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Pensacola Family & Estate Planning Legal Blog

3 tips for smart social media usage amid divorce

As someone currently navigating your way through a Florida divorce, you may be looking for new ways to spend your time and new people with whom to share your life. Often, people facing similar circumstances turn to social media in an effort to build new relationships or connect with old contacts, but this may not be your smartest move.

Increasingly, social media content is coming into play in divorce cases, so it is important to note that virtually anything you post online could potentially come back to bite you. For this reason, you may want to consider refraining from using social media entirely until your divorce becomes final, as doing so may lead to unnecessary stress or hardship down the line. If abstaining from using social media until your divorce finalizes is unrealistic for you, however, consider the following three tips for smart social media usage amid divorce.

Adoptive children in Florida and estate planning

Most individuals who adopt children love and care for them as though they were their biological children. So, when Florida residents who have adopted kids prepare to do some estate planning, they likely would want to ensure their adopted kids are treated fairly by leaving them something after they've died. That's why it is so imperative that these parents have wills. 

Typically, adopted children enjoy the same inheritance rights as birth children, which usually just reinforces what parents want to have happen. It may be wise and an added precaution to include in a last will and testament the particulars of the adoption of any children such as the date and place of the adoption. The more comprehensive a will is, the better last wishes will be followed as long as they adhere to the law.

Including Fido and Fluffy when estate planning

Most people who have pets consider them members of the family. So, where does Fluffy or Fido stand when it comes to Florida residents who are in the midst of estate planning and thinking about their furry family members? Can people set up a trust for their pets to ensure they'll be looked after once they've died? The short answer is, yes, and every state but one has provisions for doing so.

Having a pet trust is perfectly legal. Such a trust sets aside funds to care for pets financially should the owner die or become incapable of looking after his or her pets. Grantors (the ones setting up the trusts) can decide how they would like the trust to operate; in other words, where they would like the money to go and to what pets. Just as in setting up a trust for a person, a trustee will be named.

Shying away from estate planning creates loved ones more grief

Americans shy away from talking about one of life's inevitable events. Death is a surety in life, but no one likes to discuss it and so many Florida residents put off estate planning for as long as possible, while some never take the time to plan at all. That is a mistake since  family members are then left to sort through what might be a messy estate situation.

More than 70 percent of Americans don't have a will that's up to date. A human's lifespan has increased over the last century and that could be one of the reasons people put off planning their estates. They're too busy living in the moment to consider what happens at the end of their lives. But life is unpredictable and it's always better to have something in place just in case, especially if minor children are a part of the picture.

Parental responsibility: Being conscious about co-parenting

Divorce doesn't need to impact children negatively as was the belief held many decades ago. In fact, in terms of Florida parents' parental responsibility to their kids, it may be more of a detriment to their children to stay in an unhappy, angst-filled marriage for the sake of their offspring. Just because a marriage is over doesn't mean a family has to end as well, and when a couple makes a concerted effort to positively co-parent their children, it's a win-win situation. 

A prominent psychotherapist says if children are allowed to feel certain emotions caused by divorce such as anger, sadness, grief and confusion, they will be able to heal more readily. It's up to the adults in their lives -- and that includes any stepparents -- to help them to process their feelings. In fact, the psychotherapist believes that children can learn how to overcome life's hurdles by mirroring how their parents handle divorce. They can learn to problem solve, manage conflict, to be mindful and resilient.

3 money mistakes to avoid when getting a divorce

Whether it is a fierce battle or friendly parting, getting a divorce is always difficult. There are so many personal, legal and financial issues to sort through when you end your marriage. Due to the stress of leaving your spouse, it can be easy to make mistakes or forget about certain tasks.

Money is a major factor in your divorce. The way your negotiations play out may impact your financial stability for years to come. Here are some financial errors to avoid as you divorce. 

Parental responsibility: When does the legal obligation end?

Parents never stop loving their children no matter how old they or their children get. But in terms of parental responsibility, there does come a time when most Florida parents are no longer legally obligated to their children, at least in most instances. Parents do have a legal obligation to provide support for their minor children until they reach 18 years of age.

If a parent's child has disabilities, the parent may be obligated to care for an adult child past the age of majority. Although parents typically aren't on the hook legally to provide for their kids after they reach 18, many still offer support while their child attends college and gets a job to become self-sufficient financially. There is one way, however, that parental obligations could end before the child is 18 and that is through emancipation.

Bird nesting shows heightened parental responsibility

Some parents have decided to have the children stay in the family home after their marriages end. Parental responsibility takes on a new meaning in certain divorce situations in Florida where the children actually stay put and their parents have separate apartments. If it is financially feasible, experts say the children benefit from this sort of situation. The parents are the ones who share the home with the children on a rotating basis and move their things in and out when they leave.

Bird nesting or simply, nesting, as it's known, is a 21st century way of keeping the family unit somewhat intact after parents separate or divorce. It is based on how birds manage their young. Mature birds are the ones who leave the nest and return with what their nestlings need.

Military parents have options when it comes to visitation

Children whose parents are in the military are likely used to change. Yet the one constant military parents want for their children is to be able to offer them their time on a regular basis. When a parent is in the military ironing out a visitation schedule for a noncustodial parent is paramount to ensuring children have positive relationships with both parents.

Getting together on a regular basis with children is not difficult when the military parent is in the same location and, depending upon the situation, can be either structured or unstructured. But when a Florida military parent gets transferred to another state, visitation can get rather complicated. This world is technology-based and so there are chances for virtual visitation such as Skype video calls where children can actually see their parent. The same sort of visitation can be arranged with a parent is deployed overseas.

3 critical steps to take at the onset of a divorce

You and your spouse have been in an unsuccessful marriage. You both have good jobs, both care for your children and their needs, so what happens when one decides to terminate the marriage? Whether the decision is mutual or not, one of you will have to file for divorce to get the process going.

When served with divorce papers, there are some steps you should take immediately to ensure you do what you can from the beginning to further the process and have your voice heard.

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