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Sarasota Family Law Blog

With adoption, carefully consider exactly what you want

If you're thinking about adoption, take the time to slow the process down and really consider what you want, why you want it and what you expect out of the process.

For instance, maybe you struggle with fertility and you really want to be a parent. You see adoption as a way to make that dream come true.

Financial documents you need for your divorce

Divorce means making emotional, relationship-based decisions, but don't think that's all it is. Arguably a bigger part of the process is making financial decisions. You have to divide assets, make decisions about things like child support and alimony, anticipate what your financial future will look like, create a new budget and much more.

With the financial side of this being so important, one key is to get as much documentation as you possibly can to help you through the process. Examples of documents that you need include:

  • Bank statements for the last year for both your checking and savings accounts
  • Any recent pay stubs for you or your spouse
  • Credit card statements running back over the last year
  • Income tax returns for all of the years that you can find, but at least for the last three years
  • Statements for your investment accounts over the last 12 months
  • Any paperwork relating to your retirement accounts, including totals and contributions
  • Statements for all other loans that you may have, such as car loans, mortgage loans and personal loans

Why do those without a college education get divorced more?

Some studies have found a pretty clear link between divorce and college education. The more education you have, the more likely you are to stay married.

For instance, one study looked at women without a college education and discovered that only 40% of them would stay married for two decades. The majority would get divorced. On the other side of the equation, 78% of the women who did have a college education would make it to that 20-year mark and still be married. While their education did not make them immune to divorce, it certainly changed the odds.

Can your ex deny visitation or a custody exchange?

The court order from your divorce says that you and your ex must split custody of the kids. When you arrive to pick them up one day, however, your ex refuses to let you take them. Is this legal?

Generally speaking, it is not legal. Your ex is bound by that court order and must respect your rights as a parent. They cannot deny your visitation rights or custody rights.

Is divorce a chance to become who you used to be?

When you got married, maybe you thought that the two of you could work together to blend your lives. Over the course of the marriage, though, you felt like you had to give up more and more. Eventually, most of the things you loved to do fell by the wayside.

If you find yourself facing divorce, and you're trying to find a positive outlook -- we know it can feel tough at times -- this is one thing that divorce experts suggest you keep in mind. Think of the split as a chance to become who you used to be once again.

What happens to home equity when you divorce?

When you and your spouse make the difficult decision to divorce, you will undoubtedly need to figure out how to divide up your shared assets. Often, the most valuable asset a married couple shares is a home. Thus, figuring out what you and your ex are going to do with any equity amassed in your home throughout the marriage is an important step in the process of asset division. You can use several different tactics to divide any home equity you may have.

While there may be alternative methods for dividing home equity in addition to those outlined below, most people facing similar circumstances choose to split their home equity using one of three popular methods.

What will happen to your standard of living after divorce?

You know that your standard of living is going to change after you get divorced. It's a big financial change, and that's not just in terms of what you have to spend during the divorce itself. Your income and expenses are going to change permanently after you split up. What is that going to look like on a daily basis? How is your standard of living going to change?

It depends, to a large degree, on your gender. Studies have found that the average standard of living actually increases for men, going up by about 10%. For women, though, the impact is much more drastic and it heads in the opposite direction. They see their standard of living fall by 27%.

1 out of 3 kids lives with an unmarried parent

If you are not an unmarried parent yourself, odds are very good that you know someone who is. A lot of children live with one or more unmarried parents. In some cases, this is because the children were born outside of a serious relationship; in others, it just means that the parents live together and are in a committed relationship, but they have not decided to get officially married.

Regardless of the reason -- and those are just two examples -- what is clear is that it's very common. About one out of every three kids in the United States is in this position -- or a third of the entire minor population. That data comes from the highly-respected Pew Research Center.

Can you modify divorce decisions?

When you get divorced, the court helps you make several critical decisions, leading to your divorce agreement. These decisions could include things like a child custody schedule, child support payments, alimony payments and the like.

But what if things change after the divorce? Maybe those decisions made plenty of sense at the time, but they just do not now. Can you have the court order altered to better fit your life?

How to help kids do well in school during a divorce

Divorce is distracting for children, and it can be emotionally difficult. This pulls their attention away from their studies, and that's one reason that they tend to do a bit worse in school when their parents split up. Other children with more stable homes live simply, have fewer things to think about, and can focus on school more of the time.

This does not mean you can't get divorced while your child is in school. Long term, you and your children may be happier and healthier after the split, especially in cases of emotional or physical abuse.

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