Friday, November 30, 2007

Divorce and Bankruptcy

Unfortunately, especially with the way that the real estate market is at this time, bankruptcy and divorce go hand in hand. Many people wonder what type of debts get canceled out in a bankruptcy and which liabilities they will continue to be responsible for. The main thing to remember is that child support and alimony payments, including any arrears are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. If you are trying to get out of having to pay arrears on either of those things, bankruptcy is not the way to go.

For a more thorough article on bankruptcy and divorce, see the following:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Power Of The Internet

The Internet, with the help of Google, has cornered the information market. Most people when they are looking for information, including information about potentially filing for divorce, they go to the Internet. It seems that a law firm in the United Kingdom is about to launch a website that will be the #1 place for people to go to find information about divorce and other family legal matters in their country. There is no question that a good informative website helps lawyers retain clients. However, its important to remember that websites are designed to provide general information and that if you are seeking more specific advice about your particular issues, you should speak with the attorney directly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Value Vote

As the Presidential primary season just around the corner, many of the candidates may be worried whether their personal pasts will come back to haunt them. There are many people who state that there is still a "value vote" in America meaning people will choose not to vote for someone because they had an affair, divorce, or even an illegitimate child. We often choose candidates based on their ability to be a good leader, but also because that candidate holds values which we consider to be important. The following article discusses whether there really is a "value vote" here in Florida.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Celebrity Divorce, You Heard It Here First

One of the things that all of us "regular" people don't need to deal with is having our personal news splashed all over the Internet or page 6 of the paper. Often times a celebrity may hear news regarding their family, finances or worse, their divorces from the media. Hulk Hogan seems to be the latest victim of the relentless press. When asked by a reporter from a local newspaper to comment on his divorce, The Hulk was dumbfounded as he wasn't aware that his wife had filed. I'm sure that many of us are thankful that media is uninterested in the details of our personal lives.

To see the latest story about the Hogan's divorce, see:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another Reality TV Marriage On The Rocks

There seems to be a reality television curse when it comes to marriage and relationships. There are very few "television" romances that are still remaining strong and those celebrities who choose to put their lives on television often times find themselves headed to divorce court. Hulk Hogan and his wife are the latest casualties. While I'm sure that placing your life in front of cameras is not the sole reason for why these marriages fail, I'm sure that it doesn't help and may magnify problems rather than solve them. Sometimes, its best to keep your personal life as private as possible.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Family Traumas and Stress On a Marriage

Marriage, under the best of circumstances, can be very difficult. Sometimes when a couple is faced with a family trauma, the stress of that trauma can lead to divorce. This often comes into play when a couple is faced with a child who suffers a brain or physical injury that requires that child to be cared for. The following is a story about a young man who suffered severe injuries, but has parents who have stuck by him and helped him get the support and medical care that he needs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Interesting Divorce War Stories

The headlines are sparse right now with new and interesting divorce stories. I hope that everyone has gotten their issue straightened out in order to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday with their families. No matter how difficult your divorce is right now, you can perhaps take a little bit of refuge in the fact that there are some people who are going through a difficult time as well ans may be in a worse place than you. The following story is interesting and is proof that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ex Spouses Remaining Friends

In my line of work, you are often faced with couples who despise one another and want nothing to do with their ex-spouse after a divorce. This can sometimes make life very difficult when there are children involved. I'm always happy to share stories about couples who divorce and are able to not only get along, but remain friends. The following story, I think is an exception rather than the rule, but its a good way of showing that divorces can be amicable for the sake of children, and in this case, for the sake of a business.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hidding Lottery Winnings

The following is yet another example of a spouse attempting to fraudulently hide lottery winnings from his wife in order to avoid having to share in his windfall. I'm sure, if this man can be found, the courts will do what is right and inform him that his lottery winnings are marital property subject to distribution. Finding him in this case seems to be half the battle.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Daddy Divorce Camp

Daddy Divorce Camp (DDC), LLC, will be hosting its first weekend retreat in Orange Springs, Florida Fri. Dec. 7 - Sun. Dec 9, 2007 for men who are divorced, going through a divorce or considering a divorce.

The all inclusive weekend retreat will offer room and board, lodging in an air conditioned cabin , six meals , nine lectures/workshops and all activities for the low price of $600 per person.
Attendees will have the ability to attend a variety of lectures given by professionals on various topics:
-Legal Issues in Divorce
-Financial Issues in Divorce
-Family / Child Issues
-Anger Management
-Stress Reduction Techniques
-Insightful Workshops to assist in the healing / closure process
-Confidence Workshop - Interactive Ropes Course
Additionally, there will be available a variety of fun , stress relieving activities such as:
-Sporting Activites
-Comedy Show
Daddy Divorce Camp welcomes all interested parties, media to visit , for more information and to register for the December 7-9, 2007 event.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness month and I have been searching around the Internet for interesting stories about adoption. The following article addresses a lot of issues concerning adoption, including the rights of a child to gain information about their birth parents, the painful decision to give up a child for adoption, and how birth children can develop a relationship with their birth parents long after they have become adults.,0,3612865.story

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shacking Up

More and more couples are deciding to "shack up" rather than remarry when they are fifty years old or older. This is for a number of different reasons, including protecting your children's inheritance and to avoid termination of alimony. Many states have adopted the rule that alimony terminates upon "cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex", but in those states that only have termination of alimony upon death or remarriage, shacking up is a viable and sometimes more lucrative deal.

The following article addresses why a couple would choose to live together rather than marry:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mediation Radio Show

A radio show devoted to dispelling the facts and myths about the divorce process is garnering a lot of attention and a much broader listener base. With more and more people discovering the usefulness of the mediation process, especially in divorce, its great that there are professionals who want to bring the mediation process to the forefront of conversation and to help people understand how it works, how it can benefit them and what to expect. A special show will be airing live on Thursday, November 15, 2007, at 2:00 p.m. ET on All prior shows are archived and are available on demand for listening or for download to an MP3 and Ipod. If you are wondering whether mediation is the path you want to take to resolve your divorce, tune in!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sticking To A Plan

One of the hardest things to do after you are divorced is co-parenting children with your ex-spouse. There are bitter feelings, different parenting styles and scheduling issues which sometimes get in the way of being good parents to your children. Before, or shortly after, your divorce is final, you and your soon to be ex-spouse should develop a shared parenting plan that you both can look to when there are disputes, disagreements or ambiguities as to what you are doing with your children. If you both stay committed to a plan, there is no reason that you can't work out your differences and effectively co-parent your children. At the end of the day, you both have the same goal of wanting to raise, healthy, happy, well-adjusted children who are capable of being productive members of society. Its easy to create a plan, its much harder to stick to it, but if you keep it handy and remember what your ultimate goals are, anything is possible.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Divorce 2.0

Broward County has kicked off a new system that allows people to file for divorce online without the necessity of an attorney. This simplified system is an effort to help those couples who really don't need an attorney, or who cannot afford one. I am sure that other counties will soon follow suit and I'm also sure there will be many problems along the way that computer guys are going to have to fix. We'll wait to see whether this comes to Orange County and whether they allow attorneys to use the system as well.

To read about Broward County's new online filing system, see:,0,3701326.story

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Parents Dealing With Their Children's Divorce

Parents are increasingly more involved in their adult children's lives and many times, parents take an active role in their children's divorces. This can be monetarily footing the bill, being there for emotional support or even caring for grandchildren. The following article from The Orlando Sentinel speaks about how parents are affected by their adult children's decision to get a divorce.,0,5275534.story

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fired By Your Attorney

Heather Mills McCartney has split ways with her current divorce lawyers, and I think it has something to do with the fact that she went onto National television and blasted the media and her soon to be ex-husband. Many people don't realize that lawyers have the ability to fire their clients and many times it happens because a client does not heed their attorney's advice, or does something that will severely hinder the attorney's ability to do their job. It is important that you listen to your attorney and pay attention to what they tell you to do and what they tell you not to do. Divorces are emotional and sometimes its impossible to not act based upon emotion. This is not what makes attorneys get off a case. What makes attorneys get off a case is when a client makes a conscious decision to act in a way that will harm their case. While I do not know all the facts surrounding the reasons why Ms. McCartney's attorneys decided to "fire" their client, the timing of the split and the national television sound-off by McCartney leads anyone to the conclusion that her attorneys were not happy with her actions.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Work After Divorce

Many couples are divorcing within the first ten (10) years of marriage, which in most circumstances means that a woman cannot depend on getting any type of alimony, or any alimony that a woman may receive will be limited in duration. If you don't have a job, have never had a job, or have been out of work for some time because you have been home raising your children, the prospect of having to support yourself can be terrifying. It is important for all women going through divorce to have a career or job plan. Without having a plan, you will be treading water in a very deep ocean. There is plenty of information available on the Internet that can assist you in figuring out how you can enter into the workforce and start earning a paycheck that will help you pay your bills.

The following site has a special page devoted to helping women figure out what career they may want and how to get there:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Those Wandering Eyes

Divorce happens for many reasons, adultery is usually at the top of the list of things which are unforgivable enough to warrant a divorce. I read the following article that begs the question of whether the "wandering eye" is a good prediction of a man's likelihood of straying. I often talk about serious subjects and provide my blog readers with helpful information about divorce and other family related issues. This article is much more fun than informative.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Divorce and the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are going through a divorce, or it is your first holiday season since your divorce was finalized, you are probably apprehensive and nervous about how you are going to work out a schedule for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. You can make a holiday schedule work, so long as you keep in mind that your children probably want to spend time with both mom and dad. Therefore, here are some helpful tips on how to make holiday schedules manageable:

1. Talk To Your Kids- If your kids are old enough to make a decision about what they would like to do for the holidays and you haven't already agreed to a schedule with your ex, ask your kids what they would like to do. If they want to spend time with both mom and dad, try to work out a schedule that allows your kids to have equal time with both parents. Most kids want to spend time with both parents during the holidays and its important to take their feelings and wants into consideration before a holiday schedule gets set.

2. Consider Celebrating the Holidays Together- This is a touchy subject for most people going through a divorce. However, if you have young children, they could very well benefit from having you both present for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day activities. While they will have to adjust to new traditions in the future, if you and your ex-spouse can put differences aside to give your children a stress-free holiday without too much uncomfortableness, you can celebrate together.

3. Make Plans Ahead of Time- Don't want to the last minute to get a schedule in place. Discuss options as a family and make decisions well in advance so there is no question as to where the kids are going to be on the holidays. Many people put this off because its too difficult or they feel that there is no need to discuss because its "in the Marital Settlement Agreement" or in the Judge's divorce decree. Its still important to nail down specifics, especially if out of town travel arrangements need to be made.

4. Make Plans for Yourself- If you know that its not your year to have the kids on Christmas or Thanksgiving, you need to make plans for yourself and do whatever you need to do in order to insure that you are not going to be alone. Spending the holidays by yourself can be very depressing, so if you have made plans for yourself, you will spend less time thinking about the fact that your kids aren't with you.

5. Be Flexible- The best thing you can do for your kids and to insure that every holiday doesn't become a scheduling mess is to be flexible. Part of co-parenting after divorce is being flexible with schedules and coming to terms with the fact that you aren't always going to get what you want, especially around the holidays. Also, you don't always have to celebrate a holiday on the holiday in order to make it special and meaningful for your children. If you have a parenting plan that has you alternating holidays, you can help your kids understand and appreciate the benefits of having Two Christmases, Two Easters, etc.

For more information about dealing with the holidays, see:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Open Mouth Insert Foot

Part of my morning ritual is watching The Today Show. On a daily basis there is usually a piece about divorce which has given me countless things to blog about. This week, Heather Mills McCartney, who is embroiled in a bitter divorce from Paul McCartney, sounded off about the unfairness of the way that she has been depicted in the press. She made accusations that Mr. McCartney could have, at the very least, stopped the negative media campaign, but instead chose not to protect her or their daughter. The issue which has arisen now, which is most certainly a very negative side effect of standing up for herself, is that because she spoke about her fragile emotional state, some people are claiming that perhaps she isn't stable enough to be the primary care giver for her 4 year old daughter. Although I'm sure Ms. Mills McCartney was sick and tired of the way that she was being characterized in the media, she should have known better that to talk about the fact that she was emotionally unstable due to the media attention surrounding her divorce. If Mr. McCartney wanted to seek primary custody of their daughter, its going to be hard for her to take back her own words. My advice to any public figure going through a divorce is to keep comments to a minimum because you never know when your own words are going to be used against you.

If you would like read the latest about the McCartney divorce battle, see:,23599,22696561-2,00.html?from=mostpop

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Top Ten Mistakes Flordians Make In Divorce

Top Ten Mistakes People Make In Florida

I am learning that there are a lot of mistakes that people make when they are divorcing. These mistakes can cost you additional attorneys’ fees at best and total financial ruin at worst. Its important to be realistic when divorcing and to mitigate mistakes that can cost you time, money and the respect of your children. Here is a list of what I believe to be the top ten mistakes that people make when they are getting a divorce in the state of Florida.

1. Not Putting Children First- When parties think about their own best interests before their children’s best interest, impossible schedules are created, or a mother/father is blocked from time with the children, or even worse, a child is put in the middle of the divorce by being forced to choose sides. This does nothing but prolong the litigation process, cause undue stress on your children, and in the worst of cases, creates a divide between you and your child which may never be closed. Always put your kids first when you are divorcing. All other issues should be secondary.

2. Emotionally Attaching Yourself to an Asset- Some people want to keep an asset because it is tied to memories, or they want to keep it because they know that asset is important to their soon to be ex-spouse so they say that they want it out of spite. This accomplishes nothing other than creating attorneys fees. Fight for what is important and remember that stuff, is just stuff.

3. Keeping the House - Many people want to keep the house for a variety of different reasons. In order to keep the house, you have to buy the other person out of that asset. This is usually done by refinancing the house and tacking on that additional buy out money to your existing mortgage. What happens in some cases is that the home becomes a financial burden and the risk of ending up in foreclosure becomes very high. Therefore, only keep the house if you can financially afford to do so and is something that you can financially afford to do without the assistance of a great deal of child support and/or alimony.

4. Failure to Determine a Visitation Schedule - Sometimes I have clients who don’t want to set up a formal visitation calendar because they have a good relationship with the other party and don’t feel that a visitation schedule is necessary. What inevitably happens is that some time in the future this open visitation schedule, especially around the holidays, becomes the source of feuds between the parties as to who gets to spend time with the kids when. There should always be a bear minimum of visitation outlined in any Marital Settlement Agreement and the parties should work out their holiday schedules in advance so its clear who gets the kids and when. This helps mitigate problems if there is a dispute in the future as to who gets Christmas, etc.

5. Failure to Pay Child Support to State Agency- The more affluent a person is, the less likely they are to pay their child support through the state disbursement unit or via Income Deduction Order. If child support is not paid through the state, arguments can ensue as to whether certain funds are child support or payment for other child related needs which can be classified as a gift. If child support is paid through the state, the state keeps records of any arrears or extra payments which are made, so there should not be any ambiguities as to whether someone has paid their child support or whether there is any reason to grant someone a credit.

6. Failure to Specify Who Will Claim the Children on Taxes- This seems like a small problem, but it is very much an issue. When one party is paying child support, they are still able to claim their children on their taxes, despite the fact that the children primarily live with the other parent. Specifying who gets to claim the children as dependents helps insure that you don’t get audited by the IRS when you both attempt to claim the kids.

7. Failure to Properly Appraise Assets - Before you can go to Court and before you can agree to any form of settlement, you must know the value of your assets. If you don’t properly value your assets, you could end up with the short end of the stick property settlement wise. It is very important to make sure you know the real value of all of your assets.

8. Failure to Require a Life Insurance Policy- Child support and alimony, in most circumstances, make it possible for a party to live and care for themselves and their children. If the obligor dies when he/she still has an obligation to provide support, and if there is no life insurance policy in place, there are financially difficulties that arise from no longer receiving that support. If a life insurance policy is require, it insures that you will be protected in the event of the obligor’s untimely death.

9. Failure to Fight for Custody for the Right Reasons- This mistake comes in two forms. One in the negative, meaning people who fight for custody of their children for the wrong reasons, meaning out of spite, not taking into consideration the best interest of the child. This creates animosity from the other parent, additional attorneys’ fees, and in the end, you are probably going to lose. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to fight for custody unless you really believe that it is in your children’s best interest. On the flip side of the occasion, I sometimes have clients relinquish a custody battle because they don’t want to fight. If the children are truly better off with you, its important for you to fight the custody battle before the divorce is finalized. Once the divorce is final, you can only modify the custody issue if you show a substantial change of circumstances since entry of the Final Judgment that would warrant a change in custodial parent. It is much harder to win a modification of custody battle after a divorce is finalized.

10. Not Keeping the Lines of Communication Open with Your Soon to be Ex-spouse- There is no question that its hard to communicate with someone that you are divorcing, but if you are 100% closed off to the idea of communicating with your ex-spouse about division of assets, debts, property and your children, you WILL prolong the process. The more you are able to communicate the better chance you will have of completing the divorce process and moving on with your life. I always encourage my clients to speak with their spouse, with the rare exception when such communication will cause detriment to my client.