Blog

Buy our Divorce Prep Workbook!

Top 11 Assumptions of Divorce Court That Usually Fall Short

Court-gavelDivorce can be a very frustrating and painful experience due to people’s common expectations and assumptions of divorce court that usually fall short. Most of the emotional and financial wounding resulting from divorce is due to what many people assume and naively expect from the court process in a variety of areas. When these common assumptions set unrealistic expectations they can have mild to severe emotional as well as financial repercussions. Let’s explore the top 11 assumptions regarding divorce court that give people unrealistic expectations for the divorce court system:

Assumption 1: When the divorce request is filed someone has to leave the marital home immediately. This is not true. The couple either needs to agree on separate living arrangements or involve the legal process to have a Judge court order one of the partners to leave the marital home.

Assumption 2: When a divorce is filed someone is immediately responsible for child support. This is also not true. Either the couple agrees on temporary financial issues to maintain the family obligations or they involve the legal process to have a Judge court order support.

Assumption 3: If I state a fact in court, my word is proof enough.In a court of law, facts must be proven with tangible evidence to support them. Judges rely on hard evidence to make all decisions and usually disregard any statements or claims that aren’t supported with evidence.

Assumption 4: The divorce should be officially finalized within about 2-3 months of filing. Depending on the method used and the professionals they hire, cases can continue well past 2-3 months and can even extend over many years if spouses engage in a high conflict, litigious process. If a family chooses to mediate their settlement, a realistic time frame can range from 2-6 months if multiple mediations are required due to complicated family assets.

Assumption 5: There are things that the court system just ‘knows’ as common sense.Attorneys carry a caseload average of 10-30 clients at any given time and rarely retain all of the information pertaining to a specific case. When litigating a divorce it is in the client’s best interest to keep key bullet points cleanly typed onto a brief synopsis of their case and have their attorney review them just prior to entering the courtroom. Judges see hundreds of cases per month and rarely retain any facts specific to a family’s situation.

Assumption 6: They will have unlimited time in court to argue their case. Due to the number of cases assigned to a Judge per day, each case has a very limited time with the Judge and witnesses will usually only have a few minutes on the stand to answer the most pertinent questions of the issue at hand.

Assumption 7: They can have an unlimited amount of witnesses. Actually, only one or two witnesses will be allowed to provide evidence to prove a point and the witness testimony must be brief and to the point. Most attorneys know this and request witness affidavits be submitted as an alternative to witness testimonials in court.

Assumption 8: Any piece of paper they bring with them to court will be able to be admitted as evidence. There are specific guidelines as to what type of document can be submitted as evidence into the court records.

Assumption 9: Once something is decided on in court, mediation, or a settlement, that it cannot change. Additional legal action can result in altered court orders.

Assumption 10: The only financial fees they are responsible for are their Attorney fees. When a party requests services of a Guardian-Ad-Litem for minor children or for the court to order a full Forensic Psychological Assessment of their spouse, the costs for these services (which can vary greatly) could range from $5000 to well over $30,000 and the family is obligated to pay for these services.

Assumption 11: The court will “make” their spouse accountable for their “wrongdoing” and “justice” will be served with punishment. This is the biggest misconception of all when it comes to a person who feels they have been “wronged” and they want to punish their spouse. This assumption is also by far the most financially costly to the family. The Judge’s only goal and assignment is to uphold the law in regards to dividing family assets and arranging a shared parenting plan. They do not make decisions based on unethical or immoral behavior of one of the parties. It is not uncommon for parties to perceive that their spouse will be ordered to “pay royally for their mistake” when they go to court. Court outcomes are so unpredictable, that in the end the only ones “punished” are the spouses who wasted their hard earned family funds trying to battle out moral issues in court. These long drawn out legal battles can also take a permanent toll on their future ability to have a civil co-parenting relationship post divorce if there are children involved.

Avoiding the legal divorce court arena altogether by mediating a settlement allows the family to side-step theses costly pitfalls. Mediation via Divorce Mediation Centers (who offer the proper financial and legal professional assistance) greatly enhances the family’s ability to move past divorce and into a more stable financial and emotional season of life.

For financial settlement advice, a sample parenting plan and more tips buy our two books Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook and Family Divorce 101-A Guide to What Divorcing Families Should Know

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

 

Ideas for Divorce Financial Settlements-part 4 of 4

Over the last 4 weeks we have been posting tips and ideas for divorce financial settlements. This is part 4 of 4. Attorneys are licensed to advise and practice the laws in the state in which they reside and hold licensure in. Attorneys are not licensed to give financial investment or portfolio advice. Before one enters into financial negotiations or mediation for a financial divorce settlement it is wise to seek the advice of a CPA, who is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and/or a Tax Advisor regarding the particular details of their family situation and potential financial/tax implications of what they are considering for final settlement terms. Budgeting for recommendations from a licensed financial professional is a far better investment in family funds to be prepared to make permanent financial decisions in a negotiation or mediation. A CPA, Tax Attorney prepared the following points of discussion included in our Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook:

If one of the parties will have a higher income tax bracket than the other after the divorce, consider settling non-qualified accounts, home equity, and other non-qualified asset splits as “enhanced” alimony payments (from the high income earner to the low income earner) versus a lump sum settlement.  Increase/enhance the “alimony” amount to cover the alimony receiver’s tax burden and share equally in the “net” tax deduction savings of the higher income earner.

As an example, presume a couple had $200,000 in equity in a home to be shared equally (change the amount to fit your scenario). Instead of each party taking $100,000 (with no tax implications) consider:

  • the high income earner keeps his/her $100,000 with no adjustment

 

  • the high income earner pays the low income earner more than $100,000 (as outlined below) in alimony over 3 years (or whatever duration you mutually choose). Be cognizant that this extra income does not push the low income earner into a higher tax bracket or lower the higher income earner into a lower tax bracket; if it does, adjust accordingly.

 

  • Presume the higher income earner is in the (34% + 6%) = 40% Federal plus State tax bracket. Change the numbers to fit your scenario

 

  • Presume the lower income earner is in the (15% + 6%) 21% Federal plus State tax bracket. Change the numbers to fit your scenario

 

  • Note: the greater the difference between the 2 tax brackets, the greater the benefit of this strategy

 

  • To calculate the fair payment amount to each, net of taxes, here is the formula whereby
    • A = the amount of the lower income earner’s share to be “converted” to alimony
    • H = the higher income earners Federal plus State tax bracket
    • L = the lower income earners Federal plus State tax bracket
    • ( A X 2 ) / [( 1 – H ) + ( 1 – L )]
    • So in this example:
    • ($100,000 X 2) / [(1 – 0.4) + (1 – 0.21)] = $200,000 / (0.6 + 0.79) = $143,885

 

  • The higher income earner would thus pay the lower income earner $143,885 / 3 = $47,962/year for 3 years. This payment should be made in lump sum the first week of January each year.

 

  • The higher income earner gets a cumulative tax break of ($143,885 X 40%) = $57,554
    • Thus, net of taxes, the high income earner pays
    • $143,885 – $57,554 = $86,331
    • compared to paying $100,000 with no tax savings; for a net savings of $13,669

 

  • The lower income earner incurs a cumulative increased tax of ($143,885 X 21%) = $30,216
    • Thus, net of taxes, the low income earner receives
    • $143,885 – $30,216 = $113,669
    • compared to receiving $100,000 with no taxes; for a net increase of $13,669

 

  • As result of this strategy, in this example, each party has an extra $13,669.

 

More financial settlement advice and tips in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

 

 

 

 

 

Ideas for Divorce Financial Settlements-Part 3 of 4

Over the past several weeks we have been posting tips for divorce financial settlements, this is part 3 of 4. Attorneys are licensed to advise and practice the laws in the state in which they reside and hold licensure in. Attorneys are not licensed to give financial tax advice, investment or portfolio advice. Before one enters into financial negotiations or mediation for a financial divorce settlement it is wise to seek the advice of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), CPA and/or Tax Advisor regarding the particular details of their family situation and potential financial/tax implications of what they are considering for final settlement terms. Budgeting for recommendations from a licensed financial professional is a far better investment in family funds to be prepared to make permanent financial decisions in a negotiation or mediation. A CPA, Tax Attorney prepared the following points of discussion included in our Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook:

Note that a direct distribution from an IRA or 401-K to a separate IRA or 401-K (between the spouses) per the QDRO is not hit with the 10% IRS penalty.

Have the higher income earner each year claim all the kids as dependents on his/her tax return then have ex-spouses share the “net” tax savings equally via a check from the high income earner to the lower income earner.

An example to implement this:

Presume the high income earner has a marginal Federal tax rate of 34% plus 6% State whereas the lower income earner has a Federal tax rate of 15% plus 6% State. Presume the standard child deduction is $3,700 (it changes most years) and there are 3 children. 

  • The higher income earner would save [(34% + 6%) X $3,700 X 3 = $4,440]
  • The lower income earner would save [(15% + 6%) X $3,700 X 3 = $2,331]
  • The annual tax savings differential in this case is $4,440 – $2,331 = $2,109
  • The average between the two is $3,385.50
  • The higher income earner would claim all 3 dependents and then write a check to the lower income earner for [($3,385.50 / 2) = $1,692.75]
  • Over 2 years, instead of the high income earner getting a $4,440 tax savings year one and then $0 in year two (because the spouse claims the dependents) for a total of $4,440, the high income earner would get ($4,440 – $1,692.75) + ($4,440 – $1,692.75) = $5,494.50. Note this is an extra tax savings of $1,054.50 compared to alternating claiming dependents.
  • Over 2 years, instead of the low income earner getting a $0 tax savings year one (because the spouse claims the dependents) and then $2,331 in year two for a total of $2,331, the low income earner would get ($1,692.75) + ($1,692.75) = $3,385.50. Note this is an extra tax savings of $1,054.50 compared to alternating claiming dependents.

 

To determine the exact tax savings differential each year, once each person’s tax return is completed run a “dummy” version whereby the only adjustment to each person’s tax return is eliminating the dependents, or adding the dependents, as the case may be. Then look at what the combined Federal plus State tax differential is for each of you.  The higher income earner would then write a check for half of the net savings to the lower income earner.

More financial settlement advice and tips in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

Ideas for Divorce Financial Settlements-Part 2 of 4

Over the next few weeks we will be posting tips for divorce financial settlements. Attorneys are licensed to advise and practice the laws in the state in which they reside and hold licensure in. Attorneys are not licensed to give financial investment or portfolio advice. Before one enters into financial negotiations or mediation for a financial divorce settlement it is wise to seek the advice of a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and/or Tax Advisor regarding the particular details of their family situation and potential financial/tax implications of what they are considering for final settlement terms. Budgeting for recommendations from a licensed financial professional is a far better investment in family funds to be prepared to make permanent financial decisions in a negotiation or mediation. A CPA, Tax Attorney prepared the following points of discussion included in our Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook:

Some possible creative ways to distribute assets in a divorce that can be mutually beneficial to both parties are outlined below but contact your CPA to confirm the tax benefits in your own personal situation.  Also remember to make sure your Divorce Decree clearly outlines any implemented strategy.

Legal fees (i.e., divorce attorney fees) are tax deductible against alimony received (have the legal fee bill itemize this) – have the one receiving the alimony pay the legal fees; share the resulting tax savings.

If you:

  1. Received alimony payments (child support payments are not applicable to this deduction)
  2. Personally paid a Divorce Attorney

there is a good probability you are due a tax refund/deduction (if you have not already received one).  If the deduction outlined below was missed, it may well be worth going back and re-filing a previous year tax return to capture the tax deduction.

As an example of how this is implemented is:

  1. your “work” income was $35,000/year
  2. you received $24,000/year in alimony payments
  3. the Divorce Attorney bill that you (the alimony receiver) paid was $22,000 Presume $1,000 of the $22,000 was to file the actual divorce papers and thus $21,000 was paid by you to a Divorce Attorney to secure alimony
    Here is a rough outline of your potential tax savings/refund (of course your actual numbers will be different so seek professional guidance in your state):

Total income = $59,000 (i.e., $35,000 + $24,000 = $59,000)

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) = $50,000 (presumes $9,000 in exemptions/deductions to get to AGI)

Schedule “A” standard deduction of 2% = $1,000 (i.e., 2% of $50,000 = $1,000)

Presume 25% Federal tax and 6% State tax

Your savings/refund = ($21,000$1,000) X (25% + 6%) = $6,200

 The following excerpts are taken from www.lawyers.com.

General Rules

The general rule is simple enough: You can deduct attorney’s fees you pay for:

  1. Trying to produce or collect taxable income (alimony is taxable income), or
  2. To help in determining, collecting or getting a refund of any tax . In simple terms, you can take a deduction if you need an attorneys help to make money (alimony) that you have to pay taxes on. 

Is There a Deduction?

There are all kinds of situations that qualify for the tax deduction, such as fees you may pay for:

Tax advice you may get during a divorce case, such as how you and your ex-spouse will take deductions for home mortgage interest or child care, or whether alimony is tax deductible by the payor spouse or taxable income to the recipient spouse

Trying to get your ex-spouse to pay past-due alimony.

What IRS Tax Form To Use

Generally, you deduct attorney’s fees as an itemized miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A of your Form 1040 tax return. You may not be able to deduct all of your fees, though. Miscellaneous deductions are limited by the two percent rule: You can deduct only the amount of your miscellaneous deductions that’s more than two percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) – the amount you entered on line 38 of your 1040.

More financial settlement advice and tips in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

Tips for Divorce Financial Settlements-Part 1 of 4

Over the next 4 weeks we will be posting tips for divorce financial settlements. Attorneys are licensed to advise and practice the laws in the state in which they reside and hold licensure in. Attorneys are not licensed to give financial investment or portfolio advice. Before one enters into financial negotiations or mediation for a financial divorce settlement it is wise to seek the advice of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), CPA and/or Tax Advisor regarding the particular details of their family situation and potential financial/tax implications of what they are considering for final settlement terms. Budgeting for recommendations from a licensed financial professional is a far better investment in family funds to be prepared to make permanent financial decisions in a negotiation or mediation. A CPA, Tax Attorney prepared the following points of discussion included in our Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook:

Medical Insurance/Auto Insurance/Anticipated Expense of Auto Insurance for minor children who reach driving age: After securing quotes, discuss creative options for Medical Insurance/Auto Insurance, auto insurance coverage of minor children when they reach driving age, which parent should carry minor children on their policy to minimize the expense to the new post-divorce family structure and how the expense should be structured proportionately based on individual parent income.

Division of Tax Deferred Retirement Accounts (401(k), Retirement Savings): A majority of retirement accounts are pre-tax accounts. What this means is that any money you take out of the account will be subject to income tax. Therefore, the immediate cash values of these accounts are actually less than what the balance is. If you are younger than 59 ½, in most cases, an early distribution from a pre-tax retirement account will cost you a 10% penalty for an early withdraw in addition to income taxes. To transfer tax-deferred retirement account funds, a legal document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) signed by your Judge is required authorizing the holding/manager of the funds to move the funds into separate accounts. The verbiage for this legal document must be supplied by the Corporation who is offering the retirement account and the preparation of these forms is usually handled by an Attorney and can be quite costly ($1000-$1500 for preparation). Since there are legal expenses related to the preparation and filing of this document, the parties should address how this expense will be handled in their financial settlement agreement.

Remember to consider the value of Retirement Pensions and Corporate Stock Options not yet exercised that accumulated during the marriage, these are considered marital assets that have a value to be divided.

Former Wills/ Trusts Documents/Marriage Licenses and Divorce Decrees: Post –Divorce it is important to retain all originals and additional certified copies of all of the above listed documents. Often, in order to obtain retirement benefits, Social Security benefits and Death benefits of an Ex-Spouse originals or certified copies of the above specified documents are required.  If the partners were married for 10 years or more, Spouses are eligible for Ex-Spouse Social Security benefits beginning at age 60.

More financial settlement advice and tips in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

 

How is Alimony Calculated in Georgia?

Unlike some states, Georgia does not have a published calculation for alimony also known as “spousal support”. Alimony is awarded based on a multitude of factors including:

  1. need of the recipient as a temporary means to regain financial independence from their spouse
  2. the ability to pay by the primary income producing spouse
  3. the employability of the recipient and past employment history
  4. age and physical condition of both spouses
  5. special childcare needs of minor children that would prohibit the recipient from gaining employment

These factors also contribute to the length of the alimony obligation.

In Georgia civil law, there are certain circumstances when a spouse would NOT be eligible for alimony. When the divorce is an immediate and direct result of adultery, the spouse that committed the adultery is barred from receiving alimony.

The first key element of the divorce services we offer is calculating alimony and child support figures for your family. If you are considering divorce we encourage you to make an appointment for a free consultation (678) 389-1616.

For more information on divorce please buy our books Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook  and Family Divorce 101 – A Guide to What Divorcing Families Should Know.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

 

Considering Divorce? Step 1-Find a Divorce Mediation Center

When a family is considering divorce, there are many options they should explore before officially starting the legal process. Divorce can be a complicated process and information on how to proceed can be provided by free resources in your state. Step 1- find a Divorce Mediation Center, these are cropping up all across the United States offering a comprehensive wealth of information and professional resources and should be a family’s first step in investigating which method they choose to complete this process.

It can be a bit overwhelming for spouses who may be pre-occupied with the emotional aspect of the current relational dynamics to make wise decisions regarding the process of converting one household to two. Goals of minimizing the expenses and maximizing the tax implications of both new households can be a daunting task and it is wise to seek professionals (Professional Accountants who are Certified Divorce Financial Analysts) to assist Spouses in assessing the specific family needs and recommending a practical financial course of action. Most Divorce Mediation Centers can provide families with these professionals and resources. A well informed couple will be better prepared to make productive final decisions through the necessary negotiation process required for financial settlements.

Many couples immediately hire Attorneys and start the costly legal process by filing for divorce in their county well before they have done their necessary financial “due diligence”. Transitions Resource, a Family Divorce Consumer Advocacy since 2010, recommends that only after the family has sought sound financial recommendations should they engage in the legal process. Many of these Divorce Mediation Centers provide referral sources for local Attorneys to represent the spouses and/or Mediators to facilitate in mediations or any negotiations that may be required. Too often couples enter negotiations and agree to terms or attend trials uninformed and are ordered financial stipulations that down the road leave them in dire compromised financial straits.

Many families do not know that with the proper professional guidance that they can reach negotiated agreements prior to filing for divorce that are a win/win for both spouses, saving the family a large bit of money (upwards of $40,000 by avoiding court ordered status conferences, days of trial depositions, court appearances and missed time from work). Nor do they know that they can actually file the “Request for Divorce” AND negotiated “Divorce Settlement” documents SIMULTANEOUSLY to save them from entering the costly litigious legal arena altogether. An important benefit in taking this alternative practical approach is it also greatly reduces the amount of conflict between spouses who in many cases, will need to have a healthy co-parenting relationship post divorce.

More financial settlement advice and tips in our two books Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook and Family Divorce 101-A Guide to What Divorcing Families Should Know

Please follow us on Face Book And Twitter

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

How to Tell Your Kids You are Divorcing

Family-FreeDigitalPhotos

If your family is preparing for divorce, you may have concerns and questions on how to tell the kids you are divorcing. I sought some advice from Denise Houston, a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in child therapy to share her wisdom on this topic. She recommends that

 

  1. Parents should tell the children together if they can do so without volatility, blaming each other or defending themselves. Denise has often met with parents to coach and help them practice and prepare for this discussion with the kids.

 

  1. Use statements such as:

“We will get along better if we live in separate houses”

“Parents do not divorce children, we are not divorcing you”

 “We will both still love you and spend time with you”

 “The divorce is not your fault”

“We will keep as many things the same as we possibly can (school, neighborhood, friends, etc.) “

 

Kathleen Shack, Marriage and Family Therapist (http://www.familysolutionscounselingga.com/) who also specializes in child therapy and frequently assists parents in preparing custody plans for settlements adds:

 

  • The timing of when you actually tell the children is also important. Tell them no more than 2 weeks before one of the parents moves out of the home. If you tell them too soon, long before the actual separation takes place it can be confusing, and can leave room for the children to ponder and gain false hope of reconciliation.
  • Also be prepared for these common questions, and be cohesive and on the same page in your responses:

Why did you stop loving Mommy/Daddy? This is disguised as “Will you stop loving me” so you both will want to reassure the child that just because Mommy and Daddy’s relationship is changing, each of you will continue to love the children and that will never change.

 

“Will you ever get back together?” The kids must be told very clearly that you will not be getting back together.

 

Why did you break up our family?” Do not discuss the details of the nature of the breakdown of the relationship with the kids, avoid assigning blame. Children should not be burdened with adult relational issues.

 

Do I have to go to Mom’s/Dad’s?”  Yes, no matter what age, children need parenting time with both parents (as long as it is safe with no threat of abuse), it is important to work together to resolve lingering issues so that both parents reinforce the benefit of alone time with the other parent.

 

Am I getting a new Mom/Dad?” No, parents are not replaceable. Their mother will always be their mother and father will always be their father, despite the possibility of one or both parents engaging in new relationships and future marriages. Step-parents are “bonus” parents and do not replace the birth parent.

 

“Where will I live?”  You need to know the living arrangements prior to telling the kids. Remember that most kids are focused on self and will want to know exactly how their daily lives will be affected, know where they will be staying with both parents and what the exchange schedule will be and be prepared to discuss this with them at this time.

 

It is also very beneficial to place children into “family-in-transition” counseling immediately after you tell them if you can afford to. This important step will help your children understand the changes in your family, give them a healthy perspective on the changes as well as an outside outlet to vent frustrations or concerns.

More financial settlement and custody advice and tips in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook and Family Divorce 101-A Guide to What Divorcing Families Should Know

Please follow us on Face Book And Twitter 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

Divorce-To Mediate or Litigate?

Divorce-To Mediate or Litigate?

Divorce-To Mediate or Litigate?

 

If you are considering divorce, you may not realize that your family has a choice to either mediate or litigate your divorce settlement. Most families simply hire the best attorneys they can afford and expect to head to court to litigate.

What they don’t realize when they choose to litigate is that they are likely looking at 18 months to 2 years in the judicial process and an average expense of $50,000 to $75,000++ with some cases adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A much more effective method is to seek out a Family Divorce Mediation Center and work with a Mediator to reach a settlement, and they will provide you Attorneys to prepare and file the necessary settlement documents. Following this alternative method allows the family to avoid the judicial process altogether. Couples can usually reach a settlement within 2-4 months and costs remain substantially lower at around $3000 to $8000.

Mediation is the most effective way to reach a settlement that meets the needs of all parties involved. Who best to make final decisions on your family but you and your spouse, taking your minor children into consideration? Why leave these important decisions to a Judge in a trial who doesn’t know or care about your family and already resents the fact that two married people can’t be civilized enough to work out a reasonable arrangement?

The Judicial System in Civil cases is designed to uphold the laws of the state in which you reside regarding the dissolution of the family entity. It is not designed to pass judgment or punish individuals on moral or ethical issues. A spouse will not get a larger settlement just because they were wronged in the marriage. It is important to address emotional issues in family counseling and not expect the judicial process to hold individuals accountable for their choice of behaviors that lead to the breakdown of the relationship.

Save family funds by eliminating the emotional aspect while in the divorce process. Trials are very costly and result in big paydays for Litigators, full days of depositions are required prior to the trials and a trial could take several days, costing your family many hours of unnecessary legal expenses, missed time from work and can greatly increase tension between partners that overflows into Co-Parenting issues many years post settlement.

If you have a lot of conflict in your marriage, a mediation where the parties are separated in different rooms can be very productive. An Attorney can attend the mediation with you and most Family Divorce Mediation Centers can provide an Attorney to represent you at the mediation at a reasonable hourly fee.

More financial settlement advice and a sample custody plan in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook and Family Divorce 101-A Guide to What Divorcing Families Should Know

Please follow us on Face Book and Twitter 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

Divorce from a Violent Partner

When considering divorce from a violent partner several precautions should be taken prior to taking legal action. Unsure if domestic violence is an element in your marriage? According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline if your partner:

hits, slaps, punches, chokes, kicks, pushes, shoves or spits on you; threatens or scares you with a weapon; forces or coerces you to have sex when you don’t want to; threatens to take away your children; blames you for his/her violent behavior; withholds affection as punishment; takes away your money, house keys or car keys to prevent you from leaving; keeps you from seeking medical attention; says that you deserve to be hit; tries to isolate you from your family and friends, then domestic violence is an element in your case.

The following actions will be helpful to your case if it escalates to a trial (most abusers use the full extent of the judicial process to further abuse their partners).

  • Make certain that every physical incident is documented by filing a police report. Obtain copies of all reports and make sure your copies include the follow-up Detective interviews and comments. Review the report to see if it accurately states the details that you reported. Sometimes reports are typed up at a later date and the officer (handling many cases and reports simultaneously) can accidentally omit very relevant facts that are important to your case. If the report is not accurate or complete, return to the police department to request corrections be made to completely and accurately describe the incident with as much detail as possible.

 

  • If the incident resulted in a hospital visit, obtain a copy of the hospital report as well. Attending Physicians in the Emergency Room record in-detail statements from the patient and the physical demeanor of the patient. This hospital report will provide additional support and help substantiate the related police report. NEVER leave minor children with a perpetrator when going to the hospital after an altercation. This is unsafe for the children and can have negative repercussions to your side of the case.

 

  • Have all wounds and/or bruises photographed with a camera that records the date onto the photograph. Make sure family members or a close friend observes the wound and/or bruises to add credibility to your evidence. You may be asked to have them complete an affidavit as a witness to the wounds.

The judicial system heavily scrutinizes violence in the home, especially if it occurs in the presence of minor children.

Keep all evidence in a safe keeping place outside of the home that the abuser does NOT have access to. These reports and evidence will be crucial to your case and abusers will destroy evidence they know can incriminate them.

One additional word of wisdom: when abuse (either physical or emotional) is present in a marriage and the couple seeks counseling, separate counseling for the individuals is usually advised, as traditional “couples therapy” is often used by an abuser as an additional vehicle to wound.

More financial settlement advice and tips in our Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook and Family Divorce 101-A Guide to What Divorcing Families Should Know

Please follow us on Face Book And Twitter

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

 

Page 1 of 612345»...Last »