Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

How to Adjust to Single Life After a Divorce

No matter how challenging things may have been in your marriage, the first days, weeks, and months after your separation or divorce can be a lonely time. There is something about having another person there that makes a difference in the way that you perceive the world, and once you’re by yourself you will need to take active measures to adjust and reset.  Living on your own again strikes each person differently. Some respond with quick acceptance and a return to their single lifestyle, while for others separation means pain. Being alone can lead to invaluable self-reflection, but it takes time to re-engage with yourself as an individual rather than as part of a couple. Here are some tips for adjusting to single life after divorce.

  • Create a routine – If you don’t build a schedule into your day, you’re far more likely to engage in unhealthy or helpful activities. Fill your daily calendar with exercise, time for listening to music or reading, chatting with friends, cleaning or doing laundry, volunteering or engaging in a hobby. It’s okay to have downtime, but if you have a daily routine that starts with brushing your teeth and making your bed each day, your scheduled tasks will quickly help being alone feel more normal.
  • Take pleasure in cooking, even if it is for yourself – There are few things that can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction the way that planning, preparing, and then eating a meal does. Not knowing how to cook is no excuse – there are YouTube videos on every possible subject, so even a novice can learn their way around a kitchen. Once you’ve mastered a few meals, you’ll not only feel more confident, but you’ll have a great way to show your friends that you’re making your way through the tough part. Invite them over!
  • Remember and reconnect with who you once were – Marriage and being part of a couple changes everybody, and the conflict involved in the divorce process can be damaging. Take the time to remember and reconnect with who you were before deciding to date again. Otherwise, you’re likely to make the same mistakes and repeat the same patterns.

Divorce can be a painful and confusing process. If you need legal help, contact our office today to set up a time to talk to one of our experienced, compassionate attorneys.

Will I Lose My Home in a Divorce?

No matter who initiated your divorce – whether you, your spouse, or by mutual agreement – it is bound to represent a loss. Even couples whose relationship is fraught will be emotionally impacted by the end of a marriage, and there’s a likelihood that there will be an economic impact as well. Divorcing couples go through a process known as equitable distribution that requires that all marital assets be evaluated and divided in a way that leaves both parties with roughly the same value. While this is a fairly straightforward process for liquid assets like bank accounts, the marital home is an entirely different story. Usually, either the home will end up being sold and the proceeds split, or one of the two spouses will keep the house and have to offset the shared value with cash or other assets. In some cases, couples opt to continue co-owning, allowing the children and one spouse to continue living there until their kids have all graduated. These arrangements are variable, but usually have a defined end date and specific terms regarding mortgage payments and maintenance and utility bills.

The first question that needs to be answered when it comes to a marital residence goes to whether it is considered marital property. If the house was purchased by one spouse before the marriage and the other spouse’s name was never added to the title, then it is not considered jointly owned. This makes it much more likely that the non-owning spouse will need to move out and will not be entitled to any of the home’s equity.

If the house was purchased during the marriage, it is jointly owned and is subject to equitable distribution. While selling the house and splitting the profit is almost always the neatest resolution, it is not always the easiest thing to do emotionally or the right thing to do for the family. If there are children who have grown up in the home, then forcing them to leave may compound the impact of the divorce. This is often a strong consideration and determining factor when deciding what to do with the marital home.

If a couple agrees that one of the two of them will remain in the house and become the sole owner, then the remaining spouse needs to have the house and any attendant mortgages put into their own name and provide the other with a buy-out of their equity. This may be in the form of cash or other assets.

If you are a married homeowner who is approaching divorce, it is important that you have experienced legal representation and guidance. Contact us today to learn about how we can help.

Will Divorce Ruin My Relationship with My Kids?

Whether you are contemplating divorce or are in the midst, if you are a parent then your primary concern is likely your children’s wellbeing and the health of your future relationship with them. It is natural to worry that divorce will destroy the foundations that you’ve built, or that hostility exhibited either during the marriage or in the course of the legal proceedings will poison things in the future. The good news is that studies have shown that whether parents cooperate or not makes little difference to children’s emotional health, and if you work honestly to strengthen your relations with your kids, they will recognize your efforts and respond in kind.

One of the most important aspects of this effort involves keeping open communication with your children. This means that even if your children are resentful of your divorce, or angry if you have become involved with another person, you need to continue spending time with them.  We are familiar with situations where children have absolutely refused to speak to their parents out of anger or resentment, but the parent has continued to show up and spend time. Rather than forcing children to speak, they have allowed them to sit in their silence so that they know that whenever they want to speak up they can. The parents have written notes, texts and letters to their children regardless of whether they get a response.  Though frustrating and at times painful, it is this type of effort that makes clear to your children that though you have given up on the marriage, you have not given up on your relationship with them – and you won’t, even if they make it difficult for you.

If you are in a situation where your children are not speaking to you, once they do it is important that you respond appropriately. This means telling them how much you appreciate their communication, how much you love them, and that you take responsibility for your role in the divorce. Do not blame your ex-spouse or speak badly about them. The issue is your role in your children’s lives, and that is what you need to keep in mind.

It is a mistake to think that divorce does not impact children — it does. But kids raised in a stressful hostile environment can often feel better once their parents have separated. Your role as a parent is to make sure that your children understand their importance and that the end of the marriage does not mean an end to your role in their lives. For more help on how to navigate the difficulties of divorce, contact our experienced family law attorneys today to set up a time to chat.

How to Move on After a Painful Divorce

Being divorced is no longer taboo, and roughly half of all marriages end up in divorce, but those facts don’t help if you’re miserable. Divorce can do a real number on your self-esteem, but you don’t have to let that happen. The tips below offer several proven methods of lifting yourself out of your gloom and helping you move forward to the next phase of your life.

  • Practice Gratitude – It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and think about all of the things that you’ve lost. It is harder, but infinitely more rewarding, to spend some time thinking about all of the good things that you still have in your life and to be consciously grateful for them. There are many studies that show that keeping a gratitude journal can make a significant difference in the quality of your life and help you heal.
  • Seek and Accept Help – Going through a divorce is a hard thing, and attempting to do it without help is a mistake. There is no reason to turn down offers of comfort or assistance from friends and family – they are called a support system for a reason. Perhaps even more importantly, seek professional help from a therapist who can help you to understand what happened in your marriage and to feel better about yourself and your future.
  • Take Advantage of How Life Has Improved – No matter how painful your divorce may have been or how happy you thought your marriage was, there are likely things that you wanted to do but couldn’t. Whether you wanted to take a vacation but your spouse wouldn’t take off work or you wanted to entertain but your partner hated having people over, you are now free to do the things that didn’t fit before. Go ahead and do them!
  • Get Some Exercise – Much like the old adage about an apple a day, working out is good for you. In fact, it is better, because it is not only good for your body but for your soul as well. You don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits of exercise. Just getting out and taking a walk in nature will make you feel better.

If you’re in need of help navigating the legal aspects of your divorce, our compassionate attorneys are here for you. Contact us today to set up a time to talk.

How to Talk to Your Children About a Divorce

From the time that their children are born, parents communicate to and with their children. We croon to infants to help them get to sleep or to soothe them, we enunciate our words to help model speech, we teach them about the world around them, modulating our delivery based on their age and stage of development. Some of us do this naturally while others learn by watching our partners or imitating other parents, but when it comes to talking to children about divorce, we tend to freeze up, worried that we’re going to get it wrong.

The first thing you need to do as you get ready for this conversation is to relax. Your children love you and the single most important message that you need to convey is that both of you will continue to love them and be there for them. That is what children most want to hear.

Of course, that is not to say that other aspects of the conversation don’t need to be well-thought-out. You should both be together when delivering the news, and no matter how angry or hurt one or both of you may be, you need to deliver the message as your children’s parents rather than as combatants. Do not indulge in blame or share too many details about what happened in your relationship. Your children want to hear about how things will affect them, and that should be the aim of your conversation.

To make sure that you don’t stray into information that goes beyond this goal, make a plan. Agree on what you are and are not going to say, keeping your message age-appropriate and timing its delivery to when you can deliver it together and your kids have time to process what they’ve heard. It’s important that you do not approach the issue until you have the answers that your kids need about where they are going to be and how you are each going to engage with them, and preferably the conversation should happen long enough before you separate that the kids have time to acclimate to the idea and ask questions. As time goes by they will have a lot of them…. Make sure that you keep modulating your answer based on their age and emotional maturity, concentrating on them and their needs rather than on your own.

Going through a divorce is an emotional challenge, and that is especially true when children are involved. For help navigating the process, contact our compassionate attorneys to set up a time to chat.

What’s the Difference Between Separation and Divorce?

Separation and divorce are both ways to put distance between yourself and your spouse, but they have very different effects and ramifications.  Divorce represents a legal dissolution of your marriage contract, while separation means that you are still legally married. For some, separation is a necessary step on the way to divorce, while others view separation as their end goal. Let’s take a closer look at the two.

Separation provides couples time and space away from each other but still leaves both spouses’ legal rights and obligations intact. For example, couples who are separated can each still receive Social Security and pension benefits, and can still inherit from each other. Separation can be as informal as agreeing to live in separate domiciles as you work on relationship issues, or a formal, legally required step towards permanent dissolution of the marriage, during which time you work out details of equitable distribution and child custody and support. Depending upon the state in which you live you may need to complete a specific period of separation before you can legally be divorced. You can even be legally separated while still living in the same home.

Notably, when you are separated you cannot remarry or consider yourself single, no matter how many years have gone by. This may be the most important difference between separation and divorce. Divorce is permanent and irrevocable. It breaks all of the ties established within your marriage contract.

Though most people view separation as a step along the way to formally ending their marriage, there are some couples who opt for separating without the legal formality of divorce. There are many different reasons why this may be a preference, including religious ones. Couples who choose not to divorce come to an agreement about how to conduct their lives separately, remaining attached in the eyes of their church as well as the state.

Determining whether a separation or a formal divorce is best for you is a highly personal decision, but it is important that you understand the legal ramifications of both options before you move forward. To learn more, contact the experienced, compassionate divorce attorneys at our firm. We can sit down and explain everything you need to know so that you can make a well-informed decision about your future.

How Often do Financial Problems Lead to Divorce?

Do you and your spouse fight about money? You’re not alone. Anecdotal evidence and scientific studies both reveal the same thing – that roughly half of couples argue about money and spending, and if the couple is in debt or experiencing financial problems the arguments are generally worse.

While it’s common for partners to argue about spending habits — especially when one is a spender and the other is a saver — there are also plenty of fights about who should pay for what within a marriage, and others that start with one partner trying to hide either an expense or a secret stash of cash. Unfortunately, for couples who are unable to resolve these issues, the end result is often divorce. In fact, money comes second only to infidelity when it comes to reasons that couples end up splitting.

If your personal situation is starting to feel untenable and you’re wondering whether your marriage can survive, you might want to consider some of the statistics that have been collected on divorce trends. A survey by financial firm TD Ameritrade found that 29% of baby boomers blamed money arguments for their divorces, and among Gen Xers, that statistic rose to 41%.  Arguing about money early in your relationship is a particularly big vulnerability, but so too is avoiding money discussions.

It is important for couples who want to preserve their relationship to learn how to communicate about their finances, especially if they are facing stress and anxiety over high levels of debt. The more a couple owes, the more important it is that they discuss the situation on a regular basis and address the issue as a team. Partners who can work together to identify their strengths and weaknesses, create a budget and savings plan and eliminate their debt are likely to deepen their trust in one another and to grow even stronger. But those who turn to accusations, hiding expenses, and fighting are far more likely to find their stress and anxiety levels growing, and their sense of distrust or discontent eventually leading them to end their marriage.

If your financial troubles have led to fights with your spouse and you are considering divorce, our experienced attorneys can help. Contact us today to set up a time to meet and discuss your situation.

Can I Get Remarried After a Divorce?

There are so many reasons for getting divorced and so many ways to experience the process. If the end of your marriage represents freedom or was the result of your falling in love with somebody else, then getting remarried may be the first thing you want to do. If the divorce came as a shock or as part of a betrayal – or if the divorce itself was incredibly toxic – the idea of getting married again may be the furthest thing from your mind. Whatever your situation, preferences, or goals, it is important for you to know your rights and obligations once your marriage has officially ended. Here is what you need to know about remarriage and how it will affect everything that was agreed to in the course of your divorce.

You can remarry right away – The first thing you need to understand is that the moment that all of your divorce documents have been finalized, you are free to remarry. There is no waiting period. Of course, attempting to remarry before the process is over is an entirely different story. If you successfully go through a marriage process the nuptials will be nullified.

If you are receiving alimony it will end – If you are receiving alimony payments as part of your divorce agreement, your remarriage will terminate your ex-spouse’s obligation to may payments. They can immediately file a motion to terminate your payments, and if you remarry without telling them and have continued to receive payments, there is a good chance you are going to have to pay them back for any payments received since your remarriage. If you are the paying spouse and you choose to remarry, you will still be obligated to make your payments.

If you choose to live with somebody instead of getting remarried – If you are divorced and are receiving alimony payments as part of your divorce agreement, cohabitating with anybody of the opposite sex who is not a relative will also nullify your eligibility for payments. Opting out of marriage and just living with your romantic partner will not protect your payments. If you are the paying spouse and you choose to cohabitate with a romantic partner, you will still be obligated to make your payments.

For more information on your legal rights during and after the divorce process, speak to one of our experienced divorce attorneys.

Protecting Your Mental Health During Divorce

Divorces that are drama-free are rare, and even if you’re the spouse who initiated the process, the experience can be painful and emotionally damaging. Getting through the process with your mental health intact is a challenge, but the tips below can help you through it. The overriding idea is to be kind to yourself: You are going through a traumatic event – and so is your partner – be forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes, and try to offer your spouse the same grace if you can.

  • Understand that you are going to be on a constant emotional rollercoaster. The more prepared you are for feeling both happy and sad, frustrated and hopeful, the less those highs and lows will exhaust you.
  • Stop allowing the future to frighten you. The fact that you don’t have all the answers can be frightening, but it can also be exciting. Try to remain optimistic and remember that most of the things that you worry about will not happen.
  • Stop expecting too much of yourself. It is okay to give yourself a break, conserve your energy and lower your output levels while you are going through big things. If you try to power through and do too much, you are going to feel overwhelmed. Anybody would.
  • Allow your friends and family members to help. Being a stoic and going it alone only makes things harder. Your support network wants to be there for you, and you should let them. Something as simple as going out for a cup of coffee and talking about what is happening can go a long way towards relieving your stress.
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself physically. Exercising is important to both your body and your mind, and so is eating nutritious foods and getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. The healthier you are the better you will feel, and the more clear-minded you will be when it comes to making big decisions.
  • As tempting as it may be to fight over every little thing, take a deep breath and think about whether you really want what you’re arguing for, or just want to win. Applying perspective will help eliminate some of the tension.
  • Take up some new hobbies. By investing mental energy into learning something new, you will stop yourself from obsessing over what is happening with your divorce.

Divorce is not easy, but the process can be much less stressful if you are working with an experienced, compassionate attorney. Contact our office today to set up a time to meet.

How to Keep a Divorce Civil

Though few of us actually hear birds sing or bells chime when we first meet our spouses, we do enter our marriage with high hopes for happily ever after. When it doesn’t work out that way and you end in divorce, it is easy to allow anger, grief, disappointment and betrayal to lead the way. Unfortunately, in the case of getting through the divorce process, giving in to what is easy is not the path of least resistance — in fact, it is the most destructive, time-consuming, energy-sapping thing you can do.

So how do you avoid it?

First, take a deep breath. As deeply personal as your divorce feels and as unique as your situation may seem, it is unlikely that what you’re going through is significantly different from what the courts have heard before. You may picture telling your side of the story to a judge who nods sympathetically, but that’s unlikely to happen. Blame has a remarkably small role in the legal process of divorce, and in the long run that is really what you need to make your way through. The rest is largely emotion, and though it doesn’t feel like it right now, the sooner you can stop fighting and get through the paperwork, the sooner you can move on with the rest of your life. With all that in mind, here are some tips for keeping your divorce civil.

  • Learn what really happens in a divorce. What you see in movies, television shows and soap operas has nothing to do with reality, and the truth is most of what you hear from friends doesn’t either. Divorce is a dissolution of a contract and there are certain steps you have to go through, with specific rules, formulas and order. The more you know, the less objectionable and unfair things will seem and the more in control you will feel.
  • Taking care of yourself is seriously important. That means eating right, getting enough sleep, and finding something to think about that is not your divorce. Obsessing will not get you anywhere but unhappy and angry. The more you remember who you were before your marriage (and divorce) and can get back in touch with that person, the better you will manage this process.
  • Get professional help – both legal and emotional. You need an experienced attorney, and you also need a therapist who can help you make sense of all the feelings that are overwhelming you. Your friends are great, and there’s no doubt that they want to be there for you. But they may not have all the tools that you need.
  • Remind yourself that this is temporary. No matter how bad things feel right now, the acute stage of divorce does not last forever, and you will have a different life on the other side. The fact that you don’t know what it will be does not mean that it won’t be better. Focus on the future instead of on the pain and anger that you’re feeling now.
  • Don’t let anybody pressure you into agreeing to something you don’t want. Though you may want the divorce process to be over, it can be a mistake to make a decision just because it will bring things to a quick end. This is where your attorney will be your greatest asset, as they will make sure you know your rights and are treated fairly.

If you have questions about divorce, contact our experienced attorneys today.

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