Facebook Fueling Divorce Rates in England

According to England’s Telegraph newspaper, social networking website Facebook is beginning to show up as a common cause of divorce. Apparently, and English law firm is claiming that nearly 20% of petitions for divorce they deal with now contain some reference to Facebook. Apparently more and more people are having inappropriate sexual chats with people they used to know. Additionally, “flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behavior,” according to the article.

Remember, while you may think your online activities are private or anonymous, you never know who is watching.

Facebook Fueling Divorce Rates

More Wives Paying Spousal Maintenance

As women continue to make advances in the work place, more than just the size of their paycheck is changing. One by product of women earning as much or more than men is that more wives are paying maintenance (sometimes called alimony) to their ex-husbands. Forbes Magazine reports that another effect is that women are becoming more protective of their earnings.

In fact, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 44% of attorneys included in a recent survey said they’ve seen an increase in women asking for prenuptial agreements over the last five years, where in previous decades, prenuptial agreements were almost always sought by men.

A lot of women are indignant now that the shoe is increasingly on the other foot, says Carol Ann Wilson, a certified financial divorce practitioner in Boulder, Colo. “There’s this sense of, ‘What’s yours is ours, but what’s mine is mine,'” Wilson says. “My first response to that is, ‘All these years we have been looking for equality; well, this is what it looks like.’ I think women get angrier about having to pay than men do.

Just as some women object to men’s request for spousal support, some men are particularly uncomfortable seeking it. Either they find it emasculating to ask, or they find the idea of receiving an allowance from their ex-wives humiliating, according to divorce attorneys.

How to Tell Your Children About Divorce

There is no easy or “right” way to tell your children that their parents are separating or divorcing. It is inevitable that the divorce will have a devestating impact on their emotional and psychological well-being. But you can control how your children learn of the event and help them start down the road to dealing with it.

  • It’s best to tell your children together, simply, honestly and directly.
  • Don’t go into detail about why or bash your spouse.
  • It’s okay to reveal your sadness, while allowing them to also show their feelings.
  • If you’re separating and not sure about divorce, don’t make predictions or promises you can’t keep.
  • Try to keep things as consistent as possible.

It is important to encourage the children to have a relationship with the other parent. You may be divorcing your spouse, but neither of you is abandoning your children. Never impose your views onto your children, let them form their own decisions about the other parent. Divorce can be challenging enough for children, do not make it worse by making them pawns in your game.

Find the Meeting Point

Parents involved in a Montana divorce often find themselves meeting halfway for child exchanges. MeetWays.com is a great website for those parents struggling to find a point of interest between two addresses. Simply enter the address for you and your spouse and the site will give you the exact halfway point and a list of points of interest in the area.

Meetways Website

Tips to Reduce Legal Fees in Divorce

Divorce in Montana is expensive. Not only are people suddenly living on half their previous income, but suddenly they are expected to begin paying attorneys fees. But I will let you in on a secret. As much as I like to get paid, I would prefer a prepared client who makes the work easy and for whom I can keep expenses low. Here are a few tips that will help keep your divorce lawyer’s bill as low as possible:

  1. Be prepared to supply relevant financial documents, including bank and financial statements, tax returns, mortgage applications, loan documents and credit card bills.
  2. Do not fight over assets that are of limited value. It simply does not make sense to litigate and run up huge legal bills that will dwarf the value of the assets you may recover.
  3. Pick your battles and remember: moral victories cost money. You may want to be proven right or vindicated, but if it does not advance your case, consider conserving your resources.
  4. Recognize that when you communicate with your divorce lawyer, the meter is running.  When you call your attorney, do it from a room where you will not be interrupted and can talk openly. And do not take other telephone calls while speaking with your attorney, unless you want to pay for her to sit and wait.
  5. Be candid with your attorney. In litigation, lies and falsehoods are always discovered.
  6. Don’t litigate to be vindictive. This is a sure path to large legal fees.

In the end, if you want to keep your bills low: be prepared, professional, reasonable, and honest. But remember, the biggest wildcard in any Montana divorce case is your spouse.

Updating Will and Estate Planning Documents After a Divorce

After a divorce is finalized in Montana and a dissolution decree entered, many clients forget that there are other financial issues that need to be dealt with. Here are a few financial issues you should consider:

Who is the pay on death beneficiary for my bank account, life insurance policy or retirement account?

Remember, updating your will or getting divorced does not automatically change the beneficiary designation. You have to be proactive.

If you want to make sure those accounts do not designate your former spouse, contact your bank and insurance underwriters to make the necessary changes.

Do you have a will and have you updated the will to reflect the changes in your life?

I always recommend clients do some estate planning, even if they do not think it is necessary. Anytime there are major life changes, including divorce, the birth of a child, or death of a family member, clients should revisit that document and make any needed changes.

Along with a will, clients should also have:

  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Health Care Directive or Living Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney

Do you need to set up a trust account for your children?

Often times, clients do not want their children to inherit large sums of money all at once. In order to address that concern, many clients set up a trust to handle the funds or property until the children are older. The largest sum is often proceeds of a life insurance policy. In order to transfer the funds to a trust, you will need to set up a trust and name the children’s trust as the beneficiary.

Montana Prenuptial Agreements

In Montana, a prenuptial agreement is a good way for an engaged couple to protect their assets prior to marriage and long before divorce is even a consideration.  And these agreements are not something that only the wealthy should consider.  Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial to couples considering a second marriage, particularly when children are involved, and in cases where there is disparate wealth. Also, it may be a good idea to consider one where wealth is just a possibility.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract made by two prospective spouses before entering into marriage. The agreement describes how property and assets will be divided in the event of divorce or death, but it can also address other issues.  For example, a prenuptial agreement might outline how property will be acquired during the marriage; how it be will be classified for equitable distribution purposes in the event of divorce; how the parties’ estates will be handled if the marriage ends by death, and whether maintenance (also known as alimony) will be paid if the marriage ends in divorce.

In order to ensure that your prenuptial agreement will be upheld in court if challenged, both parties should each seek legal representation. One attorney cannot represent you both.  An experienced matrimonial lawyer will be able guarantee that the agreement is properly executed.  If your future spouse is also represented, you will have some assurance against future claims that the agreement was a result of fraud, undue influence, coercion or duress.

Finally, be sure to discuss the prenuptial agreement as soon as possible.  You should plan on having the agreement signed and in place well before the wedding.  Your marriage ceremony is for celebrating, not worrying over legal documents.

Choosing the Right Divorce Lawyer

Selecting your divorce lawyer is one of the most important decisions of your case, especially in the small legal communities of Montana. Ideally, you will find an attorney who is skilled, competent, and regularly handles family law and divorce cases. Also, look for someone who is responsive and going to communicate with you during the divorce process. Active and positive communication with your attorney will make a positive difference throughout your case. You can ask friends and family members for recommendations, but in the end you will have to trust your own judgment.

Generally, your relationship with your divorce lawyer starts with a consultation. This initial meeting usually lasts about an hour and is your first glimpse into what your prospective-attorney is like. First impressions matter. Remember, it is not just you who will be interacting with this person: adverse attorneys, judges, and possibly even a jury will all experience something very similar to what you go through during the consultation. Make sure that this is a person you want representing you and your interests. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. If you knew all the answers, there would be no need for lawyers. And pay attention to how the prospective lawyer reacts. Is he annoyed? Does he actually answer your question, or at least try to? Some attorneys, especially those who do not practice divorce law very often may not have a firm grasp of the laws involved, and to cover for this inadequacy may simply dodge the question entirely. That being said, I am occasionally asked a question during a consultation for which I do not have an immediate answer. I always acknowledge this, make a note of the issue, and promise to get back to them once I have had a chance to research it. If a divorce lawyer promises to get back to you with an answer, make sure that they actually do.

Remember, this is your chance to evaluate a prospective divorce lawyer. Take advantage of it. This is a person you will be sharing intimate details regarding a personal and painful period of your life. It should be someone you trust to be knowledgeable and to look out for your best interests.