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Newark Family And Estate Law Blog

If you are in the middle of a divorce, you may have noticed a decline in your mental health. After all, according to Psychology Today, ending a marriage can cause an uptick in anxiety and depression. Because you need to be in an emotionally healthy place to manage your divorce, you should not neglect your mental health.

Just as your divorce can cause your mental health to suffer, your children may not be coping particularly well. Here are three signs your children may not be ok.

1. Social isolation

Your children probably love to spend time with friends, relatives and others. Unfortunately, though, anxiety and depression can cause kids to withdraw socially. Moreover, your kids may respond to divorce-related anxiety and depression by bullying their friends or otherwise pushing them away.

2. Academic issues

Like all parents, you want your children to do well at school. If they begin to have academic issues during your divorce, they may be having trouble managing its emotional fallout. Academic issues can include any of the following:

  • Failing to complete schoolwork
  • Receiving worse grades
  • Misbehaving in class
  • Skipping school

3. Ambivalence

Hobbies can make any child better-rounded, so you probably encourage your kids to explore their interests and passions. If the young ones in your family become ambivalent about things they have always enjoyed, their mental health may be in jeopardy.

It is not uncommon for concerned parents to ask a family therapist to help their children develop the tools they need to cope with the psychological consequences of divorce. Ultimately, if you worry about your kids, doing so also can give you some peace of mind.

If you are going through a divorce, you are probably looking forward to putting the entire matter far behind you. Still, to improve your chances of achieving the outcome you desire, you must be thinking clearly. After all, you are going to have to make dozens of decisions before your divorce becomes final.

Anxiety can interfere with your decision-making capabilities, of course. Regrettably, according to Psychology Today, it is far from uncommon for divorcing spouses to develop crippling anxiety. How you deal with your new levels of anxiety, though, is likely to make a significant difference.

Should you talk to your doctor?

Modern medicine gives doctors a variety of options for treating anxiety, so you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your physician may recommend dietary changes, exercise, counseling or medication. Nevertheless, because not all primary care physicians have the expertise to deal with anxiety, you may need to ask for a referral.

Should you go to therapy?

Divorce therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years. With this type of counseling, you meet with a licensed therapist who has experience dealing with divorce-related mental-health issues. Your therapist can recommend coping strategies, listen to your fears and help you access additional services.

Should you tell your loved ones?

Anxiety can contribute to major behavioral and mood changes. Rather than hoping for the best, it may be beneficial to talk about your anxiety with those who are closest to you. Often, simply letting loved ones know how you are feeling helps to alleviate the potentially catastrophic effects of anxiety.

Ultimately, if you address your anxiety before it gets out of control, you will be in a better position to deal with your divorce and everything that comes after it.

If you are going through a divorce, you undoubtedly know the extreme toll it can take on a person’s physical and emotional health. After all, divorce is stressful, and stress tends to lead to negative health outcomes. Indeed, according to Healthgrades Marketplace, divorce can cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure, weight gain, insomnia and anxiety.

Many Californians have health insurance through their spouse’s employer. While you do not want to leave your soon-to-be ex-spouse high and dry, you also do not want to continue to pay for his or her health coverage. Can you kick your spouse off your health insurance before your divorce concludes, though?

Taking legal action

Even if your husband or wife is healthy, he or she probably does not want to lose health coverage. Regardless of whether you file for divorce or your spouse does, you are likely to have to deal with an automatic temporary restraining order. Among other things, this order is apt to prohibit you from changing your health insurance beneficiaries while your divorce is pending.

If you have a good argument for why your soon-to-be ex-spouse should not continue to be on your health insurance, you can make it to the judge. The judge then can either agree or disagree with you. Nevertheless, you should not take steps to end your spouse’s health insurance without a legal order that gives you permission to do so.

Facing an inevitable future

Most employer-provided health insurance plans do not allow former spouses to receive coverage. Therefore, your spouse eventually must face the inevitable loss of his or her health insurance. Still, the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act generally requires employers to pay for health insurance for the ex-spouses of their employees for up to 36 months. COBRA coverage can be extremely expensive, however.

Ultimately, If you think your soon-to-be ex should no longer receive the health insurance you pay for, you should discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney as soon as possible.

A divorce is an ideal solution when you are involved in a toxic or combative relationship. However, when you have children, you still have to work with him or her to parent your kids effectively.

Co-parenting is not an option for all parents. If communication between you and your ex quickly devolves into fighting, parallel parenting may be your only option. According to Healthline, parallel parenting allows you to focus on the kids while minimizing the risk of fighting.

Write everything out

You should have a plan for everything. Your parenting plan needs to be highly detailed so no one has room to argue. For instance, there should be clear pick-up and drop-off times, with detailed instructions on handling it if one of you is late. You should have specific instructions for handling birthdays, holidays and other special events. In addition to planning everything that could force you to talk with your ex, you should also prepare for what happens if you have a dispute. There should be instructions on how to handle conflict.

Limit your communication

Parallel parenting does not involve a lot of communication. You exchange your kids in a neutral place without leaving the vehicle, attend school events separately and even plan appointments without one another. Consider having a book for your kid to bring back and forth where you can input milestones, meetings, medical conditions or other areas of interest.

If you have to talk to your ex, try to keep it between text and email. You may want to use an app that allows you to save every message or that can read tone to prevent fighting through messages.

The court may order one party to pay the other spousal support in a divorce. There are options for the court to order temporary payments or permanent payments.

The court considers numerous factors in its determination to require one party to pay the other spousal support. A formula generally determines the amount.

Main factors in determining spousal support

The court looks at the earning capacity of each partner to determine if they can maintain their lifestyle during the marriage. If there is a significant disparity in the earning capabilities of the spouses, the court will likely order the higher earner to make support payments. The court also considers the debts owed by the parties, the age and health of each partner, any history of domestic abuse and childcare requirements for dependent children. The court will attempt to balance the needs and obligations of both spouses to reach an equitable resolution.

Duration of payments

The length of the marriage determines the general rule for spousal support payments. For a marriage that has lasted ten years or less, the court usually is willing to order spousal support to last for half the duration of the marriage. If the marriage has existed longer than ten years, the courts are more likely to award permanent spousal support. To stop the payment requirement for permanent spousal support, the paying party must prove the supported spouse no longer needs the help at some point in the future.

Courts can use spousal support to help even the playing field for ex-spouses in the event of a divorce.

There is nothing easy about separating families, especially when these separations involve children. However, there are ways to make the process easier.

In fact, many courts want to see children spend quality time with both parents, and if the separation is not amicable, child custody transitions can be challenging. Therefore, these are a few co-parenting tips that should process easier for you and your children.

Maintain open, effective communication

Divorce often results from poor communication practices in the marriage. If you and your former spouse have difficulty communicating, you can experience child custody and co-parenting challenges. However, you should agree on major issues, such as education preferences, healthcare and mental health. Also, set guidelines for friends, schedules and appropriate behaviors.

Find the most effective method of communication, e.g., phone calls, in-person meetings or text messages, and create an open dialog. Share your children’s highs and lows with each other, solve problems together, and never argue in front of your children.

Build a consistent schedule

Agree on a set schedule in your parenting plan. Then, keep it. If an emergency comes up, be amenable, and if you want to change your custody periods temporarily, give your co-parent enough notice to make arrangements.

Keep accurate documentation

For legal purposes, you should document every visitation and interaction with your children and co-parent. However, you should also write down information about your children to share with your spouse. For example, if you find that your child is allergic to foods, insect bites or vegetation, it is vital that you document and share this information with your spouse.

To create a positive co-parenting environment, foster quick, positive child custody exchanges, but protect your children by leaving major discussions for private conversations. Set aside your hurt and anger, and focus on your children’s needs.

If you need to pay child support, it is imperative to stay current and understand all of your options. Aside from potentially modifying your child support order in the wake of major financial changes, it is important to have a clear understanding of other child support issues, such as your payment options.

In California, many parents who owe support have payments taken directly from their wages through an income withholding order. However, you might have to find another way to pay if you do not have a withholding order due to self-employment or you lose your job.

Different ways to pay child support

California Child Support Services provides information on your child support payment options. You can use your credit card, debit card, savings account or checking account to pay support online, over the phone or in person at a child support agency kiosk. However, you should note that credit card and debit card payments result in service fees.

You can also pay support using cash by visiting a child support agency or certain retail locations located around the state. However, if you pay at a retail location you should pay attention to processing times and convenience fees. Furthermore, you can mail a money order or check to the state.

Finding the right child support payment method

It is crucial to go over your options if you need to find a different way to pay support since this can make it easier for you to stay current. Make sure you weigh the advantages and possible drawbacks of each child support payment option and make payments on time to avoid serious penalties.

Even though you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have no children, your dog seems like a member of the family. If you acquired the animal during your marriage, though, you are likely to have to address its ownership when you divorce. After all, you simply cannot split the pooch into two equal parts.

Unlike in many other states, California law allows divorcing spouses to pursue custody of dogs, much like you would with a child. If you expect your husband or wife to fight a custody battle, you should prepare yourself to advocate effectively for your interests.

Judicial considerations

According to reporting from PEW, family court judges in the Golden State have the authority to consider pet care when deciding whether to award sole custody of the dog to one person or joint custody to both. Therefore, when planning to seek exclusive custody of your pup, it is important to think like a judge.

Your evidence

Before your court date arrives, you should try to collect comprehensive evidence about who cares for your dog. In addition to finding documentation about the pup’s adoption, you should think about who feeds, walks and spends time with the animal. You also may want to document the role you have played in obtaining veterinary care for your pup.

The dog’s attachment

If your dog is like many others, the animal may prefer you over your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If this is the case, it may be helpful to try to document the dog’s attachment to you. This may require affidavits from someone at doggy daycare, your veterinarian or others who are in the know.

Ultimately, by gathering as much evidence as possible about your relationship with your dog, you may increase your chances of winning sole custody of the animal.

When you and your spouse decide to split up, you may not have much insight into the process. A commonly divisive issue that comes along with it is how you and your spouse will divide finances.

The court prefers spouses to compromise, but that cannot always happen. As such, the state’s laws dictate how a judge will do things should it come down to it. Gain a basic understanding of how a judge may rule when it comes to who gets what.

What does equitable mean?

Under New York law, divorcing couples should equitably divide their property. While this sounds like it means equal, that is not the case. An equitable split is one that the court deems fair after weighing your and your spouse’s many contributions to the marriage. This may mean that one spouse gets more in a divorce than the other for many reasons.

What does the court consider a contribution?

So, what does the court look at when deciding who contributed what? While judges will want to look at income and the financial aspects of what each spouse brought, it does not end there. In an equitable split, the judge also examines situations including:

  • Who bears more responsibility for the end of the relationship?
  • Who stayed home to raise children?
  • Who has more separate property?
  • Who may need time to get income up after divorce?

It is worth noting that debt divides along the same lines as property and assets do.

If at all possible, you may want to try and work things out before a judge steps in. This keeps you and your spouse in control rather than allowing a third party to dictate your future.

No matter your age or where you are in life, getting a divorce can be tough. This can be especially true for those who are getting a gray divorce.

Although divorce is difficult, arming yourself with information can make the process easier. If you are looking to better understand what a gray divorce is and how it might impact you here are some things to think about.

Learn about gray divorce

A gray divorce is a divorce that occurs when the couple parting ways is 50 years old or older. This kind of divorce has been increasing in recent years, and it appears that older couples are changing their attitudes towards parting ways later in life.

Learn how having a gray divorce impacts the process

While divorces can have similar aspects no matter who the couple is, there are some key differences when it comes to a gray divorce. When both people in the couple are older, their goals may differ from those who are younger. Not only that, but older divorcees may have a harder time recovering financially from a divorce. These types of things can make a gray divorce slightly more difficult to navigate. Not only that but divorcing later in life can also raise the steak for those getting divorced.

A divorce can be a challenging thing to experience, especially for an older couple. The upside is, though, that by taking the time to educate yourself and make the right plans you can ensure that you are looking out for your best interests and protecting your future.