‘Divorce’ Category

Expectation Management and Divorce

When our expectations are in-check we are usually better prepared for what we encounter.  But, many people going through the transition of divorce have no idea what to expect.  And, not knowing what to expect typically escalates divorce-related stress and anxiety.  During a recent divorce mediation training program a multi-disciplinary group of professionals (Stacy Beaulieu, Mark Bilawsky, Tonya Cromartie, Mari Cullen, Susan Daniel, Ed Dieguez, Elizabeth Ermel, Adam Farber, Ruth Gordon, Susan Jacobson, Mike Kesselman, Ray Leon, Elizabeth Mackenzie, Anne Mazer, Goldye Meyer, Nicole Paulino, Lee Rubin, Dawn Saddik, Jennifer Schettewi, Donna Greenspan Solomon, Mark Solomon, Stella Suarez-Rita, Evelyn Tarud, Rick Yabor and me - Elinor Robin) created the following list.  Knowing what to expect can ease the divorce transition.  Here are eleven things you need to know.

1.  Expect change.  Your social network and your standard of living are going to change.

2.  Expect that dislike for your soon-to-be-ex will be difficult to conceal.  However, while it may not be easy, it is important that you avoid sharing this dislike with your children.

3.  Expect a sense of failure (as to the failed relationship and the “wasted” years) and loss (of clarity, identity, connection, and self-control) as well as a roller coaster of emotions – fear (psychological, physical, and financial), anger, sadness, depression, joy, relief, anxiety.  Pay attention to the duration and intensity of these emotions.

4.  Expect – but do not give into - the impetus for a knee-jerk-reaction that puts your children in the middle – where they are used as weapons.

5.  Expect more of the same.  If you have children and an on-going connection to your ex, divorce may not put an end to the negativity and “issues” that were present in your marriage.

6.  Expect that your children will be impacted by your divorce.  (Divorce impacts children of all ages.)  Keep in mind that the impact your divorce has on your children will be related to the degree and duration of conflict and negativity - before, during, and after the divorce.

7.  Expect your ex to have a different experience.  There is a big difference in the experience of the “dumper” and the “dumpee.”  The initiator has often had time to plan and/or gather information.  The other spouse is often caught off guard and needs time to catch his/her breathe after the initial shock.

8.  Expect that divorce will take you out of your comfort zone.  And, as you wade in unchartered water you will need extra support.

9.  Expect to regress into a second adolescence where dating will be difficult, dangerous, and overwhelming.

10.  Expect parenting alone to feel overwhelming.

11.  Expect that you will make mistakes.  Don't beat yourself up over your mistakes.  Instead, learn from your mistakes so that you emerge from this divorce better, stronger, and more aware.

Your Florida Divorce – What To Expect

Divorce is a major life transition that affects every family member and brings about the restructuring of all significant life functions.  Many people going through divorce find this transition the most difficult change of their adult lives.  The impact of divorce is momentous because divorce affects us psychologically, socially, financially, logistically, physically, and legally.  This means that in addition to your legal divorce, you will experience readjustment and shifts in each of these other aspects of your life.

The courts only usher you through the legal aspect of your divorce.  When the other aspects of life remain unaddressed during divorce they can cloud reality and foster unrealistic expectations about what the courts can do.  To better understand what can and cannot happen in court remember that:

  • Court TV shows are for entertainment and do not portray the realities and complexities of the system, especially the complicated rules of evidence.
  • The family court system should not be used as a tool for revenge or punishment and this tactic can easily backfire.
  • Often those who want to provide you with support and protection become emotionally charged themselves and their misguided efforts serve to fuel the fire instead.
  • Sometimes in a divorce case, even if you win in the courtroom, you lose in the court of life.  The drain and anger of a high conflict divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating and make you unattractive to a healthier potential mate.
  • Every case is different.  Even cases that seem similar will play out differently.  So do not depend on legal advice from your friends and relatives.

Sometimes, partners reach a mutual decision to divorce.  And, sometimes one partner makes this decision unilaterally.  In Florida when one spouse says it’s over, it is.  There may be hoops to jump through but if someone wants out of a marriage (and tells the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken) the court will dissolve the marriage.  However, before a couple can be divorced parenting and financial decisions have to be made and paperwork must be prepared and filed with the court.

THREE OPTIONS. Sometimes a divorcing person thinks that the only way to get in front of a judge for a divorce is to hire an attorney.  But, hiring an attorney is just one option.  Additionally, you can choose to fill-in and file your paperwork on your own.  Or, you and your spouse can hire a mediator who can help you reach an agreement and prepare you for an uncontested divorce.

Option #1 – The Traditional/Attorney-driven Divorce. Hiring an attorney is your best option if you need legal protection from your spouse or if your spouse has already retained a lawyer.  If you are unaware of what the marital assets are or how much your spouse earns a divorce attorney can investigate all of these details.  Additionally, if you feel intimidated as the result of domestic violence or coercion, negotiating without a divorce lawyer is a bad idea.  You can find a lawyer through the Florida Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service - http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/48E76203493B82AD852567090070C9B9/EC2322E512B83D1E85256B2F006CC812?OpenDocument

Option #2 - DIY Divorce. If your situation is uncomplicated, you may want to fill in all of the forms you will need for your divorce and file them with the court on your own.  All of the forms are available on-line, for free, at the Florida Supreme Court’s website - www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/forms_rules/index.shtml.  (Start by finding the petition that works for you (Form 12.901).  The instructions for Form 12.901 will outline which other forms you will need.  Additionally, your spouse will need an answer (Form 12.903).  Alternatively, you can buy form packets at your courthouse.  This packet will include all of the forms you need.  And, many local courthouses provide self-help assistance – this link will direct you to your local self-help center http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/self_help/map.shtml.

Option#3 - Pro-se/Pre-suit Mediation. The third option involves the hiring of a mediator - before attorneys are retained or any documents are filed.  This option is often chosen by couples that want to save time/money and side-step the negative nature of an attorney-driven divorce but still believe that they need the assistance of a knowledgeable professional.  This is called Pro-se/Pre-suit Divorce Mediation.  (Pro-se means unrepresented (or without lawyers) and Pre-suit means before a law suit has been filed.)  Mediators that offer Pro-se/Pre-suit mediation are trained to guide divorcing couples towards agreement, an uncontested divorce, and a friendlier future.  At A Friendly Divorce (www.AFriendlyDivorce.com) we provide Pro-se/Pre-suit divorce mediation and document preparation services.  (Other mediators provide similar services.)

MEDIATION. In Florida approximately 95% of all divorcing couples use some form of mediation or negotiation in order to avoid going to trial.  If you and your spouse hire attorneys, after your attorneys have completed the discovery process, you will likely resolve your case in mediation with a mediator selected by your attorneys.  If you choose a DIY divorce and file your paperwork on your own the court will typically send you to a court-annexed mediation program where you can resolve any remaining issues.  And, finally, if you choose the option of Pro-Se/Pre-Suit Mediation you will engage in the mediation process with the mediator you select, focusing on the goal of creating a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) and Parenting Plan, if there are minor children).

Typically, the mediation process takes between two and ten hours, depending on the issues and the personalities involved.  Many divorces are mediated in a single session and sometimes the process is spread out over time.  The end result of the mediation process is the creation of a customized Mediated Marital Settlement Agreement.  This agreement will cover future parenting plans (if there are minor children) and how finances will be handled during and after the divorce.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. Before you and your spouse decide which option is best for you and before you get to mediation there are some things you should know.  The following is our list of the 21 most important things to know before you move forward with your divorce. (more…)

Your Financial Divorce – Expenses

Before you create your marital settlement agreement you and your spouse will need to disclose and discuss critical financial details.  These details include information about your income, assets, debts and expenses.   This post focuses on expenses.  When you look at your expenses consider the following six expense categories.   Typically, many living expenses are fixed while others vary and can - at best - only be estimated.  Creating a snapshot of your monthly costs will help you (a) determine if alimony should be a part of your future financial arrangements and (b) create a budget.  Having a budget will help you live within your means.  And, living within your means is an important component of divorce recovery.  What do you currently spend on each of these expenses?  What do you estimate you will spend on each of these expenses once you are divorced?

Home and Utilities

Mortgage, Rent, Home equity loan, Property taxes, Home insurance, HOA/Condo fees and/or assessments, Home insurance, Electric, Gas/Oil, Propane, Water, Sewer, Garbage, Alarm system, Septic, Land-line Telephone, Cell-phone, Cable/Satellite TV, Internet access, Cleaning service, Lawn care, Pool care, Tree/Shrub care, Chimney sweep, Window cleaning, Gutter cleaning, Carpet cleaning, Air Duct cleaning, Exterminator, Interior repairs, Exterior repairs, Weatherizing, and Appliance repair contracts.

Major Purchases

Appliances, Furniture, Renovations, Extended warranties, and Computers and computer equipment/supplies.

Auto Expenses

Car payments, Car lease, License/tags, Repairs, Gas, Oil Changes, Insurance, Inspections, Tolls, Parking, Rental car, Public transportation.

Personal Expenses

Food and household supplies, Eating out, Clothing, Shoes, Dry cleaning, Health insurance, Medical care, Dental insurance, Dental care, Orthodontia, Vision insurance, Glasses/Contacts, Beauty/Barber shop, Nail salon, Jewelry, Over-the-counter medications and vitamins/suppliments, Prescriptions, Cosmetics, Massage, Health club, Hobbies, Entertainment, Sport/Exercise activities and equipment, Club dues, Entertaining, Vacation, School expenses (tuition, fees, books, etc.), Special needs expenses, Psychological counseling, Pet expenses (veterinarian, food, grooming, boarding, equipment), Professional services (lawyers, accountant, financial planner, investment advisor, stock broker), Political contributions, Charity, Tithes, Donations, Birthdays/Anniversary gifts and cards, Linens, Kitchen supplies, Bathroom supplies, Cleaning supplies, Buying club fee, Paper, Computer and printer supplies, Subscriptions, Magazines, Books, Newspapers, Music, Holiday decorations, gifts, and cards.

Children's Expenses

School tuition, Uniforms, School lunches, Room and board, Books, Supplies, Fees, Club dues, School pictures and other mementos, Religious education, Tutors, Day care, Baby-sitter, Before/after school care, Summer camp, Tutor, Clothes, Shoes, Toys, Gifts from children to others, Allowances, Entertainment, Health insurance, Medical expenses, Dental expenses, Orthodontia, Psychological/counseling, Vitamins, Grooming, Computer equipment and supplies, Travel expenses - to see the other parent and otherwise.

Financial - Debt, Taxes, Insurance, ETC.

Federal, State, City, Personal Property, and Self Employment Taxes; Interest, Payments on credit card balances, Personal loans, Unpaid bills, Penalties, Consumer loans, Delinquent taxes, Bank/credit card fees, Retirement account contributions, Fines, Umbrella policy, Life insurance, Disability insurance, Child support, Alimony, Judgments, College funds, Savings account deposits, Employment related costs - such as Union dues.

Florida Family Law – Changes To The Divorce, Alimony & Child Support Statutes

Recently, significant revisions were made to Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes.  David and I prepared this outline of those changes for the mediators attending MTG's Continuing Mediator Education  programs.

CHILD SUPPORT

Effective October 1, 2010 Section 61.29 is created to read:

61.29 Child support guidelines; principles.—The following principles establish the public policy of the State of Florida in the creation of the child support guidelines:

(1)          Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child.

(2)          The guidelines schedule is based on the parent’s combined net income estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household.

(3)          The guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimizes the need for litigation.

Effective January 1, 2011 Section 61.30(2), Florida Statues, which addresses imputed income for the purposes of calculating child support is amended as follows:

If the information concerning a parent’s income is unavailable, a parent fails to participate in a child support proceeding, or a parent fails to supply adequate financial information in a child support proceeding, income shall be automatically imputed to the parent and there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent has income equivalent to the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from current population reports or replacement reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census.  However, the court may refuse to impute income to a parent if the court finds it necessary for that parent to stay home with the child who is the subject of a child support calculation or as set forth below:

1.    In order for the court to impute income at an amount other than the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from current population reports or replacement reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census, the court must make specific findings of fact consistent with the requirements of this paragraph. The party seeking to impute income has the burden to present competent, substantial evidence that:

a.    The unemployment or underemployment is voluntary; and

b.    Identifies the amount and source of the imputed income, through evidence of income from available employment for which the party is suitably qualified by education, experience, current licensure, or geographic location, with due consideration being given to the parties’ time-sharing schedule and their historical exercise of the time-sharing provided in the parenting plan or relevant order.

2.    Except as set forth in subparagraph 1., income may not be imputed based upon:

a.    Income records that are more than 5 years old at the time of the hearing or trial at which imputation is sought; or

b.    Income at a level that a party has never earned in the past, unless recently degreed, licensed, certified, relicensed, or recertified and thus qualified for, subject to geographic location, with due consideration of the parties’ existing time-sharing schedule and their historical exercise of the time-sharing provided in the parenting plan or relevant order.

Effective January 1, 2011 Section 61.30(6), Florida Statues, is amended so that the 25% reduction that was previously considered when calculating work related child care costs is no longer a factor. Instead calculate each parents’ costs of work related child care based on his/her percentages of the combined net income.

Effective January 1, 2011 Section 61.30(11)(a)11(b)8 is amended so that “substantial amount of time” means that a parent exercises timesharing at least 20 percent of the overnights of the year. And a parent’s failure to regularly exercise the court-ordered or agreed time-sharing schedule not caused by the other parent which resulted in the adjustment of the amount of child support shall be deemed a substantial change of circumstances for purposes of modifying the child support award. A modification pursuant to this paragraph is retroactive to the date the noncustodial parent first failed to regularly exercise the court-ordered or agreed time-sharing schedule.

NOTE:  40% (or 146 overnights) was removed from the calculation.  We now use the “gross up method” when both parents have at least 20% or 73 overnights a year.

Effective January 1, 2011 Section 61.45 is amended and the “Child Abduction Prevention Act” outlines the courts increased authority relating to child abduction prevention.

Effective July 1, 2011 Section 61.13002 is amended so that a parent assigned to military service may designate someone else to exercise time-sharing with a child on the parent’s behalf.

Effective July 1, 2010 Section 751 is amended in order to better address the needs of children living with extended family members in temporary or “concurrent custody.”

Effective October 1, 2010 Section 61.13 is amended so that:

1.    The court may at any time order either or both parents to pay support to the other parent or to a third party who has custody in accordance with the child support guidelines.

2.    All child support orders and income deduction orders entered on or after October 1, 2010, must provide:

a.             For child support to terminate on a child’s 18th birthday unless 743.07(2) applies or the parties agree otherwise. (743.07(2) addresses incapacitated dependents between the ages of 18 and 19 who are still in high school and performing in good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduation before the age of 19.)

b.            A schedule, based on the record existing at the time of the order, stating the amount of the monthly child support obligation for all the minor children at the time of the order and the amount of child support that will be owed for any remaining children after one or more of the children are no longer entitled to receive child support; and

c.             The month, day, and year that the reduction or termination of child support becomes effective.

Here are two examples of the schedules we are using – one using the standard method and one using the “gross-up” method.

TIME SHARING LESS THAN 20%

1)    Child Support Calculations.

a)    The child support payments set forth above are based upon the representation that John earns a net monthly income of $3,184 and Mary earns a net monthly income of $3,353.  This combined net total monthly income of $6,537 requires a basic child support payment of $2,278.  Based on these incomes, John is responsible for 49%, or $1,110 and Mary is responsible for 51%, or $1,168.

b)    Child Support Schedule. Based on these net incomes and our agreed time sharing with our children, the following schedule shows (i) the amount of John’s monthly child support obligation for our three children, (ii) the amount of child support John will owe for any remaining children after one or more of our children are no longer entitled to receive child support, and (iii) the month, day, and year that we anticipate that the reduction or termination of child support will become effective.

Number of Children Entitled to Child Support 

Child Support Amount Date Child Support Amount Will Become Effective (The occurrence of any of the following will result in an earlier effective date: a child becomes emancipated, marries, dies, enters military service, leaves the household or otherwise becomes self-supporting)
Three $1,110 January 1, 2011
Two $886 Gloria’s 18th birthday, November 14, 2015
One $570 Sarah’s 18th birthday, August 3, 2017
None $0 James’s 18th birthday, March 2, 2020

EACH PARENT HAS 20% OR GREATER TIME SHARING

a)      Child Support Calculations. The child support payments set forth above are based upon the following representations:

i)        John earns a net monthly income of $3,000 and Mary earns a net monthly income of $1,000 and

ii)       Each year our children will spend 109 or 30% of their overnights with John and 256 or 70% of their overnights with Mary.

iii)     We have a combined projected net total monthly income of $4,000 of which John earns 75% and Mary earns 25% and the “gross up” or “substantial shared parenting” provisions for calculating child support apply because our children will spend at least twenty percent (20%) of their overnights with each parent.

iv)     Our combined net total monthly income of $4,000 would require a basic monthly child support payment of $1,603 per the Florida child support chart. The gross up method increases this amount to $2,405 (This amount is one and one half (1.5) times $1,603).

v)      Applying the gross up method to the child support calculation from the Florida child support chart using the above numbers results in monthly child support due from John to Mary of $1,085.

b)      Child Support Schedule. Based on these net incomes and our agreed time sharing with our children, the following schedule shows (i) the amount of John’s monthly child support obligation for our three children, (ii) the amount of child support John will owe for any remaining children after one or more of our children are no longer entitled to receive child support, and (iii) the month, day, and year that we anticipate that the reduction or termination of child support will become effective.

Number of Children Entitled to Child Support Child Support Amount Date Child Support Amount Will Become Effective (Earlier occurrence of any of the following will result in an earlier effective date: a child becomes emancipated, marries, dies, enters military service, leaves the household or otherwise becomes self-supporting)
Three $1,085 January 1, 2011
Two $872 Gloria’s 18th birthday, Nov 14, 2015
One $561 Sarah’s 18th birthday, Aug 3, 2017
None $0 James’s 18th birthday, March 2, 2020

ALIMONY

Additional changes to the alimony statute will be effective July 1, 2011. These changes are in italics.

Effective July 1, 2010 Section 61.08, was amended so that Section 61.08 now:

  • allows for an award of more than one type of alimony;
  • revises the factors to be considered in awarding alimony;
  • provides a rebuttable presumption for the classification of the length of a marriage;
  • provides for the determination of the length of a marriage;
  • provides for an award of non-modifiable bridge-the-gap alimony for a limited period;
  • provides for an award of modifiable rehabilitative alimony in certain circumstances;
  • provides for an award of modifiable durational alimony in certain circumstances;
  • provides for an award of modifiable permanent alimony in certain circumstances.

 

(1)  In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection (2) supporting an award or denial of alimony.

 

(2)  In determining whether to a proper award of alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance, the court shall consider all relevant economic factors, including, but not limited to:

 

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.

(b) The duration of the marriage.

(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

(i)(g) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

(j) The court may consider Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

 

(3)  To the extent necessary to protect an award of alimony, the court may order any party who is ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.

 

(4)  For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.

 

(5)  Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.

(6)  (a) Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either:

  1. The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or
  2. The acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.

(b) In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.

(c) An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated in accordance with s. 61.14 based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.

(7)  Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances in accordance with s. 61.14. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.

(8) Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances.  In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship in accordance with s. 61.14.

(9) The award of alimony may not leave the payor with significantly less net income than the net income of the recipient unless there are written findings of exceptional circumstances.

Section 80.  Effective July 1, 2011, the amendments to s.61.08, Florida Statutes, made by this act apply to all initial awards of alimony entered after July 1, 2011, and to all modifications of alimony of such awards made after July 1, 2011.Such amendments may not serve as a basis to modify awards entered before July 1, 2011, or as a basis to change amounts or duration of awards existing before July 1, 2011. The amendments to s. 61.08, Florida Statutes, made by this act are applicable to all cases pending on or filed after July 1, 2011.

Questions to the mediators:

1.  Considering these definitions for various types of alimony, what do you call it if the parties want to structure alimony in a way that does not fit one of these definitions?  For instance, what would you call modifiable alimony with a duration of seven years?

2.  Considering these definitions for various types of alimony, is it correct to say that only permanent alimony terminates upon the existence of a supportive relationship while bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony terminate only upon remarriage.  Will this be a sticking point for payors?  What would you call alimony that is durational but terminates upon the existence of a supportive relationship?

3. Do the math.  Using the new 20% cut off for the “gross-up” method, if a parent’s percentage of overnights is less than 1/3 of that parent’s percentage of net income (for instance the parent has 25% of the overnights and 80% of the income) that parent has to pay the other parent more child support than if that parent did not have the children at all.  Was this a miscalculation on the part of the legislature?

Thoughts on Divorce

I am not pro-divorce.  In fact, I wish we could use pre-marital education to bring an end to divorce.  However, it appears that for a variety of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual reasons that is not going to happen any time soon.   So.....

When a marriage is dead, divorce can bring about a life altering transformation that propels a man or woman (a) through an assessment process and (b) into a re-building phase that leads to a redesigned life, which is a more accurate reflection of the wo/man's current desires and identity.

Recently I was asked "If your business was a MOVEMENT, what would that look like?"  Here is my answer:

A movement to change the way we view divorce.  Divorce is a family problem with a legal side effect.  The court system treats it like a legal problem with a family side effect.  My movement would be about the cease fire.  In my opinion, during divorce - most of the time - there is no need for the legal investigation and adversarial attitude that is necessary when one is engaged in a fight with a legal opponent (like an insurance company).  But, many lawyers don't seem able to see the difference.

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