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Divorce has a way of impacting nearly every part of your life.

The costs of divorce – attorney fees, child support, alimony, and more – can wreck your finances. Depending on how the division of property goes, your living situation can drastically change. And worst of all, divorce can even change the amount of time you get to spend with your children.

With so much at stake, it is understandable if you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed. That can take a huge toll on both your mind and body.

It is critical to be proactive in taking steps to minimize the physical and mental strain of divorce so that you maintain your overall health.

Go to the doctor

Men face a number of increased health risks in the wake of divorce. The long-term consequences of the stress that comes with the divorce process can lead to some very serious long-term issues, some of which are even life-threatening.

In general, men seem less inclined to take care of their health, even when they are not going through divorce. Men are often more reluctant to go to the doctor, and that almost certainly contributes to a lower life expectancy than women.

At the very least, you should go in for an annual checkup, especially if you have a family history of certain ailments.

Your doctor can provide a roadmap to help lower your risk factor of developing serious conditions and help you deal with any preexisting conditions.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
See a therapist

Looking after your mental well-being is every bit as important as taking care of your physical health. The emotional turmoil of divorce can create a spiral of anxiety and depression that seems unending.

When the stress seems overwhelming, there is no shame in asking for help. You might reach a point where it is beneficial to seek the professional guidance of a licensed mental health professional.

Some men might feel hesitant to open up about their feelings. Traditional views of masculinity emphasize the importance of toughness, fearlessness, and invulnerability to pain, but these unrealistic notions are counterproductive and prevent many men from seeking the help they need.

Not only will a therapist allow you to vent about what you are going through, but they are qualified to recognize the symptoms of depression and can determine the best way to treat the disorder.

Divorce is not the time to hold things in. That is only going to make things worse. A therapist can help you manage the negative feelings you are experiencing and help you get back on your feet.

Avoid bad habits

One of the factors contributing to the increased health risks men face during and after divorce is their propensity to fall into bad habits.

With so much stress and frustration, there is a natural temptation to try to drown your sorrows in a case of beer or bottle of liquor, but self-medicating with alcohol is a slippery slope.

Research shows men are more likely to binge drink during divorce. Not only is this a risky behavior health-wise, but it could potentially be used as evidence to paint you as an unfit father during your child custody case.

Another mistake a lot of guys make immediately after divorce is jumping into a rebound relationship too quickly and becoming a habitual dater. Starting a new relationship too soon after divorce makes it more likely that someone ends up  hurt – whether that is you or the person you are dating.

You can find love again after divorce, but it is important to be responsible as you manage your dating life.

The post How To Stay Healthy During A Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Surviving divorce is no easy task no matter how tough you are. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce is the second-most stressful life event behind only the death of a spouse or child.

Divorce recovery is a process that takes a lot of time and meticulous self-care. It is a process that oftentimes takes guys longer to bounce back from than women.

There are numerous factors that make moving on after divorce so difficult. When you get married and start a family, you think you have your future figured out, but divorce flips your plans upside down, forcing you to start from scratch and rebuild many of the most important aspects of your life.

However, surviving divorce is possible, no matter how nasty things get between you and your ex. Divorce recovery is a slow process, but with patience, focus, and really hard intentional work, you can do it.

Here are some tips and strategies that should help you figure out how to cope with divorce and avoid post-divorce depression.

Focus on being a great dad

One of the toughest parts of divorce for fathers is that too often dads get the short end of the stick in child custody decisions. Despite the shared parenting movement’s enormous progress, many judges still default to automatically awarding primary custody to mothers.

This is why it is important at the very beginning of the divorce process to get in touch with a family law attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights. Divorce is uniquely challenging for dads, so you should make sure you hire an attorney who understands what you are facing.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Regardless of what your child custody arrangement ends up looking like, you should use the time during and following a divorce to focus on becoming the best father you can possibly be for your children.

Doing everything you can to ensure your children have an active and engaged father involved in their lives is one of the best things you can do to offset the negative impact divorce can have on children. While research shows that children of divorce are at risk for an array of negative consequences, the root cause of those ramifications has more to do with how the divorce affects their relationship with their parents rather than the event of divorce itself.

Depending on the age of your children, they might initially end up with some hard feelings toward you after your divorce. It is possible they blame you for the breakup and harbor resentment. It is critical for you to acknowledge the emotions they are feeling and give them an outlet to vent, whether that is to you, a trusted family member, or counselor.

By encouraging open communication and honesty, you can start to rebuild trust with your children.

Another big part of being a good father to your children in the aftermath of divorce is working with your ex to establish a strong co-parenting relationship. This can be particularly tough if your divorce was not amicable. Even if you and your ex have hard feelings, you need to agree to put your differences aside so that you can effectively co-parent. Your children’s well-being should be the top priority for both of you.

Effective co-parenting requires clear communication, flexibility, and cooperation. If your ex refuses to cooperate, you might need to consider a parallel parenting arrangement, which is a high-conflict co-parenting model designed to shield children from whatever disagreements their parents might have.

If you are unable to obtain a 50/50 custody arrangement and are only allotted a limited amount of parenting time or visitation, then you will need to do what you can to make the most of the amount of time you do have with your children. With such a limited amount of time, it might be tempting to try to turn every outing into a special occasion, but avoid becoming a “Disneyland Dad” and instead concentrate on building meaningful connections with your kids.

Take care of your health

The stress and emotional turmoil of the divorce process results in some very serious health risks for guys. Divorce increases the rate of early mortality for men by up to 250 percent. Studies show divorced men have increased rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and cancer.

Divorce is so draining that it becomes very easy to shut down. At the end of the day, you might just want to crash on the couch with some beer, pizza, and Netflix.

There is nothing wrong with taking an occasional night to regroup and veg on the recliner, but don’t make that habitual.

There is a very strong relationship between body and mind, and exercise is proven to be one of the best reducers of stress and anxiety. So hit the gym, go for a bike ride, walk around the park, or even jump into a pick-up basketball game with some buddies. Just make sure you are staying physically active, even when you do not feel like it.

You also will want to make sure your diet doesn’t tank. According to a study published in Social Science & Medicine, male nutrition tends to decline after breakups. If your wife did all the cooking in your relationship then you will need to learn how to cook healthy meals for yourself.

Just as important as keeping yourself physically fit is looking after your mental health. Many guys battle depression and anxiety after going through a divorce. These are issues that can spiral if you fail to get the support that you need.

Some men really struggle opening up about their relationship issues, so it might be worth enlisting the help of a licensed mental health professional. You also might consider taking up practicing mindfulness and daily mediation, as it is widely considered one of the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety.

Personal development

Striving to become a better parent and taking care of your physical and mental health all tie into the larger picture of overall personal development.

When you were married, your relationship with your spouse probably formed an enormous part of your identity. That all changes after divorce, but it also presents an opportunity for you to really focus on self-improvement.

Now that you are single, you likely have more time to take up new hobbies that you always wanted to try. In addition to doing everything possible to become a better dad, you also can devote tremendous energy to advancing your career and putting yourself in a better financial position moving forward.

The key to personal development is identifying specific areas of your life that need improvement and then coming up with a realistic strategy to make progress. So if career success is a goal of yours, maybe there is a promotion you can work for. If you feel getting into better shape is important for you, then set a weight-loss goal. Just make sure you are taking steps to keep your life moving in a positive direction.

The post 3 Tips To Survive (And Thrive) After Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Question:

Child support for my son was initially opened in New York and also closed in New York. I later moved to Texas while my son, who is now 18, moved to Virginia.

Since neither of us no longer live in New York, do I still need to pay child support until age 21 since the case originated in New York?

Answer:

While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.

To properly answer your question, I would need to review all of the orders from New York, along with all of the orders from Virginia. If the case was terminated or closed in New York, and a brand new case was opened in Virginia, then I believe Virginia law would control how your child support order is handled.

If the case was simply transferred from New York to Virginia, and if Virginia follows the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, then I do not believe Virginia can modify the duration of the support order, just the amount of the support order.

Oklahoma Divorce Attorney Natalie Sears

However, this could all be moot if your son is no longer living with his mother.

I would recommend calling a Virginia family law attorney for a consultation first to review the support order that is currently in effect to see what language controls how it is implemented and terminated, along with gathering more information about your case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Oklahoma divorce lawyer Natalie Sears, contact Cordell & Cordell.

The post How To Juggle A Child Support Order In Multiple States appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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One of the biggest challenges divorced dads face in the days following a divorce is figuring out how to budget responsibly.

Divorce is often very expensive. Even after the case is settled, there are lingering expenses such as child support and alimony that can affect your finances for years to come.

Many single parents have a tough enough time paying the bills and making ends meet. Court-ordered child support stretches your money even further.

If you find yourself stuck with payments you cannot afford, it is best to check with your divorce attorney to see if a child support modification is possible. It is common for financial circumstances to change after the child support order is issued, and if that is the case then it might be possible to lower the amount you are paying each month.

If a child support modification is not in the cards, then you may need to adjust your household budget to make child support more bearable. Here are some pointers that can help you organize your budget so you are not crushed by child support arrears.

List your fixed expenses

Write down your expenses that are consistent month to month. Fixed expenses typically include bills like your mortgage or rent, car and insurance payments, and utility bills.

Once you finish listing all your monthly fixed costs, you should search for expenses that you can eliminate. Maybe you don’t watch much TV and can do without cable

Reduce discretionary spending

After determining fixed expenses, you need to look at your variable costs. Come up with estimates that you spend each month on things like gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. These are areas where you might be able to save some money with some discipline.

For example, you can carpool to work or use coupons to cut down on your grocery bill. This is probably your best opportunity to cut your spending, so get creative and really think of ways you can reduce these costs.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Create a budget you can stick to

Once you determine where all your money is going each month, create a monthly budget that includes your monthly child support payments. Before your month even begins, figure out where your money is going to go. Also factor in an amount for unplanned expenses such as car repairs, emergency health bills, and other odds and ends that invariably pop up.

Once you create a budget, stay disciplined and stick to it. Once you keep at it for a few months, it will start to get easier as this will become the lifestyle you are used to.

Find additional income

Unfortunately, even after trimming expenses and creating a monthly budget, many dads still find themselves with less money than they need to make their child support payments. In these instances, if you are unable to modify your child support order, it might be necessary to find additional sources of income.

If your schedule allows it, you might check into picking up a second job. Some fathers are just too busy to commit to a full-time second job, but there are opportunities within the “gig economy” to earn additional income. Websites like Fiverr provide an online marketplace for freelance services. You could also drive for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft. These services allow you to work whenever you want so you can keep your schedule open and earn additional money when you have some free time.

The post How To Fit Child Support In Your Budget appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Divorce is often complex, and even more so when children are involved.

Depending on you and your spouse’s financial situation, you might be required to pay child support. Divorce is expensive enough on its own, but the addition of a monthly child support payment is enough to ruin many guys’ finances.

There are a lot of misconceptions about and flaws with the child support system, and it is easy to fall behind on your payments and into arrears. When child support debt starts to accumulate, it might be worth checking with your divorce attorney to see if child support debt consolidation is a possibility.

To avoid child support debt, it is important to educate yourself on the intricacies of the system so that you avoid common child support mistakes.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Failing to report changes to your income

Perhaps the most common child support mistake dads make is failing to report changes to their financial circumstances.

The amount of money you are bringing in dictates how much child support you are expected to pay. So if you lose your job, receive a pay cut, or experience some other change in income, you might be able to file for a child support modification.

Child support modifications can be tricky, however, so it is best to discuss with your family law attorney to make sure you understand what you need to do. It also is critical to act with a sense of urgency. Child support is not adjusted automatically when your income changes, so the onus is on you to take action.

Child support modifications also are not retroactive. Changes to child support orders only go back to the date the request for the change was filed.

Making payments outside court-approved methods

When issuing a child support order, the court will list the various ways child support payments should be made. Even if you and your ex divorce on friendly terms, it still is in your best interest to make the payments through a court-approved method to protect yourself.

For example, you initially might agree to pay your ex-wife child support directly. That might work fine for a while, but down the road you might have a disagreement and she would be able to take you to court for missed payments since you did not pay through a court-approved method.

Paying past the age of emancipation

Many divorced dads mistakenly assume their child support order will automatically end once their child reaches the age of emancipation. Unfortunately, that typically is not the case, and the payments will continue unless you take action to end it.

Furthermore, your overpayment is very hard to get reimbursed if it has been spent by the receiving parent.

The age of emancipation varies by state, so make sure you know what the age is where you live. Then, when that date approaches, contact your divorce lawyer to make sure you understand the process for terminating your child support order.

If you have any questions about your child support order or are worried about making a mistake that could lead to child support debt, it is a good idea to get in touch with a men’s divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The post The Biggest Child Support Mistakes To Avoid appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Falling behind on child support payments is one of the quickest ways fathers can cripple their finances, especially in states that apply interest charges.

Child support debt can quickly snowball and lead to wage garnishment and in some cases even prison. Inherently, the child support system is especially harsh on low-income parents, so it is easy to fall behind.

When your bills start to add up and your child support debt grows, you might wonder if child support debt consolidation is possible.

If you find yourself falling into child support debt, it is critical that you act quickly to remedy to situation. A lot of divorced fathers are unsure what action to take. If that is the situation you find yourself in, you should get in touch with your divorce attorney so they can assess your options and help you decide on the best course of action.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
What are child support arrears?

Child support arrears is a term referring to past due child support owed to a custodial parent. Federal law allows states to apply interest charges if you owe child support arrears. Currently, 35 states apply interest charges. The interest rate varies by state, but can go as high as 12 percent.

Failing to make your court-assigned child support payments can lead to a range of consequences. Some common penalties for nonpayment include:

  • Warrant issued for arrest
  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Denial of tax refunds
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Exclusion from certain government benefits
  • Revocation of passport
Child support debt consolidation

If you find yourself stuck paying back child support, it might be worth considering consolidating your child support debt. If you are in a state like Colorado or Vermont, which charge 12 percent interest on child support arrears, your debt can quickly snowball, so it is a wise financial choice to utilize a low-interest-rate loan.

This is a fairly straightforward process. You take out a loan at an interest rate that is determined by your credit score and you adjust the term loan to get monthly payments you can afford. A longer-term loan will have lower monthly payments, but higher interest charges, while a shorter-term loan has more expensive payments but decreases the overall cost since interest is not as high.

After you are approved for a loan, you use those funds to pay off your child support arrears and avoid the penalties listed above. Then you pay off the loan and stay up-to-date on your child support payments to avoid new interest charges.

Personal consolidation loan

The best way to consolidate child support debt is with an unsecured personal debt consolidation loan. The reason an unsecured loan is such a good option is because it does not trade one risk for another.

Since it is unsecured, there is no collateral. If you fall behind on your loan payments, the debt goes to a collector who can take you to civil court, where you could be ordered to pay. However, the worst that can happen is wage or tax refund garnishment, so you are not facing potential jail time as you did while owing child support arrears.

Of course, as long as you keep up with the payments, it does not matter whether your loan is secured or unsecured. But if you have fallen behind on child support, money is likely tight, so that risk probably exists.

Qualifying for a loan to pay off child support

Qualifying for a personal loan to pay off child support all depends on your credit score. As long as you have decent credit, you should not have trouble getting approval. However, your credit score determines the amount you can receive and the interest rate.

Even if you qualify, that does not necessarily mean this is the best way to pay off your child support debt. First, you need to do some calculating:

  1. Figure the total amount of back child support you owe.
  2. Find out what the interest rate applied to child support arrears in your state. This will tell you how much money you need to apply for with the loan.
  3. After you apply, the lender will tell you the rate you qualify for during the underwriting process.

If you are unable to qualify for a loan large enough to cover your owed child support, this might not be the best option. If you can’t get a rate lower than the interest rate applied to your arrears, then there is even less benefit in consolidating. However, consolidation could be used to avoid jail time, and that might be enough incentive depending on your situation.

While it is important to act quickly when it comes to paying child support arrears, it is also critical that you know what you are getting yourself into before you take out a loan. This is a topic you should discuss with your divorce lawyer to determine whether child support debt consolidation is the most effective way for you to pay off your child support debt.

The post Is Child Support Debt Consolidation Possible? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer recently published a story detailing the ruthless and counterproductive way in which the Montgomery County sheriff’s department utilizes midnight raids and debtor’s prisons to target fathers with outstanding child support debt.

The article details how in Montgomery and other Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties, deputies conduct monthly overnight sweeps to capture parents who failed to pay child support, appear for court hearings, or both. Their names are then published in local newspapers and their arrests often aired on local newscasts. Although some are released the next day, others are held in jail for weeks or months at a time.

The purpose of the raids, which often are publicized on Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or back-to-school time, is to coerce payments. Nationwide, overdue child support debt has swelled by 1,000 percent since 1986 to a collective $114 billion, according to the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement. Officials insist that collecting payments is imperative so supporting the healthy upbringing of children.

Criminalizing Child Support

With that motive in mind, there has been a trend toward the criminalization of parents who fail to make their payments. A recent analysis published by the sociology journal Socius, found 14 percent of parents who owe child support end up in jail by the time their kids turn 9.

Everyone agrees that providing financial support for the upbringing of healthy children is critically important, but data suggests enforcement methods, such as these late-night raids, are entirely ineffective at reducing the amount of child support debt owed.

According to the article, five large sweeps of 1,567 people across New Jersey who owed $35 million in 2016 and 2017 brought in just $218 per person – just 1 percent of what is owed.

These methods fail because the reason many of these parents fail to make their child support payments is because they simply cannot afford them. The article cites a 2007 Urban Institute study of child support debt in Pennsylvania and eight other states that found 70 percent of all arrears were owed by people who reported an income of $10,000 or less annually.

Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found some of the most economically disadvantaged fathers still did what they could to provide in-kind support, such as baby products, clothing, and food.

System Of Debtors’ Prisons

The problem with targeting parents for child support payments they cannot afford, is that it creates a system of debtors’ prisons. Getting arrested can cause some men to lose their jobs, and since the process for modifying child support is complicated, that can lead to more debt. The situation can quickly snowball, and suddenly there is seemingly no way out. Research shows that fathers see their kids less often if they owe child support, so rather than keeping the best interests of children in mind, the system is splitting them apart.

The assumption that men are primarily the ones skimping on child support is indicative of the pervasive gender stereotypes that are so ingrained in family law matter. While much ground has been made the past several decades in terms of gender equality, fathers’ rights have become an often overlooked issue.

“This is a civil rights issue,” said Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joe Cordell in the recently-released book by Andrew L. Yarrow, “Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life.” “What civil right is more important than the role that a parent plays in a child’s life? But this civil right is the dark corner of the room. It’s an orphan. Most people are not particularly disturbed by it. There are no powerful voices.”

The post Philadelphia Inquirer Critiques Child Support System’s Flaws appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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