Tag: christian divorce

New Year Divorce Surge

Market Watch is reporting on a consistent pattern: divorce filings surge in January as people decide to start their New Year with a clean slate, helped by a stressful holiday period and, perhaps, even more stressful in-laws.

NYE Divorce

Happy New You

In general, many family lawyers report a rise of nearly one-third in business in the New Year. The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says he typically sees a spike of 25% to 30% every year in January.

That’s not only true for the United States, but around the world. Similar trends are seen in the U.K.: one in five couples plan to divorce after the holidays, according to one survey of 2,000 spouses by legal firm Irwin Mitchell.

Being cooped up in a house for several days when a marriage is experiencing serious problems — while dealing with the pressure to put on a happy face for the kids and visiting relatives — takes its toll on the most stoic of couples.

Holiday time is usually a time when we get a spike in consultations and in being retained by clients. Holiday time is usually fraught with a lot of tension, emotion and financial issues, which is usually the trigger.

Florida Divorce

I’ve written about the rise in new years divorce filings, and many times the holiday season can highlight problems. What should you do? Whatever the reason for your problems, there are a few things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know to help them through the process.

Prioritize

Line up your priorities for life after the divorce. Is it finding a home? Is it retiring? Getting a job? Managing your special-needs child? Consider writing down your most important goals.

Consult

Even if you aren’t certain you need to hire an attorney, or filing for divorce at all, it is a good idea to meet with an expert in Florida’s divorce and family laws. Who better than someone certified by Florida as an expert in marital and family law? We offer free consultations, but even when there is a charge, it is well worth the fee to get accurate information.

Alternatives

Litigation is something to avoid. It’s time-consuming, contentious and expensive. The majority of divorces end up settling. There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution out there, including collaborative divorce, mediation, and informal settlement conferences.

As Market Watch further reports, there is good reason for treating a divorce like a calm business deal. Don’t rush to file. Think about your end game. Many people file quickly out of anger perhaps after learning of a spouse’s misconduct. But it’s better to be strategic.

New Year, New Priorities

If not planned correctly, divorce can be one of the most financially devastating life events, so get an up-to-date assessment of your spouse’s accounts.

“It may be illegal to open another person’s mail, but you can, however, make a note of the financial institution that mails statements. If you give your attorney those names, we can subpoena that information.

Lawyers are cautious about taking on clients who refer to their attorneys as a pit bull or a shark. “Sometimes, people might say that because we’re tough, but if you go in with all guns blazing and start in a mean, aggressive manner, you automatically create a very adversarial situation.

That could increase the cost of the divorce — which could vary between $25,000 to $100,000, depending on the assets involved, the lawyer’s fees and where you live — by double or even triple, he says. “Be courteous and respectful. The key is to avoid escalation.”

It may be that divorce is not the best option, particularly if one partner doesn’t have company health insurance. Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $18,142 this year, up 3% on last year, with workers on average paying $5,277 towards their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Menlo, Calif.

Premiums for Obamacare are expected to rise 22% next year for the benchmark silver plan. Some health insurers won’t insure both parties on the same policy if the couple has legally separated so people report.

Avoid serving your partner with divorce papers during the holidays, especially if you have children. As they grow older they’ll hate that holiday memory forever. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some preparation in the meantime.

In Florida, you can file for divorce and you have a period of time before you have to serve the papers. Most unhappy spouses wait until after the turkey has been carved, the gifts have been unwrapped, and the new year has started.

The Market Watch article is here.

 

Social Media and International Child Custody

An American woman living in Saudi Arabia has been punished in her international child custody divorce. During the divorce trial, her Saudi ex-husband was able to introduce exhibits from her social media account into evidence. The social media evidence proved fatal to her custody case.

ocial media international child custody

Desert Justice

Though she succeeded with the divorce, her custody battle appeared to reach a dead end after a Saudi judge awarded custody of their daughter Zeina to the husband’s mother, who lives with him, despite video evidence Ms. Vierra submitted to the court that she said showed her ex-husband doing drugs and verbally abusing her in front of their daughter.

“It’s like 10,000 times worse here because so much is at risk for women when they go to court. I genuinely thought that there would still be justice served here, and I kind of put everything on that.”

Saudi courts prioritize ensuring that children are raised in accordance with Islam. According to court documents, the judge accepted Ms. Vierra’s ex-husband’s arguments that she was unfit to raise Zeina because she was a Westerner, and ran a yoga studio.

Social Media and International Child Custody

Divorce trials usually require the introduction of sensitive and personal evidence. For example, it is common to hire private investigators to film spouses, or use forensic accountants to hunt for strange credit card charges.

Sometimes though, the evidence falls in your lap. Facebook and other social media sites are often filled with very personal information which is increasingly being used in divorce trials. You may have heard of some examples:

  • A Husband posts his status as single and childless on Facebook while seeking primary custody of his children.
  • A mother is accused of never attending her kids’ school events because of her online gaming addiction. Evidence subpoenaed from World of Warcraft tracks her on-line with her boyfriend at the time when she was supposed to be with the children.
  • A husband denies he has any anger management issues, but posts on Facebook; “If you have the balls to get in my face, I’ll kick your ass into submission.”
  • A mom denies in court that she ever smokes marijuana, but then uploads photos of herself smoking pot on Facebook.

Is the evidence admissible? And if so, how do you prove the evidence is real and not maliciously put there? The Florida Bar Commentator published an article I wrote about using Facebook evidence at trial.

The article discusses the evidentiary potential of social media sites, and the peculiar challenges of authenticating materials from the internet. Social media websites like Facebook have had an astronomical growth worldwide, and are showing up in divorce trials.

The article suggests some of the benefits and obstacles in gathering and using Facebook and other social media evidence at trial. The article also reviews the then leading national cases on social media websites, and outlines when it is necessary to use computer forensic firms and other sources to ensure that the evidence is properly admitted.

Your Desert Kingdom Divorce

The status of women in Saudi Arabia is changing. Many women now enjoy new reforms in the law which allow women to drive, and even to a certain degree, vote. The election allowing it was for municipal councils with few powers, but the reform is a milestone for many women.

But the dramatic changes have not touched the most fundamental restriction on Saudi women, a guardianship system that gives men control over many critical parts of their wives.

The guardianship system’s rules extend to women who marry Saudis, like Ms. Vierra. Even after she divorced her husband last year, Ms. Vierra’s ex-husband remains her guardian. Wielding his guardianship powers, he prevented her from going home to see her family at Christmas and let her legal residency expire, which left her stuck, unable to access her bank account or leave Saudi Arabia.

During the divorce trial, he told the court that Ms. Vierra, did not speak Arabic well, and that she was an atheist. He also submitted photos of her in a bikini, in yoga pants . . . with her hair uncovered! This social media evidence of Ms. Vierra wearing forbidden yoga pants, in a country that requires women to wear loose abayas in public, was devastating at the divorce trial.

The court accepted his testimony at face value, she said, while hers was legally worthless unless she could bring in male witnesses to back her up. She tried to counter with videos of him that she said showed him rolling a joint to smoke hashish, talking on the phone about his marijuana use and screaming at Ms. Vierra, all with Zeina in the room. Though he acknowledged his drug use, he accused her in court of giving him the drugs and of forcing him to say he was an atheist, both of which Ms. Vierra denies.

In the end, the judge found both parents unfit to raise Zeina, awarding custody instead to the husband’s mother. But Ms. Vierra did not find this comforting; she said her ex-husband’s sister had testified that their mother had hit them and emotionally abused them as children.

“This is not just my story — there’s much worse. It’s hard to believe stuff like this can happen.”

The Independent article is here.

 

When Mama Grizzlies Divorce

Citing “incompatibility of temperament” and that “they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife” Todd Palin filed for divorce from former Alaska governor, one-time vice-presidential candidate, and self-described mama grizzly, Sarah Palin, his wife of 31 years.

Divorce Grizzly Bears

Alaska The New Frontier

In a document filed in Anchorage Superior Court, Todd Palin, 55, asked to dissolve the marriage, citing an “incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife.”

The divorce filing uses initials rather than full names, but identifies the couple’s marriage date and the birth date of their only child who is a minor, Trig Palin. The filing asks for joint legal custody of the child.

The Palin family rocketed to national prominence in 2008 when Republican presidential nominee John McCain chose Palin as his vice-presidential candidate, making them household names and focusing the country’s attention on their hometown of Wasilla.

The marriage of the uber mama grizzly, Sarah and her husband Todd, a commercial fisherman, snow machine racer and oil field worker, was frequently on display in TV interviews, reality shows, books and other media appearances.

Florida Divorce

Alaska is a “no fault” divorce state, which allows for divorce on the basis of an “incompatibility of temperament.” This means that even if your spouse is entirely opposed to ending your marriage, you can still request, and receive, a divorce from the Court if you allege what the Palins alleged: “incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife.”

I’ve written about no fault divorce before. No-fault laws are the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. In Florida no fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.

The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Additionally, the mental incapacity of one of the parties, where the party was adjudged incapacitated for the prior three year, is another avenue.

Some people think no fault divorce is one of the main reasons for a high divorce rate. Despite the recent legislative moves around the world to make all divorce no-fault, there is also a counter-movement to return to the old “fault” system to promote families.

North to the Future

Since leaving office, Sarah Palin has kept a low profile in Alaska politics, while maintaining a national profile through her books, speaking engagements and social media presence.

The two have been married since 1988 and have five children: Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper. Todd Palin’s filing asks for shared custody of Trig, who has Down Syndrome. Todd Palin, unlike his famous political wife, has largely steered clear of headlines since she burst on the national scene during 2008 presidential election cycle.

He was in a snowmobile accident in 2016, in which he suffered broken and fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, a broken shoulder blade, a broken clavicle, and leg injuries. It was one of the few times the husband made headlines.

The couple’s children have also lived in and out of the spotlight over the years. Track Palin, their eldest son, was sentenced to a year in custody last year after a female acquaintance said he told her that she could not leave his house in Wasilla, took away her phone and then hit her in the head.

In December 2017, Track Palin was accused of breaking into his parents’ home and leaving Todd bleeding from cuts on his head, authorities said. He pleaded guilty in June 2018 to a lesser charge in veterans court.

The couple’s daughter Bristol Palin briefly starred in MTV’s “Teen Mom” franchise but quit the series in April. She said in her announcement that the reality series wasn’t a good fit for her and that “walking away from this show allows God to rebuild me (and my little fam) in the right direction.”

Bristol Palin was 17 when she found out she was pregnant with her son, Tripp, who she had with former fiancé, Levi Johnston. She also has two daughters, Sailor Grace and Atlee Bay, with former husband, Dakota Meyer.

The Anchorage Daily News article is here.

 

New American Divorce Statistics

When a couple gets married, they expect it to last forever. Yet a study recently published has some new American divorce statistics that has made some interesting findings. For instance, every state has at least one city in which the divorced population exceeds the U.S. average.

divorce statistics

The reasons we divorce

Couples get divorced any number of reasons. But, there are several relatively common causes. A study published in the journal Couple Family Psychology found the following

lack of commitment was the most often cited reasons for divorce, listed by 75% of individual participants.

This was followed by infidelity at 59.6%, too much arguing at 57.73%, and marrying too young at 45.1% as the most common causes of divorce. Money problems, substance abuse and domestic violence were also cited as common reasons for divorce.

Florida Divorce

This is not the first study done about which state has the highest divorce rates, or which jobs are the most likely to divorce. I’ve written about the reasons for divorce before.

From a legal perspective, the reasons for the divorce are not always relevant. Florida is a no-fault state. No-fault laws are the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court.

In Florida no fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.

Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. Gone are the days when you had to prove adultery, desertion or unreasonable behavior.

The only ground you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Additionally, the mental incapacity of one of the parties, where the party was adjudged incapacitated for the prior three year, is another avenue.

Divorce by the Numbers

Divorces happen all across the country, but the percentage of the population that is divorced can vary from city to city. In some places, more than 20% of residents 15 and older are divorced.

Every state has at least one city in which the share of the population that is divorced exceeds the U.S. divorce percentage.

In one state’s capital, just 13.3% of people 15 and over are divorced. Yet in another of the state’s cities, the divorce rate is more than double: 26.8%.

Those struggling with money are more likely to split up, while people in difficult relationships may be more reluctant to leave if they have a level of financial security that could be jeopardized by a divorce.

Some of the highest divorce population percentages included:

Arkansas: Newport
• Divorced population: 24.1 percent
• Married population: 28.7 percent
• Never married: 32.9 percent
• Median household income: $28,872

Indiana: Rochester
• Divorced population: 24.3 percent
• Married population: 42.1 percent
• Never married: 24.8 percent
• Median household income: $40,451

Colorado: Aspen
• Divorced population: 22.9 percent
• Married population: 31.4 percent
• Never married: 43.3 percent
• Median household income: $64,594

Florida: Southgate
• Divorced population: 22.3 percent
• Married population: 43.8 percent
• Never married: 24.5 percent
• Median household income: $48,508

New Mexico: Truth or Consequences
• Divorced population: 26.8 percent
• Married population: 37.9 percent
• Never married: 23.7 percent
• Median household income: $27,350

Some of the lowest are:

Hawaii: Hawaiian Paradise Park
• Divorced population: 16.9 percent
• Married population: 48.2 percent
• Never married: 26.4 percent
• Median household income: $51,908

Idaho: Sandpoint
• Divorced population: 17.8 percent
• Married population: 46.4 percent
• Never married: 24.7 percent
• Median household income: $36,706

Iowa: Knoxville
• Divorced population: 16.5 percent
• Married population: 46.7 percent
• Never married: 26.5 percent
• Median household income: $43,986

Nebraska: Ralston
• Divorced population: 16.1 percent
• Married population: 45.8 percent
• Never married: 29.7 percent
• Median household income: $55,837

North Dakota: Devils Lake
• Divorced population: 13.3 percent
• Married population: 40.2 percent
• Never married: 37.1 percent
• Median household income: $43,791

The Coloradoan article is here.

 

 

Can You Lose Your Job in Divorce?

A court in Israel just ordered the nation’s largest commuter bus company to fire an employee because he refuses to divorce his wife. The company has 30-days to comply. Why would you lose your job for refusing to divorce? What if it is a religious divorce?

Religious Divorce

Divorce on One Foot

A Jewish couple from India, who have been married for over a decade, immigrated to Israel with their only child. The Husband has been accused of abusing his wife, and the situation worsened after they moved. Three years ago, the Wife filed for divorce, reconciled, and then renewed the religious divorce.

Israel’s divorce law is based on the Ottoman Empire’s old millet law. Unlike the United States, where divorces are handled by family courts, in Israel there are parallel courts involving divorce, the religious court and family court.

Additionally, divorce court may depend on which religious community you belong to because religious courts have jurisdiction of their own religious members. This means Muslims are divorced in Sharia courts, Christians divorce in ecclesiastical courts, and Jews divorce in Jewish courts.

In Judaism, religious law requires husbands to grant their wives a “get” – a Jewish bill of divorce to be a valid divorce. Ten months ago, a rabbinical court ordered the Husband to grant his Wife a divorce. But he refused, unless she waived her right to their joint property.

Florida Divorce and Religion

I’ve written about the intersection of religion and divorce a few times. Religion, religious beliefs, and religious practices are generally not considered in Florida divorces. Surprisingly for many, even when child custody is an issue, there are no specific statutory factors in determining custody on religious grounds.

Currently in Florida, child custody decisions are based in accordance with the best interests of the child.

As it relates to religion, Florida courts have decided that there must be a clear, affirmative showing that religious activities will be harmful to the child for religion to be a factor.

Egged On

The religious divorce court has imposed various financial sanctions on the Husband for refusing to divorce, including requiring him to pay his wife $410 a month as a sanction. But he still refuses to divorce her.

Last week, a panel of rabbinical judges granted the Wife’s request and ordered an Israeli bus company to fire the Husband within 30-days.

Yad L’Isha praised the decision. “Every creative solution like this gives great hope to other women that there are other ways to release them from the prison of their marriage”. Yad L’Isha is the world’s largest organization dedicated to helping women unable to obtain a Jewish divorce.

The Haaretz article is here.

Photo courtesy of Rickjpelleg