or money market accounts, etc.
  • Make copies of all financial documents that show your true debts, assets, and expenses (including household and credit card bills, bank records, expenses for the children)
  • Obtain a current credit report to make sure you know of all your liabilities.
  • Sit down and really figure out what you are worth.  Determine the worth of everything you own – household furnishings, real estate, cars, everything.
  • Start keeping track of all debts incurred and money paid to each other after the date of separation.  This includes money spent on joint bills, improvements to the home, moving expenses, children, insurance premiums – everything that could pertain to the two of you.
  • After learning your rights by consulting with us and determining what you have in assets as well as your expenses and income, try to sit down with your spouse to see if you can work out something that is equitable.  Do not do this before you have all of your documentation, however because you cannot negotiate without the facts.  Do not agree to anything or sign anything without consulting your attorney.
  • If you decide to pay for items for your spouse after you have separated, it is very important that a start date and a stop date are delineated.  The particulars of any financial arrangement between the two of you should be put in writing so that there is no misunderstanding. Also, if you put this in writing, these payments may be tax deductible, although they will be considered taxable income to the spouse receiving support.


Tending to Money Issues Immediately, part 1


Once a separation seems inevitable you must turn your attention to money issues as quickly as possible.  If you wait, you may fall victim of a variety to different problems.  You may find that you are responsible for credit card debt that was incurred after you moved out, or that one of your joint accounts has been wiped clean of all its assets, or that the home equity account that was there in case of emergencies now has a loan against it for $20,000.00.  Do not be afraid to separate your accounts immediately.  If you should end up getting back together, you can always comingle these accounts again.

Make sure all joint accounts are closed or divided when you separate.  Before doing so, set up an account in your name, and make sure that you qualify for credit since your individual credit rating can be affected if you close out an account.  Do not freeze accounts.  One or both of you may need access to the funds for any number of reasons.  With your attorney’s approval, split the money from joint accounts equally.


Coming up next:  Steps to take to secure your financial stability and independence.

What Happens Next? Step 3

When an uncontested matter becomes contested an additional retainer is required and the process called “discovery” begins.  The Florida Rules governing these matters requires a lengthy list of financial documents to be provided by both sides.  The law generally gives each side 30 or 45 days to provide these documents.  It is common for people to require more time in gathering these documents.  Sometimes people refuse to provide them so they try to ignore the request.

Discovery can involve subpoenas, requests to produce various documents and evidence and depositions.  All of these things can take a few months to complete.  If people have a pretty simple financial picture, discovery is generally completed within two months and we are ready to go to mediation.

Both depositions and mediations are explained in our next blog, coming soon!

Divorce Overview, part 4



 Another factor that comes into play is alimony.  Many of those who, at the time of marriage, did not want their spouse to work outside the home find themselves believing it to be unfair that they may have to pay spousal support (alimony).  After all, if they are no longer married, why should one person still be obligated to provide support to the other?  On the other hand, the spouse whose marital contribution including staying at home, and perhaps, raising children, may have given up secondary education or the ability to pursue an income-producing career by doing so.  Should this spouse have the benefit of financial assistance after the marriage?  If so, should it be long-term or short-term?

The courts, by and large, recognize these issues and the case law regarding alimony describes various options, including permanent periodic, durational, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap alimony.  Permanent periodic alimony may be awarded after a long-term marriage, and requires the income-producing spouse to pay the other alimony until one of them dies or the recipient spouse remarries.  Rehabilitative alimony is paid for a specific period of time and provides the recipient spouse with money while obtaining education or specialized training in order to get on a career track and be self-supporting.  Bridge-the-gap was the new kid on the alimony block until recently when Florida law created Durational alimony.  Bridge-the-gap alimony is paid for a very short period of time in an effort to assist the receiving spouse in getting over the financial burden that often occurs when transitioning from being married to being single.  Durational alimony can be paid for as long as the marriage lasted.  In awarding alimony, the Court must be able to justify its decisions or face the possibility of an appeal, which may overturn a decision.