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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.

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.

Divorce Means No Insurance

The dissolution of marriage comes along with many changes for both parties involved. One of the many drastic changes is the difference in lifestyle. The division of assets puts a brand new perspective on a lot of everyday things when spouses are no longer together. Sometimes the division of assets affects the woman in a divorce more severely than the man, and this is because many marriages still see the male as the breadwinner and the woman as the homemaker. Therefore, a divorce for many women also means losing health insurance protection.

Without health insurance, many women are left stranded to fend for themselves should an injury occur or some type of medical emergency. Most insurance plans through a place of business is far less expensive than that of an independent plan. This presents yet another problem as women who have been homemakers for so long probably do not have sufficient skills to obtain a job, and consequently the benefits that come with it. Paying out of your own pocket for health insurance is costly to say the least.

Crunching the Numbers
A recent University of Michigan study revealed that roughly 115,000 American women lose their private health insurance annually after a divorce, and about half of them do not get replacement coverage.

Women who fall into this category often find themselves out of insurance for a significant amount of time. The stats show that women’s overall rates of health insurance coverage remain depressed for more than two years after the divorce. When conducted, the study looked at data that spanned four years and observed women who were married, remained married, or divorced at some point during that time. They found that approximately six months after divorce, 15 to 20 percent of women lose their health insurance coverage.

Women from moderate income families, meaning those making between two or three times the federal poverty level (or about $46,000 and $70,000 for a family of four), are at high risk of losing insurance in a divorce. Under the law, these families technically make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private health insurance coverage. This becomes a dilemma for many families, and they begin to struggle.

Other Ways to Survive
Not having health care altogether is not the only option for divorced women who were dependent on their spouse for insurance previously. Federal law allows ex-spouses to extend their coverage through the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as COBRA, for up to three years. But premiums for this kind of coverage are expensive because the individual picks up the entire cost of the policy. However, this does allow the ex-spouse to be insured, and gives them ample time to find a policy through either new employment or of their own accord. Some states even employ programs that allow an ex-spouse to simply pay the premium of the employer-based insurance, rather than the costly COBRA plan.

So, all is not lost, but be alert during a divorce, since the division of assets can often mean that the luxuries and the small things we often do not think about are taken away. Always be prepared, and where ever possible, discuss with a spouse just how you will be taken care of post-divorce, health care especially.

Divorce, Separation, & Annulment

 

When a dissolution of marriage is at hand, couples often struggle to weigh their options as far as how to handle all aspects of the situation. There are a number of different options to chose from, but all is dependent on the terms on which the spouses are ending their marriage, how the marriage itself occurred, and when.

When couples decide to end their relationships, they usually have three choices: file for divorce, become legally separated, or get an annulment. However, couples usually do not know the difference between each option, or the advantages and the disadvantages. Here is a brief overview of the three marriage dissolution options.

Divorce
Divorce, or the dissolution of a marriage, is the legal process in which spouses legally terminate their marital union. Under the law, this means the spouses are agreeing to relinquish themselves from the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Along with this official divorce procedure, there are many issues the couple must address. These issues include, but are not limited to: child custody, child support, division of assets, division of debt, and spousal support.

Each state has its own specific and unique divorce laws and has different residency requirements. Conventional divorces (those not done online) typically take around six months to be finalized. When a couple finalizes a divorce, each party is no longer liable for any future debt of the other spouse and no longer has to equally share their income and profits with the other spouse.

Legal Separation

Legal separation, also known as a judicial separation, is a legal process in which a married couple formalizes their separation but remain legally married. This often occurs before the finalization of a divorce. Legal separations are granted only through a court order in the county of the state in which the spouses reside. When a couple files for a legal separation, they address the same issues as in a divorce, such as child custody and spousal support.

One of the benefits of a legal separation is that certain rights are not eliminated, such as access to social security and medical benefits, which is why many couples choose to take this option. Another advantage is that a legal separation does not take long to finalize. In addition, if a couple decides to move forward with a divorce, the court will use the separation agreement as a template for the divorce settlement agreement. However, each state varies in their laws regarding legal separations.

Annulment

An annulment is very similar to a divorce in that it does indeed dissolve a marriage. But, an annulment differs from a divorce in that a judge will proclaim the marriage null and void. In other words, the marriage is considered to be invalid from the inception and there is no legal record of its existence. To be granted an annulment, the parties must have legal grounds for an annulment; again, these legal grounds vary depending on the state. Grounds for an annulment include: fraud, concealment, inability to consummate the marriage, or a marital misunderstanding. A religious annulment differs from a civil annulment in that each religion has their specific grounds for annulment, which also varies upon religion.

Divorced: Forever Changed

 

The definition of marriage has long since been the union of two people in holy matrimony, those two people being clearly defined under law as a man and a woman. However, with change being at the heart of the nation right now, and ever intertwined with the platform of the leader of the free world, it was only a matter of time before the law was changed in order to catch up to the times.

Civil unions and common law marriages have often been the extent to which same sex couples were allowed to be joined under the law, and only in certain states. This is changing, and more traction is being garnered for marriages and divorces alike between same sex couples to be recognized under the law.

Change
One of the key components to any legally binding agreement is the piece of paper telling all those who inquire that it is recognized as such. Divorce papers, marriage certificates, and even birth certificates are all things that tell the world that an event has been recognized under law.

With the mass amount of change coming under many of the clauses comprising family law, the Washington state Health Department will be changing marriage and divorce certificates in response to the same-sex marriage law that takes effect December 6th. This new change means that words such as “bride,” ”groom,” ”husband,” and “wife” will likely be erased from these documents, to not discriminate against any gender or otherwise. The department wants to use gender-neutral terms in order to be more progressive, to adapt to the ever-changing world, and to be correct under the law.

Replacements
All signs, as of now, point to the replacement words on all certificates being something in the area of  ”Spouse A” and “Spouse B”, with names being inserted next to these titles, to ensure no confusion on any further documentation. But the forms will still include gender so the state can track the number of same-sex couples in the state.

The face of divorce is changing one step at a time. With these new changes to the documentation, the law is seeing changes that are enlarging the umbrella everyone falls under. When these laws were conceived and first instituted, they were closed off and put each person in a box. The bottom line is, this is simply not how anyone is meant to be “categorized.” With the ambiguity of the new documentation, everyone can be free from being squeezed into a predetermined box and can be better identified under the law.

Texas Courts Allow Divorce Without Lawyers

In today’s economy, budgets are often a necessity. Even marriages with two working spouses have trouble keeping up with all the bills and living comfortably. Yet when divorce enters the picture, it can quickly become a very expensive ordeal. However, Texas lawmakers voted on a motion to help low-income families, and those filing for an easy, uncontested divorce to use forms that will allow them to move through the process without hiring an attorney.

Legal Aid

Recently reported from Texas, six of the nine Supreme Court justices have voted to approve the use of forms allowing  couples to file for divorce in Texas without hiring an attorney. After months of back and forth battling it was finally put to a vote, much to the ire of the group of family lawyers who vehemently opposed the motion.

The reason given by the lawyers was that these legal forms could lead to confusion and many legal complications if/when mistakes are made in the filing process. However, it has been reported that pro bono and legal aid attorneys can only reach about 20% of the divorce service demand last year.

In its Infancy

Back in 2011 a group of lawmakers, including lawyers, judges, and other experts, and the Texas Access to Justice Commission came together to help create the newly approved forms. The opponents of these forms, who are mostly made up of practicing attorneys, have stated that citizens will be unable to navigate the legal system without the help of an attorney. However, as you can see by the MyDivorceDocuments.com website, and the recent rise in online divorce forms, that is just flat out untrue.

What’s in a Form?

The forms may only be used by couples without children or real estate who are seeking a divorce without the aid and expenses of an attorney. The forms are said to be simple and straight forward to help make the judicial part of the process more efficient going forward. The forms are available now, but as a result of a public comment period that will last until February they may undergo some changes.

An even better route for couples both with or without children in preparing Texas divorce forms is filing for an online divorce. At MyDivorceDocuments.com we have already helped served many citizens in Texas with a logical and 100% legal way to help file for an uncontested divorce; helping save time, money, and stress for those couples who know they want to move forward but are dreading the process. To find out more about online divorce forms and how to file for an online divorce in Texas, visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com today.

Bizarre Divorce Story from Across the Globe

 

Throughout the years politicians have been caught doing some downright despicable things. Some closeted skeletons eventually find their way out and justice prevails. However, in a less democratic country in which the two words “Sharia law” are still bantered about comes the unnerving evidence of just how unfair some situations can be.

Divorce Woes in Indonesia

From Jarkarta, Indonesia comes a story of an imbalance of social power and divorce. Aceng Fikri is a local head of the district Garut in West Java, Indonesia. Fikri, already married with children, decided to take a second wife. While few Muslims practice polygamy, it is not against Indonesian law. However, civil servants are prohibited from taking second wives because of the strict regulation upon their private lives.

Questionable Ethics in Any Land

Fikri already caused a stir by taking a second bride, who also happened to be 16 years old, named is Fani Oktara. Although 16 is the legal age for marriage in Indonesia, as stated, Fikri was already married with children. After the marriage, Fikri claimed that Oktara was not a virgin as she claimed and wanted to dissolve the marriage. Fikri divorced Oktara through a text message, which he later claimed he was allowed to do due to Sharia Law. The subsequent fallout and public outrage culminated after Oktara and her family filed a police complaint stating Fikri falsified his marital status, along with defamation of character and unpleasant conduct. Many citizens have protested in Garut, calling for his resignation. Many hope to use this case as an eye-opener to change of the common cases of human trafficking, the illegal sex-trade, and the exploitation of women which have been a widely known problem in the province of West Java. Also, how many times are the ideas of Sharia Law and text messages connected in the same sentence?

It is a far cry from the problems couples commonly face in Western Civilizations, and seems to make the divorces of celebrities and millionaires very self serving, self-centered, and disenchanting. Divorce is no laughing matter, no matter which country and set of laws one may live under. Knowing the divorce procedures can better arm you, whether you are husband or wife, to make your divorce a smooth as possible. To learn more about the U.S. state divorce laws, or how you can qualify for an uncontested online divorce, visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com today.

The Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce

Legal separation and divorce, contrary to some thinking, are considered two separate things. However, many of the stipulations in legal separations, as well as the rights that one person has when entering legal separation, are comparable and similar to that of a divorce. Legal separation allows couples who may consider their marriage to be “failing” make a temporary arrangement of separation, while it is understood they will  continue to work out their problems, as they still remain legally married. Reconciliation is the goal in legal separation and can be issued, like divorce, through a court order.

Specifics

In a sense, legal separation is a form of temporary divorce. While the word divorce implies a permanent separation, legal separation is meant to be temporary and does not automatically lead to divorce. Couples can reconcile, but if they wish to move on and get a divorce, they will have to go through the divorce process dictated by where they live.

The legal separation process and relief offered, however, is very similar to divorce; in some situations in can mirror the process of divorce. For example, a court can grant legal separations due to “irreconcilable differences leading to the breakdown of the marriage.”

Legal separation also can allow both parties to set provisions and guidelines concerning the following areas:

  1. Child Support
  2. Child Custody
  3. Visitation
  4. Division of Marital Property
  5. Spousal Support
  6. The Marital Home
  7. Health Insurance Benefits
  8. Life Insurance

The Difference

The lines can often be blurred when it comes to individual differences between legal separation and divorce. As stated, it’s more of an overarching difference meant to give marriages a chance to take a break in an attempt to solve their issues and move forward, rather than just having a black and white decision of marriage or divorce.  Some of the differences specified between legal separation and divorce will vary due to the state’s laws and jurisdiction when handling these kinds of cases.

Although MyDivorceDocuments does not provide legal separation papers, those who have tried legal separation and decided to move forward with a divorce can benefit from an inexpensive online divorce. Online divorce is meant to help couples who amicably understand their marriage is over and can agree to certain grounds to pursue an uncontested, no-fault divorce. To learn more about an online divorce or to get started on the divorce forms, visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com today.

New York’s New Strange Divorce Law

New York has never played by common divorce laws adopted by basically every other U.S. state, so it’s no surprise the little stubborn state is making waves again. This time the Empire State is getting flack for their alimony laws. More specifically, the way New York divorce courts recognize degrees obtained during a marriage is under scrutiny.

Case in Point

In a Wall Street Journal article on the subject, an example of the unfair New York alimony laws was found in the divorce case between Tanya Finch and Kenneth Quarty. The couple married in 2000, around the time Finch started working on her nursing degree. The couple divorced in 2009, by which time Finch had received her nursing degree. During the divorce, Quarty requested and was eligible to receive a percentage of the money Finch would potentially earn as a direct result of the degree she earned during their marriage.

Quarty was able to obtain this “potentially” earned money upfront because of the New York divorce law that recognizes a degree or professional license as marital property. New York courts calculate the lifetime worth of the degree, and divide that value into two as a part of the marital estate. This practice and New York’s other strange divorce laws have been petitioned and submitted for review.

Who Really Owns Your Degree?

When people enroll in any college, university, trade or skilled craft course, they anticipate the moment when they will receive a certificate of completion with their name on it. However, based on the New York law, that certificate or diploma might as well be reprinted to state the alumnus’s spouses’ name as well as the alumnus’s. In fact, any employee may as well include their spouses name on their payroll account because the state of New York also views any profits from any career as marital property.

New York’s law is not unfounded completely because any spouses income is in theory supplemented and supported by the other spouse’s support, which can be as menial as washing dishes while the student spouse is studying.

Why, Oh, Why?

However, New York lawyers and divorcees are not fighting the order to pay spousal support or maintenance. New Yorkers are astonished by and fighting the courts’ ability to grant “potential income,” which is money a person has not earned yet. New York citizens are frozen stiff at the sheer amount of money they “owe” their divorced spouse, most of which they are not even expected to have at the time of ruling.

The New York alimony regulations were originally fashioned to level the playing field for low-income, dependent spouses of a divorce. Yet in these changing times, the inequality of the laws and regulations have been exposed. Currently, New York law makers are waiting for the Law Revision Commission report before taking measures to change this piece of legislature.