Deciding to pick up the phone and make that dreaded first call when you feel the time is right to contact an attorney is a petrifying moment. It’s one of those times in your life where you just have to take the plunge, dial the phone and make the call.
(US family law) One of the first things a couple in the process of divorce will need to know is if the state you live in is a community property state or an equitable distribution state. A community property state allows for all of the property acquired during the marriage to be, loosely speaking, divided in half. An equitable distribution state differs in that it aims to provide a fair and balanced approach based on many different facts about the marriage and both parties.
It seems like an entirely logical conclusion: if ending a marriage is now as simple as visiting a website and spending a few pounds, then divorce is clearly too easy. This criticism – which we face quite regularly – may appear entirely reasonable. It is, however, glib at best and, at its worst, nothing short of irresponsible.
Marital breakdown is unfortunate and, it is certainly fair to say, unpleasant for all concerned. Yes, marriage should be encouraged and those couples that experience difficulties that threaten their union should be provided with assistance. But if a couple cannot resolve their differences, then legislation exists that allows them to divorce for a very good reason: there is little point in keeping a couple that are unhappy together bound to one another. Yes, such a transition can be hard for any children that may be involved, but common sense dictates that this will not be more damaging than growing up in a household within which neither parental figure wishes to reside. That is not to suggest that more should not be done for children of divorce (helping them to adjust and regulating the damage that divorce can cause should be both parents’ and, indeed, society’s main concerns) but that, however perverse it may seem, that their parents’ divorce need not have a long-lasting and adverse effect if managed correctly.
Ultimately, divorce cannot be made to be too easy – it is, with very few exceptions, an extremely difficult and emotionally painful process. This is why so few people (if any) take the decision to end their marriages lightly and will do everything they possibly can to try and save their marriages before deciding to even separate. Following this, many even choose not to divorce for several years. They do so for a variety of reasons from remaining in the matrimonial property for the sake of their children to the need to finalise agreements before legally ending the marriage through to indecisiveness. Having worked at an online divorce company for almost five years know (and having assisted many people during this time) I cannot recall a single client having purchased our services within the first few months of them having separated.
I certainly do not feel that we make divorce too easy and that’s because, in my opinion, you cannot make a divorce too easy. You can provide a customer with a positive service that makes the process and experience more tolerable, but you cannot make it enjoyable.
Six out of ten parents do not believe that a “good” divorce exists, new survey findings suggest. The findings, from a poll by the counselling charity Relate, found that the majority of parents who have been through a separation do not agree that there is such a thing as a good split.
A similar number of those asked also said that although they had tried to minimise the suffering of children involved, the separation had a negative effect. The survey also highlighted the lengthy process involved in a marital or relationship split, with only four in ten saying that their separation had been complete within a year. 10% of those asked revealed that a separation had taken more than five years to complete.
The chief executive of Relate, Ruth Sunderland, highlighted the potential negative impacts of parental separation on children, suggesting that it can cause school problems, mental and physical health issues, and alcohol misuse. She added that “having strong relationships that go the distance in good times and bad and knowing how to manage the separation process can improve outcomes for everyone.”
The study also found that the Christmas spirit appeared to have had little effect in holding relationships together, with the first Monday of January seeing more than 19,000 calls to Relate. This was a rise of 53% compared with the first working day in December. This day has become known as “Divorce Day”, with many law firms regularly suggesting that they are inundated with such inquiries early in the New Year. This year’s Divorce Day figures were up by half on last year’s total, indicating that the nickname is becoming more and more applicable.
Relate’s findings support a previous study by Netmums, the parenting website, which suggested that divorce and separation has a much more serious effect on children than parents acknowledge or recognise.
Further down the relationship separation spectrum, government plans to remove legal aid in family law cases means that firms are beginning to offer reduced price services.
The mediator Marc Lopatin is one such law professional, having set up a service which he believes can cap legal fees at £1,600 per party. The package can be found online at http://www.lawyersupportedmediaton.com.
This article was written by K J Smith Solicitors, specialist family solicitors in Reading, London, Windsor and Henley-on-Thames.
Being a good parent is hard enough on a good day. However, when you’ve just gone through a divorce, making sure that your kids are doing fine is always much harder. You can be a good parent after a divorce though so doesn’t think that this is an unattainable goal.
When you use your parenting skills in a divorce, you help teach your kids to deal with various challenges, helping them to grow into well-adjusted individuals. If you’re going or have gone through a divorce and are trying to figure out how to be a good parent through it all, use these tips.
Put The Child First:
Many times a divorce is going to be messy and complicated. You and your former spouse may hate each other and have trouble even being in the same room. However, this attitude isn’t going to do any favors for your child. You need to make sure that you’re not focusing on yourself throughout the divorce.
Since it can be a fairly lengthy process, talk to your children openly throughout the entire ordeal and ask how they’re doing. They may not be coping so well. Also, when you begin to figure out custody agreements and other important details that are about the kids, get their input. They may not be very happy about the entire situation, but involving them in the process and showing them that you care, is going to help with the transition.
Remember It’s Not About You:
Well, at least not entirely. Obviously, your divorce is going to be a huge part of your life, but you are an adult. You have increased coping mechanisms as well as a mature perspective that your children lack. If you’re starting to fall into the victim mentality, then make the decision to turn this attitude around.
Accept the fact that even in the worst of marriages, you probably made some mistakes as well. When you get to this point, you’re not only helping yourself, you’re also showing your kids that it’s OK to be wrong sometimes and you should always acknowledge your mistakes.
Look At The Positives:
It’s always hard to see anything positive coming from a divorce, but there are many life lessons that you can gain from going through this process. Similarly, your kids can also gain more experience from you. However, you can’t do this if you simply refuse to deal with the problem at hand. As you go throughout the divorce, take each experience as a life lesson.
Many of them are not going to be easy, but if you pay attention, you will come through this experience and be a wiser and stronger person throughout the rest of your life. Make sure that you talk to your kids throughout the process and mention some of the lessons you’ve learned. They can similarly take your lessons and apply them to their lives and future relationships.
Always Be Respectful:
When a divorce with children happens, it’s likely that both parents will have custody or visitation rights. This is going to be hard to deal with, but you can’t let your own feelings get in the way of your children’s happiness. Working through the challenges of successfully communicating with an ex is a goal, which you’re probably not going to get right the first time.
Try to maintain a respectful relationship with your former spouse. This not only sets a good example for your kids, it also helps to make the entire ordeal so much easier
These are a few of the basic ways to make sure that you continue to be a good parent both through and after a divorce. Divorce is difficult for both parents and their children, so make sure that you pay attention to your kids and continue to make them a priority throughout the entire process. Divorce can be a positive or negative factor in a child’s life depending on how you react to it. If you treat it as a learning experience, it can help to grow the relationship that you have with your children.
However, it does take time and effort, so make sure that you’re being a mindful parent throughout the entire process to make the transition easy for your children.
These days, it seems as if more and more couples are getting divorced. This is especially true when it comes to celebrities, whose marriages—and break-ups—are often front-page news. While some individuals believe that celebrities serve only as a form of entertainment, others suggest that couples may be able to learn something from their frequent divorces. In fact, celebrities may not only teach us how to keep a marriage stable, but also how to separate in a peaceful and respectful manner.
Communication is Crucial
If celebrities have taught us anything when it comes to maintaining a happy marriage, it is that communication is crucial. Proper communication not only helps individuals teach their partner about their wants and needs, but also assists when it comes to the development of stronger listening skills. Unfortunately, celebrities—and for that matter, non-celebrities—have the habit of demanding their desires, without considering those of their partner. Talking each and every day with one’s husband or wife is a must when it comes to managing expectations and maintaining a long and happy marriage together.
Take Your Time
There is no question that the prospect of getting married can be very exciting—especially when one believes that they are deeply in love with their partner. However, it seems as if many celebrities choose to “jump into” marriage before they have a strong understanding of the traits and personalities of their partner. Most marriage experts agree that men and women should take their time when it comes to getting to know their significant other before choosing to pursue a legal commitment. When it can be difficult to prolong the dating process, it may be crucial when it comes to avoiding divorce in the future.
Know When It’s Over
Despite the best efforts of many celebrities, some marriages simply weren’t made to last. And when a couple agrees that the end is near, they may also benefit by looking to celebrities for some tips and recommendations. While many celebrities do try to put on a good front for the sake of their fans and children, this may not be the best plan when it comes to the health of their family. In fact, the Huffington Post suggests that trying to keep a marriage together simply for the sake of children may actually do more harm than good in the long run.
Lawyers Aren’t All Bad
Finally, celebrity divorces have shown us that—despite their less than stellar reputation—many lawyers are not as bad as they are depicted. In fact, experts agree that having an experienced lawyer who is familiar with family law is crucial when it comes to surviving and thriving during the divorce process. Individuals who have never worked with a lawyer in the past may want to consider speaking with friends and family to identify a skilled and professional legal team. Interviewing a lawyer before making a financial commitment can be useful when it comes to finding the right professional for the job.
When a person who is married decides to file for bankruptcy, the law permits him or her to do so alone, without requiring both spouses to file. However, the non-filing spouse’s finances do play part in the filing spouse’s bankruptcy case. The “means test,” including the “marital adjustment deduction” will be evaluated to determine whether or not the filing spouse qualifies for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or to determine the amount the filing spouse will have to pay unsecured creditors in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The Means Test
Even though you may feel that the only way out of your dire financial situation is to file for bankruptcy, a Westchester county bankruptcy lawyer points out that under the strict rules of the bankruptcy code, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor essentially tells the court that he or she is unable to pay back any part of the debt owed to creditors. In order to qualify, you must pass a “means test,” meaning that your disposable income must be below a certain level. If you do not pass the means test, then under bankruptcy law you are presumed able to pay back at least a minimum amount of your debt, and you will not be permitted to proceed with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As part of the means test the bankruptcy court will look at your last 6 months of income as well as your expenses. Thus, even if you have a high income, if your expenses are also high, your may still qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you are married, but separated and living in separate households, the income of your non-filing spouse will not be taken into consideration for the means test. However, if you are married, then your spouse’s income will be taken into consideration for the means test. This could have a significant impact on the filing spouses’ Chapter 7 petition. If the non-filing spouse’s income is too high, then you may not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this is so then the “marital adjustment deduction” may help.
The Marital Adjustment Deduction
As part of the means test, you are permitted to deduct expenses from your income. The “Marital Adjustment Deduction” allows you to deduct any expenses that your spouse pays that are not normal household expenses. These “other” expenses are known as “marital deduction expenses.” Examples of marital deduction expenses can include credit card payments for accounts that are only in your spouses’ name, child support payment for your spouse’s child, business expenses, student loan payments, and payroll deductions. The net result of using the marital adjustment deduction is that if significant, it may offset at least some of your spouse’s income that you had to include in the means test. Thus, you may still be able to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy even though your spouse’s income is relatively high.
Alternative to Chapter 7
If after applying the marital adjustment deduction you still do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be permitted to file under Chapter 13. While all of your debt will not be discharged, the total amount you repay your creditors will likely be significantly reduced and you will have 3-5 years to make the payments. However, you will still have to disclose your spouse’s income and expenses, which may affect the total amount you have to repay your creditors.
The importance of Full Disclosure
Ultimately, both your complete financial picture and that of your spouse will likely be closely reviewed by the bankruptcy court to determine how the law will allow you to proceed with your bankruptcy. Thus, it is important to be prepared with evidence backing up all claims regarding income and expenses, or risk having your case dismissed. An even worse result would be having the bankruptcy court determine that you have committed or attempted to commit fraud.
Do you think it is fair that a non-filing spouse’s finances are considered when a married person files for bankruptcy? What if throughout the marriage the couple’s finances remained largely separate? Does this rule encourage spouses to legally separate or “pretend” to separate?
(Victorian & Australian Law. Click here for Top Family Lawyers in Australia)
In recent times, the jurisdiction of property disputes in Family Law has broadened. Traditionally, property was only divisible between married or divorced couples. De-facto and same sex partners are now able to apply for a property settlement, though under different law. In the absence of agreement between the parties, an application for the settlement of a property dispute is made to the court, to be decided on the basis of need.
The settlement reached becomes legally binding and enforceable by the courts. Here’s a rough guide to what usually happens in these situations…
Parties can make a property settlement by agreement or, if agreement cannot be reached, make an application to the court for a property settlement. Applications for the division of property after divorce can be made to the Family Court or to the Federal Magistrates Court where a property dispute is worth less than $700,000.
Only parties who are or were married can make an application for a property settlement under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). In the case of divorce, an application must be made within 12 months of receiving the decree absolute. De-facto and same sex partners can make an application under the Property Law Act 1958 (Vic) in the Supreme Court, County Court or Magistrates’ Court.
Once an application is made, the parties will be asked to attend a case conference, with the aim of settling the property dispute by agreement before it goes to court. Present at this conference will be the parties, any family lawyer involved and a court registrar. If this conference is unsuccessful, the parties will go to court.
Property disputes in de-facto and same sex relationships (domestic relationships) are dealt with under the Property Law Act 1958 (Vic). A domestic relationship is a relationship between two people (regardless of gender) who live together as a couple on a domestic basis but are not married. The domestic relationship must have existed for at least two years for an application for a property dispute to be made under Part 9 of the Property Law Act . If there are exceptional circumstances, for example children being born out of the relationship, this two-year period can be waived. The relationship must have ended after 8 November 2001 for Part 9 to apply.
The type of property divisible in a property settlement includes assets, cash, real estate, investments, insurance policies and superannuation. Debts are also taken into account. In a domestic relationship, as governed by the Property Law Act , superannuation and retirement benefits are not included in a property settlement. In making an order for property settlement, the court calculates the total pool of assets of the parties.
The division of these assets is based on both contributions made by each of the parties to the asset pool and future needs. The contributions of the parties include non-financial contributions, which means a homemaker will not be disadvantaged in this assessment. Future needs takes into account who is responsible for the daily care of the children, earning capacity, age, health and the financial circumstances of any new relationship. The aim is to distribute the property fairly between the two parties.
If you believe your partner is going to dispose of assets before the total pool of assets is calculated you can obtain an injunction to stop the sale taking place. Bank accounts and proceeds from the sale of any assets that has already taken place can also be frozen.
A party can apply for ongoing spousal maintenance if they can prove they are unable to support themselves. This application must be made within 12 months of divorce. An application for spousal maintenance is often included with an application for property settlement so that all financial issues are dealt with at once.
Spousal maintenance cannot be applied for where a domestic relationship exists.
If an agreement is reached between the parties, they can apply to the court for consent orders. This will make the agreement enforceable by the courts in case of dispute. Consent orders, once made, are final. A party must prove fraud, impracticality or other exceptional circumstances if they wish the consent orders to be set aside or varied.
If a party is not complying with the orders made, an application can be made to the court for enforcement. In this application, the party applying must set out exactly what the problem is. The court will then decide whether an order is needed to enforce the existing order.
A family law property settlement is an important process to go through after the breakdown of a marriage or domestic relationship. A property dispute can be settled by agreement between the parties or resolved by the court. Each case is unique and will be considered by the court according to its own circumstances. The court will not consider who is at fault in the breakdown of a relationship. Rather, it will be resolved on the basis of fairness and need.
Approximately half of marriages, in the United States, end in divorce. While not every married couple has children, it can be assumed that a large number of children are faced with their parents’ divorce each year. When parents decide to divorce it is their responsibility, for the well-being of their child, to discuss the divorce with their child. Many parents seek out additional resources, such as books, to make their discussion a bit easier or to answer questions that may be hard to answer on their own. There is a plethora of books for younger children, specifically between the ages of 4 – 9, that are specifically written about divorce. Many of the books are picture books with colorful illustrations concentrating on using simple concepts and a discussion of emotions. Aside from “self-help” type of books, there are fewer books on divorce available for pre-teen and adolescent children. While the needs of an older child are different from young children, a book addressing divorce can be helpful to an older reader.
Stereotypically, girls are most often classified as “readers”. Much of the pre-teen and adolescent fiction and non-fiction literature discussing divorce has female protagonists or themes aimed at young women. Parents of pre-teen and adolescent boys may need to search a bit more, but there are books with adolescent boys as the protagonists dealing with family issues like divorce.
Homesick, a 2012 release by Kate Klise, is a novel with a young male protagonist, appropriate for readers between 9 and 12 years old. The main character, Benny, lives with his parents who have separated. His mother has left the family and his father has hoarding issues. Many readers may connect with Benny and the pressure and need to be responsible in his crumbling home life. Reflected in a Kirkus Review, “Benny gets a job at the local radio station to scrape together money to pay the phone bill so he can stay in touch with his mother. She’s planning to get settled and return for him at the end of the school year, but Benny’s dad is spiraling downward fast.”
While Benny’s scenario may seem “too big to be true”, children of divorced parents may relate to Benny’s situation and his feelings. Sometimes a story, bigger than their own, might make a child feel better about their own situation.
Children, of any age, may benefit from tools, such as literature, when dealing with divorce in their family. Parents and children can connect through literature and gain a better understanding about divorce. Literature can remind children, of any age, that divorce is not their fault, not their responsibility, and despite the situation, a parent’s love still remains before, during and after the divorce.
For more information about divorce please visit the website of Charles Ullman, a Cary, NC Divorce Lawyer at divorcelawnc.com.
It is difficult to work out how to approach an article about the true cost of divorce in the UK.
For example, it would be possible to spend time discussing the emotional cost on both parties (as well as other people who might be affected, including any children), with this emotional cost generally increasing in line with the breakdown in trust and communication that is often associated with drawn-out legal disputes relating to a divorce.
It would also be possible to consider this from the perspective of the financial damage that is caused to a couple when they decide to separate, resulting in them needing to spread their assets and income much more widely in order to pay for 2 houses and separate lifestyles.
Each party to a divorce as also likely to have a view about how those assets and income that they consider to be their “own” ending up being shared with the other person, thus resulting in what they perceive to be an unfair cost. For example, any money from a recent inheritance might need to be shared with their spouse as well as part of their future income even after a divorce has been finalised.
Whilst all of the above issues are very important ones to examine when considering the true costs of a divorce, the aim of this article is to focus purely on the actual costs associated with the divorce process itself as I feel that these are often very unclear when the divorce process is started.
Part of the problem with addressing the issue of divorce costs is that in some ways this is similar to trying to establish the length of a piece of string as it is possible to spend anywhere from hundreds of pounds to tens of thousands of pounds on a divorce. To understand this, I will try to examine some typical scenarios for managing the divorce process:
1. DIY divorce
Whilst the removal of most forms of legal aid has essentially ended the possibility of a government-funded divorce, it is still possible to run the divorce process yourself. This will mean that the only costs associated with the divorce process are the court fee (which went up in July 2013) of £410, that now covers the full divorce process but that needs to be paid at the start of the process, and some minimal photocopying/postage costs. Whilst it is always advisable to consider whether independent legal advice would be appropriate, especially when there are children and complicated financial issues to discuss, there is no reason why someone who is comfortable with filling in forms and reading guidance notes should not consider a DIY divorce as an option if saving money is the priority and a very helpful government website can be found at https://www.gov.uk/divorce/overview
2. Online divorce websites
In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of companies offering to run the admin side of the divorce process via online websites, with some of these offering a divorce from as little as £37, although you will of course need to pay the £410 court fee and, if the divorce process does not go through as smoothly as hoped, you will then need to decide who to turn to for advice. Whilst I have had a number of clients who have used these websites with apparent success, this is only once the divorce process itself has been agreed in mediation, and it is important to consider whether you want to put something as important as a divorce in the hands of a faceless website rather than choosing to undertake a DIY divorce or instructing a solicitor to manage the divorce for you.
3. Fixed fee divorces
There has also been a growth in recent years in fixed fee divorces being offered by solicitors and it is likely that the competition in this area will become even fiercer in the coming years, thus leading to further reductions n the fixed fees. The advantage of these fixed fee arrangements is that you have some level of transparency with the fees involved but you will need to make sure that the £410 court fee has been included and check how the costs are likely to change if the divorce process is less straightforward than hoped e.g. if the other party defends the divorce or does not engage in the divorce process. If you choose carefully, then you should be able to find a suitable solicitor to process a straightforward divorce for somewhere between £1,000 and £1,500 including court fees.
4. Open ended divorce fees
When you instruct a solicitor to run the divorce process that is not on a fixed fee basis, it is vitally important that you ask for clear guidance about costs and that you ask to be updated if it looks likely that the initial costs estimate will be exceeded. Failing to do this will leave you open to running up bills of thousands of pounds as your solicitor writes letters, makes phone calls and runs up additional costs at an alarmingly high rate, especially if there is any suggestion that the other party (0r their solicitor) is not in agreement with running the divorce process the way that your solicitor wants to run it. Ultimately, this could result in a contested divorce that costs each party tens of thousands of pounds,
Whilst the general examples above give a flavour of the choices that you have when considering a divorce and their respective costs, the big problem here is that all of these choices are designed purely to result in a divorce, thus meaning that there are often issues relating to the caring of any children that are unresolved.
Also, it needs to be understood that, unless a separate application is made for finances to be considered, you will not have resolved any issues relating to the finances, such as the ownership of the family home, the division of pensions and whether or not there should be future maintenance payments from one party to the other. Failing to address these issues at the time of divorce means that the window for one party to apply for a finance order remains open for many years and can lead to punishing legal bills in the future, not to mention the fact that it is likely that one or both parties will be in a financially vulnerable position without a court order to enforce any financial agreements that might have been reached either explicitly or implicitly.
It is therefore vitally important that you ensure that the finances (and children’s arrangements) are carefully considered during the divorce process and it is here that the true costs of divorce start to emerge. It is extremely difficult for the parties themselves to properly address the finances as the laws relating to finances are complex and there are many pitfalls to be avoided, with it being likely that the end result will either be one that is highly favourable to one party or one that damages the finances of both parties. It is also extremely difficult, if not impossible, for these issues to be dealt with by any online website or by any fixed fee package, as each situation will be unique, leaving just the option of open ended fees with solicitors and it is here where the true costs of divorce will become apparent. Some fortunate people who choose their solicitor carefully may receive all the advice and assistance that they need for a few thousand pounds each but there is a risk that the bills will exceed £10,000 per person and potentially go a lot higher, especially if any court intervention is required.
Of course, this is where family mediation can and should play its role. It should be possible for a suitably trained and experienced mediator to guide both parties through the divorce process (but with the parties completing their own paperwork or using one of the other options above once the divorce process has been agreed in mediation) and to, in the vast majority of cases, assist them to reach agreements about the children’s arrangements and the proposals for a full financial settlement, at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred between solicitors. It is likely that both parties will benefit from receiving some independent legal advice in parallel with the divorce process, as well as there being a need for any mediation proposals to be turned into legally binding agreements (or court orders) by a solicitor, but these legal costs should be comparatively very small.
Whilst each case is going to be different, from my experience it should be possible for all of the issues to be addressed properly within the mediation process for somewhere between £500 t0 £1,500 per person, with then just the court fees and some specific legal costs to add to this, giving a total cost of somewhere between £1,000 and £2,500 per person for the full process (but with there being additional costs involved if financial advisers or other experts are instructed during the process). As a mediator, I am aware that these costs are still significant for most people but I am also very aware of how much money will have been saved by both parties if they are able to reach agreements via the mediation process. I hope that this article goes some way to help others to become aware of the potential costs of divorce and to then enable them to make informed decisions about how to approach a possible divorce in the future without suffering from large legal bills or other unexpected and unnecessary costs.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I look forward to reading your comments.
Godalming Family Mediation
(US family/divorce law & general tips) Most of us would agree that “things” have gone wrong long before you realize you must look for and pick a divorce attorney. Whatever is wrong with your marriage did not sneak up on you – it has been in the works for years. But you probably did not get much warning before the emergency alarm bells started to ring in your head. You may have discovered your spouse was cheating on you. Or one of you may have moved out of the marital home. The most clear-cut emergency alarm bell may have taken the form of a process server appearing at your door.
Whatever the case, you fell into a situation where you had to pick a divorce attorney really fast. That means you must make one of the most expensive, critical, and life-changing purchases in your entire life, and you must do it really fast. That is not the best of combinations to face. But if you follow this quick list you will find the decision a bit easier:
1. You have 20 days to respond to the petition if you have been served.
This timeline could vary in different states. Normally the time to respond is on the court summons. What many people do not initially know is that a response can be put together and filed by an attorney in one day. Most responses are not a big deal. They usually consist of boilerplate provisions and are easy to bang out. So that means you have more time to pick an attorney than you think. Don’t rush out and hire an attorney in one day. This is way too important a decision to make in a dire rush.
2. Do not call around for pricing and make a decision solely based on price.
There is an old saying: “statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics.” For this discussion we can modify that saying: “prices don’t lie, but liars use prices.” Understanding divorce attorney prices can be very difficult because most of the tactics regarding pricing will always be invisible. For example, you may find out the attorney that bills $100/hour is more expensive than the attorney with a billing rate of $300/hour. It all comes down to billing practices in that particular law office. One attorney might take four hours to draft your initial documents where another attorney takes one hour. Another example is where attorneys quote their initial retainer. An unusually low retainer might be “burned up” in the first two weeks of the case. A good attorney quotes a retainer that will cover a significant part of the case. That retainer should have some chance of covering your case through the end of mediation. Most cases end shortly after mediation. So a realistic retainer should be designed to possibly reach that goal.
3. Carefully examine the appearance of the attorney’s office.
Not all attorneys have an office in Trump Towers. But any office should be reasonably neat and organized in appearance. Are there stacks of papers all over the office? Does the office equipment appear to be held together with duct tape? Does the attorney have personal pictures or other personal items in the office that show a long-term presence? A disorganized office usually means a disorganized case. Take the hint when the attorney’s office is a complete disaster.
4. Is your prospective attorney willing to give real answers to real questions in the first meeting?
A good attorney never uses mystery and fact spinning to get your business. They are proud to show off their expertise. Giving good answers to potential clients is a way of showing there is more expertise available in the same person. Try not to waste the attorney’s time – but you should have some expectation of good answers for your initial questions. Attorneys that do nothing but sell themselves are a red flag.
5. Did the attorney promise specific results?
If they did promise results, this is a big red flag. Most state Bar associations prohibit promises of specific results. And the fact is that judges make decisions, not attorneys. Besides, wouldn’t it be silly for the attorneys on both sides to promise completely opposite results? How could they ever both be right? A good attorney will tell you the chances of success and then explain several possible scenarios based on your individual facts.
A good attorney will tell it like it is. Their pricing is transparent, ethical, and oriented toward the benefit of the client. They will show you their best in the initial interview and then continue to prove they are the correct pick by conducting an organized, cost-efficient case. Never make your decision on a moment’s notice. For a life-changing event, you must carefully choose who will best help you achieve your goals. Make sure you follow these easy steps and you will soon be on your way to a new life and continued happiness.
It has recently been reported in the Daily Mail that comedian Jason Manford and his wife Catherine have agreed to go their separate ways after having been married for 6 years with 3 children.
The article refers to the fact that it has been an amicable split and they actually decided to separate a year ago after simply “growing apart” but have remained friends. Indeed as a matrimonial solicitor dealing with the breakdown of marriages and divorce on a daily basis, I have come across quite a few ‘amicable divorces’ over the years. The most amicable fact to rely on for a divorce would be 2 years separation and both parties consent to the divorce taking place.
This could be the route that Jason and Catherine could be taking. It is however a myth that divorcing on the basis of 2 years separation is quicker than relying on another fact such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour. All divorce proceedings follow the same procedure and should take the same amount of time.
There is also a common misconception that you can divorce someone on the basis of ‘irreconcilable differences’, which again would be a more amicable way to divorce your spouse, however that fact does not exist here. It exists in the USA and I believe that if it were available in England and Wales, then most of the divorcing couples would issue a divorce petition based on ‘irreconcilable differences’. It would help to avoid inflaming an already difficult situation that divorcing couples find themselves in and there was an attempt to introduce a ‘no fault divorce’ in the 1996 Family Law Act, however it was rejected by Parliament. Therefore you can only rely on the facts of adultery and unreasonable behaviour if you wish to divorce on straight away as opposed to waiting 2 years or 5 years since separating.
Whilst I can definitely see why some couples may want to wait 2 years and issue an amicable divorce petition, most clients I speak to do not want to wait 2 years as they feel that their lives are being put on hold . There can also be risks in relation to the finances and parties acquiring assets since separation and whether their ex-spouse would have a claim to it or not. Whilst it is recommended for those that want to wait 2 years but wish to settle the finances that a separation agreement is prepared, this is not legally binding and it can be changed.
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.
When John and Emily married 15 years ago, they both thought the marriage would last a lifetime. After 10 years in a colonial-style home, 2 children and 3 dogs, their marriage looked picture perfect, especially with the white picket fence that surrounded Emily’s prize winning roses. Last year, John lost some investments and started gambling to ease his stress. His secret gambling made financial issues even worse. Emily, unaware of their family’s financial distress, continued her duties as a homemaker and volunteering at her daughter’s school. Had Emily known of the financial distress, she would have taken a job to help ease some of the debt, but because John was always in charge of finances, Emily had no idea of how bad their situation was. One weekend, John had gone on a “business trip” (which ended up being an expensive trip to Las Vegas) and Emily was unable to withdraw funds from an ATM machine. Shortly after John’s unsuccessful gambling trip, there marriage began to fall apart and divorce seemed to be the best option for their young children. Because Emily has little control of their money, she doesn’t know how to proceed with protecting her assets during the divorce. Charles Ullman and Associates understands that during divorce, life has been turned upside down and can cause financial and emotionally challenging moments. What can Emily do?
Avoid Losing Everything: Protect Your Assets
Often times, in a marriage, one spouse takes charge of finances. Unfortunately, in the event of divorce, the other spouse has no idea how to deal with their finances, leaving her/him at great risk for financial distress after a divorce. Protecting your assets during divorce can make the whole process a little less stressful:
- Familiarize Yourself with Financial Statements: Financial statements, tax forms and other important financial paperwork can be overwhelming, hard to organize, and even harder to understand, but it’s helpful to know how your household’s income is being spent. Even if you are not the “breadwinner”, you have the right to know where the money goes. If you find something suspicious or something you don’t understand (and don’t feel comfortable confronting your soon-to-be ex), talk to a financial planner, lawyer or accountant. Additionally, make sure you make copies of all the financial information and keep it in a safe place. When you meet with your divorce lawyer, he/she will help you decide what information you will need for your settlement. It’s better to be over prepared than not.
- Establish Your Own Credit: If you have a shared credit account with your spouse, it’s important to pay close attention to credit card statements, as one spouse may use a credit card more often than the other. If your spouse has poor credit, it may affect you, even after the divorce. If you are able, try to get your own credit card account before you divorce. While may stay-at-home, non-income earning spouses find it difficult to establish credit, The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) made changes allowing non-working spouses set up their own line of credit, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Additionally, it may be wise (if you don’t already) to set up your own bank account.
- Make Sure Your Name is One Everything You Own with Your Spouse: Depending on what you purchased together, if it is a valuable asset, make sure that your signature (as proof of part ownership) is on all the proper documents.
Divorce can be a financially, emotionally, and mentally exhausting process. While you should always have a good handle on your finances, even if you don’t make all the money, it is even more important during the separation or divorce process. Don’t let your divorce leave you penniless and powerless; get your documents in order!
Alan Brady is a writer who uses personal experience as inspiration to write about family, the environment, and business practices. He currently writes for attorneys.com which locates local child custody lawyers.
In 2005 a survey was done to determine what views are held by members of Generation Y in regards to marriage and traditional family life. Generation Y is defined differently depending on where you look, but for this article it will be defined as people born between 1981 and 2000. The survey found that 59% of respondents feel that living together, or cohabitating as a couple is an acceptable lifestyle choice, regardless of whether or not children are involved or marriage is the ultimate outcome. Only half felt that marriage is a particularly important social institution.
For someone born into the Baby Boomer or early X generations, this perspective is often completely unfamiliar or even bizarre. Cohabitation doesn’t seem nearly as scandalous as The Greatest Generation found it, but for older Americans the end goal for any relationship is still understood to be marriage. For Generation Y and even those on the younger end of Generation X, the phrase “it’s just a piece of paper” is tossed around as an argument against the importance of marriage. Children are less and less a motivation for marriage, and a study done by the Pew Research Center found that the number of children being born to unmarried women has gone up from 28% to 41% in the last twenty years.
When questioning what influenced these drastic shifts in social mores, the behavior of previous generations must be taken into account. Data collected from 1970 revealed that more than half of all marriages ended in divorce. Even though those numbers have gone down, the idea has stuck in the cultural consciousness, quoted blindly in television and movies, in books and online without stop. In the 80s and 90s, when the young Gen X and Generation Y kids were growing up, it was the most recent data available, and whether or not it remained accurate, it certainly felt that way to them. The children in a classroom whose parents weren’t divorced were often in the minority, and the question ‘are your parents still married?’ was eventually asked less often than ‘do you live with your mom, or your dad?’
For the generation of kids raised in what used to be called ‘broken homes,’ there is often a feeling of disdain for the institution that so gloriously failed their parents. Having experienced the dissolution of their own families as children, these adults now feel a responsibility not to create another generation of latchkey kids, and will often choose single-parenthood over an uncertain marriage. Of course, no marriage can ever be guaranteed, but living together for an extended period of time before they get married lets them feel like they know what they’re getting into, which may account in part for the rise in cohabitation. In 1960 there were approximately 430,000 unmarried couples in the Unites States living together; today that number is closer to 7.5 million.
The debate around gay marriage in this country has raged for decades, but never before has there been a generation who so consistently support it, although they seem somewhat ambivalent about the idea of getting married themselves. According to recent polling data from The Washington Post and ABC News, 81% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 believe that homosexual couples should be allowed to legally marry, in contrast to the 44-57% of people in previously polled generations. The rate of change in those numbers is shocking, and they seem to imply a certain amount of inevitability. Even ten years ago, the conversation centered on the possibility of civil unions or domestic partnerships, but this generation view that as a new version of ‘separate but equal,’ and they will have none of it.
What has been more damaging to the perception of the institution itself has been the battle over same-sex marriage. This generation grew up listening to incredibly vitriolic recriminations against the ‘gay culture’ and the violent defense of ‘the sanctity of marriage,’ while every couple of years or so one of the loudest voices would be silenced by a scandal involving an undercover male officer, underage pages, or the services found at RentBoy.com. The hypocrisy demonstrated by these behaviors has to an extent tainted the very concept of marriage, and for many members of Generation Y, the exclusion of same-sex couples makes it a discriminatory institution, and one they want no part of.
The primary benefits of marriage have generally come from two very important spheres of life: the religious and the economic. While most religions still value marriage as the linchpin of the family, the stigma and severity of judgment against those who don’t get married, who get divorced, or who have long-term relationships and children outside of wedlock has to a large extent been weakened. For the first time in American history, the number of people who say they either don’t believe or are unaffiliated with any religious tradition has risen to 16%, and when asked 46% of people between 18 and 25 years old say they do not regularly engage in religious ritual. This means that for many of them marriage is no longer a moral issue. Even the economic benefits are inconsistent, as many low income Americans have discovered that by marrying and combining their incomes they will lose access to desperately needed services, which amounts to a disincentive or even a hurdle to marriage.
Generation Y is one of the most college educated groups in history, but after the crash and Great Recession of 2008 they graduated to find themselves in line for entry level positions behind scores of recently laid off veterans in their fields. With mountains of student loan debt and only minimum wage jobs to support themselves, many of these young people were forced to move back into their parents’ homes for extended periods of time. While this is and has always been a step on the path to financial independence, it has further delayed marriage and kids for millions of young adults. Few people think seriously about getting married while living in their mother’s basement, after all.
These data seem to be creating a misconception that Generation Y is a generation afraid of commitment, distrusting of each other, and generally uninterested in forming emotional connections. Although they may discuss marriage in more practical terms than their parents or grandparents did, there is an element of the romantic in their perspective. They see relationships as partnerships, not hierarchies, which is a lesson that would have benefited many of those divorced Gen X couples, and their reticence about marriage seems to stem from a belief that it should be more about love and respect than tradition or religion.
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.
Getting a divorce is an incredibly serious decision and should be treated as such. This is a last resort that will tear apart your family, destroy your dreams for the future and put an end to what’s probably the most important relationship in your life.
Of course though sometimes divorce can seem like the only resort if you are constantly arguing and if you’re making each other unhappy rather than happier, or if you just don’t feel the love that you used to for that person anymore.
Often though there are other options even though it might not feel that way – you just have to be willing to try anything. Here we will look at some of the other things to try before you give up on your relationships once and for all.
Marriage counselling is something that can seem abhorrent to many people who maybe see it as potentially awkward, forced or embarrassing, or who perhaps lack faith in the whole concept.
Even if you don’t love the sounds of it though, you should always give counselling ago, just so that you can say you’ve tried everything. You may be surprised at just how insightful some counsellors can be, but more to the point you’ll find it sends an important message to your partner that you don’t want to give up.
You may also find that individual counselling can help. While you probably don’t see your dispute as your fault, it does take two to tango and if you aren’t happy in your relationship then this is going to come across in the way you deal with one another. Consider getting counselling then in order to deal with any issues that may be manifesting themselves in your relationships.
Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. If you wait until your divorce has gone through to realise this though then it’s of course going to be a little too late. Instead then, try spending some time apart from one another before you reach that point and see how much you find yourself missing your partner. At the same time, spending time on your own can help you to work through your problems and to gain perspective. Sometimes we just need some ‘space’ and some time to think, and going away for a few days can help us to come back with a new game plan, a new sense of perspective and a better idea of what you want from your relationship and from your partner.
On other occasions though, this is something you’ll need to talk through together. If there are things each of you are unhappy with, then simply raising your concerns with one another can make you more likely to come to a conclusion. Try listing the things you are unhappy with for instance, and explaining why you feel the way you do. Too many of us avoid honest, frank discussion because we don’t want it to turn into an argument, and ironically this will often mean that when those issues finally do come to the surface, they end up being much more intense and degenerating into a full blown argument where both parties lose their cool.
If you try to ‘re-draw’ the terms of your relationship, you can change things that you’re both unhappy with, or just introduce new rules and ideas to try and make things easier. Perhaps for the sake of your children, agreeing to maintain a friendly relationship but sleep in different rooms could be a workable solution and this could eventually lead to a rekindling.
The Other Issues
Sometimes a marriage or a relationship can be doomed by circumstances outside of your control. For instance, if you are both very stressed by your careers, your living arrangements, or illnesses in the family, then this might mean that you end up arguing and feeling very tense when actually you could have been perfectly happy together.
If you suspect this might be the case, then see if changing your circumstances can help to make your relationship easier again. Perhaps you could move somewhere new, or maybe you could address your careers. This is of course a lengthy process though, so to find out more quickly if this is indeed the cause of your problems, try taking time off to go on holiday together and see if you can re-find your rhythm.
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Beatrice Mackenzie is a regular blogger. She gives relationship tips and advice on her blog. She says choosing a divorce law firm can be a overwhelming task but with little patience and guidance anything is possible.
Parents’ rights in a divorce are discussed widely and regularly in family law, as you would expect. Grandparents rights, however, are talked about much less frequently. This is despite the fact that grandparents are often just as eager to see their grandchildren as parents are to see their children.
When parents separate grandparents can go from being part of a solid family unit in which they can see their grandchildren regularly, to people on the periphery of a broken family where there are no guarantees of visitation. Grandparents can find themselves out in the cold, even denied access to their grandchildren.
So what rights do grandparents have in divorce?
The truth is that, unfortunately, grandparents have very few rights when it comes to seeing their grandchildren. This sad truth is often very upsetting for people who want to see their beloved grandkids, but can’t, perhaps after an acrimonious divorce or separation.
What can you do if you are an estranged grandparent?
Don’t play the blame game – You may naturally want to side with your son or daughter when they separate, but maintaining a civil relationship with their ex is wise so that they are less likely to deny you access to your grandchildren.
Talk it through – The most successful post-separation relationships occur when families make a plan for visitation that everyone is happy with. Remind the ex-in-law that you are willing to take on childcare duties and that your grandchildren enjoy spending time with you. Remain calm as much as possible in these discussions as emotions are sure to be fraught.
Avoid the courts – Court action is usually expensive and cases can become drawn out, prolonging stresses within the family and making relationships worse.
Be realistic – You have to accept that your grandchildren’s time will be split between parents, other grandparents and extended family after a divorce or separation. You may therefore not see them quite as often as before the split, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a great and meaningful relationship with them as they grow up.
Seek help if necessary – If you have done everything you reasonably can and you are still being denied access to your grandchildren, you can seek legal advice from a family lawyer. The aim should be to find an amicable solution outside of the courts.
Author bio: Sam Butterworth writes for Stowe Family Law, the UK’s largest specialist law firm, run by senior partner and TV legal expert Marilyn Stowe.
(U. S. Family Law and generally) Child support is an important aspect of the legal system, especially when a couple separates or divorces. After all, it is during these time periods that emotions tend to run extremely high, and that can cause one or both of the parents to shirk their parental responsibilities in lieu of getting a so-called revenge against their former partner or spouse. Therefore, it is necessary for the legal system to impose specific guidelines that determine how much child support must be paid on a monthly basis and which parent is responsible for paying it to ensure that the child’s needs are taken care of.
Abuse of the Child Support System
Unfortunately, not every parent who receives child support utilizes it in an appropriate way. For example, some parents will take the bulk of the money and use it on themselves. When this happens, the child is often left with only the most basic food and a lack of proper clothing and other necessary supplies. Although most parents would never do something like this, it is an issue that some children face, and it is important for the child to receive assistance as soon as possible. In other words, if you are parent who is responsible for paying child support, you need to keep an eye on the situation. If your child is always hungry and wearing old, ill-fitting clothing each time you have visitation, it is a good idea to petition the court to do an assessment of their living situation. This can be especially useful if you desire full custody because improper usage of child support can be construed as the actions of an unfit parent.
Adjusting Child Support
In some cases, it might become necessary to adjust the amount of child support that you are paying. However, the amount that was first set when your divorce was finalized is legally binding. Therefore, it is best to utilize your lawyer in order to file a petition to have the child support amount amended. You will need to have a good reason for your request, however. For example, if your salary has changed dramatically or if you have proof that you ex is not using the money properly, you can ask for a reduction. Unfortunately, not all judges will approve your request. Remember that Riverside County child support laws in California for example, can differ from say child support laws in Dekalb county Georgia. If you use a lawyer, however, your odds of making a strong enough case to receive proper consideration from a judge will be increased.
If you are on the receiving end of the child support and you believe that you are not getting enough money, you can also file a petition with the assistance of a lawyer. Because the child support is based on a formula that considers the amount of children that you have and the annual salary of both you and your ex, you should definitely consider filing a motion if you lose your job or your ex gets a promotion. There is nothing in place that will cause an automatic adjustment to occur if the financial status of one or both of the parents changes, so your only recourse is to ask a judge to increase the child support based on the evidence that you submit.
Regardless of which side of the child support you are on, it is important to do your best to remain civil with your ex. After all, this is not only in the best interests of your children, but it will also help you in front of a judge.
Freelance author Anthony Joseph enjoys writing about the laws that affect children, and contributes this article toward raising awareness on child support issues. The Riverside County child support lawyers from Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, know that these laws can either work for you or against you. They have more than 140 years of combined experience, and know exactly how to provide a successful legal defense.
Family justice minister Lord McNally has pledged an extra £10 million towards helping people bring their marriage to an end using mediation. The money is set to be used to fund extra mediation services, which are often used to avoid couples having to fight in court.
Mediation is a useful tool which can avoid upsetting and costly court battles, and might be appropriate for situations involving children or where there are a variety of different assets to split – property or cash for instance.
In a statement the Ministry of Justice said that the additional funding may help couples to avoid the “traumatic and divisive effect of courtroom battles”.
Lord McNally commented: “Going through a divorce or separation can be an emotionally draining and stressful time for everyone involved, especially for children. All too often money is wasted on expensive and traumatic court hearings that can take far too long to resolve – and that is why we want to help people to use mediation, a quicker and simpler approach which brings better outcomes.”
According to figures quoted by the Ministry of Justice the average cost incurred when resolving property and finance disputes in a divorce is around £500 – this figure increases to approximately £4,000 if these separation issues are settled in the courts.
As well as this, the average mediated case is resolved in a quarter of the time of a non-mediated dispute.
It’s positive that steps are being taken to resolve divorces in a way which save time, heartache and money for both sides. Many couples who have taken the painful decision to legally part ways may not realise that mediation is an option, but many law firms will offer it before pursuing a court resolution.
If you are interested in mediation then it is vital you opt for a legal professional with the knowledge and experience necessary to deal with complex cases. The most skilled mediators are those who strike the balance between professional and personal, bringing both legal skills and a sense of concern to their clients.
Hattons Solicitors have a dedicated team of family law solicitors specialising in family law including cohabitation agreements, divorce law and separation.