There are many reasons why individuals get divorced. Some common reasons include infidelity, financial disagreements, or simply growing apart. As you can imagine, these types of circumstances can arise at almost any point during a marriage. For baby boomers, these issues have become increasingly common later in life. This has led to an increase in what is referred to as “gray divorce,” or divorce that occurs between older individuals, especially those over the age of 50. Whatever the reason for a divorce, it is important for individuals going through the Florida divorce process to make sure that they are aware of their rights in a divorce so that they can work effectively with their legal counsel to protect them. A recent article from Fox Business highlights some common mistakes that often occur in later-in-life divorces. While an experienced Florida family law attorney that focuses their practice on Florida divorce can help you avoid common pitfalls, understanding those pitfalls is also important. Below, we discuss some of these common mistakes as well as how to avoid them.
Whenever we provide tips to help you navigate the Florida divorce process, we always try to reinforce the importance of being prepared. Being prepared can make the divorce process quicker, less costly, and easier in just about every aspect. It involves understand the process and planning for the future. One way to begin is by preparing your financial documentation, as it will be necessary at various stages of the process. It will help you understand your financial health and will also make many other processes related to divorce simpler and quicker. By documenting your property as well as the property of your spouse, you will be more prepared to approach negotiating a settlement.
Negotiate Settlements and Custody Arrangements Before Moving Out
It is best to try and negotiate as many of the terms of your divorce as possible before deciding to move out regardless of what age the children are – if children are involved – or what age you and your spouse are. Regardless of the terms you and your spouse are on during the divorce process, your settlement will need to be presented to and approved by a Florida court. In cases in which the divorce is not contested, the chances that your divorce settlement will be approved increase. However, it is still important to discuss the terms of a divorce settlement before making rash decisions such as moving out. Even if being close to your spouse makes you uncomfortable, if it is safe to find a way to stay at home then you should almost always attempt to do so.
If you and your spouse still have children under the age of 18 residing at home and have made the difficult decision to pursue divorce, custody will be an important aspect of the divorce. Often, certain circumstances arise that can make this type of communication difficult. As humans, if we are faced with things such as infidelity, our first reaction might be to avoid that person at all costs. While doing so could make you more comfortable in the moment, it is likely to cause additional difficulty down the road.
Do Not Underestimate the Financial Impact
Many older individuals believe that they are financially secure because they have been steadily employed for a longer period of time than younger individuals. As such, older individuals tend to have higher salaries and more generous benefits. However, the article cites statistics from a study conducted by Allianz Life that indicates that more than six in ten divorced individuals surveyed responded that the divorce process had a negative financial impact on them. In fact, the study indicates that these respondents said divorce actually created a financial crisis.
More than half of the respondents indicated that the loss of the financial contributions of their former spouse created a significant “wake-up call” regarding personal finances. Often times, it can be easy to take for granted the financial contributions of a spouse, especially in marriages where finances were not an issue because they were equally shared or because one spouse undertook a majority of the financial responsibility. Make sure you have a firm understanding of what it will cost to maintain the standard of living you wish to have after your divorce. Making a budget is a helpful way of understanding how much you can afford each month for a mortgage or rent as well as other important financial obligations. Especially for individuals who own their own home or have a fixed rate monthly payment, you may be unpleasantly surprised by how much the cost of living may have increased in your area.
Establish a Team of Professionals
If you fall into the gray divorce category, you likely chose your career many years ago and have spent the time since then gaining experience and knowledge unique to your field. Such is the case when it comes to professionals working with individuals going through divorce. It is important to make sure that you establish and utilize a team of professionals for the divorce process, including making sure you choose an experienced Florida divorce attorney. However, while your Florida divorce attorney can provide important and valuable insights into many aspects of a divorce, his or her focus will always be on the legal aspect of the Florida divorce process.
For instance, it is important for people with complicated finances, and even those with average finances, to consult with a financial planner and/or an accountant to fully understand the financial implications of divorce. They can help you make sure that you remain hyper aware of your financial situation throughout the divorce process and can make informed financial decisions. Equally important for some can be a realtor with experience working with individuals and real estate in your area. Counselors and therapists can help you cope with the emotional stress caused by divorce, and can even help you prepare for emotions you could face once your Florida divorce is finalized. By working with a team of professionals, you can anticipate and face problems with confidence so that you are more likely to emerge from divorce successfully.
Scott J. Stadler has worked with numerous clients to navigate the often complex Florida divorce process. If you have made the difficult decision to pursue divorce, Scott J. Stadler can put that experience to work for you. If you have questions about the Florida divorce process or are ready to begin it, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation. Divorce can be intimidating at any age, but you do not have to face it alone.