Articles Posted in Divorce

visitation-400-04555027d-201x300It is generally believed children benefit from healthy relationships with both of their parents. That’s why in divorces, parents often are awarded joint custody. In this way, they continue to share in the decisions and responsibilities of raising their children, as well as in the physical custody of those children. Sometimes, however, courts will not award joint custody but instead will grant visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. That is unless that parent is deemed unfit and the courts believe such visits would not be in the child’s best interests.

If your divorce involves child visitation, you will want to avoid making mistakes that can lead to conflicts between you and your ex. One of the most important things to look for is that your final divorce decree contains the specific terms of the visitation agreement. To learn more about child visitation agreements and what to watch for, read “Child Visitation: It’s a Post-Divorce Fact of Life.”

gray-divorce-400-05339652d-300x201Gray divorce — the term given to couples age 50 and older who terminate their marriages — seems to be a growing trend.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2015 there were 10 divorced people for every 1,000 married people age 50 and older in the U.S., compared with 5 divorced people for every 1,000 married people in that age group in 1990. In the 65+ age group, the 2015 divorce rate was 6 for every 1,000 married persons, which was 3 times the 1990 rate. See “A costly ‘gray divorce’ can upend your retirement plans.”

While couples at this stage of life may not have to worry about such issues as child custody and support, divorce still takes an emotional toll and can endanger the couple’s retirement funds. If these funds are not properly divided and transferred, the couple risks tax consequences and possible penalties that can be devastating to their financial well-being. To learn about important steps to take to protect your retirement funds in the event of a gray divorce, read “5 Retirement Moves for Recently Divorced Couples.”

political-400-04968548d-300x189It has long been said that there are two topics of discussion to avoid if you want to maintain your relationships – religion and politics. Never has that been truer than now it seems, especially as it pertains to politics.

A recent study by the Virginia-based polling company, Wakefield Research, found that more couples are breaking up or heading to divorce court now than before due to political disagreements, specifically the election of Donald Trump as President. The study further pointed out that millennials are leading this trend. What does this say about our outlooks toward relationships and about our personalities in general? To find out, read “Married Couples Splitting Over Trump, Study Says.”

divorce precautions - photo of young girl in pink top holding yellow umbrellaNot all couples facing divorce do so amicably. Those who do usually fare better in the long-run; for those who don’t, however, a little preparation can help you avoid making serious mistakes both during the divorce process and in its aftermath.

Individuals involved in contentious divorces have found themselves left in dire financial straits, or have lost their homes or even their children because they failed to take precautions before proceeding with their divorce. A recent article on workingmother.com offered guidelines for preparing for divorce in order to protect both you and your children legally, financially, and physically. For details, read “How to Prepare Yourself and Your Children for a Divorce.”

social-media-divorce-2-400-08158573d-300x200Many people today use social media to engage with family and friends, especially those they don’t get to see on a regular basis. These platforms provide an easy means for publicly sharing accomplishments and milestones, or passing along amusing or entertaining stories. Problems can arise, however, when people share information of a more private nature, like their divorce.

Divorce is an emotional process. It isn’t unusual for people going through divorce to seek support or sympathy, but using a public venue like social media to solicit that support can backfire in a big way. So can carelessly posting about your social activities during this process. To learn about the dangers of discussing your divorce in social media or posting about your social engagements without censorship, read “3 Social Media Mistakes Divorcing Couples Make Every Time.”

divorce's affect on credit score -- photo of corner of keyboard with a person's finger touching a yellow 'credit report' keyMost people work hard to establish a good credit rating and even harder to maintain it once it is achieved. To have a good credit score jeopardized by the actions of another person would be devastating, but that’s what could happen if a husband and wife fail to discuss how to handle their debt in the event of a divorce.

Married couples commonly have shared accounts and financial obligations – mortgages, credit cards, and car loans, to name a few. The actions of one spouse can impact the credit rating of the other spouse not only during the marriage, but even after the couple separates. To learn how to protect your credit score in the midst of your divorce, read “What Happens to Your Credit When You Get Divorced?

Protecting family-owned business from divorce - photo of couple standing outside storefront of grocery businessFamily-owned or controlled businesses are an important segment of the American economy. They account for about 90% of all American businesses, from large retailers like Walmart to small mom-and-pop shops, and produce more than half of the country’s gross domestic product. These businesses face all the same risks as publicly-owned businesses do – growing competition, changing technology, increasing costs of supplies, and the like. On top of that they face one more risk that their publicly-owned counterparts do not – divorce.

What happens to a business that is owned by a couple facing divorce depends largely on the steps the couple took, if any, to protect the business before their marital troubles began. Often the family has the majority of its assets tied up in the business, so one spouse buying the other out is not always an option. A recent MarketWatch article, “How to protect your family business during a divorce,” discusses different options available to couples who want to protect the businesses they worked so hard to create.

photos of two pet dogs standing next to owner's legs, all wearing bright green rain bootsFor an animal lover, a pet is more than a possession – it’s a member of the family, and a beloved one at that. But what happens to that “family member” when the family unit dissolves through divorce?

Most courts don’t share the sentiment that pets are family but rather view pets as property. However, this “property” is not as easy to distribute as say a house or a car. When it comes to deciding the post-divorce fate of a pet, courts consider the people involved rather than the animal: Who paid for the pet? Who cares for the pet? If children are involved, should the animal stay with them? That’s about to change, however, for one state.

Alaska recently became the first state to amend its divorce statutes so that courts are now required to consider the well-being of the animal in divorce cases (read, “In a first, Alaska divorce courts will now treat pets like children”). The amendments will even allow judges to award joint custody of a pet, if that arrangement is in best interest of the animal, and to include pets when issuing protective orders in cases of domestic violence. Time will tell if more states will follow this lead.

Property Distribution: Photo of gray house with white trim with double Adirondack chair on porchThe distribution of property in connection with a divorce is a complex legal issue. Even answers to seemingly simple questions like who should get a marital home that was purchased before the wedding may surprise you.

Courts consider a number of factors when determining the distribution of property, including whether or not the couple has a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, and if the state in which the couple lives is a community property or common law state.

New Jersey happens to be an equitable distribution, or common law, state. Even here, ownership documentation like deeds and registrations alone may not be enough to establish who is entitled to what property. Courts consider other mitigating factors in making their determination. In the case of a marital home, for example, courts will consider not only who initially purchased the home, but also whether or not marital funds were used to pay the mortgage or make improvement to the home. For more insight into how marital property is treated in divorce proceedings, read “Martial Home Purchased Before Marriage: How Is It Treated?

divorce-attorney-400-07974910d-(1)
Victor Rotolo and the attorneys at the Victor Rotolo Law Firm have been offering legal counsel on all matters related to divorce — both simple and complex cases — since 1992.

The internet may have made it easier to obtain a divorce without the help of an attorney, but would you want to? Do-it-yourself divorces are legal; however, to be successful couples must be:

  • in complete agreement regarding all terms of their divorce settlement;