Mourning Your Marriage

Mourning my marriageI read a press release this morning titled “Dating Websites Providing More Divorce Evidence Says Survey: Nation’s Top Matrimonial Lawyers Cite Match.com as Most Common Source” from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). It stated “If you are married, separated, or going through a divorce, you might want to make sure to fill out your online dating profiles as accurately as possible.” I understand when they make a statement like that they are coming from a legal perspective, looking out for the best legal interest of their clients. But still, I thought to myself, say what!?

If people are on dating sites while they are separated or worse yet, still married when will they mourn the loss of their marriage? I think back to my long drawn out divorce. I made my fair share of mistakes during that time. The biggest one was jumping right into another relationship.

I had known for quite some time that my marriage was over. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was my ex’s brazen affair. In retrospect I think he also knew the marriage was over and didn’t know how else to get out. At the time I let myself believe that I had mourned for the lost marriage while I was still married so it was OK to start dating after filing for divorce. I ended up in a two year relationship which ironically ended before my divorce was even finalized. At the time I felt more devastated over that relationship ending than my 17 year marriage.

What I came to realize was that no matter how much I wanted or needed to divorce, it was a tumultuous and emotional time. I should have allowed myself the time to deal with those emotions and really mourn the end of the marriage. In the long run it would have been time well spent.

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Child Support

What exactly is child support?

Child support is the financial contribution from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent towards the expenses of raising the child. Every child is entitled to be supported by both parents until they reach the age of majority (usually 18) or become emancipated.

Each state has specific guidelines that are followed in the determination of how much child support is to be allocated. While every state is different, they all take into consideration the income levels (earned and unearned) of both the parents as well as the expenses related to raising the child in determining the child support obligation. Most states allow a judge to deviate from the guidelines if it is determined that the situation warrants it. Get a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay or receive in child support.

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Divorce Court Room Tips

There is no easy part of getting divorced, especially if there is litigation involved. Unfortunately for me my divorce was very litigious. Few things gave me the feeling of dread more than walking into the courtroom… and the first time was the worst!

Here are a few tips that may help take away some of the anxiety of going to court. It also never hurts to make a good impression on the judge and these guidelines make that much easier.

  • Don’t be late. This seems pretty obvious, but seriously, arrive on time. It’s all about respect.
  • Leave your attitude at home. Do not make faces or gestures when the judge or your spouse’s attorney is speaking. Judges see this and do not appreciate it.
  • Dress appropriately. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. Unfortunately some judges just might. Why take the chance. Men should wear slacks, a jacket and a tie. Women should wear a skirt or dress slacks and a modest blouse. There is no place in the court room for jeans, shorts, revealing clothes or flip flops. If you aren’t sure how to dress consult your attorney on how he/she wants you to dress.
  • If you have an attorney do not speak unless asked to do so by the Judge.
  • “Your Honor” is the appropriate way to address the Judge.
  • Always thank the Judge when you are finished speaking. Again, it’s all about respect.
  • Only speak when you are spoken to. Never speak to or make comments to your opposition when you are before the Judge. If you need to communicate with your divorce attorney write it on a notepad.

For more helpful courtroom tips visit Divorce Court Room Tips

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Certified Divorce Financial Planner

Divorce affects every aspect of your life, your emotions, your legal standing and your finances.  Most people wouldn’t think of getting divorced without hiring an attorney, and rightly so.  A qualified attorney that specializes in divorce and family law will guide you through the legal maze that is our divorce system.  Frequently people will seek therapy to help them deal with the emotional issues that arise during their divorce.  But rarely do they seek out a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.  This is puzzling to me!

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst will guide you through the difficult financial decisions (and believe me there are many of them) that may affect your livelihood during the divorce, immediately after the divorce and for years to come.

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst has been trained in the special financial and tax issues of divorce. They understand the costs and financial consequences of a divorce over the long term. Specifically they can help you structure the financial aspects of your divorce settlement including:

In the long run, including a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst in your divorce team can give you the information that you need to make the best financial decision. This can help you achieve peace of mind and help you to move forward with a sense of financial security.

Visit our Divorce Financial Planner Directory to find a qualified CDFA to help you with your divorce.

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Mother’s Day is coming…don’t let it get you down

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching I think back to when my daughter was young and I can’t help but smile.   You seemother's day divorce even when my ex and I were together he couldn’t be bothered with Mother’s Day so my expectations were never high.    Any gift I received was something my daughter made in school or Brownies.  I loved and treasured every one of them.  In fact I still have the ice cream stick picture frame with her Kindergarten picture in it.  But as she got older the school craft projects that became Mother’s Day gifts stopped and she was on left to her own devices to come up with a gift.

When she was about 8 or so she proudly handed me a gift wrapped with the Sunday comics and lots of love.  When I opened the box I was surprised to see an old watch that I had stashed away in my drawer.  I was touched by her gesture and she was happy to see me smile.  I wore that watch the entire day.  Somehow it ended up back in my drawer.  Can you see where I’m going with this?  Yep, the next year I opened my Mother’s Day gift to find the watch again.  Now, 15 years later we laugh until we cry whenever we remember that watch.

So with both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day approaching, if you are divorced with children just relax and enjoy them and the day.  Don’t let bitterness creep into the day and don’t worry if you don’t get an elaborate breakfast in bed or an expensive gift.  Your children are your gift. Love them to pieces.

 

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Limited Scope Representation in Divorce

Limited scope representation (LSR) also known as “unbundled representation” and “limited scope assistance” is when the client and attorney select specific services to be provided rather than the “full package” of services that are traditionally offered by law firms. It’s kind of like dining a la carte.

Is limited scope representation right for you? While it’s not for everybody it may be a good option for you. Before deciding, answer these questions, and now is the time to be completely honest with yourself!

Do you have the time and energy necessary to handle your case from start to finish? That includes doing the necessary research, completing the paperwork and making court appearances.

Can you put your emotions aside and make decisions based on facts and not feelings?

Can you stand up to your spouse and not be bullied by them or their attorney?

Can you stand your ground and not give in just to get it over with it?

Can you do it without involving your children or taking time away from them?

If you can HONESTLY answer yes to these questions than limited scope representation may be an option for you.

For more information on limited scope representation visit Limited Scope Representation

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Question of the Day:
How is divorce mediation different than litigation?

How is divorce mediation different than litigation?

When parties resolve their disputes by litigation, their contacts are generally indirect — through attorneys and the rules of the court system. Because of this, litigation is an inefficient way to resolve disputes. With court appearances, including motions, pretrial conferences, and possibly a full trial, the litigation process can be very expensive. Litigation almost invariably causes hard feelings to develop and solidify, deeply affecting not just the parties, but also the children, and other parties, such as in-laws.

Mediation is a more direct process, where the participants are in control of their own destiny. A series of face-to-face meetings led by the mediator can produce agreements. Because the parties will not be pushed into win/lose debate or bargaining, solutions can be more creative, and fulfill more of each participant’s needs and desires.

Provided by by Laurie Israel of Israel, Van Kooy & Days, LLC

For more answers to questions about divorce mediation visit DivorceHQ.com Mediation

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When you win you often lose in divorce

I was reading “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese when I came across this text…. “When you win, you often lose, that’s just a fact” and I couldn’t help but think how true that is when it comes to divorce!

It seems like the headlines are filled with statements like so and so wins landmark divorce payout or someone “wins big” over their ex in a divorce. Everybody has heard the story about it costing $1000 in attorney fees to fight over who will get the $200 painting. It’s not a rational mind that would engage in that battle. But then again divorce isn’t a rational time. Feeling like you have to win financially is bad, but it isn’t really what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about the emotional battle that spouses wage against each other. There are so many emotions involved in divorce – fear, resentment, betrayal, anger. These often lead to a desire to get even (aka “win”)

Before you engage in a war with your spouse stop and ask yourself this question Will the emotional price I pay be worth it in the end? If there are children involved what will be the emotional price they pay for your need to win?

My feeling is that there isn’t anything worth battling over if the children are going to suffer the wounds of that battle.

Getting divorced is not a game or competition to be “won”. The reality is that nobody wins in a divorce- not the woman, not the man and most certainly not the children.

“Winning” may feel for the moment but I can assure you down the road when the dust settles you will look back and realize you didn’t actually “win” anything.

Take the high road, work it out and get on with your life. You, your ex and most importantly your children will be happier in the end.

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Who would’ve ever thought?

If anybody would have told me back in 1995 that I would be part owner of a successful divorce information web site, blogging about divorce I would have told them they were crazy. But here I am! So welcome to our new blog.

Let me give you the condensed version of how we got to today…..

Way back in 1993 my husband of 17 years decided marriage just wasn’t for him and to be honest, being married to him wasn’t working for me either.   It was probably the only thing we had agreed on in years.  Of course that didn’t mean getting divorced was going to be easy.  It wasn’t.   My divorce was a long, drawn out and expensive nightmare.

One thing led to another and after almost two years of separation I found myself at a divorce support group.  It was there that I met my partner who also had a contentious divorce.  The only difference was his wasn’t expensive (financially speaking.) He did his divorce pro se, in other words he acted as his own attorney even though he isn’t an attorney.  You can imagine how that turned out.

We both learned a lot while going through our divorces.  The best things we learned were what NOT to do.   We decided back in 1999 to take that knowledge and create a website to help others not make the same mistakes that we had made.

And here we are now, 13 years later still advocating for doing the “right thing” during a divorce.

The goal of this blog is to share information, encouragement and even an occasional joke or two to help you get through one of the most trying times in your life with your dignity intact. I look forward to your feed back…so feel free to comment on my posts.

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