Air Force leads all service branches in divorce rate

On behalf of Law Office Of Curtis R. Cowan posted in Military Divorce on Friday, May 2, 2014.

According to a recent report, the U.S. Air Force has had the highest rates of divorce of all the service branches since 2011. Constant military action and its effects have had a negative impact on the family life of service members. In an attempt to combat a higher divorce rate than the general population, the Air Force is adapting a new type of marriage check that will be rolled into medical check-ups.

The idea behind this initiative is that marital happiness relates back to physical and mental health and should be treated as a health issue. By regularly checking on marital satisfaction the hope is that issues can be headed off and resolved before they end the marriage. Other avenues for coping with a military marriage have sprung up in the form of online help groups. These groups are comprised of not only military spouses telling their stories, but also include doctors and PhD’s who teach things such as how to spot PTSD in spouses.

While the new marriage check may make a difference for many, even extra help may not save every military marriage. Unfortunately, the same difficult issues that can make a military marriage harder to maintain than others can make a military divorce just as challenging. Most states have residence requirements that must be met before a divorce can be heard or granted. In Florida, a person must reside in the state for six months before they can file a petition. But, if the military spouse is on active duty, the divorce can be postponed for up to 60 days after the spouse returns from duty.

Sometimes a marriage can be saved from whatever it is that ails it, but other times the marriage has run its course and both parties will be better off when it ends. Knowing when to stay and when to leave is something that only those involved in the marriage can decide.

Source: Air Force Times, “Divorce and the Air Force: Who stays married and who doesn’t,” Oriana Pawlyk, April 28, 2014

Florida law limits influence of foreign court’s rulings

On behalf of Law Office Of Curtis R. Cowan posted in High-Asset Divorce on Friday, May 9, 2014.

The United States has 50 states and all of them have their own divorce laws and particular way of doing things. While all these courts must bend to federal law in cases involving military divorces, some legislators have become wary of the possibility of courts applying foreign law in divorce cases. Florida, like a small number of other states, has written and passed measures aimed at narrowing the ability of judges to apply foreign law.

After passing with a 78-40 vote, a bill regarding the ability of judges to recognize rulings and agreements involving divorce, custody, alimony and child support awards issued by foreign courts, made its way to Governor Rick Scott for his approval. The bill has been a source of contention as Democrats believe the bill isn’t needed and current law is sufficient to address the new bill’s concerns. Supporters of the law say it will help speed up family law cases that involve a foreign element.

Federal law trump states laws, and this includes certain treaties that the United States has ratified as law. Supporters of the bill say its aim is to make it easier to determine whether prenuptial agreements, divorce decrees and other rulings can be enforced or considered in a ruling made by a Florida judge. This can become important in cases where a complex asset division will take place and the laws differ for things such as prenuptial agreements, comingles property or even the definition of equitable distribution.

If the law is signed it may have the intended effect of making family law cases easier for judges to decide. It may also cause many in the world to view Florida as xenophobic.

Source: Greenwichtime, “Bill prohibits foreign family law in state courts” Steve Miller, May 1, 2014

Congressman seeks annulment from wife for bigamy

On behalf of Law Office Of Curtis R. Cowan posted in High-Asset Divorce on Friday, May 16, 2014.

There is no safe zone for a marriage. Today’s society puts great importance in making it past certain benchmarks in marriage such as the first, fifth and tenth year of marriage. Making it past the so-called hard years is suppose to be a sign the marriage will last, but the recent surge of grey divorces shows that marriages can end at any point even after the 25th or 50th anniversary.

Florida congressman Rep. Alan Grayson filed for divorce from his wife of 24 years. While the end of a 24 year long marriage is notable, the reason for the divorce is what’s unique in the present situation. The congressman has accused his wife of bigamy claiming that she was married to another man for the first four years of their marriage. Grayson is seeking to annul the marriage that lasted 24 years and produced five children. Alan, the eleventh richest man in congress, is asking for custody of the couple’s four minor children.

Florida has no actual law regarding annulments and relies on precedent set by its appellate courts when determining whether a couple can annul their marriage or not. There are many grounds that make a marriage voidable but only a few reasons including bigamy which makes a marriage void from the moment it started. A void marriage can bring about issues with child custody as they are not considered legitimate. The court takes a hands-off approach with issues such as property division and retirement benefits instead requiring the parties to divide the property and return to the financial position they would have been in if single.

If one qualifies, an annulment may make complex property division less of a task for those couples with extensive and hard to separate property. The main difference between divorce and annulment is that divorce ends a marriage while an annulment proclaims there never was a legal marriage.

Source: Daily News, “Florida Rep. Alan Grayson accuses wife of bigamy in divorce papers” Adam Edelman, April 29, 2014

View star heads for divorce amidst fight over prenup

On behalf of Law Office Of Curtis R. Cowan posted in Prenuptial Agreements on Thursday, May 22, 2014.

Marriage is easy for some, while for others it is a complicated mess made worse by any number of outside factors. The chaos of marriage and disruption of divorce is likely what has made prenuptial agreements so popular in the United States. Like many agreements, prenuptial agreements can include almost any provision a couple can think to include. But to the certain chagrin of some and delight of others, not every provision entered in a prenuptial agreement can be legally enforced.

Sherri Shepherd, star of the View, has filed for divorce from her husband of nearly three years. Prior to the couple marrying, they did what most stars are doing today, i.e. signed a prenuptial agreement. The agreement, which the star’s husband is attempting to have thrown out by the court, detailed how the star’s ten million dollars worth of assets were to be divided in the event of divorce, but also went as far as granting Sherri sole custody of the couple’s expected child. In addition to the provisions originally in the agreement, Sherri’s soon-to-be-ex later wanted to amend the agreement to include provisions that required Sherri to “enjoy sex” and maintain a healthy body weight.

Prenuptial agreements have traditionally been given a wide berth when it comes to what can be included and enforced. Florida, like other states, leaves decisions regarding child support and custody in the hands of the judges. When determining child0-related issues, courts adhere to what is in the “best interest of the child.” This means that provisions waiving child support or giving one parent sole custody can be invalidated and a judge’s decision put in its place.

What can be included in a prenuptial agreement varies somewhat by state. Even though prenuptial agreements aren’t always iron tight, they can provide real security in the event of a divorce.

Source: Hollywood Life, “Sherri Shepherd’s Ex Lamar Sally Wanted Strange Prenup Amendment,” May 17, 2014