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Divorce in the United States of America

It is common knowledge that 50 percent of all marriages in America will end in divorce, as the American divorce rate is nearly twice as large as it was in 1960. However, as of this year, studies showed that both marriage and divorce rates have significantly decreased since 2000. According to the most recent study in 2014, marriage rate in the U.S. is currently 6.8 per 1,000 people and the rate of divorce is 3.2 per 1,000 people. Keep in mind that this is a crude divorce rate and does not provide accurate information on the percentage of first marriages ending in divorce.

Reasons Why People Get Divorced

  • Whether it’s for money or to please others, people are still marrying for the wrong reasons. If one partner is wealthy, the other might grow accustomed to a certain quality life and find that difficult to abandon. In other cases, a partner may feel pressured to stay in a marriage because of others’ opinions. Whatever it is, staying in a marriage that you aren’t committed to is a surefire ticket to eventual divorce.
  • Codependency is unhealthy. All human beings need their own lives, interests, hobbies and opportunities to express themselves. If you feel completely reliant on your spouse and don’t know how to live your life alone, this is a sign that you are losing your individuality and need to get out of the marriage.
  • Many people become lost in their marriage and forget their single friends and single interests. When children come into the mix, many parents start neglecting or forgetting the fact that they are a couple. Eventually children grow up and need less care. When this happens many spouses realize that they’ve grown apart and all they have in common is their children.
  • When you and your partner have different expectations of a marriage it’s going to make things difficult. Maybe your spouse expects you to do all of the housework without contributing or you have completely different ideas about spending money. If you’re not on the same page, the marriage is likely going to fail.
  • Sometimes in a marriage, intimacy and romance fades away. Both men and women require sexual and romantic receptivity to feel wanted and fulfilled in a marriage. When these desires lessen on either side, it can cause partners to withdraw due to feeling unloved and unappreciated. When these feelings cannot be repaired it often leads to divorce.

Deciding Who Gets Custody of Pets in a Divorce

When you think of custody in a divorce, it’s likely that children come to mind immediately, but what about pets? Nowadays, most people consider cats and dogs to be family members, rather than just another asset to divide up. We all love and care about our animals and don’t want to be without them, so how do we deal with custody? Since there is no actual law about pet custody in a divorce, this can be tricky, and the issue of pet custody can often cause almost as much drama and distress as custody of children.

Tips from Our Legal Experts

If you’re going through a divorce and you’re worried about losing custody of your furry loved one, here are a few realistic questions you should ask in order to make a wise decision:

Who is living in the family house?

If one of you is going to stay in the house your pet is used to, that might be a sign that they should have prominent custody. Pets, especially dogs, need space to run around and play. If one of you is moving to a small apartment, it is smarter and healthier for the dog to stay in a house with a backyard and space to be active.

Who spends the most time with the pets?

Consider who it is that takes the pet to the vet, who buys food and supplies, who takes the dog on a walk and who just generally spends the most time playing and caring for the pet. If one party is more involved with the animal than the other, it’s in the pet’s best interest for that person to receive full custody. It’s also normal for the ex-spouse who is awarded custody of children to receive custody of pets as well, since keeping family pets around establishes some normalcy for the children.

Whose lifestyle is more conducive to caring for a pet?

People who travel often for work or deal with a demanding job and long commute don’t have as much time to take care of their pets. If your lifestyle doesn’t have room for a pet, don’t risk neglecting your cat or dog and accept that your ex-spouse is a better caretaker for the animal.

What is your motivation for wanting the pet?

Think about it: Do you really want the pet or are you just trying to get custody out of resentment? While a cat or a dog is not the same as a child, they are still living things that deserve your affection and full commitment, so if you don’t really want the pet to live with you it is best that you don’t fight for custody.

Is a joint-custody situation possible?

In some cases, when both parties are equally dedicated, people can agree to joint custody over pets. This means that if you are the person with full custody and you go on a vacation or you’re unable to take care of the pet due to illness, you can rely on your ex-spouse as a pet-sitter. The situation ensures that your pet will always be taken care of by someone who loves them and never left alone for a long period of time.

Before Filing for Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally and physically draining process that lasts for a long time, and can be costly. Before you choose to follow through with a divorce, consider the following.

Divorce is an event that takes place between a petitioner and a respondent. Some common issues that may need to be dealt with in court are child custody, child support, parent time (parental rights), alimony (also known as spousal support), and division of debt, property, and any retirement or pension benefits.

Before filing for divorce:

Select an attorney who is in good standing with the Bar, and whose practice is dedicated to Family Law. Avoid “self-help” schemes. These will cause you untold sorrow later. Avoid the “cheap” or cut-rate lawyers or anyone who guarantees a certain outcome. No responsible lawyer can guarantee any outcome or do a responsible job fora flat fee of any kind. Insist that your lawyer carry errors and omissions coverage (i.e., “malpractice insurance”). Avoid like the plague any who do not.

Be guided by reason and good sense. Good luck whomever you choose.