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2020 Divorce Statistics and the Impact of COVID-19

With the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 still plaguing much of the world, divorce rates have skyrocketed in 2020. According to the National Law Review, as many as 20% of all couples who have been married for less than five months sought out a divorce during the early months of the pandemic. More startling, divorce rates went up by as much as 34% by April 2020. But what is really behind this trend, and what does it mean for those looking to get divorced during a health crisis? After years of counseling divorcing couples, the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC is poised...

Pros and Pitfalls of a Ladybird Estate

The Ladybird Estate got its delightful name after the late wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Ladybird Johnson. Her real name was Claudia Alta, and her late husband’s bequest of their homestead set the stage for the nickname of an estate planning document also dubbed the “Life Estate.” But what exactly is a life estate, and should you be using one to avoid probate?  What is a Life Estate? Whenever someone deeds a property to another, they can do so in several ways. First, they can opt to grant the receiver everything – the whole package, so to speak. This...

Do I Need to Probate an Estate in Florida?

One of the simplest, yet most common questions estate planning lawyers get is, “Will I need to probate my estate?” The answer is relatively simple, yet complicated at the same time. At Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC, we are a faith-based law firm, guided by principles of law and heartfelt devotion to Christ. As such, we see one’s final wishes in a different way than many attorneys. We understand that there is often far more to one’s final estate than dollars and cents. Sometimes, matters of conscience are just as important. So, when deciding whether a probate estate will be needed,...

How Do Florida Courts Determine Custody?

Florida courts, like most state courts in the country, look to the “best interests of the children” when determining issues of custody. Florida no longer considers it custody. Rather, it is discussed as shared parenting time and responsibilities. There are several key reasons for changing the language of custody in recent years, but the key takeaway should be that courts no longer view custody as an “all or nothing” proposition. It is not a matter of “who gets the kids,” but rather how much time each parent will have and what duties and rights each parent will have. In reaching...

Saving the Florida Small Business During COVID-19

Since March 2020, COVID-19 has kept much of America on lock-down. With ups and downs along the way, small family-owned businesses have struggled to stay open, while complying with rapidly evolving rules and local mandates. Florida has been a hotspot at times, with higher than normal infection rates, leading to a lot of concerns about extended harm to businesses and the likelihood of the shutdown lasting indefinitely. At The Sejour-Gustave Law Firm PLLC, our attorneys remain devoted to protecting and preserving small businesses in our region, even in these difficult times. Planning for Business Succession Succession planning is always a...

Can I Afford a Divorce as the Victim of Domestic Violence?

Perhaps the most devastating part of domestic violence for so many victims is that leaving seems impossible. Whether it is the psychological toll that domestic violence can take on its victims or the high financial cost of freedom, many victims do not feel they have the resources or power to fight back and get free from the abusive partner. The truth is that most people are able to break the cycle effectively once they get legal assistance from a professional. So, how does one afford a divorce when going through domestic violence? Step One. Acknowledge the Power of a Protective...

How MacKenzie Scott Became the Richest Woman in the World by Divorcing Jeff Bezos

The headlines are outrageous and filled with scandal. A woman has become incredibly wealthy simply by getting divorced. If one were to read the headlines, they may get the impression that this woman has somehow fallen into luck and capitalized on her husband’s success. So, just how exactly did MacKenzie Scott manage to receive such a significant financial windfall in her divorce, and what lessons should every divorcing woman and man learn from this story? The Real Scoop Most news stories focus on the $68 Billion fortune that she now possesses, but long before there was a fortune, and long...

Moving for a New Spouse’s Job After a Divorce

So, you are divorced and have children by your ex-spouse; however, you have recently begun dating someone or re-married, and that new partner has an incredible job opportunity across the country in another state. What do you do? You know the new opportunity could change life for you and your children forever, but it would mean the kids not seeing your ex nearly as much. Can you up and move? If you move without permission, what is the harm? How do you convince your ex it is the right thing for the kids? These are among some of the more...

Five Common Challenges in Adoptions

For those seeking to adopt a child, there are three primary ways it can be done. Each has its pros and cons. First, there is a traditional adoption. This is where an adoptive parent or parents contact an agency or find a private individual seeking to place a child for adoption, and the parties reach an agreement. Second, there are international adoptions. Finally, there are foster adoptions. Each has a unique set of challenges. However, in all situations, there are a few common challenges that potential adoptive parents should understand before making the commitment to bring a new child into...

Estate Planning Basics for the Family Owned Business

Few things in life can bring more joy and satisfaction than owning a business. It can provide flexibility, autonomy, and a great income for generations. Successful family-owned businesses often are handed down to children and grandchildren, creating legacies as well as wealth. But business owners face more complex questions when preparing their final affairs. Unlike most Americans, small business owners have added concerns about who will take over the business, how the business will be run after they are gone, and what would happen to the business if they became incapacitated in some way. These and more are issues that...

Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Get Divided in Divorce?

Divorce can strike at the most inopportune times in one’s life. Starting a brand-new business? Illness? Loss of loved ones? While we can always try to delay the inevitable, divorce can happen no matter what unfortunate events are taking place in your life. A workers’ compensation claim may be pending at the time of your divorce, as well. When a worker’s compensation claim is pending, many people are expecting funds to help them pay medical bills and get by until they are able to return to work. So, should they have to share those future anticipated funds with a spouse...

Understanding Relocation in Florida’s Divorce Courts

The average American, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will hold about 12 jobs in a lifetime. This is markedly more jobs than most people would have had just 30 or 40 years ago. Changing workforce requirements, educational opportunities, women working outside the home, and changing corporation structures all play a big role in this. However, one thing is definitely certain, if you have a custody order in place and are offered a phenomenal job opportunity that would require relocation, you are in a catch-22. Florida law does not make it easy to simply pick up and move if...

What is a Q-Tip Trust, and Does it Make Sense for Your Family?

Lawyers love a good abbreviation. The Q-Tip or “Qualified Terminable Interest Trust” is a tool that Florida estate planning lawyers can deploy when trying to protect the long-term growth of a family’s estate. In general, under a Q-Tip Trust, when one spouse passes away, his or her trust assets remain invested, while the income from the trust is payable to the surviving spouse for the remainder of that person’s life. After the second spouse passes away, the remaining funds are distributed to other heirs as indicated in the trust. One may read this and think it is too simple. After...

Five Signs of the COVID Custody Grab

In uncertain times, people do unusual things. In family courts across the country, people are trying to deal with how to handle the pandemic when determining custody and parenting time. Attorneys and courts are ill-equipped, because a pandemic of this magnitude has not occurred in our lifetimes. For those in south Florida who are trying to resolve a family law matter, this can be an immensely stressful time. Fortunately, a dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer might be able to help make sense of your rights and guide you through keeping as much time as possible with your children.  One particular...

S Corp Problems: Are You Set Up for Success?

Many small business owners struggle when starting out. There are a lot of reasons for this, but perhaps the most common early pitfall is setting up the business with the wrong foundation. While a good accountant is a necessity for any business, what they think is best for you may not actually be the best for your business. In particular, many CPAs will advise small business owners to set their company up as an S Corp. While this is generally a great idea for some companies, it is not always your best option. When it comes to long-term success for...

Why Non-Offending Parents Must Act Quickly When Children are Taken by the State

There is perhaps nothing scarier for a parent than discovering that your child has been removed from the home and placed into the care and custody of the State of Florida. Often, this occurs when parents are separated or divorced, and the child is with the other parent at the time of removal. Consider this example: You are separated and your ex-partner has the children for the weekend. You receive a phone call from a Child Protective Services worker late in the evening on Saturday, explaining that your children have been taken into care. You are then served with notice...

Religious Liberty Gets a Huge Victory at Supreme Court

America has a long and proud tradition of upholding individual liberties, including perhaps one of the most precious liberties – the right and freedom to worship as one chooses. Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, this freedom is clearly and unequivocally preserved. In a landmark decision earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a remarkable victory to a Catholic order of nuns whose religious faith prohibited them from supporting insurance coverage for contraceptives. At the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC, we are carefully monitoring the progress of these issues, as they directly relate to the rights of all...

The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Valuation of Divorce Assets

Besides washing our hands frequently and considering wearing a mask when you go out in public, COVID-19 has impacted countless aspects of our lives. For one, the pandemic has significantly disrupted the US economy as well as weakened financial markets and caused the unemployment rate to go up substantially. As far as Florida divorces and the equitable distribution of marital assets are involved, the valuation of assets is a critical role in the resolution of the end of marriages. If your divorce involves the valuation of businesses or other assets, the potential for unjust results exists given the significant economic...
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