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Can Your Divorce Be Denied?

Divorce

In our society divorce is a common word. The days of divorce causing scandal and shame are long gone. However, when a family goes through a divorce they find it is anything but a normal everyday occurrence that people go through.

State Laws

Every state has laws regarding divorce. All the states in the United States allow a couple to file for a no-fault divorce. This means you agree that the marriage is over. Your differences cannot be reconciled and your marriage cannot be saved. Some states only allow no-fault divorce. They do not allow the option of filing for a divorce that assigns blame against one partner to the other. These states include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

If you live in a different state and you wish to file an at-fault divorce, you need to contact your attorney. There are several grounds for an at-fault divorce that will hold up in court. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Adultery
  • Incest
  • Imprisonment
  • Bigamy
  • Abuse

It is important to note that filing for an at-fault divorce requires proof that will be submitted to the judge. It is also important that you and your children (if you have children) remain safe while you are seeking a divorce. An attorney is the best place to begin. He can advise you on what you need and how the procedures will progress so you can make a plan to be safe during the process.

Why would the judge turn the divorce down?

A judge is in a unique position. While he is charged by the American people to listen to both sides and make a fair and impartial judgment, he is also required by law to ensure all legalities of the case are met.

When a person is sued for divorce, he or she must be served with legal documents that explain in detail what is happening. This is not handled over the phone or verbally. The papers explain where they need to be and the date and time. The results of the summons will affect their lives. This could include their visitation with their children, where they will live, how much they will pay in support, and what they will take with them from the joint property they own. If they have been properly served and they do not show up, the requests of the person suing are usually granted. But, what if the person suing did not properly serve them? In that case, the divorce is usually denied. 

There are several requirements in a divorce filing. Each form has a purpose and none of them can be overlooked. If you miss a required form the judge may dismiss your case and deny your divorce.

If during your filing process it is discovered that you do not meet the state residency requirements to file in the state where you filed, the judge will deny your divorce.

If you have not shown accurate reasons why you are dividing the custody/visitation of the children (and sometimes pets), property, and assets of the family the way you presented them, the judge will usually deny your divorce. A judge is not going to be unfair and let one person have the lion’s share of everything earned in a marriage.

Fraud

When we think f fraud, we think of very high-level business people “cooking the books” trying to get away with not paying taxes or sliding sales under the radar. The same happens with marriages. When someone has a long term marriage and they have built a successful business, they may start to worry when the winds of romance seem to shift. Perhaps they feel divorce is in the air. Whatever the reason, they begin opening accounts that their spouse (and CPA) knows nothing about. They build it up until it is substantial. When those dollars are exposed, a judge will halt the divorce and usually order a complete audit.

Fraud will cost you the divorce you are seeking, even on a lower level. This is rare but not unheard of. This means you have no intention of breaking up. You are going through a divorce so you can benefit in some way. One example would be, there is a program that will send in workers to do home repairs at no cost for divorced women over 60 that are unable to afford them. You file for divorce and they repair your roof, paint your house, and pave your drive-way. You use their reference to get free food and money for your electric bill. This is a fraud. The judge will not grant you a divorce. Further, you could be facing charges.

Note: In some cases, fraud will result in an annulment instead of a divorce.

Children

The judge will not grant your divorce until you have worked out all the issues regarding child support and child custody. You can go through mediation and arbitration for help, but you need to have it hashed out or no divorce is going to happen. Your next step will be going to trial to get it settled and that is not good for anyone.

Spouse won’t sign the papers

This is a delay tactic that will not work for very long. If you have done everything you are supposed to do, you may have to have your spouse formally served with the outline of everything included. If your partner does not respond or if they do not show up for court, the judge can approve a default divorce.

In order to avoid the delays, the “do-overs” and the mistakes, hire an attorney. It will be much easier and will reduce your stress level. Let the attorney do what he is trained to do. Let this difficult time in your life pass as easily as possible so you can begin the next chapter of your life.

Reasons a DIY Your Divorce Is Not a Good Idea

Divorce

If you look back over society, you can see that what people accept as “normal” tends to change. As recent as the 1950s, people were expected to graduate from school, get married, and begin a family. The generation that required marriage, did not look kindly on divorce.

In the 1960s everything changed. Teenagers and young adults rebelled. They insisted on “free love.” The idea was everyone should be allowed to love anyone they wanted to without a lifelong commitment.

Over the next three decades, the marriage dynamics continued to evolve. This grew to include living together before marriage, same-sex marriages, interracial and interethnic marriage.

Unfortunately, the freedom that brought back matrimony also brought acceptance for divorce. Currently, 39% of marriages end in divorce. No one is ashamed. It is a fact of life and the price of evolution.

Courts

Perhaps because divorce is so easily accepted and information is so easily attainable, people have started using their computer’s file for divorce on their own. They are told where to find the paperwork and they fill out the papers, file them with the courts and in so many days, the divorce should be final. But, is that a good idea? Below, we are going to tell you a few important reasons why DIY divorce may not be in your best interest.

  • What is fair and normal?

You do not get the benefit of expert advice from an attorney to explain what is considered normal. You may not know about the laws pertaining to residency or how child support should be determined. What is taken into consideration when parenting plans are prepared? You may accept a plan to keep everyone happy, that is completely unfair to you. Later, you may regret being so accommodating.

  • Stress

The legal system is nothing if not confusing. There are a lot of details that must be contended with. Even attorneys have trouble keeping everything in order when they are new. You need to be aware of the state laws and requirements and be sure you have completed every form and filed everything on time. This task in itself is worth having an attorney on your side.

  • Court

With the proper care, you possibly could get a divorce and never go to court. But usually, a court visit is required. Besides the issues you can face with forms being missed or filled out incorrectly, you have to work around the judge’s schedule. The courts are very busy. The fact is, you have a good chance of facing delays. That could result in the forms having to be re-worked, re-filed. Your time and the time of your family is not an issue that the court considers.

  • It can cost you more money

You began this DIY divorce to save money. You were sure you and your spouse were reasonable and you could work things out. But things can take turn for the worse. You may end up fighting for custody or fair visitation. You may end up in a fight over an unfair property settlement. In order to be financially secure and to protect your children, you may have to then hire an attorney to help you. Unfortunately, some things are not reversible.

  • No mediator, shoulder to lean on, back up

When there is a divorce some people can get real ugly. They know they have things that you want. They will use these things to their advantage. They will bully you, threaten you, and push you around during this stressful time. Just when you think you have it all worked out, they start again. With an attorney, you have the support you need from someone who has no emotional investment in the transaction. They know the law and they will not be bullied.

  • The agreement may not be binding

You and your partner may have come to an agreement together. You are both comfortable and you believe everything is in order. The problem is, neither of you knows the law. While you are comfortable, the wording of the agreement may not be legally binding. If problems come up in the future as the two of you go on with your lives, you may find that your divorce is not enforceable in court. An experienced attorney would have prevented this problem and ensured your divorce would have held up even 10-years down the road.

Divorce is difficult. We all want to get through it as painlessly as possible. We want to save money and draw on the good nature of our spouse and just charge through it. But, it is rarely that easy. While you can do your own divorce, it doesn’t mean you should. Make your life easier and hire an attorney so when your divorce is final, you know it is actually final. Then you can move on without worry that it will ever come back to haunt you.

The IRS FAQ For Early Retirement Withdrawals During COVID-19

IRS

Most of us who work full time for a company (privately or self-owned) have some type of retirement plan that our employer helps contribute to. In this article, for ease of communication, we will call them 401K plans in this article, but there are many other types with various names.

Your company administrator can help you with any questions you have about your plan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking at all of their options for staying financially ahead and their retirement plans often offer a way to borrow a substantial amount of money rather quickly. Let’s take a look at this option and how it is viewed while you are in the process of filing a divorce.

Can I borrow from my 401K if I am getting a divorce? 

The easy answer is, it depends. You will need to speak to your attorney. While in most cases the retirement funds will be divided 50/50, that may not be the problem. In some states, one spouse cannot take money from the account without the signature of the other. It may not be so easy to get your “soon to be” ex, to happily sign their name so you can get up to $100K of your money to make your life easier at this time. You may have to do some bargaining to ensure it makes their life easier too. During a divorce, both of you may need some financial support and it may be an option they had not considered.

In normal circumstances, if you are younger than 59 ½ years old and you need to borrow money from your retirement funds, you are charged a 10% penalty and some steep taxes and penalties. This is to encourage you to find another way to get through your situation and leave your 401K untouched. But, a worldwide pandemic is not a normal situation and the government stepped in, to wave taxes and penalties so you can access your money fast.

The IRS answers FAQ 

Almost immediately, when the IRS published the relaxed rules, people began drawing their money out of their plans. The maximum they could draw was $100,000 and that number was requested over and over again. Read on for more information.

Below we will list some of the most common questions asked to IRS. Due to the massive number of retirement plans and the numbers of people that are involved, you may have to research your retirement plan to see where it fits. Of course, you can ask your retirement company, your retirement plan administrator, or the Internal Revenue Service for clarification.

  • You qualify if you or your spouse or dependent tested positive for COVID-19. If your life has been impacted by the pandemic (even broadly) there is a good chance you qualify. If you lost your job or a portion of your income, or if you were unable to work because of a loss of child care or even if you own your own business but had to work fewer hours due to the pandemic, you most likely qualify.
  • The maximum you can take as a withdrawal or a loan is $100,000. This is the same for ex-spouses who were awarded retirement funds belonging to a previous spouse.
  • In some cases, you will be allowed to treat the loan like a short-term loan and repay it without penalty. This is not true for all plans. Your plan administrator can advise you. If your situation in this time of a pandemic improves and you want to replace the money you took from your plan, you should expect the payments to be expensive. They are usually paid back over a period of 3-years and the payments are over $1800 per month. However, if you are in a situation where you can do this and your plan allows it, repayment puts your savings back to the original position.

Bonus hack for older employees 

During our working lives, Americans pay 6.2% to the federal-set wage base. Our employers match our contribution. When we reach the age of 67, we can begin drawing that money in monthly checks from the Social Security Administration.

Sometimes life does not follow our plans. If you are a 62-year-old employee and COVID-19 caused you to lose your job, it may not be easy to find another job right away. While you will receive less money per month, you can begin your Social Security payments early.

Now let’s say a year down the road, you have returned to work. You can contact SSI and ask them to “voluntarily suspend” your payments. Your payments will be stopped and interest will be paid into your SSI account. If you begin your SSI payments when you have reached the age of 66-years and 2-months, your payments will be within a few dollars of the original plan amount.

This does not restore you to your original position, but it gets you very close. It also allows the person who is retiring to control their own destiny. Some people do not want to retire early. They want to plan their own lives around the schedules of their families and loved ones. The few dollars they return to their SSI may or may not make a difference to their quality of life.

Regardless, it is their choice to make. This option allows them to do just that. Make their own choices. This just might be the option you need to allow you to get through this difficult time with a little less stress.

The Difference Between a Divorce and An Annulment

Annulment

When we marry someone we love, we hope that the union is forever. We hope our love will grow and as it does, we will put all of our efforts into cultivating our trust, dedication, and loyalty to each other. However, sometimes it simply doesn’t happen. Sometimes, we grow in different ways, and sometimes our love grows cold. Sometimes, there is nothing that can save the marriage and it is reasonable and agreeable to legally end it.

File for divorce

When a couple decides to end their marriage, they usually contact a divorce attorney and file for a divorce. This is the most common way to end your marriage. Both spouses will hire an attorney. A value will be set on the family assets and they will be divided. The couple will work on issues such as who will keep the family home or if it will be sold. Here are other very important things that will be decided:

  • Who will have custody of the children
  • Visitation of the children
  • Who will have custody and care of the family pets
  • The amount of alimony to be paid and which spouse must pay it
  • The amount of child support to be paid
  • Who will pay for medical insurance for the children
  • How retirement funds will be divided

As you can see, the majority of the considerations are about money. Children cost a lot of money to raise. Just because parents are divorcing, doesn’t mean the children should have to suffer. The children are already dealing with the loss of a parent in the home, they should not have to struggle with the loss of their activities as well.

Annulment

There is a second way to end a marriage. This is a less common way, but it is a legal way. Further, when you seek a divorce, you record states that you were married but divorced after “X” number of years. An annulment voids your marriage. Your record reflects that you have never married. There are a few reasons why the court will consider an annulment. Again, the end result is a civil annulment, which means in the eyes of the law, your marriage never happened. They take this very seriously. You will need to contact your lawyer for a complete list, but here are some of the more common reasons:

  • Fraud
    • You were lied to about your partner’s age which caused or could cause legal problems.
    • Your partner was already married to someone else. They did not obtain a divorce, nor did they tell you about their marriage
  • Concealment
    • Your partner hid a felony record from you
    • Your partner was in an illegal crime ring which put you in danger
  • Important Misunderstanding
    • One of you did not or do not want to have children. This deal breaker was not discussed before the wedding
    • One of you are impotent and did not tell your partner, preventing them from being able to have a child in the marriage
    • Incest – the discovery that the two of you are close family relatives
  • Lack of consent
    • Being forced into marriage by the spouse, parent, or physical force

Annulments are governed by the laws of the state. When the state rules on an annulment it is legally settled. However, many people feel the need to have their church rule on the annulment as well. That is certainly your right. However, regardless of the rulings of the church, once the state has annulled the marriage, it will forever be annulled in the government systems.

In the Catholic Church, a diocesan tribunal hears your case rather than a court. You present facts that help them decide if the marriage was less than a covenant for life. You have to show them that it was lacking in some way from the beginning. It can be based on dishonesty, immaturity, and most of the reasons listed above. Either spouse can request the annulment.

If the annulment is granted, the spouses will be allowed to marry again (since the first time never happened) in the Catholic church.

Note: State annulment and church annulment have three things in common.

  • The original marriage never happened
  • The couple can remarry
  • The is no question to the legitimacy of the children

If you have questions, contact your attorney. The sooner you act, the sooner you are free from this world-changing event in your life.

Has Covid-19 Caused a Rise In The Filing Of Divorce?

Covid-19

There is no doubt that Covid-19 changed the world. We have learned much in the medical field, and we have learned much in the field of science. But, perhaps we have learned the most in the field of humanity.

The virus Covid-19 started in China. While it took some time for the information and the virus to travel around the globe, it soon did. Before long, all people were forced to stay inside their homes. These places we chose to live in and arranged for our comfort became our worlds and we wanted to get out of them.

It’s not cute anymore

Do you remember when you were dating and your girlfriend would pop her chewing gum while she read a magazine? You thought that was so cute. But when you are married, and you have not been allowed to leave your apartment for a month, and you are trying to watch a movie, “pop”, “pop”. “pop” can make your skin crawl. Or you trim your toenails in the bedroom or a dozen other things.

Divorces rise as Hong Kong comes out of incubation

Hong Kong is one of the first places to come of incubation, As they stumble to recreate somewhat of a new normal, the divorce lawyer is one of the first stops. This from BBC News, between the forced closeness combined with the financial pressures was overwhelming. Some families were unable to withstand the crack. ABC News reports overwhelming numbers will file as soon as the access to do so is available. Some lawyers believe it is not just the close quarters that got their attention, it was the realization that they have a limited number of years on this planet and questioned if this is who they really wanted to spend it with. Some said money played a factor in their decision. They simply got locked in a box and had a good look at what life had to offer them. They are ready for a second chance.

Post Covid-19 divorce, maybe harder than you think

If the predictions are correct, you must have a lot of different people involved in your divorce. Your attorney files it, and your spouse files their paperwork. There are people in the courthouse who process every single piece of paper. They process yours and hundreds of more. Information is entered into the computer. To put it mildly, they move mountains of paperwork daily, and every sheet of paper must be processed correctly or your divorce may have to begin again.

This goes for your attorney’s staff as well. When the rates of divorce go up, so does the amount of work. It pays to be considerate.

Maybe you should stay

Okay, we have explained the many that will run from their marriage. They are the ones who see the bad side. They can’t take being stuck in close quarters with those they promised to love. They want to go outside. They are worried about the bank account. Maybe they are tired of eating the same food, but it could be so much worse. Now is the time to start looking for ways to put a positive spin on things. The key is to get started early. Once depression sets in, and you begin blaming each other, it is very hard to turn things around. So let’s look at some ways to put some fun in your life.

Tips to save your sanity

  • Have Sex – we might as well get this one out of the way. This is the first one on your mind. But, we warn you, unless you are careful, you might be creating a member of the next baby boomers list.
  • Use the internet and find a new hobby. Learn about volcanoes, life at the bottom of the sea, or space.
  • Exercise – turn it into a group effort
  • Have a Facebook social evening with friends.
  • Get dressed, have some wine, snacks, and gather on your Facebook Facetime. Have music, tell jokes, talk about your week.

Provided by Psychology Today

You are the pattern

The fact is, Covid-19 has never happened before. There has never been a pandemic that has hit this number of people, with a technology that is this advanced before. It is up to you how this turns out. You can come out stronger with a lesson learned or you can simply do nothing but blame people. There will be people to blame, so why not try to find a little strength for future readers.

Maybe someone reading that will be the one person who prevents the next pandemic from happening

How Your Divorce Affects Your Employer

Divorce

When we go to work for an employer, we enter into a type of silent contract. You promise to show up for work when you are supposed to and to give your job 100% of your efforts. For that effort, your employer pays you a predetermined amount of money.

As time goes on, you begin to care about your company. You go the extra mile and you are proud to be associated with your brand. Your employer may not reward you financially, but his actions speak columns. He is quick to help you when there is a problem. He may pay you when he knows you had to leave early, or he may promote you when you have proven your deduction.

Expected employee problems

Your employer expects that there will be days when you or your child is sick and while it is inconvenient, he expects you to take care of your family first. There will be deaths in the family, there will be emergencies. All these things are expected in your silent agreement. But there is one life-changing event that your employer cannot predict and cannot ignore. That is divorce.

Divorce is a corporate problem

It is estimated that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.  It is inevitable that divorce will affect every company at some level. When a person is going through a divorce, they are simply not able to perform at the top of their game. Emotions take over. It is not unusual to find someone crying, or at least dazed in their office. They get angry easily and take it out on others. They are apologetic, but they seem to be out of control. They are worried, absent often, physically, or mentally.

The employee sometimes feels that the silent contract should allow for this distraction. After all, this is life-changing. While the employer may overlook the extra time off work, and they may turn a blind eye to the slack in productivity for a while, a divorce is not allowed for in the employee handbook.

Other employees have to pick up your slack when you simply cannot think. But after a while, they resent the extra work without the extra pay. If your lack of attention causes them to lose other employees, or if your work is incorrect, or if someone gets hurt due to something you did or did not do. To put it simply, the employer cannot allow you to become a liability.

What can you do about it?

You may think there is nothing you can do, but actually you can help the situation. Below you will find some suggestions.

Take control of the situation

When you realize this is happening, you need to put on your “adult” shoes and take control of your situation. As with everything you do in business, grab a notebook (electronic or otherwise) and begin to gather your thoughts, your goals, and the tools available to get there.

First, even if it seems early, hire your attorney. This is your backbone. They are the experts and they know what you expect. They will advise you to start gathering the information you need. Time is on your side. This means you will be able to get your hands on financial records, birth records, credit card statements, and other important papers. This gives your lawyer a headstart on setting your claims.

  • Take inventory of the money. Do you have enough money to get by? Many people feel forced into an unhealthy marriage because they do not think they can afford to leave. Consider paying off your credit cards, and getting cards that are in your name only. Change direct deposits if you need to. Have cash on you. Make sure you have titles to things you own.
  • Check on your support system. Do not expect your mutual friends to remain your friend. Sometimes people just side for the other spouse. Make sure your friends have your back. Have a list of who you think will .always be your friend. Be sure they are loyal.
  • See a therapist. Everyone who ever went through a divorce has felt their foundations shaken. Make an appointment to see a therapist. This is someone who will allow you to “let it all out” without judgment. They can also give you tools to help you cope.
  • If you need it, see your doctor. You cannot get through this without sleep and health. Let your doctor do a check-up. If you are low on vitamins and minerals, this will make you behave ways you would normally behave.
  • Eat, drink, and exercise. No matter how much you do not want to, now is the time that your body must operate at peak.
  • Speak to your attorney about setting up a mediator. This third party will keep things calmer during the process.

Speak to your employer

Tell your supervisor about your situation. Let him know that you have it under control. Let him know that there will be times when you will not be at your best. Ask him if you can use vacation days or sick days for the days when you need to away.

Here are a few suggestions that might help:

  • Is it possible to perform your duties remotely?
  • If you are unable to get everything done during the week, would working weekends help?
  • Is there another employee that you can train to do your job? Cross-training is a wise move for a business.

The final thing you need to approach with your boss is the point of no return. While most employers will see your efforts as a great effort and they will work with you. But, there are bosses that refuse to give an inch. This is not an easy thing to hear, but it is better to know going in. You then know you have no tolerance and you will have to decide how you can make that happen or if you need to look for another job. Do all you can do to stay ahead of the game, and that is all you can do. Sometimes you find some employers are just long-winded. But, their opinion soon changes when they realize how hard you would be to replace.

Divorce is hard. The struggle is real. But, as they say, sometimes the best defense is a great offense.

When The Judge Denies Your Divorce

Divorce

We hear people speak about getting a divorce so often that we expect it. We just think it is our right. If your marriage no longer sends shivers down your spine, just trade-off, right? Wrong.

Marriage

Do you remember, way back then, when getting married was all you can think about? You were in love and your wedding was the announcement to the world that you and your partner were joined forever.

You got a license at the courthouse and set the date. Just like that. The paper you carried gave you and your spouse certain rights as spouses. You were happy and the IRS was in agreement.

Marriage is a legal and binding agreement legislated primarily by the state.

Grounds for divorce

The state you live in has a list of issues that are legal grounds for divorce. While the lists change from state to state, most of the grounds are the same. For example:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Cruelty
  • Bigamy
  • Wife getting pregnant by another man
  • Spouse going to jail or a mental institution for three years

Of course, there are other reasons which the judge can take into consideration.

When The Judge Says No!

You may have a valid reason for a divorce, but that does not mean you will get one. The power to give you divorce is in fact the “power” which can be used as he sees fit.

The main reason a judge will refuse to grant a divorce is the wellbeing of the children. If there are children in the family, the judge needs proof that they are adequately provided for. Financially, if the union does not provide satisfactorily for the children, the divorce will be on hold. Until support arrangements are in place, The judge will not grant the divorce. Once they are in place, your divorce should go through.

Fraud

It is more unusual for a divorce to be denied for reasons of Fraud, but it happens. For example, the couple may transfer all their debts into the wife’s name. He may open accounts no one knows about. He may try to hide money and take advantage of the system. But, our legal system has seen these things before and they do not take them lightly.

Normal Divorce

In the vast majority of cases, the spouses are normal people who have simply grown apart. They may even be spouses who broke their vows and made mistakes against their partner. In the best of circumstances, they are dissolving their marriage just because they have changed. They will ask for a divorce, and they will get it. They will suffer the pain and guilt that we all do. They will have trust issues and they will have to find a way to begin life again.

Lawyer up

The first group of people described in this article will have attorneys. They could be facing some tough ground to cover. But even for the normal family, lawyers are needed. They have clear minds, and they are not led by emotion. They want it to be fair.

A divorce attorney knows how to look out for your future. In your pain, you may not care about 401K, retirement, insurance, and who gets the dog. But they will care. Let your attorney fight the battle for you. There are programs for people like you. Your attorney knows about them. Let the attorney work out all the details. The more you fight with each other, the worse you look to the judge.

Be willing to work it out

Unless there is a very good reason, be the kind of parent that wants your children to have a good relationship with both parents. If your spouse stepped out on you and was caught in the arms of another lover, that is shocking and shameful. It proves he or she did not honor their vows. It shows there is a chip in their moral compass. It does not show they cannot be a loyal and loving parent. You have no right to say that mistake costs them their rights.

It would take something rather serious for a judge to require two adults to remain married when they are requesting a divorce. Remember, a judge sees divorce cases all day long. He (or she) is not picking on you. If it turns out that the judge sees something that doesn’t add up, and by delaying the divorce, he can correct it, you will be very lucky indeed. While this is inconvenient, trust that he has the best interest of the children at heart. Listen and obey. Your divorce will happen. By following the guides he is handing you, it should happen seamlessly and safely. And in the end, that is what is best for everyone.

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.