Monthly Archives: July 2013

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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Financial Challenges of Gray Divorce

Collaborative Divorce Attorney Linda L. Piff, answers the question “What are some of the financial challenges for those over 50 getting divorced?” The challenges are due to the couple over 50 experiencing the”perfect storm” with the economy in a significant … 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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