Monthly Archives: April 2016

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FIRPTA – Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act

What is the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) and why is it important? Find out in this latest  edition of the Central Florida Legalcast with host Leon Bloder and guest Merideth Nagel.

Close your real estate transaction with an attorney

Today we correct the name of the podcast to “Central Florida Legal Cast” and our host Leon Bloder speaks with co-host Merideth Nagel about the benefits of using an attorney to handle your important real estate transactions and how to avoid many of the problems associated with using a less equipped agency.

 

Real estate sales have never been “easy,” but over the past years, with the proliferation of foreclosures and short-sales, and the new Dodd-Frank and other RESPA regulations, closing real estate transactions has become exponentially more difficult.

According to the American Land Title Association, 30% of all real estate closings involve significant title problems. You’ve worked hard to sell your property, or to find the property perfect for your needs – why would you take a chance with a title company at closing, when you could have an attorney working for you to resolve those title problems, at the same rate, or even less, than title companies charge?

A real estate attorney can be by your side throughout the entire transaction. If problems arise during negotiations, a real estate attorney can help make sure the contract provisions are legally valid and align with your needs and intentions. After the contract is executed a real estate attorney can help explain the results of the title examination, handle any title problems that might be revealed or might arise, and draft all necessary title insurance and closing documents to bring you successfully to closing, again, in many cases for the same price or less than a title company might charge. With an attorney to handle any obstacles that might arise, you can rest easy knowing you are protected. As a professional trained and experienced in the complexities of real estate law, I can help provide you the security you need before and after the closing. Typically I can provide all the services of a title company, plus the added value of legal expertise to handle any and all issues, with better protection for you, a faster and smoother transaction, less worry, and all at a cost no greater than that of a non-lawyer title company.

Call us today for more information on how we can help you complete a successful sale, whether residential or commercial. With almost $65 million in closed volume last year alone, we have the experience to handle any and all issues that may arise, and provide you the best experience possible.

Call today and ask to speak with attorney Merideth Nagel – 352-394-7408. Your consultation for real estate services is free. We look forward to speaking with you.

Alimony Reform in Florida

Join us for this podcast about possible changes in the Florida law surrounding alimony. In this session, host Leon Bloder speaks with attorneys Merideth Nagel and Stephanie Modica about what these changes could mean to the citizens of the great state of Florida.

 

Currently, the Court’s determination of an alimony award is factual and can vary widely from case-to-case. Generally speaking, an alimony award is based on need and ability to pay.

Florida Statutes Section 61.08 outlines the factors a court must consider in awarding alimony. Those factors are:

  • standard of living established during the marriage
  • duration of the marriage
  • age and physical and emotional condition of each party
  • financial resources of each party
  • earning capacity, educational levels, vocational skills and employability of the parties
  • contribution of each party to the marriage
  • responsibilities of each party with regard to any minor children
  • tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award
  • all sources of income available to either party
  • any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties

 

There are currently five types of alimony:

  • Temporary alimony is awarded to support a party during the pendency of a dissolution action and can be modified at any time.
  • Bridge-the-Gap alimony is awarded to assist a party during the transition from married life to single life and is not modifiable.
  • Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to help a party establish a capacity for self-support.
  • Durational alimony is awarded for a set period of time.
  • Permanent alimony is only terminated by the death or remarriage of the party receiving alimony and is awarded only in long-term or moderate-term marriages.

 

Generally, a change in circumstances is needed to modify a rehabilitative, durational and/or permanent alimony award. Alimony is also, generally, taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payor for tax purposes.

The alimony reform bill, which has currently passed both the House and Senate, makes considerable changes to how alimony is determined in Florida. Similar to how child support is calculated, the reform requires courts to use a formula to determine alimony awards. That formula is 0.015 times the number of years married, multiplied by the difference in gross income of the divorcing couple on the low end. On the high end, that multiplier number rises to 0.02. The range is designed to give judges some discretion. The duration of payments would be between 0.25 times the number of years married to 0.75 times the number of years married. It effectively abolishes permanent alimony.

For example, if one partner makes $100,000 a year and the other makes $10,000, and they were married for 10 years, the alimony payment would be between $13,500 and $18,000 a year. A judge can deviate from the formula, but must specifically delineate the reasons for doing so.

Additionally, the bill requires that time-sharing schedules start with a premise of an approximately equal amount of time with each parent. While the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar supports the alimony reform, they are not in favor of the time-sharing proposal.

The bill is set to apply only to divorces filed on or after October 1, 2016 and will not apply retroactively. However, it will apply retroactively to any modification sought.

Proponents of the bill argue that it will provide uniformity in alimony awards. Critics say that it disproportionately negatively affects women. The reform very clearly reduces judicial discretion. Governor Scott has yet to make a decision regarding the bill, though he vetoed a similar bill a few years ago.

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