Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

I recently read an article posted by Stephan Futeral, a South Carolina attorney, with some great information about children and divorce and what parents can do to assist their children during this time.

Per the article, “Divorcing parents can decrease the impact on their children by following guidelines with their children, by avoiding conflict with the other parent, and by maintaining their own well-being.”  Sounds easy, but he listed several ways to deal with your children.  Some of those are listed below:

  • Don’t treat your children as adults – Some parents believe that their children must “grow up” quicker because of the divorce. Unfortunately, just because some parents treat their children like adults does not mean that their children are emotionally or intellectually equipped to deal with adult issues.  Let children be children.
  • Don’t rely on your children for your emotional support – Although it may seem natural to turn to your children for comfort during an emotional time, you are likely to cause greater instability and more pressure on the children. Some children begin to feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being, whereas some children suffer other emotional side-effects such as increased anger or depression. If you need emotional support, turn to another family member or a friend instead.
  • Don’t talk about the “divorce” or other grown up stuff – This issue ties in with not treating your children as adults.
  • Don’t block visitation or prevent your children from speaking to the other parent – There are many psychological studies illustrating the benefits children reap from spending time with both parents. No matter how you feel about your former spouse, don’t deprive your children of having a healthy relationship with the other parent.
  • Don’t ask your children to spy on the other parent or report back to you – Children in divorce already may be experiencing conflict in their loyalties and feelings toward both parents. Asking children to spy or to report places the children in an extremely awkward and emotionally stressful position of pleasing one parent while betraying another.
  • Don’t ask your children to keep secrets from the other parent – Dividing a child’s loyalty between parents’ places them under extreme stress. Further, the child is learning to become manipulative and may later play one parent against the other using lies and secrets.
  • Allow your children to take items such as their toys back and forth between homes as long as they can carry them – Oftentimes parents are reluctant to allow toys, books, and other items to go to the other parent’s home because these items may not be returned. Think of these items as the children’s things, not yours, and let your children have a sense of continuity by taking familiar and comforting items such as toys back and forth between homes.

These are just a few of Mr. Futeral’s suggestions and I believe they are very informative.  As a child of divorced parents, I can tell you that I wished my parents would have taken these suggestions to heart.   It would have made things much easier on us children.  When I went through my own divorce years ago, I did my best to make sure my children did not go through what my sister, brother and I went through as children.

There were also suggestions on how to deal with the other parent, which were thought provoking.  Some of them are listed below:

  • Don’t ignore the other parent or sit on the opposite side of the room during special events involving your children such as athletic matches, school plays, etc. – As emotionally difficult as it may be for you to be that close to the other parent, it is more difficult for your children to see parents distance themselves at these times. Overall, it is a small sacrifice to make for your children’s emotional wellbeing.
  • Ignore (rather than arguing back) when the other parent tries to tell you how to parent – This argument is one that no one can win.
  • Accept that there is more than one “right way” to parent and support different parenting styles- Even if you had not divorced, chances are that you and your former spouse may have or would have parented in your unique styles. If you can accept and deal with the difference in parenting styles during marriage, then you can accept these differences in divorce too.

And finally, taking care of yourself is important.  Talk to friends, family, or whoever you need to, and stay busy.  You will adjust, your children will adjust and life will go on and you will enjoy the new path your life is going.  I know I did, and I love my life.  I have two great grown sons, lots of grandchildren and they are all a part of my life.  To read the full article by Mr. Futeral, you may find it here.

 

 

In Klumb v. Goan, a Tennesse case, the wife Goan, was hit with $20,000 in damages, $10,000 in damages and $10,000 in punitive damages for her egregious conduct, after she installed a spyware program called eBlaster on several of the computers that husband, Klumb used.  Klumb was also awarded fees and costs.

Goan also intercepted three emails sent to Klumb and altered the emails to make it look like “[the sender] and [Klumb] were having an affair.” Apparently a finding of infidelity altered the split of property between the parties under the prenuptial agreement in place between the parties and under an agreed order entered in the divorce case that was initiated when the marriage soured.

As far as the legal issues, the court does not have any trouble finding that Goan’s interception of Klumb’s email violates the federal Wiretap Act and its Tennessee counterpart.

The most interesting part of this story is Goan is an attorney and should have known better.  The message here is clear, don’t spy on anyone’s, including your spouses email.  It can cost you Big Bucks!

 

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In an article I read in Bloomberg news today, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles stated:

“The more support we build in our cities and states, the stronger case we can make for extending the freedom to marry to loving couples no matter where they live.”  Same-sex marriage is illegal under California law.

“Law-abiding, tax-paying families and their children deserve the same opportunities, the same rights and the same responsibilities afforded to every other family,” said Villaraigosa, a Democrat, at the briefing in Washington, where the U.S. Conference of Mayors is meeting. He spoke in support of Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group that says bans discriminate against homosexuals and infringe on their rights.

As many of you know, same sex marriage is a hot topic in California.  It has been over a year since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments appealing the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision striking down Prop 8 for violating the U.S. Constitution.   Below is the complete article in Bloomberg for you to read.

Mayors From NYC to Los Angeles Back Same-Sex Marriage – Bloomberg.

 

If you have a family you might want to pay attention to some of the new laws in California beginning in 2012.

California Gay Bullying Law (Seth’s Law)

Combats bullying of gay and lesbian students in public schools by requiring school districts to have a uniform process for dealing with gay bullying complaints. Mandates that school personnel intervene if they witness gay bullying.  Law effective July 1, 2012.

LGBT Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Law   

State universities and colleges must create and enforce campus policies protecting LGBTs from harassment and appoint employee contact persons to address on-campus LGBT matters. The law includes community colleges statewide.  Law effective 2012.

Domestic Partnership Equality Law

Corrects inequalities between domestic partnerships and heterosexual marriages, including domestic partner health benefits sharing.  Law effective 2012.

Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Law

Allows courts to consider the relationship between a child and a non-biological parent when considering child rights cases involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and gay or lesbian guardians.  Law effective 2012.

LGBT Equal Benefits Law

Requires an employer with a state contract worth more than $100,000 to have non-discrimination policies in place for LGBT workers and their partners.  Law effective 2012.

Gay Divorce Law

Provides that if a gay couple got married in California but lives in a state that won’t grant them a divorce, the California court will have jurisdiction to grant them a legal divorce. The case will be filed in the county where the gay couple got married.  Law effective January 1, 2012.

California Gay History Law

Governor Jerry Brown signed the Gay History Law, which mandates that school textbooks and social studies include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender accomplishments.  Law effective January 1, 2012. 

The following law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.  Many children are not going to be happy with this one!  Get ready parents to the whining and crying of those boys and girls who finally thought they were old enough to sit in the seat of the car like everyone else!  This one will cost a bit too, $475 for each child not secured and a point on your record.  Ouch!

Children *MUST* be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint (safety seat or booster seat) IN THE BACK SEAT OF A VEHICLE until they are at least 8 YEARS OLD or 4′ 9″ in height.

These are just a few of the new laws you should all be aware of.  Happy New Year to all of you!  May it be a happy, healthy and prosperous one for each of you.

I just heard that Mexico City is offering a 2 year marriage license.  At the end of the 2 year period you can renew the license or go your separate ways dividing the assets using the built in division given with the ” temporary ” license.

Wonder if this will catch on,  2 years doesn’t seem long when you consider that our cell phone contracts last about the same length of time! 

Okay, I don’t know where I was in August of this year, ( I really do know) but apparently I wasn’t paying attention to that there was a new insurance to be had, Divorce Insurance.  This novel insurance became available for the first time in America on August 5, 2010, with the launch of the online insurance website, www.WedLockDivorceInsurance.com. The company sells individual policies which can be purchased in units with coverage ranging from $1,250.00 per unit to a maximum of 200 units or $250,000 in coverage. After 48 months (four years) the policies mature but insureds can purchase additional riders at $30.00 per unit to reduce the waiting period to 36 months (three years). If a marriage should fail after the policy matures, the couples walk away with a cash payment equivalent to the amount of coverage purchased.

From the financial perspective, even with the high cost of divorce today divorce insurance does not seem very cost effective.  From what I understand, if a standard policyholder who purchased 10 units divorced after 10 years, they would have paid over $19,188 in premiums.  The insurance company would pay them $27,500, which would be taxed over the amount of their premium payments.  To receive this settlement, they would have to be divorced, which could cost $30,000 on the average to well over $100,000, per attorney, on the high end where there are issues of child custody, retirement, business or property ownership to resolve.

If you believe the current statistics that 40 to 50% of first marriages end in divorce, then 50 to 60% of those who purchase divorce insurance will never see a return on their investment and will lose everything they have paid in.  On the flip side, for those ‘lucky enough’ to capitalize on their investment by divorcing, there would be costly legal fees and a break-up of their family structure.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would get married to someone who wants to purchase Divorce Insurance.  Then again, I don’t want to get married at all, so maybe I am the last person you should be listening to on this one.  Maybe you should head on over to WedLock Insurance Company and make up your own mind!

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Just when you thought you were paying more in spousal support than you thought was fair, along comes this story from Australia.  As a high-earning professional, the husband took home almost $2 million, including a six-figure bonus, in the last year.  After their split he moved out of the $2.7 million family home and into another property worth more than $1.1 million, which he bought without his wife’s knowledge before their separation.  Hmm, here we call that a fiduciary duty to disclose, but I digress.  It was intended as an investment property if the marriage lasted; instead, he lived there with his children as their primary care-giver.

His former wife hoped to earn up to $50,000 annually working in community services and wanted him to support her financially for two years while she obtained her qualifications.  He objected, arguing that she was employable and could return to her former career as a legal secretary or personal assistant, earning up to $75,000 annually. Her choice of occupation was effectively ”a luxury she cannot afford and which would be at his cost”, he said.

But Justice Fowler noted that the woman ”says she has had enough of the law and lawyers for the time being”.  She told the court the distress of the marriage breakdown and subsequent litigation have made her averse to ”having anything further to do with employment in the legal profession”.  More than two years after the couple separated, after costly proceedings in the Family Court, a judge made parenting orders for the care of their children.”  Given the history of this matter and its attendant costs, one can understand from her point of view that she would wish to distance herself from that profession,” Justice Fowler said.  Her decision not to pursue her former career was not unreasonable, he said, and he ordered the husband to pay her $1000 a week for two years while she retrained.

Now, I agree that the husband makes great money and the wife is probably entitled to spousal support, although there is no indication of how long the marriage was, but I think this is a little over the top.  At $4,000 a month for 2 years, she will receive $96,000 in spousal support and will get to go back to school to boot.  So, next time you write that spousal support check, just think, it could be worse.

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I Want a Divorce
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I came across an interesting website and thought I would share it with all of you, Divorce Candy.

Randi and Jen have created this website for anyone who’s considering divorce, dealing with divorce, or knows someone who is.  They’ve packed their site with articles (updated at least twice a week!), advice, support, communities and more to help you start over, stay positive, and move forward.

They have articles to explore their Concierge Services, designed to help you with everything from taking back your life, having a divorce party, or changing your look! They have expert forums to participate in You’ve Got People to discuss current topics, issues, and trends with their experts and other users.  And yes, they even have a Divorce Registry where you can register to let your friends and family know what you need to start over!  Or as they put it, “Your wife took the tool box. Your husband took the crystal. Now what do you do? Register!”

This is a whole new way of looking at divorce, a new beginning instead of an ending.  Check it out, you may find it as interesting and useful as many others have!

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ALBANY, NY - MARCH 17: New York Governor David...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

As reported in Bloomberg.com, the Governor of New York, David Paterson, signed into law the no fault divorce in New York yesterday.   Previously, parties had to point fingers at the other side alleging cruelty, adultery or abandonment to get a divorce.

The change goes into effect in 60 days and will govern the divorces filed then or later.  Current divorce actions will go forward with the existing law.  New York has a history of lagging behind other states in allowing divorces.  From 1787 to a reform bill of 1966, the only ground was adultery.  Under a more recent reform, a couple could get an uncontested divorce after living apart for a year and agreeing to settlement terms. That option wasn’t open to everyone, because many couples agree only that the marriage is over, not on what happens to children and assets.

Of 56,937 divorce filings in New York State last year, 43,724 were uncontested and 13,213, or 23 percent, were contested, according to state court system data.

While this change will probably make a financial impact on attorneys in New York as the need for trials will diminish, those that want to fight will continue to do so, which will keep the attorneys employed.

In California, even with no fault divorce, there are still plenty of attorneys who are kept busy with hearings and trials for custody, visitation and the division of assets and debts.

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New York State Senate Chamber in the New York ...
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New York is the only state in the country that does not allow no-fault divorce, creating what divorce lawyers call institutionalized perjury by forcing couples in failing marriages to essentially lie to a judge.  I wrote not to long ago about a case in New York in which the wife threatened the husband with a samurai sword and was denied a divorce and how ludicrous this was.

The New York state senate has approved a bill that would permit no-fault divorce, allowing couples to cite irreconcilable differences as grounds for ending a marriage instead of having to assign blame to one party.

The state assembly, or lower house, should take up the matter in the coming weeks. Backers of the law are hopeful it will pass and reach the desk of Governor David Paterson, who is expected to support it.

California was the first state to pass the no-fault divorce in 1969, and many other states followed soon after.  The Catholic Church has fought changes to the law in New York in an effort to keep married couples together and has found an ally in the National Organization for Women (NOW), normally at odds politically with the church on issues such as abortion.

It was only a matter of time that this law went into effect, and I wonder how many new divorces will be filed once this law is on the books. It will certainly be interesting to see.

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