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Hillsborough County Family Law Blog

High fees often result from splitting a 401(k) in divorce

Expenses can easily pile up for people in Florida seeking a divorce. In addition to legal fees, a couple that needs to split the assets within a 401(k) retirement plan must first obtain a qualified domestic relations order. After paying a lawyer to prepare the QDRO document, the firm managing the retirement account typically adds another $300 to $1,800 in charges to process the transaction.

A lawyer familiar with lawsuits against investment companies that charge excessive service fees said the tactic is meant to increase profits for administrators. Another lawyer who frequently prepares QDRO paperwork described the high fees from retirement plan administrators as a "cash printing machine."

Rapper T.I. and reality star Tiny heading for divorce

Florida celebrity watchers may be interested to learn that reality star Tiny filed for divorce from her rapper husband T.I. She allegedly filed for divorce in December 2016 after claiming that the family was "irretrievably broken".

It appeared that T.I. had made a commitment to try and make the family work. However, Tiny reportedly told the rapper to gather lists of all of their marital assets such as property and investment accounts. She was also seeking half of the vehicles that were purchased during the course of their marriage. She also stated that the family was in debt and owed millions to the IRS. She requested a hearing for some time in March 2017 to discuss topics associated with the divorce, including child support and temporary alimony.

Divorce rate spikes after the holidays: Is that a bad thing?

Did this year's holiday season with family match your definition of "happy?" If not, you're probably not alone. In fact, the divorce rate spikes at the beginning of every year. Family law attorneys around the country report that rates of filing are nearly one-third higher beginning in January and continuing through March.

Indeed the New Year has many people seeking a change in their life, and that change could come in a resolution to end your marriage. We are told so much during the holidays to be thankful for what we have and do good onto others, but 2017 may be the time to focus on yourself and your life after marriage.

Considering important financial matters in a divorce

Florida couples who are getting a divorce may focus largely on major issues, such as child support and custody, as well as major assets such as the home. This might cause other financial considerations that are just as important to fall by the wayside.

For example, there may be some complicated calculations involved in working out how to divide some property such as retirement accounts and investments. Some retirement accounts may require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to be divided, and this can be a complex document. Another consideration is the tax implications for various types of divisions. Finally, people should keep in mind that dividing everything 50/50 is not necessarily the best approach. For example, if one person has a much higher income than the other, then they might be more readily able to rebuild retirement savings.

Ex-NFL player faces contempt for past due child support

Florida residents may be interested to hear about the case of former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem. He currently risks facing contempt charges over his failure to pay what now allegedly totals nearly $400,000. His case brings to light the very real possibility of fines and jail time that anyone who fails to pay child support may face.

According to court records, Meachem and his wife separated in 2014, and their divorce was finalized in 2015. The couple agreed to share custody of their two children. Meachem was ordered by the court to pay $20,000 per month in child support, which he didn't contest. Despite this, Meachem only ended up providing about $200,000 of what he owed. The court requested that he appear in court. When Meachem failed to do this, his wife requested the court find him in contempt.

It's time for the talk: Prenup considerations for high asset marriages

We are all familiar with the wedding vows recited in the generic Hollywood movie scene: "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health." While most engaged couples may seek to make similar promises during their own ceremony, those with high assets may have different considerations to make if they desire to protect their possessions in times of sickness and health.

These considerations may be best addressed in drafting a prenuptial agreement. Although it may not be the romantic conversation to have with your beloved, individuals discussing aspects of a prenup can help to clear up misconceptions either have regarding finances and their future together. Drafting and signing a prenup can promote peace of mind that will extend past your walk down the aisle.

Types of property and their division in Florida

If you are going through a divorce, one of your biggest logistical concerns will probably be the division of your property. Since couples tend to accumulate assets over the course of their relationship, the process of dividing those assets is often a complicated one. Each state has its own rules and regulations concerning property division and Florida is no exception. However, before you can reasonably consider how property will be divided, you must first understand the different types of property.

Types of property

The state of Florida, like most states across the nation, recognizes two main types of property; marital property and separate property.

Student loan obligations and divorce

There are numerous financial issues to consider before filing for divorce. A couple may focus on divvying up their assets, but debts also need to be considered during the process. As an equitable distribution state, Florida courts do not necessarily divide marital property equally, but both assets and debts will be allocated in a manner in which the judge deems to be fair. Those with student loans might be expected to share in those obligations based on various criteria.

One of the most important issues for determining joint responsibility for one spouse's student debt is the timing of the loans being taken out. If the loans preceded marriage, the individual with the loans would bear sole responsibility. If the loans were incurred during marriage, both parties could be required to pay. There are some situations in which married couples may have consolidated their student loans to obtain better interest rates. In such cases, both parties are held responsible, even if the original loans were taken out prior to marriage. This is because the new loan bears the date on which it was incurred.

What to do about asset depletion in divorce

Depletion of assets happens when one person in a Florida divorce spends marital assets in an effort to keep the other spouse from being able to claim them as part of property division. It may be possible to seek a restraining order to stop this from happening. It prevents major financial changes to marital property. However, if it is not filed in time or at all, and asset depletion occurs, then people may need to used other methods.

It may be possible to pinpoint the depletion by looking over financial records such as credit card statements. Another option is hiring a forensic accountant who is experienced in detecting financial irregularities.

Issues facing seniors who divorce

According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, older couples are divorcing at a higher rate than their younger counterparts. While divorce is always a difficult situation, there are some unique considerations that individuals close to retirement may want to consider.

One major consideration for older individuals, even those involved in a high-asset divorce, is being able to support oneself after a marriage ends. Some analysts strongly recommend that both parties consider their capacity for earning a living. In some cases, a spouse may need to re-enter the workforce. This may require learning new skills or updating old specialties.

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