May 1, 2013
An increasing number of medical studies indicate that managing stress is essential for personal health and wellbeing. However, studies related more specific life events also confirm this general advice. For instance, failing to manage stress effectively when going through a divorce can impact the process in a myriad of ways.
For example, if your stress level is overwhelming you, you are likely to sleep less, experience poor health and be generally less able to focus on the process itself. You may then become more irritable and prone to rash decision-making. Months of negotiations can be undone in a single moment of rash behavior. Therefore, it is critical that you prioritize relaxation during the divorce process, as a failure to do so could leave you with an unfair settlement or undesirable custody order.
If you are already deeply stressed, it can be difficult to imagine relaxing. However, engaging in a few simple activities can dramatically lower your stress level temporarily. Choosing to prioritize whichever of these activities works for you over a period of time will help to bring your stress level down overall.
Consider getting fresh air every day that you possibly can. Taking a walk, reading a book on a restaurant patio or going for a bike ride are all great ways to change your scenery and breathe a little easier. Also, make time for your hobbies. Whether you woodwork, knit, paint or garden, this is not a period in your life where you can emotionally afford to neglect your hobbies, even if you can only spare ten minutes a day.
In general, it is important to take excellent care of yourself during your divorce process and to remain as relaxed as humanly possible. This may seem like challenging advice, but the outcome of your divorce settlement or custody process may depend on you taking it seriously.
Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Advice: 15 Ways To Relax During A Split, According To Readers,” Apr. 30, 2013
March 16, 2012
As war, conflicts and deployments weary our nation’s Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force, military families here in Virginia and throughout the United States are shouldering the burden as well. And that burden is taking its toll – over the last ten years, military divorce rates have risen to 3.7%, more than a whole percentage from 2001.
The number may seem small at first glance, but military divorces are even more common than in families not tied to one of the services. As with many divorces, the division of assets including the division of a retirement pension in a military divorce is a common source of conflict.
If one or both spouses is or was in the military, upon divorce, the military pension is one of the assets that must be divided if it is considered marital property. And, like other marital property, up to 50 percent of a military pension may be awarded to your spouse.
Dividing and Receiving A Military Pension
What part of a military pension is considered marital property depends on the overlap of the marriage with military service. If you were married for the service member’s entire military career, then his or her pension would like be divided in half, with a 50 percent portion be awarded to each spouse. However, if you were married for only 10 years during the service member’s career, only the amount of the pension accrued during the marriage would be marital property and subject to division.
For couples who’ve been married for 10 or more years, upon divorce, the U.S. government will send the ex-spouse’s share directly to him or her. If your marriage was under 10 years, the government expects that the former military personnel will send you a portion on a monthly basis. Whether relying on a former spouse to send you a monthly amount is a good option or not is something that should be discussed with your Virginia military divorce attorney.
Don’t Forget About Survivor Benefits
An important part of a military divorce is ensuring that the non-military spouse applies for survivor benefits, if eligible. Failing to do so may mean the loss of the share of a military pension awarded in divorce upon the death of the service member.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Divorce: Splitting Up a Rich Military Pension,” Ellen E. Schultz, March 9, 2012
June 30, 2011
More weddings occur during the month of June during any other month. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that April and May see more visits to Virginia family law attorneys to discuss the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement is an important asset protection and planning tool for everyone considering marriage. Many couples are waiting longer to get married; have established careers, own a home or have accumulated substantial liabilities. Others may have previously been married and have children from their first marriage. When established properly prior to marriage, a valid prenup can protect what you have worked hard to build, including your family and your assets.
Of course, no one entering marriage wants to plan for the marriage to fail, but financial disputes are one of the key reasons that marriages end in divorce. Answering tough financial questions prior to the marriage may in fact make your marriage more likely to succeed.
Planning for the Future Does Not Mean Planning for Divorce
A prenuptial agreement, when drafted and executed properly, can determine issues related to assets and property while you and your soon-to-be-spouse are not pressured by the stress and emotion of a divorce. But, there are several pieces to an effective prenup, including:
- The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
- Both parties must have entered into the agreement voluntarily. If one party is coerced into signing, the agreement may be invalidated.
- Each person must be given a full picture of the others assets and debts. Hiding or withholding financial information can invalidate a prenup.
- The agreement cannot be so unfair as to make one spouse a pauper.
When most enter into a marriage, the intention is to remain married until death do them part. However, if your marriage does end in divorce, a valid prenuptial agreement may allow you and your spouse to proceed more smoothly through what will likely be a very difficult time with a no contest divorce, saving a substantial amount of time, money and heartache down the road.
When discussing the division of assets that will become effective, if at all, at a potentially much later date in the future, there is no substitute for the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.
May 9, 2011
In Virginia, a divorcing couple must show grounds for the divorce. This may be based in one party’s fault, such as cruelty or adultery; or it may arise from the couple’s separation. In a separation divorce, the couple must first separate and then divorce after six months (with no children) or one year (with children).
Divorcing couples who are not in agreement over matters such as child custody, alimony orproperty division may need to resolve their disputes in court.
With Virginia divorce as complex as it is, many couples want to minimize the additional complications they introduce into the process. The following are tips to make a difficult situation a little easier, both financially and emotionally:
- Be clear about finances: It is critical to disclose all assets and liabilities during divorce. If the court discovers that a spouse has covered up such information, that spouse could experience serious financial consequences. In addition, both spouses should ensure that they control their own financial resources-rather than leaving the other spouse’s name on a personal credit card, for instance-and that they are aware of all of the couple’s assets and liabilities.
- Be willing to compromise when appropriate: Divorce can lead the most levelheaded people to act on impulses they later recognize as being unhelpful. It is important to keep the ultimate goal in mind. It is also vital to be willing to negotiate with the other spouse when compromise is feasible.
- Be careful about what you say and where you say it: In this digital age, offhand comments can be permanently recorded and subsequently used as evidence. Divorcing spouses should be mindful of both social media and social contacts. When in doubt, they are probably better off keeping their thoughts to themselves, or at least keeping them neutral.
Virginia couples who face divorce often have a choice about how to proceed. If they are in agreement that a lower level of conflict is preferable, they may be able to save a significant amount of time, stress and money.