I’ve presented these articles which I have written because I feel they offer good information for my clients. Reading them at your leisure will help you better understand your situation. If you have any questions regarding what you’ve read here, especially how it may relate to your own family law issue, please feel free to contact my office. We will be happy to arrange a consultation to discuss all your questions.
If divorcing your spouse is not difficult enough, those who are not legally divorced by December 31 must begin thinking at this time of year about tax planning as “married” individuals. The issue of tax filing becomes an entirely separate negotiation between lawyers and their clients. While individual tax returns are not due until April 15, tis the season now for tax planning with your accountant.
Imagine a divorce which has been ongoing for several years. The experts essentially agree on the numbers for valuing the marital estate; the lawyers essentially agree on the options for resolution. Hours and hours have been spent working to settle the case, yet the case still does not settle. How can this be, given the time and hard work involved?
Litigating is intellectually stimulating for many lawyers; it is competition at its best. We love to strategize a case; prepare witnesses; present novel arguments to the court; and we love the cross examination of witnesses. It is what we were trained to do.
Parties often want to litigate because they want their day in court and want to “prove” the other side wrong. Sometimes litigating a case is the only option because the other side will not work to resolve differences; or, the other side’s assessment of the case is so “off base” that a fair settlement cannot be achieved.
While many lawyers enjoy litigation, most clients do not share a lawyer’s point of view, but have no choice except to go to court. Therefore, if you find yourself in the position of a litigated divorce or custody case, here are some tips that will enable you to assist your lawyer in managing the process:
Many people know that a few months ago, my husband and I lost our thirteen year old Dachshund, Bagels. While Bagels had been ill, there were no signs that her condition was worsening, so we were shocked by her sudden death. This loss not only left us sad, but also left our other dog, Bessie, very sad too.
As a result, this weekend Bessie and I sought out to adopt a Dachshund so Bessie can have some company. As I sat watching all of these dogs looking for good homes, knowing that many had come from hoarding and other forms of abusive homes, it reminded me of how difficult it is to fathom how and why someone would be abusive to an innocent animal.
Everybody is talking about the Ray Rice domestic violence act caught on tape. The incident is violent, painful to watch. It is unfortunate that we must bear witness to a violent event to raise the awareness about domestic violence, which is a real problem in our society. Each year our legislatures and courts further develop this area of the law to create greater protections for victims of these incidents, yet it seems the public often takes domestic violence lightly until we come face-to-face with a highly visible example. Then, as often occurs, people tend to minimize or dismiss what happened because the perpetrator is famous or highly talented; for example, Chris Brown seems to have rebounded just fine after his assault on Rihanna.
Certainly not every high profile celebrity-type divorce is handled in a confidential manner, as evidenced by the public divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt. However, by and large, high profile divorces are handled quickly and quietly, the best recent example probably being the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
This past weekend my husband and I went out to dinner with a friend. We chose a restaurant which I knew to have wonderfully fresh, well prepared culinary delights. While no doubt, the food at a restaurant is important, so are the service and the entire experience of the meal. We have all been to restaurants where the food is good, but the service or ambiance lacks something to be desired such that you never return to the restaurant.
When we were at dinner, the food was delicious; but what was extraordinary about the meal was our waiter. Our waiter was knowledgeable about the food, the ingredients, the preparation style, the cocktails –everything. In conversing with our waiter, he confessed he is a “foodie.” No wonder – this is why it was so evident he had a passion for the food he was educating us about and serving! Our waiter truly transformed our experience from that of a meal to that of an experience where we were guided from beginning to the end through a culinary delight.
I just left the Ventura County Courthouse where I sat and listened to people plead their case to the family law judge. Some made a pitch about why their child support should be reduced, using arguments not supported by any legal or factual basis. Others had reasons why the judge should excuse their non-appearance at a prior court date, which resulted in orders they did not like because they weren’t there to contest them. Then there was a father who told a story how he is now the custodial parent to his young child because the mother threatened to kill the Child Protective Services social worker. Really – this stuff just cannot be made up.
In the divorce process, love is indeed a battlefield. But, at some point, that battlefield clears, usually when you and your soon-to-be former spouse finally sign on the dotted line, officially announcing yourselves as ex-wife and ex-husband.
But, just because you’ve signed your final divorce agreement, dividing all the property, finalizing the custody arrangements and support payments, you are still technically married. Thus, while you may be excited to begin your next chapter as your single self, you must wait until that final divorce agreement is signed by the Judge.
But, when that day comes, and you find out that are, in fact, truly divorced and finally single, what do you do now?
I sat in the judge’s chambers along with the other attorney listening to a child testify about how she just wanted her mom to pay attention to her. In another case, children who used to have a loving relationship with their father were testifying about their refusal to now spend time with their father. On each occasion, the children appeared scared. As for the parents, in each occasion, one parent was visibly saddened by the involvement of their children in the divorce while the other parent seemed relieved that their children’s voices were being heard by the judge.
Marlo says...“A great way to help alleviate your concerns is to learn more about the process. Reviewing this information could also help you develop questions you hadn’t thought of before.”