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Hernando County Law Blog

Relocating with your kids after your divorce

After your divorce, the things and places that you see in Hernando County may only serve to remind you of a previous chapter of your life that you now would like to move past. You may find that the best way to help you progress into the next stage of your life is to relocate. That becomes more difficult, however, if you and your ex-spouse share children together. Many have come to us here at Day Law in your same situation. Like them, you may be pleased to learn that the law does allow you to relocate (with your children) following your divorce. 

Understand, however, that certain procedures must be followed. The first (and best) step to take is to contact your ex-spouse and try to come up with an amiable agreement on your own. If you cannot, the Section 61.13001(3) of the Florida state statutes says that you must file a petition to relocate. Such a petition should include: 

  • Where you plan to move to (including your new address and telephone number, if you already have them)
  • When you plan to move 
  • Why you want to move (if it is for a new career opportunity, a copy of your new job offer should be attached)
  • A proposal for a new custody or visitation schedule that will your ex-spouse the same amount of time he or she currently has with the kids

"American Chopper" star working his way through Chapter 13

A common misconception that many in Hernando County may have regarding personal bankruptcy is that those facing it cannot hide their financial struggles, making it surprising to no one when news surfaces that they are seeking such protection. Yet were one to peel back the proverbial curtain on the personal financial situation of those in his or her own town or neighborhood, he or she might be shocked to see two things: how many people are actually struggling with debt and how good they are at hiding it. 

One might certainly consider a person who headlines their own reality TV show to be swimming in extra cash. Yet the financial struggles of Paul Teutel, one of the stars of "American Choppers" dispels that assumption. One may not guess it, given that his representative remains committed to hyping the show's upcoming season. Undoubtedly the revenue Teutel might bring in from the show will help him sort out some of the mess he currently finds himself in. 

Verifying death in Florida

While many in Hernando County may view the probate process as being extremely complex, there is likely one aspect of it that most would likely agree is fairly straightforward: For it to begin, one has to be dead. The idea of proving that someone is indeed dead may seem odd to some, but when dealing with the potential dispersal of an estate, it is a necessary step. 

Per Florida's Probate Code, to validate a claim of death, one of the following steps must be completed: 

  • An authenticated copy of the decedent's death certificate must presented
  • A copy of government records or reports must be presented showing that one is alive, missing, detained or presumed dead
  • Evidence must be shown that a person has been missing from his or her las known domicile for a continuous period of at least five years

What you should know about filing for bankruptcy in Florida

Following the financial crisis, bankruptcy filings rose, and many people turned to bankruptcy for a fresh financial start. Contrary to popular belief that bankruptcy will ruin your financial future, the truth is that in many cases, filing for bankruptcy is the best thing you can do to start improving your finances.

If you are struggling with crippling debt in Florida and fear that there is no way out, do not despair; you do have options. Here are a few tips about filing for bankruptcy in Florida that can help you better understand how bankruptcy works and how to proceed.

How to alter your will after a divorce

Divorce is a tumultuous time. In addition to having to determine child custody and property division, you also need to change your living trust and will. As soon as the divorce is final, you want to get to work making sure these documents contain essential updates.

Both you and your spouse should have created wills after marrying. Chances are good you both left most of your property and assets to your spouse in these documents. However, now that the marriage is over, you probably do not want your ex receiving everything in the event of your death. Here are actions you need to take. 

My ex has stopped paying child support owed—what can I do?

If your ex-spouse is skipping child support payments and leaving you in need, Florida courts offer legal recourse to help recover what is owed. Depending on the reason for non-payment, there are a range of penalties that may be leveled, including fines, jail time and more.

FindLaw explains that, if a parent has lost a job or has experienced other financial difficulties, he or she can seek a modification of the support order to reduce the payment amount. Any back child support owed you will not be affected, however, only future payments. If non-payment of support is willful, the parent may be judged to be in contempt of court, a serious offense that could result in a jail sentence. In addition, failure to pay may result in liens on the parent’s property, which will negatively affect his or her credit report. Penalties include measures such as:

  • Fines and jail time
  • Seizure of income tax refund
  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Suspension of driver’s license or vehicle registration

Important estate planning steps for new parents

If you are among the many new parents across Florida, you may find that sleeping schedules, feeding schedules and exhaustion now dominate your day-to-day life. Given all you have going on, it can be easy to let something like estate planning fall to the wayside, but once you become a parent, it becomes even more important that you have your ducks in a row with regard to future plans. At the Day Law Office, we understand the unique estate planning needs faced by new parents, and we have helped many clients in similar positions begin to formulate plans for the future.

Per Nerdwallet, making a comprehensive estate plan early on can save your loved ones considerable time and expense down the line. Doing so can also prevent unnecessary hardship and potential litigation that can arise if you die intestate, or without a will or proper plans in place. So, what kinds of estate planning steps are increasingly essential for new parents?

Divorce and mental health

For Floridians going through divorce, it can be difficult to spot the light at the end of a tunnel. It may take months -- and even years -- to notice that the closing of one door has resulted in the opening of many others. Regardless of the stage, divorce can have a number of different effects on family members. If children are in the picture, they can become the sole focus; while caring for each family member is important, maintaining self-care and preserving mental health should be a priority for everyone involved. 

Keeping a close eye on every family member after a separation can, needless to say, become exhausting. As explained in an article from Psychology Today, emotions can seem all the more raw in the weeks and months that follow a divorce; as a result, it is all the more important that ex-spouses address feelings directly. By communicating about the stressors of the process, families can take a reflective approach to understanding complex feelings. 

Explaining the bankruptcy homestead exemption

The decision to file for personal bankruptcy in Hernando County is never an easy one. Depending on your circumstances, you could be forced to liquidate certain assets in order to repay your creditors. Almost all of those who come to us here at Day Law preparing to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy share the same question: Will I get to keep my home? If you are contemplating bankruptcy yourself, you can understand their concern. Fortunately, state law does allow you to exempt certain assets from your bankruptcy case. 

The most common of these is the homestead exemption. This allows you to exempt the equity you have in your home. Say, for example, that your home is valued at $425,000, and you still owe $350,000 on your mortgage. As long as the state homestead exemption is greater than that $75,000 that you carry in equity, your home is protected. If it were less than that, then the bankruptcy trustee can sell your home to pay off debts. He or she would then have to pay you whatever amount in equity you have above the exemption. If the state's homestead exemption was $50,000, then you would be entitled to $25,000 from the sale. 

Recognizing and avoiding top bankruptcy mistakes

Filing for personal bankruptcy can offer Florida residents a way to tackle overwhelming financial difficulties. However, many people end up making mistakes that can complicate the process and prevent them from getting the relief they could have received.

If you read this and realize you may have committed one of these errors, do not assume all is lost. Depending on the situation, an experienced bankruptcy attorney may be able to come up with effective solutions to help you get your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing back on track.

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