Bill in Massachusetts could make Sex during Divorce Illegal

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Bill in Massachusetts could make Sex during Divorce Illegal

If caught red handed between the sheets during your divorce, the law could have something to say about that if a new bill in Massachusetts passes, as it could make sex during divorce illegal. One stipulation of the proposed law is that you must have children living in the house with you and the divorce hasn’t been finalized yet. So after the divorce is finalized it’s perfectly legal to bring someone home if children are in the house, but it isn’t legal if divorce proceedings aren’t final? What kind of logic is that?

If a judge signs off on this tryst then you are off the hook, according to the bill. Wake a judge up in the middle of the night and see what kind of mood he is in to put his signature on an order like that. The bill actually reads like this “In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.”

State Sen. Richard Ross (R) filed the bill in the early months of 2013. He did so for a constituent of his Wrentham Selectman Robert Leclair. This bill was extended in March and will be on the floor of the state legislature in June. Senator Ross filed it on behalf of his constituent but according to a report he does not “support it.” Leclair, once the president of Fathers United for Equal Justice and having gone through a bitter divorce, is the primary architect and promoter of this bill. According to Russia Today, Leclair spoke of the bill saying that the bill would safeguard children during the divorce process. This law would have to be approved by the state legislature and the governor in order to be passed into law, a prospect that seems rather unlikely.

Certainly this bill will have personal liberty advocates up in arms. But it seems to be merely a way for a powerful man to publicly humiliate his wife by way of forcing a politician to propose an unjust or quixotic bill. This bill is a waste of state legislature’s time and the taxpayer’s money. In addition, bills such as this make a mockery of the legislative process. Certainly everyone except Leclair finds this utterly ridiculous. We’ll see if a defamation suit is filed by his ex-wife in the aftermath of this menagerie. For advice on getting through your divorce read, Conscious Divorce: Ending a Marriage with Integrity by Susan Allison.

When Your Child is Emancipated Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support?

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When Your Child is Emancipated Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support?

When you first hear that your child is becoming emancipated, hope can dawn on many a cash strapped parent and ex-spouse. One question usually comes to their mind. When your child is emancipated do you still have to pay child support? But the issue isn’t that simple. It’s more complicated. Your child support responsibility doesn’t automatically end due to emancipation. Instead, you have to petition the court in order to terminate child support. Proceedings from this point vary according to state law. Child support laws vary considerably from state to state. In some states the minute a child turns eighteen child support is over. Whereas in other states it’s when the child turns twenty one or it could even depend on when they finish college. Emancipation itself is a different issue, but the laws on child support will influence the court’s ruling. There are states that require child support be paid to an emancipated child. Even though an emancipated child is supposed to be financially self-sufficient the court could decide that they receive a stipend monthly until they become a certain age. The original child support order may run in tandem or be extinguished due to this. It pays to have an experienced attorney on your side to help navigate this complicated issue.

Make sure you attend your child’s emancipation hearing. Your input won’t be heard otherwise and they may make a decision that is unfavorable to you. It doesn’t matter whether or not you support your child’s decision to become emancipated. You will be able to give your testimony and take part in the decision making process. Your input will be considered. Have with you a copy of your divorce decree. The judge may ask to read it in order to get better acquainted with the case. If they see for instance that this father is paying $400 per month in child support, the judge may redirect that money to the child. Or the court may decide that each party should contribute $200 per month to the child. The age of your kid is one of the most important factors. This will weigh heavily on the judge’s head. If it is a seventeen year old boy the judge may believe that the money being paid to the child is warranted, even if they can support themselves. The judge may also consider the position of each parent. If a parent is against the emancipation they may not grant the child support to the child. If you are angry at your ex-spouse, don’t direct that anger at your child or let that anger cloud your good judgment. Make sure that throughout you have the child’s best interest in mind. For more advice on child support read, Child Support Dollar$ and Sense for NCPs: Practical Advice, Guidance, Resources, and Much More for Non-Custodial Parents Juggling Child Support Issues by Marty Vaughn.

Don’t go for the Aggressive Attorney when Divorcing

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Don’t go for the Aggressive Attorney when Divorcing

When we are hurt, or worried about assets or child custody, we may consider getting an aggressive attorney to try and safeguard our interests. It may even go beyond that. You could be hurt, and lashing out in revenge. Whatever your reasoning, don’t consider an aggressive attorney. If you think hiring a “pit bull” lawyer is going to help you, think again. The trouble is those “fighter” attorneys are just argumentative. They may be brash, pushy, arrogant, and rearing for a fight, but that doesn’t mean the judge is going to respect them. In fact, just the opposite may be true. Now, who you thought would be a good advocate turns out to be a liability. If the judge is biased against your attorney, it could definitely impact the case. Another issue is billing. These types of lawyers want to make as much as possible. That means billing you for as many hours as they can. Even if they have lower rates, they could get you in legal fees. Another consideration is the more issues you have to fight over the more expensive it is going to be. So a “pit bull” may drum up trouble just to pocket more of your money. It also means, the more your side fights, the more the other side has to. Lots of money gets siphoned away in bickering and legal proceedings, as a result. The marital estate dwindles, bad news for both of you.

If both attorneys are belligerent “fighters” this could further prolong matters. There is one thing you can say about divorce; those involved never cease to find ways to suck away your money. There are even attorney fee contributions to make things level, should your ex have less access to funds than you. Sanctions could also force you to pay your spouse, further depleting the estate. Some say aggressive attorneys can be found filing motions that don’t make any sense, and prolong the case in order to make sure they get the most out of it, financially. If you have children, you may be setting a bad atmosphere with your ex in which to co-parent in. The divorce will set the tone moving forward. You might make your ex angrier, so that they are terrible to deal with whenever they come to pick up the kids. Forget it if you want to switch weekends. If you and your ex’s lawyers get into a tit-for-tat situation, there is no way to predict when it might end. A short divorce time is about six months. But there are divorces that drag on for two, three, even five years. At that point both of you just want it over with. You want normalcy. You want a chance to start your life over again. But the longer the divorce is prolonged, the longer you will have to put that time off. Plus all the money you wasted. You wonder if it was worth it.

Seek out an attorney that is going to look after your best interests. It should be someone effective but also level headed. Look for an attorney that wants the divorce to be resolved in a fair and equitable manner. You want someone who will take what is important for you and fight for that. You don’t want someone who just wants to win. One strategy “pit bull” lawyers employ is to make things so expensive, that the other side gives up. But you both lose in this situation. Plus you both come off angry which will set the tone for any future relations, should children be in the mix. You may be bitter and worried that you won’t get the things you need, like custody or child support. But make sure you have someone who is going to do the right thing, not play dirty just to win. Be careful when you go to select an attorney, and don’t be afraid to walk away from one or get a new one, if yours turns out different than you thought. If you believe you have this type of attorney, make the switch sooner rather than later. Good communication, mutual respect and trust are essential to the client-attorney relationship. Look for these traits and your divorce will come off better than you thought. For more legal advice read, The Guide to a Smart Divorce- Experts’ advice for surviving divorce by Kurt Groesser, Jan Parsons, Kim Langelaar, and David Heckenbach Esq.

What to Expect When Going Through a Divorce

concept of section of property after divorce.

What to Expect When Going Through a Divorce

Getting a divorce can slam you with a mix of emotions. You can feel angry, frustrated, drained, confused and just plain overwhelmed. Many who are savvy in other aspects of their lives often feel completely out of their element when going through a divorce. They are just dropped into a new environment and expected to hit the ground running. Just realize that you are still on earth, not the surface of the moon. There are certain things to expect when going through a divorce, just as going through anything else. If you know what to expect, what you will be up against, you can prepare yourself and manage your expectations. This is one of the most important things you can do because it can safeguard you, and help you better transition. Those who don’t manage their expectations will often get steamrolled by the process. Then afterward they are stuck in a fog, bitter, crushed or the walking wounded. They have difficulty moving on and instead wallow in what has happened to them. A more natural and healthier transition is grieving, healing and then jumping in and exploring the new you. Here is what to expect when going through a divorce.

Don’t think that TV courtroom dramas are the real thing, they aren’t. The legal system can take forever. What’s more, the complexities may want to make you pull out your hair. Even an uncontentious divorce with no kids can take a while. Prepare yourself for the long haul. Take some time out for you, even if it’s just twenty minutes or a half hour a day to unwind. Read, watch something funny, or do whatever it is that relaxes you. Reach out to your social network. Seek out friends and family. Have good long talks with those who are close to you. That’s what they are there for. Expect to need to vent. This is a serious time in your life, and you will need support. It’s okay to reach out and talk to someone you feel close to. Usually, it takes a brave person to ask. But you’ll find that people can’t wait to help you. Expect to be collecting documentation. Make sure to have all of your paperwork, financial and otherwise in a row. Insurance, credit card statements, bank statements, investments, property and more have to be negotiated. Make sure to get a good divorce attorney who has a solid reputation and lots of experience. Do your homework. Expect to work closely with your lawyer and perhaps consider hiring other professionals such as a forensic accountant if you think that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is hiding assets.

Typically one person wants to work out the marriage, the other to leave it. Expect time to crawl by if you want out, and it to race by if you wanted to work things out. Everyone no matter what position they are in in a divorce feels as though they are at a disadvantage. Everyone feels knocked off kilter. Sometimes the one being dumped makes things drag along. At other times the one who wants out feels that they would give anything just to have it over. One may be in shock at this time. Or just in pain. Expect that some friends are just going to fall on your ex’s side, and be okay with that, or at least come to terms with it. That said, you can still have relationships with people you feel close to no matter whose friend they were first. Expect financial changes. Make a budget and stick to it. If you need help, seek out financial counseling, or free financial counseling in your area. Expect to be under a lot of stress and strain. You may absolutely hate your ex-spouse and something might slip out. Or you could lose it at some point. But it’s okay. It happens. We’re only human. People will understand. Give yourself a break. You may feel like a failure, but it just didn’t work out. It’s no one’s fault. Still, a sense of clarity and understanding will come to you if you just let it work its way to you naturally. If you have children, they will be affected by the divorce, study up on it, expect it and do the right thing. Be there for them. Studies have shown that children can be just as healthy, happy and well-adjusted as long as you help them adjust. When you start your new life and your new love life expect to make errors, and don’t wallow in them. Just keep it moving and some day it will be all behind you.  To have your own personal analyst in your pocket to help you through this trying time, pick up a copy of, Divorce Guide Vol. 1: The Pocket Therapist (The Pocket Therapist Series) by Dr. Mel Gill.

Helping a Friend through a Divorce when you’ve Been There

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Helping a Friend through a Divorce when you’ve Been There

For anyone who has been through a divorce, it changes you in deep and profound ways, some good and some not so much. But being a veteran of one gives you insight that those who have never been there can’t hope to gain. When you have a friend who is going through the same thing, you certainly want to reach out and help, to be there for them and give them advice and comfort since you know how it is, as you’ve been there. Here are some ideas on how to make your efforts more impactful and focused so that you can help your friend the best you possibly can. A lot of those people who have been there, done that want to dole out all of their hard won advice on their friend without considering how the friend themselves may be feeling. Don’t give advice if your friend hasn’t asked for it. Not even a little. Ask yourself who this drive is benefitting, you with all of your knowledge, or your friend who isn’t ready to listen? If they are still in a raw stage they may feel like you are rubbing it in, being judgmental or criticizing. When they ask for advice then give it. But don’t give unless asked. You can also share your knowledge in other ways, like sharing your own personal experiences.

Think about divorce situations that are relevant, and that your friend is currently experiencing. If for instance you hit a snag in your custody case and your friend is having a similar issue, or your ex-spouse was hiding assets and your friend believes their ex is doing the same, let them know what you learned and what happened. Discuss what worked and what didn’t in your divorce, but only if and when your friend is ready to listen. Ask things, framing it in “Did you think of” or “Have you thought about.” There are a lot of resources nowadays for those going through a divorce such as support groups, women’s support groups, dating after divorce groups and more. The Transition Network for instance gives emotional and social support. Meetup has many of these which you can find in you or your friend’s area. There are also symposiums, workshops and guest speakers who talk about getting one’s finances, emotional situation or legal situation in order. Why not help your friend find these if he or she is in need of more information or support? Divorce nowadays is so draining financially and emotionally, and such a complex situation that we often need all the help we can get, and in different realms of the issue.

Go out with your friend to take their mind off of their problems. They may want to sit and wallow for weeks and months on end in the house, but ultimately that isn’t going to make them feel any better. Buy them a latte. Take them to the spa, a movie, a night out, a meal, a concert or a comedy club. Treat them extra specially, they’ll need it right now for what they are going through. Give them little gifts or cards on holidays or their birthday. Bake them something, make them dinner, do something special to let them know how much they mean to you, that they will get through this, and that you have their back. Be there for when they need to vent. Don’t judge, give advice or explain, just listen. Sometimes nothing is better than having someone listen and validate your feelings without any commentary or judgment. Statements like “Of course you would feel this way,” can do a lot to help your friend feel better. If someone you know who went through a divorce helped you, and passed along words of wisdom, why not share them with your friend? Let them know that sooner or later things will get better. If you are dating again, let them know that when they are ready you can help them with that, too. Since you’ve had the same experience, your friend is more likely to lean on you. Be there for them. Hollow out a little time for them. Treat them how you wanted to be treated when you were in their situation. But realize, too, that everyone reacts differently to divorce and allow them to grieve and heal in their own unique way. To help your friend or anyone else you know through this trying time, pick up a copy of Growing Through Divorce by Jim Smoke.