Tag: Long term separation

New Year Divorce

You are not alone. Divorce filings surge in January as people decide to start their New Year with a clean slate, helped by a stressful holiday period and, perhaps, even more stressful family members. What should you do if you’re considering a new year divorce?

new year divorce

New Year Resolutions

I’ve written about divorce issues and their causes before. As Market Place reports, being cooped up in a house during the holidays when a marriage is experiencing serious problems – while dealing with the pressure to put on a happy face for the kids and visiting relatives – takes its toll on the most stoic of couples.

People want to wait until after the holidays – especially if they have younger children at home. They think:

Let’s not ruin the holidays and their memories with a divorce. Let’s wait and talk about how we want to move things along in the new year.

And after seeing other families at their best on Facebook and Instagram – the idea of perfect looking families haunts many couples who wonder why their lives don’t look as happy.

That’s probably because people don’t post bad selfies with their families or write about how awful things are on social media. So, people’s perception of what other people are thinking about during high stress times like the holidays is misleading.

Another word of caution, due to the new tax code changes, the recipient of spousal support will not have to claim it as income and the payor will not be able to use alimony as a deduction any longer.

What should you do? Whatever the reason for your problems, there are a few things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know to help them through the process.


Line up your priorities for life after the divorce. Is it finding a home? Is it retiring? Getting a job? Managing your special-needs child? Consider writing down your most important goals.


Even if you aren’t certain you need to hire an attorney, or filing for divorce at all, it is a good idea to meet with an expert in Florida’s divorce and family laws. Who better than someone certified by Florida as an expert in marital and family law?


Litigation is something to avoid. It’s time-consuming, contentious and expensive. The majority of divorces end up settling. There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution out there, including collaborative divorce, mediation, and informal settlement conferences.

Have a Happy New Year

As Market Watch further reports, there is good reason for treating a divorce like a calm business deal. Don’t rush to file. Think about your end game. Many people file quickly out of anger perhaps after learning of a spouse’s misconduct. But it’s better to be strategic.

Divorces are up there with a major investment like buying a home. There’s one big difference with divorces though: They can be devastating for your finances, especially if your partner earned more money and the couple are forced to sell their home.

The Market Watch article is here.


Ben Affleck: Should You Separate or Divorce?

Jennifer Garner filed for divorce from her husband, actor Ben Affleck, almost two years ago, but has yet to officially end her marriage despite a long-term separation.

Affleck has reportedly even been staying in a spare bedroom on the family’s Los Angeles compound. A few weeks back, Us Weekly reported that the couple would keep on with their divorce despite rumors of a possible reconciliation.

The next day, though, E! News claimed that the couple has a “fluid” relationship and that “nothing has really changed” for the couple who has “been working on their relationship for the past few years” and remain in a long-term separation.

Not obtaining an official divorce decree, and having a long-term separation, seems like a good idea, but there are risks. I’ve written about the risks when people separate for years before filing for, or dissolving, their marriages.

Control Over Assets

If you are in a long-term separation, you can be totally out-of-the-loop about your financial well-being. You don’t know what your spouse is earning, spending, investing, selling or buying. In Equitable Distribution states, like Florida, you may be on the hook for some of the debts accumulating during the long-term separation.

Hiding Assets

While you may see no immediate need to legally dissolve your marriage, a long-term separation allows a spouse to plan for a divorce. And, spouses usually plan to make sure that valuable, or difficult to trace, assets are gone when the time comes to disclose your assets and liabilities.


Florida has laws governing all aspects of the divorce process, especially as they relate to children. During a long-term separation, your spouse could be transferred to another city, state, or even another country. You should know that the laws relating to divorce and interstate custody are not the same in every state.

Alimony Laws are Changing

For the last several years, the Florida Legislature has tried unsuccessfully to change our alimony laws. The Florida House and the Florida Senate have already introduced bills this year that would dramatically change alimony in Florida. During a long-term separation, alimony laws can change.

The new bills require use of factors to calculate alimony; provide presumptions concerning alimony awards based on the duration of marriages; provide for imputating income in certain circumstances; provide requirements related to taxing and deducting alimony; and prohibit courts from changing the duration of alimony award.

Meeting Someone New

While meeting someone new may make you happier and more fulfilled, it may not help your settlement negotiations. When spouses enter new relationships, they might spend your share of marital assets on their new love interest: buying gifts, going to expensive restaurants, and taking fancy vacations.

Whatever the reasons Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have had for putting off their divorce, there are pitfalls of a long separation you should be aware of.

The Vanity Fair article is here.