By: Samantha Donaldson
May 03, 2017
Learn and Prepare for Your Divorce Expenses
Getting married can be one of the most magical experiences a person ever has. However, sometimes an “I do” simply turns into an “I don’t” and, in those trying times, the world can seem as though it’s been flipped upside down entirely, with a long list of divorce expenses.
Although a divorce may seem like something no one truly has a grip on, there are actually plenty of ways to prepare for the big expenses ahead of you and be ready to take them on when they arrive. However, the best way to be prepared for a divorce is simply by knowing what these expenses ahead of you are, and how much they actually cost in the long run. From there, you can enter the single world in a much better place, without winding up broke in the process.
Divorce Litigation or Mediation Expenses
Although litigation is actually a far more common approach with divorce, mediation may be a far cheaper and more effective way to handle the situation. During a litigation, two attorneys are paid to negotiate, and possibly go to trial, in order to defend the personal belongings each party feels they are entitled to. However, in a mediation, a neutral third party works through decisions with the couple to come to an agreement.
The main reason for mediation being a wonderful alternative to the traditional method of litigation is simply the drastic reduction of costs which come into play. An average litigation could cost up to $50,000 whereas a mediation only tends to cost a few thousand in comparison. If you and your ex are on speaking terms and can talk through your possessions in a calm and collected manner, then mediation is a wonderful way to avoid those initial divorce costs and leave the relationship on a positive and financially stable note.
Child Care Expenses
Although this does not apply to all individuals getting divorced, those who do have children tend to face far more divorce expenses both during and after the divorce process. In fact, whether you choose 50/50 custody, decide you either want to raise them on your own, or to not raise them at all, the divorce expenses during the case and afterwards the case can be crushing. For instance, with a 50/50 custody, you will have to pick up the child from wherever your ex chooses to live after the divorce and then take care of them for half of the year on your own. For self-employed or telecommuting individuals, this can be a pain as it means their work area is now a play area. Similarly, for individuals which work in the office, this means that day care must be provided which can cost hundreds of dollars a month depending on the city and age of the child.
Similarly, if you choose to be the primary guardian, these financial issues become permanent fixtures in your life, making you a single parent with very little money to show for it. As a single parent, you will be forced to either make enough money to pay for daycare and other child-related expenses or find alternatives through the help of the government and other aid programs. Although you will receive child support from your ex, this can still be a very difficult battle to fight, and many single parents find themselves walking on a very thin tightrope above a sea of financial instability.
Lastly, if you choose to be the secondary guardian, you will ultimately face outrageous child support expenses and the outcome of not paying these fees is jail time. In 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average monthly child support cost was around $445 which, to anyone, is quite a bit of money lost. Although taking care of your children is important, these fees could possibly mean a relocation, or even finding a different job — which is not always the right decision to make. With children already facing the psychological problems a divorce tends to have, this negativity between parents over expenses and custody is far from acceptable.
Divorce Expenses with Work and Travel
With telecommuting and self employment becoming so popular, this expense is important to touch on. Although you may not work in the office every day, travel may be something your job entails. In the past, you may have been able to do this as your spouse was either able to watch the children or you had the financial padding their job may have provided to keep you afloat, even with travel expenses in mind.
In fact, although some jobs cover travelling fees, many telecommuting and self-employment opportunities do not — but the travelling aspect is still essential to the progress of either your place in the company or the company you created itself to spread the word of the company you are marketing. In these situations, you must understand and be fully prepared for the financial instability you will more than likely face after divorce, and learn how to keep track of your travelling expenses to counteract this.
For instance, if you telecommute, you may be able to deduct these annual travelling expenses when completing your taxes. If you filed for an extension, and you travelled at any period during this year, you may be able to deduct these expenses by proving that they were business-related. Similarly, you may also be able to deduct your mileage rates as well, and this simple deduction could save you quite a bit in return.
Although this may not be news to you, these simple deductions, combined with your decisions regarding child care, and whether you prefer litigation or mediation, could ultimately help you to smoothly pass through the divorce without busting your wallet in the process.
In the end, money isn’t everything, but a divorce and divorce expenses tends to focus on just that. By looking at the alternatives to these costly aspects of your divorce, you can focus the event on more important things, like learning to love again, and ensuring your children are okay as opposed to the typical resentment and depression that come along with this decision. After all, divorce is simply a transition into a better and less stressful life, whether it appears that way at the time or not. The choices you make could actually help you to set yourself free again to love and live once more.
By Susan Saper Galamba
Statistics show that alcohol is the number one drug problem in the United States. It also tends to be a big problem in divorces.
There has been a significant increase in cases in the last two or three years in which I have seen one spouse claim that the other spouse abused alcohol. Generally, the spouse I meet with claims that his or her spouse is an alcoholic. As I’m not a teetotaler, I never just accept the claim at face value; rather, I always inquire into the details of the allegations. The fact that someone has a drink every day does not mean he or she is an alcoholic. However, when a person’s dependency on alcohol results in problems with interpersonal relationships, an inability to control alcohol consumption and a disregard of the damage that the alcohol is doing to the spouse and the family, the reality is that there is an issue of alcohol dependency.
Alcoholism is the monster in the closet. It is the “thing” for which spouses and children make excuses to keep the monster hidden. What is often the most difficult aspect of divorce for the spouse of an alcoholic is opening the door to the closet and letting the monster come out. This “thing” that the spouse has hidden so well will now have to be proven in court to protect the children. A spouse’s alcoholism may not be an issue if minor children are not part of a divorce; however, it is a significant issue when minor children are involved.
Generally, there is a huge amount of guilt involved when the spouse of an alcoholic seriously considers divorce, especially when what the spouse really wants is for the alcoholic to seek help. Whether a spouse is an alcoholic or not, one of the hardest lessons to learn is that the only person you can control is yourself, and if an alcoholic refuses to help him or herself, you have to protect yourself and your children. If you are considering divorce and are married to someone who is dependent on alcohol, you have to stop covering it up. This doesn’t mean you should start making overt statements about your spouse’s problems with alcohol, but rather you should not hide it. If your spouse’s alcohol abuse is going to be an issue in your case, you will have to be able to prove it, but if no one knows about it, how are you going to prove it? Taking a picture of all of the empty beer cans in the trash isn’t going to do the trick. Think about it this way: the picture doesn’t prove your spouse actually drank all the beers in the trash. Conversely, how are you going to refute the allegation that you bought the beers and are merely setting him or her up? However, if you have friends or family members who can substantiate the alcohol abuse, have videos that document the behavior or have other evidence that corroborates your allegations, you are going to be in a much better position when you file for divorce.
It’s also important to seek the assistance of a mental health professional for yourself and children, if applicable. You will most likely have plenty of blame thrown at you from your alcoholic spouse, including being the cause of his or her need for alcohol. The input you receive from a mental health professional will allow you to process what’s happening without having your guilt control your reaction. It will also allow your children the opportunity to freely express themselves without the concern that they are being disloyal to the other parent.
A frequent obstacle in the pursuit of divorce is the non-alcoholic spouse’s concern about the alcoholic spouse having parenting time with the children. It is this exact reason that you will need proof of the spouse’s alcohol abuse. Courts are supposed to make decisions based on the best interests of minor children, which includes the children’s safety and overall well being. If you have evidence of current alcohol abuse that would endanger the safety of your child, the likelihood is extremely good that there will be restrictions on the alcoholic spouse’s parenting time.
The essential component in these situations is exposing the monster and being able to prove that the spouse’s alcohol dependency endangers the safety of the child. Your word is not going to be enough long-term. I can also assure you that an alcohol dependent spouse who is unwilling to get help will either deny or downplay his or her alcohol consumption. Even when a spouse is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or public intoxication, the claim will be made that the children weren’t with him or her and away from danger. It is in these types of situations that you need to be able to prove that the DUI is merely an example of the alcohol dependent spouse’s poor decision making, and offer additional evidence regarding instances when the children’s safety was at risk.
The decision to dissolve your marriage to someone who you have always protected and whose monster you have kept hidden in the closet is unbelievably difficult. However, the fear of not knowing what will happen when you open the closet door shouldn’t prevent you from protecting yourself and your children.
On Sept. 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated the orderly phase out of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DHS will provide a limited, six-month window during which it will consider certain requests for DACA and applications for work authorization, under specific parameters. Read the memorandum from Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke for details.
Next Steps for Phasing Out DACA
All DACA benefits are provided on a two-year basis, so individuals who currently have DACA will be allowed to retain both DACA and their work authorizations (EADs) until they expire.
USCIS will adjudicate, on an individual, case by case basis:
Properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) that have been accepted as of Sept. 5, 2017.
Properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for EADs from current beneficiaries that have been accepted as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted as of Oct. 5, 2017.
Individuals who have not submitted an application by Sept. 5, for an initial request under DACA may no longer apply. USCIS will reject all applications for initial requests received after Sept. 5.
BY MINDEY ELGART
FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Facing a divorce is confusing.
You are approaching an unfamiliar process. Have you heard about divorce mediation? Here is my summary of the divorce mediation process.
I work with both husband and wife together.
You don’t need to be on the same page regarding the resolution of your divorce matters. You do need to be in agreement to voluntarily walk into the room and participate in the mediation process. It is my job to help guide you toward a Marital Settlement Agreement that is equitable to both parties. I provide information about the relevant law from a neutral perspective. The process includes both spouses and me, your attorney mediator, in the mediation room, but you may each consult with separate attorneys any time you want, before or during the mediation process.
What are the benefits? Money is a big one.
Mediation is significantly less expensive than the courtroom battle of litigation. We use a set fee rather than a retainer and hourly rate as is traditional in the legal field. I cannot estimate a specific fee until I meet with both of you during the complimentary consultation in order to know what your issues are and the resulting number of mediation sessions that will be required to complete your divorce process, but I will tell you that the set fee tends to be lower than the initial retainer you would each be quoted from a litigator.
Time is another advantage.
The duration of mediation is measured in months rather than years.
Mediation is more constructive and respectful.
The nature of litigation can become a cycle of negativity. Generally divorcing spouses don’t agree on the resolution of the issues when you begin the mediation process and working toward resolution is a much healthier path through a mediated divorce.