SmartDivorceNetwork

Smart Divorce Network is a blogger-based community that gives divorce professionals a unique platform to share insights and knowledge. Smart Divorce Network is the leading destination for smart divorce discussions between peers. You can share your thought and/or your articles here.

You Had a Destination Wedding, How About a Destination Divorce?

Wedding

We spend a lot of money for our weddings and honeymoons. We send out invitations to our closest friends and if we are lucky, we book our wedding in places like Hawaii or Los Vegas, where we can choose when we want to party and when we want to stay in. It has been this way for many years. You can tell when the groomsmen are getting down and you might even see a group of women in matching tee-shirts with creative headwear.

Change in the parity scene

About ten years ago, there was a change in party planning. Groups of women began booking divorce parties. These women had been through the struggle of divorce and now it was over. These women were financially more established, and they were not trying to sneak 10 women in a suite in Vegas. They wanted to party, go to shows, drink, and at the end of the night go up to their luxury rooms. They wanted to spoil themselves in the spas with massages, facials, and pedicures. Their reasoning was, “I did it up when I said I do (wedding day). Now I am going to do it up when I say I don’t (divorce day)!”

For those with a bit of a wilder taste in fun, they sign up for the “Just Divorced Package” at the  Luxury Gun Range. This is where you can actually take a machine gun to your wedding dress while wearing a black sash.

Strip shows have never been hard to find in vegas, and the men who go there to celebrate have no problem finding one. The ladies look for a Chippendales to add a little something to their life. It has as long been thought a beautiful body with a limited amount of clothing eases a broken heart.

Reinventing yourself

So the papers are signed, and you go out on the town and get rid of a lot of frustration. Now it is time to find a new normal. It is a time to reinvent yourself and come out of this stronger and better than ever. Here are some steps you can take toward that goal.

  • Accept that you will grieve. Much like death the dreams you had with your ex are dead, gone, over. Even worse, a lot of people bundle up those dreams and wear them on their backs for years. They pop-out whenever you meet a new potential partner. They remind you of what the last person did, said, or how they reacted. You may want to get some therapy early on, so you won’t mourn too long.
  • Love and appreciate who you are. When we allow someone to be close to us, we change. We all give a little. That is how we survive each other. It can be the smallest thing, like the brand of coffee you drink. Sometimes we just don’t care enough about the issue to have an issue. So now is the time to look back over your life. Buy the coffee you like, have your hair cut, put the mustard behind the mayo in the fridge. Take inventory of yourself and delight in the person you are.
  • Learn to be alone You may feel the air around you is void, but it is not. It is filled with the spirit of you. What can you do? Anything you want to. Turn up your favorite music and sing. Dance in your fuzzy slippers. If you need to cry – do it! Read a book, rent a movie, take a long hot bath, eat eggs, and toast at dawn. You have everything you need to fill the rooms, you have your spirit.
  • Have a deal with yourself about sex. It is not a great idea to get into a sexual relationship in these early stages. Your mind is not in the right place for the problems that intimacy brings. If you are going to have a “Friends with benefits” partner, be sure you both understand what it is. If it begins to go anywhere else, it is up to you to say stop.

Divorce is tough, but so are you. It will take a while and you are going to need a network of friends to lean on. You will laugh, cry, scream, and dance with delight.  Sometimes on the same day! It is a fresh start for you. Just like when you trim the leaves of a rose stem, You will bloom brighter than you ever believed possible. Same way you did in your wedding day.

 

 

Didn’t Get Around To a Prenuptial Agreement? How About a Postnup?

Prenuptial Agreement

There was a time when the only people who got a prenuptial agreement before they married were people of substantial means and/or people of great popularity. In the past decade, we have seen more people requesting prenuptial agreements than ever.

Couples who did not manage to obtain a prenuptial agreement, are arranging a postnuptial agreement in the early stages of their marriage. This is not about trust or love. It is about business and security. There is a saying, “When you marry someone, you marry the whole family.” A quick search of the internet will show you, there is truth to that saying. How well do you know the family?

Why are things changing?

People are waiting to get married. These are the millennials. They are securing their careers, establishing credit, buying homes, and investing. While they are not financially secure for life yet, they have begun and they have their eye set on the target. Their goals will probably be adjusted so that both spouses can live comfortably while saving the maximum.

By now, they probably have discovered which of the two is the best at saving, watching for sales, and making do, and which spouse runs through the mall, credit card in hand  shouting “CHARGE!” They have lived long enough to have seen marriages that have ended in divorce and the devastation. As much as they love their new spouse, they feel obligated to secure the properties and heirlooms handed down to them for their children.

The difference in a Prenup and a Postnup

By now you understand that a prenup takes place before the wedding and a postnup takes place after the wedding. Either of them need to happen under the eye of an experienced attorney. The reason for this varies. All prenups and postnups are dictated by state laws. The laws are not always the same, and if the wrong state laws are used to draw up your agreement your agreement can be ineffective. This is also a good reason to stay away from “do-it-yourself” internet plans. If your postnuptial agreement is in violation of any of the state laws, the judge may throw it out. Standard things listed in a postnuptial agreement.

There are many things to go over on this agreement. Even if you think your spouse is being fair, all items must be gone over with your attorney. Below are some basic things listed on a postnuptial agreement for a family of upper-middle-class standards.

  • Agreements you have worked out between yourselves before the divorce or separation process and before litigation begins
  • Fairness matters
  • Any plans for one parent to staying home with young children after working to secure financial assets (note: this normally comes up where alimony is a consideration)
  • Children are not part of this – they are hands-off in this deal
  • Inheritance for children from prior relationships including grandparents
  • Simply to clarify how to separate assets
  • Have separate attorneys
  • When one party is financially irresponsible after the marriage

Note: Before the wedding, each spouse should have an inventory taken of what they own, and deeds showing when they got it. If these items are to be kept by one spouse, all monies need to be kept in a private account. Expenses for the properties must come from that account. If the money for upkeep comes from the household money, it can be argued that it then became a household property.

When your postnuptial agreement becomes void

When you have hired an attorney and have legally prepared a detailed postnuptial agreement, there is little cause for concern. But, some people have attempted to go outside the lines only to find out they wasted their time. Here are some examples:

  • Your agreement was oral
    • You go to court and tell the judge that the agreement was spoken and the two of you agreed upon X, Y, Z. The judge has no way to prove that and it will usually (almost always) be thrown out of court.
  • Your spouse agrees that he or she agreed to the oral requirements, but it was out of fear. They felt you were a danger to them or their children, so you said what you wanted to hear. This will not work in court and could result in additional charges.
  • You did not provide full disclosure. You have assets in investments, cash, or property that you did not claim when filling out the paperwork. All property must be counted.

Prenuptial agreement and Postnuptial agreement are part of life. It is a way to feel safe and not to feel like you are trapped if the marriage goes south. It gives everyone a level playing field. You have no reason to think your spouse is using you for money. You can focus on building your lives in other areas and that will ensure you will have a beautiful life.

Heartache In Divorce – Who Gets Custody Of The Pets?

Custody Of The Pets

There is no way around it. Heartache comes with divorce. Even if both spouses agree that the divorce is needed, watching your dreams and plans being ripped apart hurts. If there are children involved, you expect to have custody battles that will determine where they will live and who the primary caregiver will be. It may surprise you to find the same feelings are attached to the family pets.

Why would we include a pet in our divorce?

Love and support

Pets are an important part of our lives. We love them and care for their needs. They are an endless source of support and love. No matter what we are going through, they are there. When we are sick, they are near. When we are angry and acting like a child, they don’t care. When we are happy, they celebrate with us. So, when we are facing a painful life situation such as divorce, we turn to them for comfort. However, if your spouse has turned to them as well and will not let you see them, you could go into emotional shock. This is why people turn to their attorneys to include custody of our pets in our divorce.

Instrument of pain

Some people are just nasty. Some spouses are so angry and so determined to hurt their ex-partner that they will hold on to the pets for revenge. They know how much the pets mean to their ex and they know fighting in court for custody of the pet can be expensive. They may work out an agreement before the divorce is complete, only to break the terms later.

There are people who have agreed to turn over the pets or share custody of the pets outside the terms of the divorce only to sell or give away the pets later. If there are pets involved, people should include them in the divorce so they are protected by the courts.

When both spouses love the pet

The legal systems are overwhelmed with high divorce rates globally. They must consider what is fair and legal for both parents. They must decide what is best for the children in the home. Adding the loss of beloved pets into the mix for children who are facing confusion and fear and pain should not fall upon the shoulders of the courts. Adult parents should be able to put the needs of children and animals before their own feelings. Letting an attorney step in and provide a solution is the next best option. Pets are living and breathing beings and their lives matter. If parents do not take either option, the court will step in, but rarely will the adults be happy with the decision.

But, it’s MY dog!

There are times when one spouse can argue successfully that the dog (or other pet) belongs only to them. Here are some things that will sway the judge to rule that you and only you own the animal:

  • You owned the animal and brought it into the home with you
  • You paid for the animal with your own money and can provide proof
  • You paid for all the needs of the animal such as
    • Veterinarian bills
    • Food
    • Annual shots
    • Grooming
    • Travel or kenneling while you were away
    • Licenses
  • How long have you had the pet?
  • Who spends the most time with the pet?
  • Who has custody of the children and are they attached to the pet??
  • Has the pet ever been in a home with only one resident?
  • Would it be possible to have visitation with the pet and the children on the same days?

Looking ahead

It is difficult to predict what the life of a divorced person will look like in a year or 5-years. Generally, one parent has more hands-on experience with the children and one has visitation. Your life may take you in a whole new direction. You may be promoted and move to another city. Your visitation may be entirely possible, but bringing an animal back and forth on a plane or by car could be hard to manage. You may have to work more hours to cover expenses or change carers. You may find it difficult to fit in getting your pet to the vet, to get him exercised while handling school, and social lives for growing kids. Before you put a lot of effort and money into fighting for your pet, consider being flexible enough to give yourself some growing room. You are facing a new world. Do not paint yourself into a corner.

You will be okay. A divorce is not the end of the world. Let your attorney fight your battle for you. That’s what he is there for. Life is not going to be the same. Give yourself time to discover a new normal.

Top 6 Baby Essentials You Should Buy Before Birth

Baby Essentials

Many first-time moms feel curious about what they need for the upcoming baby and what items they should buy instantly when the baby comes. In this article, you will cover the baby essentials you should buy.

Of course, you don’t want to buy things that are barley in use but, you also want to have all the items near your hand when the baby arrives. Perhaps, you have brought most of the essentials and still feeling that you are missing something. Here are our top 6 best baby essentials that you should buy before the baby arrives.

  1. A Baby Crib:

A crib is one of the most sleeping essentials items of all time. You should buy a baby crib before the baby arrives because it takes time to install, assemble, and practice using it.

When your baby arrives at home, she needs to sleep 16-18 hours a single day so, providing a comfortable and kid-friendly place to sleep will help with brain development, physical development, sleep longer, and a lot more.

  1. An Infant Car Seat:

Nowadays, buying an infant car sear is considered as abiding the law because the hospital never let you out if you don’t have an infant car seat with you. The law encouraged everyone to use kid-friendly best infant car seat while you are inside the car or any transportation with your baby.

The infant’s body structure is very fragile, so traditional car seats are not adjustable with infants. An infant car seat provides many safety features that help him sit comfortably and sleep while in the car.

  1. Diapers, Diaper Changing Pad, Diaper Cream & Diaper Bag Pack:

You indeed need to change a lot of diapers every day, so buying the right amount of diapers is a good choice. Try different brands and make sure that you buy diapers that are different in size. If you change many diapers, you must need a diaper changing pad to change diapers on a safer surface.

A Diaper Cream reduces not only diaper rashes but also a protective wall from water, sweat, pee, which damages a baby’s skin. You need to apply diaper cream after each change to reduce the possibility of getting a rash on your baby’s skin.

A Diaper Bag Pack carries all the essential items that a baby needs while you are on the ride. It offers many compartments that can carry from bottle to changing pad within its chambers. Whenever you want to go outside to visit doctors or parks, a diaper bag will help you move all your essential baby items within one bag pack.

  1. Swaddles:

Swaddle is a comfortable wrapper that helps warmth a baby while sleeping. Infants are used to with sleeping in the mother’s womb. To adapt to the changing environment, you need to put him in a warm environment that he was used to be. Using swaddle can create a womb-like environment for babies and help sleep longer. Our suggestion to buy different sized swaddles or wrappers to help your baby stay comfortable within his new environment.

  1. Breast Pump:

Moms get tired after giving birth to her child. Meanwhile, the only food for a newborn is his mother’s milk, meaning milk supply is very important for her baby. A Breast pump helps to stimulate production and increase milk supply at the beginning of her parenting career. As a new mom, it takes much time to adapt to new responsibilities so, getting one or renting a breast pump will solve many issues related to breastfeeding.

  1. A Baby Monitor:

Every new mom has many responsibilities apart from raring her little one. Besides, moms need to sleep or do other household activities while her baby is on sleep. But what if her baby wakes up middle of the night, or do some unpleasant movements while her mom is absent. The baby monitor helps in tracking sleeping moments while moms can do other activities. It vibrates when notice any unexpected actions or when he unexpectedly wakes up the middle of the night.

Conclusion:

New moms will face many responsibilities at the beginning of their parenthood. Selecting the right product for your baby will reduce the cost of living and helps gather other essentials in the future.

 

About Author: Hi there! I’m Rachel Green the mother of one little girl, and a boy and author at Family Smart Guide who strives to inspire other moms to embrace motherhood. My goal is to help parents get to the root of their parenting frustrations and challenges.

Compensation for Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

If you have suffered injury or harm as a result of domestic violence then you are eligible to file a claim and get the requested compensation from the government victim to help you recover from your incident.

Many domestic violence victims feel helpless in these scenarios, thinking that no one can help them get out but that’s definitely not the case.

Types of domestic violence

Domestic violence takes many different forms, all of which can have a disastrous impact on your mentally and physically well-being.

All kinds of domestic violence are frightening; but often the line might feel distorted between what’s morally right and wrong, as someone who is guilty of abuse is likely to be close to you.

Various type of Domestic violence might include Physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse.

Once you’ve decided to get separated from the person causing your pain, you may consider filing a claim for compensation for your injuries; that’s where a qualified legal attorney will assist.

You can apply for compensation if-

  • Physical and emotional damages caused by violent action.
  • Loss of earnings due to physical abuse.
  • Any other expenses incurred, such as dental or medical bills.

You can only claim these compensations if you have been injured for more than 28 weeks as a result of what happened.

CICA 

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority exists to provide financial assistance to people who have suffered from a criminal injury. It is a government financed and designed to protect people in situations where they have been victims of violent crime, including domestic violence.

Because of the existence of certain types of domestic violence, it may also be challenging to prove it. That’s why securing a conviction for these offences can be difficult, because you may believe you ‘re not going to receive the assistance you need.

In order to be eligible for compensation for any type of domestic violence injury, you must file a claim within 2 years of the violence occur.

Roles of CICA

The CICA makes it fairly straightforward to sue for redress for domestic assault and harassment cases, it looks more closely into the conditions of the accident and determines if the event was unique or one of a sequence of events. They also take into account when the incident occur and how the victim has dealt.

What happens after I have applied for the compensation?

The CICA must accept receipt of the request and then examine the case.

This implies that even if your partner was absolved at their  hearing because the defendant could not prove any reasonable cause that they committed the crime, you may still be offered compensation because it is more likely than not that they did.

Once the CICA has finished its enquiries, they will let you know whether you are eligible to get compensation or not.

What You Need To Support Your Claim

Hold your medications on your accounts and hospitals should you seek medical attention for your accidents. These provide evidence of physical abuse that is irrefutable.

If you have submitted a police report, that can also be used as actual evidence.

Many victims of domestic abuse are happy to escape the abuse and do not want to interact with the offender any further. Although this through sound like the simple way out because you have to live with the physical and emotional consequences, it helps the attacker get off the hook.

Filing a domestic violence claim not only helps you to retain your abusive partner, it also helps you get rid on this painful experience permanently and makes sure that your injuries are compensated fairly.

 

Author Bio: Mitchell is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Gold Coast. He is a Senior Associate and was admitted to the Queensland Supreme Court in December 2012.

Prepare for your divorce – Your Spouse Is Not a Financial Plan

Spouse

Usually, a person will think about filing for divorce for a long time before they take action. Sometimes they feel something in the air from their spouse and they know something is different, but they get hung up on the feelings and do nothing to address them. In some cases, spouses wait months and even years to get a legal divorce. Regardless of the reasons, during that time, they should be preparing for the divorce. No matter who you are, a divorce will change your life.

Below we are going to give you some tips on a few things you need to have established before going to court. These things may make you uncomfortable, but your stability and the financial stability of your children are at risk. When you go into marriage you establish your ground rules for love. When you go into divorce, you are taking care of business. In a good business transaction, everyone walks away with a fair settlement.

Do not assume your spouse will be fair

You cannot assume your spouse will be at their best. Since the beginning of your marriage, you (probably) have invested in your future together. Regardless of who earns the most income, who had the best benefits package, and who has the best retirement to invest in. Now, everything will be looked at by others and dissected. Lawyers and judges are going to tell him or her what is fair and begin to slice into the investments that you worked so hard to build. They may feel offended that you do not “just trust them” to do the right thing.

Prepare for the worst

Before we get to the “easy” stuff, let’s just tackle the hardest one. Prepare for the worse. During a divorce, it is not uncommon to feel every emotion known to man. This includes:

  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Pride
  • Love
  • Hate
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic

Sometimes these things are experienced in one day. So, you talk to your attorney and have a worse day conversation. What if your ex spouse remarries they day after the divorce, takes off to a remote island, and refuses to speak to you or pay for his obligations? Let your lawyer know your concerns and he will explain your options and calm your nerves because he has answered these questions dozens of times.

Quiet Preparation

Even though you are not running from abuse, there are some great ideas on this site that you can use. While some of us consider control abuse, in this instance it doesn’t matter. Take the advice and disregard what doesn’t fit. Be very careful with your to-do list. Keep the information confidential. This is important. Do not tell anyone what you are doing. Many people have been blind-sighted because they shared their plans with a best friend who told their husband. Divorce is a situation where people take sides.

Step 1- Inventory

The first thing you are going to do is take inventory of your situation.

  • Did you stop school before getting your degree in order to stay home with the family? Will you need additional training to get a (better) job? Document what kind of training, how much it costs, and how long it will take to get.
  • Did you inherit any land or property? Get copies of all of the paperwork that went with that transaction. This will prove that it was yours and part of the marital property.
  • If you need clothes, shoes, or coats, purchase them now. Check the children’s wardrobe too. Be sure they have enough clothing to get through the next season. Include sports uniforms. If you want to keep this to yourself, order the clothes a bit bigger and on the internet. You can stash them in another room until it is needed to reveal them.
  • Call the attorney and ask what he needs. Just as every state has their own rules.

Step 2 – Health

  • Take each child in for a complete check-up. Ask for a copy of their medical history. There should be one copy for each parent. The records should include the doctor’s name, address, and phone number. This tells the judge that the children’s health is your priority and you are working with your spouse to ensure their safety.
  • If the children need braces or any other temporary treatment, take care of that now. If you have been putting off getting a check-up or a procedure done, do it now while you have good insurance and no question on how long you have been covered.

Paperwork

  • Budget
    • Prepare a budget as exactly as you can. Pay attention and make notes for a while. If you were taken out of the house today would you be able to find a job, pay the rent, electric bill, internet, cleaning people, buy food, clothes, and pay for transportation? You have to show that to the judge.
  • The attorney will need the last 5-years tax papers you filed.

All these preparations show the court that you are reasonable. You want everyone to walk away with an equal share of the assets. The most important people are the ones who had no say. The children did not ask to be part of this union so they should have the best from both parents.

Getting a headstart on these things gives you time to work carefully and honestly and that helps you come out a winner.

Should Couples Seeking Divorce Wait Until Covid-19 Is Over?

Divorce

When we find a person that we feel is our life-long partner, we marry them. We stand before our friends and families and share an oath to be with them for the remainder of our lives. Some of us go on to have children and grow the love we have for one another. We believe we will be together forever and divorce is not an option.

In some cases, our dreams do not come true. Sometimes, we grow in different directions. Sometimes, we lose our passion for our partner and fall in love with someone else. When this happens, we usually file for divorce. While we feel a divorce is an emotional, ethical, and moral action, in reality, a divorce is a legal action. It is a contract, designed to dissolve a previous contract (the marriage.) Therefore, your divorce requires the assistance of an attorney.

When Disaster Strikes

The primary goal of any marriage is to build a family. Each member of the family works to protect, and serve the others. In 2020 the world has faced a world-wide pandemic. Coronavirus  has killed hundreds of thousands of people all around the world, with no end in sight. Foods and other critical supplies have become in short supply. People have lost jobs in huge numbers.

Finances During a Divorce

When a family divorces, money has to be divided. It is difficult to split the home, bills, children’s expenses. To do that during a time when wages are being slashed, food is in short supply, families are losing. Common sense dictates that all resources are kept together and utilized, The resources are pooled and the needs of the weakest are as strong as the strongest.

Sometimes this  is the only way to get by.

Attorneys  are going to great efforts to create fair and legal agreements to contracts that will work well to protect the assets of the families so the divorces allow all members involved to begin on a level playing field.

It is a WE world

As societies mature and grow, people tend to become “Me” people. We want everything that fits us best, We want:

  • Our best education
  • Our career
  • Our dream job
  • Our beautiful home
  • Our talent
  • Our success

But, when we experience a massive catastriffy like a hurricane, tornado, pandemic, or worse, we quickly find out that the “Me” mentality will leave you hungry, hurt, and hopeless. In order to survive, we must adapt to a “We” mentality.

If you are in the throws of a divorce

This is common sense but it is worth saying.  Judges do not look kindly on people throwing money around with the economy of the nation and their very family in danger of poverty.

We share with our neighbors. We pull together to get by. We pull together as countries, nations, continents, states, towns, neighborhoods, and people.  We share resources, data, information, and research.

Parents, Neighbors, Teachers, Adults, Officers

We have lived in a world where we try to stand back from children. We are so afraid of being accused. But now, we are going to have to step up. Carry your phone with you, film what looks odd, take pics. Ask questions. Take pictures of trucks that look odd. Look, listen, ask, and help these kids.

In all divorces, parents should remain calm. Calm parents allow children to remain calm. Parents are teaching children how to get through in all situations. Married or divorced,this is your job.

What is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?

Arbitration

Theoretically, we are all adults and we should be able to resolve our differences on our own, with minimal drama. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes we need some help.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is widely acknowledged as a viable option for people who want to settle legal disagreements without going to court. One of the things that makes it so appealing is that it encompasses several processes and techniques which can be adapted for use in different situations. Arbitration and mediation are two of the most popular methods. But what is the difference?

Understanding mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process guided by a neutral outsider, or mediator. It usually involves a series of discussions or negotiations. The point of these conversations is for each person to understand and acknowledge the other’s interests. Instead of rehashing the past, the emphasis is on the future. Ideally that will allow the participants to reach consensus on the issues in dispute.

In some cases, mediation is court-ordered. Courts will sometimes direct parties to try mediation in an effort to help them find a solution in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

Having said that, you should be aware that any agreement reached through mediation may be binding. It can also be reflected in court orders.

Understanding arbitration

In comparison to mediation, arbitration is a more formal process. In fact, it is not all that different from going to court.

In court, a judge (or jury) hears evidence and makes a decision accordingly. In arbitration, a neutral third party called an arbitrator does the same. Like traditional court proceedings, arbitration is also an adversarial process. This means one person is pitted against the other.

Arbitration is most often used to resolve business disputes. This is because many contracts include stipulations providing for arbitration if any disagreements arise. A contractual provision pertaining to arbitration is called an arbitration clause. It details the parameters for arbitration including:

  • Which laws should apply;
  • where the proceedings should occur;
  • the number of arbitrators; and
  • the application of any institutional rules.

Even without an arbitration clause, the parties can still choose arbitration as a means for settling their disagreement.

Generally, the party who wants to initiate arbitration notifies the other party and seeks their consent to move forward. If it does, the matter is heard by one to three arbitrators. Their job is to facilitate the hearing(s) and make decisions on the evidence and arguments presented.

Depending on the circumstances, the panel may render its decision immediately. This decision is called an arbitral award. The award is final and binding upon the parties. If the losing party fails to comply with the decision, the winner can enforce the award through the courts.

In a nutshell

To sum up, these are the key differences between mediation and arbitration.

  • Mediation is a collaborative process, with emphasis on finding an acceptable solution for both parties.
  • Arbitration is an adversarial process, with a ‘winner’ and ‘loser’.
  • A mediator facilitates negotiations or discussions, but does not make any decisions.
  • An arbitrator makes decisions based on material and evidence presented.
  • Mediation is voluntary or court ordered.
  • Arbitration is contractually mandated or voluntary.

 

Author bio: Dan Toombs serves as a Legal Partner of Mediations Australia and is preferred among the best family law mediation in Australia. He is appreciated not just for his legal expertise, but also for his ability to assist clients with critical decisions regarding their children.

Hire Your Divorce Attorney Before You Need One

Divorce Attorney

Some things need to be taken care of by every married couple, even if they are not getting a divorce. Every married couple, even a young couple who owns a little property and financial assets need to have every asset they own listed. This a will. You state who will be the executor of the will (pick out who will make your wishes happen). And file it with the court. This is why you should hire a divorce attorney even if you don’t need him.

You might ask why you would even think about listing everything your own at this phase of your life. Because, you and your spouse are making a document agreeing to what you own, and what it is worth and filing it with a judge. Your spouse cannot go back during the divorce and claim you do not own any property, a business, or a boat if he signed a paper stating he did and what it was worth. If any property is sold before beginning the divorce, find out how to register the funds so you will collect your share. This doesn’t mean you do not trust the man you married and the father of your children. This is just good business. They will also be protecting their share of the assets.

Wills, Trusts, And Estates Divorce Attorney

The attorney you hire to handle your estate may not be your divorce attorney but go to your divorce attorney first. If you have even a hint that divorce is in the air. Have your divorce attorney lead you on what things will make your divorce easier.

You should also use this time before the divorce has begun (if you are sure a divorce is coming) to gather the information your divorce attorney will need. This gives your lawyer the ability to start work immediately:

Divorce laws vary from state to state. When you go to your first appointment, you should provide the following items.

Note: If you have followed the advice and began working with him or her in advance, they will have most of this information.

  1. Your driver’s license.
  2. A list of substantial material assets and their value (your cars, your houses, your businesses, your boats, your plane, your expensive jewelry, timeshares, that Renoir or bonds, gold coins, etc.),
  3. A complete list of income for both you and your partner, and list of your necessary monthly expenses.
  4. A list of the names, dates of birth, addresses, and social security numbers of all your minor children as well as your spouse.
  5. Copies of the last three years of complete tax returns,
  6. A list of all the credit card accounts for both you and your spouse. Bring statements if you can print them off, showing the balances.
  7. Statements from all Bank Accounts going back 3 years,
  8. List extra activities your children are in such as dance, cheer, football, and softball. Include uniforms, equipment, and travel expenses. This should be made available so your child does not have to give up his or her normal activity just because mom and dad can’t decide who should pay.

Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging events in life. You are closing the chapter of your life that you built your dreams on, You may feel betrayed, hurt, mad, sad, and afraid. All of these emotions are normal and each of them is hard to handle alone. Combined, they are a force that can knock you off your feet.

In the center of all these emotions are your children. Your primary duty is to give them the best life has to offer. You know they are feeling many of these feelings too. They are heartbroken and they are confused. They love both of you, yet they feel they should take someone’s side. This is so unfair. You and your spouse are breaking up. They are not. Their world is being turned upside down and they don’t know why. You may get blamed and you may get hurt. But that is part of the job. Again, take the high road.

Adults only

The details of your divorce are for adults only. You and your partner need to come together as parents and decide what you need to tell the children. You should be honest with them. However, they do not need to know the adult details of your divorce. It can be traumatic to try to turn a child against a parent. No matter what happens between the adults, it should remain between the adults.

Conclusion

Divorce is hard, and some people make it harder than it has to be. If you are in a messy divorce, you know how difficult it is to take the high road and not lose your cool. But, very soon in the battle, you will wear down. You need someone to fight for you. That is what your divorce attorney does. He stands up for you and he fights for you. Even when you are too tired to fight for yourself. Use the assets provided by the courts and if your spouse refuses to follow that path, take it back to the courts. Sometimes, it is hard to give up on a dream. But push on. You will find a better place.

I Will Give Him A Divorce, But I Want My Share of The 401K

Divorce

There will never be a time in life that you get more financial advice than when you begin divorce proceedings. You will hear a lot of advice about getting the house or the most money from the house.

The house is probably the biggest investment the two of you ever made. It belongs to both of you, no matter what anyone says. You can decide together who stays in the house. You can sell the house, pay it off, and split the profit. Or, one of you can pay the other for an agreed-upon amount to essentially, purchase their part of the property and profit. You can do all of this on your own and no one else has a say in your decision.

Your greatest and most complicated asset

You may be surprised to find out that your home often is not your most significant asset. If you have been married for a while, or one (or both) of you have had a job for a long time that pays into your 401K, it is probably a substantial amount of money. This money is part of the marital assets. In other words, it belongs to both of you. But, it is not just the two of you when it comes to this asset. The 401k plan must have an administrator and he or she is immediately involved.

Three-step process

●     Your divorce decree must order the division of money.

This is a necessary and expected addition to your divorce papers. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (known as ERISA) was passed into law in 1974. It does not matter which spouse has the retirement account, their partner is entitled to their share. It is very important to understand that your divorce decree, no matter where it stands in the process, does not give you your share of the retirement money.

●     Your attorney must draw up a legal document called the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

This legal document must be signed by the family court judge. It is then given to the 401k plan administrator. The document tells the administrator how to divide and disperse the money. The QDRO establishes the spouse as an alternate payee.

●     Collecting

Your spouse has three options on how to receive their money. The QDRO specifies which method they chose. The options are:

  • Roll the money over into their own retirement plan
  • Leave the money in the account and take their share when you take yours
  • Take a cash payment (less any taxes, penalties, and fees).
    • If either of the spouses decides to take their portion of the money at the time of divorce, there is no 10% early withdrawal fee. This is a one-time exception. After that opportunity has passed, unless the spouse is 59 ½ years of age, they will pay the 10% penalty.

Taxes

Regardless of the age of the spouses, the government will count the money as income and income taxes must be paid to the IRS.

Fighting

Division of retirement funds is the second most fought-over part of divorces. In fact, 83% of divorces go into battle over alimony, 62% fight over retirement money, and 60% fight over business interests. When you think of all the things that people have trouble with such as homes, automobiles, pets, child support, visitation, and expensive belongings it is hard to imagine 20% of divorcing couples are more concerned with their 401K than their time and housing for their children. After 2018, spouses who are ordered to pay alimony can no longer claim it as a tax deduction. So, these numbers may change.

What you should know

Expert needed

You can use your divorce attorney to draw up your separate legal documents regarding retirement money, but you do not have to. This is a tricky subject and there is no wiggle room. Ask him if he is experienced in the preparation of the QDRO. You want and need an expert in this field. If he is not qualified, hire a separate attorney.

Not a one-stop-shop

In many families, there is more than one retirement account. There could be retirement accounts from past jobs, from government jobs or military service. You may have one for each spouse. Each one of these accounts needs its own QDRO. Each of them will have their own administrator (which will have to approve them.)

In the last three decades, the divorce rate for women over 50-years-old doubled. It has held at one in every four divorces. When a person is over 50, their net worth is significantly impacted by the amount of savings, property, and investments they possess. The divisions of the 401K are difficult and the laws require an expert.

Do not change the beneficiary until the funds are dispersed

You know you are getting the divorce and you have come to an agreement on the retirement monies, so you go ahead and remove your spouse’s name as the beneficiary. If your ex is killed in an accident, before the paperwork and process are complete in this separate issue, you are no longer entitled to the money. If he changed the beneficiary to his mother, she gets the money. Do not change it until then. In most cases, your spouse cannot make changes without your signature.

State a percentage, not a dollar amount

Let’s say, the retirement account had $200,000 in it when you began the divorce process. You agreed to split it down the middle. Your paperwork is drawn up and signed by the family court judge and approved by the plan administrator. This is a long process. If during that time, the market changed and your plan grew by $50,000, you are expecting $125,000. If your paperwork reads that each of you will get 50% of the money, that is what you will get. But, if your paperwork reads that you will get $100,000 which is what half was in the beginning, you will get $100,000 and your spouse will get $150,000. It is all in the wording.

Of course the same is true if the plan took a dip. If the plan loses $50,000 and your paperwork reads that you will get $100,000 instead of 50%, you will get your $100,000 and your spouse gets hit with the loss and only gets $50,000. It is just luck. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Divorce is hard enough. Emotions run high. Learn what you need to know well before you need to know it. Don’t make the mistake of walking away and letting your spouse have it all. The money is set aside for the future. Yours and theirs. So, do the work and maintain your security.

You cannot learn everything you need to know from the internet or from your neighbor who got a divorce a few years ago. Just as your marriage is unlike anyone else’s, your divorce must be written for your marriage. Your attorney will gather the correct information from you to know how to get you what you need and to protect you. Call a qualified attorney, and keep your details to yourself until then.