Child Custody Child Support Children Divorce Law Family Law Property issues

A Tampa Collaborative Divorce Can Save You Money

When most people think of divorce, they envision scenes from War of the Roses or Kramer vs. Kramer. Yet more people in Tampa Bay are learning that there is another way, collaborative divorce, which is just a sensible method to resolve private family disputes. However, just as mediation was characterized in the 1980’s and 1990’s as a rich person’s option, many people think that the collaborative process is only for the very wealthy. Not only attorneys, but also a collaborative facilitator and financial professional are retained, so only the very rich can afford the collaborative model, right?


A four year study conducted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals found that 87% of female participants and 47% of male participants of collaborative family law cases had an annual income of less than $100,000.

Though the collaborative process may not be the cheapest in all cases, it has a substantial opportunity to save you money as compared to the courtroom battles we have all come to associate with divorce.

First, child issues, such as custody schedules and decision-making authority, are some of the most emotional and costliest issues in family law matters. Lawyers in courtroom cases tend to prepare interrogatories (questions) to be answered under penalty of perjury, set depositions, conduct opposition research to put the other spouse in the worst possible light, and prepare for trial. Attorneys’ invoices pile up along each stage of this process. Alternatively, these fees and costs can be greatly reduced in the collaborative process where facilitators, who usually are licensed mental health professionals, can cut through the clutter of emotionally-charged issues and bring the clients (and lawyers) to focus on the future and best interests of the children.

Similarly, a financial professional (who is usually either an accountant or financial planner) adds cost-saving value to the process. In litigated cases, lawyers prepare “requests for production of documents and things” that demand reams of financial documents which could conceivably be relevant. Searching for those documents cost clients tremendous time and money while, when received, the requesting attorney will spend countless billable hours meticulously combing through the documents. In the collaborative process, on the other hand, the financial professional will only request documents that are necessary to make an informed settlement option. His or her expertise in finances enables the financial professional to review and assess the documents and develop settlement options more quickly (and often times at a lower rate) than attorneys.

Finally, the dirty little secret in family law is that the vast majority of litigation cases eventually settle. However, because having a judge decide on the parties’ personal matters always remains a threat, in traditional courtroom divorce the attorneys will always work on two tracks: (i) attempt to settle the case while (ii) conducting opposition research and preparing for the courtroom battle in case the parties cannot come to an agreement. In the collaborative process, attorneys are retained solely for the purpose of settlement and are contractually barred from taking disputes to be decided in court, and so they are not racking up those billable hours planning to fight it out in court.

Now, back to the question, is collaborative divorce only for the wealthy? Absolutely not, and I would be happy to speak with you and talk more about how the process can help your family.

If you have questions regarding how a Tampa Bay collaborative divorce process can help you, schedule a consultation with attorney Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.

Adam B. Cordover is Vice President of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Adam spearheaded the taskforce that drafted the Hillsborough County collaborative family practice administrative order signed by Chief Judge Manuel Menendez.

Divorce Law Family Law Separation Law

Some Same-Sex Couples are Denied Divorce

It seems same-sex marriage is all the talk these days – which states allow it, which states ban it.  But what about same-sex divorce?  Why is no one paying attention to the laws that surround the dissolution of a union?

Imagine the Following Hypothetical Story:

Jane and Jill wanted to get married.  Their state didn’t allow same-sex marriages.  So, they traveled to one of the USA’s nine states that did allow such a union.  Since the state didn’t have a residency requirement, they were able to just pop in for a few days.  After the honeymoon, the couple returned to their home and proceeded with life as usual.

Several years down the road, married life began to loose its luster.  Both Jane and Jill wanted to end the marriage.  Things just weren’t working out.  However, their state didn’t acknowledge their union from the very beginning.  Therefore, the state said there wasn’t anything to dissolve.  Divorce wasn’t an option.

Do They Need a Divorce?

At this point, about the only option Jane and Jill have is to relocate to a state that allows same-sex marriages so they can get a same-sex divorce.  While the law varies from state to state, most have a six month to two year residency requirement for divorce.  Can you imagine?!  “Honey, I don’t want to be in a marriage with you anymore, but let’s pack up all our earthly possessions, quit our jobs, sell our home, move across the country, and start a new life – even though we can’t stand the sight of each other.  Don’t worry.  This is just a temporary situation.  After a few years, you’ll finally be rid of me.”

So, do Jane and Jill even need to worry about divorce?  If their home state doesn’t see them as married, why do they need to be divorced?

If one spouse gives birth to a child, the law presumes the other spouse is the parent.  Additionally, neither spouse can re-marry or enter into a civil union with a new partner without setting themselves up for bigamy charges.  And what happens to their home, assets, and life insurance policies?

While many people are interested in the legal termination of their marriage, the emotional dissolution is sometimes just as valuable.  People need closure.  Divorce usually provides that.

What to Expect

Deborah Wald of the National Family Law Advisory Council for the National Center for Lesbian Rights says Jane and Jill are “wed-locked.”  This precarious position is one no one wants to find themselves in.

If a couple is wed-locked, they can expect a difficult legal battle.  For starters, the process is very confusing to nearly everyone involved.  Therefore, there is the potential for lots of honest mistakes to happen.  In the meantime, the situation will probably be very expensive to get sorted out.

If Jane and Jill want to get a divorce in their home state, a state that doesn’t recognize their union, they will have a difficult fight ahead of them.  One such couple was recently able to get a divorce because they were able to prove the situation unconstitutional – they didn’t have a remedy for getting out of their marriage.

Other divorce lawyers push for nunc pro tunc (retroactive to an earlier date) judgments.  Either way, same-sex divorce is very, very different from heterosexual divorce.

What’s the Difference?

As of now, there is no universal rule for same-sex divorce.  Since it isn’t recognized on a federal level, retirement packages aren’t easily divided up.  Other financial issues may arise, and tax ramifications are usually different for same-sex divorce too.

Child custody cases tend to be very ugly in same-sex divorce.  The child is biologically related to one parent, but not the other.  This can cause some serious problems, even if both parents raised the child since birth.  Legal rights for non-related parents are tricky.

In a perfect world, a gay couple would have a prenuptial agreement.  This is about the only way to navigate safely – with minimal drama – through the divorce process.

In addition to legal differences, same-sex marriages differ from heterosexual marriages on an emotional level too.  A lot of divorced gay people feel a much larger sense of guilt.  Since same-sex marriage advocates have fought so hard for their right to marry, the destruction of the marriage seems like a much bigger failure.  Married same-sex couples often feel like role models for the gay community.  While it certainly isn’t true, they feel their divorce is letting everyone down.

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on same-sex divorce?  Should states offer an out to unhappy couples, even if they don’t offer same-sex marriage?  Do you think gay couples should even worry about divorce if things like property and children aren’t involved?  Let us know what you think!


Guest author Jessica Velasco works for a Clearwater divorce lawyer.  Since Florida doesn’t allow same-sex marriage, she was recently approached by a wed-locked couple seeking a divorce.

Divorce Law Family Law Separation Law

Legal Separation vs. Divorce

(Guest post from a US family law firm) The dissolution of a marriage can be an emotional difficult and financially draining uphill battle. Many couples who are considering divorce opt for a legal separation in order to test the waters before taking the steps to divorce, which can often be an uphill battle. While a divorce is a proceeding that legally dissolves a marriage and allows each party to go on to embark on separate lives and romantic relationships, a legal separation allows a couple’s marriage to remain intact while the parties live separately.

A couple becomes legally separated when they wish to remain legally married, but live lifestyles that are removed from one another. The parties separate and receive a court order regarding issues similar to those they would come across in a divorce, like the division of property, alimony, child support, custody and visitation. Alimony and child support for legally separated couples are gained through a motion “pendente lite,” which is Latin for “while the action is pending” or “during litigation.” This motion is more commonly known as a separation agreement, and exists to protect the parties’ interests until a final decision to file for divorce is made. Separation agreements are not to be taken lightly, as they take precedent in divorce proceedings. A judge commonly assumes that the spouses in legal separation are pleased with the separation agreement, and will assign divorce conditions accordingly by simply converting the separation agreement to a mirrored divorce agreement.

While getting a legal separation in order to allow time to attend counseling or be sure of their decision before a divorce is common, far more uncommon is couples who opt for legal separation rather than divorce entirely. These couples usually choose legal separation for religious, financial or personal purposes. Most religions frown upon divorce, so especially religious parties will choose a legal separation in order to continue on with their own lives while remaining married for religious purposes. In many cases couples can benefit financially from remaining married. Maintaining a ten year marriage qualifies couples to take advantage of certain social security benefits, and marriages in which one or more spouses is a member of the military have especially profitable options.

An important aspect of a legal separation is that parties may not enter another marriage or domestic partnership while separated. To file for separation, one party must reside in the county where the papers are filed at the time the case has begun. There is no required length of residency for a legal separation. If you are facing the difficult decision of filing for legal separation or divorce, consult with a family attorney who can help guide you on your path.

Family Law

Are celebrities more likely to divorce?

If you’re the type to keep up with celebrity headlines you’ve probably notice the onslaught of celebrity divorces. They’re everywhere! Kim and Kris, Tom and Katie, Katy Perry and Russell Brand are only a very small selection of the headlines you’ve read in the past few months. Why are all these marriages failing? Lets take a look at the celebrity divorce trend, and also what you can learn from it to protect your marriage.

According to a recent study by The Marriage Foundation, a UK based research institution, celebrity relationships are nearly twice as likely to end in divorce than non celebrities. Over 500 high profile celebrity marriages were examined over the past 10 years to come to this conclusion, and this shouldn’t be the least bit astonishing. After all, adoring fans can tend to put a lot of pressure and stress on celebrities and their personal relationships. They’re constantly in the public spotlight. Simply going out in public without holding hands can be enough for the tabloids to begin publishing vicious breakup rumors.

There’s no doubt that the celebrity lifestyle is also to blame for failing marriages. With money to burn, and being in company with lots of other beautiful people, temptation lurks everywhere they go. It takes a very strong willed person to be around beautiful people all day, and not make any infidelity mistakes that could doom a marriage.

So what can us regular folks learn from failed celebrity relationships to make sure it doesn’t happen in our own relationships? Here are a couple ideas:

Always make time for each other
Life gets busy, and when your schedule is jam packed with work, travel, and other obligations many times it’s our family that bears the burden. Alone time with your spouse to rekindle and keep the romance alive starts to disappear as can your feelings toward your spouse. Don’t let this happen to you! Setting aside just a few minutes a day to catch up with your spouse can make sure your relationship doesn’t fall apart. Also never forget the importance of telling them how much you love and appreciate them, even when you’ve got to rush off to your next obligation.

Be aware of temptations
Headlines are jam packed with stories of celebrity infidelity, and you have to admit it’s tough to keep your self control when around beautiful people all day. So, be wary of putting yourself in one-on-one situations with someone with whom an intimate relationship could develop.

Studies have shown that couples who make time for each other, and avoid sticky one-on-one situations with members of the opposite gender are far more likely to make their relationships a success. With every failed celebrity marriage, there’s an opportunity to learn what led them astray and do the opposite to avoid it happening to you!

Just for curiosity’s sake, here’s a quick look at a couple of the shortest, and longest high profile celebrity marriages:


Britney Spears and Jason Alexander (55 hours)
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries (72 days)
Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon (60 days)


Barry and Linda Gibb (40+ years)
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (20+ years)
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones (13+ years)

This post was written by Shelby, who created as a resource to help people learn about divorce law, and find a divorce lawyer near them.


“FRAPED!” – Is it a grounds for divorce?

“Fraped”. Adj. the act of posting on someone else’s ‘Facebook’ page, often as a result of leaving your profile open or poor password protection

It’s been going on for ever. Childhood sweethearts reunited after many years apart rekindle an old relationship and cause pain and upset to their current partners, possibly leading to a separation or divorce. In the late 1990’s this issue became more prevalent in divorce cases with the advent of early social networking sites such as “Friends Reunited”. Dwarfed now by Twitter and Facebook, the involvement of social networking has been cited increasingly in divorce cases. Some recent surveys in US and UK show that Facebook is now referred to in some way in between a quarter and a third of cases.

Keep it private

It isn’t always old flames that cause problems on Facebook. Flirting with new friends and strangers on your laptop or handheld can cause ructions in relationships especially if your activity is not as private as you thought it might be. Failing to log out of your profile leaves it open for snooping and for others to post on your behalf. Known as “fraping”, this activity can be innocent and fun or dangerous and offensive.  Many examples of exposing the misdemeanours of others exist online. These are normally easy to spot but beware the imposter who can easily post on your behalf.

The exposure of a partners fling or unreasonable behaviour – proper grounds for divorce – are increasingly taking place online. This practice is also rife on twitter where revelations involving celebrities activities have been the subject of debate for some time.

But my password is safe, isn’t it?

Taking good care of protecting your profile is one thing. But how safe is the information that you store? A judge in America recently ordered that a divorcing couple hand over their facebook passwords to each other’s lawyers as it was believed that the profiles contained information that was essential to the case. The injunction included an obligation on the spouses not to post on their former partners page. Despite contravening facebook’s own privacy policy, this sets an interesting precedent adding a whole new dimension to evidence gathering in divorce cases.

Don’t want to get caught. Don’t do it!

Controlling the flow of information is almost impossible in the instant messaging, micro blogging, always connected world that we now inhabit. The only way to stop your facebook page from being used against you in a divorce court is not to do it in the first place. If you don’t want to get caught with your trousers down don’t post it on your facebook page.

If you’re going to share any information on your facebook page, please do share this!

Divorce Law Property issues Separation Law

What Happens to College Payments During a Divorce

Most marriages end in divorce. Different jurisdictions have different rules pertaining to how assets and liabilities are distributed to the parties after a divorce. When young married couples decide to divorce, student loan debt is a common liability that the parties must cope with. Ongoing expenses that may be incurred if one spouse is actively attending college can influence the amount of alimony awarded to a spouse.

How States Treat Assets During Divorce

Our lawyers at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. tell us that states generally fall into three categories when discussing divorce. In community property states and if the parties have not agreed to distribute assets in a certain manner, the court will divide the marital assets in half. If the debt is incurred during the marriage, the courts will view student loan debt as community property. Student loan debt is a liability and hence is subject to being apportioned between the parties.Other states follow a common law rule. For example, New York also seeks to divide marital property equitably. Unlike a common law jurisdiction, however, the court need not divide everything equally. A court that follows a common law rule will consider a wide array of factors in order to achieve what it perceives to be a fair outcome. Such factors include whether one spouse has title to a property, whether a spouse has commercial interests, and the couple’s living arrangements.

Some states stretch the equitable distribution concept even further. Some states, like Massachusetts and New Hampshire, also seek to provide an equitable distribution during the asset and liability allocations. These states uniquely consider all property owned by both parties, regardless of whether the assets were acquired during the marriage or owned personally. The fact that a party owned an asset or a liability prior to marriage may be a factor for consideration, but is not determinate of the outcome.

Responsibility to Pay for an Education

Whether a party is responsible for continuing payments on a divorcing spouse’s student loans varies depending upon the court’s decision. Even in community property states, courts have some degree of latitude in making asset decisions. Most states permit courts to order parties to pay other liabilities if the court finds that it would be in the interests of justice to do so.

If one spouse is actively attending college, the issue becomes one of spousal support. Tuition and literary expenditures may increase one party’s living expenses, which can increase the alimony award. Among other factors, courts will often consider retraining or educational expenses in awarding spousal support to one party. If a party who is receiving alimony is attending college or seeking job retraining, the court may increase the award of alimony accordingly. If a court order is issued compelling one party to pay spousal support, that party must do so regardless of whether he or she agrees with the award.

While courts normally follow statutory guidelines, the goal in most states is to achieve an equitable dissolution of the marriage, not an equal one. In most states, courts have a wide degree of latitude to make decisions regarding asset allocations, liability allocations, and spousal support. Navigating the laws and presenting a compelling case in the pleadings requires the knowledge of an experienced local attorney.

Saam Banai is a freelance writer and editor and proponent of fair dispersal of assets after divorce. If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and have costly college payments to make in addition to everything else, contact a divorce attorney from the firm, Tenn And Tenn, P.A. Their experienced attorneys are uniquely equipped due to their training and experience to provide large law firm excellence in a more client-centered atmosphere.
Divorce Law

Difference between Legal Separation and Divorce (US Law)

While most people know that a legal separation is different from a divorce, many may not understand all the ways in which it’s different. While a divorce ends a marriage, a legal separation does not. Instead, a legal separation allows the couple to remain married while living separately. During a legal separation, a court order outlines each spouse’s rights and responsibilities.

Just like with divorce, certain issues can be addressed in a legal separation, including:

  • Division of assets
  • Division of debt
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Visitation schedules
  • Spousal support

One reason why people opt for a legal separation is because their assets can be legally protected until the time of the divorce. Divorces aren’t fast, the first step is filing for divorce and the process can be dragged out for a long time. In the meantime, a legal separation document can provide security for both spouses.

Another reason why legal separations are beneficial is because they can provide the layout for the divorce. For example, the same child custody agreement that was followed during a legal separation may be adhered to after a divorce. Legal separations can sometimes serve as the trial period for the couple to see how they handle certain responsibilities. Often, the judge feels that if both parties were happy with the decisions of the legal separation, there should be no problem with the same guidelines for the divorce.

It’s very important to decide on legal separation guidelines that you’re happy with. Looking at a legal separation as a short-term decision isn’t accurate. Since the legal separation is often adhered to for the divorce, you could be stuck with your decisions for a very long time.

One huge benefit to legally separating instead of divorcing is that if the couple wants to work on their marriage, they can do so while living separately but without going through the hassle of divorce. That way, if the couple makes amends, they won’t have to get remarried. Instead, they can simply end their legal separation and begin living together again as a normal married couple.

Another benefit to filing for a legal separation instead of a divorce is that both spouses can still retain their health insurance. Divorce brings health coverage to an end for the married spouse. With a legal separation, the husband or wife can still care for their family even during the time apart.

This article was contributed by the Cantor Law Group, divorce lawyers of Phoenix, AZ. The Cantor Law Group handles all aspects of family law including adoption, divorce, child custody, and support among other areas.

Child Custody Divorce Law

Popular Myths about Divorce

There is a popular myth among divorcing couples, which has the mother automatically gaining custody of the children. While this myth is simply not true, it is relatively prevalent among couples and can lead to serious challenges in the preparation of a case. Because a divorce is a time of trouble and considerable emotional hardship it becomes vital to understand all your rights and the actual content of the law before making snap decisions, which is why an attorney is critically important.

Laws today are very different and do not seek to favor one or the other party, especially with regards to child custody. Here are some things that the court does look at; versus the popular urban legends about divorce floating around the water cooler.

Myth: Mothers are automatically favored and will by default be awarded custody of the children, especially if they are young.

Fact: The fact is that mothers are not directly favored, neither are fathers. The law, in states like Florida, spells out very specifically that neither party will be favored and that the law cannot act in the best interest of one or the other party.

Myth: The one making the most money will have to pay a great deal of support and maintenance to the other party because they are not making as much. It is better to have no income or lower income during a divorce.

Fact: The court looks at a variety of factors to make sure the division of assets is equable. This means that income is certainly a factor. However, if one partner is not working or is under employed voluntarily the court will account for income to that person depending on what they are capable of making. This may seem unfair at times, but it is the only way the court can prevent manipulation of the system by voluntary unemployment or underemployment.

Myth: Divorce decrees are written in stone and once they are written there is no going back to change or modify them.

Fact: Circumstances change, often significantly, which allows one or the other party to go back and request the court to change the divorce decrees. Typically courts will not change a property distribution that has been set out but other parts can be changed depending on the circumstances. These include, and are not limited to, child support, alimony, and visitation.

Myth: Lawyers cost an arm and a leg, so it is better to try and represent your own interests in the court. There are many resources to help you and you will be just fine by yourself. Aunt Betty represented herself and was awarded everything but the kitchen sink, so it behooves you to try the legal justice wheel of fortune by yourself.

Fact: The legal justice system is complex and riddled with policy and procedures. Failure to follow the proper process can lead to significant losses. There are many resources available, but often the resources will only show you the exact law which can lead you to more confusion when you try to interpret it. Lawyers are trained for years to ensure that they can follow the correct procedures, understand the laws and statutes fully, and guide you in the best possible manner. Divorces can be expensive, even more so if your former significant other has a lawyer and you are going it alone. Finding out the cost of an attorney and ensuring that you have the right representation are critical in safeguarding your rights.

Andrew Miller is an avid legal blogger and manager of over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of Charles R. Ullman & Associates : A North Caroline Divorce attorney.

Divorce Law

How Does Divorce Affect My Retirement Account?

(US law and generally)

How Does Divorce Affect My Retirement Account?

Filing for a divorce is never easy for anyone, regardless of the situation. Individuals with significant wealth or those that have been married long enough to build retirement assets will find the process even more frustrating if the court requires disposition of retirement funds between spouses. The court decree is usually dependent on the types of retirement funds and the time at which the accounts were opened. The final determination is usually based on the laws of the particular state issuing the divorce decree.

Know Your State and Evaluate Specific Dates

All states view marriages as binding legal contracts between full partners. All money that has been saved in a 401(k) retirement account or an IRA could possibly be assessed as marital property. This is dependent on when the account was initiated and the marital dissolution laws of the granting state. If money was saved by one party of a divorce before the couple was married, then that particular part of the account can be claimed by the original contributor.

Likewise, money that is added after the divorce decree or during a legal separation can also be claimed by the primary contributor as personal property as long as the dates are verifiable. It is important to make these dates part of the court record, especially for those with considerable wealth. This includes both prior and accumulated financial assets. Planning a divorce is crucial if a divorce is inevitable, according to stock fraud attorneys, Page Perry LLC, it is very important to make sure the inventory of assets is accurate and honest.

Attachable Retirement Accounts

Money that is deposited in an attachable retirement account after the couple is married becomes marital property until the filing of a divorce petition. Sometimes this can be dependent on who files the divorce and the potential living status of dependents and the primary parties. This property status normally works for both parties involved, though men are usually the party that is ordered to provide for the wife because of traditional household income structure.

If both parties have made a considerable contribution to the retirement fund or if each party has their own account, then the totals are added unless an agreement is reached between the divorcing parties. Reaching an amiable agreement usually works best because the courts can be unpredictable, especially if children are involved. Additionally, home ownership is an investment asset and will be included as part of a divorce if the home was purchased during the marriage or if there are dependent children. In many states this can also include a reasonable “standard of living” assessment by the court and could result in alimony or a structured settlement.

Non-Attachable Retirement Funds

Retirement savings plans such as 403(b) retirement accounts that are associated with working for a non-profit company are normally not attachable. However, they can be the subject of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order which is issued by the court as an addendum to the actual divorce decree. These funds are often included in any settlement because of possible court assignments, but many times an order is sought in cases of significant amounts of money.

Always remember when calculating any divorce settlement or dispersion of property that some retirement accounts might be subject to taxes upon retirement. Funds are deposited without tax deduction and are taxed as normal income when withdrawn unless they are rolled over again as an investment. The financial stress associated with planning a divorce can easily be worse than the financial stress associated with planning a wedding. The best advice is never do either lightly.

Ebele Okocha is a licensed financial representative who has experience consulting with clients on their retirement accounts. She is also a contributing author to the law firm of stock fraud attorneys, Page Perry LLC, a Georgia Investment Fraud firm best known for its representation of investors.

Divorce Law

The Importance of an Attorney in High Net-Worth Divorces

Marriage can be a rewarding experience for many adults. While a marriage may be founded on love, it can often break apart for a variety of reasons. In some cases, a divorce may be based around financial matters. If a high net-worth individual is getting a divorce, it’s essential to have access to a divorce attorney. The following guide provides simple simple tips and tricks on how to navigate the world of divorce as a high net-worth individual.

When an individual decides to get married, he or she takes a sacred vow that is supposed to last a lifetime. Under ideal conditions, both partners in a relationship will be getting married for the same reasons. However, people may not always get married for the same reasons.

For example, there’s a reason that doctors and other professionals have no problem finding a potential spouse. In many cases, these individuals are considered to be excellent providers. If a relationship is founded on money, it is usually destined for failure.

If possible, it’s a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement before marriage. With a prenuptial agreement, a couple decides on how assets will be split in the event of a divorce. However, it can be challenging to maintain love when money is concerned. If a high net-worth individual wants to get a prenuptial agreement, the other spouse may not want to get married. In addition, these agreements can break the bond of love.

If an individual doesn’t a get a prenuptial agreement, half of his or her earnings after marriage may go to a spouse in the event of a divorce. While assets one obtains before a marriage are usually safe, any assets obtained after a marriage are usually up for grabs. However, it’s important to understand how this can impact one’s assets from before a marriage.

For example, imagine that a high net-worth individual owns a very expensive home. This individual then decides to get married. After 10 years, the marriage starts to fall apart. During this time, the value of the house has appreciated in value 20 percent. The low net-worth spouse is entitled to half of the value that the house has appreciated.

This concept also applies to other types of assets. This can include stocks, bonds, options, valuables, artwork, paintings, intellectual property and much more. Intellectual property can be a very tricky issue. For example, imagine that an individual is an upcoming music artist. At the time of one’s marriage, the artist still hasn’t been able to break out. However, he or she is able to experience success after a marriage.

The low net-worth spouse in this example would be entitled to half of all revenue streams that come from intellectual property created after the marriage started. If an artist becomes very famous, his or her spouse will own half that name. In some cases, courts may award that name to a low income spouse.

In addition, children can complicate the divorce process in several different ways. If a low net-worth spouse receives custody of children, he or she will be entitled to child support payments every month. However, there is no fixed price for child support. For example, a shelf stocker at a supermarket may pay only $150 a week in child support payments. However, an investment banker may pay thousands of dollars every week in child support payments. Since child support payments are often based on an individual’s income, it’s essential to have access to a professional lawyer or attorney.


Albert Myburgh has been serving the 5 boroughs in family law matters for 25 years. He strives to solve legal matters in an efficient, amicable, and successful manner.

Divorce Law

Family law claims

As the name would indicate, family law specifically deals with those areas of the legal system relating to domestic and familial matters. However, within the scope of family law, there a number of different types of claims that can be made, relating to different circumstances. These are 3 of the main types of family law claims.

Divorce and child custody

This is one of the most common types of family law claim. Firstly, divorce law can deal with such matters as the division of financial assets, to the rights and arrangements of the parents concerning access to or custody of any children in the wake of a divorce. The issues that can arise within this include those of who gets full residence rights for the children – custody; and who gets visitation rights – access. There will also be issues of legally arranging times for visits, for the parent who does not have custody rights – and dealing with any breach of those arrangements. Click here for divorce solicitors who can help with any of the above matters.

Domestic violence

Unfortunately domestic violence remains extremely common within relationships of all classes, ages and sexual orientations. This area of family law is designed to offer support and protection for those experiencing it. This includes providing information on the legal options available and, if necessary, securing court orders to provide protection for the victim from their abuser.

Civil partnerships

With the Civil Partnership Act having been passed in 2004, these relationships now fall under the jurisdiction of family law, although the arrangements are slightly different from those of divorcing married couples. Civil partnerships family law claims can relate to issues of parental rights and responsibilities, just the same as married couple divorce law, but the difference is in the actual separation: this type of family law deals with specialised orders for the dissolution of civil partnerships, as well as with legal issues that can arise as a result of IVF treatment.

Family Law

Parents Access Rights ‘Enshrined’ in Law

One of the reasons that divorce law is so complex is that very often the rules are a matter of fine interpretation. Deciding what is the best case for a child as young as two or three can come down to a few difficult paragraphs of wording or just a better argued case.

Sometimes, however, the law is perfectly clear cut and in an attempt to simplify divorce legislation, the government has recently put through an amendment which will ‘enshrine’ the rights of both parents to have access to a child. In essence, what was once a complex and subtle issue is to be made explicit and the law will serve the rights of both parents in most circumstances. So do these changes make sense? Has the government made the right move?

Protecting Fathers
Though at all times divorce solicitors will attempt to set out the proper, just way of dealing with an issue, this amendment will undoubtedly benefit fathers seeking access rights. In just under 10% of divorce cases children reside ‘mainly’ with their father and this legislation seeks to correct this bias.

Of course, this should not overrule what is in the child’s immediate interest if, say, a father or mother is violent or unfit for the role, but it does give genuinely willing fathers a leg-up.

Admin over Justice
Plenty of family law solicitors have expressed their discontent with the changes  and they claim that the new legislation is simply not required – in calculating the interests of the child, courts already take into account the benefits of having influence from both parents.

When parents are given rights to access, disputes start arising over whether the right to access should be equal or properly apportioned. Undoubtedly, this will put a good deal of extra strain on courts for what will be more or less the same end result.

The Paramountcy Principle

After all is said and done, what realistically and legally matters is the interest of the child – this is the paramountcy principle. Though there are many cases in which both mothers and fathers fall unfortunately the wrong side of the legislation, family law experts do understand and appreciate the benefit of enabling joint access wherever possible. Though these changes might redress the balance between those living with dad and those living with mum, the statistics really aren’t the point – what matters is the child’s well-being and at the moment, judges do all they can to ensure fair access to children.

Though we’ll have to wait and see what the real effects of these changes will be, it’s likely that they will be pretty unpopular throughout the justice system and, as happened in Australia, we might well see a reversal of the law in the future.

Clough & Willis – Manchester based divorce solicitors . Contact 0800 083 0815 for specialist advice & information about divorce law, divorce settlements & child custody.

Divorce Law

Five Tips For Finding A Good Divorce Lawyer (US Tips)

When you were married, you probably never imagined that it would end in divorce. Now you are right at the beginning of a divorce and might not be sure of what to do next. Perhaps you realize that you need to get a good divorce lawyer, but you are unsure of where to go and who to talk to. If you need some help finding a good lawyer, there are five tips that might guide you in the right direction.

The first tip for finding a good divorce lawyer is to find someone who specializes in family law or in divorce. There are many different types of lawyers that are probably good at what they do, but do not deal with divorce every day. Someone that deals with divorce cases on a regular basis and has taken special care to learn all that they can about divorce might be a better choice of someone that would be able to help you the very best.

The second tip to find a good lawyer when you are getting a divorce is to talk to multiple lawyers as sort of an interview for the job. You might know a lawyer or two that have a good reputation, but when you meet them, it just doesn’t click for you. Perhaps there is someone that you meet with that will make you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Use your common sense, and if you are uncomfortable for any reason with the lawyer, you might want to choose someone else.

The third tip is to tell the lawyer everything! You might be embarrassed about some things that happened during your marriage, or perhaps you think something is irrelevant. Letting the lawyer be the judge of that is probably a good idea because they know things about divorce cases that you don’t. They can take the information and decide what to use to build your case. Lawyers take confidentiality very seriously and will not tell anything that you don’t want told.

The fourth tip in finding a good divorce lawyer is to let the lawyer know what your financial situation is. They can help you the best with your marital financial situation if they know all of the details. You may want to include copies of pay stubs, bank statements, and bills.

The fifth and last tip that might help you to find a good divorce lawyer is to follow up after your initial visit to make sure they really are who they say they are. After a day or two, you might want to call them to see if they followed through on what they said they would do and if they still have the notes and information they will need for your case.

Finding a good divorce lawyer is absolutely important so that you are not left holding all the baggage from the marriage. While you will still have some responsibility, you should have a good lawyer to make sure everything is fair.

Guest post provided by the Phoenix Divorce Lawyers from the Cantor Law Group. Based in Phoenix, AZ The Cantor Law Group handles all aspects of divorce, including adoption, child custody, child support, alimony and other family law matters.

Pre-nuptial Agreements

Top 10 Biggest Celebrity Prenuptials

Below is a guest divorce law blog post regarding some of the biggest celebrity prenuptials.

Going through a break-up is never an easy or pleasant experience. How much worse, then, for those with a mighty fortune and property that will be divided and the pressures of fame to deal with? Although it may not seem a very romantic way to start married life, more and more celebrities are opting for a pre-nuptial agreement to try and make any future break-up easier to administer while preserving as much of their personal wealth as possible.

Why Celebrities Make a Pre-Nuptial Agreement

Although it can seem a depressing thing to do, having a ‘pre-nup’ can be about more than simple greed and wanting to hang on to cash. For some, a pre-nuptial agreement can actually relieve tension that might otherwise exist in a relationship to do with money and property. When the marriage is not the first and children are involved, these agreements can protect the interests of the existing families and make life easier for divorce lawyers if things ever come to that.

Agreements can be extremely flexible. When celebrities find themselves having to go through the divorce process, their lawyers will go through any pre-nuptial agreements with a fine-tooth comb. Sometimes these can have unusual clauses that have been carefully tailored to their clients.

Stay With Me

When Nicole Kidman married Keith Urban, their agreement involved her paying him $640,000 per year while they remained married, but removed his rights to receive anything if he ever used illegal drugs again.

Paying for fidelity or marital longevity seems to have become a mainstay of agreements by trying to actively discourage divorce by making it more financially beneficial to remain married. Take music stars Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s arrangement, which sees her set to receive $10,000,000 in the first two years of marriage and $1,000,000 for a further 15 years.

If Katie Holmes were to remain married to Tom Cruise for more than 11 years, she will be entitled to half his fortune. But the $3,000,000 she receives for every year she remains married to him until then is not a bad income to be going on with.

The Big Pay-Off

Pre-nuptial agreements are better known for defining what someone will receive when they leave. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and Michael Douglas would do well to remember it. If he is ever unfaithful to Catherine Zeta-Jones, she would receive a ‘bonus’ payment of $5,000,000 on top of the $2,800,000 for every year of married life.

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards had a similar idea, agreeing that if either strayed they would pay the other $4,000,000. Russell Crowe would have to stump up an eye-watering minimum $15,000,000 if his marriage to Danielle Spencer ends in divorce. Khole Kardashian is very specific in her requirements, which include a $5,000 per month shopping allowance, courtside season tickets to Lakers games for all her family and a $25,000 monthly amount for support from Lamar Odom in the event of divorce.

So Long, Farewell

Some celebrities use their agreements to avoid large pay-outs. Britney Spears ended up paying her ex-husband Kevin Federline less than £1,000,000 thanks to hers and Kim Kardashian’s assets, including her earnings during marriage, are also protected. Director Steven Spielberg’s agreement was considered invalid as it was written on a napkin and rather than paying nothing, he ended up shelling out £50,000,000 to Amy Irving.

Our guest blogger today is Robert, a blogger and freelance writer with an extensive amount of knowledge on family law. Robert is currently writing for Switalskis Family Law.

Family Law

Family Law In General And In Italy

Familial issues are faced by everyone in today’s world. Luckily we’re in that phase, when all matters are governed by the law, even the personal matters. All personal concerns do become legal issues if they reach a particular level of seriousness. Here, we will explore exactly what is included in the context of family law, with a particular focus on Italy.

Divorce Law

The Cost of Divorce in the UK

Below is a guest divorce law blog post regarding the cost of divorce in the UK, written by Ian Nuttall, a financial writer who covers a number of personal finance topics on his blog. He recently launched a free debt consolidation calculator that you might be interested in. For more information, or to connect with Ian, you can add him to your G+ Circles.

The Cost of Divorce in the UK

The number of divorces in the UK has risen by almost 5% in the last two years with 120,000+ divorces every year. Combining expensive lawyers fees and court fees, the cost of a divorce can be very expensive – even if the divorce is mutual and uncontested.

There are usually two types of divorce, and each will dictate which process you take and how much it will cost.

A mutual and uncontested divorce

If you and your partner have both agreed that the marriage has ended and can be amicable with splitting of assets, parenting duties and all that comes with a separation, then the costs of a divorce in the UK can be significantly lower.

If you use a lawyer to facilitate the divorce, it could cost you £1,000+ in lawyers fees plus £347 for court fees, a document swearing fee and a decree absolute.

An alternative to this in the UK would be to choose an online divorce company. Many of these companies now charge you only a very small fee of £20-100 for their service. You may still have to pay the court fees but it is 90% cheaper than using a solicitor.

One of the main negatives to these “quickie” divorces is that you have to declare a set reason for the divorce. This means one party may have to admit fault in the relationship, even if there was no fault or blame.

A contested divorce

Contested divorces are where one party pushes for the divorce against the others wishes. These can be very tricky and often it is difficult to divide assets or parenting duties without negotiations and a mediator.

The lawyer fees for this type of divorce can range from £3,000-£20,000+ depending on the complexity of the disputes. Essentially, lawyers charge £150-200 an hour so it depends entirely on how long it takes to resolve the issues of the divorce.

With a contested divorce, it may be beneficial to use a intermediary or family friend to try and resolve as many decisions as possible before the lawyers are used.

You could also contact a lawyer who offers a free initial consultation to get an idea for how long it might take and what the potential costs would be.

Additional costs of a divorce

There are other costs beyond the actual divorce process itself that need to be considered as well and these can often be even more expensive than the actual divorce. Here are few areas you’d need to consider:

  • Maintenance payments
  • Setting up a new home
  • Child care costs
  • Buying a second car

There might even be more expenses depending on your personal situation. Whatever stage of the divorce process you are in, the cost could be anywhere from £20-£20,000+ and ultimately, the process you take is down to your relationship with your partner and how amicable you can both be.

Family Law

The Place of Children in Family Law

When dealing with divorce or the breakdown of a family, everything becomes a balancing act for a solicitor. Unlike in more straightforward property cases or employment disputes, there are often three parties involved in divorce and family law solicitors see a huge number of cases which involve one or more children.

The difficulty for family law experts is finding where the right balance. The law in the UK says very little about the rights of children and because of this most cases involving children are settled out of court with the help of a family law solicitor. Compare this to family law in somewhere like Australia, though, where a new reform bill means that the safety and rights of children will be paramount in disputes between couples and the outcomes of complicated cases will be decided by a court of law.

Of course, it’s a very complicated matter, but does the law do enough for children in the UK? What does the law say and how are children protected? Should we move towards a system where children are given explicit legal rights or does our system do the job?

Well, the first concern for the family law expert in any relationship breakdown is violence. The UK law states that the courts will only make an order against a particular parent having access to their child if not making that order would be more detrimental. Where one parent has demonstrated the willingness to commit violent acts against children the courts in the UK can still be firm and clear and it will become very hard for a violent parent to gain any access to their child at all.

It’s an equally common view amongst family law solicitors that children are happier if both parents have an influence in parenting. This is, of course, the ideal, but often negligent parents impose a negative influence on children and this is where out of court agreement really do work. A system where the child’s right or desire to its own joint care results in a parent who is disinterested being forced by a court to take charge could be potentially very dangerous.

Of course the Australian system is fraught with problems and the administrative costs of allowing courts to have such power in deciding what is right or wrong for a child can come at a massive time cost. It’s well known that divorces can take up to two years to resolve and dragging out what is potentially a very difficult time for all is not desirable for anyone.

The way that children are protected in the UK relies on both parents putting their own personal views of each other behind them and agreeing to come to a sensible arrangement. The law provides for the occasions when the parents are unable to do this and courts will step in if they need to. Really this way provides an adequate solution in difficult circumstances and when children’s well-being is at stake, a more powerful but administratively costly court just doesn’t seem to be the right solution.

Clough & Willis Solicitors are based in Bury, Manchester and the specialist Family Law team at Clough & Willis have extensive experience in divorce law, maintenance payments, financial settlements and child custody and can advise on all aspects of your situation. All Clough & Willis divorce solicitors are members of The Law Society Family Panel and Resolution.

Divorce Law

Finding the right divorce lawyers

If you feel your marriage may be ending and you are heading in the direction of a divorce, it is a good idea to take a moment to carefully assess your situation and decide whether or not you will be needing legal advice and assistance from a qualified professional. While a divorce can be completed without the involvement of lawyers, various unexpected complications can arise and that is where having a divorce lawyer can help you. They can help with various tasks, ranging from simply filling out the required forms for you to instructing you on what the best choice will be given the situation you are, for example, how much you should be expecting in terms of a financial settlement.

Finding The Right Lawyer

If you have reviewed your situation and decided that hiring a lawyer is the way to go, you must be aware of the fact that not all lawyers are the same and finding one that will best suit you and your needs is also an important part of the whole process. You should determine what you are looking for in the lawyer you will be hiring, taking into account what exactly you will be needing them for, whether they will simply be someone to help you fill out divorce papers versus someone who is going to be aggressive and negotiate strongly for you to receive a better financial outcome.

You should contact a number of lawyers before settling on a single one. Recommendations from family and friends are usually the best way to meet solicitors that will likely serve you well. Additionally, there are websites in existence that allow you to search for lawyers in your area, such as the Legal Adviser Finder ( resource made available by the Legal Services Commission (LSA), which allows you to specify your postcode and the area of law with which you will be requiring assistance.

The Cost Of Hiring A Lawyer

Lawyers can end up being very expensive, especially if you make extensive use of their services, so you should make sure you are fully aware of their fees before agreeing to anything. It should be further noted that lawyers are bound by law to be completely transparent with their clients when it comes to fees and that they are not permitted to mask any hidden costs.

When it comes to how much it will cost, it is difficult to say with any certainty. A fixed fee is usually agreed in advance, before any work takes place to ensure both lawyer and client are happy with the arrangement. The cost itself will be directly related to how much time and work the lawyer is putting in for the client, which in turn is related to how much you and your partner can agree on. For example, if the lawyer is working around the clock to negotiate an agreement with your spouse’s lawyer because you cannot agree between yourselves, the cost will be significantly higher than if you agreed on all matters.

Mediation & Legal Aid

If you have a limited budget and cannot afford to pay a lawyer to be working on your behalf, you should contemplate using a mediator to solve your problems. A mediator is a neutral individual who works with the couple in order to try to settle any differences and is financially advantageous to both parties, especially if you are entitled to legal aid, which would make the mediation process completely free. To check if you are able to receive legal aid, you can use the LSA’s Legal Aid Calculator (

This post provided by Darlingtons Solicitors.

Divorce Law

International marriages

An international marriage can include a husband and wife of differing nationalities, a couple living together in a country which is not their home country or even a couple living apart from each other in separate countries.


Within the member states of the EU there are approximately 122 million marriages, 16 million or 13% of which are international marriages and, in 2007, within the 27 states of the EU, 1 million divorces took place with 140,000 or 13% of those having an international element.


According to divorce solicitors in London, the courts of the EU member states have differing ways of deciding which particular country’s law should apply when it comes to the divorce of a couple in an international marriage. This can create an awful lot of legal uncertainty and may even lead to one partner taking advantage of the other partner, who could be in a weaker position financially, with possibly the stronger spouse pushing through the proceedings in a jurisdiction where the applied law favours him or her over the other partner.

The Settlement

Financial settlements for divorces can vary from country to country so, in order to achieve the best settlement figure, the spouse will need to seek family law advice on this particular area.

Although it is possible to begin legal proceedings for a divorce in more than one country the EU rule states that the divorce which was started first will be the divorce which will prevail.

Going Home

Many family breakdowns in the EU have an international element and often, in the event of the breakdown, some partners will wish to return to their home countries to seek the support and comfort of their family and friends.

However, this isn’t as straightforward as just jumping on a plane and moving back into the family home, especially when there are children involved in the breakdown.


If a spouse has children and wishes to relocate abroad with his or her children then English law states that the spouse will need to obtain permission from everyone who has parental responsibility of those children before leaving the country or to apply for an order of the English court.

If a child or children are removed, without permission, by a spouse to one of the countries who are signatories to The Hague and European Convention on Child Abduction those countries will give full co-operation to make sure that the child or children are returned to the parent still residing in England.

However, things can become particularly tricky if a parent relocates with his or her children, without permission, to a country which isn’t a signatory of the Convention on Child Abduction and it can be an extremely costly, confusing and very traumatic experience for the parent attempting to get his or her children back, especially when it comes to initiating legal proceedings in a foreign country.

Historically, there was a presumption that children would move abroad with their mother if she was a foreign national wishing to go back to her home country, but a recent Court of Appeal decision has stressed that the welfare of the children is paramount and that each case needs to be determined on it’s own merits.

Divorce Law Family Law Separation Law

How to Divorce: The Divorce Process Explained

Below is a guest blawg post on how to divorce, explaining the divorce process. Please note that the terms are relevant to the laws of England and Wales. If you’d like to submit a guest family law blog post, please get in touch through the contact form.

Deciding to pursue a divorce can be a daunting challenge, fraught with a range of perils. There are a lot of things to consider, such how the divorce process works, what you’re entitled to and who gets the rights to any children you may have.

In order to get a divorce, you will have to undertake a range of steps in order to come to an agreement with your partner. These include your reasons for divorce, which of you will take care of the children and how you’ll split up your money, property and possessions.

One of the first ports when considering a divorce is hiring legal help. You may consider hiring divorce solicitors in Kent, or wherever you are based, who will act on your behalf in divorce proceedings.

The good news is that if you and your spouse agree on these points then the divorce process can be completed in as quickly as 4 months. If not, then divorce proceedings can drag on for much longer.

There are four formal stages to divorce in the UK:

  1. Establishing the grounds for divorce
  2. Filing a divorce petition
  3. Applying for ‘decree nisi’
  4. Getting a decree absolute

You can only divorce under UK law if your marriage has ‘irretrievably’ broken down and you have been married for a least a year. You will be required to prove this to the court by relaying the ‘facts’ of why your marriage has ended. These facts can include reasons such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion.

To start divorce proceedings you will need to fill out three copies of a D8 form, also known as a ‘divorce petition’. You will also have to pay a fee of £340, but you could be entitled to a discount if you have a low income or are on benefits. Once the forms are completed, you will need to send them to the court.

A notice of divorce will then eventually be served to your husband/wife. Your partner can then choose to either accept or argue against the divorce. If your spouse chooses to fight against the divorce then proceedings can be delayed significantly. If no agreement can be made then this is where divorce solicitors will step in to negotiate with your partner to try to reach an agreement.

Once you both agree on the divorce you can then apply for a ‘decree nisi’ – a document from the court which says that it can’t see any reason why you can’t divorce. A judge will consider whether there is enough evidence to allow the divorce to proceed and review all your paperwork, such as any arrangements you’re proposing for your children.

If the judge gives permission for the divorce to continue then you are able to apply for a ‘decree absolute’ 6 weeks after you have been issued with your decree nisi. Once you have the decree absolute, you are officially divorced.