Age Difference and Second Marriages: Tips for Round 2!

Sometimes the first marriage just doesn’t work out. That said, so many folks are finding love and companionship for the second time around! The number of second marriages in the US is higher than ever before. Most of these happy second-timers have a significant age difference between them which comes with many unseen obstacles that can be planned for and possibly avoided altogether. For those of you who have had the big wedding day #2 and are older or younger than your spouse, we’ve put together a few considerations and tips to make your second marriage the most successful. 

After the honeymoon, it’s a great idea to have a few important items front-of-mind for the future of your second marriage. These considerations aren’t given to rain on your love parade and say that it won’t work out. Quite the opposite, in fact. The family law professionals at McCart & Tesmer want you and your new partner to have all of the facts in place and the pro’s and con’s weighed so that you can be proactive and successful the second time around. 

  • Estate Planning should be a high priority in your considerations with your new partner. Did you know there is a Legal Right to Inherit? Absent a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, if you never update your estate plan, the new spouse is entitled to  the“pretermitted share” equal to a value ranging from 50% of the probate estate to the entire probate estate depending on the circumstances.  Your new spouse may also be entitled to  the “elective share” equal to 30% of the aggregate estate. If you plan ahead with your estate, you can be sure that everything lands where it should if things do play out well for the marriage or one spouse dies.
  • Because of an age difference in the coupling there is a high likelihood of one spouse outliving the other spouse. 
    • It is vital that the both spouses decide how to handle providing care for each other when necessary (day-to-day, long term care, hospice).
    • It’s a good idea to set up a Trust – 
      • A trust allows for intentional distributions to be set for a surviving spouse.
      • If there is a child from a different relationship, a trust can be set up to reserve money for that child as well.
      • A trust can also act as a safeguard to prevent the surviving spouse from depleting all assets.
      • If a surviving spouse remarries, it could prevent any family wealth from passing to the surviving spouse’s new spouse.
  • When one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can be left with a mess to clean up. That said, if properly planned for, this unfortunate event doesn’t have to be messy. 
    • Decide on beneficiary designations ahead of time.
      • Depending on the terms of a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, there could be money left to the surviving spouse.
      • As part of an estate plan, the deceased spouse could leave specific amounts of money to children outside of the will or trust (this would likely still be subject to the “elective share”).
      • Planning ahead can allow money left to be used for the younger spouse’s continued needs

What if the second marriage doesn’t work out? It’s important to think ahead in order to avoid a lengthy dissolution of the marriage. First, both parties should have their own counsel before moving forward with any legal matters. Once that is done, both parties should consider and agree upon whether a Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreement would work best for the couple if things go south. Both options will help avoid a lengthy dissolution of the marriage but there are pros and cons to each.

  •  A Prenuptial Agreement is an agreement between a couple signed before they get married which sets forth the division of their assets in the event of divorce or death.”
    • This option is one that allows all parties to make an agreement before they are legally bound. 
    • Both parties must disclose all assets 
    • Gives the couple an opportunity to address alimony and whether or not it will be waived before the relationship fails.
    • A Prenuptial Agreement, in effect, allows the couple to get ahead of emotions that will surely arrive if the relationship fails.
    • This option can feel transactional but it is necessary to protect your assets especially when a second marriage is involved..
  • A Postnuptial Agreement is an agreement between couples after they are married so they can each protect themselves in the event of a divorce. This agreement is a legal contract that outlines how assets will be divided and what each individual in the marriage is entitled to should they divorce. It may also include other provisions that the couple agrees on.”
    • A Postnuptial Agreement is like a Prenuptial Agreement, but instead of before, it’s made after marriage has taken place. 
    • A Postnuptial Agreement requires additional “consideration” which is the exchange of something of value, such as property, money, services or a promise.
    • Alimony can still be considered with this option but this might be tougher to decide on once legally married.
    • As a part of the agreement it is possible to waive entitlement to each other’s estates and inheritance.
    • Oftentimes a Postnuptial Agreement will include the agreement to provide life insurance if the greater earning spouse dies.

Having all of the facts out in the open makes it much easier for your and your new spouse to make the right decisions for your relationship from the get go. It can be tough to think about what happens if things don’t go as planned. But if you have done the work of planning ahead, those things that seemed like roadblocks before, become things that have already been dealt with and decided. Still have questions regarding your second marriage? With nearly 20 years of experience, McCart & Tesmer specialize in both Family Law and Estate Planning. Click here to drop us a line and/or schedule your Free Consultation today!

Remarriage: What you should know before saying “I Do” again!

There is much to celebrate in finding another companion for your life, but there are more things to consider before you tie that knot again than you might think. According to statistics, remarriage is very common nowadays. In fact, remarriage in the United States today is 3 times as high for 2nd and 3rd marriages as we saw in 1960. Did you know that four out of ten new marriages include at least one partner who has been married before? Pew Research Center found that the number of adults who have ever remarried was at an astounding 42 million!

Although many of the considerations and tips in this blog apply to Same-Sex couples as well, there isn’t quite enough data that has been collected since the legalization of marriage equality to be included. That being said, it’s widely known that men are much more likely to remarry a younger spouse than women. The percentage of men marrying younger spouses is 67% by age 40 and 73% by age 70. Regardless of these statistics, both men and women should know what to expect before they remarry again so that both parties are successful in this new relationship.

So what should you consider before remarrying? First off, there is likely to be a disparity of the partners’ income if there is a significant age gap. This is due to the older spouse having more time in the workforce which means more time to grow their career and income. Another consideration is when one partner is retired and the other keeps working. Both of these scenarios are important to consider because, without proper planning, an income disparity could cause a rift in the relationship.

Secondly, there are some very important rules regarding Social Security for couples that decide to remarry. A remarriage could result in a loss or reduction of Social Security benefits, depending on the type of benefits received and the age of the Social Security recipient. The last consideration to keep in mind involves alimony. Alimony in Florida is based on need and ability to pay. Alimony awarded in a prior divorce could be modified or terminated based on a change in the parties’ financial situations. If one (or both) of the partners are receiving alimony from a previous marriage, they may want to reconsider marriage and/or cohabitation altogether as these circumstances could cause this income to be terminated.

With all of these considerations in place, how do you protect yourself? Get a Prenuptial Agreement. A Prenup, as it is commonly known, has many benefits. For one, it allows you to avoid a lengthy divorce process (if applicable). With a prenup, you can also set the amount of alimony payments, waive entitlement to each other’s estates and inheritance and set rules in place to provide life insurance funds if the greater earning spouse dies. It is also important to consult with an attorney to make sure that your desire to remarry, or even cohabitate with someone will not have a negative impact on current alimony you may be receiving or other benefits you may be entitled to.

Our team at McCart & Tesmer are well versed in all things involving marriage rights and family law in accordance with the state of Florida. Our team of lawyers would love to help you navigate and plan your future so the outcome is the maximum benefit for both parties involved. You can also read more about the rights of unmarried couples in Florida here. Contact us below!

Co-Parenting During the Holidays

The holidays have arrived, which means it’s time to put up the decorations, wrap the gifts, spike the eggnog, and get prepared for a possible co-parenting nightmare! The holidays are already stressful enough so adding the idea of sharing your children with your ex, can make it quite a bit difficult. Because of this possible co-parenting fiasco, we have decided to create a go-to list of tips and tricks on how to co-parent during the holidays.

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Balancing Work & E-Learning During COVID-19

Wait, you want me to balance work, facilitate e-learning AND deal with COVID-19?

Kids have been participating in e-learning for a little over a month now and since it’s clear schools are not going to open up their physical locations for the remainder of this school year, it’s up to us to last through May 29th, the last day of school in Hillsborough County, Florida. Now, take a deep breath and take the time to let it out. Feel better? No? Us either BUT, we have learned a few things during the past month that have worked for us, perhaps they will work for you too! Pour a glass of wine and read on!

1. Don’t freak out! – We know, easier said than done… BUT, we are not home schooling and we are not teachers; we are e-learning facilitators and parents. We do not need to come up with a curriculum, simply follow the plan that your teacher has come up with. They are the professionals. Take a relief sip.

2. Know your strengths. – It is always important to utilize your strengths to overcome your weaknesses. We have kids in two different age groups, one in middle school and one in elementary school. Our elementary school kid needs a lot more supervision and guidance than our middle schooler. Our elementary school kid wakes up really early and our middle schooler sleeps in a bit. Knowing these things helps us manage our day. We can start our younger child’s school day earlier, before we start our own work and help him to get organized before our middle schooler wakes up. We break up assignments into smaller bits of work each day so he can focus on one assignment for a set amount of time until it is complete, then we can check it. This also gives us time to complete our own work. Knowing what time of day works best for your kids to learn and where they are most productive is a huge help. If mornings are not great, don’t fight it, let them have some free time and complete schoolwork in the afternoon. If sitting at the kitchen table (like my son) keeps them focused, great… if they work better at a desk in their room (like my daughter), even better! Sip that wine!

3. Make a Plan. Most schools issue some form of school planner each year. Use the planner! It will typically have each day broken down by subject. We write the assignments that need to be completed each day in every subject area within the planner. Our teachers are giving out assignments at the beginning of the week, some specify what needs to be done each day, others don’t. We break the work out over the week into manageable chunks so that it does not become overwhelming and we can go through the planner each day to make sure that everything was completed. We do this with our kids on Monday mornings, but you could also do it daily if your teacher is not providing a week’s worth of assignments at a time. For assignments with no specified due date during the week we let the kid pick what day they want to do them, this gives them control over a situation they have little control over. And who doesn’t like some control? Drink up!

4. Set expectations. I am an attorney and my husband is an executive director therefore we both have demanding jobs which require time where we work without interruptions. Communication is key. But really, it’s key! John and I must communicate when we are not able to handle parenting duties. If you lack communication, your significant other has no way of knowing that you are not able to help. We also have to communicate with our kids, especially when we can and can’t be interrupted. My kids understand that there are certain virtual meetings they can pop by and waive, and others that are totally off limits. If I am about to participate in a virtual hearing or mediation where they are not allowed to pop by, I make sure to talk to each kid and let them know that I am about to start a meeting where I cannot be interrupted. I also ask if they need anything before I begin and ensure they understand that everything else will have to wait until I am done. This method does not work for dogs… When I get there, I’ll let you know! Drink two sips now.

5. You will miss stuff, communicate that with the teachers. We have missed e-learning assignments and tasks due to the above-mentioned uninterruptable work meetings. Sometimes we both have work at the same time that cannot be interrupted. My son missed a quiz last week because neither of us were able to facilitate the sign-on process due to work obligations. We simply e-mailed the teacher and she was able to reopen the quiz so he could take it the next day. The same thing happened to our daughter regarding a zoom math class. Take that in for a moment, a zoom math class… In this situation we were both working unable to be disturbed and she was having technical difficulties. We again e-mailed the teacher and she provided us with the recorded session of the class. Teachers are expecting these types of situations to happen therefore they are being very flexible and understanding. Just ask and they will help you! Do you have any wine left? Just finish it and pour another glass.

None of this situation is ideal but we can and will get through it. It can be frustrating to balance all of this from home, especially if you are a single parent or parents who are both working longer than normal hours. It is ok to be frustrated! Take a time out, count to ten, breathe. Be sure to let your kids know that you are frustrated. They will learn how to deal with frustration by seeing how you resolve your own in a positive way. All that said, there are no right answers here. This is what has worked for me, hopefully it will work for you. Also, reach out to someone. If you need help call a friend. Sometimes talking to someone and venting for a few minutes can help you gain perspective. Well, that and wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Name change for an Adult or Minor

Occasions may arise where an individual is in need of changing his or her name. For example, a divorced woman may have kept her married name and is ready to return to her maiden name, a man never went by his legal name and has conflicting names on his governmental identifiers, or a child was given his birth mother’s last name and the parents now desire to add the father’s last name. An applicant can change his or her first, middle or last name entirely so long as the name is not being changed for an ulterior purpose.

For an adult wanting to change his or her name, the applicant must file a petition for name

change in the county where the applicant resides. If the applicant is not restoring a prior name, the applicant must have to have his or her fingerprints taken for a background check with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Upon competition and receipt of the background check, a final hearing will be set with the circuit court judge. After receiving the Final Judgment of Name Change, the applicant will provide a certified copy of the final judgment to the Social Security Administration and Department of Motor Vehicles to begin changing their governmental identifiers.

To change the name of a minor, the parents or guardians must file a petition for name change in the county where the child resides. Both parents or guardians must sign consents to the name change as well as complete fingerprinting for background checks with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In the event that both parents do not consent to the name change, the parent wanting the name change will have to commence litigation against the other parent. Upon receiving a Final Judgment of Name Change, the applicant may provide a certified copy of the Final Judgment with an application for Amended Birth Certificate to the Department of Vital Statistics. This will result in the child receiving a new birth certificate with his/her new name.

If you have questions about a name change for an adult or minor, please call McCart & Tesmer (813) 498-2757, to schedule your free consult today.

How is Child Support Calculated?

The amount of child support a parent may pay is one of the first questions typically asked during a family law consult for a divorce or paternity action. Unfortunately, the answer is “it depends”.

The Florida Legislature has provided guidelines from the amount of child support which should be paid for the support of a child based solely on the parent’s combined monthly net income. However, the calculation does not stop there. The child’s health insurance, uncovered medical cost, and day care expenses are all factored into the calculation as well as the parents’ timesharing schedule. The money a parent pays for the foregoing expenses and the more time a parent has with the child the less child support that parent will have to pay.

The Court will look at financial documents such as pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns to determine each parent’s relative income. Each parent will also be required to file a financial affidavit which provides a monthly snapshot of their income and expenses. All these documents and affidavits must reconcile.

Determining an accurate child support calculate is extremely important and should be reviewed by an attorney. The attorneys at McCart & Tesmer, P.A. are ready to assist in your family matter. For a free consultation please call (813) 498-2757 or email the firm at info@McCartTesmer.com.

Name Change After Divorce

Many individuals, mostly women, struggle with the decision whether to change their last name following a divorce. Some parents want to maintain an identifiable last name with their children while the children remain in school; however, waiting to change a name after the divorce can be costly. Either way, it is up to the spouse changing his/her name to decide if and when to change their last name, even over the objection of the other spouse whose surname is being kept.

What happens when a parent keeps his/her last name at the conclusion of the divorce and later decides to change it? If the last name was not formally changed in the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (Florida’s version of a Divorce Decree), a Petition for Name Change must be filed with the Court in the county where the Petitioner resides. Additionally, finger prints must be submitted through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement unless the Petitioner is requesting a former name be restored. This process can cost $500.00 or more.

The process for changing a name after divorce can become complicated and the attorneys at McCart & Tesmer, P.A. are ready to help. For a free consultation to discuss your matter please call (813) 498-2757 or email info@McCartTesmer.com.