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Tampa Family Law Blog

Several factors can indicate greater likelihood of divorce

There are a number of factors that can indicate whether a Florida couple is headed for divorce. Every couple is deals with their own situations, so statistical indications may have little value for any individual marriage. However, these risk factors can help highlight situations that may lead to the end of a marriage.

One of the factors that can indicate a higher divorce rate is the ages of the spouses when the marriage begins. Couples who marry as teens or in their mid-thirties or later have a higher divorce rate.

How will the BRS affect military divorces?

When Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2016, part of the legislation included provisions to update the retirement plans service members receive.

While some members may be able to keep their current retirement system, other members may choose to opt in to the new Blended Retirement System (BRS). This plan will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Certain factors may help push couples toward divorce

Couples in Florida and across the United States may wonder if there are certain factors that make them more likely to decide to end their marriages. Celebrity divorces may make headlines, but 22 percent of couples overall see some sort of disruption of their marriage within the first five years.

Within 20 years of marriage, over half of partnerships have been disrupted in some way; these statistics could apply to separation, divorce or widowhood. However, most couples experience marital strain and external pressures on their relationship, whether due to work, family or other life concerns. The ways in which couples deal with problems can make a major difference in whether they choose to end their marriage or are able to reconcile.

Situations that might result in a divorce

The decision to get a divorce may be a difficult one for some people in Florida. While it may appear to outsiders that a line has been crossed in a marriage, it may be more difficult for a person in that marriage to make the determination to end it. However, there are circumstances in which a person might decide divorce is necessary, and in fact, their only option.

A person may decide it is no longer possible to stay married to a partner who has a serious problem with addiction. For example, if the spouse is an alcoholic, this may become impossible to live with after he or she is arrested several times for driving under the influence, or when their use of alcohol makes them abusive. Each time, the spouse might promise to go to treatment and may do so several times. However, the change in behavior might only last a few months each time.

Are you a birth mother opting for an independent adoption?

A woman who is considering adoption for her unborn baby may have no idea how to begin the search for suitable parents. Working with an adoption agency is one way to approach the dilemma, but there are other options.

If you find yourself in this position, you might consider what is called independent adoption. With this process, many birth mothers feel they have more involvement and more choice as to who the baby's adoptive parents will be.

Study looks at demographics of wage garnishment

A study released Sept. 27 from the ADP Research Institute suggests that more men than women in Florida may be facing a wage garnishment. The study found that more than 70 percent of people whose wages were garnished nationwide were men, and most of those garnishments were for nonpayment of child support.

More detailed demographic breakdowns revealed that workers in the South and the Midwest were more likely to have their wages garnished than employees in other parts of the country. Among male workers in the Midwest who work in large manufacturing jobs and who are aged 35 to 55, about 26 percent have their wages garnished. People who are employed by smaller companies are more likely to owe child support.

Studies look at factors that affect divorce rates

People in Florida may be more likely to divorce if they married in their late teens, early twenties or after the age of 32. They may also be more prone to divorcing if they did not finish college or if they spent more than $20,000 on their wedding. These are among the findings of a number of nationwide studies that looked at factors in divorce.

Another factor was alcohol consumption. If couples drink roughly the same amount or if they both do not drink at all, they are more likely to stay married than couples with differing consumption amounts. Attractive couples are more likely to get a divorce. People whose biological parents are divorced have a higher chance of divorce, and this was found to be true even for people who are adopted. Second, third and later marriages are also more vulnerable to divorce than first marriages.

Tips to avoid financial mistakes during divorce

When Florida couples get a divorce, one party may pay alimony and child support to the other. They also need to divide property. However, there are a number of common financial mistakes people make at this time. For example, a recipient of alimony and child support might want to consider getting an insurance policy on the ex-spouse. This will provide protection against the loss of that income in the event of the payer's death.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when calculating the value of a 401(k) against an asset such as a checking account, the 401(k) incurs a tax penalty for withdrawals. This should be considered when deciding how these assets will be divided. People should also be aware that they will need a document known as a qualified domestic relations order to divide a 401(k) without a penalty. The money that is distributed from it must then be rolled over into an individual retirement account.

Same-sex couples and adoption

Florida same-sex couples who have children may want to consider second-parent adoption. This is a way of ensuring that a child who is biologically related to one but not both parents will legally be considered the child of both parents. According to the Supreme Court, every state must recognize second-parent adoptions from any other state, so this process will protect the parent-child relationship anywhere in the country.

Despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that granted marriage rights to same-sex couples, there is not yet a consistent law in place regarding parents and children. As a result, if the biological parent dies or if same-sex parents divorce, the non-biological parent may not have any legal claim to custody.

Millennials are wise to think about estate planning

If you are in your 20s or 30s, you may not give much thought to estate planning. For one thing, you may think your assets are not sufficient to make up the framework of an "estate." For another, old age -- even middle age -- probably seems like forever into the future, so there is plenty of time to consider planning for your retirement years.

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