Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

How to Limit Divorce Fallout and Stay Amicable

When you get married, you see nothing but possibilities. But when your marriage falls apart and you start considering divorce, the idea of having an amicable relationship with your spouse probably feels like an impossibility.

Keeping an open line of communications and minimizing animosity is not only doable – it is also important, especially if you have children together. To limit the nastiness and keep things amicable going forward, here are five important tips:

  • Think beyond yourself – It is easy when you are divorcing to only think about how your split will impact you. The economic, emotional and logistical issues can be maddening, and can easily inflame anger. But if you think beyond yourself to the others who are impacted by your marriage’s collapse – especially your children – you give yourself the opportunity to set aside your hurt feelings and outrage and try to act in the best interests of everybody involved.
  • Make sure that you have the emotional support you need – Getting a divorce can lead to intense loneliness, and that in turn leads to even more resentment towards your ex. It is important to have a strong circle of family and friends who let you know that you are loved and supported and that doesn’t criticize you. It is even better if they don’t criticize your spouse either. The more people try to work towards being accepting of both of you and not taking sides, the more positive your future interactions can be.
  • Figure out what you can agree on between the two of you – Though it is important to work with legal guidance, it is also both a money saver and a relationship saver to determine what you can agree on between the two of you, without intervention.
  • Keep your eyes on the horizon – If you are focusing on all of the little things that need to be resolved, then you end up fighting battle after battle. If you make it your long-term goal to get things resolved and move ahead to a place where you can have a different – and respectful – relationship with your ex, you will be a lot less likely to engage in bickering that can derail your best intentions. Pick your battles and be willing to acknowledge that the only reason you’re fighting over small items is because you feel a need to win a battle.
  • Hold your tongue – There is no doubt that you are a lot less likely to get nasty when you let your mouth do your talking than when you put your thoughts to paper – or computer, as the case may be. If you compose what you want to say in writing and then walk away from it for a few minutes before sending it – then come back and re-read it – you are more likely to take some of the heat out of it and edit out the inflammatory comments that can lead to anger.

If you’re considering divorce the attorneys at Reinherz are here to help, contact our team today!

 

 

Why Are Divorce Rates Down Amongst Millennials?

Depending upon your age, you may remember the days when most couples got married and did so when they were in their early twenties or even younger. They quickly began having children despite the fact that many were not well settled in their careers, or even had formulated their life goals. Unfortunately, in many cases that resulted in a high rate of divorce that continues to be seen even as they enter what should be their golden years – in fact, the “grey divorce” rate is on the rise.

By contrast, the overall divorce rate in the United States has taken a precipitous downward turn, dropping 18 percent from 2008 to 2016. Experts trying to figure out why that has happened credit the generation known as the “millennials”: they say that they are waiting longer to marry and making more considered decisions based on stronger foundations. As a result, their marriages have turned out to be more enduring.

According to an analysis conducted by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen, millennials have an interest in establishing themselves in their careers and making sure that their finances and education are in place before they embark on starting a family, and as a result, their marriages are lasting longer. By contrast, couples who have less money and less education are avoiding marriage entirely. Interestingly, their relationships also tend to be less stable, and the same is true for the married couples who are now in their 50s, 60s and 70s. The divorce rate for those between the ages of 55 and 64 has doubled and for those 65 and older has tripled, yet the overall divorce rate has dropped, making the strength of the younger generation’s marriages even more obvious.

According to Cohen, “One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated. Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”  Other experts point to the fact that many millennials have the unfortunate experience of having watched their own parents go through divorces that traumatized them, and as a result, they are being far more careful in their selection of a life partner. They are being less exclusive while dating and delaying making a decision as long as possible in order to guard against a future split.

Despite this reassuring trend, clearly divorce still happens, even amongst younger age groups. And if you find yourself in a position where you’re considering divorce, regardless of your age, it may be time to contact the Reinherz law team to discuss your options.

 

Do You Need a Divorce Attorney?

People get divorced for a lot of different reasons. Though most divorces are challenging processes tainted with animosity and bad feelings, there are those couples who are able to walk away from their marriage without a lot of argument and bickering. If that is your situation, you and your soon-to-be-ex may be considering foregoing an attorney entirely and managing your divorce on your own. There are a lot of reasons why that is not a good idea.

You may think that you agree on everything, and there’s a chance that might be true. The truth is that you and your partner may believe that to be the case, and have already come to terms on topics like child support or alimony or who keeps what, and still have issues you haven’t thought of that need to be addressed. You may agree on those things too, but you still need a divorce lawyer to make you aware of them. Things like what to do with your life insurance policy, or whether you each need one to make sure that your kids’ college tuition is taken care of in case something happens to you. Things like how to address college payments, or out-of-pocket healthcare, or braces. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to walk you through all of the things that you haven’t thought of. You may still agree, but you still need the help.

You also are going to need help with the complexities of the divorce filing. Your premarital paperwork may only have required that you got a marriage license, but it’s a lot harder to break that contract then it is to establish it. Not only is there a long list of forms to be filed, but they need to be completed correctly in order to ensure that you don’t run into trouble down the road. An experienced divorce attorney can help – and save you the time and headaches of figuring it out too. They already know exactly what needs to be done.

If you’re concerned about the costs of hiring a divorce attorney or are worried that they will try to talk you out of what you’ve agreed to, then keep this in mind. If you do in fact agree to everything, hiring a divorce attorney will not represent a significant amount of money and will make the process go smoothly and quickly. If your agreement is unfair to either of you, then you need an outside voice to let you know that and to stand up on your behalf and make sure that you know what your rights and options are. Working with an experienced divorce attorney is the best way to make sure that you are getting what you want and need, even if you think you don’t need a lawyer!

Contact our experienced divorce attorneys today!

 

Is Joint Physical Custody Best for Children after a Divorce?

When a couple makes the decision to end their marriage, it may be the end to long-standing problems but the beginning of all new ones. Though divorce is generally the low point of a relationship, it is also the baseline from which the couple will need to make some of the most consequential decisions they’ve ever made together, with decisions about custody being the most challenging of all. In most cases, both parents want what is best for their children, but each will have their own interpretation of what that actually is. One of the first questions they will have to determine is whether the children will live with just one parent or split their time between two homes. The latter is known as joint physical custody, and most experts believe that it is the best possible answer for all, but especially for the children.

The advantage of a successful joint physical custody arrangement is that it gives kids the opportunity to spend time with both of their parents in their own separate worlds. The parents are each able to have their own physical space and home and provide both a home for their children and to build memories together.

Unfortunately, joint physical custody does have its downsides. Some parents will fight for more custody than what they can provide well in order to either lower their child support payments or simply to punish their ex-spouse. Even in the best of circumstances, it represents an unstable situation that requires a significant amount of organization, communication and coordination between the parents, as well as involved outsiders including teachers, grandparents and others. As a result, despite the best efforts of many co-parents, joint physical custody often does not work.

Joint physical custody requires figuring out how to split their children’s time between two separate households. In most cases, joint physical custody is accompanied by joint legal custody, in which both parents have a say in important decisions including education and medical care. More parents share legal custody than physical custody, although there are situations where even that cannot be agreed to or is not in the children’s best interest.

The most important reason to try to make joint physical custody work is that it allows children to establish a relationship with each of their parents. In most cases, this is in everybody’s best interest. If you’d like help negotiating the terms of a divorce that works for everybody, contact us today to set up a time for us to meet.

 

Does Everyone Need a Prenup?

Though most people prefer to take a more romantic view, at its base a marriage is a legal contract between two people, and that contract may last for a lifetime or it can be broken, just like any other arrangement. Having a prenuptial agreement adds a layer of protection for both partners, allowing them to agree to terms ahead of time in case the marriage should end up failing. As unromantic as this may sound, there is a good deal of wisdom to trying to come up with a fair agreement while you’re still in love and care about each other. But that does not mean that a prenup is appropriate for everybody.

There are plenty of people — men and women alike — who object to the idea of having a prenup. In some cases, it is because they don’t like even considering the idea that the marriage might end. Anybody who has been through a divorce and who hears this objection generally smiles then says how much they wish that they’d been more realistic back before they themselves got married. There are a couple of reasons for this, but one of the biggest ones is that it’s very unpleasant to argue about things like distribution of assets or spousal support, and they wish that it had all been taken care of beforehand when there was much less water under the bridge and neither party was interested in ‘winning.’

A prenup resolves issues about assets and debts as well as support but can also be used to put terms in place about how each partner is going to treat the other or manage their behavior within the marriage. It can be very helpful to have one in place, but not necessary. That being said, there are certain circumstances where it is highly recommended. Those include situations where there is a big difference in assets between the two parties and either (or both) need to protect themselves; people who have a family business that they want to ensure remains theirs, and people with children from a previous marriage who want to secure their previously-held assets for their children.

If you’re not sure whether you need a prenup, or you want help in crafting one, contact our experienced prenup attorneys today to set up an appointment.

Making Holidays Easier on Kids After a Divorce

To say that divorce is emotionally challenging — and often maddening — is an understatement, and that’s especially true when the couple has children. To say that the holidays can exacerbate an already vexing situation is obvious.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. As a parent, one of the greatest gifts that you can give to your kids for the holidays is the ability to enjoy them in a pure and stress-free way, and there are several steps that you can take to make sure that happens.  Here are some simple tips to help you keep your kids’ spirits high, despite any difficulties you may be having with your ex.

  • First and most importantly, put the kids’ needs ahead of your own. The whole world (advertising, movies, books) make the holidays happy, so don’t let your anger or need to ‘win’ or ‘get back at’ your ex get in the way of that happening for them. Stop and breathe before you let your own motivations get in the way of their holiday enjoyment. You can let go of things for a week or two.
  • You may be alone for the holiday, as many custody arrangements are set up to provide access to the kids every-other-year. Don’t make your kids feel sad about you being alone. Instead, make sure they know you want them to have a great time, no matter who they are with.
  • Don’t try to ‘win’ the holidays by giving the biggest, best or most gifts. The holidays are about a lot more than presents.
  • Make sure that you communicate with your kids’ other parent to make sure that timing for when kids are where and times for drop off or pick up are worked out You don’t need to discuss any other issues during the holidays. Leave it for another time.
  • Consider celebrating together if you can do so without stress. At the very least, it’s a great idea to take your child shopping for a gift for their other parent or to help them make a homemade gift for them. Doing so sends a powerful message that your child will appreciate.
  • Instead of grieving what you’ve lost, start building new traditions with your children that you can carry forward into the future.

Having the help of a compassionate, experienced attorney can help minimize the stress of divorce. Contact us today to learn more or set up an appointment.

 

 

Things to Consider Doing Before Opting for Divorce

So, you’re thinking about divorcing your spouse. It’s not uncommon, and it’s not unrealistic, and it may not even be unjustified. But before you go ahead and start down the legal road or announce your intentions to end your marriage, stop for a minute and make sure that this is what you really want to do. Divorce is just as big a decision as marriage is, and it deserves the same amount of consideration. If you just look back at the time you spent anticipating a proposal, planning a wedding and all the rest of the details involved in joining your lives together, you should understand that there are things worth stopping and considering before making the decision to end your marriage. Here are some of the most important:

  • Have you effectively communicated your concerns/dissatisfaction with the relationship? The problems may be obvious to you, but if you haven’t made them clear to your spouse then you haven’t given them the chance to work with you to fix things.
  • Are you sure that you both have the same expectations of your roles in your marriage? If you haven’t discussed this and your unmet expectations are part of why you want to leave, then you really haven’t given the relationship – or your partner – a chance to make things right.
  • Would counseling help? Sometimes the partner who takes action to end the marriage does so because they just assume that there is no hope, when in truth marriage counseling can be very effective. Given the chance to save the marriage, isn’t it worth it for you to at least try?
  • Are you sure that you’d be happier divorced? Sometimes people who are dissatisfied in their marriage imagine that life outside of marriage will be significantly better. In fact, being divorced can be a lonely place. Even if your needs aren’t being fully met, it is smart to consider what your life without your spouse will be like realistically before making the jump to divorce.
  • If you have children, how will the divorce affect them? This is a very important question. If your marriage is so unhappy that it is affecting your kids then divorce may be the right answer. On the other hand, if your children are dependent on both of you getting along, you need to think ahead and work together as co-parents in order to make sure that your kids get through the process as well as possible.

These are just a few of the important points that you need to think about before diving into a divorce. If you are certain that your marriage is irrevocably broken and you need help navigating the legal process, contact our office today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

Signs that You Should Consider a Divorce

All couples become frustrated with one another — and even livid with one another — and when that happens it’s not unusual to let the thought of splitting up creep into your consciousness. These thoughts are generally fleeting and dismissed just as quickly. But if you’ve been finding yourself thinking this more and more frequently and have been holding on to the idea, tossing the pros and cons of divorce in your head, it may be time for you to take action.

Beyond the occasional fantasy of life without your spouse, there are a few signs that are indications that the marriage is coming to an end and it’s time to move on. Here are just a few:

  • You either never fight or you fight to the death:

When couples choose silence and just letting things go because it is pointless to argue, that is not a good sign. Arguing — when it’s done the right way — is healthy and productive. It is a way to make your voice heard and to reach a resolution to the issue at hand, and possibly to those that are underlying the original argument. If, however, you argue all the time and you’re both more interested in being right or in control then in being happy, then it’s a sign that things have gone downhill and may be beyond redemption.

  • You’re purposely pushing your spouse:

We all know what buttons to push to provoke our spouses. Are you purposely pushing those buttons on a constant basis? If so, it may be because you’re afraid to be the first to say it’s time to end the relationship and you’re trying to force them to do it.

  • You are constantly stressed when you’re with your spouse:

If your blood pressure is rising and you clench your teeth every time you’re in the same space as your spouse, it’s a sure sign that something is desperately wrong with the relationship.

  • You feel like you’re always acting:

If you are in the habit of putting on a different persona when you’re with your spouse instead of letting your true colors show, that is an unhealthy relationship and your routine is not sustainable.

  • You’re seeking company elsewhere:

When marriages are nearing their end, one or both spouses are often lonely. You may be turning to friends, to social media, or to strangers for companionship and support. If you find yourself sharing secrets and seeking guidance from somebody other than your spouse, then there’s a good chance the partnership is over.

Knowing that the relationship is over is just the beginning. If you are considering divorce, you need a plan, an exit strategy, and guidance from somebody who knows the laws and your rights. For more information, contact us today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 

 

How to Make a Divorce Easier on Your Children

Depending upon your situation, your divorce can represent a significant sense of loss and grief or it can signal the start of something better and a chance at happiness. No matter its impact on you and your spouse, it’s essential that you use special care if you have children who will be affected. Depending upon their ages and your situation, your children may not understand what is happening. For older children who have watched the marriage deteriorate, your divorce may come as a relief. But kids who have been unaware of things breaking down may react very poorly to the idea of your split. Most kids survive divorce just fine and are fully adjusted within two years of the marriage’s breakup, but others have a harder time. This usually happens when the parents involve them in antagonism or blame or leave them uninformed rather than carefully helping them understand what’s happening. Here are some tips to help you make your divorce easier on your children.

  • The higher the degree of conflict between you and your ex, the more of a challenge your kids will have. If you’re going to fight, don’t do it in front of the children and don’t make them responsible for your communication. You’re the adults, so act like it.
  • Work together to come up with a way to tell your kids about the divorce. Sit them down when both of you are there so that the kids see that the message is coming from both of you and that you’re both still their parents, even if you aren’t going to be married to each other anymore.
  • Make sure that your kids know that the divorce is not their fault. You don’t need to go into details, just let them know that it’s between the two of you and that you both love them and will be there for them.
  • Give them time to process. Start doing things with them separately and let them know about a move or one of you moving out well beforehand. If they are going to have a new room in a new location, let them help decorate it so that they feel some ownership and a sense of personal space.
  • If the kids are having trouble — and even if they seem fine — get them to a family therapist so that they can speak to a neutral third party about their fears and feelings.

Your divorce is not a contest or your children’s affection. They need both of you and will do better if they stay in close contact with each of you, so unless there is some danger in letting your child be with your spouse, don’t try to keep your kids from your ex.

If you need assistance with any part of your divorce, we can help. Contact our compassionate attorneys today to set up an appointment.

What is a Contested Divorce?

In the state of Pennsylvania, there are several different types of divorce. The easiest and most straightforward is mutual no-fault divorce, in which neither side contests the divorce. There is fault divorce, where one spouse has to prove that the marriage is over as a result of some kind of wrongdoing by their spouse, and the state will grant a divorce to a person whose spouse has already been confined to a mental institution for 18 months and will be for another 18 months. Additionally, the state has rules for a contested divorce, which is also known as a unilateral no-fault divorce. In this type of divorce, one spouse refuses to comply with the divorce process. This means that they won’t sign the divorce papers that the other spouse has served them with.

Contested divorces make an already difficult situation even harder. There are many reasons why a spouse may refuse to sign divorce papers. They may be angry or may be concerned about their economic stability without the support of their marriage. They may simply be unwilling to admit that their marriage is over. Whatever the reason, there was once a time when a spouse seeking a divorce who faced this lack of compliance would have to wait three years for their divorce to become official without their spouse’s consent. That was shortened in 1988 to two years and was recently shortened again to just one year.

If your spouse opts to contest your divorce, you need to wait a period of at least one year during which time you must be officially separated. That official separation requires you to file a statement verifying the date of separation. Your spouse then has forty days in which they can respond to that statement, and their response can deny that the one-year separation took place, or that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If this occurs, the court will make a ruling after hearing from both sides. If your spouse does nothing within forty days of your separation claim, the court will grant the divorce after receiving all other appropriate paperwork.

Navigating a contested divorce is extremely frustrating for the spouse that wants to move on with their life. For assistance and guidance, contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.

 

 

 

 

 

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