FISHER'S LAW OFFICE NEWSLETTERS
Welcome to the NEWSLETTER of Fisher's Law Office, providing you with legal information you can use in your everyday life. In this issue, we discuss ways in which people are taken advantage of by their spouses in a divorce. If you have questions about what you read in this newsletter, please call us today.
1. THE HOUSE TRAP - YOU STILL OWE ON THE MORTGAGE AFTER A DIVORCE!
Many people believe that signing a quitclaim deed giving up ownership of the house relieves them of responsibility for the house. This is not true! If your name is still on the mortgage after the divorce, you are responsible for the mortgage payments. The mortgage company or bank will sue you even if you no longer own the property! Therefore, if you must give up the house in a divorce, have your former spouse agree in the dissolution of marriage agreement to refinance the mortgage.
2. THE PENSION RIP OFF - WALKING AWAY FROM EASY MONEY
Many people have pension plans at work that entitle them to hundreds or evens thousands of dollars a month upon retirement. If your spouse has pension plan at work, you may have valuable rights to the pension plan under federal law. Specifically, if you can get the court to issue a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order), the pension plan must give you part of the money when your spouse reaches retirement age. Don't be ripped off by giving up these valuable pension rights.
Don't assume you can always ask for custody later. Many people believe it is easy to go back to court and obtain custody of children. This is generally not true. In order to regain custody of your children after giving them up in a divorce, you must show that something "substantial" has changed that would entitle you to custody. Don't be "ripped off" because you thought you could always go back to court to get custody.
When does adultery matter in getting a divorce? The fact that a spouse has committed adultery is relevant if alimony is requested by either the husband or the wife. (See Florida Statute 61.08). As a practical matter, most courts won't punish a spouse for adulterous behavior unless he has wasted income or the assets of the marriage. Therefore, do not fall into the trap of spending large sums of money on someone else without your spouse's consent. Also, be aware that adultery is a crime under Florida Statute 798.01. The punishment for this crime is 60 days in jail!
5. WATCH OUT FOR THE DAY CARE SCAM!
In a little known change in Florida's child support laws, the Florida legislature changed the child support statute (Chapter 61.30) to require that ¾ of day care cost be added to a child's "basic needs". This can increase child support substantially. Therefore, always monitor the cost of day care by getting receipts. Also, make sure that income, payroll taxes and unemployment taxes are being paid on nannies if you are paying for day care in your home.
6. WATCH OUT FOR THE INCOME TAX RIP OFF
There are several ways that a spouse can rip off another spouse by crafty use of the Internal Revenue Code:
7. BANKRUPTCY/DIVORCE RIP OFFS (HOW BANKRUPT PEOPLE DUMP DEBTS ON UNSUSPECTING SPOUSES AFTER THE DIVORCE.)
Moral to the story: Watch for signs of bankruptcy filings and if in doubt, tell your lawyer about it. There are several easy steps your lawyer can take to immunize you from the bankruptcy rip offs. For example, since child support and alimony are not dischargeable in bankruptcy (this means the debts have to be paid no matter what), ask the judge to give you alimony or child support. Always assume your spouse will breach his agreement to pay bills. Protect yourself.
8. MORE DIVORCE RIP OFFS TO AVOID
9. WHAT TYPES OF JOBS ARE CHILDREN NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE?
People under 18 cannot work in the following jobs: near radioactive materials or explosives, on roof or ladders over six feet tall, around toxic substances, in mines, near electric woodworking or metal forming machines, in meat packing plants, around electric baking equipment, around printing machines, in logging or sawmills, in fire fighting, working on electric devices or wiring, lawn mowers with 40 inch blades, driving a vehicle except farm tractors (under the law, 14 year olds can drive tractors!), in oiling or cleaning any machinery, in repairing elevators or working in freezers, spray painting, alligator wrestling or working in snake pits, door to door sales of magazines (See Florida Statute 450.061).
10. INVESTMENT HINT
Remember the social security trust fund has no money in it. Instead, the fund consists of non-marketable federal bonds. Social Security will be in a deep crisis long before most baby boomers collect a dime.
11. WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS PEOPLE LOOK FOR IN A LAWYER?
We at Fisher's Law Office, P.A., always strive to meet these goals. Service is our business.
12. FLORIDA RULE OF FAMILY LAW PROCEDURE 12.285 MAY NOT BE THE LAW!
Generally, parties have a mandatory requirement to file Financial Affidavits even in simplified divorce cases. However, in the famous case of Varrieur vs. Varrieur, 775 So.2d 361, the Florida Appellate Court ruled that "a party may waive the filing of a Financial Affidavit in a simplified proceeding for divorce under Rule 12.105 by failing to object at trial." The court went on to state that such a waiver will be upheld where there is no showing of prejudice and the record demonstrates competent substantial evidence that supports the final award. Citing Vaccaro v. Vaccaro, 677 So.2d 918 (Fla. 5th DCA, 1996).
In the Varrieur case, neither party had requested a Financial Affidavit or objected to a trial taking place where none was filed. In addition, the distribution of assets was considered fair and under such circumstances, the Appellate Court found that Financial Affidavits could be waived. In another case cited as Salczman v. Joquiel, 776 So.2d 986, (3rd DCA, Jan. 17, 2001).the Florida Appellate Court held that if a court is not called upon to award any permanent financial relief to a party, Financial Affidavits are not required and are irrelevant to the proceeding (see Salczman, page 988).