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Family Law - Filing For a Divorce When Your Spouse Doesn't Want One

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Follow these guidelines to make the transition of divorce and the process of family restructuring and rebuilding easier for you and your children.

1. If you have not done so already, call a truce with your Ex. (Note: Your Ex does not have to take the same action.) Divorced parents can succeed at co-parenting. That success may not begin with harmony but, at a minimum, a ceasefire is necessary.

2. You are stuck with each other forever. One day, you will be Grandma and Grandpa to the same babies. And when these babies are grown they will repeat the stories that they heard about Grandma and Grandpa. This will be your legacy. How do you want to be depicted?

3. Divorce creates a breakdown of trust and communication. Accept this and work towards rebuilding trust and communication with the other parent, even if it feels like you are doing all of the work. And, be patient, emotional wounds need time to heal.

4. Establish a business relationship with your former spouse. The business is the co-parenting of your children. Business relationships are based on mutual gain. Emotional attachments and expectations don't work in business. Instead, in a successful business communication is up-front and direct, appointments are scheduled, meetings take place, agendas are provided, discussions focus on the business at hand, everyone is polite, formal courtesies are observed, and agreements are explicit, clear, and written. You do not need to like the people you do business with but you do need to put negative feelings aside in order to conduct business. Relating in a business-like way with your former spouse may feel strange and awkward at first so if you catch yourself behaving in an unbusiness-like way, end the conversation and continue the discussion at another time.

5. There are at least two versions to every story. Your child may attempt to slant the facts in a way that gives you what she thinks you want to hear. So give the other parent the benefit of the doubt when your child reports on extraordinary discipline and/or rewards.

6. Do not suggest possible plans or make arrangements directly with pre-adolescent children. And, always confirm any arrangements you have discussed with an older child with the other parent ASAP.

7. The transition between Mom's house and Dad's house is often difficult. Be sure to have your children clean, fed, ready to go, and in possession of all of their paraphernalia when its time to make the switch. Better yet, if possible avoid the dreaded switch by structuring your time sharing so that weekends start Friday after school and end with school drop-off on Monday morning.

8. Do not screen calls from the other parent or limit telephone contact between your child and the other parent. Instead, ensure that your child is available to speak to the other parent when s/he is on the telephone.

9. Do not discuss the divorce, finances, or other adult subjects with your children. Likewise, avoid saying anything negative about other parent and his/her family and friends to your children.

10. Children are always listening - especially when you think they're not. So, avoid discussions regarding the divorce, finances, the other parent, and other adult subjects when your children are within earshot.

11. Avoid using body language, facial expressions or other subtleties to express negative thoughts and emotions about the other parent. Your child can read you!

12. You can discuss your feelings with your children to the extent that they can understand them. But, if you let your child know that you are terrified of the future, your child will be terrified too. Instead, keep a balanced emotional perspective that focuses on the difference between feelings and facts.

13. Do not use your child as a courier for messages or money.

14. Support your child's right to visit their grandparents and extended family. Children benefit from knowing their roots and heritage. And, children love tradition. Extended family provides children with a sense of consistency, connection, and identity - especially during divorce. Remember neither extended family is better or worse - they are just different.

15. Avoid the urge to question your child or press him for information regarding the details of your co-parents personal or professional life.

16. Each parent must establish and maintain his or her own relationship with the children. Neither of you should act as a mediator between the children and the other parent. And, neither of you should act as the defense attorney, presenting a child's case to the other parent.

17. Be on time for pick-ups and drop-offs. Do not enter the other parent's home unless you are invited in.

18. Your child's relationship with his parents will influence his relationships for the rest of his life. Never put your child in a position where he has to choose between his parents or decide where his familial allegiances lie. Instead, allow him to love both parents without fear of angering or hurting the other.

19. Do not take it personally if your teenager prefers to be with his/her friends. Don't push, but remain available. If you feel rejected and back-off, your teen may feel rejected in return.

20. Expect that your children may feel confused, guilty, sad and/or abandoned in response to the divorce. Acknowledge their feelings as normal and remind them that even though the family is undergoing a major change, you and their Dad/Mom will always be their parents.

21. Even if the other parent disappoints your child or fails to honor a time commitment, you will tell the child that in spite of this error the other parent loves the child very much.

22. If your kids want to talk, shut-up and listen.

23. Keep your children informed about the day-to-day details of their lives and your separation/divorce in a way that they can understand.

24. Maintain as many security anchors (continuation of relationships, rituals, and the environment) as possible.

25. Don't overindulge your children out of guilt or in an attempt to "buy" them. Children want to stay up late but they need rest. Children want candy but they need vegetables. Children express financial wants but they have emotional needs. Give your children a small amount of what they want and a lot of what they need.

26. Remember no one is all bad or all good. Be honest (with yourself) about your ex's and your own strengths and weaknesses.

27. Be consistent in how you discipline your children. Set boundaries, giving them freedom within a limited area, and enforced rules outside of the "corral."

28. Avoid giving mixed messages or false hopes of reunification.

29. Remember that schedules will have to change from time to time to accommodate circumstances and your child's development. If you need to change the schedule notify your co-parent ASAP. When your co-parent needs to change the schedule show a relaxed flexibility and go with the flow.

30. Share good memories, but do not live in the past.

31. Consider occasionally separating your children in order to give each parent some individual time with each child.

32. Introduce your child to neighborhood children that she can play with at her second home.

33. Consider holding monthly family meetings, with a rotating chair, to discuss chores, problems, schedules, plans and challenges.

34. Coordinate with your co-parent so that school events, functions and activities are covered. Who will buy the school pictures? Who will handle field trips? Who will work the fund-raiser? Who will work on the science project? Who will buy the school supplies? Who will handle the teacher's gift?

35. Don't forget old family traditions and rituals - practice them and create new ones.

36. Be willing to separate your needs from the needs of your children and make their needs the priority.

37. Keep parenting issues separate from money issues.

38. If possible, tell your children about the pending separation together before one parent leaves. Plan a transition time if you can.

39. Remember to tell your children:
(a) Your father/mother and I made the choice to divorce because we thought it would be best for everyone.
(b) Both your father/mother and I love you and will always love you. The love that a parent has for a child never ends.
(c) Your mother/father and I are working together to make sure we take care of you.
(d) Your mother/father and I each have a special relationship with you. You can love us both and never feel that it means choosing between us, just like each of us loves you and your brother/sister.

40. Ensure that boy/girlfriends and potential step-parents go slow, stay out of the divorce, don't interfere in a child's relationship with either of his natural parents, and do not encourage the child to call them Mom or Dad.

41. Children, of any age, may be hesitant to spend time with a parent for a variety of reasons. Both parents should encourage the child to go with the other parent.

42. If you are not united it will confuse your child and confirm to him that he can manipulate you.

43. Make sure that your child's friends' parents know your co-parent and know that they can trust him/her with their child.

44. If you are a long-distance parent:
(a) Remember that your child is a digital native. On the other hand, depending on your age, you may be a digital immigrant. Use your child's advanced knowledge of technology to keep you connected.
(b) Watch TV together. Let your child know that you will be watching her favorite show and will be ready to talk about it.
(c) Give your child pre-addressed, stamped manila envelopes so that he can send you schoolwork and other paperwork.
(d) Make audio and video recordings for each other. Nothing to say? Record yourself reading a book and mail the book and the recording to your child.
(e) Remember small events. Send cards, pictures and letters for Halloween, Valentine's Day, The 4th of July, etc.
(f) Set up web cams on your computer and your kids' computers. Use video mail and YouTube to connect.
(g) Use My-space, Facebook, and Twitter to stay in touch, if you can do so privately and safely.
(h) Make sure that your kids have cell phones with your number programmed in. Use text messages and photos to stay in touch throughout the day.
(i) Keep up with schoolwork. Send teachers pre-addressed, stamped manila envelopes so that it's easy to send you updates. If you hear nothing be sure to initiate communications with teachers by telephone and email.

45. Befriend other divorced families that have been successful in the transition and use them as mentors.

46. Divorce is not an event, it is a process. Allow yourself, your ex-spouse and your children at least two years for readjustment.

47. Divorce in itself will not destroy your children. It is your reaction to the divorce that has the power to destroy their coping mechanisms. On-going conflict and emotionally unavailable parents who have regressed into boy/girl crazy adolescents are the real culprits.

48. Don't use your children to fill your need for companionship. If you don't have one, GET A LIFE!! This is crucial to your (and your child's) recovery from divorce. Seek out support from friends, family, support groups, a divorce coach. Consider entering into therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Consider joining Parents-Without-Partners, Co-dependent's Anonymous or a Church group for divorced/widowed persons.

49. Dissolving a marriage doesn't mean the dissolution of the family or your parenting obligations. In fact, while a family is undergoing the restructuring process the children need strong and caring parents more then ever. If you and/or your ex are too emotionally drained to be those parents find temporary substitutes who can give your kids what they need.

50. Every child needs at least one loving, stable parent. It is YOUR responsibility to be that parent. And, if your child is lucky enough to have an additional parent - a loving step-parent, rejoice - because no child can have too many people love him.

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Centerville UT divorce lawyer advice

Divorce Mediation vs Traditional Divorce

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The number of divorces has trebled over the past half century and is continuing to rise. The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there were 313,600 marriages and 167,100 divorces in the UK during 2004, up from 305,900 marriages and 154,600 divorces in 2000. However, the fallout particularly on the financial side can be felt for years afterwards if the process is not managed properly from the outset.

The emotional aspects of separation can be difficult enough without having to address the minutiae of budgets, pensions, savings and investments. But it is vital to dedicate time to sorting out the financial details and seek professional advice or you could end up paying a heavier than expected price for the split.

People are planning for their divorces now both before and during their marriage and wealth protection is a whole new issue that needs to be considered.

This trend could be partly apportioned to last years high-profile litigations, known as the Miller and McFarlane cases, which redefined the concept of compensation where wives gave up good earning careers to have children and deal with the domestic side of the family.

In particular, the Miller case also demonstrated that even where a marriage did not last very long, this does not necessarily affect the principle of equal division of matrimonial assets.

Before potential financial settlements can be discussed, anyone considering filing for divorce needs to work out how much the divorce process itself will cost.

Any action will obviously depend on the individual circumstances of the case, but there are some general themes to bear in mind. The earlier you plan for a possible divorce the better. Taken to extremes, cynics - often including those who have been married and divorced before - argue that a pre-nuptial agreement is worth considering. While pre-nuptial agreements are not binding under British law, they are increasingly being given greater priority in court, after the Miller and McFarlane cases.

Even so, the vast majority of couples do not consider pre-nuptial contracts. For those who find themselves sadly overtaken by events it is important to build up a record of your partner's finances.

For couples with joint bank accounts or credit cards, both parties are jointly and severally liable for any outstanding debts. That means there is no splitting of the debt between couples on divorce and lenders reserve their legal right to pursue either or both parties for the entire debt, regardless of what the divorced couple may view as their share.

Banks can also freeze an account on the request of either party if there is a dispute. But if an account is not frozen, then the account's normal terms and conditions apply. For example, that means one partner can withdraw funds without the other's permission.

Any other action, such as changing the account to another type of account, can only be taken with the written agreement of both parties.

Two people are not jointly responsible for debts taken out in individual names just because they are married. The marriage has nothing to do with it. So, your partner could have a £10,000 loan in his name and you are not liable for it, he is. It depends whether or not you took out the debt in joint names. This is an important distinction to make.

However, it could get messy if you are both named on a mortgage and the deeds of the property and your partner cannot afford to pay a loan in his name. The creditors can then apply for a charge on his share of the equity in the property.

For example, this might have nothing to do with the wife if it is a loan to the husband's business but the family home could still be at risk.

There have been several court cases in recent years where banks have sought to repossess homes where wives have signed agreements for loans to their husband's business but subsequently denied having understood the consequences.

Most people's second-most valuable asset is their pension fund. Usually, this will be in the husband's name and, often, a non-earning wife may have little or no pension fund of her own.

However, there are also cases where the wife has access to a final salary or defined-benefit pension which might be far more valuable than a husband's money purchase or defined-contribution scheme and so could substantially alter the division of assets. Anyone involved in a divorce should be aware of the three main options facing them if a private pension pot has been built up.

The first possible arrangement is known as offsetting, where couples agree one party keeps the pension while the other gets the house, usually as a home for children. Although this can cause problems in the future as the person with the house still needs something to live on when they retire. You sign away those pension rights at your peril. The second option is known as ear-marking, where the parties agree that the individual with the pension will pay a percentage of it to the other party on retirement. The problem here is that in the meantime the person with the pension still has control of it and so this may not work out to the advantage of the other party. The third option, called pension splitting, is where the person with the pension allocates a part of it to the former partner and those assets are then transferred into a pension in the former partner's name. In the majority of cases, could be the most attractive solution as it gives the person acquiring the pension control and they are not reliant on their spouse for those pensions rights.

You may get shared additional state pension if you divorce or have your marriage annulled after December 2000 or if your civil partnership ends.

Often women are still reliant upon their husbands to provide for them in retirement. However, in the case of a divorce this can often leave the ex-wife with little or no pension provision.

Both parties should get their financial house in order as soon as possible and avoid attempting to conceal any assets as the process is based on both parties making full disclosure of their assets and liabilities.

The number of divorces where family wealth was split half and half between husband and wife more than doubled in 2005, up to 63 per cent of cases, against 30 per cent in the previous year, according to forensic accountants Grant Thornton.

Any assets transferred between husband and wife in the tax year of separation are free of capital gains tax (CGT). So, while January is a popular time for people to file for divorce for emotional reasons, financially April 6 may prove a wiser choice.

If you separate on April 1, you only have a small window of a few days before the end of the tax year and realistically you are not going to get everything sorted in that time. People may decide to wait until April 6 so you can benefit from the whole of the tax year to move assets around without the tax implications.

If either party has brought assets to the marriage, it is important that records are kept as it is possible that those assets may be ring-fenced and excluded from the settlement.

But if filing for divorce is the only option, taking time to plan the split and filing for divorce at the start of the tax year instead may be your best financial move.

Basic planning

  • Gather information and keep records of your partner's financial income, gains and assets
  • Don't tell the bank of a dispute as they may freeze the account, leaving you with no money to fight your corner
  • Keep records of your expenditure, to prove your standard of living
  • Check whether you should be entitled to some of your partner's pension

If you would like to find out more about the services that we provide, please visit our website http://www.mfgsolicitors.com to arrange a meeting.

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Family Law Attorneys are standing by call 1-800-564-2707

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