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Divorcing as a Stay-at-Home Parent

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Often one parent can give up their career to raise children. This is not because they have to, but often because they want to. They want to make sure that their child grows up with their attention and love, but sometimes that same love can wither between you and your spouse. However, some stay-at-home parents may worry about divorcing after not being in the workforce before so long, but here are some divorce tips to consider.

  • Look Over Your Financials – You will want access to your family's finances, not so much because you believe your ex-spouse may be squirreling money away, but rather to know where you stand. How much will you need to live and take care of your children? While you will likely have to return to work, it is good to consult a lawyer on how much alimony you can expect.
  • Know Your Skills – When looking for a new job, it is important to know your skill set. If you worked on highly technical jobs before, your old work skills may be a bit out of date. However, being a stay at home parent may have given you a whole new useful set of skills like being organized or working well with children.
  • Balance Your Time – While searching for a job will often mean you are away from your kids, you need to remember to balance your time. You were a major influence in their lives and with you suddenly gone, it can be difficult. Even if you are tired, be sure to make time for them.

If you are a stay-at-home parent going through a divorce, contact us today. The Law Office of Elena Mebtahi can make sure you get what is fairly yours in the divorce.

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How Cohabitation Effects Child Support

Friday, November 24, 2017

While it is often shown that many divorced couples live apart after divorce this is not always the case. In some recently severed marriage, neither party has the means to support themselves on their own. As such, they end up living their new life with their ex-spouse and children still in the home together so they have a stable environment. While this affects a lot of social aspects in the home, how does it affect child support payments?

In many cases, cohabitation does not have much of an effect on child support. However, it can make day-to-day financial aspects a little fuzzy for some couples. It could be argued that since you bought breakfast, then that is for the care of the child and should be deducted from what you owe, but typically courts will shoot this down. You will likely still be on the hook for the financial amounts.

There are some cases in which one parent experiences "substantial change" to their financial means that can cause child support to be modified, but often this is due to loss of employment or injury rather than cohabitation.

In other cases, one parent may waive child support from the other parent in an effort to combine income and care for the child in their best interest. This can be a mistake if it isn't clear or legally stated that payment needs to be restarted once the ex-spouse moves out.

Overall, cohabitation between divorced parents can be a tricky business because it can throw a wrench in so many divisions that happen during a divorce. If you are cohabitating and want to lay down the ground rules, contact us today.

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How to Craft a Long-Distance Parenting Plan

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Often when a couple divorces, one or both parties may move somewhere else. While this often isn't an issue for childless couples that each want to start over their own lives, when you share a child together, it can create a number of issues. Usually, there may be arguments over the residential parent who wants to move their child to somewhere new, but if the divorced parents can work it out, a long-distance parenting plan can be adopted.

One of the key factors to maintaining a long-distance relationship with a child is to establish frequent communication with them. While many long-distance parents choose to call or use programs like Skype or FaceTime to talk to them, it is important to remember that this does not replace visitation.

Visitation still needs to happen and depending on the child's age, the non-residential parent may need to travel to them or accompany them back. If you live quite a distance away and have a younger child, they will need to have an adult accompany them on airlines or buses, but older children may be able to travel alone. It is also crucial that visitation does not disrupt a child's daily routine.

In many cases, the non-residential parent may need to have visitation in the town where the child lives so that they can regularly attend school and other activities. However, often longer trips can be taken during school breaks where it is arranged that the child can travel to the non-residential parent's home. Some parents may choose to save up their visitation for a summer break, but in order to maintain a good relationship, communication is still key.

If you are in the process of divorce and still trying to hammer out a good visitation and child custody plan with you, contact us today. The Law Office of Elena Mebtahi can help advise you on great compromises as well as help you maintain your rights as a parent.

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Are the Fees of a Divorce Tax Deductible?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

If there is one thing a divorce can cause upheaval in aside from your family life, it is with your taxes. After a split, your tax status can change dramatically. You may have to claim significantly less, but you can also deduct significantly less. While alimony has to be reported on taxes, what about the other financial matters associated with a divorce, like the legal fees?

One of the most beneficial things you can do when tax season rolls around the first year after your divorce is to consult a tax professional. The IRS can make even simple mistakes into very costly ones, which is why you want a professional to help you. However, while it can depend on your unique circumstances, when it comes to the tax-deductible nature of any divorce fees, most professionals will say it is not possible to deduct them. In general, the IRS considers a divorce and thus any fees from that as a personal expense, so it has to come out of pocket. Even if you somehow had to end up paying for the legal fees of your spouse, you still cannot deduct them.

In terms of spousal support, typically these payments are not deductible either, but there are some very special exceptions that may make a portion or all of it tax deductible. Unfortunately, tax law is so complicated it merits having a professional look over your fees. We are not tax lawyers, but if you need representation to make sure your divorce is fair and successful as well as doesn’t rack up tons of (non-tax-deductible fees), contact us today.

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When is the Best Time to Get Divorced With Kids?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

For some couples, there will come a time where they cannot stand the very sight of their partner and have to get a divorce. For other couples, they don’t really desire to be married, but stay together for various reasons. One of the main reasons that people who aren't in love might wait to get a divorce is because of their children. Maybe they want to wait until they are a little older and will understand, but when exactly is that age?

The truth is that kids process a divorce in very different ways depending on their age. A child at the age of five will see a divorce differently from a child at the age of 15. No matter what age, your child might feel like it is their fault, but the older they are, the more likely they are to comprehend your reasoning when explained to them. Furthermore, older children will be more self-sufficient which can take the stress off of you when getting a stressful divorce.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect age for your children for you to get a divorce. Many wait until all their children have gone off to college to separate, but this stress can affect the already stressful transition they are having to live away from home for the first time. The closest age to perfect would likely be when they are in their mid-twenties or around 16 or 17 if you can’t wait that long. Both of those times will have stresses for your children but less so than other ages while still having the faculties to understand the reason for a divorce.

If you are looking to start the divorce process and need help telling your children and making sure you get what is fair, contact us today.

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Does Dating During a Divorce Have an Impact?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Once you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have decided it is over, it can be sad, yes, but it can also feel like an incredible weight has been lifted. Leading up to a divorce, things are often not in a happy place. When the marriage is finally over, you might be excited to get out there and meet new people, but dating before the divorce is finalized can be a risky business.

If the courts discover you are dating before a divorce is official, it can have a few serious side effects on the proceedings. One of the biggest worries is being suspected of marital misconduct. If you are in a new relationship, it can look and a lot like that relationship could have started before the divorce and even in no-fault states that can affect the division of property and spousal support.

Furthermore, when your ex-spouse sees you dating, it causes conflict even if you are no longer in love. No one wants to see their ex-doing better than them, and this can make coming to a calm and fair decision near impossible. Even worse, it can make child custody a real issue since the courts may decide a child would be less comfortable in a home with a new relationship or their child themselves may see you dating and decide they would prefer to live with their other parent.

While no one can tell you when you can date, if you are starting a new relationship during a divorce, it is in your best interest to keep it low-key until the divorce is over. If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about seeing someone new, contact us today to get our expert advice on the matter.

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What Happens if You Lie About Your Financial Standing in a Divorce?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Lying about anything during divorce proceedings is never a good idea. As a married party, even if you aren't overly vocal about each other's lives, spouses tend to know a fair amount about each other, which makes lies difficult to pull off and never worthwhile. Yet, one of the most common lies that people will try to tell in divorce is about their finances. When beginning the divorce proceedings, both sides will need to fill out a financial affidavit. This helps the court divide up assets and make a decision in terms of alimony. Some spouses may want to receive more or pay less, making lying about their financial standing tempting, but no less wrong.

If you do happen to lie about your finances or suspect your spouse is, what will happen if, and very likely when, it is discovered?

If one party of a divorce is dishonest about their finances, they face serious penalties when it is discovered. Lying in any respect is lying to the court and against the law. So if you intentionally lie about your finances, the penalties can be as serious as criminal charges that may result in jail time.

However, the courts recognize that finances can be complex. If you did not knowingly lie about your finances, but rather miscalculated them, the judge will be more lenient, but you will still face penalties. Penalties for miscalculation can range from a stern and embarrassing talking to from the judge to awarding your soon-to-be ex-spouse more in terms of alimony. For example, if you made a $10,000 miscalculation, your spouse may be awarded those "hidden" funds.

The best course of action, always, is to be completely honest in a divorce and to have skilled professionals by your side. A quick trip to an accountant can easily help you sort out your finances while a great divorce lawyer will make sure to represent your interests to see that you are getting what is fair in terms of asset division. If you are starting divorce proceedings and need help sorting it all out, contact us today.

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Father's Rights: Make An Impact This School Year

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Children and teens are back in school. This means their summer routines are now behind them and they are getting adjusted to being back in school. Unfortunately, many fathers find themselves being shut out of school activities. Fathers can play a critical role in their children's daily lives, especially when it comes to school.

There are various things a father can do to help create incredible memories and stay involved in the lives of their children.

Eating Lunch With Your Children

If parents are allowed to each lunch with their children, you can try to have lunch with your son or daughter a few times this school year. Your child will feel proud and excited that he or she is having an opportunity to eat lunch with their awesome Dad.

Encourage Your Children

Whenever you have the opportunity to send your child a text message or a note, you should send an encouraging message. You may not think your child listens to everything you say, but he or she will be sure to remember the early morning encouraging text messages or letters you have sent.

Find A Support Group

When you find other fathers who are in the same position as you, you will be able to work together, share advice, and help one another become better fathers. You can find ways to encourage each other's children and find ways to make sure each child stays on top of all their educational goals.

Stay Involved

We understand that you have a busy life, but when you have the opportunity to attend a field trip, athletic event, or meeting, you should be there if you can. You will send a positive message when you sign up for anything that involves your child.

Fathers can work together in order to become the fathers their children need. Contact us today for more advice or more information on father's rights.

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Father's Rights: Preparing for Your Divorce

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Divorce is scary for anyone. But when you're a father and it seems like the deck is already stacked against you, it can be outright terrifying. Thankfully, father's rights have come a long way. Father's are regularly being awarded custody or substantial parenting time. Understanding the laws and being prepared can greatly increase the chances that you will get the outcome that you want. Here are a few things you should know BEFORE you file for divorce:

1. The court cannot award custody to the mother simply because she is the mother.

That being said, the court does give a very strong preference to the person they view to be the primary caregiver. The court will evaluate the emotional ties that the child has with each parent. They will also look at who takes care of the child's day-to-day needs such as bathing, meals, and education. If you are seeking custody of your child, it is important that you can show that you are actively involved in your child's life. Go to the parent conferences and doctor appointments. Coach the baseball team. Know your children's friends. If you weren't doing these things before, do them now.

2. The court will look at the ability of each parent to support the relationship between the child and the other parent.

Do not, under any circumstances, use your child as a way to punish the other parent. Threatening to withhold parenting time or worse yet, actually doing it is highly frowned upon by the courts. The same goes for talking bad about the other parent to your child. Not only will you hurt your child, but you will also greatly affect your chances of being awarded custody.

3. Stability is very important.

The court seeks to provide as much stability to the child as possible. This is why they give preference to the primary caregiver. But it goes beyond that. The goal is for the child to maintain as much continuity with their previous life as possible. This can mean staying in the same house and keeping the same schedule. If possible, it is important that you do not move out of the family house and do not make any drastic changes to your schedule. Delay any job changes or moves until after the divorce is finalized.

Divorce can be scary. We can help. Contact us today.

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Alternatives to Traditional Divorce

Thursday, September 07, 2017

When most people think of divorce, they tend to think of it in terms of the traditional, or adversarial, divorce.

In an adversarial divorce, each spouse and their respective attorney face off in a court of law before a judge, who will then decide the terms of the divorce. The judge in such a divorce is empowered to decide every legal issue of the divorce, from alimony and child support to property division.

Adversarial divorce is built around one basic assumption -- that the spouses in the divorce proceeding see each other as adversaries and are unable to reach any amicable, mutually agreement divorce resolution without judicial intervention. Because of this assumption, traditional divorce can be very messy, unpleasant affairs which can leave both sides unhappy with the result. Traditional divorce can also add additional emotional strain to the situation that can cause lasting bitterness and negatively affect such issues as child custody for years to come.

Fortunately, divorce does not have to be a painful, stressful ordeal. Many couples would prefer to handle their divorce proceedings in a much more civil way, a non-adversarial way that would equally benefit both parties.

For these couples, there are two alternatives to traditional divorce, known as collaborative divorce and mediation, which, when successful, allows them to skip the courtroom and dissolve their marriage in a much more civil manner.

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses and their respective attorneys sign an agreement to work together or collaborate, to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement in a civil, mutually respectful and mutually beneficial way. They agree to do this in lieu of taking the divorce case to trial with a judge.

This collaboration is often encouraged through the use of a 'poison pill' provision, or clause, in collaboration agreements. This clause is used to encourage the two sides to reach an agreement as soon as possible. If the two spouses do not reach a mutually acceptable agreement within a pre-determined time limit, both parties will have to start the process over with new attorneys. This can add considerable time and expense to the divorce process.

Mediation

Mediation is a perfect divorce method for couples who simply want to end their marriage as easily as possible and who do not have any lasting anger or other issues and simply want to end the marriage without the drama of a traditional adversarial divorce.

In mediation, the two spouses and a mutually accepted, neutral third-party, known as a mediator, agree to meet and to work out a mutually agreeable divorce agreement. The mediator will listen to input from both parties and work with them to create a fair settlement. Mediation is also a highly private affair since no one is involved but the couple and their appointed mediator.

In a traditional mediation, neither side is required to be represented by an attorney; however, engaging a lawyer to review a potential settlement is encouraged to make sure that both sides understand the legal ramifications of any divorce settlement.

Mediation can be a perfect solution for many couples.

However, there is no guarantee that mediation will work for everyone. It can take considerable time -- as well as re-starting negotiations -- to work out an agreement.

If you are considering divorce, contact us for more information on which type of divorce may be best for you.

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