Has Your Spouse Changed Their Financial Habits? Divorce Might Be Next!

money

While divorce rates hover around 50% for first time marriages (and higher than that for subsequent unions), the reasons for splitting up often center around finances. Disagreements over what to spend and how much to save are often blamed for the failure of a relationship.

But finances play another role in divorce, too, according to a recent report in Barron’s. A change in financial behavior might signal that divorce is on the horizon.

Things to look out for?

·     Account statements, tax returns or other financial documents go missing.

·     A spouse who has been hands’ off with finances suddenly taking an interest in household money management.

·     One spouse suddenly acquiring new credit lines.

·     Statements from unfamiliar financial institutions begin to arrive, or passwords to existing ones are suddenly changed.

·     Changes in the contribution amounts to retirement accounts without explanation.

While these signs don’t always point to divorce on the horizon, they do at least merit a frank discussion between spouses.

Source: Has Your Spouse Changed Their Financial Habits? Divorce Might Be Next | Robert Hetsler,J.D. CPA,CVA,CFF,FCPA,MAFF,CMAP,PFP | Pulse | LinkedIn

Tips to Consider when Separating

separation

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover but there’s a heck of a lot more to it than just being creative with the word good-bye. More often than not, the way you handle your exit will determine your ex’s entrance — into your wallet, your circle of friends, and the judge’s predisposition on settlement day. Before you win a petty battle only to lose the whole dang war, here are nine tips to arm you for victory where and when it counts!

1. Shut up, zip it, mum’s the word.

“Stay cool. Do not discuss details with friends and relatives, they will only confuse you and your words can be used against you if they get leaked to the opposing camp,” says Joe DuCanto, named by the Leading Lawyer Network as one of the Top 100 Leading Lawyers in Illinois and an Illinois Super Lawyer. “Listen to your lawyer and share details only with him or her.”

2. Always tell the truth.

“Answer questions from the other side truthfully but briefly. Long answers can reveal too much. Always tell the truth, but don’t always be telling it,” advises DuCanto.

3. Don’t handpick your share.

“Telling the other side what you want may lead to handing them leverage to use against you later. If you really want the antique tea set or the newer car, just tell your attorney that, and no one else! Don’t discuss with your spouse what you will take, do, want or need,” says DuCanto. “Leave that to your lawyers.”

4. Don’t shoot the goose.

“Don’t set out to ruin or destroy the other party. If you do, you’ll hurt yourself, the kids, and maybe the goose that used to lay the golden eggs,” warns DuCanto. “Too many husbands go to jail because the wife was angry and spilled the beans.” Much too late, the woman comes to realize that the man can’t pay alimony or child support if he’s behind bars instead of working! The same holds true for men trying to hurt or demean their wives. You might have held all the winning cards if she has a drinking problem or cheated on you, but you’ll blow it if you come across as abusive verbally, emotionally or physically.

5. Do think of you first.

“It’s easy to cave to the emotions of the moment and agree to too much trying to assuage your guilt or ensure the kids have enough. But that strategy can backfire and leave you destitute in the long-term. Forget about anything other than yourself; no more Mister Nice Guy,” says DuCanto. “If you take care of number one, all the rest will follow.” Think of it like the airplane drill where you are told to put your oxygen mask on first, and then your kid’s. The thought process is the same: you cannot help your kids if you are out of commission. Tend to yourself first; you can always give your kids more later as you can afford it. for starters.”

6. Don’t second guess the process.
“Do you even have grounds for divorce? Have you lived in your state long enough to meet the residency requirements? These are important questions you need to ask an attorney BEFORE you tell your spouse you are leaving,” says Mark Guralnick, a veteran divorce attorney licensed to practice in seven states and four countries. He is also author of six books on divorce. Spending time with a lawyer will enable you to negotiate with your spouse more knowledgeably.”

7. Accept the change.

“No matter how you cut it, one-half of something is not greater than the original sum. Mentally prepare to adjust your lifestyle following divorce,” advises Steve Rhode, President of Myvesta.org, a non-profit consumer debt assistance service. “When two people split there is often a change in the financial power of each newly separated spouse.”

8. Do watch the money.

“When you know separation is in the near future, think about dividing any cash available into separate sole accounts,” says Rhode. “I just had a client last week where the wife cleaned out the joint account before she left.” Separating the money, or at least starting an individual bank account with your next paycheck can contain your losses. If your spouse does clean you out, keep a journal and bank records to show to the judge later. Most courts accept journals as evidence which can help your case dramatically. It can also help your memory if you have to take the stand in court.

9. Do collect vital information.

“Inventory all debts; margin investment accounts, credit cards, auto loans, auto leases, personal loans, loans made to others,” says Thomas Duffy, CFP and president of Jersey Shore Financial Advisors, LLC. “Also get copies of credit reports on both spouses; credit card statements for last few years showing spending patterns for each; copies of tax returns for last two to three years; pay stubs for last several months;detailed employment history for both spouses indicating benefits such as deferred compensation, health care in retirement or other retiree benefits. For contested split-ups photographic evidence, for example, videotape, of hard assets, detailed records showing large and or unusual asset movements, withdrawals etc., need to be gathered too,” he says.

Source:  Wevorce

Divorce and Tax Filing Status

tax return divorce

http://divorcetransitionalsupportadvisor.com/tax-issues-and-divorce-part-2/Tax law distinguishes filing status because filing requirements, certain credits and above-the-line deductions, tax brackets, and the standard deduction depend on the filing status. Additionally, filing status determines the income threshold for which Social Security is taxed.

The main purpose of grouping taxpayers according to filing status is based on the presumption that, with the same income, single people can afford to pay a higher tax rate than those with children and, by allowing joint filing, it simplifies tax filing for married couples. There are 5 filing statuses:

  1. Single
  2. Head of Household
  3. Married Filing Jointly
  4. Married Filing Separately (MFS)
  5. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child

Filing status determines what standard deduction you may take and the boundaries of the income tax brackets for which your taxable income is determined. Because the 15% tax bracket depends on filing status, filing status also determines the tax rate on qualified dividends and capital gains, since if the taxpayer’s tax bracket is 15% or less, then there is no tax. This tax rate also applies for the alternative minimum tax calculation.

Single Status

State law determines single status but it is sometimes modified by federal law. Generally, single means unmarried, divorced or legally separated at the end of the tax year. Taxpayers filing as single or as married filing separately pay the highest tax rates.

taxHead of Household Status

The head of household status can be claimed if:

  • you are unmarried, or are considered unmarried, by year-end,
  • you paid more than ½ of the expenses for maintaining a household,
  • you provided more than 50% support for a child, parent, or other qualifying relative, and who, except for a parent, lived with you for more than ½ year, and
  • you were a United States citizen or resident for the entire year.

A qualifying child or relative must be legally related to you. Hence, boyfriends, girlfriends, or their children do not qualify you for head of household status even if they live with you and you provide more than ½ of their support.

You are considered unmarried if you are:

  • single at the end of the tax year
  • legally separated or divorced under a final court decree by the end of the tax year
    • Note that the court decree must be final; provisional decrees for custody or support do not qualify as a legal separation.
  • married but lived apart from your spouse during the last 6 months of the tax year
  • married to a spouse who was a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year and you did not elect to file a joint return, reporting your joint worldwide income

In determining whether a child lives with you for more than ½ year, temporary absences, such as vacation or when the child stays with the other parent pursuant to a child custody agreement does not count. If a dependent dies before the end of the tax year, head of household status can still be claimed if the taxpayer provided more than ½ of the cost of maintaining the household before the dependent’s death. A parent may be claimed as a dependent if you paid more than ½ of your parent’s household expenses, even if the parent lives elsewhere.

Household expenses include utilities, repairs, mortgage interest, property taxes, rent, property insurance, domestic help, and food eaten within the home, but does not include the cost of clothing, education, medical expenses, life insurance, vacation costs, or any provided transportation. In other words, expenses that are specifically for the individual are generally not included: only expenses for the household are counted. Moreover, you cannot count the value of your work around the home, since it is too easy to overstate its value.

Abandoned spouse rules allow a taxpayer who was abandoned by her spouse to file as head of household. Congress enacted these rules because otherwise the separated parent may be forced to use unfavorable tax rates if she has to file married filing separately. To qualify as an abandoned spouse, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • you did not file a joint return
  • you can claim the child, stepchild, or adopted child as a dependent
  • your qualified dependent lived with you for more than ½ year
  • you paid for more than ½ of household expenses during the last 6 months of the tax year
  • your spouse did not live in the home during the last 6 months of the tax year

As a custodial parent, you can allow your ex-spouse to claim 1 or more of your dependents without giving up your head of household status, which may be advantageous if your ex-spouse is in a higher income tax bracket, but whose income is still below the phase-out limit for claiming dependent deductions or who is not subject to the alternative minimum tax, which is not reduced by exemptions. Who claims who can be changed from year to year, between you and your ex-spouse, but the noncustodial parent must file Form 8332 (Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent) for every year that he claims the exemption, and you must also sign the form.

Married Filing Jointly or Separatelytax return divorce

For spouses who live in a separate property state, a joint filing saves on taxes, if 1 spouse earns most of the household income. In community property states or if earnings are more equal, then taxes should be calculated for both a joint and separate filing to determine which yields the lowest taxes. Although the tax brackets for married filing separately are lower for incomes above $34,500, filing separately allows larger amounts of medical expenses, casualty losses and miscellaneous deductions to be deducted because these deductions must exceed a certain percentage of adjusted gross income, which would be lower for a spouse filing separately, especially if they both earned substantial sums of money. However, a disadvantage of filing separately is that both spouses must either itemize deductions or claim the standard deduction. Furthermore, MFS filers cannot claim either the deduction for college tuition expenses or the student loan interest deduction.

Certain tax benefits are only available to joint filers, especially if 1 spouse has little or no income. For instance, the working spouse can claim an IRA deduction for a nonworking spouse. Although a couple filing separately can claim an IRA contribution, the phaseout limit for a married person filing separately is $10,000 of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), which, for most individuals, is equal to adjusted gross income. Since this is much less than what most people earn, filing separately effectively eliminates IRA deductions. For couples filing separately, the alternative minimum tax exemption and the right to deduct up to $3,000 of net capital losses against other income is ½ of the amount available to joint and other filers. Moreover, a spouse filing separately may not claim the

Additionally, 85% of Social Security benefits are includable in gross income for married couples who file separately, and disadvantageous premium surcharge rules for Medicare Part B and Part D premiums apply to spouses filing separately who live together at any time during the year.

Spouses can file a joint return only if:

  • their tax years begin on the same date
  • they are married and not legally separated on the last day of the tax year
  • neither is a nonresident alien during the tax year, unless the nonresident alien is willing to be taxed on his worldwide income and supply all the necessary information to determine tax liability. If a nonresident alien earns a considerable income outside of the United States, then the couple should not file a joint return, since the nonresident’s global income will be subject to United States tax.

A married-filing-separately return can be amended to a joint return by filing Form 1040X, Amended U. S. Individual Income Tax Return within 3 years of the original due date, without extensions, of the separate returns. However, the reverse is not true: separate returns cannot be amended to a joint return unless one spouse is deceased, in which case, the executor of the estate has one year from the due date plus extensions to change a joint filing to a separate filing.

Both spouses must sign a joint return. If a spouse is incapacitated and unable to sign, then the other spouse can sign for the disabled spouse by writing the disabled spouse’s name followed by the words “by (signer’s name), Husband or Wife, whichever the case may be, while supplying the following information:

  • tax year for the filing
  • type of form being filed
  • reason why the other spouse cannot sign, and
  • the other spouse has consented to the signing

If a spouse is in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous duty area, then the other spouse can sign the joint return for both by simply attaching a signed explanation to the return. If the other spouse is simply unavailable, such as being out of the country, then a spouse can sign for the absent spouse with a power of attorney from the absent spouse: IRS Form 2848, Power Of Attorney and Declaration of Representative may be used for the authorization.

Even if both spouses did not sign the joint return and the signing spouse did not act as an agent for the other spouse, the courts have ruled that such a joint filing will still be valid if:

  • the other spouse’s income was included in the return
  • the information provided in the return conforms to the intention that it be a joint return
  • the other spouse agreed that the filing spouse would handle the tax return, and
  • the other spouse’s failure to sign can be explained

On the joint return, both spouses have liability for unpaid taxes plus interest and penalties. Joint liability may be avoided under innocent spouse rules if the other spouse is largely responsible for understating tax. If a spouse filed a joint return but is divorced or separated from the other spouse on the joint filing, then the spouse could petition the IRS for separation of liability treatment. A separation of liability request will also be necessary if the correct tax was reported but not paid.

If you suspect that your spouse may be cheating, it may be prudent to file separately, since by doing so, joint-and-several liability for unpaid taxes plus interest and penalties on a joint return will be avoided.

Same-Sex Marriage Is Now Legal in All 50 States

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry”, thereby legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country. Henceforth, they will enjoy all of the benefits (and drawbacks) of marriage. Note, however, that registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar relationships that are still recognized under state law, but are not considered marriages under that law, will not be treated as marriages under federal tax law. IRS.gov: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals of the Same Sex Who Are Married Under State Law

If a spouse dies, then, under certain conditions, the surviving spouse can still file a joint return for up to 2 years after the death of the spouse: Filing a Tax Return for a Deceased Taxpayer.

Nonresident Alien Spouse

If one spouse is a US citizen or resident alien by year-end, and the other spouse is a nonresident alien, then a joint return may be filed by choosing a special election to treat the nonresident alien spouse as a US resident, allowing both spouses to be taxed on their worldwide income. If the nonresident alien becomes a resident during the tax year, and the other spouse is a US citizen, then the special election must be made to file jointly. Records must be maintained on worldwide income that are available for review by the IRS.

The election is made by attaching a signed statement indicating that both spouses agree to be treated as US residents for the year. The election will apply to the tax year for which the return was filed and all later years until it is revoked by either spouse or it is suspended or terminated under IRS rules. The election is suspended if either spouse is not a US resident during the year; the suspension can be ended when either spouse becomes a US resident again. The election can be terminated by the IRS if:

  • adequate records are not maintained on worldwide income
  • if the spouses are legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, or
  • if 1 of the spouses dies, in which case, if the surviving spouse is a US citizen or resident and has a child, then the surviving spouse can file as a qualifying widow or widower, allowing a joint return to be filed for up to 2 years after the year of death.

If the election is terminated, then neither spouse can ever again file jointly as a couple.

Community Property States

In community property states — Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Alaska, if community property status was selected — all of the income earned by the spouses during their marriage is considered equally earned by each spouse. Spouses can also own separate property, which is property that they acquired before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance. In most community property states, the income produced by separate property is separate income of the spouse that owns the property. However, in Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin, the income produced by separate property is considered community property and, thus, must be apportioned half-and-half to each spouse. Note that registered domestic partners in California, Nevada, and Washington are subject to federal income tax community property rules, so even though they are not legally married under state law, they must report half of the combined community property income on their separate returns.

Spouses that file separately must report ½ of their community income and claim ½ of their deductions on their separate returns. So if the wife earns $100,000 and the husband earns $50,000, then each spouse is considered to have earned $75,000, which must be reported on their tax returns. Additionally, Form 8958, Allocation of Tax Amounts Between Certain Individuals in Community Property States must be filed to show the allocation between community income and deductions and separate income and deductions.

After the death of a spouse, any income earned by a surviving spouse is treated as separate income, but any income earned from community property is still subject to the community property rules.

If the couple is separated, then community income rules may not apply, since it may be difficult for 1 spouse to know the income of the other. In these cases, income will be attributed to the one that actually earns it if the following conditions apply:

  • there was no transfer of funds between the 2 spouses except for child support payments;
  • the individuals lived apart for the entire year; and
  • they did not file a joint return.

Innocent spouse rules apply to community property, where a spouse filing a separate return may be relieved of tax liability on community income attributed to the other spouse if the taxpayer could not have reasonably been expected to know about the community income earned by the other spouse. However, innocent spouse rules do not apply if the spouses lived apart for the entire tax year and file separate returns, since community property rules will not apply, so they will only be reporting their own income.

When a married couple moves from a common law state to a community property state, separate property remains separate property, but any subsequent earned income or property bought with such income is treated as community property. After moving from a community property state to a common-law state, community property continues to be treated as such until it is sold or reinvested, whence it is treated as separate property.

22 Divorce Experts Share What They’ve Learned About Divorce –

divorce couples

No matter your status…thinking about divorce, going through a divorce or moving on after a divorce, there will be work to be done on your part. Your own words, actions and thoughts undoubtedly play a role

 divorce couples

If you’ve made the decision to divorce your first priority should be creating a process that is beneficial to all parties involved. According to the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, divorce is far and away the most stressful life event, other than loss of a loved one to death, that we can experience.

No matter your status…thinking about divorce, going through a divorce or moving on after a divorce, there will be work to be done on your part. Whether you end up in tears or with a satisfying post-divorce life depends on countless factors. Your own words, actions and thoughts undoubtedly play a role.

One thing that will give you an advantage when it comes to divorce is soaking up all the wisdom you can from those who are experts in the divorce field. That’s why DivorcedMoms.com has taken the time to distil it down to the very best 22 experts and what they’ve learned and think you should know about divorce. We hope their words help you uncover the key to navigating divorce and creating a fantastic post-divorce life.

22 Divorce Tips from Divorce Experts

1. There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel.

You move on socially and romantically while your kids become more independent. You have two weekends a month to do what YOU want to do. Just remember, divorce only hurts for a little while and you have complete control over how much someone can hurt you.

~ Karen R. Guthrie, Esq.

2. Civil Communication Between Parents is Imperative

The best thing any family facing divorce is to assure open communication about the children. It is essential to make sure that both parents have equal access to both the schedule as well as to information.  I used the iCal app and created a schedule that would allow my ex-husband to subscribe. Google Calendar works just as well. This allowed us all to be connected without having unnecessary conversations. It also allows invitations to be accepted or declined. You didn’t get my invitation? Well, here is proof that it was sent. This leaves the obligation on the receiving party to always check their email. My favorite method of sharing and saving information has been through Evernote.  It is a free application, and you can create shared notebooks to exchange and store information.

~ Virginia Masters, DivorcedMoms blogger

3. Co-Parting is a Business

The one piece of advice that I always return to, and that I feel puts my situation into perspective time and time again is this: co-parent like business partners instead of like exes. When you parent as business partners, parents shift their focus on what is most important; the kids. So, if parenting is a business, the children are the product of the enterprise. The goal, then, is to produce happy, healthy, and well-adjusted “products”, which requires pooling resources in the most effective way possible and letting go of the petty things that get in the way of success.

~ Audrey Cade, DivorcedMoms blogger

4. Remain Sensitive to Your Children’s Needs

It is not uncommon for divorcing parents to switch their focus from being a conscious parent to becoming a distracted one.  So, remember to remain sensitive to your children’s needs as well as your own as they are also learning to cope with your divorce too!

~ Reiki Rita, Spiritual Life Coach and Parent Educator

5. Prioritize Finances

One way to prepare for your divorce is to create a list of all your assets and debts before you contact any financial or legal expert. Preparation can save you time and money. Make a list of all debts, and their interest rates. Know the equity of the home (appraisal if needed). Know what is marital property, premarital property, and second properties. List all retirement accounts and any undisclosed monies. Prioritize what is important to you. Do as much work on your own as you can prior to meeting with your legal counsel or going to any of your network of experts.

~ Kathey Batey, Divorce Support Anonymous

6. Be Certain it is a Divorce You Want

Be certain it is a divorce you want or are you feeling unloved and unappreciated? Over time behaviors become automatic consequently the response to a situation also becomes automatic, i.e. anger and frustration.

Do you find yourself arguing, and saying things, that are repetitive such as “you never listen.” “Why do I bother, you are never happy with what I do.”

Instead of continuing with the same behavior, make a conscious decision to change how you react in doing so you can change your relationship for the better.

~ Karen Bashford, Inner Child Connector and Guide, Hypnotherapist, Money Mindset and Abundance Coach, Financial Educator.

7. Focus on Building the Life You Want

Divorce your spouse, not your life: if you are at the point of divorcing, there was a part of you, hidden or not, that new it was the next step for the life you wanted to create. Focus on building your life even when you are in the process of divorcing, it will give you the headspace to make choices that work for you instead of choices that are a result of your divorce.

~ Sophie Mihalko, Divorce Empowerment Coach

8. Self-Care and Support

With divorce comes loneliness. You may feel that the only cure for loneliness is either get back the life you lost (which you can’t) or find a replacement (which won’t work). But there is a different way and one that does work. It starts with understanding that loneliness is within you, and that means that you have the power to heal it, just like you have the power to feel loved, appreciated and supported again. It’s a journey and it starts with two essential steps: self-care and reaching out for support.

~ Halina Goldstein, Loneliness To Love Mentor

9. Mediate, Mediate, Mediate!!

Don’t run out and hire an attorney, mediate! Attorneys only make the divorce process last longer than it should. I am over three years into a divorce and at our court appointed date we will play “let’s make a deal” with my life, listening to an offer from my almost ex. All the time and money and pounds of paperwork and it comes down to something as simple as this. If someone had warned me that it would end up this way I would have insisted on mediation.

~ Carol Johnson, Featured DM Blogger

10. Try to See Things From Their Perspective

Get curious about why your ex is saying what he is saying or doing what he is doing. So often we only see things through our own lens, especially when we’re hurting. So, ask, try to see if from their perspective. Ask questions without anger or judgment about what it is they want, or why they are doing something, or how they want to do it or have it done. Then the most important thing is to keep quiet for at least 30 seconds, giving them a chance to think, pause, and respond. Then repeat. Ask if there is anything they want to add. Then wait 30 seconds more while they think, pause and respond. RESIST the urge to interrupt. I have been amazed at how this type of communication is transforming my relationship with my ex. Maybe if I had done this years ago, things would be different now. Who knows? Try it.

~ Esther Litchfield-Fink, Life Coach, and Writer

11. Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row

If you are planning on getting divorced, preparation is everything. Don’t run to the courthouse to file a Complaint for Divorce. Make copies of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements. Make a list of all your joint and individual assets/debts.  Create a “divorce” file and stay organized. If you prepare now, the process will be smoother later.

~ Jason Levoy a/k/a The Divorce Resource Guy

12. Never Play the Victim Role

Don’t play the role of victim and begin to make decisions that reflect your strengths. The first step is to examine your divorce experience and self-defeating messages derived from it. Develop a mindset that relationships are our teachers. Divorce can be viewed as a catalyst for personal growth. Counseling, blogging, and reading can aid you in this process. It’s important to develop a healthy response to mistakes and failing. Give yourself permission to “think big” and want more. It’s an exciting time with all sorts of possibilities.

~ Terry Gaspard MSW, LICSW, Therapist, Author, College Instructor

13. Before You File, Get Legal Advice

Get legal advice. Before you file for a divorce, whether or not you want a full representation and to hire a lawyer for the final process, you still need legal advice.  If you have to pay for a consultation, do it.  It’s wise to talk to a lawyer before you attempt to handle the divorce yourself without much knowledge. Laws change constantly and there may be new laws passed that you are not aware of. Sometimes the internet doesn’t have all the answers because YOUR case is YOURS and no other person has had the same exact situation.

~ Vania Silva, Family Law Attorney

14. Separate Your Emotions from the Process

The best advice I have for women going through a divorce is to separate your emotions from the process. It’s tempting for both parties to use divorce for revenge, which can lead to costly legal bills and aggravation over who gets the flat-screen or a statue in the yard. Alternatively, many women approach divorce through fear of conflict which hands over the control to your husband. Divorce is a business negotiation and it’s best to handle it as such.

~ Beth Cone Kramer is a journalist and co-founder of Divorce.ly, a seven-step program to help women develop skills and knowledge for a successful divorce and life after.

15. Do a Bit of Advanced Financial Planning

Before leaving the marital home or announcing your intention to divorce, ensure you have your own bank account set up. Deposit some of the joint account funds into your new account but don’t take more than half. Also, investigate your financial status as a married couple so you don’t face big surprises during the divorce process.

Uncover all assets, your spouse annual income, any debt and liquid cash before announcing to your husband that you intend to leave him. This bit of advance planning will get you set up for independence with much needed financial knowledge.”

~ Lisa Thomson, Writer, Author, Blogger

16. Align Yourself with a Financial Advocate

Most “non-financial” spouses often find themselves out in the cold, as the advisor, they intended to lean on was retained by their ex-spouse. Because of this very common dilemma, The Wall Street Journal suggests divorcing your pre-divorce financial advisor as the best way to achieve post-divorce financial success.

Just as you smartly obtained a competent legal advocate, you should now align in similar fashion with a financial advocate. Specifically, a board Certified Financial Planner.  From properly structuring your settlement so it last as long as you do to selecting the correct social security option, knowledge in this instance is power.

~ Mark Kinney, Certified Financial Planner

17. Believe in Yourself

The thing that will hold you back from telling your spouse you want a divorce or calling an attorney is the overwhelming fear that you can’t do this. You can. Millions of other women have managed it, and so will you. It won’t be easy at first, but if you can take the first leap of faith (in yourself), the next one will be easier. You don’t have to stay in a miserable marriage. You can have a better life – on your terms. You deserve better and you’re worth it. There will come a day when you won’t question that.

~ Michaela Mitchell, Freelance Writer, Divorced Mom

18. Help Getting Through the Dark Days of Divorce

My best tip consists of four musts to get you through the dark days.

  1. Self-Care.Taking care of YOU emotionally and physically is a must.  If you feel better you will do better!
  2.  Accept and Surrender to Change. Change is a constant. Embrace it.

It may be scary to let go of control but it will often lead you where you need to be.

  1.  Be Fearless.Think of yourself as a warrior goddess. Have great strength

with a feminine heart. Believe and take a leap of faith.

  1.  Be grateful.Your yesterday does not dictate your today. Give thanks for all you

do have. Sometimes the small things in life are priceless. Look forward to the future.

~ Laney Zukerman, Author, Lessons for an Urban Goddess & The Urban Goddess Lesson

19. Don’t Treat Divorce as a Failure, But as an Experience

You should stop thinking of a divorce as a failure—period.

Women who struggle with low self-esteem often blame themselves for the end of their marriage and treat it as kind of a failure in their lives.

Divorce is the end of your marriage, not the end of your life.  It should be perceived as another experience on our path; a closure of one thing to make a space for another one. Many new wonderful experiences will come, as soon as you genuinely open your heart for them!

~ Sarah Williams, Freelance Writer, WingmanMagazine

20. Protect Your Retirement with a QDRO

If you find yourself at divorce’s door, do not assume that your divorce settlement will protect your rights to your portion of your ex-spouse’s retirement account. This is especially important if you are a mom and have spent time away from a career taking care of your family while your spouse has earned all or a majority of the income. Be sure to work with your attorney to enact a QDRO. A QDRO is a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order,” which provides a legal mechanism for dividing the retirement benefits of private pension and/or 401K plans earned by your spouse during the years of your marriage.

~ Cathy DeWitt Dunn, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and Founder of Women Money & Power

21. Never Fight Around the Children or Badmouth Their Other Parent

Studies show that conflict creates the most pain and turmoil for children of divorce. Keep parental battles away from your kids – even when you’re on the phone or in another room. They deserve the peace of mind. Speaking disrespectfully about your former spouse hurts your kids with anger, guilt, and confusion. They think, “If there’s something wrong with Dad or Mom, there must also be something wrong with me for loving them.” This can result in a damaged relationship with your children and resentment when they are grown.

~ Rosalind Sed ACCA, CDC, Divorce & Parenting Coach & Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network

22. Don’t Bicker Over the Little Things

Never sweat the small stuff, especially when it’s on your dime. The antique clock passed down from your great-grandmother might be worth it, but if it’s a rug you bought from IKEA, let it go. It’s all just “stuff” in the end. Draw a line around it and let it go. Bickering about the little things just takes years away from your life and dollars out of your wallet.

~ Liv, Divorced Mom, Blogger at Live By Surprise

 

Source: 22 Divorce Experts Share What They’ve Learned About Divorce –

8 Things No One Ever Tells You about Divorce

divorce

divorce

 Source: Divorce 360  8 Things No One Ever Tells You about Divorce

      When you decide to divorce, it’s almost as if you’ve entered a club with a super-secret handshake…only no one is quite certain how to do it. So we asked the divorce360.com community what  they wished they had known before they decided to file for divorce. From the emotional breakup of their marriage to the financial one, here are some of the best tips from people who have through the real life turmoil of uncoupling.

 

1. If You Are Parents, You Have a Relationship with your Ex Forever….But It’s very Different
First, you and your spouse go from being best friends to enemies almost overnight, said community members “Banshee1,” a 30-something dad who is getting divorced. The difference is: “He doesn’t have to listen anymore. He doesn’t have to work out problems,” said “Paula1,” a single mom who was married for four years to a man who cheated. To make matters worse, “Your ex will not cooperate…they want to stick it to your for whatever they think you did. They will not be fair at all or logical…,” wrote Georgia resident “Rebec311.”He or she will “always be lingering in the background waiting for you to slip up so they can pounce on you again through the legal system because now they have a new life and no longer want to be responsible for their first life,” wrote “Eve31,” a single mother whose spouse has refused to mediate their divorce.

What’s tough is “how the little questions from the kids like, ‘Why do we have two houses?’ will drive you…nuts…” she said. If you’re angry with your former spouse for driving those questions, your children can sense it: “Don’t even think bad thoughts about their dad when they are within five miles of you,” community member “timless” said. 

The best advice, said Maryland salesman “wave” whose wife left him after 30 years is “Keep your children first, always.” 

2. Divorce Starts after You’ve Signed the Papers.
You can got to Las Vegas and get married in 30 minutes, according to “Eve31,” but getting a divorce takes a lot longer. “Purebredinip,” a California woman whose husband told her he “wasn’t happy”, said: “They should make divorcing easier, but getting married difficult.”

What no one tells you, said “Eve31,” is “what it’s really going to cost you to be divorced… your youth, your sanity, your faith, your trust, your ability to wake in the morning with hope.” You now second-guess all your decisions: “Your ex destroys your trust but also your ability to sometimes trust yourself,” she said.

The real pain starts after you sign the divorce decree, “Paula1” said: “Every fight can now lead to court, which costs you money. Every disagreement now leads to heated arguments where nobody wins. Every new life stage (dating spouses, remarriages, kids asking more questions, kids suffering with divorce) equals more pain.”

3. If You’re the Custodial Parent, Every Other Weekend is a Blessing.
Essentially, you are raising your children alone — even if your former spouse has them for a few days a week or every other weekend. If you have young children, it will be a long time before you can take a shower that’s longer than three minutes. “You’ll fight it during the divorce proceedings, but will count down the hours for his weekend after,” “Paula1” wrote.

And if you’re ex has found a new partner, “…You spend all your  time raising the kids, through sickness, surgeries and through all the heartache and picking up all the broken pieces that the divorce has caused,” said community member “Paris299.”

Work becomes a refuge. “Taking care of kids all weekend without any help is hard and exhausting. Monday mornings now become something you look forward to,” “Paula1” wrote. 

4. You Lose a Lot of Friends and Family in Divorce.
“Girl70” said her husband filed for divorce after having an affair. His family sided with him: “I was with him for 22 years. It is like I didn’t exist. It’s as if I was the one who had the affair. I …truly cared for my father in law and stepmother-in-law. I miss them the most.”

The reaction from friends can also be tough: “Some people will treat you like divorce is catching…like leprosy,” said “Tracy74” of Michigan, whose husband fell in love with another woman. “Your married friends will fear you being around their husbands/wives,” said community member “kdb,” a 50-something mother of three whose husband told her he wasn’t “in love” anymore.

Community member “Banshee1,” felt a sense of being “completely alone” and “misunderstood by my married friends” who took sides during the breakup. “You will lose a lot of friends/people that you like a lot because of your soon-to-be ex,” said “Rebec311.” agreed. “The friends you keep will either…love you more and be there more or have no clue how to talk to you.”

What’s more, “You think they are all a bunch of whiny children, since you’re doing it all alone now, and they have husbands to help,” said “Paula1.” 

5. The Courts Do Not Care.
You will waste money if you treat your divorce attorney as a therapist. “Timless” said “…that’s what your girlfriends and personal therapy is for. If you don’t have them, get them before you start the process,” she said.

The court system is “cold,” said “Rebec311,” and its participants “don’t care about your feelings.” “It’s treated as a business,” she said.” “Are your kids sick and is your ex clueless about how to take care of them? The courts don’t care. He still gets them,” said “Paula1.” “Is your ex-spouse not paying child support because he’s unemployed again? The courts don’t care. Visitation and support are not tied. Is your ex-spouse living with a drug addict with nose rings? The courts don’t care. As long as he is a good parent and doesn’t abuse them, he still gets them and can have anyone around that he wants.” 

Maryland salesman “wave,” whose wife left him after almost 30 years of marriage, was surprised that the courts didn’t take into account who was at fault in the break up. “She turns 49, her mother dies, she got her inheritance, and two months later, she wants out. I have no drug or alcohol problems, no money problems, no abuse, no womanizing, but I lose half, plus I pay her child support…and she keeps the inheritance…The courts don’t care about right or wrong.”

6. Money Is Always an Issue.
“You don’t just worry about money. You obsess over it,” wrote “Kitty7470,” a 40-something mom from Ohio whose husband had an affair after 20 years of marriage.

“If you had a traditional marriage in which both parents were working, etc., get used to living on half. Child support, if paid, does not cover much. It’s not as much as you think it will be (which is another ridiculous tragedy by the courts), and your savings is probably wiped out by divorce costs,” said “Paula1.” 

A New York executive, “Banshee1,” doesn’t feel his financial settlement was fair. “…It was tough for me to give up everything and move into an apartment that’s about a quarter of the size of my house — taking almost nothing,” he wrote. Plus, as the breadwinner in his family, “I will be taking the majority of the debt load, taking on losses due to the sale of our marital residence and providing significant child support payments to my soon-to-be ex.”

However, “there is hope for recovery,”  he said. He’s slowly “rebuilding and making a home” for his children. He believes he’s better off today. “(My ex) and I had very different views on money, and now that I’m on my own…, I can save the way I feel most comfortable.”

For “Soon2Bfine,” a 40-something administrative assistant whose husband cheated on her, said money wasn’t her biggest financial problem. When her spouse stopped paying the credit card debt after their divorce, he ruined both their credit ratings. “Having a great job means the money is there to make the payments, but good luck getting a loan for anything,” she wrote.

7. Your Ex — and You — Have Personal Lives.
Building a new life doesn’t include whining about your ex. “Learn to deal with it and not hold on to it,” “timless” advised. That can be difficult if your ex finds a new partner, “Kitty7470” said.  “…They now have a say in your entire life, because your ex lets them.”

“Banshee1” said he’s surprised at how bitter people can be. “I’ve talked to so many people that get upset because they believe their ex is doing better than they are or are suffering less. My feeling is — focus on you and your life… You can spend the rest of your life comparing to your ex-spouse and miss out on opportunities that are right in front of you.”

Advice from the trenches: “Your ex has a life and so do you ……..don’t share,” said “timless.” “I’ve learned to keep things focused on my daughter and vague pleasantries. Any unnecessary details come back to bite me in the butt.”

8. You Will Get a Second Wind.
When you think it won’t get any better, just keep moving forward. “The train wreck that was your life during the divorce suddenly gets a makeover as soon as your divorce is final,” “timless” said. “Somewhere near the end you have one final cry and then get a second wind… This is your saving grace, your reward for the pain and suffering.”

Unhappily married to her high school sweetheart for 15 years before she finally asked for a divorce, “Wow65” agreed, saying when the divorce was final she realized “I could do what I wanted with my life and have a great time doing it.” 

“Now is the time to focus on you,” “Banshee1” advised. “Look at divorce as a chance to rebuild, to start fresh. Yes, there will be hurt, loneliness, frustration — but that’s life, isn’t it? For me, I’m taking the experiences that I’ve had has a husband and turning them into a guideline for how I want to live my life as a man. I will always and forever be a father to my children — and my focus is 150 percent on them. But, to be the best father that I can be I must learn to take care of myself, too. I’m learning to pursue my dreams, and through that inspire my children (and possibly others) along the way. My legacy to my children will be strength and perserverance even when the chips are down.”

Divorce coach Annie O”Neill added: “You have your whole life ahead of you to do what you want to do. It is a chance to reinvent yourself, a new chapter of your life. You have to put your marriage behind you and decide to move on.”

Five New School Year Tips For Divorced Parents

divorce child

school custodyThe end of summer can be sad, especially for children. It often brings cooler weather, earlier bed times, and of course, school. A new school year brings about a lot of changes that can be both exciting and scary. A new classroom, new friends, new teachers, and even an entirely new school can make even the bravest kids feel nervous.

While the prospect of a new school year may feel daunting to a lot of kids, parents are also experiencing similar feelings of anxiety. However, parents who went through a separation or divorce during the summer may be feeling even more anxious about this new school year. After a tough summer for their family, children face new difficulties that they may not be sure how to handle. At the same time, this is the first school year that the parents will have to navigate post-divorce or separation, and this can be quite a challenge if they don’t prepare for it. In this situation, parents should employ strategies to help make the transition into this new school year as smooth as possible for everyone involved. To prepare for the new academic year, here are five new school year tips for divorced or separated parents.

Talk To The Teachers

Children often learn who their new teachers will be a few weeks before the new school year begins. These teachers don’t know anything about what is going on in your child’s life, and you can’t assume for them to understand without having a little knowledge of the situation. Talk to each of your child’s teachers to let them know what has been going on with your family. Let the teachers know how your child has been dealing with it throughout the summer; this is especially important if your child has had a difficult time emotionally. Passing along this knowledge before school starts will help the teacher get to know your child better, to know where any issues may stem from, and to offer better support throughout the school year.

Coordinate Shopping Plans

custodyShopping before a new school year is a tradition for so many families. Beyond just buying new crayons and notebooks, some parents buy their children new backpacks, clothing, shoes, and many other things each year. For separated or divorced parents, it’s often important to coordinate how you will share the responsibility of shopping for school supplies. Instead of one parent being dealt the entire responsibility of school supply shopping, consider dividing the shopping between both parents. One parent can shop with their child for the supplies they need for school, while the other parent could cover the cost of new school clothes. Also, it might be a good idea to buy a few supplies to each have at each home like extra crayons, pencils, and socks. These little items can be easily misplaced and aren’t worth arguing over with the other parent over, so having extras may come in handy.

Get On Top Of The Schedule

calendar
calendar

Even for young kids, school schedules can get busy very quickly. On top of simply getting your kids to and from school, parents need to plan for how to deal with extracurricular activities, how to attend functions like school fairs and plays, and more. As soon as you start to learn about what’s on your child’s agenda for the school year, get it written down. Using a shared online calendar, both parents can be sure that they are keeping up with the same agenda. This will also give you a chance to see how your child’s school schedule will work into your established parenting schedule. The OurFamilyWizard calendar has tools to keep both parents updated on their child’s throughout the entire school year. It even has a space for parents to input the details of their child’s class schedule as well as upload copies of homework, permission slips, report cards, and anything else related to school. These tools help keep parents connected about what their child is studying and how they are performing this school year.

Prepare Your Kids Together

paternityFor a lot of kids, a new school year isn’t something they can just fall into without need time to prepare beforehand. Each parent should do their part in preparing their children for the year ahead. Commit to getting your child to wake up and go to bed a bit earlier each day starting a few weeks before the new school year. Set aside time for your child to read and brush up on the things they learned the year before; this will help to get them ready for the academic challenges they face this year. On top of preparing them for the new school and studies, the way that parents talk to their child about school can also help to prepare them. Always keep the topic of school a positive one. If your child starts to feel down about going back, let them know it’s okay to be scared and assure them that it will be a good experience.

Open Lines Of Communication

divorce attorneyThere’s a lot that parents will need to discuss as their child heads into a new school year. Discussing each of the aforementioned points is valuable in order to make the school prep process run as smoothly as possible. As the school year gets going, it will also be important for parents to remain in contact in order to stay updated on their child’s progress. For parents already using OurFamilyWizard to coordinate the school schedule and share information, they can continue to use these tools to stay connected. Parents can share journal entries to document the details of any incidents that take place at school, note what their child ate at school each day, and more. As field trips and other school events come up that include a cost, parents can use the expense tracking tools in their account to record each cost and request reimbursements between each other, if necessary. All in all, having a means of communication that keeps your school-related conversations and other information available to each parent is invaluable for separated or divorced parents.

Getting children ready for a new school year shouldn’t be made any more complicated or difficult due to parental conflict or poor communication. Making a commitment to stay connected with your child’s other parent and to work together to make this process as smooth as possible can make all the difference for you both and your child.

Source: Five New School Year Tips For Divorced Parents | Our Family Wizard

Rules to make co-parenting after a divorce easier

custody relocation

Rules to make co-parenting after a divorce easier

 co-parenting

 Adjusting to co-parenting after a divorce can be challenging. Your relationship as a couple is over, but you have to find a way to continue your relationship as parents for the sake of your children. Creating some rules for your new relationship can give you structure and help you stay focused on what’s really important – your kids. Here are the kinds of guidelines you should establish to help you move forward as parenting partners.

Rules for your kids

Now that you have separate houses (assuming you haven’t set up a “bird’s nest”), you’re free to run your home the way you want, and the other parent doesn’t have to approve or agree. You might require your kids to make their beds although the other parent doesn’t, or maybe you object strongly to your ex’s lack of restrictions on screen time. Accepting and adjusting to those differences are part of the co-parenting process. Each of you will create house rules that work for you and your kids, and those rules won’t necessarily be the same at each house.

That being said, the best way to maintain a sense of normalcy for your kids as they adjust to life after divorce is to align the major rules at both parents’ homes. Having similar rules regarding bedtimes, curfews, and homework at both houses makes it easier for your child to transition back and forth and stay on an even keel.

Rules about stuff

Some of the biggest problems with co-parenting involve stuff. A common problem occurs when your kid leaves something at the other house he needs (for school, for sports, for life in general). Some parents agree that whoever has the child will drive him back to get the missing item. Other parents maintain that teens are old enough to take responsibility for their own belongings and will have to wait until their next time at that house to get the missing stuff.

Another common point of contention is laundry. Residential parents get upset when kids come home from the other house with a mountain of dirty laundry. Non-residential parents get annoyed when kids show up without enough clean clothes. Some families tackle this issue head on. Keeping some clothes at each house (with that parent being responsible for laundry) is one way to handle it. Putting older kids in charge of managing their own laundry is another solution.

Rules for watching your words

One of the most important ways to help your kids adjust is to shelter them from the conflict between you and your ex as much as possible. Many divorced parents work hard to avoid arguing in front of their children, but there are many ways your kids can get exposed to conflict without you realizing. They overhear you on the phone—arguing with each other or complaining about each other to friends. It’s also common for parents to say critical or derogatory things about each other to the children. One family started a comment jar (similar to a swear jar) where each parent had to put in a dollar for every time they started an argument in front of the children.

Rules about holidays

Holidays can be a challenging time to co-parent. Lots of families have found that instead of alternating holidays, it can be best to share them, particularly during the first years after divorce. So instead of the kids being with Mom on Thanksgiving and Dad on Christmas, the entire family (both parents and kids) spend the day together as a family. This helps the kids to feel secure and lets both parents enjoy the children on special days.

Of course, most of the rules outlined here assume a level of civility on the part of the parents which accommodates ongoing changes in your respective situations—along with the evolving wants and needs of your kids. Finding your way after divorce takes patience. A family lawyer can help you navigate custody challenges and create a co-parenting plan that works in everyone’s best interest.

Source: Rules to make co-parenting after a divorce easier – AvvoStories

10 assets you might forget to include in your divorce

divorce assets

divorce assetsOften the divorcing couple doesn’t remember they have these items, or doesn’t consider them to be assets.

When you’re working through your divorce settlement, deciding who gets what, you are likely focusing on major considerations: house, cars, retirement accounts, investments. While these items are clearly important, many other assets are easily overlooked. Often the divorcing couple doesn’t remember they have these items, or doesn’t consider them to be assets.

Even if you think you don’t care about how they’re divided, keep in mind they have value; adding them to the pot not only increases the total amount of assets to be divided (which increases your share), but they also represent chips in your ongoing negotiation. If you were the more enthusiastic traveler in the marriage, for instance, you might be willing to give a little back on the home sale in order to secure frequent flier miles.

Here are some often overlooked assets to consider when you’re tallying up during a divorce:

Stock options: Your or your spouse may have stock options from your employer. This might seem like something with no value (particularly if they aren’t fully vested), but these options do have monetary value and can increase the total value of your joint assets.

Intellectual property: Copyright, patents, trademarks and even things like books that one of you has written—even if the copyright paperwork hasn’t been completed—have value.

Digital assets: Websites or blogs that either of you owns are assets. Even your social media accounts should be included in your settlement. Most likely, these accounts have no value (unless you have a large number of followers who have potential value for business reasons) but it’s important to establish who will own the accounts after the divorce.

Digital downloads: Movies, music, and e-books are expensive to replace, so be certain to include these items when tallying assets.

Frequent flyer miles and loyalty programs: You and your spouse probably have memberships in lots of loyalty programs and many of them accumulate points, particularly airline programs. Any loyalty program in either of your names is a marital asset and should be divided in the divorce.

Capital loss carryovers: Capital losses can be carried over from one year to the next on income taxes and such losses can reduce future taxes. If you are carrying a capital loss, make sure it is included in your settlement.

Loans: If you or your spouse has made personal loans to friends or family during the marriage using marital funds, the balance and interest due on those loans should be divided in your settlement.

Vacation pay: Paid time off accumulated at a job has a value and is a marital asset. Make sure this is taken into account.

Pets: Emotional attachments to pets can sometimes give rise to nasty “custody” battles, but beyond that aspect, your pet may also be a purebred or particularly valuable for some reason; if that’s the case, you should also include this in your list of assets.

Prepaid memberships: Any personal (for example, a gym) or professional memberships and subscriptions that have been paid for this year and for future years should be included if marital funds were used to pay for them.

Adding items to your total list of assets results in a larger total to divide and more for your half, but beyond that, thinking through what matters to you and to your soon-to-be ex can help devise a settlement that feels advantageous for both sides. A good lawyer can assist you in finding these “hidden” assets, and help decide what’s worth negotiating for as you work through your divorce.

Source: 10 assets you might forget to include in your divorce – AvvoStories

8 Ways To Simplify Your Divorce, According To Attorneys

simple divorce

Divorce, by nature, isn’t easy. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will make the process just a little less difficult.simple divorce

Below, divorce lawyers share their little-known tips.

1. Open a bank account in your own name.

“Couples who share a joint bank account should know that either one of them can drain the entire account under the banking laws. They will eventually have to pay their spouse their share, but it can take a while to get to that point in a case where a judge is ordering repayment. That’s why I advise everyone to have a separate bank account in their own name, even if the account is a secret. Chances are if the account has to be kept secret, you need it even more than you realize.”

2.  If you plan on explaining your rationale for divorce in a letter to your spouse, have a lawyer approve it first.

“When you’re the one who wants the divorce, there is often a lot of guilt associated with that decision. Many people want to explain their decision to their spouse, and that often takes the form of a heartfelt letter. That’s a really decent thing to do, and it comes from the right place. The problem, however, is that in writing these types of letters, people tend to take more of the responsibility for the breakup to help soften the blow. Handing over a bunch of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’-type statements in written form is never a good idea. Letters like that can become ‘Exhibit A’ in your ex’s case against you.”

 

3. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.

“If you have any concerns at all about the advice you are getting, do not be afraid to get another opinion. Any good lawyer will be glad you are doing that and will accept any good suggestions a respected colleague may have. You only have one chance to handle your divorce well and you have a right to be confident in the advice you are receiving. And if the second opinion is that your case is being handled well, then the reassurance will be worth the consultation fee for that second opinion.”

4. Ask your lawyer to meet with your ex’s lawyer at the very beginning.

“A better practice is for lawyers to begin constructive communications right away. The vast majority of cases will settle, so begin the negotiation process now. Sometimes it is as simple as working together to lay out the rules of the road for the divorce process. Other times it is to solve little pesky problems that might blow up into big issues later. Sometimes the best thing your lawyer can do for you is to meet the other lawyer at the coffee house to explore win-win resolutions.”

5. Devote the time required to the divorce process. 

“Going through a divorce is like having a second job. You are going to spend an enormous amount of energy gathering documents, meeting with professionals, figuring out your finances and separating your stuff. You are going to have to work to make sure that your kids are okay, and that their transition to a totally different life is as smooth as possible. If you understand this from the beginning and find a way to devote the time and energy to your divorce that it requires, your divorce will go more smoothly than if you resent everything about your divorce and drag your heels doing what you need to do to put your divorce behind you.”

6. If you plan on filing a motion with the court asking for relief, wait until you have multiple things to address before doing so.divorce

“Judges get annoyed by parties who file a motion every other week for every little thing. You can ask for relief for more than one thing in a motion, so wait until you have a few items to address and then file. Also, don’t ask for 50 different things; focus on the major disputes so the court does the same.”

7. Know that the reasons for your divorce will likely have no impact on child custody proceedings.

“Custody in divorce is the most expensive to litigate and whether your partner cheated on you or gambled away your savings will probably have no impact on his or her ability to parent your kids.”

8. Pay attention to how you time your offer.

“Cases do not settle until both parties are ready to let go of the marriage. Therefore, the timing of your offer may be as important as the content. Do not make an offer too early to a party not ready to receive it. You will end up betting against yourself in the end.”

Try to simplify your divorce rather than make it a complicated divorce.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/8-ways-to-simplify-your-divorce-according-to-attorneys_us_574dc3c7e4b0757eaeb0b756

 

5 reasons men file for divorce

men
men divorce_sized

5 reasons men file for divorce

When it comes to divorce, does sex matter? That is, are there differences between men and women?

Research and experience both say yes. Men, for example, tend to file for divorce less often than women. “From my own case load, I’d say roughly 60 percent of women initiate the process, whereas 40 percent of men initiate the process,” says Tony Zorich of the Seattle area family law practiceMcKinley Irvin.

Men also have somewhat different reasons for divorcing, according to research from Pennsylvania State University. Here are top reasons men seek divorce.

5.  Growing apart

Nearly 1 in 10 men, or 9.6 percent, cited growing apart from their spouse as their primary reason for wanting a divorce. This reason is common among men who married young and feel that they—and their spouse—have since grown into different people. Growing apart can also be the result of spending less time together due to the demands of work and parenthood or due to what Zorich describes as “lack of acknowledgment by their spouse for their role in the marriage,” which can ultimately lead to a loss of interest in the relationship.

“Marriage is a team effort in every sense of the phrase, and each team member has various roles. When the performance of tasks associated with those roles is not acknowledged in a positive way, the man can feel disenfranchised.”

4.  Drinking or drug use

Men have been known to have very passionate love affairs with the bottle, but it seems women are no slouches in that department either: Substance abuse and addiction was listed as a reason for divorce for more than 1 in 10 men, or 10.6 percent of those studied. Apparently having similar attitudes about drugs and alcohol use is helpful in keeping marriages together. Addictions to other things, like pornography, can also be a factor in divorce.

3.  Lack of communication

This issue might be better called “lack of good communication.” Couples typically have lots of logistics to manage (particularly if there are kids involved), a situation which requires tact, understanding, and patience.  But stressed couples communicate by fighting, most often about sex andmoney. As you might suspect, this was a problem for quite a few men (13 percent) in the study.

2.  Infidelity

Men may have some flexibility when it comes to open relationships, but many of them still view cheating as a stone-cold deal breaker. It may be the case, as it is often said, that cheating is merely a symptom of deeper problems in the relationship. But with 15.6 percent of men citing it as a reason to leave, those kinds of distinctions might not matter much in the grand scheme of what drives guys to consider having papers drawn up.

1.  Incompatibility

This catchall phrase indicates general unhappiness in marriage and was reported by nearly 1 in 5 men, or 19.5 percent of those surveyed, as the main reason for divorce. “Personal dissatisfaction in the relationship has generally been the number one reason in my practice for a number of years,” says David Starks, an attorney who also works at the McKinley Irvin firm. “Domestic violence and sleeping around sound more interesting and, frankly, more excusable, but really just giving up the fight to stay in love or at least mutual admiration is really what both sexes do most to end up in divorce.”

How are women and divorce different?

Unsurprisingly, women seek divorce for many of the same reasons men do. Notable differences include a higher incidence of divorce over infidelity—25.2 percent of women cited unfaithfulness as cause for separation compared with 15.6 percent of men—plus reports of physical and emotional abuse and problems with the husband’s personality, immaturity, and untrustworthiness.

What else is different? “There are, speaking very broadly, some typical differences in how men and women  handle the divorce process, mainly driven by what roles they played in the relationship,” says Starks. For instance, women are more likely to ask for financial help post-divorce, which he believes is due to the homemaker role women are more likely to assume in the couple.

When it comes down to it, however, it’s impossible to paint a portrait of divorce in broad strokes. “Every divorce is different for many, many reasons,” says Zorich. He recommends that men going through a divorce get emotional and legal support. “Divorce is a process that can take a significant emotional toll on even the ‘toughest’ of men. Support, whether it be from friends or family, is very important, but a man’s greatest ally in a divorce can be the advice of a competent attorney to represent him. Men should not be afraid of the courthouse or the law, and a good attorney can keep a man grounded in that reality.”

Learn more about the divorce process by speaking to a top-rated divorce attorney in your area.

Source: 5 reasons men file for divorce – AvvoStories

The Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Going Through a Divorce

easy divorce

divorcingAre you going through a divorce?  You should avoid these very common divorce mistakes which can have long-term effects on your family and financial future.

1. Getting legal advice from friends and family members

2. Interpreting what your divorce attorney tells you as a guarantee

3. Making threats to your spouse

4. Moving or hiding marital funds without the knowledge of your spouse

5. Speaking too soon or too openly to minor children about the separation and divorce

 divorce mistakesMistake #1 Getting legal advice from friends and family members.

Although they may mean well and want the best for you, advice from friends or family is almost always wrong. They can sometimes unintentionally lead you down the wrong path by offering you advice that is uninformed or does not apply to your particular situation. Is the person you are talking to a practicing divorce lawyer or someone that is already on your side?  You will often hear things like: “My friend got full custody of her children so you can too,” or “my cousin had a great attorney who got her 90% of the assets and alimony for the rest of her life, so you should be able to get the same thing.” Although this advice may sound good to you at first, you need to understand that there are no two divorce cases that are the same, so they cannot possibly be treated the same way by a court. There are many many factors that go into a court-ordered divorce settlement, such as:

1) The state law that applies to your particular set of facts;

2) The local court customs and practice in your particular county;

3) The effectiveness of your attorney, and:

4)  Since judges are human, the mindset of the particular judge or even the mood they are in on a given day.

In actuality, going to court is often a “roll of the dice” in which you might spend a lot of money in legal fees, only to get an end result that is radically different than what you were expecting. Therefore, when approaching your divorce, you should seek out the advice of an experienced and competent attorney first who will help you to sort out all your rights and options while helping you to develop some realistic expectations up front.

easy divorceMistake #2 Interpreting what your divorce attorney tells you as a guarantee.

Getting the advice of a good experienced attorney you can trust and get along with is always a wise choice and a good place to start. A divorce attorney will attempt to gather all the relevant facts as well as financial and other important information about your marriage. The attorney will usually give you a general assessment of the type of settlement you can expect, with a general idea of the outcome. However, do not rely on an attorney’s preliminary impressions as a guarantee of the exact outcome you can expect in your case.  Remember, an attorney’s advice will always be limited to what information you alone give them. That’s it. The attorney will not be aware of financial or other information your spouse may have in which you do not know.  And that could drastically change the attorney’s analysis of your case.  Moreover, because you may come to an attorney’s office feeling upset and angry at your spouse or otherwise emotionally distressed, you might have the tendency to hear only what you want to hear.  This can cause you to firmly dig in your heels without any compromise going forward. This can be the most costly mistake you make which can both deplete your finances and harm your family emotionally for years to come. This is true, especially if your spouse is already in a position to discuss a compromise in order to avoid costly and emotionally draining litigation.  Wait for a full analysis of all of the information that is relevant to your case and only then discuss  what a realistic outcome may be.

Mistake #3 Making threats to your spouse.divorce mistakes

Spouses commonly make empty threats and other nasty comments to one another.“I’ll get the meanest lawyer in town and destroy you,” or “After cheating on me, there is no way you will ever see your kids again, or “My lawyer said you’ll have to leave the home and pay me alimony for the rest of your life.” Such threats, although understandably borne out of anger, are really meaningless in the long run and have no effect either way on the outcome of your case. Remember that the way you act towards your spouse early on will not only set the tone for your entire divorce case, but also for years to come after it is all over. This, of course, becomes especially important if you have children to co-parent which you will be difficult to do in a way that is healthy for them if you carry hatred and resentment towards your spouse into your post-divorce lives.  Believe me, no matter how old your children are they will feel the hatred you have for one another even if you don’t argue in front of them.  Your children will greatly benefit if they see you and your spouse trying to “get along.”

Always take the high road in approaching your divorce. You don’t necessarily have to be best friends with your spouse through all this, just be willing to make an effort to communicate, cooperate and compromise with him or her as best you can, especially when children are involved.  Assure your spouse that you are not out to hurt him/her or the kids (if kids are involved), and that you have good faith intentions of reaching an amicable settlement as soon as is possible.  Just because your spouse may act like a jerk does not mean you are not a jerk if you respond in the same way.  Bad behavior does not justify bad behavior.

Your goal should be to achieve the best overall outcome you can.  Trying to “get even” with your spouse and arguing at every opportunity rarely ends up with your spouse giving in to your demands or suddenly admitting that they are wrong and you are right.  Keep in mind, the court doesn’t care who is the “bad” person or who is at fault.  There are no winners here and the court never declares to the world that it is all your spouses’ fault and you are the victim.  You should not argue over petty things simply because you are hurt or angry.  Is arguing over your old furniture or fighting to get an extra hour with your kids worth it?  Often this only leads to your spouse reacting by being just as stubborn.  You have to choose what is important and let go of what is not.  There is a middle ground between being a push-over and demanding that you get everything you want.  Compromise, you will feel better about yourself and hopefully your spouse will respond positively.

Mistake #4 Moving or hiding marital funds without the knowledge of your spouse.

Trying to hide assets so that they are not part of your divorce is a big mistake.  One big way to break any trust that exists is for one or both spouses to act underhandedly, especially with the marital finances. When a spouse decides they want a divorce, they will sometimes try to secretly transfer funds from a joint account into their own account or into someone a friend or family member’s account or even make significant withdrawals of cash from a joint account. When clients are asked why they do this, they typically say they feel threatened and need to act quickly in order to protect what is theirs or make up some other excuse.  Although it is understandable that such activity could occur in the heat of the moment when a spouse may perceive a sense of urgency and desperation for it, if these are marital funds that are being moved in and out of accounts, this activity will immediately be uncovered through the initial steps of the discovery process. This means generally that if marital monies were withdrawn from marital accounts, this will eventually come to light and they will have to be returned to the marital estate. If a spouse has since spent the funds away, they will be ultimately accountable for them as part of the divorce settlement. Therefore, if you and your spouse are contemplating a divorce, and you feel the need to move any funds from an existing marital account or redirect marital funds away from a marital account, discuss your intentions with your attorney and/or spouse first and make sure there is a good reason for doing this, and one that also makes sense to your spouse. This open disclosure early on help save you money in attorney’s fees in the long run and avoid the judge thinking that you are cheating or lying.

co-parentingPitfall #5 Speaking Too Soon or Too Openly to Minor Children about the Separation and Divorce.

Discussing your separation or divorce plans with your children is a very sensitive subject which must be approached very delicately. Without realizing it, many times people who decide to separate or divorce will use their children to vent all the frustration and confusion they are feeling at the moment. This is the worst thing you can do to your children during this time and can have very bad long-term effects on their emotional well-being. If you need to vent, find a friend, family member or therapist.  Although your own feelings and emotional well-being are important in a divorce, a healthy divorce means considering what’s best for your children first. Therefore, if you are getting a separation or divorce, try to make every effort to go about your business as quietly as possible without involving your children in any particular facts or even worse, trying to get them to pick sides.  This is not to say that children should be completely left in the dark either. Sooner or later, you will have to face these issues with them directly so that they can begin to emotionally prepare for what will be a very different life involving two separate households. Figuring out the ideal time and also the appropriate things to say to children is key.  Planning with your spouse in advance how to approach this, and also approaching the children together is the best way.  Family therapy with a licensed family therapist can also be very effective when working through these issues together as a family.  Believe it or not, a large majority of divorcing parents can amicably work out a compromise regarding child custody issues without legal assistance and only 6- 20% of all divorce cases involving children actually need the courts to intervene. Therefore, the odds are in your favor that your custody matter can be resolved amicably without court involvement if both parents are willing to work together and do what’s best for the children.

 

Ten Steps for a Better Divorce

dealing with divorce

COPING WITH DIVORCE COPING WITH DIVORCE

Divorce is an ongoing reality in our society. No longer will the exception, at least one in every two marriages end through a divorce. And yet, despite this fact, we have been slow to adapt procedures that allow a marriage to end civilly, creatively, fairly and in these tough economic times, with the minimum of expense. For the most part, divorce is still framed as an adversarial battle that is characterized by accusations, blame, unproductive argument, high costs, and weak solutions that ignore the best interests of the children.

There are plenty of attorneys waiting for you to show up angry, indignant, hurt, and vengeful. They are happy to stand up to make futile motions to court, beating their chest, but only as long as there is money in the estate. The number of divorce cases that start out with an attorney, but end without is an embarrassment. The number one reason-there was no more money!

It doesn’t have to be this way. In truth, we have already evolved better ways to end a marriage, ways that are kinder, gentler, and when there are children involved, to deal with the reality that what is actually taking place is a reorganization of the family, rather than an ending.

What follows is a list of ten ideas that are worth considering as you seek to cope with the divorce experience:

divorces1. Seek to collaborate, not to fight: The research from the field of negotiation is clear. We get better deals when we seek to work jointly at the challenge on hand, both in regard to those issues where the best interests of the children are at stake, but also when it’s all about the money.

2. Keep your eye on the ball, start with the end in mind: The purpose of the process is not to exact revenge, but rather to work out a fair solution that makes sense for your family. The end product is your marital settlement agreement. It documents your plan of action for your ongoing care of your children, the division of your estate, and also addresses whether and to what extent there will be any spousal support. It is this document that allows the court to essentially rubber stamp your process.

3. Prepare! Getting a divorce takes an effort. You will have homework to do! Both parties must make full disclosure of all assets and liabilities. Only you have the information. The sooner you share it the quicker the process will be.

4. Manage your Emotions Wisely! Not only is it important to have your financial information organized, but also that you take time to manage your feelings. Inevitably, divorces surface strong emotions, like anger, disappointment, shame, fear and jealousy to name a few. There will be opportunities to share how you feelings which will help you in coping with divorce. If you can dissipate your negative emotional energy before the meetings it will help.

5. Listen To Understand: As hard as it may be to listen attentively to what your partner is saying, it will pay dividends. You will have the benefit of understanding where they are coming from and what is important to them. Too often we can only hear the voices in our own head and tune the other out. Mediation works best when both parties communicate effectively, and listening is a vital part of that.

6. Focus on your needs: In conflict it is natural to identify a solution that we feel is fair and to demand its application. The danger with this approach is that it fosters defensiveness and conflict escalation. The mediation process works best when we articulate and focus on our needs, and then together search for the most creative solution with the resources available.

7. Explore Standards of Fairness: The law is one standard. If you don’t work things out and still want to divorce, a judge will apply the law to the facts of your case. How you feel or what your personal standards of fairness look like, will not come into play. However, in mediation, you can establish your own criteria for fairness, and use those family inspired yardsticks to address the more tricky issues that leave you feeling hopeless.

separation8. Consider the need to apologize: When your kids throws a ball through your neighbors window you don’t tell them to run inside and hide. You send them over to apologize and to make reparations. When our actions cause pain to another, the right thing to do is to say you are sorry. When we are conciliatory with one another in this manner, we set the stage for reconciliation, a vital outcome for the ongoing, but reorganized family.

9. Consider Forgiveness: Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. It empowers us to move on with our lives without challenging the past to be anything other than the way it was. To forgive does not mean we condone, but it does signal an intention to let go of the pain.

10. Be Creative: As humans facing a challenge, we are only limited by our own creativity.  Your challenge is to think outside the box and find a unique solution that addresses the reality of a reorganized family. Mediation is a family friendly process that allows you to focus on what you need to do to make your divorce a reality. It represents a new way of doing things. A way that most agree is good common sense. Following the suggestions contained in this brief article will help you get through your divorce with the least pain possible and with the greatest potential for a marital settlement agreement that is fair to both.

WHY IS THE DATE OF SEPARATION IMPORTANT IN DIVORCE?

legal separation

legal separationWhile most divorcing spouses are laser-focused on the date their divorce will become final, many underestimate the importance of their date of separation. Often these two dates occur months – or even years – apart. Yet, the date of separation can have a dramatic impact on many financial aspects of the divorce.

The date of legal separation is generally considered the date the spouses no longer lived together as a married couple, although each state may slightly vary this definition. The date of separation is often obvious – either one party moves out of the marital home or the parties agree to a set date, sometimes the court must make the determination.

So why is the date of separation so important?

Barring any prenuptial agreements or state law to the contrary, the income earned by a spouse during the marriage is considered marital property, subject to division between both spouses. However, any income earned by either spouse after the date of separation is generally treated as separate property. This means that if one spouse wins the lottery or receives a large bonus before the date of legal separation, the other spouse is entitled to a portion of that income.

Things can get complicated if one spouse receives income after the date of separation but before the date of divorce. In those cases, the courts will look to when the received income was earned to determine if it is marital property. In some cases, even money received after the date of legal separation but earned before that date will be subject to division.

Who gets divorced in America

who gets divorced in america

The groups that are most likely to get divorced in Americawho gets divorced in america

There’s this persistent myth in America that about half of all marriages end in divorce.

In fact, the figures are significantly lower, as new graphics by Nathan Yau of Flowing Data demonstrate.

Yau explains that this myth simply stems from bad math – dividing the divorce rate by the marriage rate in a given year. In 2014, there were 8.7 divorces and 17 marriages per 1,000 women in the United States, he says, citing figures from the American Community Survey. If you divide the first number by the second number, you get 51 percent.

The problem is that the people who are marrying each other in 2014 aren’t the same as the people who are divorcing each other in 2014. If you look at the data over a longer period of time, it becomes clear that the divorce rate is lower than half.

As Claire Cain Miller wrote at the Upshot, the divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining since then. In fact, if current marriage and divorce rate continues, only about one-third of American marriages will end in divorce, the Upshot’s Justin Wolfers has calculated.

But the rates are much higher for some groups than others, as Yau’s graphs show.

Here’s what the graph looks like for American men and women who have a high school education or less.

The graph shows the age of men and women along the horizontal axis and the percentage who have been divorced or married more than once on the vertical axis. These graphs are cumulative, so as you go from left to right they add in the people who have ever divorced or remarried at any age group, to reach the total percentage on the right hand side of the graph. As you can see, about 39 percent of men with a high school education or less divorce or remarry in their lifetimes, compared to 37 percent of women with a similar education.

And here’s what the graphic looks like for those with a bachelor’s degree. Perhaps predictably, the divorce and remarriage rates are lower, with roughly 29 percent of women and 28 percent of men with a bachelor’s degree getting divorced or remarried.

Yau also broke the divorce rates down by race. Here are the rates for whites:

The rates are slightly higher for blacks:

They are much lower Hispanics:

And lowest of all for Asians, with less than one-fifth of Asian-Americans getting divorced and remarried:

The highest rates of the bunch belong to Native Americans:

You can see more graphics, including a breakdown of divorce rates for employed and unemployed Americans, on Yau’s site, here.

Source: Who gets divorced in America, in 7 charts – The Washington Post

Don’t Forget These Marital Assets in Your Divorce Settlement

marital property

marital propertyDivorce marks the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of another, and odds are, you’ll look back at this time and see it as a positive turning point in your life. However, before you achieve that perspective, there’s plenty to go through – and much of that comes down to finances.

Financially speaking, divorce is mostly about the division of marital property (and debts). Most couples today have complex financial portfolios that include many kinds of assets, and at first, figuring out how to divide everything fairly can seem overwhelmingly complicated.

For example, valuations of even the most common assets, such as real estate and bank accounts, cars, boats, and the like, can be points of contention in a divorce. Then, there are investments and employee compensation plans–including life insurance policies, retirement plans, pensions, stock options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, brokerage accounts, etc. –which must also be inventoried and evaluated for the purpose of division in a settlement agreement. Complicating matters further, the current dollar value of assets such as these isn’t necessarily the best basis for determining their worth.
Plus, there are many more types of assets to consider: valuable home furnishings, art, antiques, horses, wine collections, rare coins, classic cars. . . . and if you or your husband have been given significant gifts, or have interests, passions or other ventures that you’ve invested in during the marriage, it’s likely these have resulted in marital assets that are now subject to division, as well. (Interestingly, these types of assets often prove the most difficult to Think Financially, Not Emotionally® about. Even if your husband has never shown any interest in your beloved collection of rare first editions, don’t be surprised to hear him express a sudden attachment to it once he learns the collection is subject to division.)
Many women find there are marital assets that didn’t come immediately to mind, yet would have significant value or consequences should they fall to one or the other spouse. Please don’t forget that you may be entitled to:

Benefits from previous employers

Your check list should include stock options, restricted stock, retirement accounts (401Ks and pension plans) and deferred compensations plans from previous employers.

Capital loss carryover

Check tax returns for this one. If capital losses exceed capital gains, and also exceed the tax deduction allowable for a single year, the loss can be carried over to future years. If the loss occurred during the marriage, it is a mechanism for reducing tax liability and should be addressed in your divorce settlement.

Cemetery plots, or equivalent

Given that you’re divorcing, it’s a fair bet you’ve changed your mind about wanting to be buried by his side. A cemetery plot can have significant value and should be negotiated.

Collections and memorabilia

Think about what you have in storage, as well as on display in your home. Comic books, gold and silver coins, stamps, books, art and antiques are all potentially valuable items, as are some sports and election memorabilia. If an item or collection is specifically noted in your homeowner’s insurance policy, it’s probably important to your divorce settlement, as well. But, even if you forgot about it when buying insurance, be sure to remember it now.

Country club, golf course and other memberships
It could be that your husband is the only golfer in the family, and that the club membership is not something you particularly valued during the marriage. However, many clubs require substantial initiation fees to join, as well as annual dues, presenting an asset to divide.

Gifts you gave each other during the marriage

Gifts received from each other while married are marital property, subject to division in divorce. Gifts given before you were wed, such as your engagement ring, are separate property. (Read about the difference between separate and marital property here, and remember: Separate property can lose its separate property status if you commingle it with marital property or vice versa. For example, if you re-title your separately owned condo by adding your husband as a co-owner or if you deposit the inheritance from your parents into a joint bank account with him, then that property will most likely now be considered marital property.)

Intellectual property

This includes trademarks, patents, copyrights and royalty rights. While these may not have generated much income during your marriage, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Intellectual property rights should be specifically addressed in a divorce settlement agreement.

Lottery tickets

If a winning lottery ticket was bought during the marriage, the winnings are marital property.
Money loaned to others, payable to either spouse

For example, if your husband loaned his sister $10,000 during your marriage, the money she’ll pay back to him is subject to division in divorce.

Pets

Divorce laws of most states treat pets as property, not family members. Pets may be more commonly assigned to the spouse with a more flexible schedule, and/or who has historically taken care of the animal. If custody of a pet is important to you, make sure your attorney knows to make it a priority.

Photographs and keepsakes

These are literally invaluable assets. With the prevalence of digital photography, it should be no problem for each of you to keep the entire library of recent family photos, but many of us still also have collections of older photographs and negatives. If necessary, make an agreement to share the cost of having them copied. You’ll also need to make arrangements about keepsakes that can’t be duplicated.

Retained earnings

This refers to the portion of corporate income that is retained by the corporation rather than paid out as dividends to shareholders. If your husband owns a business, this is one of many things to watch out for.

Tax refunds

Depending what time of the year finds you in the thick of divorce settlement negotiations – or if the process spans more than one year – it could be surprisingly easy to overlook a pending or past tax refund.

Term life insurance

Whole life insurance policies with cash value are obviously subject to division, but term policies can also be important to negotiate, especially if yours is a “grey divorce” or if one of you is ill and/or uninsurable.

Travel reward program points

These can make for some nice luxury travel for the spouse that keeps them. Check out my article about who gets the air miles.

There is, to put it mildly, lots to consider, and state laws vary greatly, especially between Community Property and Equitable Distribution States. Fortunately, there is also excellent professional expertise available to work through various financial strategies for dividing each of these types of assets, and to help you be sure that nothing falls through the cracks. Knowing that your divorce settlement leaves no stone unturned, you can turn with confidence to that next chapter you’ve been looking forward to.

Source: Divorcing Women: Don’t Forget These Marital Assets

 

 

How to divorce a missing spouse

missing spouse divorce

Missing Spouse Divorce

missing spouse divorce

A divorce usually starts with the filing of a divorce complaint or petition for divorce. Once the complaint is filed by one spouse, the other spouse must be notified of the action. That notification is called “service of process,” or simply “service.”

Each state has its own rules regarding service, and most offer a number of options for serving the complaint. For example, service may be done in person by having a process server hand the other spouse a copy of the divorce complaint. You can also serve a complaint by certified mail or regular mail. Problems arise when one spouse cannot be located, which usually only happens when the parties have been separated for a long time and don’t have financial ties to each other or children together that require them to stay in touch.

In situations where a spouse is missing, state court rules usually provide an alternative service method after the spouse petitioning for divorce has exhausted all reasonable attempts to find the other spouse.

Step #1: Try to find the missing spouse

Before a judge will allow you to use alternative methods of notification, you must exhaust your options for finding the missing spouse — a process known legally as “due diligence” or “diligent effort.” Reasonable steps include:

  • Contacting the spouse’s relatives, friends, former employers and former landlords
  • Searching on Internet social networks
  • Checking with government organizations like the post office, voter registration and department of motor vehicles
  • Trying to contact them via last known email addresses and phone numbers

You can hire a lawyer or private investigator to complete the due diligence process for you, you don’t have to do it personally.

Step #2: Ask the court to allow service by publication

After you’ve completed step #1, present your findings to the court and ask for permission to serve your spouse by publication. You may be required to present a sworn statement, called an affidavit, showing the steps you’ve taken to locate your missing spouse. A divorce cannot move forward unless there is a satisfactory showing that all possible steps have been taken to find the spouse. If the judge approves your due diligence, he will issue an order for publication.

Step #3: Publish a service notice in local publications

Each state has slightly different rules for service by publication, and newspaper staff will usually help you write the notice based on the information in your divorce documents and judge’s order.

Some states require you to publish a notice once a week for a certain amount of time in the county where you’ve filed for divorce. Other states require you to choose a newspaper that covers the area where your spouse last lived. There may also be a set time — 30 days, for example — in which you must publish the notice after you receive your order for publication from the court.

You may be required to post an additional notice at the courthouse.


Divorce notice via Facebook?

There was a recent case in New York where a judge allowed a woman to serve her elusive husband on Facebook. The woman had tried other means to notify him of service, to no avail. She did not know her husband’s address but she was aware that he used Facebook to communicate. So, in an unprecedented move, the judge allowed the woman to use Facebook to serve him the notice and move the case forward.


Step #4: Wait, then move forward with divorce by default

Let the judge know as soon as you’ve published the notice by filing an affidavit with the court. Publications will usually give you an affidavit confirming that your notice was published the required number of times.

There is usually a minimum number of days you’re required to wait after publishing the notice before you can move forward with a divorce. The waiting period, 30 days in some states, is intended to allow the missing spouse time to see the notice and respond or contact the court.

After the necessary waiting period, you can ask the court for a divorce by default. Note that courts usually cannot decide on financial issues such as property division, alimony or child support without the cooperation of both spouses.

Takeaways

For the party who wants to move forward with a divorce in the face of a missing spouse, it is well advised to understand your specific state’s rules governing service of process and discuss your options with an experienced divorce lawyer.

It’s also in your best interest to work hard to locate the missing spouse by checking with friends and relatives, contacting former landlords, places of employment and any mutual friends or acquaintances who may be aware of where the party is living. With the Internet and social media, it’s a lot easier than it once was to locate someone even if they have moved out of the state or even out of the country. And, as was demonstrated in the recent New York case, judges might be starting to recognize the benefits of using technology in tracking down a missing party.  Missing spouse divorce

Cited from: How to divorce a missing spouse http://nakedlaw.avvo.com/divorce/how-to-divorce-a-missing-spouse.html#ixzz3cUwFQLp3

American Divorce Trends and Divorce Statistics

divorce statistics

AMERICAN DIVORCE TRENDS AND STATISTICSdivorce statistics

There is one divorce every 36 seconds in America, and some surprising trends around those numbers. According to the family law attorneys at McKinley Irvin, you’re more likely to get divorced if:

  • You commute more than 45 minutes to work
  • You live in a red state
  • You lived together before getting married
  • You check social media a lot
  • You didn’t graduate from college
  • Your wedding cost more than $20,000
  • The family law firm McKinley Irvin compiled these and other interesting divorce statistics in their infographic, Anatomy of a Divorce.

DIVORCE STATISTICS  

Source: Anatomy of a divorce 

Social Media and Divorce

social media

Social Media and Divorce

social mediaAs a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney I constantly come across the issue of social media and how it can and does play a part in divorces.  I advise all of my clients to be aware of what they put out there on the internet for everyone to see. This is because all to often pictures, status updates and videos are used against clients in trials. In our family law practice, divorce evidence derived from social media is becoming commonplace. What people don’t realize is that seemingly harmless party photos and location-based status updates can jeopardize a person’s divorce settlement, resulting in the loss of child custody, parenting time or even alimony.  The following advice applies to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin and even dating websites. Not surprisingly there have been numerous articles published on this topic. One of which can be found on The Huffington Post and is titled, “Don’t Let Social Media Sabotage Your Divorce.” The author of this article, Attorney Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., lists three important steps that a divorcing party should take in order to avoid self sabotage.

1. “Think before you post.” Don’t post any pictures or comments that you know could come back to haunt you as evidence at a trial. Even if your posts are not used as evidence at trial, comments you make can often be used to anticipate your next move in court.

2. “Keep your social networking circles separate from your ex’s.” Keep your ex and his/her friends off of your personal site. You don’t want your ex or his/her friends to have the ability to gather any evidence that can be used against you.  This includes mutual friends who often just can’t keep their mouth shut!  Also, don’t “friend” anyone you don’t know.  We once had an ex make a phony Facebook profile and our careless client accepted the friend request not knowing who it was.

3. “Don’t reveal your location.” If you’re not where you are supposed to be do not announce to the internet world where you actually are at all times.

social media divorceEven if you follow all of the above precautions, remember, a judge could order you to provide all the information on your site to your ex.  That’s right, parties in a divorce get to exchange information, even private information, if it is relevant to the case.  Some judges are ordering that information and post on social media sites be provided to the other side. On the other hand, we tell our clients to check often the sites of their ex’s and friends.  Very often this leads to useful information which can dramatically change outcome of the case. Should you live in the Pittsburgh area and are contemplating divorce contact us today.  A Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney can assist you with tailoring your personal social media sites to ensure they cannot potentially harm your case.

Second And Third Marriages Are Failing at an Alarming Rate

divorce

divorce rates

Divorce Rates

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana

Santayana’s warning could apply equally to personal history, like a divorce. Yet despite this, past statistics have shown that in the U.S., 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. What are the reasons for this progressive increase in divorce rates?

Second And Third Marriages Are Failing At An Alarming Rate http://t.co/arxmNB0S via @HuffingtonPost