Sarasota Divorce

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Divorce Depositions: Questions about Bank Accounts, Investments & Retirement Accounts

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

At the Law Office of Matthew Z Martell, P.A. we will use depositions as a tool during your divorce proceeding to discover relevant and material facts, determine the strategy of your case, and search the conscience of the deponent.

During a divorce deposition, our attorneys will focus on several subjects that are important in any divorce proceeding: bank accounts, investments and retirement accountants. Below is a list of questions our attorneys will focus on for each of these subjects:

Retirement Investment and Retirement Accounts:

– What specific retirement accounts do you have? IRA? 401K? SEP?

Non-Retirement Investment Accounts and Assets:

– Do you have any of the following accounts and assets?

  • Brokerage?
  • Stock?
  • Mutual funds?
  • Treasury bonds?
  • Cash?
  • Coins?
  • Gold?
  • Silver?

Various Types of Bank Accounts:

– If you have a joint account with your spouse:

  • Where and when was it created?
  • What was the source of the original deposit into this account?
  • Which one of you made deposits into this account?
  • What was the source of these deposits?
  • What did you and your spouse use this account for?
  • What expenses were paid out of this account?
  • Who controlled the account and/or who had access to the account?

– How did you and/or your spouse pay for family expenses?

– From which account(s) were family expenses paid?

– Who was responsible for paying bills?

– Did either you or your spouse have a separate account?

– What was the reason for this separate account?

– What expenses were paid from this account?

We Can Help

If you have questions regarding what subjects should be addressed during a divorce deposition or want to schedule a consultation with a Sarasota divorce attorney, please contact the Law Office of Matthew Z Martell, P.A. at (941) 556-7020.

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Subjects Addressed in a Divorce Deposition: Personal Property

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Divorce depositions are important tools that divorce attorneys use to gain control and leverage during the divorce proceedings and trial. An important subject that should be addressed during a divorce deposition is related to the identification of personal property and how it affects the division of the martial estate.

Personal Property

Typical questions that good divorce attorneys will ask during a successful divorce deposition regarding personal property include:

Vehicles

  • What vehicles do you own?
  • How are they titled?
  • Are they encumbered by debt, and if so, how much?
  • What is your opinion of their value?

Life insurance policies

  • Do you have any life insurance?
  • Does it have a cash value? If so, how much?
  • Does the policy have any loans against it? If so, how much?

Antiques, art, jewelry, collectibles

  • Do you own any of the following: antiques, art, jewelry, guns, coins, stamps, figurines, tools, etc.
  • Do you have any appraisals for these items?
  • Are they insured, and if so, for how much?
  • Your opinion as to their value?

With regards to collectible personal properties, it is important to properly appraise these items so that they are not overvalued. Most divorce attorneys advise their clients to hire a reliable, neutral appraiser who will fairly value these collectible items.

Let Us Help

If divorce is the only option left in your marriage, you should hire a divorce attorney who will use every legal tool possible to protect your financial rights and ensure you get a fair deal upon the dissolution of your marriage.

For a consultation with a Sarasota Divorce Attorney, please contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. at (941) 556-7020.

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Sarasota Divorce Lawyers | Stock Options and Divorce

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

With the rise and fall of the stock market, Sarasota divorce lawyers are involved in more cases involving stock options. It has become common practice for companies, especially larger, publicly traded companies, to issue grant stock options to key employees. During divorce, these stock options become a key issue during property division, demanding the legal assistance of a Sarasota divorce attrorney.

What is an Employee Stock Option

There is no question that “stock options” are assets subject to equitable distribution in Florida. However, you must first understand the basic nature and definition of a stock option. A stock option is the right to purchase a specified number of shares of stock for a specified price at specified times, usually granted to management and key employees.

Equitable Distribution of Stock Options in Florida

Property division laws in Florida call for the equitable division in a divorce action. This means that marital property will be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, when couples divorce.

When stock options are to be divided in a divorce proceeding, it is necessary to determine what portion of the stock options is considered marital property. If one spouse bought or was issued the stock prior to marriage but its value grew during the marriage, a portion of the stock options may or may not be considered marital property. Your Sarasota divorce lawyer will have the resources and support necessary to effectively value and divide stock options in divorce.

Contact a Sarasota Divorce Lawyer

Dividing assets in a divorce proceeding can be highly complex, especially if it involves stock options. At the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A., Sarasota divorce attorney Matthew Z. Martell, Esq. is well-equipped to handle complicated property division while protecting your financial interests. To learn more about stock option division in divorce, contact Sarasota divorce attorney Matthew Z. Martell (941) 556-7020.

 

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Advice for Divorced Parents with Children Under Two Years

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

It seems it would be easier to divorce when children are too young to get upset about it, but Sarasota Divorce Attorney Matthew Z. Martell will tell you that dealing with infants and toddlers in divorce has its own set of problems.

Attachment forming
Children this young are still forming emotional attachments to their primary caregivers, and forming those secure connections requires caregiver consistency and emotional responsiveness.  Beyond that, a baby younger than two months will usually respond to any caregiver, and only begins to recognize and prefer one caregiver over another as he or she approaches six months. From there, the preferences only get stronger until the child reaches fifteen to twenty-four months, when separation protestation becomes common.

Addressing the problem
With typical post-divorce custody schedules, one parent runs the risk of not bonding with the young child; moreover, if a child is frequently separated from a primary caregiver, his or her resulting anxiety can lead to sleeping or eating disorders, fear and clinging, heightened sensitivity etc. This will be worse if the parents’ own emotional issues cause them to be non-responsive, or cause tense situations with arguing and fighting in front of infants and toddlers. How then, do divorced parents ensure that their children are given the consistent, emotionally responsive care necessary to bond with both parents?

Visitation schedules for children this age should be liberal and allow for parents to switch off with feedings and bedtimes, so that the child gets consistent and frequent interaction with both parents. Creating a safe, secure, and stable environment is the goal, and typical visitation schedules that call for one parent seeing the child Wednesday nights and every other weekend are not in the best interests of the child. Parents should also be careful not to overuse nannies and babysitters, which can further confuse the child and upset bonding with the parents.

We Can Help
Arranging parental responsibility (custody) for very young children is a special challenge in divorce; if you need help figuring out a workable schedule, please call a top Sarasota Divorce Attorney at the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. at (941) 556-7020.

Developing a Healthy Child Time-Sharing Strategy

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Developing a Healthy Child Time-Sharing  Strategy

From the outset of the divorce process it is important to hire an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney. Divorce issues will arise that may be difficult to manage without legal assistance. However, it is even more important for parents to make sure that those most affected – the children – are protected as much as possible from emotional trauma.

The Importance of Cooperating With Your Ex-Spouse

Children tend to internalize everything. They often believe that a divorce and all its accompanying challenges are their fault. Unless an issue precludes visitation from one of the parents, both spouses need to work together to develop a visitation plan that will be beneficial for the children. If too much animosity exists between the divorcing spouses to accomplish this, a counseling professional may be needed.

Establishing Time-Sharing  Schedules

Time-Sharing (visitation)  schedules need to be established which are uniform and frequent. Children need structure, especially at a time when they feel their entire world has collapsed around them. The contact should not merely take place in the home, but also at the non-custodial parent’s housing.

A non-custodial parent may be tempted to lavish a child with gifts and spend all of the time-sharing with recreation. This may occur out of a sense of guilt, but is not in the best interests of the children. Children should interact with the parent in his home and help with grocery shopping and chores. They should have a list of chores to do during visits. Recreation is important, but maintaining a normal home-like atmosphere on visits is vital.

Contacts should be pleasant. When the parents encounter each other during pick-up and return, the need to put differences aside and be honestly genial toward each other. Similarly, the visits should be spent pleasantly. This is not a time to speak ill of the other parent, or try to glean information about the other parent’s dating or work. Rather, the non-custodial parent and children need to develop rituals and memories. Sharing a hobby is particularly beneficial.

Finally, both parents should reassure the children, and often. Let them know that both parents are in their lives to stay. The ultimate concern must always be their welfare.

Call Today

If you are facing a divorce, it is important to have an experienced and strong attorney in your corner that will help you through the many challenges. Contact Sarasota divorce attorney Matthew Z. Martell for an initial consultation today.

Sarasota Divorce, Pre-Marital Assets and Their Inclusion in the Marital Estate

Monday, June 18th, 2012

If you are in the midst of a divorce and you and your Sarasota divorce lawyer are trying to figure out whether or not an asset will be part of the marital estate, there are a few things that you will need to take into consideration with respect to the asset, such as timing, source, and disposition. In general, assets that are obtained before the marriage carry with them a presumption that they are pre-marital; still, this does not mean that they will automatically be found to be pre-marital.

Pre-Marital Savings Can Be Commingled
For instance, if a wife comes into a marriage with a $10,000 savings account, technically, that would be pre-marital property, and that status would supply a Sarasota divorce lawyer with a definite argument for having it excluded from marital estate division. However, what if the money in that savings account is used as a portion of the down payment on the marital home? From the view of an economist, the $10,000 has been commingled, and there would be no possible way to separate one dollar from another dollar with respect to the equity of the home. Therefore, the $10,000 would be considered part of the marital estate that is subject to division.

Consider Timing, Source, and Disposition
In the above-mentioned example, the timing of the asset refers to when it came to be: before the marriage. The source of the asset concerns where the asset came from: the wife. And the disposition of the asset refers to what happened to it during the marriage: it was used to buy a joint asset. The first two functions indicate that the asset could be kept out of the marital estate, but the last function altered the nature of the money and made it part of the marital estate.

Assets Accumulated During Marriage Are Divisible
Now, what if the wife, right after the marriage, opened an individual retirement account in her own name, her husband never had anything to do with the account, and at the time of the divorce, the account was valued at $10,000. From an economist’s standpoint, the asset would be considered marital and subject to division because of the timing of the creation of the asset: during the marriage. Generally speaking, assets accumulated by a couple during the marriage are divisible, regardless of whose name they happen to be in or whether or not they have been kept separate.

If you have some questions or concerns about your non-marital assets and you need the services of a Sarasota divorce lawyer, then please call the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. at (941) 556-7020 for a consultation.