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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How to Dispose of a House in a Florida Divorce

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Divorce is very complex and involves numerous issues that each spouse needs to deal with. The most difficult aspect of a divorce is dividing the marital assets and debts. Of the various tasks that a divorcing couple faces when dividing their marital assets and debt, disposing the former marital residence can be one of the most complicated. While a home may be worth a lot of money and constitute the couple’s largest asset, the home is often encumbered with a mortgage, causing the division a much harder task. But with the assistance of an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney, this task can proceed more smoothly and efficiently.

You and your spouse will have four options with regard to dealing with your home and mortgage in the divorce proceeding. It is critical that you clearly understand what each of these four options entail prior to making a decision. A qualified Sarasota divorce lawyer can provide you with the necessary information you need to determine what the best choice is for you.

  • Sell the house and split the profits. The primary goal for this option is to sell the property as quickly as possible for as high of a price as possible, depending on your circumstance.
  • Buy the house from your spouse. Many factors must be taken into consideration for this option, such as whether you can afford it on your own salary and whether you can refinance on your own to have the mortgage solely in your name (if it was not already).
  • Sell your equity in the house to your spouse.  If you choose this option, it is important that you make sure you are no longer on the title. You should either check with an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney or your tax consultant to determine if there are tax implications.
  • Maintain joint ownership. You may choose to delay the decision regarding the ultimate possession of the house for a specific time period, with one of you remaining as a resident.

An Experienced Sarasota Divorce Lawyer Can Help

It takes a qualified attorney to address complex property division issues in Florida. One of the top divorce attorneys in Sarasota is located at the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. He will explain property division in detail and provide you with all of your options so that you can choose the best option for your circumstances.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Sarasota divorce lawyer, 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 Attorney, Divorce- Weather the Storm

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Divorce: Weather the Storm

When you find yourself facing divorce, trusting a qualified Sarasota family law attorney should be your first step in weathering the storm. Just as important, you also need to consider what is important in your life and how to preserve it.

Divorce is a trying time of stress and uncertainty. Rather than burying yourself in a hole or engaging in activities that you may later regret, use this opportunity to define yourself and your life going forward. You are starting a new chapter in your life, so utilize the correct tools to help fill the pages with good content. With proper counsel and good advice that can only be provided by an experienced Sarasota family law attorney, the stress and uncertainty of divorce can be minimized and positive opportunities can be capitalized upon to assist you in reaching your goals for you and your children.

Below are a few pointers that you should keep in mind during your divorce proceedings:

Do Not Alienate Your Family Members

One of the most delicate aspects of a divorce proceeding is not alienating your family members. You should be considerate of their efforts to help you during this difficult part of your life. However, on the same token, you should also be careful that the advice they give you may not always be in your best interest. Take every piece of advice from your loving family members with a grain of salt and discuss your options with a qualified Sarasota divorce attorney prior to making a decision.

Treat Your Spouse with Respect

If you and your spouse had children during your marriage, it is crucial that you treat each other with respect during and after your divorce. You two will be parents forever, meaning that you will have a relationship for the rest of your lives. Co-parenting is not an easy task, and it will only be that much harder if you have made an enemy of your spouse.

Take Care of Your Finances

Divorce proceedings are hardest with respect to finances, especially if a dual income family is now down to one. As such, you need to make sure you are very cautious when it comes to your finances. Before you spend any money on luxuries, you need to make sure you have made the payments on the necessaries, such as your car, mortgage, and medical bills. If you need help or advice with your finances, it is in your best interest to only consult with an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney.

Only a Sarasota Divorce Attorney Can Help

Only an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney will understand how difficult and stressful divorce proceedings can be. Sarasota divorce lawyer Matthew Z. Martell  will not only be your legal representative who will ensure you get your fair share, but he will also provide you with the emotional and mental support that you need throughout this entire process.

To schedule a consultation with a qualified Sarasota divorce attorney, please contact Matthew Z. Martell at (941) 556-7020.

 

Coping with Loss in a Divorce

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
One may be surprised at the many ways a qualified Sarasota divorce attorney can be of benefit during the divorce process. Not all assistance necessarily takes the form of legal work; indeed, attorneys recognize that clients generally experience emotional difficulties coping with the loss of such a significant relationship, and will often refer them to qualified experts for help.

The noted psychologist Elizabeth Kubler Ross literally wrote the book on dealing with loss in her work On Death and Dying. While her focus was primarily on terminal illness, the ideas she laid out apply to people experiencing loss in general. Her six stages of grief, then, can help a person facing loss in a divorce understand why they are feeling a particular way, especially if it just doesn’t seem to make sense.

The Six Stages of Grief

The six stages and examples of how they may be manifested for a divorcing spouse are:

  • Shock – “How can this be? I thought we were happy together!”
  • Denial – “She doesn’t mean it. She’s still angry about the fight we had.”
  • Anger – “He wants a divorce? Fine! I’m taking the house and everything in it, including the kids!”
  • Bargaining – “Wouldn’t it be better to wait? Don’t you think we should give our marriage one more chance?”
  • Depression – “My whole life is over. How will I ever go on?”
  • Acceptance – “It’s over, and that’s that. Time to put together a new life for myself.”

While the order of these stages is purposeful, the grieving process is not linear. A person may begin initially with bargaining, then move to shock, and then get mired in anger. Moreover, a person who has arrived at the acceptance stage may receive news that the other parent, say, is taking the children out of state during a normal visitation time, and move back into anger. The goal, however, is to realize that however one is feeling, it is a natural part of coping with loss and grief.

Coping With Your Divorce

It is also important to understand that there is no way to accelerate the process of coping. It can be impeded, however. One may even find himself entrenched in one stage; this is where a counselor can be particularly helpful.

Divorce is a nearly always a difficult and emotionally challenging process. If you are going through a divorce, it is important to have strong legal assistance to make sure your rights are protected. Contact an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. for a 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.