Naples Family Law Blog

Dealing with parenting long-distance after divorce

While getting a divorce and splitting custody of the children can be difficult for Florida parents, this can be even harder if they live a long distance from one another. The quantity of their time with their children may be less, but parents can focus on making sure the time they do have is high-quality. There are also small things they can do to maintain the bond.

For example, long-distance parents can send children weekly postcards with personal messages on them. They can also use platforms like Instagram, text and email to communicate with their children, and they can phone outside of the planned hours. These are all gestures that let children know that their parents are thinking about them all the time. Asking specific questions that refer back to their activities, such as whether they enjoyed a sleepover or how they did on a test, lets children know their parents are paying attention.

Know how to handle a toxic ex during divorce

The decision to divorce is never one to take lightly. While there are some people who can work toward the legal end of the marriage in a mature manner, others can't. Instead, one party is left dealing with a person who is toxic. This makes an already difficult situation even more challenging.

When you are in this position, you might find that every decision turns into a massive disagreement. The toxic ex is going to do everything they can to make you as miserable as possible. Dealing with this can add more stress to your life.

Asset division can become complicated for Florida LGBT couples

Splitting your possessions is a source of contention in many divorces. Like most other states in the country, Florida family courts use an equitable distribution standard when determining how to split up the possessions of people going through divorce. Typically, equitable distribution involves the allocation of assets acquired during the marriage to both spouses based on factors from the marriage, including each individual's financial contributions, the length of the marriage and the overall value of the marital assets.

For many couples in Florida, this process is relatively straightforward. However, LGBT couples can sometimes have unique considerations that can alter the outcome of asset division in a divorce. Specifically, issues related to the state not recognizing the union prior to a Supreme Court ruling could impact what is fair and reasonable in your case.

Using your role as a father to improve visitation experiences

Even though you and your spouse made the decision to separate and seek a divorce in Florida, you have the unique opportunity to continue to make an impact in the lives of your children through your role as their father. Despite the changes in your personal relationships, you can continue to be the type of parent that encourages your children to live a successful and happy life. At Beverly L. Brennan, we are committed to helping divorced parents to make the most of their new life. 

One of the toughest parts of your divorce may be the process of finalizing a parenting plan. Often, this ongoing effort requires you and your spouse to negotiate terms including logistics, scheduling conflicts, and general parenting responsibilities. Both of you will need to determine who should be responsible for what and what the arrangements will be for holidays and other important events. Once decisions have been made, you should request a clause that will enable the plan to be modified as your children grow and their needs change. 

The gray area of paternity testing

Many fathers in Florida have wondered at some point if they are the father of their children. Faced with pervasive doubts, many may deny the child all together and refuse to offer support of any kind. This can have devastating effects on not just the woman, but far more importantly, the child. These children may grow up fatherless as a result of the disconnect. If they had a relationship with their fathers prior to this, it may leave them with abandonment issues for some time to come.

The Atlantic points out that for years, people relied on social relationships to determine fatherhood. Fathers often became designated as such in a courtroom because they claimed fatherhood, especially in unmarried households. This ultimately became a problem when the man claimed the opposite. For married couples, a husband was almost always designated as the father of his wife’s children, even if her fidelity was in question.

Typical mistakes during a divorce

Couples who are going through a divorce in Florida may be dealing with emotions such as anger, sadness and resentment, and when these affect how a spouse deals with the divorce proceedings, this can lead to negative outcomes. There are many decisions to make during a divorce, and whether it is due to emotions, to save money or to avoid making hard choices, there are common mistakes couples make during a divorce.

According to Forbes, some of the biggest mistakes a couple makes relate to finances. One is not making a new financial plan currently and for the future. It is a good idea to speak with a financial professional about how to make smart decisions now so once the dust settles after the divorce, it is easy to make a fresh start. Either or both spouses may fight hard to keep the house without considering what that means. Paying for a mortgage, insurance, upkeep and repairs with only one salary can be financially draining. Some couples may consider taking money out of their retirement accounts early to help pay for bills now, but this is a terrible idea when considering the tax implications, and it may be difficult to replace that money.

Build a strategy to end juvenile dependency in Florida

Children are uniquely vulnerable to abuse and neglect because they cannot advocate for themselves and may not understand when they experience mistreatment or abuse. To protect vulnerable citizens, Florida has laws in place that allow the state to limit or even terminate the parental rights of individuals who do not adequately care for their children.

If your family has found itself tied up in a juvenile dependency case, regaining your parental rights and bringing your children home are probably your primary focus. To succeed in this goal, you need to carefully consider your options and develop a strategy to help you navigate the courts and demonstrate your parenting abilities.

Emotional abuse and divorce

When someone is the victim of physical abuse in Florida, there are easy-to-identify signs, such as bruises or broken bones. However, emotional abuse is harder to identify, both by the victim and by others, which can make it difficult to prove in cases of divorce. Knowing the signs to look for, and working with an expert in the area, can help.

According to PsychCentral, emotional or psychological abuse happens when the abuser tries to control or manipulate the other partner which, in turn, leads to low self-esteem, a feeling of hopelessness and self-blaming. One type of abuse is gaslighting, and this occurs when the abuser provides inaccurate information in order to confuse the victim. Other signs of emotional abuse include:

  • Criticism and put-downs
  • Sarcasm or mean jokes towards victim
  • Using money, sex or affection to control
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Needing to know where victim is at all times
  • Ignoring and refusing to communicate

How to handle a Florida divorce when you're pregnant

For some couples struggling to maintain their relationship, children can be an inspiration that helps them preserve their marital union. For others, the discovery of impending parenthood may instead be motivation to end the relationship.

If you are currently pregnant and know that you will need to seek a divorce in Florida, there will be special considerations for you throughout the process. Familiarizing yourself with how Florida approaches divorce during pregnancy can help you make more informed decisions about the end of your marriage.

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Beverly L . Brennan A PARTNER AT MCLAUGHLIN & STERN, LLP - NAPLES, FLORIDA ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

Beverly L. Brennan, P.A.
5150 Tamiami Trail North
Suite 602
Naples, FL 34103

Toll Free: 877-482-5176
Phone: 239-963-8895
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