10 Things Everyone Should Know About Marriage, According to Divorcees

There are some things you can’t possibly know about marriage until you’ve been there.

Below, HuffPost Divorce bloggers and readers on Facebook reflect on what they wish they had known about marriage before saying “I do.”

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-everyone-should-know-about-marriage-according-to-divorcees_us_578e97dbe4b04ca54ebf37e0?utm_hp_ref=divorce-advice

Benefits of Parents Who Live Near Each Other (NYT Article)

 

Four years ago, Cristina Gitti and Matteo Bologna, the parents of two daughters, decided to divorce. But they parted ways by only a flight of stairs. The couple opted to stay put with their girls in the brownstone they had purchased in 2003 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for around $1.4 million.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/realestate/divorced-parents-living-close-for-the-childrens-sake.html?_r=1

 

 

 

 

 

What Information Do I Have to Turn Over in My Divorce?

This is a fairly common question asked by individuals contemplating a divorce.  It's also a very good question to ask.  New Mexico has a Mandatory Disclosure Rule (NMRA 1-123)  requiring parties to disclose certain information within 45 days of service of a petition for divorce.  This rule is intended to speed the process up and help litigants save money on the discovery process. 

I often don't have to serve discovery on a party because of this rule.  The discovery process is expensive and time consuming, and much of the information that is being requested via discovery is already subject to the mandatory discovery rule.  There is no need to duplicate this information with a discovery request.  Discovery requests should be for information you can not get outside of the request, not information the Court already requires be turned over.

So what type of information must be turned over?

  • an interim monthly income and expense statement;
  • a community property and liabilities schedule
  • a separate property and liabilities schedule
  • federal and state tax returns
  • W-2 statements
  • 1099s
  • daycare statements
  • dependent medical insurance premiums
  • payroll statements

This a pretty comprehensive list of information.  It may not be all the information that needs to be gathered and parties may still engage in a discovery process to fill in the blanks.  However, for most divorces, I believe this is as far as discovery should go, for reasons of both time and cost. 

The Ashley Madison Hack and What It Means For You

Hopefully, it means nothing to you or your family, because you have had no association with this website.  However, for 33 million users it means their names, addresses and email addresses are accessible to anyone who takes the time to look.  Wired magazine has an excellent article explaining how the hack occurred.  While the data is currently in a format that is very difficult to search, I'm sure some enterprising person will figure out how to put all the information into an easily searchable format. 

I certainly hope that those 33 million users are not counting on their spouses being either too trusting or not computer-savvy enough to search.  Trust me, it won't be just spouses looking, it will be nosy neighbors, relatives and friends looking to catch someone stepping out on their spouse or partner. 

I believe confession is good for the soul and your partner deserves your honesty.  The state of your marriage or relationship was not on stable footing if you were trolling one of these websites.  You can tell yourself you were just looking because you were curious or you can try and lie your way out of the situation by saying your email was hacked, but your spouse ain't buying it.  A marriage can't survive under a cloud of deception.  Sooner or later it starts raining.  You get caught on that website you better be prepared for hail.

 

From the Paralegal's Desk: Can’t we file something to hurry the judge up?

No, just no. These are my favorite phone calls from clients. I understand that it is important to you, the client, to get things done as quickly as possible. Remember, that the courts have multiple cases and that it moves at it’s own pace. Keep in mind that there are often deadlines for the opposing side to file things and we have to wait on that. EVERYONE believes there case is important and deserves priority.  We believe that too, but the courts, with judges having thousands of cases at any given time, have to be practical moving cases forward.  We have seen emergency motions for all sorts of things: after-school activities, child's attendance at a wedding,etc.  When judge's have to consider those issues versus an emergency motion for custody of a child being removed from one parent's home for abuse, which do they choose?  The courts do not move slowly just because it is you. They move at the pace and needs of the parties involved. The judges and their staff have to make difficult decisions about scheduling every day.  That doesn't mena they don't believe your case is important or worthy of their time.

5 Divorce Myths to Legally Separate From (Even If You're Single)

As a family law lawyer, one of my biggest jobs is explaining the legal process to clients. This may sound easy, but with so many myths, misconceptions and piles of misinformation out there, it’s actually quite hard to separate people’s expectations from reality. This is particularly true of the legal divorce process, I’ve found. We’re used to seeing divorce in the media as either a grand emotional battle or something that involves just “signing the papers” and it’s over. In real life, divorce is none of those things.

Continue reading at:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/74132-5-divorce-myths-to-legally-separate-from-even-if-youre-single?utm_source=huffpost&utm_medium=sycndication&utm_campaign=april

From the Paralegal's Desk: Trying the Do-It-Yourself Divorce

Like many of our clients I have  struggled in my life financially. So, I can relate to many people who believe that they cannot afford an attorney. After working in a law firm I have found that if you try to go ahead and do it yourself, it can be more costly than hiring an attorney to begin with. For example, I have a friend who was doing her own divorce which she started 2 years ago.  She keeps getting sent back because something is wrong. She filed something incorrectly or she waited to long to complete a task. She and her wannabe ex-husband agree on all the documents and have signed them all, yet they still don’t have their divorce. Most recently, our firm a very similar divorce and we had it done and finished in 2 weeks. What I am really trying to say here, is that trying to do it yourself can cost you more time, headaches and money than you expect. 

Dolce & Gabana, "Synthetic" Children and Family Law

I am going to skip over my many complaints about the fashion megastars and their comments about families who have used reproductive assisted methods to conceive, and jump right to how the use of those methods affect custodial and support issues.  Their use of the word "synthetic" to label the beloved offspring of many families is both troubling and not scientifically sound.  So, let me assure you that children born as a result of reproductive technology are very REAL.  If you and your spouse divorce, but your child was born with the assistance of reproductive technology, you will REALLY have to pay child support.  If you live in a state where assisted reproductive rights aren't clearly defined, and the known donor you used sues for custodial rights, you may REALLY have to share custody of your child.  Lastly, if you are in front of a judge and try to use the argument that you have noresponsibility  towards your child because he/she is "synthetic" due to how he/she was conceived, you are REALLY going to get an epic smackdown by an irate judge. 

Postscript:  While the comments made by D&G seemingly were aimed at gay parents, they included ALL children born by use of IVF, surrogacy, donor sperm and/or donor egg.  That is a lot of children that they have made sweeping assumptions about and they should bel less than surprised that whole lot of mama and papa bears are going to jump to the defense of their children. 

Arbitration Bad for Consumers (But You Don't Have a Choice)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) just released a study regarding arbitration clauses in contracts. A mandatory arbitration clause requires that, if you as the consumer have a beef with a product or service, you must go to arbitration rather than sue.  No matter how bad the grievance or how serious the injury.  Even better, guess who gets to pick the arbitrator. (Hint: not you!) There are a lot of contracts that require arbitration.  Just a few examples: credit cards, auto loans, payday loans, cell phone contracts.  The list goes on and on.  Just in case that doesn't disturb you enough, the company also gets to pick the location of the arbitration.  It doesn't matter that you applied for, used, and paid all of your bills for that credit card from New Mexico because you will be arbitrating in Delaware.  So, what did the CFPB find? Consumers in this process get screwed.   The arbitrators have incentive to rule in favor of the company because the company will continue to send them cases if they get favorable rulings.  Most consumers don't even know that there is a mandatory arbitration clause in their contract until they have a complaint.  Mandatory arbitration clauses also keep consumers from banding together as a group to get issues resolved.  We commonly refer to that process as class action lawsuits.

As a consumer bankruptcy attorney, what worries me about this process is the snowball effect that debt to tends to have on consumers.  It can be one credit card or one car repair that should but won't be covered under the warranty, or one payday lender that misplaces a payment, and the problems just get bigger, and bigger and bigger.  The arbitration process instead of being a fair process, that at least has the hope of turning out well for the consumer, ends up being a process that is hopelessly stacked against them, leaving them disillusioned and, sometimes, broke.

I travel whenever I get the chance. Well, take a look at your ticket that came from the airline, cruise ship or travel agency.  They all have mandatory arbitration clauses. You may hear about hundreds of passengers getting sick on a cruise ship, but you won't hear about them suing because of it.  The moment they purchased that ticket, they had waived their right to have any grievance they may have heard in front of a court of law.

In light of the report, it is likely that there will be a push for the CFPB to take action to force some lenders to get rid of these mandatory arbitration clauses or at the very least set up some oversight that requires the process be fair for the lender and the consumer. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we see some positive change.

Am I Entitled to Child Support in New Mexico?

If you are the parent of a minor child in New Mexico, both you and the other parent have a duty to support that child. The amount of child support that may be paid to a parent is based on several factors. These include the amount of time the child spends with each parent, the child's health care costs, and the amount of income each parent earns. New Mexico uses a set of child-support worksheets to calculate the amount of child support do. The use of these worksheets is not optional. Which worksheet you use, is based on the amount of timesharing allocated to each parent. When the child spends the majority of time with one parent, Worksheet A is used. When the parents have a more equal timesharing schedule, Worksheet B is then used. Keep in mind that child support amounts are set by statute. In other words, in the process of determining child support, we are not negotiating child support. If a parent is entitled to a certain amount of child support, as set forth in the guidelines, that's the amount that the child support will be.  There are times that parents will agree to change the child support amount based on other circumstances. If the parents are in agreement, and have a good reason to change the child support amount, the court will often agreed to do so.

From Huffpost Divorce: 12 Small But Powerful Pieces Of Advice For Anyone Going Through Divorce

Going through a divorce is no walk in the park -- in fact, at times it can feel more like a hellish marathon with no finish line in sight.

That's why encouragement is so important. Below, 12 short yet powerful pieces of advice from Redditors who went through divorce and came out the other side.