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How to Tell People You Are Getting Divorced

 

Your relationship with your spouse is a fairly private affair, but once you get a divorce it sometimes feels like all of your dirty laundry is aired in public. Close friends and family should be supportive and understanding, but what about co-workers? Or your children’s friend’s parents? Or even extended family members? Do you owe them an explanation as to why your spouse is no longer attending parties with you? It can be hard to talk about a divorce, especially when it is still painfully recent. Here are some tips that help you break the news to others while still allowing yourself to have boundaries.

Who Should Speak First?

Do you go to friends and family and tell them first? Do you wait until they approach you to avoid starting an awkward conversation? The truth is, people are going to talk no matter what. You can get ahead of the gossip by telling people how you want the discussion to go. It will help your family and friends if they hear it directly from you first, but you are not obligated to go into details right away. There are multiple ways that you can spread the news that doesn’t require you to speak with people face to face. Sending out a text message might be a little too cold, but an email or a letter will allow you to organize your thoughts without having a barrage of questions thrown at you. It will also give people time to craft their own response that is more thoughtful. When it comes to extended friends, family and acquaintances, it is best to have a pre-thought out response. News travels fast, and people you haven’t talked to in a long time are bound to hear about it even if you didn’t want them to.

If you have an automatic response, it will be easier to avoid unwanted advice or questions if you say something to the effect of “X and I are getting a divorce. I appreciate your concern but this is something that is I need to work through and it is very private so I don’t care to go into any more detail right now.” Most people are very understanding but if someone keeps pressing for details you have a right to let them know that they are being rude.

What You Shouldn’t Do

You will probably experience a lot of pain an emotion leading up to the divorce, so you may want to take that out on your ex-spouse. You will regret dragging people into your divorce if you tell them all the details right away. Posting a message on social media for everyone to see can create unwanted attention that you might not have the emotional ability to handle right now. Bashing your ex-spouse in public will create more problems than solutions and it can be used against you in court. If you feel like you have to talk to someone then a therapist, who provides an unbiased opinion, will be a great option for you and they can help guide you through your grief. People mean well when they give you unsolicited advice and want you to talk to them, but they are not trained professionals that are contractually obligated to secrecy.

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There is no right way to talk about a divorce. Both parties will say and do things that they will regret later on, or tell people secrets that they wished they hadn’t. There is no way that you are going to avoid the rumors, but you can stay on top of them. Telling people exactly what details you deem important enough and ignoring all the gossip that surrounds it will help you navigate your divorce until you get to the other side. The truth is, people will care about your divorce for only a short time and then move on with their own lives. The best thing you can do for yourself is to surround yourself with close friends and family and try and move on as well.

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Divorce After Adoption

For most children, divorce will be a confusing and traumatic time. But if they are adopted, it might make the situation even more difficult.  Children might experience attachment issues, anger issues or even lash out in unpredictable ways. The laws surrounding custody of adoption cases are pretty straightforward but the emotional turmoil that is can cause won’t be.  There are many resources out there that can help you and your family get through this trying time, especially for children.

Custody laws for Adoption

If a child is legally adopted by both parents, then in the court of law, they are treated the same way as a biological parent. Both parents will be eligible to get full or partial custody of the children and they will receive visitation rights. If only one parent is the adoptive parent and the other if the biological parent, then it will be much more difficult for an adoptive parent to get full custody unless they can prove that the children are much better off without the biological parent. The best course of action in a divorce is to always have a lawyer mediate, especially with custody battles because they will be the ones to help you get the most rights to see your children.

How to Help Children

Moving forward,  your main concern should be helping your kids cope. There are many ways that you and your ex-spouse can create a working co-parenting system. If you both have your children wellbeing in mind, then you and your spouse will still create a loving home that your children will still feel loved and welcome.

Always reassure the children that it is not their fault. They might be feeling abandoned, and those feelings might be compounded by the fact that they are adopted. Children are much more perceptive than people realize and so talking bad about ex-spouse can create tension that your children don’t want to be in the middle of. Consider getting professional therapy to help your kids deal with the transition of having divorced parents, and to help them cope with their emotions. Sometimes children who are adopted might feel like their mothers did not “want them” so divorce can make them feel like it is their fault. If you and your ex-spouse diligently work with your children to let them know that they are not to blame, it can help them cope with negative emotions. If they are switching houses back and forth, their everyday routine is thrown into chaos and it will add more stress in their lives. Helping them understand their new routine, and trying to keep as much of their old life in a place as possible will help ground them. Try and create new happy memories with your children to let them know that you can still have a happy home even after divorce.

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Picking Up The Pieces

Going through a divorce is never easy, even if it is needed. After building a life with someone it can be devastating to tear it down and start over. How do you rebuild your life after a divorce? After the dust has settled and the worst of it is over, your life may look completely different than it did before. Here are some tips that will help you through this difficult time, and will help you move forward in a healthy way.

Let Yourself Grieve

A lot of people turn to destructive behaviors to avoid their feelings of sadness, anger, bitterness, and anxiety. Distracting yourself isn’t going to make those feelings go away,  they will linger until they are dealt with. Sometimes you might not feel sad about losing a spouse, but it is still a loss of a dream and a future together. Accepting your negative feelings is the first step to healing so choose activities that channel those feelings into sometime healthy. Don’t be afraid to go to a counselor to talk about them and have someone guide you through your grief. This is an important step that many people skip and those feelings tend to just fester and weigh them down.

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Learn New Hobbies

It might be time to learn to build those model airplanes that you have been wanting to learn. Or try rollerblading again. Maybe reach out to old friends and take a camping trip. Surround yourself with a great support group and do things that you enjoy will help you feel grounded in a time of upheaval. Making too many changes all at once will stress you out, so the more you establish a routine that you are familiar and comfortable with the better you will be able to adjust to your new life. A divorce is heartbreaking, so you should make a conscious effort to do things that you enjoy.

Learning to Love Again

It is not a good idea to rush into a new relationship right after one just ended. You might not be making the best decisions and can be blinded by emotions so instead of looking to start dating again try and give yourself some time. Maybe start slow, like going to group activities with people instead of one on one. You also might be missing your ex-spouse and trying to convince them that you can make it work again, but those might be misplaced feelings of fear of being alone instead of love. Every person’s situation is unique, so it is hard to say when and where they can start dating again.  Use your best judgment and know your emotional state so that you are making the best decisions for yourself when you deiced to enter the dating scene again. It’s best not to feel rushed or scared when starting this new chapter in your life.

Getting a divorce will bring a lot of changes in your life. It might take years before you feel like your life is back under control but that is ok.  A divorce is an intensely personal thing between two people that will cause pain, anger, grief, and bitterness. Learning to cope with those emotions and creating a new life for yourself can mean that a divorce won’t completely ruin your life, instead, it can be a learning experience that may even have some positive outcomes.

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Supporting a Friend through Divorce

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No matter the circumstances, divorce can be heartbreaking and hard. It takes a while to adjust to the changes of a new life. If you are watching a friend go through the divorce process, it can be difficult to know what to say or do to help them. Here are a few tips for being a good friend through the ups and downs.

Be a good listener

Your friend is going through a tough time. They have a lot going on in their mind and may not know exactly how they feel about everything. Right now, they just need to get things off their chest; they need someone to vent to. What they say may not make the most sense, but the best thing you can do is be a listening ear.

Don’t try to give advice

When your friend is telling you all of their problems, your first reaction may be to give them advice or tell them what you think. This usually is not helpful. Sometimes what they need to hear is different than what you think they should hear. It’s better to just hold your tongue, especially if you can tell your friend is sensitive. They can get all kinds of advice from their lawyer and other professionals. Your friend really just needs a friend — a shoulder to cry on.

Invite him/her to spend time with you

There are many consequences of divorce that your friend will be experiencing at this time. One of those is losing a lot of social interaction. Many of their married friends, especially ones they met through their ex, won’t keep in contact very well. That is why it’s important that you keep your friend a part of your life. Invite them over for dinner or a night on the town. Keeping them engaged will help them understand that you are a true friend.

Offer to babysit

Your friend has a lot on their plate. However, they often won’t know what they need or how to ask for it. You can be helpful by offering to watch their kids (for free) if they need to run errands or just have some down time. If your friend doesn’t have kids, you can find other ways to help them out. You could offer to clean their house, pick up groceries, cook dinner, etc. It may take a while for them to accept your acts of service, but if you keep trying, they will see that you are sincere.

If your friend is looking for a divorce attorney in the St. George, Utah, area, recommend that they look into The Huntsman Firm. The associates here focus specifically on family law and can offer legal advice and representation.

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How to Protect Yourself When Leaving an Abusive Marriage

If you are caught in a violent relationship, your first priority should be to get yourself and your children to safety. To be safe from harm, you need to find housing somewhere the abuser can’t find you, whether it’s a women’s shelter, a hotel or the home of a friend the abuser doesn’t know. Never go to your parents’ house or to stay with a close friend, because he can find you there. The majority of battered spouses or partners are women, but if you are a battered man, the same advice applies to you.

Plan for Safety

Sometimes you have time to plan and you can put aside cash, preferably somewhere other than your house. Leave clothes and other important items with a friend in case you need to leave the house quickly. Document every incident of physical or emotional abuse in your household, whether it involves you or your kids. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence recommends that you make a list of safe people to contact, memorize phone numbers of people or places to call for help, keep change and cash with you at all times and establish a code word to alert others for help without alerting the abuser.

You should also take important papers with you, such as your credit cards and checkbook, social security cards, birth certificates, copies of deeds, proof of income, copies of bank or credit card statements and any documentation that proves past abuse.

Additional Suggestions from the NCADV

  • If you’re staying in your home, have the locks changed
  • Don’t stay alone
  • Change your routine frequently
  • Think about how you’ll get away if confronted by the abuser
  • Meet the abuser in a public place
  • Contact people you trust at your workplace and your children’s school so they are alert to anything unusual

Child Custody

If you share legal custody of your children with an abusive spouse or partner, you need to make arrangement for neutral pickup sites or for others to pick up and drop off your kids. If you have sole custody of your children, but the judge has ordered some type of visitation rights, ask for conditions to be placed on that right. Consider a restraining order if you don’t think it’s safe to be in the same place as your spouse, and in extreme cases, ask the court to appoint a visitation supervision monitor.

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Getting Through the Holidays with Your Ex-Spouse

After a divorce, approaching the holidays becomes difficult. You probably don’t want to spend time with your ex, but it’s important for your children to spend the season with both parents. If you’ve had certain traditions for years, things are going to change after divorce. To enjoy the holidays and create a good experience for your children, be flexible and open to change.

Avoiding Conflict

If you get along well with your ex, a holiday gathering with both of you and your kids makes sense. However, any risk of conflict means it’s better for each parent to have a separate holiday celebration with the children. Another important thing to keep in mind is how much alcohol you drink at these gatherings, as too much could cause you to become argumentative or hostile.

Make Plans in Advance

Discuss your holiday plans and schedules well in advance to prevent any misunderstandings or arguments about who has the kids at what time. Keep your kids in the loop early on so they know who they’ll be with and where they’ll be going.

Let Your Kids Have Influence

Let your children have input into the holiday plans. Think about their favorite traditions as you’re planning. Children need to feel reassured and have some sense of control amidst the family changes. Maintaining traditions in both households gives children a sense that not everything is changing and some things will stay the same.

Create New Traditions

New holiday traditions will make the season special and show that you can embrace the changes in your life. Volunteer work, crafts and community activities are all good ways to celebrate the holiday season with your children.

Reach Out for Support

Take care of yourself during the holidays. Get rest; eat healthy food and exercise, as this gives you more patience to be loving and respectful. Don’t hesitate to reach out to close friends or family members. You can even visit a mental health professional if you’re having a particularly difficult time.

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Financial Steps Every Woman Should Take During a Divorce

A divorce is a difficult experience no matter who asks for it. During this emotional crisis, you may want to hide, but there are important steps you need to take if you want to secure your financial future. Divorce always involves a large amount of upheaval, so it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed. If you want to save yourself grief later on, get your finances in order as you prepare for divorce.

Take inventory of financial documents

You immediately need to gather all of your financial records, including bank account information, mortgage statements, credit card bills, wills and trusts. Make copies of all these documents and find a secure place to store them. Never keep these records in your home. Leave them with a reliable friend/family member or use a safe deposit box that your husband can’t access.

Secure funds for legal and other professional fees

It’s possible that your husband controls all the access to family funds, so he can make it difficult for you hire the divorce team that you need. Many husbands often cut off the money supply and force women to sign divorce settlement agreements that are in his favor. Make sure there are secure funds available only to you to avoid this.

Open new accounts in your name

Go to a different bank than the one where you have joint accounts. Open a new checking and savings account in your name. The divorce attorney may tell you to withdraw nearly half of your joint funds and deposit them in your new accounts. Open a new credit card account in your name, but keep in mind that establishing credit on your own will be difficult if you have little or no income.

Get a copy of your credit report

If you keep an eye on your credit report you’ll know if your husband is charging purchases to your joint credit cards. He might also be dissipating marital assets in another way. This also allows you to keep tabs on your credit score.

Open your own post office box

After you hire a divorce team and open new accounts, you want to keep mail confidential. Open a post office box of your own and you’ll never have to worry about your husband reading your mail. Make sure this box is secure, locked and only accessible by you.

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Financial Tips during a Divorce

1. Get professional help

Divorce is highly emotional, which means you might not always be thinking clearly. Having a team of experts by your side will help you rationally navigate the divorce process. A divorce attorney, certified divorce financial analyst and mental health counselor are all great resources during this stressful event.

2. Organize your important documents

As soon as you have made a decision about divorce, collect the following:

  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax returns
  • Retirement account balances
  • Appraisals for valuable items

You should also look for money being secretly withdrawn from bank accounts and double-check tax returns for unrecognized income. Then look for line items on IRS forms that might be worth money and should be factored into the settlement.

3. Get a copy of your credit report

Credit reports should be carefully reviewed and spouses should look for loans or accounts they don’t recognize. If these issues are noticed, your lawyer can help you determine whether or not you’re responsible for any debt that has been incurred without your knowledge.

4. Establish your own credit score

Your credit score can drop after a divorce, especially if you don’t have accounts only in your name. Apply for your own credit card before your divorce is finalized, although your score will take a hit. You can use this card to make a few purchases and immediately pay them off. Just make sure you don’t incur debt and rack up interest charges, as this will make a bad financial situation even worse.

5. Create a new budget

You shouldn’t assume your expenses will be cut in half because you’re divorcing. Housing, transportation and utilities will likely stay the same if you choose not to move. Expenses like insurance can even go up after a divorce. Sometimes divorcees can keep the same standard of living, but most of the time changes need to be made.

6. Review your estate plan

If you’ve listed your ex as a beneficiary, you need to change that before the divorce is final. You don’t want your ex-spouse to get your assets if something happens to you. It also may be necessary to designate a new power of attorney and update your health insurance forms for health decisions. This will ensure that your ex is not left in charge of your finances and medical care if you become incapacitated.

7. Wait on major financial decisions

After a divorce, take time before making big decisions. Many people act rashly during a divorce without considering long-term effects. Don’t make dramatic decisions fueled by emotions during and after a divorce, as this can destroy your finances forever. You’re already losing your marriage; don’t also lose your finances.

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Modifying Your Child Custody Agreement

In the United States, there are two parts to custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the children physically live and legal custody refers to the parent having the right to make important decisions about the child. Unless there is violence in the family, the child has special needs, the parents live far apart or there is another extenuating circumstance relevant, joint custody is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. A child custody agreement is legally binding and demands that both parents share the child according to the terms of that agreement.

However, there are cases when someone might want to modify child custody in the best interest of the child’s safety and well-being. The court will typically only change a custody agreement if something dramatically different is happening with one parent, referred to as a “material change in circumstances.” Material changes include a long-distance move, change in living conditions, change in the environment or a change in the parent’s ability to provide a decent home and good care for the child.

A specific example of a material change that would warrant custody modification: The primary parent was completely fit to provide care during the time of the original agreement, but has since developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol which inhibits them from caring for the child properly.

Modification Time Frame

The court usually considers it best for children to have consistency, and for this reason, most will not make a change within a certain time frame of the creation of the original agreement. The waiting period will vary by each state, but one to two years is most common. Of course, if a child is in imminent danger the process will be sped up so they can be safely relocated to a responsible caregiver.

Essential Questions for Modification

General factors to question:

  • Parents’ conduct and moral standards
  • Which parent is more likely to act in the child’s best interest
  • Which parent will allow the child frequent, continuing contact with the other
  • The depth, quality and overall nature of the parent-child relationship

More specific questions:

  • Will joint legal custody or joint physical custody be better for the child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs?
  • Which parent has the better ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare?
  • Are the parents able to reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest?
  • Can both parents encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and other parent?
  • What is the distance between the parents’ homes?
  • What are the child’s preferences?
  • Are the parents mature and willing enough to protect the child from their own conflict?
  • Can parents cooperate with each other and make joint decisions?
  • Is there any history or future potential of child abuse, spousal abuse or kidnapping?
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Custody Settlements for a Special Needs Child

Raising a child with special needs requires patience, love and of course, money. While raising children in 2016 is expensive by default (approximately $245,340 from birth until age 18} the cost of raising a special needs child can often quadruple those expenses. Doctors’ visits, hospitalization, medical equipment, therapy, special education, medications, caregivers– these costs add up to hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars. This financial stress often puts serious strain on a marriage and as a result, parents of special needs children have a higher divorce rate than the overall population.

Divorce is already a complicated situation when there are children involved. Adding a special needs child into the mix creates an even more delicate situation. Custody decisions must be made completely based upon what is best for the child, and there are various factors you should consider when faced with this choice.

Come to an agreement regarding the child’s needs

Parents often disagree about how to raise children and address their needs. With a special needs child, it is even more essential to come to an agreement quickly. Determine where the areas of disagreement are in order to properly address the future needs and care of the child as part of the divorce case.

Determine if the special needs child will require support after age 18

The severity of disabilities can vary greatly. When a case is extreme, there is no debate whether or not the child will need continuing support as an adult. Child support will be continued indefinitely in this case. However, you cannot always determine whether the child needs support beyond high school. If the court does not recognize the need for permanent support then the burden will be on the primary caregiver. When an adult disabled child needs support beyond the lives of their parents it increases expenses and creates unique challenges.

Create a parenting plan

Whichever party receives full custody is going to know more about the child’s disability. If you are sharing custody, it is vital to educate your ex-spouse on the daily care of your child. You need to spell out all the essential information: managing behaviors, monitoring food, adapting physical surroundings, medication schedules or the preferences of a nonverbal child.

Educate yourself on public benefits planning

Your child might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (cash benefits for individuals with disabilities) so alimony and child support must be organized within your child’s benefit eligibility. A family law attorney will work with a special needs attorney and an experienced financial adviser to make sure you receive all of your child’s monetary entitlements. Child support payments can affect government benefit programs like SSI and Medicaid, so it’s critical to address these issues during the divorce process.

Additional Questions

There are several other questions you and your ex-spouse need to address when handling the custody of your special needs child. These questions include:

  • With whom will the child live?
  • How much contact will the non-primary parent have?
  • Does the school district where the child attends have a residency requirement?
  • Can the child make smooth or frequent transitions between houses?
  • Does the child have access to the other parent at all times?
  • Can the child be away from home/the primary parent for extended periods of time?
  • If there is more than one child in the household, how will parenting time be split up?
  • Who will pay child support and in what amount?