Florida Women's Law Group - January 2020

the

WOMEN’S

Advocate

January 2020

AWHIRLWIND DECADE

What the 2010s Taught Me Here we are, at the start of a new year and a new decade! In some ways, the 2010s seemed to fly by, and, in others, it felt like a lifetime. Looking back over the past 10 years and the life shaping events that they held for my family and I, it’s no surprise that the whole experience has felt like one long blur of activities. After all, this was our firm’s first decade of operation, and so much more. In 2010, the recession was still very much being felt here in Jacksonville. The whole city seemed to be on it’s back foot, our family included. At the time, I was raising my 6- and 4-year-old daughters at home, and had just given birth to my son. With a newborn added to the mix at a time when the whole country was facing economic uncertainty, it was clear that we were going to need a change. And so, later that same year, I started the Florida Women’s Law Group. I’d like to say that I had a clear picture of how this firm was going to evolve and grow, but that wouldn’t be the truth. In those early days I was operating almost purely on survival mode: doing my best to be there for my family and my clients. As much as this made life a hectic whirlwind for my team and I, the end result was more than worth it. To be fair, I did my best not to jump in blind. I’d carved out time for myself to get educated on the ins and outs of running a small business, which more than paid off in the long run. To anyone dreaming of going into business for themselves one day, I cannot emphasize this point enough: there are great mentors out there that want to help you turn your dream into a reality. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and open yourself up to new perspectives. I avoided so many early pitfalls faced by young law firms thanks to those who have shared their experiences and insights. I still had blindspots though. If I could go back and offer myself one piece of advice, it would be to learn to share responsibility early on. I was (and

am) very protective of my clients and had a “if you want something done right, do it yourself ” approach to representing them. This made it hard for me to find the right talent to grow our team, as I was hesitant to hire anyone who didn’t fit my idea of a perfect employee. I still have very high standards, but the past decade has taught me to have a better eye for potential and capability than unrealistic perfection. I wouldn’t ever have imagined our firm would grow to be what it is today, providing the high caliber of service we do to so many women throughout the community. Intellectually, I know it took a lot of stress and sleepless nights to get us here — but the funny thing is, I don’t remember those moments. Looking back, I remember the good times. I’m reminded of the excitement and the milestones that got us from one stage to the next, and the joy that came with serving more and more families. I remember birthdays and family trips, and all the great “firsts” that come with watching your kids grow up. The stress of those desperate early days are all but forgotten — which is something I often try to communicate to my clients. I know from experience that as bad as a situation can seem in the moment, if you keep striving forward to change your future, you won’t dwell on where you started — you’ll focus on how far you’ve come. That’s why I can’t wait for the next ten years. The 2020s will see my kids heading off to college one by one, and our firm’s continued expansion. Sure, there will be challenges and unforeseen road blocks along the way. But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that so long as we remain committed to the people and the work most important to us, these obstacles will become part of the story of our success.

2018 Jacksonville Business Journal Fast 50 2018 Florida Super Lawyers list

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Here’s to your future,

FloridaWomensLawGroup.com -Heather Qu ick

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TRUST FUND Unless Congress takes some drastic actions in the coming months, the current excess trust fund revenue will be depleted by the year 2034. If that happens, Social Security will only be able to pay 79% of the promised benefits from ongoing payroll taxes. You may need to think about what your financial plan would be like with 21% less income. RETIREMENT AGE If you haven’t reached retirement yet, this one is important to consider. If you were born after 1959, the full retirement age is now 67 for you. You’ll still be able to start taking some benefits at age 62, but they’ll be at reduced monthly payments. COST OF LIVING Low inflation means that Social Security benefits will only see a minor cost of living increase. This year, it’s expected to be around 1.6%. It’s not major, but if you’re living off Social Security alone, every penny is important. MAXIMUM BENEFITS Those near the top of the Social Security income scale in 2019 will see an increase in their maximum payout in 2020. The maximum payout for an individual will be capped at $2,861 per month. That translates to $34,332 per year, so consider how that may impact your finances. TAXES How much your benefits are taxed depends on your household income levels. For example, 50% of your benefits will be taxed if you make between $25,000–$34,000 individually or $32,000–$44,000 for married couples. If you’re above that income bracket, then 85% of your benefits will be taxable.

Social Security in 2020

Know What’s Changing

If you’re in the appropriate age bracket, Social Security may play a major role in your finances. So, it’s important to know how Social Security will be changing in 2020. BRIGHT SIDES The Good That Divorce Can Do Divorce may finally be becoming less stigmatized than it’s been in the recent past, but it’s still a very difficult option to consider. Social pressures aside, making such a life change can be scary, frustrating, or even painful. But as hard as getting a divorce can be, being divorced has many upsides that you may not have considered. Here are just a few of the bright sides we’ve helped our clients reach. EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH Being in a loveless or floundering marriage is stressful and unhealthy. Restless nights, anxiety, distrust — these all take their toll on your mind and body. Being able to free yourself from that tension can be a literal weight off your shoulders, helping you eat better, have a more restful sleep, and once again find the time to take care of yourself. understanding of what you are looking for. Having that distance from your past relationship to reflect on it and recognize the problems that existed between you and your ex can help you develop healthier relationships with others. This doesn’t have to be purely romantic either. Knowing the behaviors and personalities you enjoy being around can help you enjoy deeper friendships with those around you. As a plus, this also helps you cut toxic influences out of your life. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS If you do decide to start dating again, you’ll do so with a better

STRENGTH AND SELF-WORTH There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: Divorce is a difficult hurdle to overcome. However, by facing that challenge and embracing your newfound independence, you might be surprised at your own resilience. This is your chance to carve a bold new future for yourself and be the master of your own destiny. Discovering or rediscovering this inner strength can be liberating. There may still be heartache and tough days in the wake of a divorce. But make no mistake, there are more than just small silver linings waiting for you at the end of this process. Ending a negative relationship can be your first step towards a brighter future.

2 Florida Women’s Law Group | 904-549-6553

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“Though we have the courage to raise our daughters more like our sons, we’ve rarely had the courage to raise our sons like our daughters.” –Gloria Steinem Women Speaking Wisely

THINGS CHANGE

6 Signs that You Should Modify Your Alimony Agreement Going from “married” to “single” can be difficult for many reasons. As divorcees work through the emotional turmoil, they must also handle financial changes. Shifting to a single-income household can be difficult, especially for the spouse who makes a lower income. This is why awards of spousal support — better known as alimony — are a huge part of divorce. Settling on an appropriate alimony award can be difficult enough, but what happens when time passes and circumstances change? If you or your ex find yourselves in very different circumstances than you were during your divorce, can you renegotiate your alimony award? 6 REASONS TO MODIFY YOUR ALIMONY AGREEMENT If your divorce settlement included an alimony award, then that award can be modified if there is a “substantial change” in the circumstances of the party paying alimony, the party receiving alimony, or both. In Florida, substantial changes that would justify modification include:

Typically, alimony modification is necessary after any substantial increase or decrease of expenses or income of either party. However, certain factors, like the expenses of a second marriage or voluntarily quitting a job, would not be grounds for alimony modification. Additionally, if your divorce settlement did not include alimony, or you agreed to a non- modification alimony, then you will not be able to modify your alimony no matter what changes occur. It’s important to discuss any changes in your life with your divorce attorney so you can decide whether alimony modification is appropriate or possible. Keep in mind that no matter what circumstances change in your or your ex’s life, property awards cannot be modified. Take care to work with your attorney and make sure this part of your divorce is right to begin with.

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Severe or chronic illness Long-term unemployment

• Financial windfall (inheritance, lottery winnings, etc.) • A large raise or higher-paying job • Retirement of the paying party • The receiving party gaining financial support from a romantic partner

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4312 Pablo Professional Ct. Jacksonville, FL 32224

Inside

Lessons From the 2010s

Changes to Social Security in 2020

Bright Sides to Divorce

Is It Time to Modify Your Alimony Agreement?

These Health Hoaxes Will Sink Your Resolution

MEDICAL MIRACLE OR HEALTH HOAX?

3 Red Flags to Watch Out For

The new year is a great time to make your health a priority again, and there are a bunch of workouts and diet plans to choose from. Too many, some might say. It can be difficult to determine exactly which health plan will help you reach your goals, but there are some pretty obvious red flags that you’ll want to avoid. BEWARE THE DREADED ‘DETOX’ Plenty of diets, supplements, and products claim to “purify” your body by removing unspecified “toxins.” These “detoxes” conveniently forget that your kidneys and liver are already removing substances your body doesn’t need! The human body has been capable of cleansing itself for thousands of years. It doesn’t need a special smoothie or footpads to get the job done. Most detox products are nothing but snake oil, and some of them can leave you feeling worse than you did before you started using them. Unless you have been diagnosed with a disease

that would impair your liver or kidneys, you don’t need to spend extra money to keep your insides clean. A healthy diet is enough. CELLULITE ISN’T REAL In 1968, Vogue magazine introduced American women to the word “cellulite,” warning them of a terrible “diagnosed” condition women suffered from. They encouraged the use of a special rolling pin to banish the little lumps of fat on women’s thighs and buttocks. Since then, cellulite has been used as shorthand to mean “bad body fat you need to remove.” But cellulite is not an indication of poor health. Furthermore, there’s no cure for cellulite because it’s not a disease. It would be like using a special lotion that claims it can remove the wrinkled skin on your knuckles! Most people, especially women, have cellulite. It’s perfectly natural!

This is a clear indication these treatments aren’t based on real medical science.

CURE-ALLS CURE NOTHING A “cure-all” is any product, treatment, or diet that claims to cure a bunch of unrelated medical problems. Cure-alls have been a problem for centuries, claiming to help with weight loss, migraines, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and even baldness! This isn’t how medicine or the human body works. One change cannot magically fix many different, sometimes unrelated, problems. A good way to determine if something is a cure-all is to check if it claims to help treat, prevent, or cure cancer. That’s a big red flag you want to avoid.

If you want to get in shape this year, avoid diets or products that claim to melt cellulite.

4 Florida Women’s Law Group | 904-549-6553

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