Posts Tagged ‘Divorce’


Divorce Mistakes and Tips

November 25, 2008

Divorce Mistakes and Tips

1.      Don’t use your children as pawns

2.      Don’t start a new relationship first, then put your divorce second on the “to-do” list

3.      Not hiring an attorney

4.      Using verbal abuse

5.      Rubbing salt in the wound

6.      Using a difficult attorney

7.      Becoming passive

8.      Arguing over who gets what

9.      Serving spouse with divorce papers in embarrassing places

10.  Responding with anger

11.  Not knowing (liquidity) of assets

12.  Failure to consider tax consequences

13.  Not understanding retirement accounts

14.  Overlooking debt and credit rating issues

15.  Not maintaining control over insurance policies

16.  Failure to budget (lifestyle; alimony, child support, etc.)

17.  Failure to identify hidden assets

18.  Negotiating w/o a proper inventory

19.  Letting friends tell you what you need or how to feel

20.  Trying to win spouse back by being generous

21.  Viewing divorce filing as “scare tactic” and therefore, not serious

22.  Being unprepared

23.  Not seeking financial advice

24.  Rushing to court

25.  Failing to untangle your assets

26.  Not considering mediation

27.  Emotional attachment to assets during divorce negotiations

28.  Using your divorce lawyer as a financial planner, therapist, or messenger

29.  Beware of settlement offer that looks too good

30.  Forgetting to update Estate documents

31.  Is there a Power of Attorney, living will, etc. involved

32.  Being in a hurry to settle, for unfavorable terms

33.  Taking advice from lay people

34.  Hiring a lawyer who is not a good fit personally

35.  Hiring a lawyer in a hurry

36.  Getting stuck on minor details, or alimony

37.  Not keeping accurate records of child support payments

38.  Doing a quick and sloppy job on financial records

39.  Neglecting the kids

40.  Not taking outside consultants seriously

41.  Talking too much

42.  Concealing information from your lawyer

43.  Becoming consumed by your divorce

44.  Not seeking emotional counseling

45.  Making unreasonable demands

46.  Making recorded statements to others

47.  Speaking with Opposing Counsel

48.  Not taking your attorney’s advice

49.  Not keeping a parenting notebook

50.  Involving your children in the divorce proceedings


10 Tips if Divorce is Imminent

October 7, 2008

1.    Consult an Attorney

Make sure you know what your rights and obligations are.  Be aware of how your behavior could affect the outcome of any potential divorce proceedings, i.e., should you move out of the marital home?

2.    Copy Documents

Make copies of everything you can find: tax returns, bank statements, check registers, investment statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits handbooks, life insurance policies, medical/dental insurance policies, mortgage documents, applications for credit, deeds and titles to property, financial statements, credit card statements, wills, social security statements, automobile titles, any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the parties, documentation of any child support either spouse already pays, etc.  Remember to check the home computer for additional documentation.  Florida requires certain documents be disclosed in all divorce proceedings.  Find that list here.  It is easier to obtain these documents before you separate than after.

3.    Inventory Household and Family Possessions

List the major items: furniture, artwork, jewelry, appliances, automobiles, etc.  Did you forget about anything in storage or that someone else is holding for you or borrowed from you?

4.    Know the Household Budget and Expenses

Examine and record where every penny goes.  This is important to determine if there are temporary needs while the divorce is pending and to determine the amounts owed between parties when negotiating a settlement or final judgment.

5.    Determine How to Manage Family Debt

Try to pay down any debt you may have if you can before divorce.  Division of debt is often a sticking point in divorce proceedings.  Cancel credit accounts if one spouse is too willing to whip out the credit card for unnecessary items.

6.    Find Out Exactly What Your Spouse Earns

Gain this information through paystubs, other documents, or casual conversation with your spouse’s business partner.

7.    Make a Realistic Appraisal of Your Earning Potential

What is a realistic view of your earning potential before and after the divorce?  Will some changes need to be made here?  If you have been a homemaker for a lengthy period of time, will education help you become self-sufficient?  Will your work schedule or location be effected by your divorce and your ability to care for your children?  What child care needs should be considered?

8.    Examine Your Own Credit History

Either establish or reestablish credit in your own, individual name.

9.    Build a Net Egg of Your Own

Try to have access to your own money in case your spouse stops paying the household expenses or bills during the divorce proceedings.  You may also need additional money for an attorney’s retainer, security deposit on a new residence, deposits on utilities, costs of moving, etc.

10.  Put Your Kids at the Top of Your Agenda

Divorce is not about you or your spouse when children are involved.  Children generally have no choice in the matter and their needs and wellbeing should always be your first concern.  Keep their routines as normal as possible, don’t argue in front of the children, don’t bad-mouth the other party to the children, stay involved with your children and their activities as much as possible, and don’t use your children as your sounding board, psychologist, attorney, or counselor! 

Source for some information here.


Forced to Divorce to Receive Medical Care

October 1, 2008

A couple had been married over 50 years but were forced to divorce so the wife could qualify for Medicaid to pay her $2,800 per week chemotherapy treatment.  This couple is not alone, many otherwise happily married individuals are divorcing simply so they can qualify for medical coverage. 

Source:  “Medical Costs Force Couples to Divorce,” by Suevon Lee, Ocala Star-Banner.


Protecting Yourself From a Dangerous Spouse During Separation

October 1, 2008
  1. Have a plan and a safety plan
  2. Have a support group in place
  3. Consider an order of protection

For help with all of the above, contact your local domestic violence project.  Most domestic violence projects have trained, certified counselors on staff who can attend to your special circumstances and help you safely plan the best strategy for you.  The staff can help you develop a safety plan, provide individual and group counseling, and many projects have court advocates to assist you with the order of protection paperwork.  Most or all of the above services are often free of charge!

NOTE:  Be aware that your abuser may be tracking your internet usage with cookies!

Nassau County, Florida: or hotline 1-800-500-1119.

Duval County, Florida: or hotlines:  (800) 500-1119 or (904) 354-3114.

Nationally:  National Coalition of Domestic Violence 1-800-779-7233.


Pay Alimony in Pennies, Go to Jail

October 1, 2008

Frank tried to pay his $5,000 alimony with 500,000 pennies in a barrel.  The Judge was not happy and ordered Frank to pay with a cashier’s check or go to jail. 

I guess there were no moneys in that barrell, or laughs either.

Source:  “Frank Rolls Out the Alimony Barrel,” by John A. Ritter, Esq., Orlando Sentinel


Benefits of Using a Good Divorce Lawyer

October 1, 2008

A good divorce lawyer:

  1. Knows the ins and outs of the legal process and can help you legally claim a right to what’s yours
  2. Advise you of your rights, some of which you probably didn’t even know you had
  3. Will act as an intermediary between you and your spouse (also serving as an emotional buffer as well)
  4. Will monitor the progress of the case and all the minute details involved in managing the negotiations, calendar, property and monetary issues, etc.
  5. Protect your best interests and help you avoid potential landmines placed by the opposing party
  6. Help you negotiate a settlement with your former spouse, if possible
  7. If a negotation can be reached, a lawyer can help you attain a final judgment much sooner than you could attain on your own
  8. By knowing the legal procedure and requirements, a good lawyer can help you avoid potential time delays if you don’t meet all the requirements or have all of your paperwork in order
  9. Make you aware of all your options, even if you want a divorce

Source:  “Why You Need to Use a Good Divorce Lawyer” by Jon Arnold


Fighting Over Fido

October 1, 2008

10/6/08 Update:  This topic received additional coverage on the Virginia Family Law Blog’s article, “Who Gets The Pets?”


As more and more people view pets as people and as their “children,” pets are becoming a battleground in divorce proceedings.  Prevent the heartache of having to let go of Fido by including him in your prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, marital settlement agreement, or other living arrangement agreement. To read more, click here.

What happens to Fido if you die before he does?  Pet trusts are also becoming more popular as people are considering the long-term care of their pet.  Add a pet trust into your estate plan.  It’s a very simple way to make sure Fido is taken care of after you have departed.