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What are the benefits of an open adoption?

Going through the adoption process is an exciting and sometimes stressful time. You are working to fill out all the paperwork and get your home prepared for a child. You are also making decisions about how you will raise your future child.

When you adopt, one of the big questions is whether you will keep in contact with the birth mother or birth parents. Remaining in contact with the birth parents is called open adoption. About 60 to 70 percent of adoptions occurring in the U.S. are now open.

Tax reform law could affect divorce negotiations

When Florida couples are considering a divorce, they may not realize that federal tax law changes could also impact the end of their marriage. At the end of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, best-known for its provisions on corporate and individual tax rates. However, there are also several provisions of the law that will affect how people deal with taxes during and after a divorce, especially after clauses related to alimony and spousal support go into effect at the beginning of 2019.

Over the years, spousal support has been handled in a divorce in a way that tends to benefit both parties. The payer, who is generally the higher earner, can deduct alimony payments from his or her taxable income, providing a significant benefit for generous spousal support when tax time rolls around. At the same time, the recipient pays taxes on the income in his or her lower tax bracket. The recipient could also dedicate alimony funds to retirement accounts with special tax status, like IRAs. This procedure will remain the same for those who complete their divorces or even separation agreements before the end of 2018.

Some jobs might make divorce more likely

For Florida couples, the likelihood of divorce may be dependent, to an extent, on where they work. Research indicates that people who work with many others of the opposite sex might be more likely to divorce. A 2015 study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal found that men who lived in communities that were dominated by women were more likely to have shorter relationships.

In another effort, Stockholm University researchers reviewed data from Statistics Denmark, looking for links between who people work with and divorce. Statistics Denmark is a government agency that collects demographic data. It was established in 1945 and has information about people born in Denmark since then. The researchers filtered the data for men and women who married someone of the opposite sex from 1981 to 2002, who had a job during that time and who got divorced. They ended up with a sample of 113,252 women and 102,453 men.

Maintaining good health after a divorce for older adults

Some people in Florida may have heard the term "grey divorce" to refer to the growing phenomenon of people 50 and older ending their relationships. Researchers say that people are living longer and placing higher expectations on their marriage. With women no longer as economically dependent on their husbands as in the past, more older people may be seeking a divorce, but there can be drawbacks.

The chronic stress that often accompanies a divorce can lead to anxiety, insomnia, depression, overeating and alcohol abuse. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and Parkinson's disease can all be worsened by stress. Stress can also lead to isolation, and older adults may not feel like leaving the house. Men are particularly vulnerable to losing social ties that were maintained by their wives. Women, who may have been paid less and left a career to care for children, are more likely to face financial challenges after a divorce. This can include struggling to afford necessities such as food and medicine.

Pitfalls for older adults to avoid when divorcing

Divorce for couples in Florida and throughout the country who are 50 and older is a growing reality. The divorce rate in this age group is twice as high as it was in 1990, and it is three times as high for people who are older than 64. While experts have theorized that retiring from fulfilling work or the empty nest syndrome could be to blame, studies show that simply being dissatisfied with the marriage is the main reason for these late-life divorces.

Several other factors also predict the risk of divorce ranging from whether the marriage is of short duration to whether it is a second marriage. Both of those elements increase the divorce risk as does having divorced parents. The risk for women in the latter situation is 60 percent higher and for men 35 percent.

Effective ways to parent a child when a marriage ends

Florida parents may not want to work together to raise their children after their marriage comes to an end. However, it is important that they do so for the sake of their children. It can be easier to work with another person when there is an agreement in writing to do so. The parenting plan can be tailored to avoid conflict while still working to meet the needs of a son or daughter.

The agreement should clearly state when the child will be with either parent. It should also state when and where a child will be picked up and dropped off during an exchange. Finally, it is a good idea to have a process in place by which the plan can be changed as necessary. Those who are having a hard time dealing with the end of a relationship may want to create a support network comprised of friends and therapists.

Should I work with an attorney on my adoption?

Choosing to place a child for adoption is not easy, no matter what the reasons are or if you truly feel it is the best decision for the baby and for yourself. It is an emotional process going through a pregnancy, birth and giving consent to an adoption.

Beyond all the emotions expecting mothers are untangling, adoption is a legal process that can be complicated. The final arrangement should protect you, the adoptive family and the baby. While many women considering putting their baby up for adoption may want to go with a more relaxed process, having legal representation can be beneficial.   

Preparing for a hearing on child custody or time-sharing

When parents in Florida know that they have an upcoming child custody hearing, they may be confused about what is to come or even intimidated by the formality of the process. When going into a child custody proceeding, it is important for a parent to be as well-prepared as possible. By understanding how the process works, parents can help gather the information that they need in order to present their arguments effectively in court.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a parent's readiness to address child custody in court, from his or her appearance to the witnesses he or she brings. While clothing does not reflect fitness as a parent or love for a child, when parents dress in business-appropriate clothing for a hearing, it indicates respect for the process. In addition, parents should be ready to make their case for their ability to care for their children. For example, they should be able to show that they have appropriate living space for the children or that childcare plans are in place while the parents are at work. Parents can also bring experienced witnesses like teachers or babysitters to speak about what they have seen of the parent-child relationship.

LGBT couples could face increased adoption discrimination

Potential LGBT parents in Florida and across the country may be concerned about Congressional moves to hinder their ability to adopt. Across the country, around 114,000 of the 700,000 same-sex couples that share a home have children. While most gay parents are raising biological children, over 20 percent have adopted. In comparison, only 3 percent of opposite-sex couples are raising adopted children. Furthermore, nearly 3 percent of gay families are foster parents while only 0.4 percent of straight families are.

This reflects not only the necessity of adoption for gay couples to grow their families but also a real appreciation for the power of love and choosing one's families. According to abundant research, the biological and adopted children of LGBT parents fare equally well, and in some cases better, as those of straight parents. Nevertheless, over the years, gay families have faced obstacles in adoption that have come down in the past decade as more laws protect same-sex couples' right to adopt and foster kids.

Can’t agree? A Florida judge will develop your parenting plan

You and your spouse make the difficult decision to divorce. Yet your divorce will involve more than splitting property, assets and retirement funds – You have to split custody of your children.

In deciding custody, Florida court asks you to develop a parenting plan for visitation between you and your children. Unfortunately, the parenting plan proves impossible to agree upon with your spouse, and it seems you argue about even minuscule elements. In your situation, a judge will likely take a role in developing the plan for you, and he or she will determine the best interest of your children and their custody situation.

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