Risk Factors for Divorce

Divorce is commonly talked about these days as about half of marriages end in divorce.  Since this is the case, research is done and speculation is made about if there are commonalities across marriages that end in divorce.  The article below discusses common risk factors, but don’t panic – if any of the risk factors apply to your life it does not necessarily mean your marriage will end in divorce.

10 Things That Make You More Likely To Get Divorced

Marriage is hard work, period. But it turns out there are a slew of surprising things that can make it even harder.

10/18/2017 03:19 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2017

By Sarah Klein

Divorce risk factors

Marriage is hard work, period. But it turns out there are a slew of surprising things that can make it even harder. Relationship experts call them divorce “risk factors.” Like risk factors for heart disease or breast cancer, these traits and habits don’t cause divorce, and by no means do they guarantee that a marriage is headed for trouble. They simply raise a couple’s odds of splitting up.

Many of the factors (like how attractive you are, or the sex of your first-born) are things you have no control over. But taking steps to strengthen your relationship is never a bad move. That could mean making little tweaks (like exercising together, and banning phones at dinnertime) or doing some heavier lifting — such as adjusting your financial expectations, or learning to communicate better.

Read on to see if you and your partner match any of the scenarios below.

Your parents got divorced

Divorce is more common among children of divorced parents. But a new study in Psychological Science suggests this may have more to do with nature than nurture: The researchers examined data from nearly 20,000 adults who had been adopted as kids, and found that the patterns of marriage and divorce were more similar to those of their biological parents, not their adoptive ones.

“A lot of the scientific evidence to date has suggested that seeing your parents go through a divorce contributes to your own propensity to experience divorce yourself,” author Jessica Salvatore, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, told Health in a prior interview. “But those studies haven’t controlled for the fact that those parents are also contributing genes to their children. By looking at adopted children, we’re able to separate out the genetic factors and the environmental ones.” The genetic link is likely due to inherited personality traits like neuroticism and impulsivity, which are in turn linked to a higher chance of divorce, she said.

Your alcohol habits don’t match your spouse’s

If enjoying a bottle of wine together is your idea of a perfect date night but your spouse prefers to stay sober, it may cause some problems down the road. In a 2014 University of Buffalo study, researchers found that among couples in which one person was a heavy drinker and the other wasn’t, 45 to 55 percent got divorced before their 10th anniversary. Meanwhile, when both partners — or neither partner — drank, only around 35 percent of couples split up.

You got married young

According to conventional wisdom (and concerned parents of college sweethearts), the longer you wait to get married, the stronger your bond will be. The latest statistics paint a somewhat more complex picture of the ideal age to get married; but tying the knot in your teens and early 20s still seems to increase divorce risk, compared to getting hitched in your late 20s and early 30s. But waiting just a little longer — until after age 32 — may once again raise your divorce risk, according to an analysis from the Institute of Family Studies.

You’re hot

This might help explain some shocking celebrity breakups: Good-looking partners have a harder time staying together. The authors of a recent paper published in the journal Personal Relationships found that physical attractiveness was indeed linked to a higher likelihood of getting divorced. In a series of four studies the researchers determined that both regular people and celebs were more likely to split if they scored higher on scales of attractiveness. Hotties were also more vulnerable to temptation than more average-looking married folk.

This might help explain some shocking celebrity breakups: Good-looking partners have a harder time staying together.

You shelled out big bucks for your wedding

A wedding that breaks the bank might also break the marriage. Emory University researchers found in a 2015 study that women whose weddings totaled more than $20,000 were 3.5 times more likely to get divorced than women whose weddings cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Men and women who spent less than $1,000 on their nuptials, on the other hand, were the least likely to get divorced.

You didn’t waste any time getting pregnant

How quickly you have a baby may affect how that union plays out. According to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women (in a first marriage) who waited to have a baby at least eight months after their wedding day were more likely to make it to their 15th anniversary than women who had a baby before the big day or within the first seven months.

Your first kid is a daughter

Statisticians have long noted a higher rate of divorce among couples with a firstborn daughter compared to those who have a son. The findings have been interpreted over the years to reflect a sexist preference for sons on the part of fathers ― a simplistic generalization that isn’t panning out in newer research. A 2014 study published in the journal Demography suggests that rocky marriages–the kind that may already be headed for divorce ― might actually produce baby girls thanks to a concept known as the female survival advantage. “Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive,” study co-author Amar Hamoudi said in a statement. Thus girls are more likely than boys to be born into marriages that were already strained.”

You didn’t finish college 

Earning at least a bachelor’s degree has been linked to a longer and stronger marriage. A 2012 National Health Statistics report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that women and men who completed college had a 78 percent and 65 percent chance, respectively, of their marriages lasting at least 20 years. Women and men with a high school diploma had just a 41 percent and 47 percent chance of the same marriage duration. Women and men with some college education but not a bachelor’s degree had a 49 percent and 54 percent of a marriage lasting two decades.

You were raised without religion

Women who grew up in religious households are more likely to stay with their spouse than women without a religious upbringing. According to 2012 National Health Statistics data, protestant women had a 50 percent chance of their marriage lasting 20 years. Catholic women had slightly higher odds at 53 percent. And women raised in “other religions” had a 65 percent chance of staying married that long. Women who were not raised religious had only a 43 percent chance.

You’ve been divorced before

A second or third marriage isn’t doomed, but your odds of lasting for the long-haul are slightly lower if you’ve been married and divorced before. About 35% of first marriages end within 10 years, while about 40 percent of second marriages end within that period, according to CDC data. But of course sometimes, the second or third time’s the charm.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-things-that-make-you-more-likely-to-get-divorced_us_59e7a7dbe4b0432b8c11ec26?section=us_divorce

Getting Divorced in Your 20s

Currently, half of all marriages end in divorce.  The average age men and women get married spans from 24.7 to 30.5 across the 50 states, so it is possible for people to get divorced in their 20s.  Some people feel like failures for getting married and divorced so young.  Getting divorced in your 20s should not get you down.  Think of it as a clean slate, a fresh start, or a new adventure.  The article below offers eight pieces of advice that can give you a whole new perspective on life during and after divorce.

8 Pieces Of Advice For Divorce In Your 20s

“Divorce can be a gift if it teaches you.”

By Brittany Wong

It’s easy to be hard on yourself when going through divorce in your 20s. While all your friends are busy planning their weddings on Pinterest, you’re planning a new life without your spouse and dealing with mounting legal bills.

To make the process a little easier, we asked experts ― divorce lawyers, psychologists and financial advisors ― to offer their best advice. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Chalk the divorce up to a lapse in judgment. 

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like a failure for splitting up in your 20s. Forgive yourself and remember that you were young and maybe a little naive when you said “I do,” said Andra Brosh, a Los Angeles-based psychologist.

 “The truth is that you probably landed here because of a lapse in judgment and unrealistic expectations of the relationship,” she said. “Blame it on your brain; some research has suggested that the brain is not fully mature or developed until well into your 20s.”

2. Learn from the mistakes you made in your marriage. 

You’re only allowed to sulk about splitting up for so long. Eventually, you need to reframe your thinking and see the divorce as a stepping stone to personal growth, said Antonio Borrello, a Detroit-based psychologist. Ultimately, divorce should teach you what you need to do differently in order to have a healthier, longer lasting relationship the next time around, he explained.

“You’ll still need to work on whatever it was that killed your marriage even after you get out,” he said. “If you don’t, you’ll drag that junk into your next relationship. Develop some insight and take ownership of the part you played in the downfall of your marriage.”

3. Be wary of rebounding. 

Yes, you’re still young and Tinder is very tempting, but for your own well-being, it might be best to take a dating and relationship hiatus, said dating coach Neely Steinberg.

“Spend time developing your independence and discovering who you are outside of a relationship,” she said. “Understand that your existence is not validated by you being in a relationship or by another person. You validate you. Once you are good by yourself and you love who you are on your own, then maybe take a small, smart step to move forward again in your dating life.”

4. Consider mediation as an alternative to litigation. 

There’s one advantage young divorcés have over those who go through the process later in life: You likely have less marital assets to divvy up (property, retirement accounts, etc.) and no children to shield from ugly custody battles. Given that, you may want to forgo traditional litigation and consider meeting with a mediator to work out the terms of your divorce, said divorce coach Laura Miolla.

“It’s faster, cheaper and gives you far more control over the process and the agreement you end up with,” she explained. “With less to negotiate, mediation is your best path to divorce without the huge bite out of your bank account in legal fees.”

5. Shared debt may complicate the process.

You might not have much property to divide but you may have shared debt. If you split your joint debt (“I’ll be responsible for this credit card, if you’re responsible for that one”), know that complications could arise later, said certified divorce financial analyst Donna Cheswick.

“Where I see problems occur is when one spouse fails to make monthly payments or files for bankruptcy,” Cheswick said. “If this occurs, the creditors can, and will, go after either party to recoup the full amount of the debt, plus interest and penalties. Lenders don’t care what the couple agreed to in their divorce agreement. They see the credit as a legal obligation of both parties and will enforce the debt obligation, regardless of marital status.”

6. Don’t rant about your divorce on social media.  

The drama between you and your ex may be as juicy and compelling as an episode of “Empire,” but your Facebook friends really don’t need to hear about it. What’s more, ranting about your ex could cost you big time in court, said Adam Kielich, a family law attorney based in Dallas.

“Social media creates all sorts of problems in litigation,” he said. “It might be satisfying to skewer your spouse in front of friends and family on Facebook but the satisfaction will quickly dissipate if it gets back to your spouse and becomes a conflict in the divorce. You never know what seemingly innocent post or picture might become important evidence in your divorce.”

7. Take comfort in your friends. 

When you do need to rant, call up your closest friends and family and bare your heart to them, suggested psychologist Borrello. That said, keep in mind that since your friends are ultimately #TeamYou, their advice may be a little one-sided.

“Your friends and family will instinctually blame your ex,” he said. “Don’t allow that to get in the way of you investigating the dynamics of the failed relationship and the factors that you contributed to the breakup.”

8. See your divorce as a gift, not a failure. 

Once you’ve taken accountability for the part you played in your marriage’s downfall, stop obsessing over why it didn’t last and task yourself with moving on, said Miolla.

“There’s no power in endless obsessing, only judgment and shame ― two things that will never serve you well,” she said. “Focus instead on what you are learning from this experience ― about yourself, about relationships, about love.”

While you’re at it, remind yourself that you shared some really good times with your ex, too.

“Celebrate that you did love. And you will again,” Miolla said. “Use this experience to define what you want for yourself, what you insist on and what you won’t allow in your life anymore. Divorce can be a gift if it teaches you.”


Source:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-you-need-to-know-before-divorcing-in-your-twenties_us_55ccdd65e4b064d5910acb15


Ask Yourself These Questions

If you are separated from your spouse and divorce papers are being filed, you need to know exactly where you are at in life — financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Getting divorced is a huge change/disruption of one’s life and things can get stressful, overwhelming and emotional. So, it is extremely helpful to ask yourself the questions in the article below to have the best grasp on things. You can always consult with Erica Bloom Law for more divorce guidance as well.

Deciding to
divorce is a big ordeal; for most it’s overwhelming at first. So, if you
have decided to file for divorce or if your spouse has decided to end
the marriage, you’re probably wondering what you need to do to get
this process over with as painlessly as possible. You’re in a tough
spot, and we understand that.

Here, we go over five questions that you need to ask yourself. Once you
answer these questions you’ll be in a better position to make informed
decisions about
your divorce. Ultimately, our goal is to help make this process as peaceful as possible.

Most people view divorce as a legal matter. While technically that’s
true; the divorce is filed in court and a judge does have to make it official;
divorce is really about money and negotiation. Thus, you and your spouse
will have to negotiate a divorce settlement that is fair; a settlement
that both of you can live with.

Since everyone’s situation is unique, not every question on this
list will apply to every reader. However, these are basic questions that
apply to most people who are getting a divorce. We suggest that you read
over these them and think about how they may apply to you. This way, you’ll
be in a good position to start planning for your divorce.

Question 1. What is your current financial situation?
This is an important question. Are you living very comfortably or are
you living check-to-check? Do you have thousands in credit card debt,
and are you basically living off credit cards every month? If you and
your spouse are in debt, this will factor into your negotiations, especially
if one spouse has been out of the workforce and is asking for support.
One of the best ways to drive down the costs of divorce in a debt situation
is to opt for
divorce mediation.

It costs more to pay for two homes, two sets of utilities, and to sets
of health insurance. Not only that, but when you’re single, you
lose a lot of the discounts that you enjoyed as a married couple. So,
it’s important to keep that in mind.

Sometimes, lower-earning spouses see divorce as an income opportunity;
they look forward to child support and spousal support, but this can lead
to a false sense of security. If the couple was struggling before the
divorce, things will often be harder after the divorce.

Question 2. Can you afford to keep the house?
Many spouses are emotionally attached to the house, especially when they
have raised children in the home or when they’ve invested a small
fortune into remodeling. If you’re eager to keep the house, you
have to ask yourself, “Can I afford it?” Just basic maintenance
like hiring a gardener, a pool company, and annual tree trimming can add up.

You also have to think about the current condition of the home. If it needs
a new roof, new shingles, a new driveway, a new HVAC system, or if the
plumbing needs to be completely redone in the near future, major repairs
can easily run between $10,000 and $30,000. Then, if you need to replace
your hot water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer, it
could cost you $500 to $3,000, if not more.

Question 3. Do you both have job stability?
Do you and your spouse have to work just to make ends meet? If so, are
both of your jobs stable? It used to be that people would work for one
company their entire lives until they retired with a nice pension. These
days, people tend to bounce from job-to-job every 3 to 5 years. Is your
spouse afraid of being laid off? Are you worried about your job?

During a divorce, you have to be realistic about job stability. If you’re
the lower earner and you’re banking on
spousal support or
child support, it’s hard to get very much money from an unemployed former spouse.
With that in mind, you want to have the mindset that you’re going
to become self-supporting as soon as possible. You don’t want to
have to rely on your former spouse to cover your basic living expenses.

Question 4. What will it cost to be single?
It’s important that you sit down and look at all of your bills as
a married couple. Write them all down, including your spouse’s credit
card debt. Then, create a separate budget for you as a single person and
calculate all of your living expenses, including housing, utilities, health
insurance, an auto loan, car insurance, food, credit card debt, and child-related
expenses, such as clothing and extracurricular activities.

If you don’t have enough income rolling in to support yourself post-divorce,
it’s time to find ways to reducing living expenses while increasing
income. If there’s a large discrepancy, it’s important to
act fast when it comes to the increasing income part.

Question 5. How much will your divorce cost?
In reality, you can do this the hard way or you can do it the easy way.
Basically, you have three options: 1) a litigated divorce, 2) a
collaborative divorce, or 3) divorce mediation. Of the three, divorce mediation is the most
cost-effective, but it’s not for everybody.

We must keep in mind that the goal should be to keep the divorce as peaceful
and affordable as possible. When you do that, you preserve more of the
marital estate. When you litigate a divorce, it costs significantly more,
which means there is less money to divide. If you’re a parent, you’d
probably prefer that extra money go towards your children’s college
education than a contentious divorce.


By asking yourself the above five questions, you’ll be better prepared
to focus on the financial considerations in a divorce. By preparing yourself
to the fullest, you’ll position yourself to make better decisions
throughout the process.

Need a Los Angeles divorce lawyer?
Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP today!

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/September/Questions-to-Ask-Yourself-About-Divorce.aspx

Things to Overcome for Successful Co-Parenting

One of the biggest reasons couples consider avoiding a divorce is their children.  The idea of making kids live between two separate households is too unbearable for some parents, so they stick it out in their marriage.  With divorce being fairly common these days, there are plenty of couples who show that co-parenting can work and those that make mistakes for others to learn from.  Learn about seven specific problems in the article below that people commonly run into when co-parenting and how to come out successful from them.

7 Issues All Co-Parents Face And How To Overcome Them

Your attitude about the situation is the on thing that’s completely in your control.

By Carolin Lehmann

Co-parenting is no walk in the park. Disagreements about discipline, schedules and bed times can unravel even the most level-headed parent — and when kids play their parents against one another, all hell threatens to break loose. 

Below, experts share the issues that come up most frequently for co-parents and how to manage them.

1. Talking badly about the other parent.

“When you put down their other parent, your children are likely to interpret it as a put-down of part of them. When both parents are guilty of this behavior, it can create a sense of unworthiness and low self-esteem. It makes them question how much they can trust you and your opinions — or trust themselves. When you have a problem with your ex, take it directly to them, and not to or through the children. Keep a conscious diligence on your commentary and your ex is more likely to follow suit as well. If he or she doesn’t, your kids will naturally pick up on the different energy and gravitate toward the parent taking the high road.” — Rosalind Sedacca, the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a resource for parents facing, moving through or transitioning after divorce

2. Bed times.

“If the kids go to bed at 10pm with dad and 8pm with mom, that is not ideal. Yet it is much healthier for kids than watching you fight about bedtime. It can teach kids flexibility to recognize that the rules are different in different environments. While trying to encourage consistent routines is admirable, they should not come at the expense of kids overhearing stressful conflict.” — Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist and dating coach

3. Schedule changes.

“For parents who struggle with last-minute requests to change their children’s schedule, the clearest solution involves honest reflection about what is best for the kids. This often corresponds with what the children want to do, but not always. For example, they may want to go to a concert on a school night; however, depending on their age, their workload and the band, this may or may not be an optimal plan.” — Elisabeth LaMotte, a psychotherapist and founder of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center

4. Relinquishing control.

“It can be difficult for parents to let go of having constant control over their children, especially if you were the main caregiver while you were married. While it’s important to try to provide consistent rules and structure between two households, it’s inevitable that two parents will have their differences. Try to focus on what you can control in your time with your children, and let the rest go. Try to communicate without getting emotional. It is usually much easier to treat a co-parenting relationship like a business deal. Discuss expectations, needs and try to solve problems diplomatically, without letting emotion get involved.” — Chelli Pumphrey, a therapist and love and dating coach

5. Uncooperative exes.

“Keep your side of the street clean. Your ex is going to do what they’re going to do. You can’t control them now any more than you could when you were together. What you can control is you! Do what you say you’re going to do, and do it with a smile. Be as pleasant as you would to the cashier at the grocery store or the UPS delivery guy. Be professional, courteous and keep your conversations and exchanges brief.” — Honorée Corder, a personal transformation expert and an author of several divorce books

6. A lack of consistency.

“When one home becomes two, it’s common for there to be a lack of consistency between the two homes, even though consistency is best for children. Many parents are just trying to hold down one home, let alone co-manage two. Yet consistency paves the way for a smooth transition. Ask your ex a good time to talk about the inconsistency between the homes and how it might be affecting the children. Go in with a ‘we’ attitude so that you both are coming from the same place and are on the same page. Look for strengths between the two homes and build on them. Each parent can always discuss with their children about the inconsistencies, acknowledge them, but remain consistent in their home. Eventually, with consistency, most children come around and adjust.” — Kristin Davin, a clinical psychologist and mediator with her own private practice

7. Listening without judgement.

“Accept and be open to hearing about your child’s experiences with the other parent. If you are not open to hearing about their life they will still live it but you just won’t hear about it. Listening without judgement is especially hard but it will pay off as you will get to know your child fully.” — Deborah Mecklinger, a mediator and therapist

 Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/issues-all-co-parents-face-and-how-to-overcome-them_us_57856348e4b08608d3321fd0?utm_hp_ref=co-parenting

Divorce and Your Credit Score

If you are going through a divorce you know that all parts of your life are affected from where you live, to how much time you get to spend with your kids, to your financial status, to your overall well-being. One area a lot of people worry the most about is how their finances will take a hit, and, more specifically, their credit score. The article below describes the possible factors that would affect your credit score. Continue reading to learn what they are.

It’s common knowledge that divorce can affect many aspects of a person’s
life, including relationships, finances, stress, and even appetite and
sleep. But, one thing that too many people fail to consider is how divorce
can affect their FICO score. If you’re getting a divorce in the
near future, here’s what you need to know about divorce and credit.

Does divorce the divorce itself hurt credit? By itself, filing for
divorce will not affect your credit because your credit score is not determined
by your marital status. However, your credit score can be indirectly affected
by the divorce. Here’s how your credit score can be lowered because
of your divorce:

1. You don’t close or separate joint accounts.
If you have joint accounts with your spouse, such as credit cards, auto
loans, or mortgages, and you don’t close or separate these accounts,
they can come back to haunt you. You see, someone has to pay these bills.
If your spouse agrees to pay a certain debt; for example, their auto loan,
and you do not remove your name from the loan, and they don’t pay
it, the creditor will come after you for payment.

Unfortunately, creditors are not concerned with divorce decrees. So, even
if your spouse agrees to pay their auto loan, a particular credit card,
or the mortgage, as long as your name is on the loan, you are liable for
the debt. If your spouse were to later lose their job, become disabled
or ill, or if they simply refuse to pay the debt out of spite, the creditor
will try to collect from you.

If you leave any joint accounts untouched, meaning, your name is still
on it after the divorce, and your ex-spouse doesn’t keep their end
of the bargain, you have no choice but to pay any bills that your ex isn’t
able to cover, regardless if your ex was responsible for the debt per
your divorce settlement agreement. While it may be difficult to do this,
it’s the only way to protect your credit. Later on, you can try
to recover the money by reporting it to the courts. Just make sure you
check your joint debts monthly to ensure your ex is paying on them.

2. You can’t pay all of your bills.
If you are now paying
child support and
spousal support while trying to support yourself, you may be stretched too thin. Or, if
you were a homemaker or stay-at-home parent who was out of the workforce
for some time and now you’re working again, you may not be earning
enough money to pay all of your current expenses.

In either case, if you don’t have sufficient funds to pay all of
your bills and you’re late, it will hurt your credit. Payment history
plays an important role in your creditworthiness and if you have 30, 60,
or 90-day lates on your credit report, your credit score will go down.
If you run into this problem, you want to focus on two things: lowering
your monthly expenses and increasing your income.

3. Living on your credit cards.
If your expenses as a newly single person are too high and you start living
on credit cards, this is going to affect your credit score. Why? Because,
credit usage is another important factor in your credit rating. If you
run up your credit cards, your credit usage will be too high, and it will
directly affect your credit score. If your credit utilization approaches
the 30% territory, it can reduce your credit score. So, if you have $20,000
total in credit, try not to go above the $6,000 mark. Better yet, find
ways to increase your income so you won’t have to rely on your credit
cards to live.

4. Your spouse maxes out your credit cards.
This one sounds cliché because it is. You’ve probably heard
horror stories about vindictive spouses taking the credit cards and maxing
them out on clothing, jewelry, spa days, tickets to concerts and sporting
events, furniture, vacations, and anything else that floats their boat.

Beware: If your spouse has access to your credit cards or if you have joint
cards, he or she may run up thousands of credit card debt in your name.
Even if you have a card lying around the house, nothing’s stopping
your spouse from taking the card and making online purchases and sending
them to a friend’s house for delivery.

This is mostly an issue with authorized users because they’re not
liable for the debt they incur. So, if you have credit cards and your
spouse is an authorized user, he or she can go on a spending spree without
suffering the consequences. If you can’t afford to pay off the debt
your spouse runs up, it can damage your credit.

If your spouse’s name is on any of your individual credit card accounts,
remove his or her name from the account right away. Even if your spouse
is usually very reasonable, they may become vindictive during the split
– you just never know how someone is going to react while they’re
grieving over a divorce.


If you’re going through a divorce, know that it doesn’t have
to negatively impact your credit. If you have joint bills, see if you
can close them or put them in one spouse’s name alone. If your spouse
is an authorized user, remove his or her name from all accounts.

Just remember that if you have any joint bills remaining, you have to make
sure they get paid regardless. Make sure you pay your personal bills and
stay within your post-divorce budget. Most importantly, be nice to your
spouse. The more amicable the divorce, the less likely your ex will try
to get revenge and damage your credit.

If you need a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, don’t hesitate to
contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for a free case evaluation!

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/July/Will-Divorce-Hurt-My-Credit-.aspx

Concurring Child Custody

When a couple gets divorced with children it sometimes plays out that one parent pays the other child support to help with expenses in the child’s life or children’s lives. It might be difficult for some to understand why they need to pay child support, but with the nine tips offered below it might become easier.

In a perfect world, all divorcing parents would get along great and
child custody would be a non-issue. The parents would readily agree on a child custody
and visitation schedule that would benefit all parties involved. In reality,
one of the most painful aspects of divorce for parents is having to divide
their time with their children with their ex.

If you’re reading this, child custody may already be a sensitive
issue. Will your ex fight you on child custody? Will you both try to be
the parent who has the children most of the time? Or, if everything seems
fine now, will your spouse change their mind one day and drag you to court
for full physical custody? In any case, it’s important that you
are careful about child custody. Whether you intend to have joint physical
custody or not, the advice is the same.

Here are our top child custody tips for divorcing parents:

1. Whether it’s a temporary order while your
divorce is pending through the court or a permanent order after your divorce is
finalized, stick to the child custody and visitation schedule in the Parenting
Plan. If it’s your day or your weekend with the children, don’t
call your ex and cancel on your kids. This does not make it look as if
your children are a priority in your life.

Keep a detailed log or diary of all visits with your children. Even if
you’re the one receiving child support because the kids are with
you most of the time, you should still catalog when your ex picks up the
children and drops them off. If your spouse sends a friend or relative
to handle pick-ups and drop-offs, be sure to make a note of it and record
the person’s name.

2. Be active in your children’s lives. This means attending parent-teacher
conferences, attending soccer practices, dance classes, and karate classes,
and showing up to all school-related events. If your schedule allows,
volunteer in your child’s classroom, become a coach on their team,
and do whatever you can to play an active role in their daily lives.

3. If your child begs you to let them go to Disney Land, the beach, to
a friend’s birthday party, or a camping trip with their friends
on your “day” with them, highly consider letting them go.
Not only does this make your child happy, but it shows your flexibility.
If you do let your child get their way, don’t forget to write down
the details in your diary or log and explain why you let him or her go.
It truly helps to be flexible, especially as your children get older.

4. If your ex-husband or wife really needs your help watching the children
because they have to work, or because they have a job interview, or because
their family member is ill, don’t hesitate to take the children
off their hands, even if it’s not your scheduled day. Instead of
thinking of it as an inconvenience, look at it as an added bonus –
you get more time with your children!

5. Suppose you and your spouse agree it’s okay to see other people
while your divorce is pending through the court. If that’s the case,
don’t schedule date nights for the evenings you have your children.
Instead, always schedule dates for when your children are at the other
parent’s house. Also, don’t introduce anyone to your children
until after you’ve been dating for at least six months and the divorce is final.

6. Be very careful of who you choose to date. Before you let anyone into
your life, do a Google search of his or her name and take a close look
at their LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Don’t
date anyone with a felony record, a drug or alcohol problem, or a history
of domestic violence. If you find out that your date is a convicted sex
offender, end the relationship immediately! You don’t want to bring
a child abuser or molester into your home!

7. Don’t use your children as pawns. Don’t ask them for information
about your ex, and don’t force them to be the “messenger”
between you and your ex. No matter how you feel about your ex, don’t
use your children to pass along information. If you absolutely don’t
want to talk to your ex, use text messaging or email to communicate with
him or her.

8. No matter how you feel about your ex, don’t badmouth them to your
child, and refrain from saying negative things about their other parent
within earshot of your kids. Instead, let your kids be kids and allow
them to enjoy their innocence. If your husband ran off with the babysitter,
or if your wife developed an alcohol problem, don’t bring it up
in the presence of your children, especially if they’re too young
to understand what’s happening. Of course, you need to consider
your children’s ages. Even if you have teenagers, there’s
probably plenty of details you can spare them so they can worry less and
enjoy their teen years more.

9. If the children will be living with you most of the time, don’t
move to another county or out-of-state without seeking legal advice first.
Unless you have sole physical custody, you generally need the court’s
permission before you can relocate with your children. If you move without
the court’s blessing, your ex can become very upset and you could
be setting yourself up for an ugly child custody battle.

If you are getting a divorce, it’s important to understand how to
handle child custody matters, especially if you anticipate any problems
with your spouse. For experienced legal advice,
contact our firm to meet with a
Los Angeles child custody attorney.

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/June/9-Child-Custody-Tips-for-Your-Case.aspx

Hidden Assets

When you are in the middle of a divorce, you will find that one of the hardest conversations will be about finances. If you have joint accounts, expect some debate as to who gets how much and why. There are opportunities for your former spouse to hide assets, too, however. They may have income you never even knew existed. Read this article on how to look for hidden assets.

It’s no secret that once
divorce is on the horizon, bitter spouses can get very protective about their
assets. In situations where spouses don’t share all of their financial
activities with each other, it’s very easy for a spouse to start
moving things around once he or she feels threatened by an impending divorce.
If you’re in a high-net-worth marriage, you may suspect that your
spouse is hiding assets from you; it is not unusual for wealthy spouses
to have this suspicion.

In 2011, the
National Endowment for Financial Education, in cooperation with
Forbes.com, released the findings of an online survey. The poll found that “31
percent of people who combined finances with their significant other have
been deceptive with their spouse or partner about money.”

Some of the survey’s findings:

  • 58 percent of respondents admitted to hiding cash from their spouse or partner.
  • 54 percent of respondents said they had hid a minor purchase from their
    spouse or partner.
  • More than 30 percent said they hid a bill or statement from their spouse
    or partner.
  • 34 percent of the respondents admitted to lying to their spouse or partner
    about income, debt, or finances.
  • 65 percent of women and 47 percent of men said their spouse or partner
    lied to them about income, debt, or finances.

If spouses are already lying to each other
during marriage about finances, it’s safe to assume that a percentage of
spouses would be committing
more financial deception before and during a divorce. Whenever a spouse is
refusing to produce financial documentation, or delaying it continuously,
then it can be taken as a red flag. What are they trying to hide and why
are they trying so hard to control the passage of financial information?

Look at the Tax Returns First

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets from you, the first thing
to do is get your hands on the most recent tax return –
the whole tax return. If your spouse fails to give you the entire tax return, this could be
a sign that he or she is hiding something from you. Perhaps there is something
on the tax return that they don’t want you to see. If you’re
not familiar with tax returns, have your divorce attorney, an accountant,
or a CPA comb through the tax return for the various types of income,
the deductions taken, and any interest or dividends earned. Also, was
there an overpayment of taxes? If so, those funds could be returned to
your spouse after the divorce is finalized.

Look at the Business Transactions

If your spouse owns a business and you have access to the financials, look
for salary paid to employees that don’t exist, or checks written
to friends and family that are meant to be returned to your spouse after
the divorce. Look for strange expenditures that could have been paid to
a romantic partner, such as hotel stays, trips, fancy dinners, rent payments,
and auto loans. If your spouse owns a business, you should have the statements
reconciled with the income and expense statements; look carefully for
any possible discrepancies.

Check Your Computer’s Search History

Does your spouse have a PayPal account? If you don’t think so, it
still may be a possibility. PayPal is a great way for deceptive spouses
to hide money from their partners because their spouse doesn’t see
the transactions. If your spouse doesn’t have a PayPal app on their
phone, you can check the browsing history on your home computer. Also
scroll through the search history to see if any unfamiliar banking websites turn up.

Your Spouse Could Have Hidden Cash at Home

As impractical as it may seem, a lot of people hide cash in their home
where they can easily access it – but don’t go looking under
the mattress because that would be too obvious. Where do you start looking?
In the garage, inside pill containers, in folders deep inside file cabinets,
in the back of dresser drawers, in shoes, in suit jackets, in air vents,
behind wall decorations and artwork, in DVD cases, in drop ceilings, under
rugs, and in storage sheds. In reality, the possibilities are endless.

Finding Assets if You’re in the Dark

If your spouse has handled all of the finances and you have not been involved
in paying the bills, filing the taxes, or otherwise tracking the finances,
then you’re what’s called the “out-spouse.” In
other words, you don’t have the passwords or access to the financial
accounts, but your husband or wife sure does.

If you don’t have direct access to the financial data, we recommend
asking your spouse for access to the accounts and financial records. If
your spouse is willing to give you the information you need, then the
process may not be too difficult. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that
easy. If your spouse is not organized, it may take some time to get the
information, but you can always help him or her.

On the other hand, if your spouse refuses to give you the information,
it could mean they’re hiding either assets or debts, or both. Remember
that with online access to virtually all types of accounts, your spouse
should be able to get the information you need. If your spouse still refuses
to produce the records, take this as a red flag that they could be hiding assets.

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, our firm can help.
Contact Claery & Green, LLP today for a free consultation with a Los Angeles divorce attorney.

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/May/How-to-Look-for-Hidden-Assets-in-a-Divorce.aspx

Tips for Positive Co-Parenting

If you get divorced and have children, there are many scenarios that can play out. Unless there are extreme circumstances, co-parenting is a great option for the good of the kids. It might be challenging to want to co-parent with your ex but it can be done if you both agree to put the kids first. Read the tips below for successful co-parenting and try putting them into action.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was “normal” in
divorce cases for the children to end up living with the mother and for the father
to see his children one evening a week and every other weekend. However,
in recent years much has changed, especially in forward thinking California,
the first state to enact “no-fault” divorce.

Today, California, along with many other states has determined that children
are much better off when both parents play an active role in their lives.
By an “active role,” this means more than a father seeing
his children every other weekend and once a week; it means almost, if
not equal responsibility in raising his children.

Under the modern method of child custody in California, co-parenting
fathers may have the children the same number (or almost the same) of overnights
as the mother, and they are playing more of an active role in their children’s
lives, for example, they’re bringing their children to soccer and
dance, and taking them back to school shopping.

Most of Today’s Moms Are Employed

Unless a couple was rather wealthy before a divorce, the majority of divorced
mothers these days have full-time jobs. Since it “takes a village”
to raise children, more (and more) divorced couples are relying on each
other to tend to their children’s daily needs. For example, if “Billy”
needs a ride to basketball practice but Mom is working the nightshift
at the hospital and it’s Dad’s day off, Billy’s father
can take him to basketball practice while his ex-wife is pulling a 12-hour
shift at the hospital. This is the most logical solution.

As in the example above, it’s not uncommon for today’s divorced
parents to have two completely different schedules, and with two parents
working full-time, simple logistics require them to coordinate their schedules
and calendars so the children’s needs are adequately met. Essentially,
divorced couples are co-parenting out of necessity, not always by choice.

Recognize the Silver Lining

If you’re like a lot of spouses, the idea of coordinating with your
soon-to-be-ex on a regular basis may not sound appealing; however, it’s
important to see the silver lining. Even if you cannot stand being in
the same room as your husband or wife, it’s important for you to
see that co-parenting is highly desirable; it makes everybody’s
lives easier.

We found that for co-parenting to work, spouses should actively seek
divorce mediation or a
collaborative divorce, both of which encourage couples to have a positive divorce. If you want
to succeed at co-parenting, divorce litigation should be avoided if possible.
Experience has taught us that when a couple cooperates from the beginning,
it paves the way for a successful co-parenting relationship.

When a couple is angry and bitter and drags each other to court for every
little thing and they try to have equal parenting time, they likely won’t
find themselves working as a “team” and every interaction
may be stressful and strained. Nobody wins in this scenario, and it’s
not fair to the children to watch their parents constantly fighting over them.

If you have minor children from your marriage and your spouse is a loving
parent, we do not recommend an adversarial divorce. Instead, we highly
recommend divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce, especially if
you’re going to be seeking a co-parenting arrangement.

Making Co-Parenting Work

Through experience with our own clients, we have found that the following
factors help make a co-parenting arrangement work well:

Living Close to Each Other
When a couple has children, living close to each other makes everything
easier, especially if the parents can both live in the same school zone.
Even though it’s possible to live apart and make things work, it’s
still a lot harder when you factor in all the extra driving, which taxes
everyone’s patience.

Encouraging Stability
If the children can remain in the same school, attend the same church
(where applicable), and continue seeing their friends and taking part
in the same extra-curricular activities, all of this helps promote stability,
which is what children need during and after a divorce.

Encouraging Communication
Even if parents don’t like each other, it’s important that
they remain in “good communication” with each other. For instance,
they need to inform each other if there’s a change in their schedule,
and keep each other updated on school schedules, extra-curricular activities,
birthday parties and the like. If it relates to the children, they should
keep each other informed.

Being Flexible With Each Other
“But it’s not his day with the kids.” We hear this a
lot. So what if it’s the summer and your ex-husband got the day
off and he wants to take the kids to Disney Land? Even if it’s not
his day, what’s the harm in him taking them to the amusement park?
Occasionally, someone might want the kids when it’s not their day,
or they’ll want to take the kids out to celebrate their new promotion.
It’s not a big deal to be flexible with each other once in a while,
even if it’s not reflected in the Parenting Plan.

Ex-spouses must understand that it’s important to help each other
out and be flexible on occasion, especially if it’s a reasonable
request. For example, if a mother is called in to work because her co-worker
didn’t show up and her ex-husband is available to take the kids,
he shouldn’t say, “Hire a babysitter!” That would just
be unfair to his ex and the kids.

Accepting Each Other’s New Partners
A lot of divorced parents remarry; how a new husband or wife acclimates
to the family has much to do with the ex-spouse’s attitude toward
the new mate. The best way to encourage peace at home is for each spouse
to be respectful toward the new stepparent and ask their children to be
respectful of him or her. If children have issues with a stepparent, it’s
nearly impossible to successfully co-parent, and the children ultimately
suffer. It’s perfectly normal for an ex to feel jealousy towards
their ex’s new husband or wife, but they must manage those feelings
and keep them hidden from the children.

Are you on the brink of divorce and looking for a Los Angeles divorce lawyer
to represent you? If so,
contact Claery & Green, LLP today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/April/Successful-Co-Parenting-After-Divorce.aspx

All Parts of Divorce Explored

Divorce, unfortunately, is quite common these days. Sometimes divorce happens amicably for honest reasons while, other times, divorce is the result of not-so-great things. You probably know someone who has been divorced or maybe you are going through one yourself. Regardless, it is a big thing to wrap your mind around. This article below dives in to the good, bad and ugly. Check it out.

Regardless of the reasons “why” a marriage ended,
divorce is almost always an uncomfortable, difficult, unhappy event. A spouse
may be thrilled to finally cut ties with their controlling, abusive, or
cheating spouse; however, the divorce still incites feelings of disappointment
over a failed marriage, a broken family, or loss of financial certainty.

Divorce means a LOT of changes in one’s daily routines and habits.
A stay-at-home parent may be thrust back into the workforce. Infants and
toddlers may have to start going to daycare. A higher-earning spouse earning
a comfortable living may suddenly become strapped for cash after
child and
spousal support payments are deducted from their income.

In the aftermath of divorce, it can take a solid year or two for divorce
spouses to reach a new sense of equilibrium, a new normal. All of the
above aside, divorce is a viewed as a critical step for many unhappy spouses.

Divorce serves a vital function emotionally and legally – freeing
people from empty, hollow marriages, allowing them to get on with their
lives and form deeply satisfying relationships with other people. Divorce
may be devastating initially, but in the long-run it becomes emotionally
liberating and definitely worth it.

Divorce Has Become Socially Acceptable

One of the reasons why divorce filings in the United States has spiked
in the last 50 years is the changing role of women in our society, and
the same goes for the skyrocketing divorce rate among Baby Boomers. Today’s
women are more economically independent than ever before, and their expectations
for happiness are higher than in previous generations.

Gender equality, which has steadily risen since World War II, has brought
on the much-talked about changes in the divorce landscape and it’s
spread into the Baby Boomer generation. The modern woman is educated and
financially independent and can rely on her own 401(k) or IRA to support
her through her “Golden Years,” and doesn’t have to
stay in an unhappy marriage because she has no other way to support herself.

The Gender Gap is Closing

The liberation of women has certainly facilitated the liberalization of
divorce laws nationwide; however, both men and women have been affected
by these changes. For example, women can be ordered to pay spousal support
nowadays, when that was almost unheard of in the 1960s and 1970s. What’s
more, in the 21st century, fathers receive “equal consideration”
in child custody cases – some say the gender gap
has closed in California family law cases.

Adultery, Money, and Emotions

Adultery and emotional infidelity (e.g. a Facebook affair) are still some
of the top reasons why people file for divorce, and so are financial reasons.
While many couples buckle under the pressure of a job loss, extended unemployment,
out-of-control spending, or a bankruptcy, still, some of the major causes
of divorce are more emotional than anything else.

Common reasons why spouses want a divorce:

  • The couple simply grew apart
  • They realize they have nothing in common
  • They realize they’ll never change each other
  • Once the honeymoon phase ends, one spouse becomes controlling, critical,
    or overbearing
  • They’re no longer attracted to each other
  • They find each other’s company boring
  • They marry young, grow up and then apart
  • One spouse is constantly dishonest, and when all trust is lost, the innocent
    spouse wants a divorce
  • They argue all of the time
  • They have very different views on raising children
  • A mother-in-law is too involved in the couple’s life
  • One spouse becomes emotionally abusive
  • The spouses have different goals in life
  • The spouses are disappointed by unrealistic expectations

Since many divorce filings stem from emotional reasons, rather than abuse
or abandonment, the states have relaxed their divorce laws. California
is the first state to adopt no-fault divorce laws. As a no-fault divorce
state, a spouse can obtain a divorce as long as they want “out.”

There is no need to point the blame on the other spouse and cite adultery,
cruel and inhumane treatment, or abandonment to get a divorce. All the
courts are concerned about is that the marriage is broken beyond repair.
With the “no-fault” divorce model, spouses can focus on amicable
divorces, they don’t have to have a highly-contentious divorce if
they don’t want to.

While we will always have contested divorces, we strive to help clients
achieve non-adversarial divorces as much as possible through
divorce mediation and negotiation.
uncontested divorces are beneficial for all parties involved, especially a couple’s minor
children, for whom divorce can be the most distressful and whose needs
can be overlooked by stressed-out parents.

Preserving the Marital Estate

We now know that roughly half of marriages in the United States end in
divorce, and the chances of divorce are higher for second and subsequent
marriages. With about one-half of first marriages facing dissolution,
it’s wiser to approach divorce with a clear head and to treat it
like a business move.

If spouses can put their differences aside and treat each other with dignity
and respect, and with the ultimate goal of preserving the marital estate,
divorce can be easier on all involved.

While about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, research has discovered
that divorce is less common among the most educated. Experts have learned
that educated people tend to marry later, at a time in their lives when
they have more life and relationship experience. So, this is a positive
outlook, at least for the college-educated who marry in their 30s.

Divorce Can Add Curveballs

All transitions in life can be hard and divorce can certainly add its share
of curveballs, more than other life hurdles. Many of us plan in advance
for major life transitions: We earn good grades so we can get a scholarship
to college. We invest in a 401(k) so we can retire comfortably one day.
We compare plane ticket fares before buying. Deciding to take the divorce
plunge, however, can be compared to a cataclysmic event, especially if
we’re not properly prepared.

Even if you’ve been daydreaming about a divorce for months, pulling
the trigger can be difficult because you’re afraid of the unknowns.
Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate the divorce process alone.
With the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you can be guided every
step of the way.

If you’re ready to hear the “good, the bad, and the ugly”
about divorce,
contact our firm to meet with a Los Angeles divorce attorney for free!

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/January/Divorce-the-Good-the-Bad-and-the-Ugly.aspx

The Don’ts of Divorce

Throughout a divorce things can get tough emotionally, financially and personally. You might catch yourself saying or doing things on impulse that you would not normally say or do. Your goal should be to have divorce proceedings go as smooth and calm as possible. Use the tips in the blog post below as guidance of what NOT to do to make that goal possible.

Once the holidays are over,
divorce attorneys across the nation enter into the busiest divorce season of the
year. January symbolizes a fresh start and with the holidays having come
to an end, there is a huge spike in divorce filings across the nation.

Why is January such a popular month for divorce? A lot of it comes down
to not wanting to call it quits during November and December, the busiest
holiday season of the year. More often than not, couples prefer to keep
their families “intact” during Christmas and Hanukkah, for
emotional and financial reasons.

If you feel like a failure because you can’t seem to keep your marriage
together – don’t! Roughly 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages
in the United States end in divorce and the risk of divorce are even higher
with second and third marriages, reports the
American Psychological Association.

If you are headed towards divorce, here are some things that you should
NOT do while your divorce is pending through the courts:

Don’t do this alone.
Divorce is stressful and emotionally difficult, even if you are the one
who wants the divorce. Most people simply can’t imagine the emotions
they’re going to be flooded with until the divorce is real. While
it’s important to lean on friends and family for support, you need
professional advice from an experienced divorce attorney.

Don’t refuse to see a therapist.
If your divorce causes you to feel significantly depressed or down, don’t
stay in bed for weeks on end and shut everybody out of your life. Instead,
seek emotional support from a therapist or counselor. Your friends can
give you a shoulder to lean on; however, a therapist can be a nonbiased
sounding board. If you’re a private person, you can take comfort
in the “confidential relationship” you’ll have with
your therapist, and you won’t have to worry about them telling others
about your conversations.

Don’t tell everyone else before telling your children.
Don’t announce your divorce on Facebook before telling your children.
Ideally, you and your spouse will sit your children down and
tell them together before telling anyone else. Be sure to show your children a “united
front” and reassure them the divorce is NOT their fault.

Don’t talk about your divorce on social media.
It’s never a good idea to air your dirty laundry on social media.
Even if your husband ran off with his secretary, or your wife ran back
to her ex-boyfriend after reconnecting on Facebook, you should not share
it with the world. Divorce lawyers are in the practice of using social
media accounts to dig up information on spouses, so you don’t want
to say or do anything that can be used against you in court.

If you have children, don’t put yourself first.
If you’re a parent, you should not take off on vacation leaving
your children with a babysitter, or start a new romance while your divorce
is pending in the courts. Instead, you should be putting your children
first. When you file for divorce, focus on your children’s emotions
and creating quality family time with them.

Don’t stay in the dark about your finances.
If your spouse has always handled the bills, don’t stay in the dark.
It’s critical that you familiarize yourself with the finances. We
recommend making copies of all the financial records, going back three
years. Copy the tax returns, W2s and 1099s, bank statements, credit card
statements, and mortgage loan documents etc.

Don’t ignore your credit.
If you don’t have any credit, you don’t want to keep it that
way. Whether you’re a husband or wife, you must understand that
credit is so important to starting a new life. If you don’t have
any credit because everything has been in your spouse’s name, you
need to start building credit in your name today.

Don’t wait for your spouse’s apology.
Did your spouse cheat on you? Did your spouse treat you poorly for years?
If you feel that your spouse has wronged you, don’t wait for an
apology that may never come. Instead of feeling angry or bitter, practice

Don’t have romantic encounters with your future ex.
You’re divorcing this person for a good reason. If you’ve
decided to go through with the divorce, having romantic encounters with
your soon-to-be ex will only complicate matters, especially if you have
children together. Instead of dating or having confusing flings with your
spouse, handle your divorce like it’s a business matter. You don’t
want anything clouding your vision, especially during settlement negotiations.

Don’t stay bitter about the divorce.
It’s a fact for most – divorce is difficult! No matter why
your marriage ended, try not to stay bitter about it. Even if your spouse
dives into a new relationship right after the separation, don’t
let that drag you down. If you can, stay upbeat and positive and
look forward to your future and what it will bring.

Don’t badmouth your spouse.
There’s never a better time to take the highroad than during a divorce.
Whatever you do, don’t badmouth your ex in front of your kids or
on social media. It’s OK to share intimate details with your therapist
and your best friend; however, you should not discuss the dirty details
at work, at church, or with neighbors. Trust us, when the divorce is over,
you’ll be glad you didn’t badmouth your spouse during the
divorce process.

If you’re looking for a divorce attorney in Los Angeles, call Claery
& Green, LLP for a free consultation. We are here to protect your
best interests throughout the
divorce process.

Source: http://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2017/January/What-Not-to-Do-During-a-Divorce.aspx