Sunday, September 30, 2007

How To Pay Off Debts

Sometimes divorce can lead to tremendous debt, especially when a party is used to living a certain standard of living, and then is required to live on their sole income. The following is a good article that was published by U.S. News and World Report, online that gives some helpful hints on how to get a handle on debts after divorce:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Financial Disclosure In Divorce

When a couple is going through a divorce, or contemplating a divorce, one of the biggest problem areas that arises is the issue of financial disclosure. Florida has mandatory financial disclosure rules and sometimes they can be difficult to follow, especially when one of the parties is not privy to any of the financial holdings, debts or assets of the marriage. The following article is a good explanation of the Florida divorce mandatory disclosure rules:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Religion and Divorce

Some religions are openly hostile towards couples who get a divorce and shun them from their church or make those people who have been divorced jump through hoops in order to bring them back into their religious fold. One of the many reasons why people decide to stay in unhappy marriages is religion. Some religions make it so difficult for people in their church when they do something that is against their rules, guidelines and doctrine. When divorce is "against a person's religion", there is a decision to be made and that is something that is personal to each person going through that moral dilemma. For a religious person, this is just another reason why divorce is emotionally draining and hard.

To read an article about divorce and religion, see:

The opinions and views that are expressed in this article are not necessarily my own, and are strictly posted on this website for informational purposes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Divorce Through The Eyes Of A Child

There is no question that divorce can have a devastating impact on the children who are involved. Sometimes, no matter how hard a couple tries, their children can often times be lost in the shuffle of emotion and scheduling conflicts that divorce is often fraught with. Its important to have a firm grasp on what your children are going through when you are divorcing and remembering that what works for you, might not always work for them. I found the following which sheds some light on what children are going through when their parents are divorcing. Feel free to access my website at for more resources on this subject.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

For Better or For Worse

I have been a long time reader of a comic strip, "For Better of For Worse". If you are unfamiliar with the strip, its about a family who lives in Canada, and unlike most strips, the characters age in real time. This strip has handled many funny topics, but also more serious real life topics like death, homosexuality, growing old and divorce, to name a few. Sadly, the strip is coming to its inevitable conclusion as the strip's creator, Lynn Johnston, anticpates retirement. While this has saddened me that I can no longer vicariously live through the lives of the Patterson family, I understand the need to move on. Why does this have anything to do with my family law blog you may ask?? It seems that Ms. Johnston, is currently going through a divorce of her own, and the semi-retirement that she anticipated while her marriage was still intact, is not what it is now, partly because of her impending divorce. When people are going through a divorce, its important to envision a different future for yourself and be open to the positive things which may come to be in that new future as a single person. Ms. Johnston is doing just that, and her story is something that I think many people who are ending marriages while on the verge of retirement can relate to.

If you would like to read a story about Ms. Johnston and her comic strip "For Better or For Worse", see the following article:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Divorce The New Marriage

A new comedy which is being developed by NBC and novelist, Gigi Levangie Grazer, is going to circle around a couple in their 30s who are divorcing but still living together. The premise is the couple don't have enough money to go their separate ways so they live harmoniously under the same roof, despite the fact that their marriage is over. Grazer states that she believes that divorced couples are leaving one another with a lesser degree of animosity than they did in the 1990s and this new comedy is going to try to bring focus to the fact that couples can still be friends after a divorce. While I think the premise is one that can be fraught with humorous situations, I think the majority of divorcing couples who are living under the same roof for financial reasons are not co-existing in a happy healthy environment. More often than not, when a couple has to remain under the same roof during or after a divorce for financial reasons, the stresses of that situation can be unbearable. Therefore, I find it unlikely that most divorcing couples will find humor, or even be able to relate, to this new television show.

If you would like to read more about this new show being developed by NBC, see:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fear of Divorce Reason For Not Marrying

It seems to be the norm rather than the exception these days that people are waiting until they are older before they get married. According to a recent study, one of the mitigating factors in the reason why younger people are waiting to get married is the fear of divorce. With high divorce rates for first marriages and mothers getting custody a majority of the time while fathers get visitation, child support and alimony, fear of divorce may very well be a reason for why a man wouldn't want to get married. Furthermore, many young adults are from broken homes and have firsthand knowledge of costly and emotionally draining divorces. While I think that fear of divorce may not keep couples from eventually marrying, I think it does make people think twice before committing to marriage, which may, ultimately, help decrease our divorce rates here in America.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Divorce Statistics

Most U.S. Marriages Don't Last 25 Years

For the first time since World War II, America's married couples are more likely to have split by the 25-year mark than to have stayed together, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.
As reported in The New York Times, more than half of people who might have celebrated a 25th wedding anniversary in the year 2000 either found themselves divorced, separated or widowed instead, the government data found.
Part of that may have to do with the fact that Americans are now more likely to wed later in life. In their mid-20s, most men (54 percent) and 41 percent of women have not yet tied the knot, the census found.
However, more Americans are marrying more than once during their lifetime -- in 1996, 69 percent of men and 76 percent of women over the age of 15 had been married only once, but those numbers dropped to 54 percent and 58 percent, respectively, by the latest census.
The divorce rate has remained constant over the past decade, at about one in every five people surveyed. "Basically, it looks like we're pretty much holding steady," Rose Kreieder, a Census Bureau demographer, told the Times.
Other statistics:
Older baby boomers were most likely to have been through a divorce -- 38 percent of males in their 50s were divorced, as were 41 percent of females.
The "seven-year-itch" is alive and well: Couples who separate tend to do so seven years into a marriage.
People who remarry typically do so about 3.5 years after their last marriage ended. Second marriages that end in divorce typically fizzle after about 9 years for men and a little more than 7 years for women.
In 2004, 12 percent of American men and 13 percent of American women had been married twice. Three percent of Americans of either gender have exchanged rings three or more times, the statistics show.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Divorce's Effect On Your Credit Score

Divorce is costly, and sometimes the aftermath of debt, or one spouse's failure to pay on debt, can haunt your credit score for years to come. Its important to know your credit score and to check it to make sure there are no errors, especially when you are going through a life changing event like a divorce. The following article stresses the importance of checking your credit score and how to avoid certain financial pitfalls that can effect your credit score during divorce:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Be Nice To Your Children, They'll Choose Your Nursing Home

I remember driving one time years ago and saw a bumper sticker that said "Be Nice To Your Children They'll Choose Your Nursing Home". I thought of it as funny, however, there is an amount of truth to this "joke". More and more elderly adults are looking to their children to help finance their long term care. Its expensive to get old and more often than not there is not enough money to insure that a person is cared for when they are no longer able to care for themselves. Additionally, there are many elderly Americans sitting in nursing homes without any real contact with their children or other family matters. If a person has good relationships with their children, it is more likely that their children will be there for them in old age. A recent study shows a correlation between divorce and a child of a divorced parents likelihood of caring for their parents in old age. Its an interesting study and one that I think all people considering divorce should be aware of. Sometimes the aftermath of divorce is felt years into the future, and its important, even when you are divorcing and have adult children, that you recognize the impact that divorce will have on your children.

If you would like to read about the study that this blog is based upon, see:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

High End Homes Not Immune To Current Economy

Just two years ago, the real estate market in Florida was booming. Now its a completely different story and many home owners are finding themselves in over their heads and unable to make mortgage payments. It used to be that couples fought over who was going to keep the house because it was a valuable asset, now couples may be fighting over who gets the home based on not wanting to be stuck with exorbitant mortgage payments. It seems that even high end home owners are not immune from the current market place.

To read about the high-end home owner default issues current plaguing Florida, see the following article:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Divorce and Politics

With the Presidential election of 2008 looming on the horizon, its no surprise that all types of polls are coming out concerning who will be elected and why. Quinnipiac University has taken a look at the presidential race from the prospective of the Florida voters. Florida looks like it is going to be one of the closest races again next year and one of the questions that was asked of the people polled was the impact a candidate's divorce status had on your likelihood of voting for that candidate. 67% of the Florida voters said it made no difference to them if a candidate had been divorced more than once, but 29% of all the voters and 31% of the Republicans said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate. Character is always an issue when it comes to who we elect as President, but it looks like the majority of Floridians, especially those who are Democrats, have no problem with a candidate being divorced.

If you would like to read more about the poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, see:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Unprofessionalism in Family Law Cases

No matter what profession you are in, from time to time, you come across unprofessional people who make it very hard for you to do your job. Unfortunately, lawyers are not immune from unprofessional colleagues. In a recent case in South Florida, which is determining whether a child should remain with her foster parents in Florida or be returned to Cuba, some of the behavior of one of the attorneys' involved was called into question by the Judge presiding over the case. Its been my experience that Judges have little tolerance for unprofessional behavior and will not hesitate to reprimand an attorney when they are acting in an unprofessional manner towards the Judge, opposing counsel or the opposing party. Therefore, its important to always treat people with respect and don't act in a manner which is going to get you slapped verbally by a Judge.

If you would like to read the story upon which this blog is based, see:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9/11

I usually use this site as a forum for discussing topics related to family law. Today, I'd like to take a moment to remember September 11, 2001. Its hard to believe that its been six years since that infamous day in American history. I was living in Washington DC this time six years ago, and I remember, just like most Americans, every thing that happened on that day and know that it will be etched into my memory for the rest of my life. I'm sure everyone has taken a moment or two to reflect on what happened six years ago. I hope that no matter what you are going through in life, including if you are going through a difficult divorce, you hold your family members close today and keep in mind what is really important in life.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Information Bargaining Power

In divorce, one of the most powerful bargaining tools in settlement negotiations is one party's nervousness about certain information, either personal or financial, becoming public knowledge. Sometimes a person doesn't want parents, friends, co-workers or the general public to know about extra-marital affairs, drug abuse, or other personal issues and settle their case as a way to keep damaging information out of the wrong hands. In other cases, a person agrees to settle their case in order to get out of having quasi-criminal financial information disclosed to the court or public. This seems to be the case for L. Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International. He is currently serving jail time for embezzling funds from the company, and now, based on the break down of divorce settlement negotiations, may have his assets disclosed for all the world to see. I certainly don't suggest using low handed or dirty tricks to get what you want in a divorce, but I do encourage everyone to look at the big picture and determine the cost benefit analysis of taking your case before a judge.

If you would like to read the latest concerning L. Dennis Kozlowski, see:

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Downward Spiral

When it rains, it pours. Tim Donaghy, the NBA referee who is accused of betting on games in which he refereed, is now facing a divorce. He lost his job, may potentially be thrown in jail, and is now going through a divorce which may cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention time away from his children. I'm not sure whether he is guilty of the crimes that he is accused of, but one thing is for sure, when a person's professional life is in the toilet, this has a profound effect on a person's marriage. Whether the professional mishaps are a result of a company downsizing, or it is a result of person's conscious actions, professional stress has a way of spilling over into a person's marriage. The demise of Tim Donaghy's marriage may just be the beginning of his problems, but its clear that his professional missteps have contributed to her personal problems.

If you would like to read the latest concerning Mr. Donaghy's marriage, see:

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mediation First

It seems that more and more people, as well as States, are following a mediation trend for divorce cases which has been a norm here in Florida for years. Mediation is a wonderful process that provides couples to make decisions regarding their family, finances and future, rather putting all of these things in the hands of a stranger in a black robe. To read more about this growing trend and whether this process can benefit you, see:,173392.shtml

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Norman's Divorce Finally Settles

Many of my divorce clients are very concerned with how long the divorce process is going to take. Most of the time my answer is the same, which is........ it depends on you and it depends on your spouse. If you are both unwilling to settle and also unwilling to provide the other party with proper financial disclosure, your case can drag on for months or even years. While there are many reasons to go to court, there are also many reasons not to. Fighting for the sake of fighting simply wastes time and will cost you thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees. I think everyone can learn from what happened to the Norman's in their very public divorce. Their case is finally settled, but it took a lot of time and a great deal of attorneys' fees.

If you would like to read the most recent news concerning the divorce of Greg Norman, see the following:,21985,22377849-23109,00.html

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Shaq Files For Divorce

It looks like another celebrity marriage has hit the divorce road. Shaquille O'Neal has filed for divorce from his wife of five years. It appears that there was a Prenuptial Agreement which should help to protect Mr. O'Neal's millions, but it won't help resolve any issues related to the children. As we have seen in the Spears v. Federline divorce debacle, a prenuptial agreement does not and cannot resolve issues related to child custody and child support. Therefore, many celebrity divorces still become "ugly" because there is no real way to predestine what will happen with a couple's children, because the best interest of the child standard will always prevail. Hopefully for the O'Neal's sake, their divorce is finalized in a relatively news unworthy way, because that most certainly would lead all of us to believe that they are putting their differences aside in order to put the needs of their children first.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Do It Yourself Divorce

There are a growing number of people who finalize their divorces without the aid of an attorney. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse have come to an agreement with respect to all of the issues regarding your divorce, there is no reason that you cannot file all of your divorce paperwork on your own, especially if money is an issue. Some courts are even developing new systems and programs to insure that the pro se petitioner and respondent know exactly what paperwork needs to be filed with the Court before a Judge will grant them a divorce. This is half the battle when you are attempting to navigate the often paperwork intensive waters of divorce. I often times encourage people who come to my office to attempt to finalize their divorce on their own if they are sure that they aren't going to be bamboozled by their spouse and are confident in filling out all the necessary paperwork, as well as going to Court on their own. The following article talks more about the emergence of the pro se divorce here in Florida: