Category : Divorce Issues

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The Divorce Year in Review

Sadly, the nation’s eyes and ears have become fixated on celebrities and their ludicrous actions. From week-long marriages to rehab stints, there is no shortage of brain-shrinking fodder that gets more attention on TV. In what would be the honor, or more acutely the exact opposite, let’s take a look at 2 incidences of behavior that would absolutely be an undeniable sign of divorce, and, more than likely be convincing evidence of the need for a complete psychological evaluation.

What Happened to You, Ochocinco?

It’s all fun and games until you cease to catch touchdown passes, start allegedly head butting your spouse, and tattoo your ex’s face on your leg. Chad Johnson has been in the news for more serious matters allegedly assaulting his then wife, Evelyn Lozada, who to be fair is no stranger to reality show type behavior since she earned her “fame” as a direct result of being on a reality television show. But Chad’s questionable decision of responding to his situation, serious charges, and divorce by getting a large tattoo of Evelyn’s face on his leg is nothing if not cringe worthy.

Everything About Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries “Marriage”

If ever there was a social reason why we should continue the search for intelligent life on other plants so part of the global population could either join them or possibly ship families like the Kardashian’s to that planet, this scenario would be Exhibit A. Still getting dragged through the media muddied waters, reporting on their divorce proceedings seem to have become some kind of Newtonian Law that mainstream media must follow, or else the earth’s gravity may reverse. That can be the only explanation as to why any human with normal cognitive reasoning levels would continue to care or think there is a any reason that anything about this situation is worth spreading.

These scenarios are truly frustrating because marriage and divorce is a serious matter. There are numerous psychological and social studies that explore divorce issues, like how to properly cope with the emotional trauma that is associated with the breaking up of the nuclear family. But celebrity divorces seem to ignore the fact that divorce is no joke and should not be taken lightly. Many families will go through the divorce process unprepared emotionally, legally, or financially, and never view divorce as flippantly the way the media seems to view divorce. While it is understandable that not all relationships will work out, the sacredness of marriage and the dissolution of marriage should not be viewed so carelessly.

A Brief History of Divorce

Divorce, as we have discussed in our blogs and throughout this site, is prevalent in today’s society. Many researchers point to every little move as either the end of marriage as we know it, or a sign that people are losing their morals. The fact is, divorce, regardless of its time, place, or numbers, has had a place in society for hundreds of years. Different cultures throughout history have had their own way of dissolving marital unions. Some dissolution customs were pretty harsh, but it was the way of the times when religion reigned supreme. Not to bring religion in to the picture, but marriage and its numerous customs are related to religious beliefs.

Medieval Europe

In the post Roman Empire world, familial life was governed and influenced more by religious beliefs and customs than it was by civil courts. As time passed in the 9th and 10th century, the number of divorces had been greatly reduced by the authority of the church so that it became almost unthinkable to approach the subject. The view of divorce, as the process is known today, was for all intents and purposes prohibited after the tenth century. However, a separation of husband and wife, and the annulment of marriage did exist. What is today referred to as “separate maintenance,” otherwise known as legal separation, was termed “divorce a mensa et thoro” (which translates to “divorce from bed-and-board”). The husband and wife were physically separated and were then forbidden to live or cohabit together; but their marital relationship did not fully terminate.

Lack of Civil Influence

In medieval Europe the civil courts had no power over marriage or divorce. Any grounds for annulment were determined by church authority and were accordingly applied in the ecclesiastical courts. Annulment was given for very limited reasons, and was the only consistent causes for a complete dissolution of marriage. The church held the unwavering belief that the sacrament of marriage made two people inseparable from each other. Applying this theory literally was the propensity of religious cultures at these times, especially the Christian church. As far as governing rules, when husband and wife became one person upon marriage, this act could only be completely dissolved or annulled if they initially entered into the sacrament improperly.

Those medieval notions of divorce are a far cry from today’s western view for sure. But it shows just how far back the desire and situations of dissolving marriages extends; and the truth is divorce and the dissolution of marriage goes back even further. So when we see “new” information or anyone take up in arms about the impending doom of marriage as we know it, know that it is just history semi-repeating itself. As cultures change, the beliefs in society either change as well. Our views on long-standing occurrences that have been in our culture will fluctuate with the times. Divorce has, and will be, around as long as people get married. Failures, as well as successes, in relationships will persist because it is an extension of a our faulty nature.

 

Pre-Divorce Filing Tips

Divorce is a messy business, but a business nonetheless. Entering into any business, one needs to know just how to survive and to stay afloat; otherwise, being in over your head is going to catch up, and fast.

One of the first things that needs to be done when entering into a divorce, that may be the hardest, is to try to separate the emotional aspects from the business aspects and be sure to get the help you need so you can get the best financial result possible. If a divorce is anything but amicable, the chances of an ex-spouse going for the jugular as far as finances is concerned is quite high. So here is a short list of things that you should do and think about before rushing to file for that divorce.

Finances, Finances, Finances

Understanding your current financial situation, in depth, is a key factor before entering into any divorce proceedings. Asking yourself questions like “What do I own and what do I owe?” are important. Be sure you know whose name certain assets are in, as well as whose name is on the debts. Credit can be ruined overnight if a spouse’s name is on a debt that is owned by the other spouse.

The Big Divide
Look into, properly allocate, and then separate your credit. Try to establish new credit in your name alone while removing your name from joint credit where possible. This will require closing joint credit cards and bank accounts. Start storing your own cash and assets in a new bank account. Setting up after the divorce is final will not be cheap or easy, so save for the immediate future now.

Think Ahead
Go over all wills and deeds; if your beneficiary choices are affected by the divorce, change them. also, consider your insurance needs: first, you’ll want to make certain that you’ll have uninterrupted health insurance. You may also want to consider requiring life insurance to guarantee continued alimony and child support, should your ex-spouse die prematurely. Decide now how college will be funded for any children involved within the dissolution. You can never plan too much. If you’re not the planning type, now marks a great point in your life to start.

The process of divorce is often a highly charged, emotional time. Don’t let the hectic, roller coaster of divorce lead you to make financial mistakes that can affect you for years to come. Plan ahead at all costs. Be rational and calm, especially in a dissolution that is less than amicable. Chances are, your ex-spouse is not thinking of your needs entirely, so look out for number one, and that’s you( and any children you may have).

What To Do In Cases of Domestic Violence

Regardless of your views on family structure and divorce, when it comes to domestic violence, getting out should be the only decision. Sadly, many people become victims of domestic violence each year, and countless instances are hushed up out of fear.  It is often times harder for someone to make the decision to leave than to actually leave and begin the divorce process. But once your mind has been made up, there should be no looking back.

Domestic violence is about fear, control, and the abuse of false power. If and when you decide to leave an abusive spouse, this could make the abuser lose even more control.. In other words, exercise caution when preparing an exit strategy.

Preparing to Leave

When you make the decision to leave an abusive relationship, you must be prepared for the subsequent fall out and repercussions. You are making the right choice for yourself, potential children involved, and your future. Here are some tips to take inconsideration before planning your escape; some tips are obvious, and some may not be:

  1. If you feel your safety is at risk, get a civil or criminal restraining order and have it in place before you leave.
  2. Have somewhere to go. Research local domestic violent safe havens and shelters.  Ask a friend if you can stay with her/him, or, if you can afford it, rent an apartment but keep your address from your spouse.

It is also important to remember to take important documents with you. Birth certificates, driver’s license, social security card, health insurance cards, credit cards, and all cards that are in your name. Also, if you can, take any property deeds or bank statements. It is also important to take any restraining or court orders you already have against your spouse with you. This may seem drastic, but only you know how your relationship has been and what you situation is.

Domestic Violence Statistics

The most unnerving thing about incidents of domestic violence are the thousands of cases that go unreported. Women, men, and children are all at risk of the residual effects that can go with an abusive relationship. Thousands of serious cases are reported each year, but even more go unreported. Here are some eye-opening stats about domestic violence in the U.S.:

  1. Every day in the U.S., more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends
  2. The costs of intimate partner violence in the U.S. alone exceed $5.8 billion per year. $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
  3. Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  4. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

Divorce in general is never optimal, but it is a necessity when it comes to abusive relationships. The severity and exposure to abuse can occur on such a wide range, form outright psychical abuse to passive aggressive, emotional abuse. No one deserves to or should live in an abusive  situation. Understandably, these situations are extremely complex, but knowing how to be prepared and what to do will help you when the time comes to make the decision to leave.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, don’t stay quiet, help them attain the freedom they deserve. But help can come in many different ways. For advice on how best to help, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

A Brief History of Divorce: Ancient Rome

 

Continuing our survey of the history of divorce in different cultures, we will now take a look into one of greatest ancient civilizations, ancient Rome. Divorce, like marriage in ancient times, slowly became diversified over time. Contrary to popular modern belief, divorce was a common occurrence in ancient Rome. Beginning with ancient pagan laws, men always had the power to end the marriage. Although this was usually reserved for more serious marital faults, such as adultery, other rules, such as making copies of the household keys, consuming wine, and infertility, could be used by the husband for divorce. For many centuries only husbands had this privilege, but wives were finally included to this process and given permission to divorce their husbands as Rome entered into the classical age.

Politics as Usual

Marriages in ancient Rome were often commonly used as a political tool by the upper classes; similarly, divorces were common when new political opportunities presented themselves. Anytime a new a situation arose, a man or woman would divorce their current spouse and marry a new one. A man or woman could form valuable family ties through their various marriages and divorces to different families.A motivated man or woman could,and would, marry and divorce a couple times in their lifetime if they thought they could continue to climb the political and social ladder.

Just Not Willing

An interesting yet obvious reason for divorce, besides serious marital fault, was the desire to no longer remain married to a spouse. In ancient Rome one of the intricate characteristics that defined marriage was the will to be married and an attitude of mind in regarding one another as husband or wife.  The marriage was considered to have ended when the will or attitude ended.A husband or wife could notify their spouse of their intent that they no longer desired to be married and the marriage would have considered to be ended.

Subsequently, divorce in ancient Rome was commonly a private affair and only the parties involved were aware of the situation. At no point did a divorce have to be recognized or ratified by either the church (in latter Rome) or state. Also, no public records were kept; the lack of any divorce records sometimes led to some confusion with the numerous marriages and divorces going on simultaneously.

Ancient Roman society and culture is so interesting in part because of how long the empire lasted and in part because of the paradigm shift in beliefs from the beginning of the empire until its fall near the 4th century. Beginning as a deeply rooted pagan culture, mostly borrowed from the earlier Greeks, Roman society, law, and most religion went through a transformation with the introduction and adoption of Christianity. The custom of marriage was always held sacred, but to our surprise, divorce was common and the laws surrounding it come off as lax when compared even to later culture in Europe. The lesson, as always, is where there is marriage, there is divorce.

5 Common Divorce Mistakes

The latest census poll shows the majority of divorcees of this era are divorcing their first spouse more frequently. This means that these people have never gone through an entire divorce process before and do not know all there is to know about the procedures and steps taken in order to properly and legally finalize a divorce.

The best way to better understand something is to educate yourself on the topic. That is why comprised below are a few of the most frequently made mistakes in the divorce process. Knowing what not to do will hopefully steer you in the direction of what to do.
#1. Believing your spouse will be fair and cooperative.

Divorces can be trying, lengthy and will usually always place stress on all involved. Most people facing a divorce are emotionally vulnerable and upset, and many are in a state of denial.  If a divorce is anything but amicable, always assume that your ex-spouse is going for the jugular. Going into a prize fight assuming your opponent will hit you softly will always end up with you on your back. In the case of divorce, you will never have the settlement you desire if you do not do all you can to obtain it.

#2. Lying to your lawyer.

Lawyers are your allies. They are your direct link to having a smooth and successful divorce. This can only come with complete and utter honesty. Lawyers have heard everything under the sun, and are typically professional about the ins and outs of their clients. Telling them absolutely everything, disclosing all information both good and bad, will ultimately help you in the long run when a decision is made in terms of your marriage dissolution.

#3. Lying in court.

If you do indeed have a trial, the result is directly affected by your credibility. Judges are generally experts at determining who is telling the truth and who is lying. This is because mass amounts of extensive research is done into the marriage and both parties themselves. Not only is lying in court a crime, but you are bound to be caught lying in court. Divorce lawyers have a duty to stop a proceeding and tell the court if he or she knows you are misrepresenting facts of any kind. If you have areas of your case that are sensitive, work with your lawyer on what you are going to say but do not misrepresent the facts.

#4. Allowing emotions rather than logic to rule your legal decisions.

Going through a divorce is most aptly compared to an emotional roller coaster. It is often hard to put feelings aside and keep an eye on the prize by being rational and sensible. As stressful as the situation may be, keeping composure at all times is best for all involved. If you let your emotions gain control, rather than reason and logic, you will undermine your case. Being reflective, versus being reactive, is the best way to approach the proceedings.

#5. Hiding or failing to produce documents.

You have an absolute right to see your spouse’s financial documents throughout all divorce proceedings; but this means your spouse absolutely has the right to see your financial documents too. This should not be a problem, as most couples share finances and share access. Although, on the off chance that separate accounts have been opened or are owned, both known to the spouse and unbeknownst, they need to be disclosed upon filing for divorce. Failure to do so will result in major repercussions. The court can force you to produce records, and order that you pay your spouse’s lawyer fees incurred in getting the records. Good clients and good lawyers produce documents quickly and voluntarily.

So, avoid these pitfalls at all costs. Be open and honest at all times, and let your case speak for itself. Do not make these mistakes, as they will hurt you and your case in the long run.

Caught Hiding Assets During a Divorce

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally complicated matter. Every divorce scenario differs, but each is the literal split in which tension has been building for some time, and in truth it can entice people to make questionable decisions. Filing for divorce is not a simple situation, and can be a long and tedious process. It is essentially laying everything on the table for the spouses to sift through everything accumulated throughout their years of marriage.  When it comes to the legalities of the divorce process things can get a bit tricky, especially with finances. In many cases a spouses might not disclose all their assets, or try to hide sources of money so it is not included in the fair split between the spouses during the divorce proceedings.

Withholding Assets

Discussing incomes, money, and assets within the divorce procedure can lead some to attempt to hide their value, or purposely mislead the courts and the spouse as to how much they are worth. Even though this is not an uncommon thing, full disclosure is the law and subject to severe repercussions. These situations most commonly include, but may not be limited to:

  1. Hide, understate, or undervalue certain marital property;
  2. Overstate debts;
  3. Report lower than actual income;
  4. Report higher than actual expenses.

Proof of Deception

According to a recent study by the National Endowment for Financial Education, financial deception in the divorce process is still a common occurrence. Part of the study took a look at divorce across the country and surveyed a number of divorced couples, and found 31% of adults who combined assets with a spouse or partner said they have been deceptive about money. Also within the study were other prominent findings, such as:

  1. Nearly three in five of those surveyed (58 percent) said they hid cash from their partner or spouse.
  2. More than half (54 percent) hid a minor purchase from their partner or spouse.
  3. An additional 30 percent hid a statement or a bill from their partner or spouse.
  4. 34 percent admitted they lied about finances, debt, and/or money earned.

When it comes to finances, people can make some amazingly unwise decisions. Divorce often becomes a time when people use emotional ammunition to convince themselves this deception is not only warranted, but justified. Keeping perspective and a level head during divorce proceedings can benefit spouses in ways they probably had not imagined. Keeping a level head about your divorce helps you qualify for an online divorce, allowing you to handle the splitting of assets honestly and quickly with your partner and can save you thousands in legal costs. Visit www.MyDivorceDocuments.com today and learn how you can save thousands and get on with your life.

Religious Conversion in Marriage & Divorce

Religion can often be a large factor in why spouses do not see eye to eye. One of the top 3 reasons, besides infidelity and financial matters, for divorce is conflict pertaining to religion. Many couples who are of different faiths typically marry under the notion they will raise any children from the marriage under one or sometimes both religions. One of the many solutions couples have found to this dilemma is to draft up a legal document stating the stipulations under which their family will be governed, as far as religion is concerned.

However, this written agreement would not be enforceable during marriage and it may not be enforceable in the event of a divorce either, depending on the language, the judge, and the jurisdiction. If you’re married and your spouse does not want to follow the terms of your initial agreement about the children’s upbringing, in many instances, the battle will end in a stalemate. There is no civil legal form to enforce this marital problem, so what do you do?

Loopholes & Lawsuits
So, even with a contractual agreement, signed by both parties, if a conflict does arise with regards to the religious upbringing of children, the matter has no weight unless a divorce is pending. It almost begs the question, “What is the point of the agreement, and how do couples solve the issue without dissolving the marriage?” The civil courts will not rule on a premarital contract regarding religion without a termination of marriage proceeding, i.e. divorce or separation. So, if your spouse changes his or her mind after the birth of the child, then you have a problem on your hands.

Divorcing a Religion

Some courts in New York have upheld these “agreements” to raise children with a specific religion, but again, the courts only ruled on the issue in a termination of marriage proceeding. Sometimes a judge wants to acknowledge the agreement and enforce it or a part of it, no matter who has primary custody.  In other situations, the courts first look at custody and then consider whether the agreement is viable

In many states, a civil premarital agreement does not address any custody, parenting, and support issues for future children, and this obviously includes religious rearing. Religion is generally determined by the parent of primary residence when couples are divorced or separated. Divorce often leads to bitter custody disputes, but when religion and the indoctrination of the child are dependent on the sole custodian, custody battles are intensified.

Not many are aware of the rules that coincide with religion and raising children within a marriage. However, even with said documentation, the law does not fully regulate religion and marriage. These papers will show proof of said agreement, but the problem is finding a judge willing to enforce the agreement in an intact marriage.

If your religion is a large part of your life, it is not a great idea to get involved with someone of another faith, unless they are willing to convert. When people have children, they often revert to and have a renewed sense of pride in the religion they grew up with. They often want to give their children the guidelines, traditions, and values that they grew up with themselves. Setting ground rules and sticking to them is a gamble; but discussing the place of religion in your family at length and theorizing all possible scenarios is good planning.

Kick the Post-Divorce Holiday Blues

The holidays are a time where you and your family celebrate by going overboard on decorations, food, plans, shopping, vegetating on the coach for hours, and driving literally all the way to grandma’s house. Well now that your divorced it’s time to get a new routine, but with the same holiday cheer and good will. Yes, it can be tough being a newly divorced spouse going through your first holiday, but it doesn’t have to be. This is a time when you can lean on your family and close friends for support. Keep things in perspective and you can even make some of these holidays the most memorable (in positive way) in a long time.

The Patient

Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your family. You will grieve your losses, or be angry about your current situation, but remember what you are really celebrating. You can use this time to find new meaning, a deeper connection, and richer joys that you might have missed if this divorce had not happened. Accept the tears. Take it one holiday at a time; enjoy the freedom and ability to be flexible in your potential plans. The true meaning of the holidays will never disappear, and this experience, as hard as it is, can bring a fresh understanding of that truth.

Simplify the Equation

For all the planning, cooking, cleaning, and other exhausting activities, people inevitably always complain and want the holidays to be simpler. A midlife divorce will make you look at your priorities. You usually have moved to a smaller place; you have less money; and you have less time if you have gone back to work. You have an opportunity to do what most people want to do. You have been forced to do something that may be a positive turning point in your family’s life. Take a look at your priorities and simplify.

Bend but Don’t Break Tradition

 

Keep the traditions you want. Try some new things. Find creative new ways to share the season and create positive memories by enhancing the real meaning of the holidays. Who says Thanksgiving has to be celebrated on the official Thanksgiving Day? If you don’t have the children on Christmas, have a tree-decorating party earlier in December. Make that a new tradition. An added benefit might be to make the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas less hectic, if that’s even possible in today’s world, divorce or not.

It’s Not Me it’s You

The holidays are really about sharing and being thankful. Spread the joy around. Expand your list of people to welcome into your celebrations. There are all kinds of people you could encourage during the holidays. Reach out to old friends, visit family members you rarely get to see. It’s ok to be that single guy or girl that travels around, a true modern holiday travel and family party crasher. The holidays aren’t just about you, anyway. They are about having a generous heart and a gracious spirit. Cultivate those characteristics and be grateful for every good thing you have.

Going through the divorce process is no easy task. Even after you’re done, you then have to get on with your life and rebuild. Whether it is a long, drawn-out legal process or a quick online divorce, the repercussions and immediate effects can be felt for a significant period of time. Your first holiday after getting divorced can seem like an emotional challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. You will find out it is easier to be happy in these moments than you may think.

Splitting Child Custody During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is like a test run for the rest of the season’s holidays for divorced families. There is always the awkward questions of which family the children will spend which holidays with. Divorce creates a messy family life, but with simple planning and cooperation this can be tidied up in a cinch. Each family is different, and so should each family’s holiday custody schedule.

Different Strokes

If you’re having a hard time figuring out your child’s holiday schedule, then here are a few ways it can be done. But again, remember a schedule that works for one family may not work for another; so feel free to alter these schedule examples to fit your needs.

Annual Alternating: The most common schedule is rotating holidays with the child. So one year one parent will have the child on Thanksgiving, and the next year the other parent will have the child on Thanksgiving. This option allows for a more relaxed holiday for both you and your child because there is no time table to be mindful of. The downside is the absence of one of the parents will be a little distressing the first few times for both the absent parent and the child.

Halfsies: Another option is to equally split the holiday with the child. For example, the child would spend the first half of the day with one parent and their family, and then the other half of the day would be spent with the other parent and their family. In doing this, you solve the issue of the parents and child missing the other’s company. However, for this to work the parents and families must live in fairly close proximity. Also, the day would be a bit more rushed and stressful because you’ll have the keep track of time.

Rescheduling the Holidays: If neither of the above options suite your needs, try celebrating the holidays at another time. In this scenario the child would celebrate with one parent and their family on the actual holiday, and then celebrate at a later (or earlier) time with the other parent and their family. This route avoids confusion, time tables, and stressful drop offs all together. But this also means choosing which family will enjoy the child’s presence on the holiday. This would work best if one parent’s holiday plans are already on a day other than the holiday, or if the parents live in different cities.

One Big, Happy Family: This is by far the most unconventional, high risk, high reward option, which is why we saved it for last. If your ex and their family are cordial with you and your family, you could try continuing to celebrate as one big, happy family. The child would feel completely secure within their family, in spite of the divorce; but this means the families would have to be on good terms. Before you try this option have frequent talks about the plans with both families. Maybe have a test run without the child to make sure there will be no fireworks during the holidays; fireworks are only pretty from afar.

There are a few factors to consider when devising a holiday schedule, like the child’s desires, the families’ wishes, the stress factor of the day, where everyone lives, and so much more. But the most important factor is what would make your child’s holidays fun, comfortable, and stress-free. Planning ahead is the key to happy holiday for any divorced family. Hope your Thanksgiving is stress free and pleasant!