Tag: Divorce Marriage Trends

Five Ways to Improve Your Divorce

While your performance never faltered before, after you enter into a divorce, you can become overwhelmed by the competition for your attention. Forbes magazine reports on five way to improve your divorce and maintain your productivity.

Improve Divorce

1. Build an emotional support network outside of the office. From both an emotional and a practical standpoint, keeping conversations about your divorce out of the workplace is smart. Of course, you need to talk with those involved in collecting the requisite documents—an HR representative, for example—but those discussions should be factual in nature. Talking about the personal and emotional aspects of your divorce should be reserved for close friends or family members outside of work.

Don’t neglect your need for emotional comfort during this time. Divorce is stressful. In addition to having a strong support network, make sure you hire a lawyer who makes you feel empowered and comfortable, who helps you understand the divorce process and is accessible when you need counsel.

2. Be cooperative and realistic in your efforts to work with the other side. If you or your spouse take positions in your divorce that lead to additional court appearances, your productivity will be affected, because those appearances will take you away from your office. In fact, even preparing the paperwork with your lawyer can take you away from your job for hours at a time. You can minimize this time away by approaching your divorce pragmatically, organizing as much as you can in your off-hours, and being as straightforward and transparent as you can be in terms of the documents and information you produce. If everything becomes a tug of war, with subpoenas being issued and every aspect of the divorce litigated, you will be diverting precious time and energy from your career.

3. Allocate a certain amount of time each day to addressing divorce-related communications. As much as you might like to wait until you get home at night to handle divorce matters, reality sometimes dictates speedier replies. Divorce matters are generally handled during working hours, and if your lawyer has a question or information to share, your delayed response could mean a slowdown in the process. Set aside a block of time during the day when you can read and respond to related emails and place necessary phone calls. Keep a running list of to-do items and questions for your lawyer so that you can jot them down when they occur to you throughout the day and then put them out of your mind until later. Sending your lawyer just one comprehensive email a day with all of your questions and concerns will improve your productivity as well as your lawyer’s (which can also save you money!).

Florida Divorce

I’ve written on various divorce issues. In Florida, a divorce is called a “dissolution of marriage.” Florida is also one of the many states that have 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.

Although no-fault divorce is Florida law, the process of going through a divorce can be grueling, and will eat into your productive time. Part of the stress comes from the fact that the divorce process can be very emotional and traumatic for couples as well as their kids.

4. Have separate work and personal email accounts. This is, of course, good advice whether you’re going through a divorce or not. Nothing can distract you faster than seeing personal emails popping into your inbox all day long. In fact, you may even want to create a new account specifically dedicated to divorce correspondence. Then, when “Divorce Management” pops up on your calendar, you can get straight to all divorce-related matters and take care of them during your allotted time slot.

Likewise, keep any divorce-related documents in their own secure folder on your computer so you can access them at a moment’s notice rather than having to spend time hunting them down.

5. Keep your lawyer apprised of any blackout dates on your calendar. If you travel for work or have certain must-attend meetings or events, make sure your lawyer is aware of these as soon as they are scheduled so you can avoid conflicts with any necessary court appearances or other important meetings related to your divorce. Being unable to meet key business obligations can not only set back your productivity but also damage your standing in the eyes of clients, your manager or your peers.

The Forbes article is here.

 

Divorce and Short Term Marriages

Baretta action star, Robert Blake, has filed for divorce from his third wife, Pamela Hudak, just a year after the two strolled into Beverly Hills City Hall to obtain their marriage license. What is the impact of such a short-term marriage on divorce?

divorce alimony

And that’s the name of that tune!

According TMZ, actor Robert Blake filed docs in Los Angeles Friday to call the relationship quits. The 85-year-old married Pamela Hudak in Spring of 2017. The couple had known each other for decades and even dated years ago. Blake was previously married to Sondra Kerry from 1961 to 1983.

Florida Divorce

I’ve written about divorce and the length of a marriage before. Florida Statutes actually define what the length of your marriage means. For example, in order to determine alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption in Florida that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years.

Florida Statutes define a moderate-term marriage as a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years. And, a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater.

How do you measure the marriage term? In Florida, the length of your marriage is the period of time measured from the date of your marriage until the date of filing of an action to dissolve your marriage.

The Length of your marriage is very important when it comes to determining the kind of duration of alimony payments. For example, permanent alimony is generally for longer term marriages if the statutory criteria are met.

In shorter term marriages and for moderate term marriages, permanent alimony may be considered, but the burden of proof is much higher.

Conversely, bridge-the-gap alimony is generally awarded to allow a person to transition from being married to being single. So, bridge-the-gap alimony is designed for short-term needs. In fact, the length of an award bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed 2 years.

Durational alimony helps provide a person with economic help for a set period of time after short or moderate length marriages or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis.

The length of your marriage also factors in to property divisions. When a court divides the marital assets and debts, the court begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal. One of the factors a court can look to in justifying an unequal distribution includes the duration of the marriage.

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Blake was accused of murdering his second wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley. Blake was her tenth husband. Bakley was fatally shot while sitting in Blake’s parked car outside a Los Angeles-area restaurant in May 2001.

In 2002, Robert Blake was charged with Bakley’s murder, solicitation of murder, conspiracy and special circumstance of lying in wait. In March 2005, a jury found Blake not guilty of the crimes.

Seven months later, Blake was found liable in a wrongful death lawsuit brought against him by Bakley’s children. Officially, Bakley’s murder remains unsolved.

The TMZ article is here.

 

Banning Child Marriage

Florida is stopping an embarrassing and ongoing family law problem: legal child marriages. There are more than 200,000 children married in the United States. Last week, a bill to ban the practice passed both houses of the Florida legislature, and has been converted into an act for the Governor to sign.

Florida’s Efforts to Ban Child Marriage

According to the Miami Herald, Florida is poised to put the country’s strictest ban on child marriage into law after a bill — with some narrow exceptions for 17-year-olds — was passed by state legislators Friday.

It is incredible to think that the marriage of children is technically legal in Florida.

Children aged 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with their parents’ consent, and even younger kids if there is a pregnancy.

But Senate Bill 140, which was passed by the House nearly unanimously, eliminates the pregnancy requirement and limits any marriage of minors to 17 years of age and only if they satisfy a series of requirements added by the Senate earlier in the week.

A bill to ban child marriages had been proposed for multiple years in the Legislature to close the loophole allowing minors to marry.

Florida Child Marriages

I’ve written about marriage and divorce before. Many people would be embarrassed to know that Florida actually allows child marriages. Previous efforts always failed, but this year was different.

Our statutes currently say that if anyone seeking a marriage license is under the age of 18, all that’s required is the written consent of the parents.

Even written consent isn’t required if the parent is deceased, or the child was previously married. The problem of child marriages is very concerning:

Between 70% and 80% of marriages involving individuals under age 18 end in divorce and getting married and later divorcing can more than double the likelihood of poverty.

Children are trapped, because they face many obstacles when they try to resist or escape marriages that adults forced into marriage don’t.

Unless a child is legally emancipated – given the rights of an adult – a child has very limited rights, leaving children trapped in a marriage with an adult.

This new Florida bill, if signed by the Governor, will finally end the status quo.

Sherry Johnson: Victim Turned Advocate

Lawmakers credited this year’s passage to six years of advocacy from Sherry Johnson, a child marriage victim who was raped, became pregnant, and was married to one of the men who assaulted her by age 11.

Johnson, who went on to have five more children in that marriage, said a ban on child marriage would have altered her future, even if it would not have prevented her abuse.

After she watched the House vote to send the legislation to the governor, advocate Sherry Johnson thanked bill sponsors Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, center, and Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, R-Miami, outside the chamber doors.

Johnson said she was satisfied with the compromise, though she plans to advocate for similar legislation across the country — and possibly abroad.

My mission is for the world, for the children all over the world. It’s not just Florida. … It’s for the children everywhere.

The Miami Herald article is here.

 

Religious Marriage & Divorce

A recent survey found that 6 in 10 women who had Muslim religious weddings are not in legal marriages, depriving them of spousal rights. Many people have religious weddings, and don’t get a marriage license. What is the importance of the marriage license, and is the religious ceremony enough?

According to the London Guardian, nearly all married Muslim women have had a nikah, a religious marriage ceremony.

However, about 61% had not gone through a separate civil ceremony which would make the marriage legal.

If you have a religious marriage only, and the marriage breaks down, you may be unable to go to family court to divide marital assets, such as the family home and your spouse’s pension.

This trend of having a religious ceremony, but no civil marriage license, is becoming a problem as more people think having religious marriage ceremony is enough.

Florida Marriage Law

I’ve written about marriage validity, and the intersection between religious marriage and civil marriage before. First off, in order to be validly married in Florida, you need a license from the government.

No, you don’t get your marriage license from the DMV, but from the Clerk of the Court.

Getting a marriage license may seem like a trivial obligation, but if you want your religious marriage recognized in court, you must get a marriage license.

There is a fee for getting a marriage license, and that fee is reduced for attending pre-marital counseling. The license is valid for 60 days. The officiant at the ceremony must certify that the marriage was solemnized.

The certified marriage license must be returned to the clerk or an issuing judge within 10 days, and the clerk or judge is required to keep a correct record of certified marriage licenses.

Florida courts have repeatedly warned people that they cannot depart from the requirement of the Florida Statutes to have a license, otherwise the courts would be creating common-law marriages, which are not recognized here.

If you only have the religious marriage, but do not file for a marriage license, your marriage will not likely be recognized, and you cannot divorce, and cannot make claims for equitable distribution, or ask a court for alimony.

That can be a devastating surprise for many people.

Religious Only Marriages

Every religion has there own method of marrying. For Catholics, the celebration normally takes place within a Mass. In Judaism, there’s a marriage contract, a marriage canopy, and the breaking of a glass. In the Islamic nikah, there is a reading from the Qur’an, and the exchange of vows in front of witnesses.

Religious marriage without a license, is not only a major problem, but a growing problem.

Religious marriages are also easier to terminate than legally registered marriages, so marriage has become easy and divorce has become easy. It’s a disturbing trend.

Generally in Florida, regularly ordained ministers of the gospel or elders in communion with some church, or other ordained clergy, and all judicial officers, clerks of the circuit courts, and notaries public may solemnize the rights of matrimonial contract, under the law.

The Guardian article is here.

 

Ban Child Marriages

A pressing family law problem is the more than 200,000 children married in the United States. No, that’s not a statistic from frontier life in the 1800s, that covers marriages over the past 15-years. What is the status of child marriages?

According to the Independent there is a surprising number of child marriages: three 10-year-old girls and an 11-year-old boy were among the youngest to wed on the U.S., under legal loopholes which allow minors to marry in certain circumstances.

The minimum age for marriage across most of the US is 18, but every state has exemptions – such as parental consent or pregnancy – which allow younger children to tie the knot.

In May, the high-profile Republican governor for New Jersey declined to sign into law a bill that would have made New Jersey the first to ban child marriages without exception. Chris Christie claimed it would conflict with religious customs.

At least 207,468 minors married in the US between 2000 and 2015. The true figure is likely to be much higher because 10 states provided no or incomplete statistics.

Florida Child Marriages

I’ve written about marriage and divorce before. Many people would be embarrassed to know that Florida actually allows child marriages.

Our statutes say that if anyone seeking a marriage license is under the age of 18, all that’s required is the written consent of the parents. Even written consent isn’t required if the parent is deceased, or the child was previously married.

Currently, there is a Florida Senate bill which would prohibit a judge or clerk from issuing a marriage license to any person under the age of 18.

The current exceptions that permit a minor to marry, such as parental consent, the fact that a couple already has a child, or a physician’s written verification of a pregnancy, would be repealed. This bill would end child marriages in Florida.

The Scourge of Child Marriages

The problem of child marriages is concerning.

Between 70% and 80% of marriages involving individuals under age 18 end in divorce, and getting married and later divorcing can more than double the likelihood of poverty.

Children are trapped, because they face many obstacles when they try to resist or escape marriages that adults forced into marriage don’t.

Unless a child is legally emancipated – given the rights of an adult – a child has very limited rights, leaving children trapped in a marriage with an adult.

Last month New York banned children under 17 from marrying. Previously minors as young as 14 were allowed to in New York.

The Independent article is here.

 

Mixed Marriages

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court case that overturned anti-miscegenation laws nationwide. In the Loving case, a black woman and a white man had been sentenced to a year in a Virginia prison for marrying each other. Is the anniversary permitting mixed marriages still relevant?

As the New York Times reports on a similar couple in California, for their first date, in 1949, Leon Watson and Rosina Rodriquez headed to the movie theater. But each entered separately. First went Ms. Rodriquez, a fair-skinned woman. Mr. Watson, who is black, waited several minutes before going in and sitting next to her.

When they married in Oakland in 1950, mixed-race marriage had just become legal in California, the result of a lawsuit that reached the State Supreme Court. They are among the oldest living interracial couples legally married in the United States. It would be nearly two decades before all couples like them across the country were allowed to marry.

Florida Law

Although it seems strange these days, Florida outlawed marriages between a couple in which one of the couple is white and the other is black. While those laws are all unconstitutional and of no force, at the time, Florida was not the only southern state to do so.

Loving v. Virginia

In 1958, after receiving a marriage license in Washington, D.C., the Lovings returned home to Central Point, Va., where weeks later, police burst into their bedroom late one night to arrest them. That ultimately led to a legal battle against Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court almost a decade later.

Same Sex Marriage

Why is Loving still relevant? In the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving, Chief Justice Earl Warren emphasized the central importance of the freedom to marry. He also spoke on the Fourteenth Amendment’s requirement that race not be the basis for excluding any couple from that freedom.

Fast-forward to 2013 when, in United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court took the same approach in Loving, when it upheld New York’s authority to recognize same-sex marriage.

The Windsor Court ruled that, once married under New York law, a couple could not be denied federal benefits just because the two people in that marriage shared a gender identity.

Many connections have been drawn between same-sex marriage cases, and Loving, the 1967 ruling that legalized interracial marriage nationwide. For instance, both the mixed-marriage and same-sex marriage cases spoke of marriage as a “fundamental right.”

Also, in both cases people who argued against mixed-race and same-sex marriage raised the concerns about whether or not children were disadvantaged or harmed, and if the state or the country had a duty to protect children from that potential harm. Although it seems like an odd argument today, many opposed to same-sex marriages argued whether or not children who grow up with same-sex parents will be psychologically, emotionally, or socially harmed.

The New York Times article is here.

 

Outlaw Divorce?

Swaziland’s King Mswati III has told leaders that it is against culture to divorce, and instructed them to tell citizens that there will be no pulling out from marriage, once it takes place. So much for no fault divorce in Swaziland.

Swaziland Divorce

King Mswati III of Swaziland is Africa’s last absolute monarch. The 49-year old king who calls himself “the lion,” owns most of the country’s land and rules by decree, appointing all of the government’s top positions. Now he may make Swaziland the first country in Africa to outlaw divorce.

“In our culture, once you marry someone, there is no turning back,” he said  speaking at an Easter ceremony earlier this month, according to a local paper, Times of Swaziland. There is no word for “divorce” in Siswati, the official language of Swaziland, the king added.

Swaziland officials have been quick to clarify that divorce has not been officially banned. The king’s comments, which are not a decree until he officially tables them, run counter to a recently submitted marriage bill by Swaziland’s attorney general that allows for divorce on certain grounds.

Divorce is not permitted under current legislation, but a process called Kumbuyisela ekhaya, which refers to reuniting a married woman with her family, is allowed.

King Mswati III has at least 15 wives, and is entitled to a new one every year, chosen at an eight day festival known as the reed dance. Polygamy is common in Swaziland where women are considered the property of their husbands. Domestic abuse and sexual violence are prevalent. Leaders often criticize ideas of equal rights for women as foreign values that should be subordinated to Swazi culture, according to Human Rights Watch.

Divorce Around the World

The Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is illegal for most of the country’s population. (Muslims are allowed to divorce and the country’s mostly Catholic population can annul marriages.) In Vatican City, there are also no procedures for divorce.

Florida, of course is a “no fault” divorce state. I mentioned in an a earlier post that Florida abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. The only reason you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” But many people want to return to the old “fault” system to stem the numbers of divorces.

The King’s directive comes as the kingdom’s attorney-general is drafting a marriage Bill which will make it easier to divorce, particularly for women. The king’s wish is likely to become law, if he formally tables it. This would mostly affect women, whom it says are already oppressed.

“It is not necessarily a decree. However, given the vast powers that the king has it may sound as it is. Remember that he’s also a chairperson of the judiciary commission. I’m just imagining women going there to demand a divorce given that the judge himself will be worried about his job after they had to contradict their boss; in this case the king,” said Lucky Lukhele from the Swaziland Solidarity Network.

The article is available here.

 

Is the Marriage Rate Increasing or Decreasing?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

You can’t have a divorce without marriage. So it is interesting to see what the marriage trends are. In the United States, the marriage rate is at a low point.

Worse, the number of marriages across the U.S. fell more than 5% during the recession. But a new analysis projects that pent-up demand and the large population of marriage-eligible couples, means the marriage rate may start to increase. The article can be read in USA Today.

Projections from the private company Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, Va., says a 4% increase in the number of weddings since 2009 is predicted depending on the economic recovery. They also expect this trend to continue through 2015.

A closer inspection of the marriage rate reveals that it differs among socio-economic groups and by education levels. Rates decline among those with a high school education or less, younger Americans, and the less affluent. However, among women ages 25-34, the college-educated and the affluent, the numbers are increasing.

“Declines in weddings are likely to set in towards the end of the decade, even though the number of young adults is increasing, because of the nation’s ongoing retreat from marriage,” the report notes.

From 2007 to 2009, the number of marriages each year fell The new forecast predicts the marriage rate to remain at the record low of 6.8 marriages per 1,000 population for 2013 (where it’s been since 2009).

This projected increase in weddings may mark a turnaround, but it’s not going to boost the low marriage rate, experts say.