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Tallahassee Florida Legal Blog

You could face consequences for withholding visitation

At Mang & Santurri, P.A., we are aware that divorced parents can have differences in opinion about how their children are raised. You might not agree with your ex’s methods of discipline or disapprove of how late the children are allowed to stay up on a school night. You might be upset that your ex has not paid child support for a few months. You might even be concerned that your children are complaining they don’t want to visit their other parent. However, you and other Florida residents should understand what might happen if you decide not to allow the other parent to see the children.

A court-ordered custody or visitation arrangement does not always stop some parents from trying to get leverage by not allowing the other parent to see the kids. However, the court maintains that in most cases, both parents should have a relationship with their children. As FindLaw explains, you could be held in contempt of court for withholding visitation.

How much power does a divorce mediator have?

As half of a couple in Florida that's getting ready to split, you may be considering hiring a divorce mediator to help you through the roughest parts of the divorce. Mang & Santurri, P.A., are here to help debunk some common myths about divorce mediation that might help in your decision-making process.

The first myth is: divorce mediators have a lot of control when they step in to help out with your divorce. Some people believe that they have an almost court-like capacity to pass judgment on you and make decisions on your behalf. That simply isn't true.

What are your rights if a seller hides a defect in a house?

For many people, buying a home is the largest purchase they will ever make. The equity that builds up in a home over time can also be the largest investment of someone's adult life. It is only natural to want to make the best possible decisions about these important purchases. Unfortunately, there are many potential pitfalls along the path to home ownership that can end up costing you money.

One relatively common concern, regardless of whether you are buying new construction or an existing home, is the potential for defects in the property. Familiarizing yourself with common defects is a good way to know what to look for when you tour a property and review the seller's disclosure. However, it is possible to buy a home with defects that you discover after the purchase.

The art of shared parenting

If you are in the midst of a divorce in Florida or perhaps have already completed your divorce and you have to now raise your children with your former spouse, you might be wondering how in the world you can do this. There were certainly reasons that you and your partner chose to end your marriage and those often include some inability to work together yet here you are still needing to do just that. 

Today's Parent indicates there are a few things that may help both of you and your children. One idea is to leverage one of the many online tools or apps designed for coparents. They allow you to have one master calendar and schedule with everything from visitation dates to piano recitals and more in one place. You may also post and share photos, notes and more. Some even allow child support payments to be tracked. The inherent recordkeeping in these tools may well avoid disputes down the road.

What is a short sale agreement?

As a Floridian who is handling the affairs of an estate, you're likely going to run into a number of hurdles throughout the process. Smaller hurdles can include running into a lot of unfamiliar terminology. For example, do you know what a short sale or short sale agreement are?

According to FindLaw, a "short sale" is any sale in which your house sells for less than the mortgage debt. This can happen for any number of reasons. If you need to move away immediately, you might not have the time to look for a better offer on the house. In some cases, there may be repairs that cost more than what the house is worth, lowering its overall value. In others, you may be trying to avoid foreclosure.

The importance of mental health as tied to divorce

Divorcing couples in Florida have a lot to deal with. They need to handle things like litigation, financial issues, and keeping the family provided for amidst the chaos of a split. They also need to worry about the mental health of themselves and their family, which can be severely impacted because of a divorce.

Mental Health America has tips and tricks on how to cope with divorce, which can be hugely damaging to a person's mental and emotional well-being. Among the suggestions, one of the most common advocates trying to avoid excessive hostility during the divorce as it progresses. This can be done in a number of ways. Close friends or family members can be confidantes if venting is necessary. In other situations, a paid licensed therapist might be what a couple needs. 

Factors to consider before buying a home

Florida residents buying a house for the first time -- and even those who are seasoned in the world of real estate -- can easily become overwhelmed by the process. Before a future homeowner can hit the ground running with interior decorating and landscaping plans, he or she must first consider a number of factors. As stressful as purchasing a home may be, there are some boxes to check that can make the entire process run more smoothly.

Business Insider is quick to point out in an article on buying real estate that the process is not always easy. The financial magazine first states that future homeowners should buy the home they can afford -- not necessarily the maximum a mortgage company may assume is affordable. Some experts suggest that limiting payments to 30 percent of gross monthly income at most is ideal. With that said, BI also warns readers that a monthly payment goes beyond the mortgage itself; prospective buyers should also take into account homeowner's insurance, utilities, property taxes and other potential fees before making the big leap. 

A look at how a Florida divorce impacts your retirement plans

As you get closer to retirement age, you may actually find yourself feeling quite nervous about leaving your job and embracing your golden years. For those in an unhappy marriage, retirement could sound infinitely worse than working for the rest of their lives. Imagine feeling trapped at home with someone you no longer relate well to or simply don't get along with for the rest of your life. It's common to feel that after so many years, you don't have any other option.

The truth is that it doesn't matter how long you've been married or what age you are. Divorce is always an option for ending an unhappy or unhealthy marriage. In fact, since the 1990s, divorce rates among adults age 50 or higher have basically doubled. Many factors contribute to this increase, including longer life expectancy and decreasing social stigma for divorce. If you're considering a gray divorce, however, you should take a moment to consider the potential impact on your retirement.

Maintaining bonds with your child after a divorce

In Florida, parents who get a divorce will potentially need to make changes to how they interact with their child. Divorce can be a big shake-up in any child's life, and extra effort might be needed to keep a parent-child relationship at the same comfortable level that it had been prior to the divorce.

FindLaw writes about easing the strain of divorce on a child, which can be vital to maintaining parent-child bonds. One of the best things that one can do to ease fears of abandonment and feelings of loneliness is to always put the children first. No matter how bitter a divorce might be, parents should keep in mind that everything said or done during the process can have a lifelong impact on their children. Make sure that the number one priority is reassuring children that they are wanted, needed and loved. Allow them to understand that this will still be true even after the divorce.

Do we have to sell our house when divorcing?

When going through a divorce in Florida, you and your spouse will be presented with what may feel like a seemingly endless number of tough decisions to make. How will we split time with the kids? Who will take the kids on key holidays? What debts do we need to split? Do we need to split a retirement account? Another equally challenging choice to make is what you will do with your family home.

Especially if you have young kids still at home, you might want to maintain the stability in their living situation. Your spouse may say they want to stay in the home with the kids and you want to be nice and make that happen. While there may be a nice aspect to that approach, The Mortgage Reports suggest you proceed with caution. One piece of advice would be to encourage your ex to get a new mortgage in their name only.

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