How To Celebrate The Holidays After Divorce (And Keep Your Sanity!)

A divorce can cause a lot of conflicts, even after it’s over. As the holidays approach, you may feel uncertain about how to celebrate the holidays post-divorce without worrying about losing your sanity. The following tips will help you make the holidays more enjoyable and ensure you can find your new normal after your divorce.

Keep Things as Normal as Possible

Some couples manage to maintain their holiday traditions just the same as they did before the divorce. However, if you aren’t one of those people, you can still make your holidays less stressful by creating new traditions, while maintaining some sense of normalcy, especially if you have children. It’s essential to evaluate which traditions you want to continue and which ones you want to revamp to accommodate your changed family.

Encourage Time with Both Parents

Juggling time around the holidays can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Encouraging your children to spend time with each parent reduces anxiety and shows them both parents still love them the same. However, it’s essential to check your attitude. Don’t express animosity toward the child’s other parent and don’t let anger or self-pity get in the way of an enjoyable holiday season.

Plan in Advance

Splitting time between both sides of your child’s family takes advanced planning. Think about how you want to handle the holidays and discuss the details ahead of time. Your court order should detail how the children spend holiday time with each parent. However, you may need to exercise a little more flexibility to ensure children are comfortable, especially if this is the first holiday season after your divorce.

Start New Traditions

Your family dynamic has changed. Giving yourself a fresh start by implementing new family traditions can go a long way toward improving the holiday season and making it easier for everyone. If there is something you previously wanted to incorporate into the holidays but your former spouse was against it, now is the time to consider adding it. Set realistic expectations and let your children take the lead in helping you choose what to do for the holidays.

Give Gifts

It’s common to struggle financially after a divorce, particularly in the first year or two as you seek to establish your new lifestyle. However, it’s essential to make sure you always have some gifts for your children to open. Even if you need to reach out to local charities, family members, or friends for a helping hand, gift giving will ensure a sense of normalcy for the holiday season. Be sure to set a budget and stick to it. After all, buying your children’s affection with gifts will only backfire in the end.

Your 2021 Checklist For A California Divorce

It’s never easy to go through a divorce, but sometimes you need to dissolve a marriage that isn’t benefitting you any longer. Once you’ve made the difficult choice to seek a divorce, there are things you must do to prepare yourself so that the process isn’t any more challenging than it needs to be. This checklist should help ensure that you reach the best possible outcome.

Gather Important Financial Documents

A couple’s finances can be one of the greatest sources of conflict leading up to a divorce. Deciding what happens following the dissolution of the marriage is even more burdensome. Make sure you get all of the important financial records you need such as mortgage and loan documents, tax documents, bank statements, life insurance policies, titles to property and investment account records.

Itemize Your Assets

Make sure that you have a list of every asset you own under your name and jointly with your spouse. Assign a fair value to each asset when you create your list. Include things like debt, especially if the debt is under both of your names. Should your spouse have any secret accounts, inform your attorney. Your lawyer can conduct an investigation that will uncover any important information about these accounts that could impact your divorce proceedings.

Consider How You Want to Handle Custody

A divorce has a huge impact on children, so you should consider what you’re willing to settle with in regards to custody. Consider whether shared custody can be arranged and where your children will live when they stay with your spouse and you. Your children’s needs should come first when you consider custody arrangements.

Determine Where You Plan to Live

Before you begin proceedings, decide if you’re going to fight to remain in your current home or if you plan to move. It’s important to speak with a lawyer before making this critical choice, but also look around for new places to stay so you have an idea of what it’s going to cost you.

Make Changes to Your Will and Living Trust

Removing your spouse from your will and trust ensures that should something happen to you, your assets go to the person you choose instead of your ex-spouse. In most cases, this would be your children. Also, name a new executor of your estate.

Update Bank and Social Media Accounts

If you share any accounts with your spouse, change your passwords and update your information. You may want to create a new email account as well.

Have a Support Network

Whether it’s your family, friends, a therapist or your attorney, you need people to lean on during this challenging period in your life. It’s important not to isolate yourself and know that you’ve got other people to lean on who will listen and understand.

Contact Us for a Consultation

Erica Bloom Law works hard for our clients to protect what matters most to them. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

Signs It Is Time For A Divorce

Nobody gets married thinking that they may someday file for divorce. Unfortunately, while divorce rates have decreased in recent years, it remains true that between 40% and 50% of marriages in the United States will fail. So, what are some “red flags” to watch out for that may indicate the end of a marriage?

1. Lack of Respect

Simply put, you cannot expect to have a successful partnership without mutual respect. This means that not only do you need to have respect for your partner—but your partner must respect you in return. If you are frequently feeling as though you’ve been disrespected and that your partner has more or less abandoned you, then your marriage may be too far gone to salvage.

2. No Communication

Another key to a strong foundation in marriage is communication. You and your spouse must understand the importance of keeping each other “in the loop” and how to effectively communicate with each other. When there is no longer any communication or effort in this regard, the marriage cannot last.

3. Infidelity

Sadly, one of the most common contributors to divorce in the United States is cheating or infidelity. Often, this stems from one partner not getting the intimacy he or she needs to remain happy. If your partner has cheated on you, you may be strongly considering a divorce.

4. Domestic Abuse

Whether emotional or physical, domestic abuse is a very real problem that can derail any marriage. You deserve to be treated with respect by your partner and to feel safe around him or her. If you have been emotionally/mentally manipulated or if your spouse has put hands on you, then it’s time to pursue a legal separation for your own protection.

5. Financial Issues

Ongoing financial problems are yet another common reason for divorce; perhaps your spouse has been racking up credit card debt behind your back—or maybe you simply cannot get on the same page regarding your finances. Regardless, it’s hard to keep a marriage running smoothly if you cannot come to an agreement about your shared finances. In some instances, a divorce may even protect you from accumulating more debt.

Time to Speak to an Attorney?

If any of these situations apply to you, then it may be time to consider divorce. Before you file any paperwork, however, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. At Erica Bloom Law, we specialize in divorce and separation (as well as family law and child custody); we’re here to represent you through every step of the process. Schedule your consultation with our team today to find out more about what we can do for you.

Divorce Before 30? How to Move Forward

A divorce before 30 is often a sensitive topic — but it doesn’t have to be. There are many advantages to “divorcing young.” If you’re going through a divorce (or have recently gone through one), then you already know that you weren’t with the right partner for you. In that situation, it’s better to get it over with early.

The Benefits of Divorcing Before 30

When moving forward, it’s often beneficial to look at the positives. While everything may seem negative, divorcing before 30 means:

  • You still have time to develop your career and your education. Divorcing later in life doesn’t mean you don’t have that time, but divorcing younger does mean you’ll have more time and energy to figure out what you want.
  • You’ll find it easier to get back into the dating pool. For many, the dating pool can seem more alien the longer that you’re out of it. Give yourself some time and then jump back in.
  • You’re less likely to have significant assets. One of the big problems when divorcing is dividing assets such as houses and businesses fairly.
  • You’re less likely to have children. Custody issues can cause a divorce to go on for a long time, as well as cause persistent problems in the future.

Realistically, if you’re with the wrong person, you want to divorce as soon as possible. If that’s before 30, so be it.

Moving Forward with Your Divorce

Naturally, it’s not all sunshine and roses, and it would be disingenuous to pretend that it’s such. When you divorce before 30, you are less likely to have significant support structures. You will likely have less wealth or a lower-paying career — so you may want to reach out to your friends and family. You will also want to have a professional to defend you during the divorce to ensure that you get what you’re owed.

If you do have children and you’re divorcing, it’s likely that your children are young or at least still in school. You may want to preemptively reach out to resources to ensure that you have adequate childcare, that your children will be well-provided for, and (if you’re moving out of your marital home) that they are going to have a comfortable space to live.

At the end of the day, divorce is something that has to happen for you to move on with your life. There are very seldom benefits gained by waiting, as your lives will only become more complex and enmeshed. If you’re thinking about a divorce, the time for consultation is now. Contact Erica Bloom Law today!

How Cohabitation Affects Alimony in California

In California, cohabitation can make the topic of alimony quite complex. If you’re pursuing a divorce and wondering how cohabitation will impact your alimony, read on.

What is “Cohabitation” Legally?

Cohabitation means more than just living together. Largely, cohabitation indicates a deeper relationship than simply sharing a home with someone — a deeper relationship than simply being “roommate and roommate.” Essentially, cohabitation implies that you are still living as spouse-and-spouse even though you are getting a divorce or are already divorced. (And, arguably, even a roommate relationship can be a gray area.)

It’s important to define cohabitation in this way because alimony is intended to upkeep a person’s quality of life. The implication under “cohabitation” is that your partner’s quality of life has not changed because you are still cohabitating — you’re still financially and practically enmeshed with their lives to the extent that they may not need the same amount of support.

What Does “Cohabitation” Mean for Alimony?

If your ex-spouse is cohabitating with you, and you’re paying them alimony, you may be able to request a modification of your alimony agreement. This is done on the basis that you’re already effectively helping your ex-spouse financially because they are living with you. But that doesn’t mean the modification will be automatically granted. Your ex-spouse can provide a rebuttal if your ex-spouse believes that their quality of life has still significantly hanged.

There are a lot of factors that go into alimony, such as the length of the marriage. But if two people are cohabitating, alimony is going to be even more complex. The courts will need to determine how much each person has truly been impacted by the divorce in this situation, and calculate the amount of the alimony.

Can Cohabitation Lead to Alimony Getting Taken Away?

It’s possible that alimony can be taken away or reduced due to cohabitation. Whether you’re the one receiving alimony or you’re the one sending it, documentation is important.

If you’re looking for alimony modification, you will need documents to show the expenses that you’re currently paying for your ex-partner. If you’re trying to avoid an alimony modification, you will need documents to show that your ex-partner is not contributing to your lifestyle any longer.

Either way, having a lawyer can help. A lawyer will be able to go over your personal financial situation and advise you on what the courts are likely to recommend.

Cohabitating with a former spouse is difficult, both on a practical level and a legal one. Legally, it’s usually best to stop cohabitating with a partner that you’re leaving — but that’s not always feasible for everyone. Be prepared for alimony to be impacted by cohabitation, regardless of which side of the alimony you’re on.

Need more information about cohabitation and alimony? We’re here to help. Contact Erica Bloom Law today to find out more about our services and what we can do for you.

Business Valuations in Divorce

What happens when you divorce your spouse and need to split up a business? Commonly, one spouse will buy out the other spouse — one person will retain the business while the other will get cash for its value. But it can be hard to value a business, especially a small-to-midsized business. How do you determine business valuations in a divorce?

Asset Approach

The asset approach is by far the simplest. What are the tangible assets of the company? This includes cash accounts, the depreciated value of equipment, furniture, and more. This can also be the case if the business is going to be liquidated. If the business is already suffering, liquidating the business and splitting the assets fairly can be the best and most expedient approach.

Market Approach

What would the company sell for if it was on the market? This can be a little harder to evaluate, but a third-party appraiser can help. Sometimes couples decide to sell the business rather than liquidate it and split the proceeds, especially if they needed to work together to keep the business running. The market approach can be a very fair approach, but may not help either recoup what they’ve put into the business.

Income Approach

The income approach takes a look at how much the business actually makes or is projected to make. This can be better for those who are more or less interested in how much they are potentially losing in the future. A business might only have $20,000 of assets but be making $100,000 a year — a valuation based on asses wouldn’t be fair. At the same time, an income-only approach can be faulty because past performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance.

Sometimes, multiple factors might be considered to determine a company’s true valuation. There are professionals whose job it is to fairly value a business — and while it does cost some money to engage them, it’s often for the best long-term. And, of course, there are other things that could impact how much someone gains from a business. If the business predates the marriage, for instance, this will influence the percentage of the business that is split. Further, if one partner contributed significantly more in assets to the business, this could also be considered.

Importantly, a business valuation — as with any other aspect of a divorce — is made easier through a meeting of minds. If both parties during a divorce agree upon a valuation, then that valuation can be considered valid, irrelevant of assets, market, or income. A critical part of resolving divorce is ensuring that both parties are pleased with the outcomes.

Erica Bloom Law

If you’re in the middle of a divorce in California, you need legal representation from a family lawyer who has extensive experience with these cases. At Erica Bloom Law, we can provide you with the legal guidance you need throughout every step of your divorce and/or custody dispute. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

The Impact of a Child’s Preference in Custody Awards

Are you going through a custody dispute in the state of California? If so, then you may be curious as to what legal weight (if any) your child’s parental preference has on the outcome of your case. By having a better understanding of California law in regard to child preference, you can better advocate for yourself moving forward. And of course, having an experienced legal team on your side can make all the difference, too.

What Weight Does a Child’s Preference Carry?

In the state of California, there are specific laws regarding how much weight a child’s preference carries when determining which parents will receive primary or even full custody of a minor. Specifically, the child must be at least 14 years of age in order for his or her preference to be taken into significant consideration. In children younger than 14, the court considers the child too young and thus not yet mature enough to express a preference one way or the other. In these instances, the child’s preference may still be weighed as a factor, but with far less significance.

Still, in children 14 and older, a stated preference carries a great deal of weight on a judge’s custody decision.

Other Factors Determining the Outcome of a Custody Dispute

While having a child report to a judge that he or she prefers to live with one parent is a big deal in court, this does not constitute an automatic granting of custodial rights to that parent. Instead, other factors must also be taken into consideration by the judge.

Some of the other factors that the judge will weigh include the health and safety of the child, the parent’s criminal history (especially in regard to domestic abuse), and any history of drug or alcohol abuse by the parent.

In general, so long as there are no concerns about the child’s wellbeing, the child’s parental preference will be granted as long as the child is at least 14 years of age. If the child is younger than 14 and expresses a preference, this will still be taken into account, but not as strongly from a legal perspective.

Why You Need Legal Representation

There’s a lot that a judge must consider when ruling on a child custody dispute in the state of California. From the child’s preference to other matters, the most important thing at the end of the day is that everybody is looking out for the best interests of the child.

If you’re in the middle of a custody dispute in California, you need legal representation from a family lawyer who has extensive experience with these cases. At Erica Bloom Law, we can provide you with the legal guidance you need throughout every step of your divorce and custody dispute. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

image of signing preliminary financial disclosure

Preliminary Financial Disclosures & How They Affect Divorce

If you’re going through the process of getting divorced (or plan to in the near future), one thing you’ll want to be aware of is the importance of completing a preliminary financial disclosure. This disclosure should be filled out by both you and your soon-to-be ex spouse, as these disclosures play an important role in how marital assets and finances will be divided once the divorce is granted by a judge.

By having a better understanding of what a preliminary financial disclosure entails and how these forms can affect your divorce, you’ll be better prepared moving forward.

What is a Preliminary Financial Disclosure?

Specifically, a preliminary financial disclosure refers to a series of documents that is filled out by each party in the divorce process. These documents outline, in detail, a list of debts and assets from each party in the divorce. This may include outstanding debts on a mortgage or car, assets in the form of property, and just about every other financial detail in between.

In general, when filing for divorce, each spouse will be required to fill out a form known as a Declaration of Disclosure. This form includes details about assets and debts; once completed, it is formally served to the other spouse. In some cases, additional forms may also be required, though this can vary based on the state’s specific divorce laws.

How Does a Preliminary Financial Disclosure Affect Divorce?

Being as transparent, accurate, and honest as possible while filling out a preliminary financial disclosure is a must. This is because in divorce court, all assets and debts will typically be considered as community property. This means that everything will be divided 50/50 by default. With this in mind, it is imperative that each party in the divorce accurately reports his or her debts and/or assets so that a fair decision can be reached.

If one spouse is found to be dishonest or inaccurate in reporting on a preliminary financial disclosure, the other spouse may return to court to request a revision of the asset division. This can lead to more time in court and more headaches for both parties. With this in mind, it’s best to be up-front and accurate when filling out these forms the first time around.

When to Seek Help From a Divorce Lawyer

If you’re going through a divorce, it’s always a good idea to retain the services of an experienced divorce lawyer. He or she will be able to walk you through the process of filling out your disclosure and represent you through every step of the process.

Looking for a knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer? Our team at Erica Bloom Law is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and find out more about what we can do for you during this difficult time!

image of divorcing couple

How to Pursue a Divorce When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want One

In the old days, both parties needed to agree to a divorce. Today, only one person needs to request a divorce — but there are still some challenges for those who aren’t divorcing amicably. Here’s what you need to know.

Your First Step Should Be to an Attorney

Your spouse can’t refuse a divorce. But what they can do is make the process more difficult. They may hide assets or disagree on assets. They may draw out court proceedings. They may try to complicate custody, if you have children. They may disagree on what to do with large, shared assets, like cars and houses.

Your first step in any divorce should be an attorney. You should never have the same attorney as your spouse. Your attorney needs to be focused on advocating for you.

Your attorney will be able to tell you what you should do to protect yourself.

You Should Document Everything

Divorces can easily become complex when both spouses aren’t on the same page. This can happen even if both parties want a divorce; if they don’t agree on the terms, things can get drawn out. That can cost both time and money.

The best way to deal with these issues is through documentation. Not only should you have everything about your financial situation documented, but you should also document all your interactions with your spouse. Through writing rather than a phone is best; if you can communicate through email and text, you should.

If things become extremely aggressive, it’s best to communicate through lawyers.

You Probably Will Go to Court

If your spouse doesn’t want a divorce, they may not agree to your terms nor agree to mediation. That means you’re headed to court.

When you go to court, the judge’s interest is in dividing everything fairly. Because of this, they will need the documentation that you provide. A judge cannot know who is telling the truth in a “he said, she said” situation; they absolutely need to be given firm information to go on. This is where a lawyer can help, as they will know exactly what information to present to the judge.

A divorce can always be one-sided. Your spouse does not need to agree to a divorce for you to be granted one. But be prepared for everything to be more complicated. It’s likely that you’re going to be headed to court if your spouse isn’t going to come to an agreement. Your lawyer can give you more information based on your unique situation.

 

image of someone upset going through divorce

Understanding the Emotional Stages of Divorce

From a young age, children around the world dream of the day that they get married. From the Fairy Tale reverence that Hollywood grants marriage to the core values that religious institutions place within it, it is easy to see why the process is so important.

In 2017, nearly half of all American’s aged over 18 had been married. This number seems large until we realize that nearly 50% of all marriages in the United States end in a divorce. With nearly half of these monumental decisions ending in such a trying way, it stands to reason that we should learn to better understand the emotional toll it can take.

5 Emotional Stages of Divorce

Whether a divorce was propositioned or planned, the process is never easy to undergo. Divorce can be hard on everyone within reach of the situation, including children, family members, and the formerly married couple. Like other aspects of loss, going through a divorce can send individuals through five emotional stages.

While divorce will always be difficult, understanding the conflict and emotional stages intrinsic to divorce proceedings can help to soften the blow, prepare us for life after, and push us forward when we feel down.

Stage 1 — Denial: As in all walks of life, when we are hit with something impossible to believe, we simply deny it. Denial is a traditional emotional process for both parties, but particularly the individual being divorced. A whirlwind of emotional turbulence can prevent the individual from accepting what is going on before them.

Stage 2 — Anger: Anger isn’t always a healthy emotion, but it is always a notable one. After fighting with reality, we might find ourselves both shocked and angered by what just happened. Rage and blame may manifest as both parties begin to engage in emotional warfare, rendered toward themselves and others. This is a time for patience, grace, and forgiveness.

Stage 3 — Bartering: Once the anger subsides, some folks find themselves looking to bargain with their former partner. One spouse may still be hopeful that the relationship can work, and they will often go out of their way to try and change. This is an important time to understand the journey that has been taken and to stand by the convictions that led us there.

Stage 4 — Depression, Sadness: Anger can only burn so long before the flames turn to ash. As our anger fully subsides and bartering shows signs of failing, depression can sink in. The longest and hardest to weather, depression can last for a long time.

Stage 5 — Acceptance: Where anger, sadness, and denial once existed comes the feeling of acceptance. While things aren’t wholly better, they are getting there. This is the stage that often leads to a new chapter in life.

Prepare For Life After Marriage With Erica Bloom Law

While divorce may be devastatingly common, it is a process that holds a special place in society. Whether you are undergoing a divorce or contemplating leaving a significant other, individuals can turn to Erica Bloom Law when they need a compassionate ear and a skilled hand at law by their side.