Custody Craze

Child custody is a difficult subject for many parents. Florida no longer uses the term “custody,” which has a negative connotation. Florida takes a two-prong approach to parenting. First is parental responsibility, which consist of decision making and sharing information. The second is time-sharing, the actual time the child will spend with each parent. The uncertainty of what the Court will award in a ”custody battle” is a scary thought, especially when the parents do not get along. It is important to be prepared when discussing how the child’s time will be divided. If you are not familiar with these types of situations, here’s some helpful information. Read more ›

Posted in Divorce Mediation

Estate Planning After Divorce

Review & Update Important Documents After Divorce


Today’s article is a Guest Post from Burns & Levinson LLP.


Divorce attorneys saw a wave of divorces last year due to the changes in the tax laws that took effect on January 1, 2019. If you were one of the masses whose divorce was finalized in 2018, now is the time to revise your estate plan. Here are the issues you should discuss with your lawyer:  

  1. Make sure your estate planning attorney has a copy of your Divorce Agreement. Your attorney will need to know what obligations you have to your ex-spouse in the event of your death.
  2. Update your Health Care Proxy. The health care proxy allows you to name someone to make health care decisions for you if, for instance, you were in a car accident or had a health emergency and were unable to communicate. You may want to name an adult child, a friend, or another relative.
  3. Update your Power of Attorney. If you had an old power of attorney naming your ex-spouse, that should be revoked. You should also execute a new power of attorney naming a friend, relative or trusted advisor to act as your agent regarding your finances and assets.
  4. Update your Will and Trust. Remove the provisions for your ex-spouse, and remove your ex-spouse as the executor and trustee. You want to make sure your “Ex” does not receive any assets if you die and has no control over your estate or trust.
  5. If you have minor children, you want to review who you have named as guardian in the Will. You may choose to name your ex-spouse as the guardian, or you may name someone else. Be aware that your ex-spouse will most likely serve as guardian of your minor children if you pass away unless he or she is determined by the court to be unfit.
  6. Make sure you have a trust for minor children. If you do not have a trust for minor children, and your ex-spouse is the children’s guardian, he or she will have control of the children’s finances until they turn 18. Most clients do not want their ex-spouse controlling their children’s monies.
  7. Pay particular attention to life insurance requirements.I have encountered numerous instances where folks just completely ignored their obligations to maintain life insurance under their divorce agreement, or named their new spouse as beneficiary of the policy instead. This could result in litigation. Review your obligation to maintain life insurance under the divorce agreement with your estate planning attorney, and with your divorce attorney, if necessary.
  8. Check your beneficiary designations. Another area that folks forget about or ignore are their retirement plan beneficiary designations.  Make sure your 401K and IRA beneficiary designations are consistent with the terms of your divorce agreement.  I have encountered a few situations where folks never updated their beneficiary designations after their divorce, and then died.  This can result in unforeseen consequences and litigation to correct who the beneficiary should have been.
  9. Time for a Prenuptial Agreement. I am always surprised how soon folks get remarried after their divorce is finalized. Needless to say, if you are thinking about getting remarried, make sure you have a prenuptial agreement in place beforehand.

Now is the time to tie up those loose ends from your divorce and get your estate plan in order. Remove your “ex” from those old estate planning documents, take charge and get on with your life!




Posted in Uncategorized

Now is the Time to Decide on Summer Activities for Children of Divorced Parents

Divorced Parents Should Make Summer Camp Decisions Now

As summer approaches, parents begin the arduous task of planning for childcare. The options are limitless: YMCA, daycare, sports camp, robot camp, etc. This task is made more challenging when we must balance the needs of two households, two schedules and blended families. 

Communication and planning can ease the stress. The first step to a stress-free summer is reviewing the Court order outlining each parent’s time with the children, whether it be alternating weeks or one-half the summer. photo of chalkboard and chalk with the words summer camp written in chalk

Start by speaking with the other parent to discuss their plans for the summer. Creating a calendar for vacations and events is essential. With this information in mind, find an activity, camp or child care that fits within the schedule. It is best to choose a few options as many activities will not fit within the timesharing schedule in place. Local newspapers, Jax4kids, and other blogs provide lists and options for camps and activities, but you want to decide early because the best programs fill up fast. 

Once each parent has settled on a few options, compare each parent’s list and make the final selection(s). Remember to keep in mind the age and interest of each child, the logistics of transporting to and from the activity, and the cost. Being flexible with the timesharing, swapping days or extending exchange times will allow the children to receive the most benefit from the activities.

If you are unable to come to agreement, consider working with a mediator to help work through the process. As an objective third party trained in negotiation, a mediator can help resolve family disputes without the need for costly and time-consuming litigation.

For more information, contact Jacksonville Family Mediation at 904.866.0268.


Posted in Uncategorized

Why Mediation is Important

Arguing is not healthy for any kind of relationship, regardless of its dynamic. When complicated situations arise in your relationships, mediation can be a great opportunity for all involved instead of going to court. There are distinct benefits of choosing mediation to reach agreements, no matter what is in discussion. Read more ›

Posted in Divorce Mediation

Love Lost

Falling out of love with someone is a tough thing to deal with. It can create problems you never imagined you would have with your partner. Regardless of why the connection you and your spouse had has diminished, there is always a path forward. If divorce is the next step, divorce mediation can be beneficial for all parties involved. Read more ›

Posted in Divorce Mediation
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