Tag: Divorce causes

Divorce Causes in India

Divorce can have many causes, but in India there is a bizarre case going on in which a Muslim woman has sought divorce in an Islamic court from her husband on the grounds that he does not fight with her enough.

India Divorce

The Spice of Life

The unidentified woman in the Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh has sought a divorce from her husband after only 18-months of marital bliss. The woman approached the Sharia court in Sambhal to seek a divorce, leaving the court puzzled.

Why was the court so confused?

The chief complaint from the woman is that her husband loves her too much and does not fight with her. The woman claimed that her husband’s love was ‘suffocating’ her.

“He does not shout at me and neither has he upset me on any issue. He even cooks for me and also helps me in performing household chores.”

She further said, “Whenever I make a mistake, he always forgives me for that. I wanted to argue with him. I do not need a life where the husband agrees to anything.”

The Sharia court cleric, as expected, rejected her plea for divorce, terming it as frivolous. When the Sharia court refused to grant her divorce, the woman took up the matter with the local panchayat (the local self-government in villages in rural India), which also expressed its inability to decide the issue.

Florida No Fault Divorce

The official term for divorce in Florida is “dissolution of marriage”, and you don’t need fault as a ground for divorce. Florida abolished fault as a ground for divorce. So, whether your husband is always forgiving of your mistakes, or worse, very agreeable to anything you want, you don’t need to allege that as a grounds for divorce.

I’ve written about divorce and infidelity issues before. The no-fault concept in Florida means you no longer have to prove a reason for the divorce, like your husband’s nice demeanor. Instead, you just need to state under oath that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Before the no-fault divorce era, people who wanted to get divorce either had to reach agreement in advance with the other spouse that the marriage was over, or throw mud at each other and prove wrongdoing like adultery or abuse.

No-fault laws were the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. 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 annoying behavior in a government enforced quarantine.

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.

What do you do if you are trapped in quarantine with someone you want to separate from?

To avoid problems during a quarantine, you may have to force yourself to work together – however difficult that may be.

Couples who are separating or separated already, and are parents, are being forced to work as a team and talk through problems that are making forced quarantine impossible. Reassure each other that you will make it through and work together.

The key if you’re living together is to strike the right balance between having quality intimate time together, or if you’re at the brink of your relationship, giving each other some space.

Divorce Bollywood Style?

Back in India meanwhile, the nice husband has gone on record and stated that he loved his wife dearly and always wanted to keep her happy. He also asked the Sharia Court cleric to reject the divorce plea. Of course.

The court has now asked the couple to resolve the matter mutually.

The Tribune India article is here.

 

Swinging into Divorce

There are many reasons why happy marriages are swinging into divorce. Some blame the coronavirus quarantine. Others can point to financial causes. But Silicon Valley actor Thomas Middleditch has found another reason: the swinging lifestyle.

Swinging into Divorce3

“Swinging Saved Our Marriage”

Actor Middleditch has excellent advice for any couple wanting to have a successful swinging and polyamorous marriage: Be open about your rules as a couple.

“Mollie and I have created our own rules, and compared to most of the people we’ve met who do this kind of (stuff), our rules are strict. It’s a perpetual state of management and communication, to the point where it’s like, ‘All right, we’ve got to stop. Chill.’ I’m gas, and she’s brakes. This is actually the premise for a comedy series we’re writing together.”

Thomas Middleditch told Playboy in September he and his wife Mollie are into the swinging lifestyle.

The “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” star told the magazine he’s been to some sex parties, “some weird parties that were very ‘Eyes Wide Shut,’ from which I walked away thinking, ‘I don’t need it, but I’m glad I saw that.'”

Mostly, he says, his first concern is his wife. “Anything that happens has to be run by the queen…I love my wife like I’ve never loved anyone before. With two people who feel that way about each other, how do you go down that road? It’s tough. Bring a therapist along for the ride.”

Citing “irreconcilable differences” Mollie Gates filed for divorce on May 28 after they separated on May 22. Mollie has requested spousal support. The couple do not have any children together.

Florida Grounds for Marriage

I have written about some of the various reasons why people divorce in the past: snoring, calling the bride “fat” at the wedding and others. In Florida, a divorce is called a “dissolution of marriage.” Florida abolished fault as a ground for dissolution of marriage. The only requirement to dissolve a marriage is for one of the parties to prove that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Either spouse can file for the dissolution of marriage. Generally, you have to prove that your marriage exists, one of the spouse’s has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and the marriage is irretrievably broken.

The reason for the irretrievable breakdown, however, may be considered under certain limited circumstances in the determination of alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and the development of the parenting plan.

Every case is different, so results can differ from case to case. Outcomes in a divorce include, among other things, dividing the assets and debts, an award of alimony, determining the amount of child support, and parental responsibility and time-sharing schedules. There is no “one-size-fits-all” or “standard” dissolution of marriage in Florida.

But is that swinging lifestyle the cause of all of the marriage trauma?

Do all good things come to an end?

Ironically, the Silicon Valley actor’s split from his wife Mollie Gates comes just months after he revealed swinging had “saved their marriage”.

A source told People: “They still care deeply for each other and will move forward as friends.” Their split comes just months after Thomas delved into the couple’s sex life with Playboy magazine. The actor, 38, told the publication last September: “Only after I got married was, I like, ‘Mollie, I’m sorry, but we have to get non-traditional here.’”

While this may seem like a standard celebrity separation buried amid more important weekend matters, you may recall that Middleditch gave a widely circulated interview with Playboy in late 2019 about their relationship, where he revealed that he told Gates, shortly after their wedding, that he wanted a “nontraditional” and open marriage.

“To her credit, instead of saying ‘Fuck you, I’m out,’ she was like, ‘Let’s figure this out.’ To be honest, swinging has saved our marriage,” he said at the time. “We have different speeds, and we argue over it constantly, but it’s better than feeling unheard and alone and that you have to scurry in the shadows.” Middleditch also said that their experiences at sex parties is the “premise for a comedy series we’re writing together.”

Well, they may have found what the season finale looks like.

The Vulture article is here.

 

Divorce During the Pandemic and Good Coronavirus Information

Law offices are open, and court hearings are being held, even contested and uncontested divorce cases, but all remotely. So, if you need help with any divorce or family law issue, the coronavirus is not stopping you. Lastly, there’s some good coronavirus information on taxes and pools to be shared.

Zoom pool

Reasons to Divorce

Yahoo has a recent article about all kinds of things that can lead to a split, from the token celebrity-cited “irreconcilable differences” to a messy affair, or the loss of anything remotely close to the spark you felt in the good old days.

While the reasons for a divorce are unique to the relationship, here are the issues that a divorce lawyer and psychologist say pop up most often:

Communication

You typically hear reasons for divorce like money disagreements, commitment issues and the other things but these problems are also rooted in a breakdown of communication.

Falling Out of Love

According to one study nearly half of recently divorced couples cited a lack of love or intimacy as the reason for their separation. Instead of one big betrayal, sometimes just growing apart and losing your romantic feelings can end a marriage.

Lack of Intimacy

There’s nothing shameful about a dry spell, but a total lack of physical affection —sexy times and long bear hugs included — can cause serious disconnect. People start telling themselves like, ‘Okay, well the lack of intimacy, I can handle that.’ But ultimately it just becomes too much for them.

Florida No Fault Divorce

I’ve written about no-fault divorces before. Historically in Florida, in order to obtain a divorce one had to prove the existence of legal grounds such as adultery.

This often required additional expenses on behalf of the aggrieved party, only serving to make the divorce process more expensive and cumbersome than it already was.

In the years leading up to the enactment of “no-fault” divorce, courts often granted divorces on bases that were easier to prove, the most common being “mental cruelty.”

Over time, the “no-fault” movement expanded to other states, although interestingly it only reached the typically progressive state of New York in 2010. Whether or not it is intimacy or communication, you do not need to list a reason for a divorce other than an irretrievable break in the marriage.

Other Common Reasons to Divorce

Not Ready For Marriage

While you want to be in it for the long haul, maybe you rushed down the aisle or weren’t fully in tune with yourself when you said “I do”. That’s when a crop of clashes—think: differing values, emotional baggage from past flings, and a lack of real trust—pop up and put you on the road to divorce.

Addiction

Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or another damaging vice, substance abuse is often a factor in divorces. If a partner doesn’t want to get help or they become a threat to their partner’s safety, it’s often a straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Financial Problems

Disagreements about finances make matters dicey, especially when it gets in the way of working together as a team. Someone might think their partner spends too much, another might be worried about their partner’s debt, and, in some cases, couples can’t compromise about what to spend their money on. Over time, the strain gets to be too much. What’s mine was once yours, but not anymore.

Lost Sense of Self

What you want can change over the course of a marriage. Very often in relationships, a partner has been sacrificing what they want and need for the sake of keeping the marriage together. Whether that’s passing up a job opportunity or getting lost in the role of “Mom,” the marriage could take you down a path you don’t identify with all that much anymore. It’s one thing to compromise, but it’s another to lose sight of your individuality completely. If you do, you might resent your partner and want out.

Good Coronavirus Information

Tax Day

Today would traditionally be tax day, but this year, the IRS is allowing Americans to wait to file until July 15. You can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.

Swimming Pool Hearings

Broward County Judge Dennis Bailey offers some coronavirus advice to us lawyers: Don’t appear for Zoom hearings shirtless or still in bed under the covers. Also, putting on a beach cover-up won’t hide from the judge that you’re poolside in a bathing suit.

The Yahoo article is here.

 

Another Case of Fraud and Divorce

A 77-year old Tampa businessman filed to divorce his 26-year-old wife who may have tried to steal $1,000,000.00 from him. Is this yet another case of divorce fraud, and if so, what can be done? The Husband’s divorce attorneys at Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta will have to find out.

Divorce Fraud 3

A Tampa Bay Buccaneer

Court records show that 77-year old Richard Rappaport’s attorney filed an action for dissolution of marriage against his 26-year old wife, Lin Halfon, on Friday, Jan. 10. The couple was married in Sarasota in August.

Halfon won’t have an easy time getting to divorce court because she’s been incarcerated for a month at the Hillsborough County Jail on Falkenburg Road.

She is facing charges of money laundering, organized fraud, exploitation of the elderly and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

His wife, Ms. Halfon, has been charged with money-laundering, organized fraud and exploitation of an elderly person after being arrested at Tampa international airport in Florida.

Florida Divorce Fraud

I’ve written about various aspects of divorce fraud before. In Florida, courts distribute the marital assets, such as bank accounts, between parties under the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution.

Some of the factors to justify an unequal distribution of the property include things like the financial situation the parties, the length of the marriage, whether someone has interrupted their career or an educational opportunity, or how much one spouse contributed to the other’s career or education.

Another important factor is whether one of the parties intentionally dissipated, wasted, depleted, or destroyed any of the marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.

Dissipation of marital assets, such as taking money from a joint bank account, happens a lot. Trying to cash a million dollar check at a payday loan store . . . less so. In both cases, the misconduct may serve as a basis for assigning the dissipated asset to the spending spouse when calculating equitable distribution.

Misconduct, for purposes of dissipation, does not mean mismanagement or simple squandering of marital assets in a manner of which the other spouse disapproves. There has to be evidence of intentional dissipation or destruction.

When it’s Friday and Payday!

This divorce fraud case may also get entered into the world’s dumbest criminal’s museum. She’ll join a trio of drug thieves who broke into a Florida home, snorted the contents of three jars – which were in fact urns – only to discovery they’d inhaled the remains of two cherished dogs.

The Wife went to a payday loan company called, Amscot, and tried to cash a $1 million check with both of their names on it. Court documents said Rappaport’s wife returned to the bank with three checks in the amount of $333,000. The police investigation began after an employee refused to cash the checks.

After being notified by investigators, Rappaport said he wanted to give his new wife the benefit of the doubt and did not want her to be deported. When asked later if he felt he was the victim of fraud, Rappaport told investigators, “yes.”.

The Wife’s defense attorney Todd Foster said he plans to file motions asking for bond and evidentiary hearings and asked:

“Can a wife steal from her husband? Is that a crime? We’re looking at that.”

Rappaport’s daughter said in an arrest affidavit that his family members were unaware of the marriage and believed Halfon was ‘conning’ Rappaport due to his age” according to the arrest affidavit.

The Wife’s attorney claims it “was a valid marriage” and that they loved each other.

Tampa’s Channel 8 article is here.

When Parent Relocation is Murder

Parent relocations are stressful, but can they lead to murder? Years after a contentious Tallahassee divorce, the trial of the murderers of FSU law professor Dan Markel is underway. Many suspect he was murdered for contesting parent relocation.

Parental Relcation Murder

In Cold Blood

More than five years after his horrific murder, and after numerous delays and postponements, the trial of two of the alleged murderers of law professor Dan Markel got underway in Tallahassee this week.

Professor Markel was gunned down in his driveway after sending off his children for the final time. The trial of two of the alleged perpetrators, Sigfredo Garcia, one of the alleged gunmen, and Katherine Magbanua, the alleged go-between who set up the murder, began this week.

A third man formally accused in the plot — Luis Rivera — says he joined Garcia on the hit and agreed to split $100K with the other two. Rivera already took a plea and will be the star witness.

Unfortunately, Rivera can’t give police the one thing they don’t have: a case against the people who offered up the $100,000 payment he says the crew were promised. Police believe it’s the family of Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, who now has custody of the couple’s children and has kept them cut off from their paternal grandparents.

Adelson divorced Markel by moving out of the house and leaving divorce papers on the bed while Markel was on a business trip. After Markel was killed, Adelson told police that her brother joked about hiring a hit man to kill him and she tearfully admitted that she suspected this was done on her behalf.

Miami area Defendant Katherine Magbanua is the ex-girlfriend of Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charlie Adelson, who is also from the Miami area, who may be an unindicted co-conspirator.

Florida Parent Relocation

I’ve written about Professor Dan Markel’s case before. Parent relocations with children during a divorce happens frequently in our mobile society.

In Florida, “relocation” is defined as changing a parent’s principal residence to a new one at least 50 miles away from his or her current address for at least 60 consecutive days. Relocation is a topic that I have lectured and written on before.

Florida has a relocation statute, which in addition to defining relocations, sets out the requirements a parent needs to fill to legally relocate by agreement or court order.

The relocation statute is very technical, and lays out very specific factors a relocation parent must prove, and the court must consider to determine if the proposed relocation is in the best interests of the child.

There is no presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate with the child even though the move will materially affect the current schedule of contact, access, and time-sharing with the nonrelocating parent.

Instead, the court looks at specific factors, such as: the child’s relationship with the relocating parent and with the non-relocating parent, the age and needs of the child, the ability to preserve the relationship with the non-relocating parent; and the child’s preference, among others.

Of course, if one of the parents dies during the divorce proceedings, that would likely cause the divorce, and related issues of parent relocation with the children, to be dismissed.

Murder She Wrote

The divergent theories of Professor Markel’s killing surfaced as attorneys laid out their cases and testimony finally began in the trial of a Miami couple charged in the alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Defense attorneys for Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua sought to distance their clients from prosecutors’ theory that the pair carried out the grisly end of a scheme financed by the family of Markel’s ex-wife Wendi Adelson. Investigators say the motive “stemmed from the desperate desire of the Adelson family” that Wendi and the couple’s two young sons be allowed to move to South Florida in the fallout of a contentious divorce with Markel.

Magbanua is the accused conduit between the Adelsons and the killers, Garcia and his friend Luis Rivera. Prosecutors say they drove from Miami to Tallahassee to shoot Markel in July 2014. The pivotal question is why the Adelson family is not facing charges, Kawass told jurors during her 30-minute opening. She asked them to follow the evidence, which prosecutors will present piecemeal.

“There is no direct evidence (Magbanua) was involved. Zero. And that’s because she wasn’t involved. She had absolutely nothing to do with this case,” she said. “The government made it very clear who is behind the killing of Dan Markel. Why aren’t the Adelsons here? Why aren’t they charged? Because they don’t have the evidence to do it.”

Details of the Tallahassee Police Department probable cause affidavit released the morning of June 2, 2016 reveal the route taken by murder suspect, Sigfredo Garcia.

Before the two defense attorneys made their case, prosecutor Georgia Cappleman traced the murder-for-hire allegations.

“Wendi Adelson had a problem and the name of that problem was Dan Markel. And the solution to that problem was Sigfredo Garcia, Katherine Magbanua and Luis Rivera. I believe that you will be convinced the state is not pulling a fast one on you but rather that Katherine Magbanua was hired to solicit Garcia to in turn solicit Rivera to come to Tallahassee and execute Mr. Markel in cold blood.”

Garcia’s attorney began his opening statements by pointing out that the third man charged, Luis Rivera, only received a seven-year sentence for his confession. But the statements to investigators by the state’s key witness were rife with inconsistencies, he told the jury.

The Tallahassee Democrat article is here.

 

Borat and No-Fault Divorce

The official term for divorce in Florida is “dissolution of marriage”, and you don’t need to prove fault. Instead, you need to state under oath that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” According to CNN, Sacha Baron Cohen learned the true meaning of no-fault divorce after discovering Pamela Anderson’s divorce may have been caused by his movie Borat.

Borat No Fault Divorce

High Five!

As CNN reports, the movie Borat was a huge success, earning $262 million against a modest $18 million budget, and worked its way deep into American culture. Unfortunately, the film’s success came at a price, as it may have cost Kid Rock his wife.

Sacha Baron Cohen, recently told The Daily Beast’s The Last Laugh podcast that Pamela Anderson was in on the joke for the scene in which Borat kidnaps her, Cohen and that her then husband, Kid Rock, hated the movie.

Cohen says that the scene in which his fictional character Borat approaches Anderson and carries her out of a book signing caused the split:

“We did that scene twice, actually. The first time we did it at a book signing and I grabbed her over my shoulder and ran out with her and no one did anything. I was like, what kind of fans are these?”

Kid Rock was briefly married to Pamela Anderson in 2006. Cohen said that, following a screening of the finished film with Anderson and Kid Rock, he called Anderson to find out what her new husband thought of the film.

“Kid Rock saw the movie, and I texted Pamela Anderson and asked, ‘How did it go? What did he think?’” said Cohen. “And she texted back, ‘He’s getting divorced.’”

Florida No-Fault Divorce

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.

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

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.

Adultery can be the cause of a divorce, but can it impact the outcome? Since Florida became a no-fault state, the fact that, “she (or he) is sleeping with a co-worker” doesn’t hold much traction in court any more.

Some people think no fault divorce is one of the main reasons for a high divorce rate. Despite the recent legislative moves in the UK, there is a movement here to return to the old “fault” system to promote families.

Not in Kazakhstan Anymore

Cohen said Anderson told him that Kid Rock wanted the divorce specifically because of the movie, which he naturally assumed was a joke:

“I thought it was a joke,” Said Cohen. “But then a few weeks later they got divorced and they put as a reason for divorce: ‘Borat.’ So, it had some casualties.”

Cohen’s version of this story also lines up with and seems to confirm reports, which claimed that Universal Studio chief Ron Meyer held a screening of the movie at his home and that the Kid Rock became angry and ruined the night because he hated the movie.

This revelation raises a number of questions. Was Kid Rock, like so many people, unable to tell if his wife’s involvement in the film was real? Did he believe that his wife did not fight back strongly enough against the seductive, amorous advances of Borat Sagdiyev?

CNN reports that Anderson and Rock did get divorced the same month as the film came out, but the comedy film may be an unlikely cause of the divorce.

The CNN article is here.

Photo courtesy of Michael Bulcik / SKS Soft GmbH Düsseldorf

 

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.

 

 

Divorce to Save Money?

The Hill reports that a Texas couple may divorce to save money in order to pay for their daughter’s rising health-care costs. There are times when people have divorced “on paper” to save money, but is this a good reason and does it work?

Divorce save money

Health Care Scare

Can you divorce to save money? Jake and Maria Grey may try. They told NBC’s “Today” that Brighton, the older of their two daughters, has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a developmental disability that requires 24/7 care.

“We shouldn’t have to make that sacrifice to get our child Medicaid!”

They said they spend thousands of dollars annually out of pocket, even though Jake Grey has private health insurance. The couple added that they are considering divorcing to save money so that Maria Grey can qualify for Medicaid as a single, unemployed mother.

Divorce to Avoid Penalties

I’ve actually written about a similar issue, namely: divorcing to save money on taxes by avoiding the marriage penalty tax. Back when the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed, it raised taxes on couples making more than $450,000, and individuals making more than $400,000. As it turns out, some couples found out they could save over $25,000 a year if they divorced.

Think about that for a second. If you could save over $25,000 a year in taxes, you could take a couple’s trip to Italy, ski Deer Valley, put a little cash away for college, and still have some mad money to spend just by divorcing and turning your marriage into a long-term relationship.

Divorcing on Paper

There are a lot of risks though, known and unknown to divorcing on paper but staying together. I would encourage anyone considering a “divorce on paper” to think about a few things:

  • The impact on your relationship. I don’t know of a good way to ask for a divorce: “Honey, I want a divorce. No, no wait, come back, it’s to save big bucks . . . really!”
  • There is no fake divorce. Once the court signs the final judgment of divorce, you are divorced. Once you’re divorced, your Ex may find someone who thinks marriage is more valuable than 5% adjusted gross income.
  • IRS rules regarding your filing status have something to say. IRS publication 504 warns that if you obtain a divorce just to file as unmarried with the intent to remarry the next tax year, you have to file as married individuals.
  • State law. All no-fault states have minimum requirements for getting a divorce. Florida, for instance, requires at a minimum that your marriage be irretrievably broken before you can get a divorce.
  • In addition, there are estate planning issues, retirement and social security complications, and many other issues besides the mere tax savings.

Most people who marry do so forever, and with the sincere intention of honoring their vows. Is the money worth it?

Jake Grey’s $40,000 salary is too much for the family to receive Medicaid, and Maria Grey said they are No. 60,000 on the list to receive state assistance.

It’s drowning us to try to keep up with her medical expenses. We’ve done everything we can do to try to keep her afloat, and we’re going to reach a point where we can’t do it and we won’t have another option. We don’t know what to do.

The Hill article is here.

 

Do you Divorce or Annul?

In a divorce fraud case from England, Neil Rattue was married for 15 years before he was found to have forged his divorce decree, and illegally married another woman. Do his two ‘wives’ file for divorce, or, like rats leaving a sinking ship, annul their marriages?

divorce or annul

Smell a Rat

Rattue invented a sickness, claiming he had “terminal cancer” to keep his double life hidden from both ‘wives”. The court in the UK heard a victim statement from his first wife, read out by the prosecutor, who said she felt like her husband had ‘stolen her life’ from her.

Why did he not ask me years ago for a divorce or when he met his new wife? Instead he was leading a double life. I have spent the last 19 years living with my mum as he left me with no other option. I am paying for this both mentally and emotionally. He has stolen my life from me.

Though he stopped seeing his first wife in 2001, he dutifully continued to call her daily for 17 years to ask how she was and discuss their debts, which she was paying off.

A court previously heard his first wife had paid off £30,000 of debt, from credit cards and loans taken out with Rattue, but still had a staggering £37,500 to be paid.

 Florida Divorce and Annulment

What if this took place in Florida? I’ve written about divorce and annulment in Florida before. Florida does not have a statute authorizing annulments. The decision to divorce or annul a marriage will depend on certain facts.

Annulment has a history beginning in England, and if King Henry VIII had been able to secure an annulment from the Pope, England might have remained a Catholic country. Today, annulment may best be known for rescuing Britney Spears from an ill-advised alcohol-related Las Vegas “bender.”

Because Florida is one of the handful of states that has no annulment statute, annulments in Florida are purely a question of common law, decided pursuant to the inherent equitable powers of the circuit court.

The historical common law “impediments” to marriage traditionally fell into two general categories: lack of consent and lack of capacity. This is substantially still the case law in Florida.

Lack of consent would include, for example, people who are related within certain degrees, and minors without parental consent.

Lack of capacity, is exactly the situation the Rattue wives are in. Lack of capacity includes marriages involving fraud, mental illness, sham marriages, and shotgun weddings.

While none of the “marriage” statutes in Florida specifically address purported marriages between one person and another person who is already legally married to a third party, bigamy is, of course, a crime. Bigamy raises the question: do you divorce or annul the marriage?

Whether to divorce or annul will depend on the legality of the marriages. Given that Rattue was never legal divorced, he forged his divorce decree, his second marriage would not likely be recognized in Florida.

This is not only a surprise for the first wife but can be devastating for the second wife. But, it also means his second wife would have to file for an annulment. His first wife, who was legally married, could file for divorce.

Ratatouille

According to the report:

The matter was not heard by a family court judge hearing whether to divorce or annul the marriage(s), but in criminal court. Judge Richard Parkes QC said Rattue had been ‘cowardly’ and ‘deceitful’ in maintaining his marriage to his first wife, despite having started a new marriage and raising children without his first wife even knowing.

Salisbury Crown Court, Wiltshire, heard how Rattue had met his first wife in Wiltshire in 1980 and they were married three years later. Rattue, who often worked away, then met his second wife while traveling.

The pair, who married on October 3, 1998, lived together in York, North Yorkshire, having two children together. Prosecutor Phillip Warren said Rattue had taken a friend’s divorce certificate without him knowing, before using it to forge his own.

Eighteen months ago, he would still phone me at work every day where he would ask me how I was. He still made me pay off all the money. He said we have got to stay married for the purpose of the loan and I believed him. Little did I know, it was because he had already forged our divorce certificate. This has been a prison sentence since 2001 when he left and stole my life from me.

The Mirror article is here.

 

Suing Your Spouse

Steve Harvey’s ex-wife Mary Vaughn is suing him for $60 million, claiming that she suffered “prolonged torture with the infliction of severe mental pain and suffering.” Can you sue your spouse in a divorce for battery, transmission of STDs, or emotional distress?

The Harvey Divorce

The Harvey marriage lasted from 1996 until their public divorce in 2005, which was two years prior to Harvey’s third marriage to current wife, Marjorie Bridges. The 60-year-old “Family Feud” host was previously married to Marcia Harvey for 14 years before he wed Vaughn.

As reported by Fox News, court documents claimed that Vaughn “attempted suicide by self-medicating [in] an effort to stop the pain” and alleged that Harvey and his attorney reportedly caused “severe emotional distress” over the years.

ET added that Vaughn is also suing for alleged child endangerment, torture, kidnapping, breach of contract, conspiracy against rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress and even “soul murdering” (which we’ll get to later).

Interspousal Immunity

I’ve written about various issues relating to divorce before. Things like saving taxes, how not to treat your spouse, and what to wear to court. The subject of suing your spouse for emotional distress often comes up in divorces.

Florida used to have a long-standing policy about suing your spouse called the interspousal immunity doctrine. Under the interspousal immunity doctrine, one spouse could not sue the other spouse for tortious conduct committed during the marriage.

Interspousal tort immunity was thought to protect families from the adverse effects to a family relationship as a result of bitter lawsuits, and the drain on family resources.

However, the doctrine of interspousal immunity was abrogated in Florida. So, the ability of a person to sue another person for the intentional tort of battery, for instance, is not affected by marriage between the persons.

The justifications for having an interspousal tort immunity were found to be non-existent in this day and age. So, for example, in some divorce cases it is common for a person to be held liable for infecting another with a sexually transmissible disease.

What About Soul Murder?

Steve Harvey is being sued for, among other things, “soul murder.” This is defined as a “combination of torture, deprivation, and brainwashing.” While the interspousal immunity doctrine is not applicable in Florida, there is a reasonable chance the “soul murder” claim would be thrown out here too.

“Mr. Harvey vehemently denies any allegations set forth in the lawsuit,” read the statement sent to ET.

“The complaint is merit-less, frivolous and the allegations are completely false. We will vigorously defend/counterclaim against the complaint.”

The Fox News article is here.