Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

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Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

Lots of men are angry and hurt when faced with divorce papers. Due to these emotions, fathers make common mistakes in the divorce process and end up hurting their wallets, their children, even themselves. With a little forethought and preparation you can avoid these hazards and help make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your children.

Lots of guys for instance use litigation as a force for revenge. They drive up the cost as a tactic to try to make their ex crack. Everyone in the process suffers because of it and you come out looking like the bad guy. Some states even have laws against this. If you purposely make moves in order to drive up the cost you could be hit with a pretty hefty fine. Instead, think of your overall goals. Don’t be led astray by an attorney who would want to take part in such practices. Do your research and pick an attorney that’s right for you. Keep your emotions in check and don’t use the legal process as a vindictive device, or a way to throw a temper tantrum.

Another problem lots of men make is financially stretching themselves too thin. There is alimony, child support, and your own expenses. You could easily work yourself to death and not get anywhere in the process. Make sure you plan out your financial goals and strategy with an attorney, perhaps even an accountant. Having a financial game plan in place will help you manage your life properly. You’ll also want to consult with an attorney concerning your goals in regards to your children. Do you want joint custody, visitation or what? Know what you are aiming for, what is reasonable, what emotional state your ex is in and what she will likely go for. The most important thing of course is the children. But a lot of couples get caught in trying to hurt one another and the kids get caught in the middle.

That said, it’s also important not to give in too much and miss out on having the kids in your life. Children need love, support and attention from both parents regularly. Don’t compromise them out of your life. Do not use the children as leverage in any way. Not only is this despicable it will hurt your relationship with them. Lastly, don’t let child support payments pile up unattended. Or else, with penalties and fees, you’ll soon find yourself in the poor house. For more advice read, Fathers’ Rights: Hard-Hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute by Jeffery M. Leving and Kenneth A. Dachman, Ph.D.

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.

Are There Really So Many Deadbeat Dads?

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Are There Really So Many Deadbeat Dads?

You hear about deadbeat dads more and more nowadays. But are there really so many dads who forego their legal and parental responsibilities? Or is it more hype than reality? The truth is that 66% of dads who can’t come up with enough child support actually can’t afford it. So should we really see them as deadbeats? Most of these men love their children and want what is best for them. There are those men, due to how custody orders play out, who hardly get to see their children, if at all. On top of that, there are punitive laws for those fathers who fail to pay their obligation. Income tax returns can be taken, wages can be garnished, they can even suspend your driver’s license. How are you supposed to work to earn the money for back child support if you can’t drive to work to earn the money to begin with? If the father gets too behind in some states he can do up to a year in jail. Without the money to pay attorney’s fees, he will be at the whim of an uncaring legal system that will see him as a bad person who deserves to be punished. The result is that there are dads in prison who can’t see their kids nor earn the money to try and provide for them.

So are there really so many deadbeat dads, or is the problem by and large an economic problem? Lack of access to employment is one of the biggest problems. Years ago women were the losers in divorce court. But today, women generally are given the upper hand. Laws need to change to accommodate for specific cases. Child support should be allocated based on what a person can afford to pay. Visitation should be allowed and encouraged. Fathers and children should have a chance to be in each other’s lives. But sometimes this crazy world gets in the way. Statistics have shown that when a father is in a child’s life, they have higher self-esteem, do better in school and on standardized tests, and have less trouble with teenage pregnancy, illegal drugs and the law. We should as a society do everything possible to make sure parents and children can be together and support one another and not let the law or financial issues get in the way from that happening. Consciousness is already starting to take shape on this issue. Be on the forefront and let others know what you know, and what your situation is should this issue touch you in your life. For advice on how to be a good father, read How to Be a Good Divorced Dad by Jeffery M. Leving.

5 Steps to Divorcing your Husband

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Getting a divorce is a huge decision. But most people know deep in their heart when the time is right, when you have irreconcilable differences, when there has been too many grievances to repair trust or when you just can’t be happy together or get along anymore. Most people are solid on the emotional issues and how to move forward in that sense. But when it comes to the legal sense they are often clueless. Many don’t look into the process at all. They are vulnerable to shady operators. What you are looking for in the legal sense is a Petition for Dissolution.  Once a judgment is entered then the divorce is final, but not before. Without that document you aren’t legally divorced. Some not-so-honest lawyers let cases go on and on for years without getting a judgment handed down. So it’s best to know, be informed about the process so that it can move forward as smoothly as possible without wasting time, money and adding more emotional distress than there needs to be. Here are 5 steps to divorcing your husband. The first step, file a petition of dissolution. In the 1970’s no-fault divorce laws came to fruition in many states across the country. Find out what the particular situation is in your state. In no-fault states, either party can file a petition of dissolution for any reason. In states where one spouse has to be at fault, reasons such as infidelity, domestic abuse and others may need to be stated. Most states however are no-fault states. But you definitely need to check. A quick Google search should tell you.

There is generally a charge to file this petition. The document will be served to your soon-to-be ex-spouse to notify them of your wish to be divorced from them. It’s a good idea to let your husband know that you’ve filed for a divorce previous to receiving the papers, or else it could be a big shock, make them fly into a rage,  or result in some other negative emotional response. After the one person is served with papers, they have 30 days in order to compose and send in a response. If they fail to file, the petitioner or the person who filed for divorce can ask for a default of judgment. The filer should then receive all of the things they asked for in the original petition. There may be exceptions. Make sure you select a divorce lawyer carefully and discuss this with him or her should your husband fail to respond. Now an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) will be put into place to prevent one spouse or the other from absconding with the children, selling or cleaning out the couple’s assets and so on as an act of revenge. You are not allowed to take your children out of state at this time. You can’t benefit from any insurance claims at this time. No concealing or transferring property or other assets. Now you’ve completed the first step and are in divorce proceedings. It won’t end until you get a judgment from the court.

It usually takes around six months or so to get a judgment. That said, custody and the splitting of assets are the two main items to be negotiated and settled upon. Will there be spousal support? Who gets the house and how are the assets to be allocated? Now it’s time for our second step, to get a court date in order to work these issues out, called an “Order to Show Cause” or an OSC. This process is called “pendent lite,” which is Latin meaning, “while the case is pending”. Whatever arrangements met at this time are not permanent, though the longer they stay in place the more likely they will become permanent. You can negotiate with your ex-spouse at any time and reach an agreement during this phase. Both parties should file OSC in order to gain some peace and some space. Now if there has been any physical or emotional abuse you should take part in our third step, filing a domestic abuse restraining order.

Now the fourth step is called the disclosure of finances. Many times in a marriage one party knows much more about the finances than the other. Furthermore, many states assume that even if one spouse has stayed home and hasn’t worked, their contribution through domestic duties and perhaps caring for the children mean that they are entitled to their fair share of the assets. Even if they were total couch potatoes, how the law states it is clear. However, be sure to check on the particulars with your attorney as laws can vary from state to state. Hiding assets will not be looked on favorably by the judge. In fact, he or she may award even more than their fair share in recompense for the deceit. It’s best to disclose everything. Now, once the disclosures are done the settlement negotiation begins. That’s our fifth step. How much will support be? How will property and other assets be allocated? Who gets custody of the children? How will holidays be divvied up? If no settlement can be reached a court date will be required and set. Now you can ask for a stipulated judgment or a marital settlement agreement (MSA). The difference between the two is that one is a judgment handed down by the court; the MSA is an actual contract. If it is breached then you can sue for breach of contract. Finally, you will then receive a Notice of Entry of Judgment which gives you a legal date for when your divorce took place. Once that document is filed you are officially, legally divorced. For more on this, pick up a copy of Getting Divorced Without Ruining Your Life: A Reasoned, Practical Guide to the Legal, Emotional and Financial Ins and Outs of Negotiating a Divorce Settlement by Sam Margulies.

What Drives Divorced People Crazy

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Any divorced person knows whether it was an amiable breakup or a contentious one, that there are things about how their ex operates that drive them crazy. If you feel this way you aren’t alone. But what are these issues and what can you do to help alleviate them? It turns out there are four common areas where static can occur (huffingtonpost). The first is lack of communication. A lot of divorced people, of either gender, stay angry with their ex-spouse perpetually. They fail to respond to all forms of communication whether they be texts, email or phone calls. Sometimes you need to get in touch with them, especially if you have kids. Other than telling your attorney, which increases your fee, there isn’t much you can do. If there are kids involved, communicate this to your ex. He or she isn’t listening to the voicemails, or checking out your emails or texts. Let them know that it’s hurting the kids. If no children are involved, but it is an important issue, let them know, without any emotion why it’s important.

The second thing most people don’t appreciate is when their ex is rude or belligerent in front of others, especially the children. To cope, take the high road. Ignore the aggression and kill them with kindness. They will hurt their own reputation and relationship with the children and you will stay a cut above. When your ex-spouse acts like their job is so much more important than yours, it can drive you nuts. Solution, address this directly with them. If they are going to be childish and state that their job is better, ignore this and take the high road. They are immature and not worth the energy. Lastly, attorney’s fees are a pain. They are so expensive. The fees are a symbol of the confrontation between you and your ex. That money is best spent elsewhere. Instead, try to negotiate that if things can be worked out, outside of court, that you two can both save money and time. The money could be used for the children’s college funds, or on both of you starting a new life. If they are too contentious, you may have to swallow this one. But try to work things out like civilized adults. If you can put your emotions past you and do the right thing, your ex-spouse may follow suit. Set the tone and see if they reciprocate.