A Divorce Story

About Me

Hello. My name is Mindy Lewis. My husband and I had been married for nineteen years when he came to me wanting a divorce. We have two children who were ten and thirteen years of age at the time. I was devastated with the news; blind sighted to say the least. Sure we had problems, but from what I heard from married friends, everyone had problems now and then. I have decided to write this blog about the importance of having a good divorce attorney. My emotions were so raw that without my attorney I probably would have walked away from the married with my kids and nothing else. My attorney was able to help me focus and make wise decisions. He was with me every step of the way as we muddled through the divorce. I hope what I’m about to share proves to be helpful to you.

Divorce And The Non-Working Spouse: What You Need To Know

Divorce is often a stressful and scary time, but for a non-working spouse, these emotions can be heightened. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, the fact that you don’t earn an income can make you feel vulnerable during a divorce, causing you to wonder how you will go forward financially. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; however, you must understand your rights. Status Quo If you and your spouse have recently decided to file for divorce, don’t feel as though you must run out and get a job right away. This is especially the case if you and your spouse had an agreement in place for you to stay home, such as to care for children and your spouse had been taking care of you financially. While the divorce process is being carried out, many state laws require that a couple’s finances remain in a state of status quo. For instance, if the husband was paying the mortgage, he would be required to continue doing so until the divorce is finalized. Employment Potential How easily would it be for you to secure a job? This is an important question the court will generally analyze for a non-working spouse going through a divorce. Courts use this question to determine what level, if any, of financial assistance is necessary. For instance, a non-working spouse with job skills and a college degree would have more employment potential than a non-working spouse without prior experience or education. If it will be difficult for you to find gainful employment, don’t assume you will be left without any protection. What You Need...

Not Sure How You’ll Support Yourself After Divorce? 4 Reasons You May Receive Spousal Support

If your spouse has filed for divorce, you may be left wondering how you’re going to provide for yourself now that the marriage is over. This is particularly true if you’ve been the one who has remained in the home, while they were the one who went out and worked. If you have no source of income, you should talk to your attorney about spousal support, especially if the marriage was long-term. Here are four factors that the court will consider when determining whether you will receive spousal support. How Much Money Your Spouse Makes When considering spousal support, the courts will look at how much money your spouse makes. They’ll also look at how much money you make – if any. If your spouse makes considerably more money than you, the courts may decide that it’s in your best interest to award you spousal support for a predetermined amount of time. In most cases, you will not be awarded permanent spousal support. Your Age and Health The courts will look at your age and health when determining whether or not you are entitled to spousal support. The courts will take into consideration any health issues that may interfere with your ability to secure meaningful, full-time employment. If your health precludes you from working, the courts may award you spousal support in the divorce. They’ll also look at your age. This is important because it can be difficult to obtain employment when you’re older. Most employers are hesitant to hire older people to work for them. Your Contributions to the Marriage If you stayed home to care for your...

Do-It-Yourself Divorces: Not The One-Size Fits All Solution For Most Marriages

Is your marriage in trouble and you feel that a divorce is the best way to take care of things? If so, you may be irritated at the prospect of having a lengthy divorce proceeding, and this may have you thinking that a “do-it-yourself divorce” could help you be rid of your spouse quickly so that you can move on with your new life. There are options for people to file for divorces on their own, but handling a divorce is a complicated endeavor, and there is a lot that could go wrong if you do not have legal representation. The following are examples of circumstances that make acquiring a lawyer critical to amicable outcomes in divorce proceedings. Spouse Has Representation If your spouse has a lawyer, you should not attempt to represent yourself or agree to the divorce terms their lawyer draws up. This is because you may end up signing off on contracts that are legally binding. Think of what would happen if you sign documents you do not understand that contain sensitive and costly terms such as paying spousal support or allowing your spouse to keep the home or family vehicles.  Minor or Dependent Children Some spouses are able to come up with terms regarding minor children and adult children that are deemed dependents due to physical or mental issues. Others may not be able to come to agreeable terms. This is likely to be the case if you and your spouse both want custody. Perhaps you have agreed on joint custody, but this is still a sensitive issue, and it needs to be entered into...

What To Do When The Executor Of An Estate Refuses To Discuss Estate Matters

Do you feel as though the executor of the estate of a loved one is all of a sudden avoiding you? If so, you may not know the best way to legally and morally handle the situation. The following information will provide you with the best approach to this type of situation.  Soft Contact The best way to initially contact the executor of the estate is by email, telephone or text. You could attempt to use all three to ensure that if the matter has to be escalated, you will have proof of trying to contact them in several ways. Do not use all three soft contact options within the same day, and if you use the same method of contact several times, spread it out over the course of a few days before contacting them again. Keep in mind that they may still be grieving over the death of your loved one. It is also important to give them ample time to respond to your soft contact attempts.  Solid Contact If the executor of the estate does not respond to your soft contact attempts, you should initiate a solid means of contacting them. Certified mail or a visit to their home are examples of solid contact attempts. These are considered verifiable means of contact. Certified mail has to be signed for and the signature is proof that the mail has been received. Visiting the home of the executor may put you in a face-to-face situation with them which is also verifiable. You need to ensure you keep a record of your contact attempts even if you do not...

If You Hit The Lottery, Does Your Soon-To-Be Ex-Spouse Get A Share?

Congratulations! You gambled a buck, bought a lottery ticket, and won a cool $100,000! It’s your lucky day! Unless, of course, you happen to still be in that state of “separated but not yet single” stage that occurs somewhere between marriage and divorce. In that situation, you may end up having to share your winnings. Here’s what you should know. The Laws Of Your State Are An Important Factor The laws of the state that you live in are going to factor strongly in how the situation plays out. When you’re married, all the property that you and your spouse acquire (including that lottery ticket) belong to you as a couple. When a couple begins the process of divorce, that rules continues until whatever cut-off date exists under state law. After that point, the courts will generally consider independently acquired property to belong to the spouse that acquired it. In some states, like Alaska, the cut-off date is as early as the date of separation — which means that if you moved out well before you bought the ticket, you might be able to claim the entire winnings for yourself. In other states, like Kansas, the cut-off date isn’t until the divorce petition is filed, even if you’ve lived separate lives for decades. Some states, like Louisiana, may make you divide up your earnings if you purchased that ticket even a day before the judge’s final decree is issued. Several Factors May Influence How The Money Is Split It hardly seems fair that if you and your spouse were living separate lives for the last 10 years before you...

Debunking The Most Prevailing Myths Women Have About Prenuptial Agreements

According to some of the more recent studies, the number of Americans opting for a prenuptial agreement before they tie the knot is on the rise. In fact, 63 percent of divorce attorneys claim that they have seen a rise in how many clients they have that are asking for this agreement. Even more interesting, 46 percent say that they have seen a notable difference in how many women walk into their offices looking to create a formal legal premarital agreement. As a female, it is important that you get any misconceptions you may have about a prenup out of the way before you make a decision as to whether this is the right step for you to take. Myth: There is no need for a prenuptial agreement if you do not have a lot of your own assets. Fact: It is not uncommon for most people, especially women, to assume that just because they don’t have a lot of assets before they get married that there’s no need for a prenuptial agreement. However, a prenuptial agreement is about protecting both your prior financial establishments and what you accrue during the course of the relationship, which could easily be a great deal. For example, if you are a woman who is in the process of building your career, you may not have a lot of monetary wealth currently, but this could easily change over the next few years. You will want to keep that protected in the event of a divorce. This can be accomplished by working with a family attorney to create a prenuptial agreement that clearly outlines...

3 Ways To Protect Your Kids During A Divorce

If you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce, one of your biggest concerns might be the effects this will have on your kids. While divorce does affect children, you may be able to minimize these effects by handling the situation properly. Here are three tips to help you know how to protect your children during your divorce. Keep the kids out of it Divorces take time and can be messy, but they should not involve the kids. When you discuss issues with your spouse, do it when the kids are not around. If you need to vent on the phone to your friends about what is going on with the divorce, make sure you do it in private. Do not let your kids hear you say anything negative about your spouse or the divorce. Kids tend to overhear things, even when you do not think they are listening, so you must be very careful about what you say and when you say it. While the kids might be curious about what is going on, it is better if they do not have to witness any of the arguments or problems relating to the divorce. Keep your life as consistent as possible The second way to protect your kids is by keeping your life stable and consistent. You must be able to provide stability to them throughout the divorce, because divorces often make kids feel insecure and afraid. If possible, stay living in the same house with them and keep them in the same school. Try to keep the same friends, the same hobbies, and the same...

Reasons That Could Qualify You For A Change In Custody

When you make a custodial agreement, the court will sign off to say that they approve of the arrangement and that it is fair. If you should feel the need to change the custodial arrangement, you are going to need to provide the courts with an important reason, one that cannot be avoided. Here are some possible reasons that would qualify your custody arrangement for a change. 1. You Need to Leave the Country for Work One reason why custodial agreements might change is if you need to leave the country for work. For example, if you get a job in a different country that cannot be done offsite, you are not going to be able to fully participate in a joint custodial agreement. You might need to change the custodial agreement so that you have custody over your children for a few months a year when they are not in school and have the other parent have custody during the other months. This could also be the case if you are in the military and have joint custody with your children. If you are deployed overseas, then you will not be able to care for your children full time while deployed and you will need to ask the courts to augment your custody agreement. 2. You Can’t Afford It A second reason why you might need to change the custody agreement is if you are unable to properly care for your children on your current income. If you lose your job and blow through all your savings, it might make more sense to temporarily change the custody agreement...

Property Division During Divorce: What Will You Get?

If you are going through or considering a divorce, you may be wondering what will happen to your property or your spouse’s property. Different states have different ways of dividing property, so much of what you will be entitled to depends on where you live. Here are a three possibilities. 1. Property Settlement Agreement One of the easiest ways to determine who gets what during divorce is by making an agreement with your spouse. If at any time you and your spouse created a prenuptial agreement, a property settlement agreement, or other contract, that may list out who gets what during a divorce. If you do not have such an agreement when you decide to get divorced, you can still create one if your spouse is cooperative. However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on the property division, courts can help decide. 2. Community Property Division Some states follow community property principles, meaning that any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage becomes marital property. During the divorce, marital property is split 50/50 between both spouses. A spouse’s separate property is not subject to division. The issue surrounding community property division involves what can be considered marital property and what is separate property. Separate property includes property owned before the marriage, gifts received by only one spouse, and inheritances given to one spouse. On the other hand, marital property is anything acquired during the marriage and anything that is owned jointly. Community property states include Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Texas, Wisconsin, Arizona, Louisiana, and California. 3. Equitable Distribution In states that do not follow...

Ensuring A Clean Break After Your Divorce

Once the decision has been made to go forward with a divorce, the best thing you can do is focus on ensuring that everything ends as cleanly as possible. This means minimizing conflicts over finances, property, and business interests by creating a clear separation of ownership. It might cost you some time and money, but the peace of mind it buys you will be more than worth it. Financial Division When breaking ties to a spouse, the easiest step should also be the first one. Start by opening a bank account in your own name, and begin depositing paychecks into that account instead of any joint accounts you may hold. If a joint account exists, don’t touch the contents without making a record of the transaction, consulting your divorce attorney, and advising your spouse of the amount that you’re withdrawing. Jointly held financial accounts of any kind, whether simple checking accounts or mutual funds, should go untouched until the divorce is finalized. Make sure that any finances that you have your name on are fully disclosed in all court documents to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. This should include, but isn’t limited to, 401k accounts, stock ownership, trading accounts, and any substantial debts. Property Ownership Whether it comes in the form of your marital residence, or simply a bare patch of ground outside city limits, any property purchased during your marriage is fair game in divorce court. Some states have held that even property purchased prior to the marriage which required upkeep expenses during the marriage can be included as a marital asset. The best solution is to...