The Tom Cruise Divorce: Why Did Katie File In New York?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Saturday, July 14, 2012.

The state of filing can have a big impact on the outcome of your divorce. Many people don’t have a choice. But if one party moves to another state, there may be a choice as to where to file.

Is one state better than another? Child support awards in California are typically higher than Florida, and Texas is rumored to be tough on alimony. Last year Bloomberg ranked all 50 states on the ease of divorce. You can read the ranking in: The Best and Worst States for Getting Divorced.

Which brings me back to the Tom Cruise divorce. Katie could have filed in New York or California, assuming she satisfied either state’s residency requirements. So, why New York over California?

I don’t think the reason has to do with the grounds for divorce, or any economic advantage. After all, New York and California, like Florida, are no-fault states, and Tom and Katie are believed to have a prenuptial agreement anyway.

I suspect one of the reasons is privacy. Unlike California or Florida, divorce filings in New York are not open to the public, so only the parties and their attorneys have access to documents filed with the court.

In an effort to protect the privacy of parties to a divorce, and prevent identity theft, Florida recently adopted a confidentiality rule to better protect social security and bank account numbers for instance. But Florida court filings are not private. Privacy – and confidentiality of court filings – are easily overlooked issues when filing for divorce, and something you should be aware of in deciding in which state to file.

In Child Custody Cases, Stay-At-Home Dads Are Here to Stay

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

Parenting Plans, and specifically timesharing, is increasingly more complex as parenting roles reverse. Time magazine reports that the proportion of stay-at-home dads has doubled in the past decade, and not because fathers got laid off and had nothing better to do:

“The percentage of stay-at-home fellas has doubled in the past decade, though it’s still tiny: just 3.4% of stay-at-home parents are fathers. But man, are those guys happy. Perhaps the joy they take in doling out Cheerios and doing loads of baby laundry is merely additional evidence of the inordinate pleasure that men take in parenting, a phenomenon discussed on Thursday on Healthland.”

“It’s clear to us that men strongly identify with this as a role,” says Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family and lead author of the stay-at-home dads report. “They don’t have a feeling of ambivalence of, What am I doing, I’m a man. There is no sense of angst. These guys strongly identified with being a SAHD. They are proud of it.”

Marital Debt: The Divorce Minefield

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Marital Debt on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

A lot could be said about divorce, but “easy” is not one of them. First there is the emotional trauma of ending a marriage, but that’s only the start of it. You also have to work out timesharing with the children, the property division of the marital assets and marital debts, paying child support (and possibly supporting your soon-to-be ex) paying for the process, and of course, taxes.

This is a short post about the hidden minefield of divorce: the dreaded marital debt.

Marital debt is a danger you may not be aware of until you’ve stepped into it. But, when you hire a lawyer and accountant to help, you ensure that you not only take on the debt you are legally obligated to pay, but learn which debts are the most advantageous to take – if given a choice. You also learn how your debt service impacts the property division, and the support you pay or receive.

If, as they say, “knowledge is power”, then in addition to your lawyer you should take the time to speak to an account or financial advisor to prepare for your divorce. This knowledge will help you take charge (pun intended) of your debt issues. You will then be prepared to work out a settlement, or learn what to request in court, with confidence. At my office we work with several accountants and financial advisors to help guide you through this minefield.

More Women Are Paying Alimony

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

The tables are turning on alimony and child support. As more women climb higher up the career ladder, and outpace their husbands in salary and title, they are finding that they are the ones having to support their ex-spouses after the divorce.

Many women are finding that breaking through the glass ceiling comes with financial responsibilities. Just as many of my male clients grumble about paying alimony to their former wives, more and more of my female clients arrive at our consultations worried about having to support their soon-to-be former husbands.

Whether you are concerned about your ability to pay, or interested in knowing whether your needs justify receiving support, you should know that Florida’s alimony statute has recently (and dramatically) changed. Everyone is concerned about the recent changes to the law, and the looming threats to amend the statute in upcoming legislative sessions in the years to come.

Reuters reports:

“As women climb higher up the career ladder and outpace their exes in salary, when love goes wrong and marriages break up they are being compelled to contribute to the livelihood of their former spouses.

More than half, 56 percent, of divorce lawyers across the United States have seen an increase in mothers paying child support in the last three years and 47 percent have noted a hike in the number of women paying alimony, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.”