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Saint Lucie County Legal Issues Blog

Actor ordered to pay ex-wife $1.7 million for divorce settlement

There are many compulsive circumstances under which an agreed upon child support arrangement may need modification. Depending on the child's needs or change in financial situations owing to loss of a job, suffering a disease or serious injury or dip in household earning, the payer of child support has rights to appeal for modification.

In a recent case, a family court took into consideration an actor's reduced income and decided to cut down his spousal and child support payments to his ex-wife. The court also took cognizance of his ex-wife not trying to look for work and finding a source of earning. Under the new arrangement, the actor has to pay $3,174 per month in child support and $2,100 per month in spousal support. He will also pay for their daughter's school fee at around $2,000 per month. During the negotiations, the actor made a case that his monthly income dropped since 2011, the year the famous television comedy series he was working with came to an end.

Robert De Niro's estranged wife claims half of his $500M fortune

Two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro's divorce fight is becoming increasingly complicated as his estranged wife Grace Hightower wants half of his fortune, which she alleges is around $500 million. According to sources, the separated couple is battling over the wordings of a prenuptial agreement they signed when they married for the second time in 2004. The couple was first married in 1997 but split in 1999.

As per the conditions of the prenuptial agreement, Grace is entitled to a $6 million apartment, $500,000 cash, $1 million a year in alimony and half the value of their second apartment. However, Grace is arguing for half of De Niro's earnings since 2004 when the couple remarried.

Parental timesharing plan law in Florida

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, the Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan will now be amalgamated into administrative orders for paternity and child support. The primary consideration of the standard parenting plan is to foster regular contact between parents and their children and to develop a close and enduring relationship between them after a separation or divorce. The state presents the standard parenting time plan as a choice to parents and does not endorse any plan over another.

Whether parents agree to this plan or to another, it must be signed by both the parties in order to be incorporated into the administrative order. A parenting time plan will not be incorporated into the support order if the parties do not agree to any timesharing schedule at the time the administrative order is established. In such cases, the DOR will refer the parties to the court to establish a plan with a note stating that an administrative support order has been put in place. The DOR cannot enforce a new plan or modify an existing one after a parenting time plan is incorporated and included in the support order. Any modifications to the plan can only be sought through a court.

Baseball player receives modified child support payment

A question often raised by non-custodial parents is whether they can modify child support. As long as there is a significant change in circumstances, Florida law allows the payment amount to be modified any time. However, this does not happen automatically and the non-custodial parent will have to file a formal motion with details of specific circumstances underlying the request in the court seeking a review and revision of child support.

In a recent child support dispute case, a famous baseball player could be able to convince the court to reduce his child support payments to an ex-mistress. Under the modified court order, he now only has to pay $14,000 a month in child support, instead of the $20,000 a month that was originally ordered in the last judgment. He contested the earlier child support order citing it was grossly inflated and created a windfall for the mother.

Single people need estate plans, too

Many single Florida residents wrongly conclude that since they have no dependents, they don't need to create a comprehensive estate plan. While it is true that the estate plan they need to create will be different from that of an individual who is married with children, the need still exists.

Many people don't realize how drafting an estate plan can benefit them in life as well as posthumously. Read on to learn why you need to develop an estate plan — and what you need to include.

Music producer sues ex for full custody of minor daughter

After the breakdown of a marriage, parents must agree on the arrangements for their children. They will need to determine which parent will get custody of the child and who will have visitation rights. However, such arrangements don't always work as expected. Many times, custodial interference arises due to a violation of the parenting plan or court order by a parent.

Recently, a music producer filed papers in court asking for full custody of his child as well as child support. After a long court battle that ended just a year ago, the couple had agreed on joint physical custody of the child, with the mother having primary custody. However, the music producer has now changed his mind regarding custody of the child.

How is property divided after a divorce in Florida?

Money and property are believed to be two of the main causes of divorce. If the couple cannot reach an agreement as to how their property and debts will be divided, the court will step in.

Most states follow equitable distribution when dividing marital property in a divorce. Unlike community property states where marital property is divided fairly equally, when deciding equitable distribution, the court considers what would be the fairest to both parties. Florida is a common law property state and follows the laws of equitable distribution.

Singer avoids jail by paying in arrears child support

Non-custodial parents are obligatory by law to pay child support so that the parent with primary custody does not have to struggle for maintaining the children's standard of living. In case of someone's failure to pay court-ordered child support, the state and federal laws mandate strict enforcement procedures. A non-custodial parent's failure to keep up payment can subject them to stiff penalties and even jail time.

Recently, a singer-songwriter managed to avoid jail by making a payment of $62,499 to his ex-wife for back child support. He also placed a check in advance for future child support for next three months in an escrow account. However, this is not the first time the singer failed to make the required payments. Couple of months back, he was arrested on suspicion of failure to pay child support and released from custody after the payment was made by a supporter on his behalf.

Grandparents get custody of Florida boy

When parents get divorced, the order will specify in detail who the children will live with and when the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights. In most cases, parents discuss and set up these arrangements between themselves, either voluntarily or with the assistance of their attorneys or a mediator.

When they're unable to reach an outcome, the court may step in and make a decision based on the child's best interests. However, many parents may not know that their child custody rights can be revoked by a court if they cannot properly care for their child.

Communication technology and co-parenting

In divorce cases, residents of Florida may know that child custody issues often arise. The parents may settle this issue through negotiation; however, if they can't reach an agreement, the court will make the decision. Whoever decides, child custody decisions must always be in the best interests of the child.

Once the parents have settled the custody issues, the next challenge the parents face may be how they will raise their child. Guidebooks and parenting programs may help them co-parent. These learning materials contain techniques and ideas about effective communication that may help non-custodial parents maintain a healthy relationship with their children.