Tag Archives: Divorce

How to Prepare for a Peaceful Divorce

I was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how to prepare for divorce and keep it peaceful. Here are my best tips: The first tip I would offer would be to do some … Continue reading

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What if You Can’t Afford Your Divorce

making divorce affordableWe’ve all heard the horror stories of how expensive divorce can be.   Believe it or not getting a divorce doesn’t have to break the bank.   Proper planning, keeping an open mind, forgetting revenge and most importantly hiring the right professionals for your particular situation will all help keep the costs down.

Julia Jones, family law attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C.  has some great suggestions  for getting divorced when you think you can’t afford to.   In her recently posted article on DivorceHQ.com she says many people want to be smart about moving forward with divorce but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on the litigation process.   She suggest that if you find yourself in that situation, the following are less expensive options and ways to mitigate the litigation costs in your divorce while still employing an attorney:

  1. Reach a Settlement
  2. Mediate or have a Four-Way Settlement Conference
  3. Prepare and Simplify
  4. Seek Pendente Lite Relief

To see the full text of the article visit What to Do When You Can’t Afford Your Divorce

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50/50 Parenting Plans

A lot of people come to divorce mediation thinking that they want a 50/50 parenting plan. It sounds like a great idea – fair, even, and good for the children. And it is all these things. However, it is also … Continue reading

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Can you afford to get divorced?

Can You Afford to Get Divorced? Westfield Mediation, LLC ©Copyright 2014 There are really two parts to the question — “Can you afford to get divorced?” One, can you afford to go through the process of separating from your spouse … Continue reading

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There can be a silver lining in divorce

Life changing experiences such as divorce often gives the opportunity for a fresh start. Instead of getting caught up in bitterness or blame it can be a time of introspection, a learning experience. The fact of the matter is that … Continue reading

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Using social media during divorce

social media and divorceSocial media helps people stay in touch with their friends, share experiences and photographs and exchange personal information online. For most people it has become a way of life. For those going through a divorce it can be an emotional and legal mine field.

On an emotional level it can be painful to see what’s going on in your ex’s new life through Facebook or Twitter posts. Even if you “defriend” or “unfollow” your ex, if you have mutual connections you may still get updates and status changes such as new relationship. Not only may it be painful to see, but it could cause a breakdown in settlement negotiations.

On a legal level you could hurt your case with a single post. According to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers “An overwhelming 81% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years.” Additionally they state that “Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66% citing it as the primary source.”

Here are a few simple guidelines to follow if you use social sites during your divorce:

  • It can be very tempting in the heat of the moment to post pictures or information that should remain private or tweet derogatory comments without thinking through the repercussions. Those pictures that you think are funny might not be viewed that way by a judge. Worse yet, if you have children on social media sites they may be exposed to things that they should never see.
  • Don’t brag about that great vacation or beautiful new car you just bought. That type of information can have an effect on the financial outcome of your divorce.
  • Ask your friends not to tag you in any pictures without your permission. What may seem innocent to a person not going through a divorce can have a devastating impact for the divorcing person.

One solution is to take a break from social media during a divorce. For many that may not be the road they chose. For those who aren’t willing to give up their online presence the best advice is to think before you post.

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Nothing changes

nothing changes

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How A Custody Case Can Be Lost In 7 Easy Steps

By Jacqueline Harounian, Esq
Law Partner at Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, PC

As a family law attorney who regularly represents mothers and fathers in contested divorce trials, Jacqueline Harounian has very some straightforward advice for parents going through divorce, and who are contemplating a custody action.

From the outset, it is important for mothers and fathers to recognize that married parents of minor children start out with joint custody rights. This means that both parents have equal rights to their children, and the same right to pursue custody of their children in their divorce case. In a world where many households contain two working parents, and many fathers play an active role in raising their children, the presumption that mothers will automatically get custody no longer exists. In fact statistics show that fathers, who seek custody of their children, are awarded custody 50% of the time. Custody laws are gender neutral, and this means that when the facts of a given case are applied to the governing law, a court may determine that it is in the best interests of the child to live primarily with the father, not the mother.

Here is a list of the seven most common pitfalls of parties going through custody actions. If you want to lose your custody case, here is the way to do it. If you want to win custody, steer clear of the following:

  1. Not being the primary caretaker: In most households, one parent is most responsible for caring for the children’s basic needs — the so called primary caretaker. The parent who is the most involved in the children’s daily lives usually has the edge in a custody case. Therefore, if you are not putting in the time to do homework with your child, feeding, bathing, reading, taking him or her to the bus stop, you are at a disadvantage in a custody case. There is no better way to lose custody than to demonstrate to a judge that you are simply not engaged in raising your child.
  2. Not being involved in your child’s schedule and activities: Do you know the names of your child’s teachers? Have you ever supervised your child on a play date or taken your child to the doctor? Do you regularly attend school conferences and school events? If the answer to these is “no”, then it is an indication that someone else (i.e. the other parent) is the primary caretaker, not you.
  3. Alcohol, drugs, or other “parental fitness” issues: A parent who even casually partakes in abuse of alcohol and/or drugs will have a problem in winning custody. Most judges will take allegations of substance abuse seriously, and these allegations will be investigated thoroughly via random testing, psychological evaluations, and interviews. If you have an issue with substance abuse, then seek treatment for it immediately. If you are the perpetrator of domestic violence or abuse (which often goes hand in hand with alcohol use), this also pretty much guarantees that you will lose custody.
  4. Leaving a paper trail that will hang you in Court: Thanks to new technology, virtually every custody trial features the submission of evidence that can be used to portray the other parent in a very damaging light. Sometimes the continue reading
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The Intersection of Divorce Law and Mediation

The Intersection of Divorce Law and Mediation

Westfield Mediation, LLC
© 2013

If you filed for divorce, can you still do mediation? If you go through divorce mediation, do you still need a lawyer? We commonly hear these questions from potential clients. And the answers, for the most part, are yes, and yes.

Once you file a divorce complaint, you start the Court clock running. If you decide instead to try divorce mediation to save you and your spouse some time and money, you can pause the clock, so long as you inform the Court and your lawyers. Usually, the Courts prefer that people resolve their differences on their own, so they are happy to give you the time to do so, as long as you keep them informed of your plans, and you don’t let things drag on too long. If you and your spouse have started working with lawyers, those lawyers would not be able to mediate your divorce because of potential conflicts of interest. So you would need to find a divorce mediator to help you create an agreement.

What if you start with divorce mediation – would you still need to hire a divorce lawyer? Most likely, yes. Once you and your spouse have come up with an agreement in mediation, we recommend that each of you hire a “review attorney” to look over the document, make sure your legal rights are protected, and explain any of the legal consequences to you. The “review attorney” will then convert your agreement into the form that the Court wants, file the documents with the Court, and accompany you to the Court hearing. Many lawyers will do these tasks for a set fee, rather than their usual hourly rate.

So, why go through mediation if you will still need to hire a lawyer? Because divorce mediators…

View the entire article here: The Intersection of Divorce Law and Mediation
Click here for more information about Westfield Mediation, LLC

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Hiring a Divorce Attorney

You’ve made the decision to get a divorce. Now it’s time to hire a divorce attorney. More than likely you’ve never had to hire a divorce lawyer; maybe you’ve never had to hire any type of attorney before. So where … Continue reading

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