Florida Women's Law Group - December 2018

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WOMEN’S

Advocate December 2018

THE GREATEST GIFT

Unfortunately, our firm is pretty busy this time of year. It’s not surprising — the pressure the holiday season puts on parents can bring long- simmering issues in a marriage to a boil. My team and I will always be proud to represent the women who come to us for aid during this trying time. Still, it’s heartbreaking to see so many families adjust to their new reality in the midst of the holidays. Indeed, this can be an especially painful time of year for divorced parents. Many mothers have expressed to me that even the act of Christmas shopping becomes almost a competition with their exes. This ramping up of gifts from one parent or the other is something I saw in my own childhood and can hopefully shed some insight on. Of course, my opinion may be slightly warped, considering I was the one benefiting from all the presents. I tell most mothers I represent to expect their exes to become “Mr. Dad.” Often, a divorce tends to be a bit of a wakeup call for fathers. While they may have not been as attentive to their children during the marriage, many men put the extra effort into being there for their children after the legal dust has settled. I understand why this can be frustrating or even painful for mothers. It can feel like he’s trying to start a competition for your children’s love. But as someone who watched her own father become Mr. Dad, I can safely say that this isn’t always the case. My dad spoiled my brother and me, especially when Christmas came around. Each time we spent the holidays with him, we each got stacks of presents larger than ourselves. Even today, I marvel at how good a shopper my father was.

Whatever the latest trends were for kids, he’d make sure it got under the tree. He even picked out individual wrapping paper for each of his kids and stepkids. This was Mr. Dad in full force. But not once during these holidays did my dad try to draw comparisons between our Christmases with him and those with my mother. In fact, he never said a negative word about her. Looking back, all those gifts were probably his effort to reconcile with my brother and me in his own way. More than anything, he just loved to make us smile. And it’s not like Christmases with our mother weren’t special. The presents may not have been as showy, sure — she was working her tail off just to afford tuition. But those holidays with her were spent surrounded by some of the most inspiring women I had in my life, including my loving grandmother and fun-loving aunt. Everyone in my mom’s family approached the holiday with joy and excitement that was contagious to my brother and me. Even as a little girl, I never felt like these Christmases were a letdown, just a different experience equally filled with love and laughter. If your ex is going through his own Mr. Dad transition this holiday season, here’s my advice to you: Ultimately, his motives don’t matter. Maybe he’s trying to make things a competition, or maybe he’s just genuinely trying to give your children a great experience. Either way, a child’s love can’t be bought. So long as you approach your own holiday traditions with joy, your kids will follow suit.

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Love can’t be bought, but it’s the greatest gift of all,

“LOOKING BACK, ALL THOSE GIFTS WERE PROBABLY HIS EFFORT TO RECONCILE WITH MY BROTHER AND ME IN HIS OWN WAY. MORE THAN ANYTHING, HE JUST LOVED TO MAKE US SMILE.”

-Heather Qu ick

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Is Love at First Sight Real?

What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love

The idea of love at first sight is wonderfully romantic. Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. There’s an instant, magnetic attraction, and suddenly they’ve found their match for all of eternity. In a world in which dating often requires a lot of work — work that comes with disappointment, rejection, and uncertainty — falling in love at first sight has strong appeal. But can it actually happen? Can your eyes tell you anything about love?

of heroic epics and fanciful fairy tales. And evidence has increasingly shown that the human brain is hard-wired to both display and notice visual cues when gazing at a potential love interest. Enlarged pupils are one such cue. When you survey a person or object you are interested in, your brain releases a surge of dopamine — a chemical that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers — which causes your pupils to dilate. In this sense, beauty really is “in the eye of the beholder.” In the last decade, researchers have determined that from a romantic and reproductive standpoint, both men and women are attracted to partners with bigger pupils. Studies demonstrate that when women are at their peak fertility, they might subconsciously be more attracted to a person with sizable pupils because it

The connection between the eyes and love has been described in poetry and prose since time immemorial — it’s the stuff

ESTATE PLANNING FOR THE NEWYEAR

2 Questions You Should Ask Yourself

As 2018 draws to a close, consider reviewing your estate plan, if you haven’t already done so this year. Even if you don’t have any particular changes in mind, it never hurts to examine your documents and keep an eye out for areas you’d like to adjust. This way, you can move into the new year confident that your wishes are up-to-date. As time passes, needs change. Adapting your estate plan to fit new financial or family circumstances is a natural part of the process. When examining your estate plan, begin by asking yourself these two questions. Families grow and change, and so do their needs. Maybe you’ve had a grandchild come into the world and you want to make sure there’s money set aside for their college education. Maybe you were planning on leaving a piece of property to a loved one who no longer lives in-state. Whatever the case, taking the time to make sure your beneficiaries and the assets you plan to leave them match your wishes will save your loved ones plenty of added stress and heartache. IS MY BENEFICIARY INFORMATION ACCURATE?

In some situations, a will can do the job just fine. But in situations where complex assets or the estate tax become a concern, establishing a trust may be a better fit to ensure your estate planning goals are met. An expert Florida estate planning attorney, like the women on our team, can help you understand the options you have available. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have.

DOES MY PLAN FIT MY GOALS?

If your finances have changed significantly in the past few years, it can be a good idea to make sure you have the right plan for preserving your assets.

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Women Speaking Wisely “A good compromise is one where everybody makes a contribution.” –Angela Merkel “Do not commit to the sprint . Commit to the marathon .” –Yulin Lee

could indicate a partner’s attraction to them. Likewise, researchers have reported that men seek out women with dilated pupils due to the association of larger pupils with youth and longevity. The connection between the eyes and enthrallment has inspired some of Shakespeare’s most iconic sonnets, and the science behind our eyes validates some of the Bard’s romantic claims. But does this connection between larger pupils and attraction corroborate the idea of love at first sight? If you believe that attraction equates to true love, then absolutely. But if your definition of love requires a little more depth, then you may have to toss aside the idea of love at first sight and instead view your partner’s eyes as mere “windows” to their soul.

LAST-MINUTE CUSTODY CHANGES

How to Work Things Out for the Holidays For either parent, asking for a change to a custody arrangement for the holidays can be a difficult subject to broach, especially early in the year when the conversation is easy to put off. But now, with the season in full swing, either you or your ex may be feeling the need for a change of plans on short notice. At this point, getting a court hearing to work out a custody change through a judge is unlikely. There tends to be a backlog of these requests, especially during this time of year. However, there are a few options available to parents who find themselves in need of last-minute adjustments. INFORMAL CUSTODY MODIFICATION AGREEMENTS If you are comfortable speaking with your ex about matters of custody, you can reach an agreement without going through the court system. You will, however, need to lay out all the ground rules for this temporary change and reach an agreement you are both happy with. This can be done by putting together a simple document that shows both you and your ex agree to this temporary change to your custody agreement. After you’ve reached a consensus with your ex, write out the details of this arrangement, including when and where each of your children will be spending their holidays and who will pick them up or drop them off during the exchange of custody. You must also include the date of the

agreement and both parents’ signatures. Both parents should keep a copy of this agreement.

MEDIATION THROUGH A LAWYER In cases where civil communication with your ex is difficult, you might consider bringing in a legal representative you trust. A family law attorney can speak with your ex or their legal representative to help find an agreeable solution. Experienced lawyers can often help parents understand what the likely outcome of a court decision would be and guide both parties to an equitable solution. Ideally, your original custody agreement has particular rules regarding holiday custody that both parents can stick to. But life isn’t always perfect, and sometimes special situations crop up. If you need to modify your agreement at the last minute this holiday season, know you have options.

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Inside

Heather’s Advice for the Holidays

What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love

Is Your Estate Plan Ready for 2019?

Holiday Custody Changes

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth With Less Sugar This Holiday Season

SURVIVING THE SEASON OF SWEETS How to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth With Less Sugar Cookies, cakes, and pies, oh my! The holiday season is brimming with sweet treats of all kinds. Sometimes it can feel like candy and sugary desserts are around every corner, and yet you still want to indulge. However, when you consider that over 50 percent of Americans are insulin-resistant, prediabetic, or diabetic, that piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream starts to look more dangerous than appetizing. During the holidays, how can you satisfy your sweet tooth without worrying about consuming excessive sugar and calories? Skip the candy and go for the fruits and nuts. Keeping a bowl of fruit and nuts nearby can help keep sugar cravings at bay. Dried fruits, such as cranberries, pineapple, or apricots, are both sweet and nutritious. Just be sure to check the packaging for added sugars. You can even make your own dried fruit with a food dehydrator.

This way, you are completely in control of the ingredients. No matter what you do, just be mindful not to overindulge. Dried fruit is high in sugar and calories, but the fiber and vitamins make fruit much healthier than just about any other sugary treat. Another way to cut down on your sugar intake is to use dark chocolate in all your chocolate- based treats. Dark chocolate has about half as much sugar as milk chocolate, twice as much healthy fat, less cholesterol, 4–5 times more iron, twice as much potassium, fewer carbs, and more flavonoids and theobromine. The antioxidant

properties of the theobromine and flavonoids make dark chocolate as good for your heart as it is for your soul. If you have a recipe that calls for chocolate, reach for the dark stuff, whether it’s dark chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or baking chocolate. While it may seem as though everyone and their grandma is overindulging in sugar this season, know that you have the choice to opt for healthier sweets. And come New Year’s, you won’t have to spend the first few months of 2019 working off that extra cookie weight.

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