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.”

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.

 

Dealing with Divorce

dealing with divorce

Dealing with Divorce
dealing with divorceDivorce can be a lengthy process that may strain your finances and leave you feeling out of control. But with the right preparation, you can protect your interests, take charge of your future, and save yourself time and money. You certainly never expected divorce when you cut the wedding cake–you and your spouse planned on spending the rest of your lives together. Unfortunately, the fairy tale didn’t work out, and you’re headed for a divorce. So where do you begin?

First things first: should you hire an attorney?

There’s no legal requirement that you hire an attorney when divorcing. In fact, going it alone may be a sensible option if you’re young and have been married only a short time, are childless, and have few assets. However, most divorcing couples hire attorneys to better protect their interests, even though doing so can be expensive. Divorce attorneys typically charge hourly rates and require you to submit retainers (lump sums) up front. The charges will depend on the complexity of the case, the reputation and experience of the divorce attorney, and your geographic location.

You should know that if you’re a homemaker or earn less income than your spouse, it’s still possible to obtain legal representation. You can submit a motion to the court, asking a judge to order your spouse to pay for your attorney’s fees.

If you and your spouse can agree on most issues, you may save time and money by filing an uncontested divorce. If you can’t agree on significant issues, you may want to meet with a divorce mediator, who can help you resolve issues that the two of you can’t resolve alone. To find a mediator, contact your local domestic relations court, ask friends for a referral, or look in the telephone book. Certain attorneys, members of the clergy, psychologists, social workers, marriage counselors, and financial professionals may offer their services as mediators.

Save time and money by doing your homework before meeting with a divorce professional

To save time and money, compile as much of the following information as you can before meeting with an attorney or other divorce professional:
• Each spouse’s date of birth
• Names and birthdates of children, if you have any
• Date and place of marriage and length of time in present state
• Existence of prenuptial agreement
• Information about parties’ prior marriages, children, etc.
• Date of separation and grounds for divorce
• Current occupation and name and address of employer for each spouse
• Social Security number for each spouse
• Income of each spouse
• Education, degrees, and training of each spouse
• Extent of employee benefits for each spouse
• Details of retirement plans for each spouse
• Joint assets of the parties
• Liabilities and debts of each spouse
• Life (and other) insurance of each spouse
• Separate or personal assets of each spouse, including trust funds and inheritances
• Financial records
• Family business records
• Collections, artwork, and antiques

If you’re uncertain about some of these areas, you can obtain the necessary information through your spouse’s financial affidavit and/or the discovery process, both of which are mandated by the court.

Consider the big questions, such as child custody and alimony

Although your divorce professional will help you work through the big issues, you might want to think about the following questions before meeting with him or her:
• If you have children, what are your wishes regarding custody, visitation, and child support?
• Whose health insurance plan should cover the children?
• Do you earn enough money to adequately support yourself, or should alimony be considered?
• Which assets do you really want, and which are you willing to let your spouse keep?
• How do you feel about the family home? Do you feel strongly about living there, or should it be sold or allotted to your spouse?
• Will you have enough money to pay the outstanding debt on whatever assets you keep?

In addition to an attorney, you may want to see a therapist to help you clarify your wishes, express yourself more clearly, and deal with any child-related issues. Such counseling is typically covered by health insurance.

Some dos and don’ts when divorcing

Keep the following tips in mind:
• Do prepare a budget and a financial plan to sustain you until your divorce is final. Get help if you don’t currently have the skills and energy to do this on your own.
• Do review monthly bank and financial statements and make copies for your attorney.
• Do review all tax returns that have been filed jointly or separately by your spouse.
• Do make sure all taxes have been paid to date.
• Do review the contents of any safe-deposit boxes.
• Do get emotional support for yourself–talk to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist.
• Don’t make large purchases or create additional debt that might later cause financial hardship.
• Don’t quit your job.
• Don’t move out of the house before consulting your attorney.
• Don’t transfer or give away assets that are owned jointly.
• Don’t sign a blank financial statement or any other document without reviewing it with your attorney.

 

Source: Investments

Tax Issues And Divorce – Part 1

http://divorcetransitionalsupportadvisor.com/tax-issues-and-divorce-part-2/

divorce taxAs if divorce doesn’t cause enough emotional and financial turmoil, every person going through a divorce must also consider a variety of tax issues that arise once a marriage ends. Many of these issues can catch a divorcing spouse off guard. It is important to understand these tax pitfalls in order to make sound decisions and avoid unnecessary troubles down the road.

Alimony is Taxable to the Recipient

With some exceptions, spousal support paid by one party to the other is usually considered a taxable event for both. This is crucial to understand because it causes a tax liability for the payee spouse and a tax credit for the payor spouse.

The IRS sets forth specific criteria in order for a payment between spouses to qualify as alimony:

  • The spouses do not file a joint tax return with each other
  • The payor spouse pays in cash (including checks, bank transfers or money orders)
  • The payment is received by (or on behalf of) the payee spouse
  • The divorce or separate maintenance decree does not state that the payment is not alimony
  • If legally separated, the former spouses are not members of the same household when the payment is made
  • There is no liability to make payments after the death of the payee spouse
  • The payment is not treated as child support or part of a property settlement

Who Gets the Dependency Exemption for the Minor Child

The IRS presumes that the custodial parent will receive the dependency exemption for any minor children of the divorcing couple. A custodial parent is defined as the parent who has the minor children for the greater portion of the calendar year. This presumption can create a situation where one parent always gets the deduction, year after year, providing significant tax savings to him or her.

However, the dependency exemption can be allocated by agreement of the parties or by court order. In such cases, the parent relinquishing the dependency exemption is required to sign IRS form 8332, which is then attached to the non-custodial parent’s tax return in each year that he or she claims the exemption.

See Part II of this article.

Source: Divorce Transitional Support Advisor – Tax Issues And Divorce – Part 1

5 Tips for Keeping the Peace When Sharing Custody of the Kids. After a Divorce

Custody

 

CustodyDivorce is tough on everyone, but children often pay the highest price when the fighting and anger continue even after the adults have gone their separate ways.Here are five tips for keeping the peace with your ex when sharing custody, for the children’s sake:

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff:

“If both parents can develop a level of trust in each other (admittedly a very difficult thing to do in the face of a divorce or the end of a relationship), then they can reduce resentments by having less inclination to micromanage what takes place in each other’s home. There is a difference between bad parenting and just different parenting styles. Differing parenting styles are not necessarily bad, but the more that parents can collaborate to create consistency between the parenting styles in their separate homes without imposing rigid requirements on each other, the less likely the children will view one home as ‘better’ or ‘more fun’ than the other.”

2. Remember the basics:

“The most important factor to consider in your custody schedule is your child’s best interests. The court is primarily concerned that your schedule provides the stability and security your child needs. Although we often think of parental visitation in terms of rights, visitation is also a parental obligation. As such, parental availability must be maximized when establishing your custody schedule.”

3. Let technology be your friend:

“Precedents are growing throughout the country for the inclusion or allowance of virtual visitation in a parenting plan… Technology is a boon to families who are not nearby and a skilled divorce lawyer can help you to arrange for virtual visitation. Email, texting, instant messaging and web cameras on phones or computers can strengthen the bond between parents and children.”

4. Don’t leave anyone out:

“Be sure that both of you have contacted the schools, coaches, doctors and anyone else who has contact with the kids on a regular basis, so that all of those folks have both parents’ contact information and know to call or email both of you. This saves one parent from feeling left out and one parent being put unfairly in an ‘assistant’ position. The information about activities, doctor’s appointments, etc. can all go into that mutual Internet calendar so all can see.”

5. Talk to your kids about what’s going on:

“Be prepared to have many conversations with your children about the divorce – they should be given many opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings, none of which should be dismissed. Read books about divorce to young children and encourage young children and teenagers to express themselves through art and music.”