property-distribution-400-05370431dYou’re getting a divorce. You want the house, the car, the vacation timeshare and anything else you can get simply because you believe your soon-to-be ex is a louse and you deserve to be compensated for your anguish. Before you hand your list of demands to your divorce attorney, however, there are a number of issues you should consider.

Property distribution in relation to a divorce is more complicated than simply deciding who deserves what. You need to understand the difference between separate property and marital property and what affect comingling the two can have. Also, in addition to the current value of the property, you need to consider the short- and long-term effects of ownership. For a closer look at how property is distributed in a divorce, read Jeff Landers’ article, “Understanding How Assets Get Divided in Divorce.”

divorce-mistakes-400-04023471dDivorce, no matter how inevitable it might be, is an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved. Sadness, hurt, anger, relief, fear, anxiety are all feelings spouses and children alike may experience throughout the divorce process. And these feelings can get the better of you if you let them.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your divorce is reacting to these feelings and not giving enough consideration to the big picture. Do you really want possession of that antique lamp enough to fight over or are you just seeking revenge? Identifying the important issues and letting go of the small stuff can help you and your loved ones survive the divorce with your emotions – and sanity – intact. For a look at some of the more common mistakes to avoid when going through a divorce, read “11 Things Divorce Lawyers Say You Should Never Do.”

Photo of child holding cutouts of family separated by divorceDivorcing couples may severe ties with each other but not with their children — once a parent, always a parent. Children depend on mothers and fathers to fill certain roles in their lives and they see their parents’ relationships with each other as a partnership. When children watch that partnership dissolve through divorce, the impact on their emotional and psychological well-being can be great.

How parents decide to approach their divorce can help lessen the negative affect the divorce can have on their children. Whether the divorce is cooperative or contentious can influence the type of parenting plan the couple can hope to have. To learn more, read Dr. Jamie Williamson’s blog, “Marriages Dissolve, But Parenting Partnerships Are ‘to Death Do Us Part’…

financial-mistakes-400-08377485dWhen negotiating a divorce settlement, it isn’t uncommon for people to fight for everything they believe they are entitled to – property, financial assets, support payments. Too often, however, people let their emotions cloud their judgement; they fail to consider the ramifications of their settlement and overlook issues that could negatively impact their future financial well-being.

It might be nice to keep the family home after your divorce, but can you afford the mortgage payments, the tax bill, the upkeep? What about those joint loans or credit lines you and your spouse have? Unless you have assurance that your ex will live up to his or her obligations after the divorce, you could find creditors coming after you for the full payment of those obligations.

Some financial issues that require attention during the course of your divorce negotiations are obvious; others can easily be overlooked. Read “Financial Mistakes to Avoid when Getting Divorced” to identify common issues that should be addressed before your divorce is final in order to avoid financial consequences later.

prenuptials-400-08291531dThere was a time when prenuptial agreements were associated mostly with celebrities and the very wealthy. Today, however, couples frequently wait longer to marry. They enter these unions after first building careers and accumulating financial assets independently. Conversely, they also bring individual financial liabilities to the relationship as well. As a result, prenuptial agreements have become more commonplace now than they were with previous generations.

Discussions about money can be uncomfortable for even the most compatible couples, yet financial issues are often cited as at least a contributing factor in relationship break-ups. The time to discuss who owns what and how money should be handled during the marriage is before the couple says, “I do.”

What should be included in a prenuptial agreement depends not only on the terms the couple has agreed upon, but also on the laws governing marital property, divorce and alimony in the state where the couple resides. Jamie Schoen’s article, “5 Things to Think About When Considering a Prenup,” poses questions couples should ask themselves before drawing up this legal agreement.

coping-400-06888385dFor some people, divorce is the only solution to the problems in their relationship. Still, it is difficult for everyone involved as they adjust to changes in family finances and lifestyles. Children can be most affected since they very often don’t understand the circumstances that led to this change in their family life.

Children react differently to their parents’ divorce – some act out behaviorally at home or in school; others keep their feelings pent up, only for these feelings to surface at a later time in their development. Most parents go to great lengths to protect their children from being traumatized by their divorce. One of the best things they can do is consider their children’s needs first, according to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry. To learn more about how you can help your child adjust to your divorce, read Dr. Pruett’s article, “Helping Children Cope With Divorce.”

 

custody-400-04369363dWhen facing divorce, many parents will go to great lengths to arrive at custody agreements that protect the daily routines of their children as much as possible. Allowing children to remain with the friends and schools they’ve become accustomed to can prove helpful as they adjust to their parents’ divorce. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

Sometimes parents are faced with unexpected circumstances – a change in finances or employment, for example – that jeopardize their ability to live up to the terms of even the most well-planned custody agreements. Ignoring the terms spelled out in your custody agreement can have costly consequences, a lesson one New Jersey couple is learning the hard way. For details, read “Parents ordered to pay N.J. school district $55K tuition in residency dispute.”

One way to avoid a similar situation is to return to court to seek a new or amended custody agreement and keep the terms of the new agreement in mind when making modifications in your life to meet your changing circumstances.

bullying-400-05696906dMost people would agree that bullying needs to end. How to best accomplish this and protect our children is the question.

After a number of well-publicized suicides by victims of alleged bullying, New Jersey passed what has been referred to as the nation’s toughest anti-bullying legislation. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights was adopted on Sept. 1, 2011 and replaced much weaker legislation that had been on the State’s books. The Bill attempts to prevent bullying through the education of students and school staff about what constitutes bullying; the creation of teams of school personnel and parents to whom these behaviors can be reported; and the investigation of all reported acts of bullying.

Some may say New Jersey’s law is too rigorous, while others may think it doesn’t go far enough. Consider the case of one Wisconsin town that recently made the news by passing legislation allowing for parents of children found guilty of bullying to be fined. Read “Wisconsin Town Will Fine Parents of Bullies $366” to learn more about this most recent anti-bullying measure.

Stressors leading to divorce - photo of groom placing ring on bride's handMarriage is a lifetime commitment. While most people take that commitment seriously, sometimes things occur leading a couple to the realization they can no longer honor their vows to stay together “till death do us part.” The exact reasons behind any divorce are as unique as the individuals involved, yet there are certain common life events that can add to a couple’s stress and perhaps even influence their decision to part ways.

A recent article on abcnews.go.com explored various life changes and stressors that could negatively affect a marriage according to Elizabeth Ochoa, PhD., Beth Israel Medical Center’s chief psychologist and marriage counselor. Read Amanda MacMillan’s article, “Life Events That Can Lead to Divorce,” to learn more.

Joint Custody -- photo of pen and corner of eyeglasses lying on a Child Custody agreementDivorce may be the answer to a troubled marriage but when children are involved, the relationship between spouses never truly ends. Although divorce negotiations can sometimes be bitter, custody arrangements require cooperation if they are to work.

There are various forms of custody designed to suit the unique circumstances of individual families. However, most people believe that joint custody, if possible, is best for the children. For this, couples need to put aside their differences and focus on the needs of their children. To learn how to do that, read “9 Rules to Make Joint Child Custody Work.”