Tips For Getting Through A Divorce

Divorce is a traumatizing life event that can set you back emotionally and financially if you let it. Along the way are pitfalls that can make the entire ordeal worse than it has to be. But these tips for getting through a divorce will help to make the process a little easier.

Don’t Try to Represent Yourself in a Divorce

The right lawyer will advocate for you and your kids in the courtroom and on legal filings. It’s usually a mistake to try to represent yourself, especially if your spouse has hired legal representation. The right divorce lawyer will be able to make the whole divorce process much easier for all concerned.

Live Your Life

It’s important to stay in contact with your tennis buddies, the card game group, your colleagues, and others that you usually hang out with. These are the times when you need friends the most. It may be tempting to hide out at home and isolate yourself from the world, but that path usually leads to unhealthy places, like depression, overeating, alcoholism, and more. As soon as you’re able, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and join the land of the living.

Realize That Divorce Can Happen To Anyone

There are so many reasons that divorce happens that it’s impossible to list them all. But realize that divorce can happen when you least expect it. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. You’re not unlovable, impossible to live with or a horrible person. Your marriage may not have worked out, but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t work out. Don’t internalize the divorce to mean there’s something wrong with you.

Keep Spending To A Minimum

The expense of divorce is something that most people haven’t budgeted for. There is the extra gas for trips involving visitation rights and lawyer appointments. You’ll be taking time off of work for court hearings or other meetings. This is the time to cut back on the extras and save up discretionary income as a fund for needed expenses pertaining to the divorce.

Keep Your Appointments

It is tempting to “make a statement” with your absence from opposing lawyer appointments or even court hearings. This is not smart behavior as it can be construed as indifference or antagonistic behavior. It will only serve to harm your case.

These tips for getting through a divorce will help to protect you on an emotional level, a legal level, and a financial level.  

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Negotiating A Visitation Schedule With The Ex-In-Laws

When you get a divorce, it’s easy to think you’re only separating from your spouse. In reality, other family members may also be negatively impacted by the split. In particular, your ex’s parents may be emotionally crushed by the breakup if it means they can no longer see the grandchildren due to the custody arrangement. Although you may be feeling quite a bit of antipathy towards your ex, ensuring your children maintain a relationship with their grandparents is important to their emotional and mental health. Here are a couple of tips for discussing a visitation schedule with your ex-in-laws.

Discuss the Conditions First

Before you talk about a visitation schedule, you need to discuss your concerns about the kids visiting your ex-in-laws. This is particularly important if you and your ex split because of domestic or sexual abuse issues. If your ex is barred from seeing the kids because of harmful acts he or she committed when the two of you were together, you need to ensure your ex’s parents fully understand they are responsible for keeping their son or daughter away from the kids while the children are visiting them.

If you’re worried your ex’s parents will still let your ex see the kids despite your or the court’s restrictions, you can require the visits be supervised by a neutral third party until you feel comfortable leaving the kids alone with your ex’s parents.

Other important issues to discuss include how the kids should be disciplined, what medical decisions can be made in an emergency, and whether or not they can take the kids out of town.

Negotiating a Visitation Schedule

The prevailing motivation in these negotiations is what is in the best interests of the children. While it’s great your ex’s parents want to see the kids every day, for example, this may not be an ideal schedule if it negatively impacts the kids’ education or interferes with your parenting time.

Start by listening to your ex’s parent’s request. Many times what the grandparents ask for won’t be unreasonable. For instance, they may only want to see the kids once per month or have them spend holiday vacations at their place.

If the request is excessive or inconvenient, though, don’t be afraid to decline and clearly explain why. Counter with an alternative that may better fit your and their needs. For instance, the grandparents ask to see the kids every other weekend. You could explain that you’re concerned such frequent visits may interfere with the kids’ schoolwork and offer to let the children stay with the grandparents over winter and spring break instead.

If negotiations stall or breakdown completely, consider having a mediator help you come to an agreement. Your divorce attorney may be able to help you with this issue or, at the very least, recommend a reputable person.

Negotiation a visitation schedule with your ex’s parents can be challenging. However, approaching the issue with empathy and a strong sense of what’s best for the kids can help you reach a satisfactory agreement with your ex-in-laws. For assistance with this issue, contact a divorce attorney, like

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When A Change Is Needed: What To Know About Altering Child Support And Custody Arrangement

No matter how carefully thought-out you and your partner make your child support and custody arrangements, there may come a time when adjustments need to be made. The family courts acknowledge the need for issues that concern minor children to be flexible, and do allow for those changes when the circumstances are persuasive enough. For more information about the compelling reasons for requesting a change and how this change may be implemented, read on.

Substantial Reasons

While family law courts do see a need to occasionally allow a support or custody order to be altered, in general they are quite reluctant to make changes unless you can show a very good reason for that change. When considering issues to bring before the judge, you and your ex-spouse should keep a very important tenet in mind: the best interest of the child. Petitioning the courts for changes that primarily benefit a parent will likely be denied, unless you can show proof that the former arrangements are unworkable due to a dramatic change in status from the original or previous order. Here are some common situations where you might be able to alter arrangements:

  • Age of the child: Some states allow older children (tweens and teens) to have a say in custody and visitation arrangements, especially those who are demonstrating the need for more flexibility and independence.
  • A parent remarries: If you can prove to the court that better (worse) living conditions for the child has been created through a new marriage, a change may be ordered.
  • A move: A custodial parent is normally prevented from making a move that would prevent the non-custodial parent from being able to fulfill their visitation privileges, unless it can be shown that this move would benefit the child in a compelling manner. For example, the medical necessity to move closer to a specific hospital could override the rights of the other parent.
  • An unsafe environment: Judges will take swift action to change custody and visitation orders when a parent is involved in criminal or drug activity. Allegations won’t suffice, however; you must be prepared to show proof of wrong-doing.
  • Death or incapacity (physical or mental) of a custodial parent.
  • Income and health changes: A sudden change in work or health status could prompt a judge to, at least temporarily, alter a child support order.

Modifying the Agreement

If both parents agree on the changes needed, a request is submitted to a judge for approval. The judge will normally approve changes that take the best interests of the child into account that don’t violate federal child support standardsWhen parents are not in agreement, a petition for a hearing must be filed with family court. A hearing must be held, with each side providing testimony.

Make sure to consult with a family law attorney like J. Scott Braden for more information and support when the need arises to make a change in your child support, visitation or custody arrangements.

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The Question Of Paternity

Learning that you are about to be a father may bring unbelievable joy and happiness, or confusion and fear. No matter how you feel, if your relationship with the mother has been troubled and you have reason to doubt the baby’s parentage, you may need to consider asking for proof of paternity. The legal and financial obligations of admitting to paternity can be long-term and serious, so before you sign on the dotted line and admit paternity, read below for information you need to know.

Admission of Paternity

Allowing your partner to name you as the father of the child could be more serious than you think. To be eligible for government aid, such as food stamps and housing, the mother is asked to name the father of the child. This allows the government to seek reimbursement of any funds spent on the baby. Failure to step forward and refute or seek proof of this claim may obligate you to more than 18 years of child support (some states require that child support continue for college-aged students). You may be required to pay child support based on your pay and you could face wage garnishment or jail time for not complying.

Even If You Are Not The Father

Once you begin paying child support without a paternity test, you could be required to continue paying even if a later paternity test reveals someone else as the father. Judges are reluctant to disturb support agreements that have been successful, especially if the real father is unable to pay, unknown or cannot be located.

The courts place a high priority on the “best interest of the child”. If you have already formed a relationship with this child based on a false allegation or perception of paternity, you should strongly consider the impact your actions could have on a vulnerable, innocent child who has formed a bond with you.

Paternity Testing

Once you consider the financial and personal degree of obligation and responsibility, it would be unwise to forgo a DNA test for paternity. The mother may protest and become indignant, but undeniable proof should be sought as soon as possible. Not only are you verifying the information for your own purposes, but the child has a right to know, at some point, who their father really is. Additionally, you could be preventing the actual biological father from valuable knowledge and the rights and responsibilities that come with being a father.

Contact a family law attorney for more information about protecting your fatherhood rights or to contest a child custody allegation.  


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3 Reasons To Hire An Attorney For Paternity Issues

A father has many legal rights and responsibilities to his child or children. However, for one reason or another there may be a paternity issue of some kind that requires an attorney to be hired. These issues vary greatly, but hiring an attorney will be ensure that paternal issues are worked out and things are legally as they should be. This article will discuss 3 reasons to hire an attorney for paternity issues.

Testing For Paternity 

If you are a woman seeking to prove that a man is the father or your child, or a man seeking to prove that you are not the father of a woman’s child, you may need to hire an attorney to prove this. Often times child support is going to need to be provided if you are the father of a child, so it is crucial that the issue is resolved. An attorney will use DNA from the mother, the child, and the potential father to see if he is indeed the father. If he is the father, he has custody rights and will need to pay child support, which may also need to be worked out in court.

Child Support and Custody

Often times there are issues regarding child custody and child support that need to be worked out in court. The father of the child will be required to pay some amount of child support for each child that he has. This is to help the mother have the finances that she needs to raise the child. Also, if a father would like to gain custody of his child, or gain more custody of his child, this will also often need to be worked out in court by an attorney. The background history of the mother and father will be looked into for this issue, and the attorney will do their best to represent their client’s case. 


In the case of an adoption, there are a few different reasons why an attorney should be hired for paternity issues. For example, if the father of a newborn child doesn’t agree to having their child adopted, but the mother does agree, they may need to go to court. Or if the father is absent in the life of the child that is to be adopted, the attorney will serve papers to this father to ensure that the adoptive parents won’t have to deal with issues from him later. Lastly, in the case of a stepfather adopting his wife’s children, he may need to go to court to prove he is a good father and to prove the children want to be adopted by him. 

Contact a legal office like Law Office of Shelli Wright Johnson for more help.

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What To Do When You Are In The Military And Getting A Divorce

If you are currently serving as an active member of the armed services and are about to get a divorce, you may not know that the process is slightly different than if you were a civilian. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when you need to deal with military divorce proceedings. 

You Must Be Aware of Time Requirements

Because you are an active military member, you must adhere to certain time requirements before medical coverage and your pension are available to your current spouse. Checking those requirements might affect how soon or late you seek out a divorce, as you might want to use those benefits to negotiate with.

You Should Try to Keep the Survivor Benefit Plan

Your current spouse may seek to be the beneficiary of your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). If that happens, when you pass away they will receive financial benefits. This can become a problem for you if you get married again in the future, as you cannot reassign the SBP; your second spouse will not get any of those benefits.

That’s why it is a wise decision to make sure you hold on to your SBP in the divorce. If possible, try to give your current spouse life insurance or any other benefits you can offer.

You Need a Military Divorce Expert

When your spouse files for divorce, it is not unusual for them to do so in the state of their residence, although you may be doing active military service somewhere other than that. You are required to respond to their petition, but it’s a good idea to secure a divorce lawyer with experience in military divorces before you do so. That’s because each state has their own set of divorce laws and you need to do everything you can to make sure your divorce happens in a state with laws that are most fair for you. An experienced lawyer can help make that happen.

An expert in military family law can also help you with the unique military issues that may come up during your divorce proceedings, so be wary of choosing a lawyer recommended to you by friends and family unless you know they have experience with military marriages and divorces.

Use the information laid out in this article to help you get started with a military divorce. Work closely with your attorney, such as one from Law Offices of Peter Napolitano & Wayne Hibbeler, to determine how best to proceed so that you can negotiate a fair settlement for yourself.

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The Facts About Common Law Marriages And Divorces

Can you simply live together for a certain length of time to have a legal common law marriage? This question presents just one of the common misconceptions about this issue. While common law marriages are still recognized by some states, the ones that do give legal status to cohabitating couples have rules and guidelines that must be followed for the relationship to qualify as a common law marriage. To gain more factual information about what constitutes a common law marriage, read on.

Where Are Common Law Marriages Recognized?

As of this writing, 27 states do not recognize common law marriages at all. Other states recognize it only for probate purposes, and all states that recognize it have their own specific laws that determine the validity of the relationship for legal purposes.

What Are the Requirements For Common Law Marriages?

In states that do recognize common law marriages, cohabitation is just one of several requirements that must be fulfilled. A common requirement among common law marriage states is that you must be legally qualified to be married in order to also have a common law marriage. In other words, you must be:

  • At or above the minimum age for marriage.
  • Not already married to another person.
  • Have a sound mind and not be incapacitated.

Other common law marriage requirements include:

  • The couple (both parties) intend to live as a married couple.
  • The couple must “hold themselves” as a married couple. This means that both parties represent themselves to the community, the family, and their place of worship as a married couple.
  • The couple has filed taxed returns using the “married filing jointly” designation.

Are There Common Law Divorces?

Technically, there is no provision in any state for a common law divorce, per se. That does not mean, however, that people who have held themselves to be in a common law marriage can simply cease to live together and go their separate ways without the need to legally divorce. If you have maintained that you are in a common law marriage, you must use the same legal means to split up as those who are in a traditional marriage.

As you might imagine, some common law marriages that end can be highly contentious, especially if only one party maintains that a common law marriage exists. Since divorce normally involves a division in debt and assets, child support and custody, and spousal support, it could be to one party’s advantage to claim that, in fact, no common law marriage existed. Family law judges will evaluate the validity of the marriage to determine the status based on length of cohabitation, IRS filing status, children raised together, property owned jointly, and other markers of a common law marriage.

If you are separating from your partner and maintain that you have been a participant in a common law marriage, consult with a divorce attorney, such as Bray & Johnson Law Firm, to find out how to protect your rights.

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Tips For Building Parenting And Custody Plans For Kids Of All Ages

Dealing with parenting decisions can be hard enough as a happily married couple, but when you’re faced with these decisions following a divorce, it can be downright difficult. You want to be sure that your kids are getting what they need, but you also need to have a balanced approach so that they aren’t caught in the middle of further arguments. Here are some tips to help you create an effective parenting plan for kids of all ages.

General Plan Considerations

When you have multiple children, it means dealing with multiple unique needs. Some kids are more at ease with one parent than the other or may be more comfortable talking with one parent over the other. In those situations, it can be difficult to be away from that parent for an extended period of time.

Other children may have a hard time with frequent changes in routine and environment. For those kids, visitation one day a week and every other weekend may be too much disruption. It’s important that you consider the unique needs of each of your kids when drafting a custody and visitation agreement as well as your parenting plan for future decisions.

Infant Parenting Considerations

It’s tough to establish a solid parenting and visitation plan for infants, especially if one parent is the primary nurturer and caregiver. Once babies reach about six months old, they are able to recognize those caregivers and even develop a solid routine of sleep, mealtimes, and play. It’s important to consider that routine in your plan. For example, don’t plan drop-offs in the middle of naptime, because you’ll end up with a cranky and confused baby who is overtired and struggling with upheaval. As your baby’s routine changes, you can adjust the plan accordingly.

Toddler and Preschooler Parenting Considerations

As your child reaches toddlerhood, it’s important to recognize that separation anxiety and confusion may become a problem. Consider establishing a routine that minimizes disruption. The more consistent the schedule, the less stress your child will feel. For example, a consistent single afternoon every week without an overnight and then an overnight every other weekend may provide a consistent routine that helps your child know what to expect.

Older Child Parenting Considerations

As kids get older, it’s going to be in your best interest to have them play an active role in their routine. After all, kids will have friendships, social commitments, school activities and other things that need to be accommodated. Make sure that any plan ensures your child’s continued access to these things.

A parenting plan and custody agreement should be focused on your child’s best interests. Those interests can change as your child grows, so it’s important that the documents be modified when necessary to meet those needs. The more you understand about the unique needs of these developmental stages, the better prepared you’ll be as things start to change. Talk with a local divorce attorney (such as one from Harold Salant Strassfield & Spielberg) about the best way to make changes to these plans going forward. 

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3 Separation Tips If You Are Leaving An Abusive Relationship

Are you in an abusive relationship? Are you planning on leaving your partner for your safety or the safety of your kids? While leaving is likely in your best interests, it’s also possible that the period immediately after you leave could be the most dangerous period for you and your children. Often, abusive partners become angered by the announcement of the separation. Your partner may seek you out and could have intense emotions. It’s important during this time that you take steps to protect yourself and your children. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

Get organized. You may be tempted to make an impulsive decision and leave after a fight or in the middle of the night. That may even be necessary for your own safety. However, if you can take time to get organized, you’ll likely be in a much safer position. The first thing you’ll want to do is find some way to save money, and do so in a way that your partner won’t recognize. Perhaps save spare change in and have small deductions transferred from your paycheck into your own, separate account.

Also, bring all important documents, including social security numbers, tax information, account statement, and even a journal documenting the abuse. You’ll need those documents as you go through the separation process.

Hide yourself. You may be tempted to go stay with your parents or other relatives. However, your partner is also likely to look for you in those places. If possible, try to stay somewhere that they won’t think of. Do you have a work friend that your partner doesn’t know? If you can save enough, perhaps you can get a short-term lease on an apartment until you can find something more permanent. If necessary, look for a shelter in your area.

Also, make it difficult for your spouse to find you. Get a P.O. box at your local post office so your mail doesn’t have your address. Get a new phone number and don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. You may even want to find a new job or ask to be transferred to a new work location.

Get legal protection. While divorce takes time to be finalized, there are steps you can take to get quick protection from abuse. For example, even before you leave, you can work with an attorney (like Timothy L Hitchings) to get a protection order. You can then have the local police department serve the order right after you leave.

If you have kids, you may want to take steps to protect them. If your partner abused the children, you may be able to ban him or her from seeing the kids or only seeing them with court supervision. However, it’s possible that you may have to share custody. If so, you can arrange neutral drop-offs and pickups at a safe location, such as your local police station.

For more information, meet with a divorce and custody lawyer in your area. They can help you protect yourself and your family.

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Preparing For Your Divorce

As hard as it can be to admit when a marriage is over, it’s important to be clear on what your next steps need to be. Getting your affairs in order prior to a divorce will not only help you expedite the filing process, it will minimize the appearance of impropriety on your part, and may save you a protracted legal battle. Further, it will mean less work for your lawyer as they prepare to represent you.

His and Hers

Depending on the divorce statutes in your state, you may have few legal options when it comes to division of property. Make sure you have documentation which reflects purchase dates for any property, where the money came from to make the purchase, and which reflects the names on those accounts. This can all be used as evidence to establish solitary versus joint ownership of real estate in some states, so make sure this paperwork can all be easily located and provided to your lawyer.

Financial accounts are a little different than real estate, in that checking or savings accounts are often considered joint, regardless of whose name is on them. Meanwhile, retirement accounts are sometimes excluded from joint property considerations. It’s best to err on the side of caution though, and put together all documents relating to any monetary sum you have on record so that it can all be accounted for. Attempts to hide these funds can have punitive results.

Think of the Children

If minor children are living with you at the time you file for divorce you need to consider both their well being and how future custody arrangements will impact them. Avoid using them as a weapon against your spouse, as this can do more harm to your children than anyone else. Instead, consider fair arrangements with them in mind that allow them the most possible time to spend with you and your spouse separately.

Being a good parent should come before trying to be fair to your children, or getting your own way though, so make sure any official documents relating to custody contain specific language. Both parents should be capable of providing food, living accommodations and an appropriate level of comfort to the children. If you have reason to believe that this won’t be possible with your spouse, make sure your lawyer adds specific language to the court documents to address that. This might include limiting access to the children until a permanent residence is secured, though stipulations should address any issue that might negatively impact your children.

Spend some time with more than one lawyer, and take advantage of free consultations to do so. Get questions answered and make sure your intentions are fully formed before proceeding. Once you’ve secured legal representation, you’ll be able to take the next step and move forward with your divorce.

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About Me

There may come a day that a divorce is the only option to finding happiness for your future. When this time comes, you will need an attorney working by your side to ensure that the divorce proceedings go as best they possibly can. I had initially thought that I would be able to get through my own divorce without hiring an attorney, but my former husband took advantage of that idea and tried taking everything. Find out what a divorce attorney can do for you and why the cost is an investment for your future. You will understand after reading through the information contained on this blog.

February 2017
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