Do I stand to gain anything from a fault-based divorce as opposed to a no-fault divorce?
Pennsylvania divorce attorney WIlliam Phelan
While I am not licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Pennsylvania, in order for the Court to take up a divorce case and hear the related issues, it needs to have proper grounds to do so. Pennsylvania is one of the few states remaining that will allow grounds due to the fault of one party (e.g., adultery, desertion, imprisonment, indignities). However most cases in Pennsylvania are granted grounds on a non-fault basis, especially in instances when the parties consent to the divorce taking place.
As an illustrative example, you are allowed to attain a divorce on the fault ground of adultery. Typically, the spouse who was cheated on will need to request a special hearing to prove to the trier of fact that the adultery occurred. If the adultery is proven, then the Court will issue a grounds order saying that the divorce may eventually be granted due to the fault of the cheating spouse.
In contrast, a no-fault divorce usually does not require any such special hearings.
Due to the extremely fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction to see how Massachusetts’ laws can specifically help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in Massachusetts and how they particularly impact your potential case.
How long does divorce take if both parties agree on everything?
Pennsylvania attorney Cassandra A. Colombo
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips in divorce.
If you and the other parent of your child(ren) agree on a custody schedule- if your state is similar to the state that I am licensed in, Pennsylvania – it can be as quick as having an attorney draft a Custody Agreement for you and it will be put in place once approved by the Judge and the Order is signed. As we have no control over when the Judge signs Orders we cannot say exactly how long it will take but typically this can be done as quickly as within a week.
To ensure that your agreement is satisfactory and to assist in drafting the Custody Agreement, I would recommend contacting one of our Cordell & Cordell offices in your state.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.
The unique experience of being a father cannot be denied.
Regardless if you are married, have never been married, or are divorced, your
place in your child’s life matters.
Your child benefits from having you in their life. Countless studies support the physical and
mental health benefits that children experience by having both parents in their
life, and each father has the ability to provide a unique experience to their
child’s life that only they can.
You need a family law attorney, like the ones at Cordell & Cordell, who understands
the unique plight of a father in those circumstances and will do everything
that they can to ensure your place in your child’s life.
Each day, your child grows, matures, and experiences moments
of life that should be a part of. You should be there to help them ride a
bicycle for the first time, just as you should be there to help them with their
homework. These moments are precious, and this Father’s Day, you should be with
them living those precious moments together.
From all of us at Men’s Divorce, we would like to wish all of dads out there a happy father’s day.
From the moment that you first lay eyes on your child, they
become your world and who you are. You and your co-parent become responsible
for that little one, regardless of your marital status.
From their perspective, you and your co-parent become their world
too. They need you both to love, nurture, and provide for them, and on Father’s
Day, it is important to understand what these dads are providing, especially
those who have gone through a divorce and have
to fight for their place in their child’s life.
During those moments of uncertainty, it is imperative that you have a family law attorney who understands the unique circumstances of your case and will fight for your place in your child’s life. They can assist you in child custody-related matters and guide you through some of the more challenging moments of the divorce experience.
As difficult as these challenges and the number of adjustments to your life and the life of your child that have to be made, it does not diminish the importance of your role in your child’s life. Regardless of the amount of time that you spend with your child, your child benefits from having you active and present.
Arizona State study
Arizona State University researchers looked at the effects of the quantity and quality of parenting time, questioning whether it is the quantity or the quality of parenting time that is more important to the child’s outcome. They also questioned whether parenting time should be limited in families where there is high conflict between divorced parents.
They found that when a father has too little of parenting
time with his child, it creates a long-term risk in the physical and mental
health of the child. The researchers also discovered that both the children and
the noncustodial fathers were shown to want more time with one another.
The researchers stated that even if a divorced father and
mother have frequent conflict with one another over parenting and other issues
regarding their child, the child still is better off spending as much time as
possible with both parents.
This is important for fathers. They often find themselves in a family court motivated by pervasive gender stereotypes that automatically give custody to the mother regardless of the mother or father’s abilities to love, nurture, and provide for the child. The father often gets less parenting time with the child and is forced to pay child support, regardless of whom the primary earner may have been during the marriage.
Policy, and Law study
When it comes to less parenting time, it is important to
understand how detrimental less time with a father can be, especially when a
child is an infant or a toddler. According to a study
published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology,
Public Policy, and Law, infants and toddlers benefit from frequent overnight
stays in their father’s home.
“Not only did overnight parenting time with fathers during infancy and toddlerhood cause no harm to the mother-child relationship, it actually appeared to benefit children’s relationships with both their mothers and their fathers,” said lead author William Fabricius in a news release. “Children who had overnights with their fathers when they were infants or toddlers had higher quality relationships with their fathers, as well as with their mothers when they were 18 to 20 years old than children who had no overnights.”
Malin Bergstrom, a researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies, found in her study that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, that children who lived with both of their separated parents reported significantly fewer problems than children who lived with only one parent.
The University of Missouri reported in their study that children have been shown to improve their academics, as long as they stay attached to both of their separated parents.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
You are a part of that equation. As a parent, it is
important to acknowledge your co-parent’s place in your child’s life, while
respecting your own. You both have a responsibility and obligation to your
child, which is why communication can be so beneficial.
It is beneficial for your self-esteem to realize that Father’s Day is your day. This is the day that commemorates the place that you have in the lives of your children. This is the day that you should be able to spend letting your children know how much of who you are is defined by your love for them.
By making the most of Father’s Day and spending these
precious moments with your children, you are engaging in your identity.
Subsequently, you also are engaging in your relationship with your children,
forging deeper bonds and being the active parent that they need you to be.
When you get married, your world becomes your spouse’s world, and their world becomes your world. The ins and outs of your previous lives are exposed for one another, and you, as a newly married spouse, are asked to embrace these changes and the previous aspects of your new partner’s life.
For many adults who have gone through a previous divorce and have since remarried, that includes children. Your new spouse is asked to embrace them as their own and be the loving stepparent that the children need during this time of change and transition.
Changes in your new spouse’s life
For you, as their parent, you may not fully understand the drastic change occurring in your new spouse’s life, but it is important to remember that your new spouse was not a part of the birth of your children. They may hold an apprehensive attitude toward getting involved in decisions regarding your children.
In addition, you have to factor in your co-parent. A new adult is being thrust into an important role in their children’s lives, and they may have something to say about it all.
Depending on your relationship with your ex-spouse, you have a difficult situation on your hands. If there are a lot of emotions still fueling your ex-spouse’s decision-making, they have the option of pursuing legal action.
Speak to your attorney
Even if that is the worst case scenario and not a likely outcome, it may be beneficial to speak to your family law attorney, if you believe that your ex-spouse may take action to limit your new spouse’s exposure to your children.
Utilizing the services of a family law attorney who understands the unique circumstances that you may be facing will keep you prepared for the difficult road of a child custody fight. Fathers can find themselves with the short end of the stick, when it comes to child custody situations, and having a lawyer who understands their plight will make all of the difference.
In situations regarding discipline, it is necessary that all involved co-parents communicate, regarding the events that led to the disciplinary action taken, as well as the subsequent punishment. They need to set a consistent standard of behavior in both households that the child is expected to follow.
Communication between the co-parents also should take place outside of situations involving discipline. If a child has an issue at school or among their friends, sharing this type of information can help all parties prepare for ways of helping the child.
If a child has a basketball game, choir concert, church retreat, or some other type of activity that may require them to utilize time that would have been spent with the opposite parent, as per the outline of the parenting plan, communication will allow the opposite parent and their spouse to adjust their plans and enjoy attending whatever activity the child may be involved in.
Involving the children in this type of positive communication also can be beneficial. It allows all co-parents to promote one another’s roles in a child’s life.
This is especially important for your spouse, who still is trying to navigate their way in a child’s life and is uncertain about the role that they play in their development.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
For them, part of it comes from their lack of experience in parenting. They may not know all of the ins and outs of it and can sometimes get flustered at the level of responsibility. There also is an element of vigilance required when being in the role of a parent. Making sure a child is safe and their well-being is taken care of is vital, and for someone who is new to the job, these types of expectations can be intimidating.
As the parent, you should be able to relate to some of the early jitters you may have experienced when your first child was born. You may not have known what to do or how to act at the time, but that does not mean you did not try.
Positive reinforcement will be appreciated. Your spouse is trying to be the best stepparent possible, and in those uncharted waters, they are searching for their new sense of normal, as well. Luckily, they have you to help them.
Balancing the adjustments of a new marriage and being a parent may not be the easiest tasks, especially in situations involving an uneasy ex-spouse making child custody difficult, but having someone by your side can give you the necessary strength to soldier through the toughest of situations.
Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner and Men’s Divorce’s sponsor attorney-CPA Joseph E. Cordell has been named an honoree of the 2019 ICON Award from Missouri Lawyers Weekly for his notable and sustained success and leadership both within and beyond the field of law.
The ICON Awards, launched in 2018, are presented to distinguished attorneys age 60 and older in recognition of their exemplary careers and longstanding commitment to the Missouri legal community. Click here to learn more about the ICON Awards.
Along with 26 other attorneys from around the state, Mr. Cordell will be celebrated at the second annual ICON Awards luncheon, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, May, 31, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. Cordell, along with the other honorees will be profiled in print and online in a special section of Missouri Lawyers Weekly, which will be published May 27.
Mr. Cordell is licensed to practice law in the states of Missouri and Illinois. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law and his bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Oklahoma State University. He and his wife also are graduates of the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo., where he presently resides as an adjunct faculty member.
In 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Cordell generously made a gift commitment of $1 million to establish and endow the Cordell & Cordell Visiting Professorship at the Washington University School of Law. In 2017, the couple was award the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus, and in 2018, Mr. and Mrs. Cordell pledged a donation to Washington University to establish a new institute, the Joseph and Yvonne Cordell Institute for Policy in Medicine and Law, to study issues of ethics, medicine, and law.
This institute’s stated mission is to “pioneer an ethical data-driven future, promoting health and protecting people.”
Mr. Cordell is a graduate of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and holds a Missouri CPA license. He also is the past president of the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs and the current AAA-CPA Missouri Chapter President.
Cordell & Cordell
When he was in law school, Mr. Cordell envisioned himself practicing in areas related to family law and personal planning. However, in 1990, while practicing general law, Mr. Cordell noticed that most of his clients were coming to his firm, Cordell & Cordell, for domestic relations help.
“During the course of that experience, I couldn’t help but notice the challenges consistently facing the guys’ side of the table, when it came to custody, maintenance issues, and accusations of domestic violence,” said Mr. Cordell.
Since co-founding Cordell & Cordell with his wife, Yvonne, Mr. Cordell and his team of more than 200 family law attorneys have helped thousands of men going through divorce. With offices in 35 states, as well as an office in the United Kingdom, Cordell & Cordell has remained a prominent partner for men in need of a partner they can count on for over 25 years.
Cordell Planning Partners
As he has gotten older and watched his family age, he wanted to return to his original focus from his days in law school: helping clients plan for the uncertainty of the future.
As a Senior Partner and Founder at Cordell Planning Partners, Mr. Cordell has renewed his commitment to assisting clients and their loved ones in the next chapter in their life. By helping them navigate the intricacies of Medicaid planning, trusts, Powers of Attorney, estate planning, wills, and many more areas of elder law, he has made a commitment to making seniors feel secure when it comes to the future.
Forging his own path
Mr. Cordell also has been an accomplished author, writing informational books dedicated to helping men who are facing family law issues. “Your Civil War: A Father’s Guide for Winning Child Custody,” “Divorce Full-Force: The Guide for Guys,” and “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce” all highlight the strategies that men need to utilize during the divorce experience.
He also is the founder of MensDivorce.com and DadsDivorce.com, popular resources for divorced men and fathers, where he contributes articles, videos, podcasts, and other content. Mr. Cordell also founded MensRights.com, a website focused on empowering, educating, and directing men to resources and advocates when their basic rights are violated or compromised because of their gender.
Mr. Cordell has been highlighted in numerous national media outlets to share his knowledge on family law and to engage with the breaking news occurring in the legal industry. These outlets include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, USA Today, Time Magazine, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg Radio, and many local and regional television and radio outlets.
When you were younger and pictured your life, you may have had a specific idea in your head of how you wanted it to look. You may have wanted to be working at a specific job, driving a specific car, or living in a specific city.
For others, your picture included the perfect relationship. You pictured the perfect marriage with the perfect children, and you lived happily ever after in your head.
Unfortunately, the perfect image of what you want your life to be is rarely what it ends up being. You have to make sacrifices, and plans change. The unpredictability of it all allows people to enter and leave as both parties see fit, and for those who are married, that may mean your spouse leaves.
As a child, no one sits in their room picturing their future and envisions a divorce. They just happen. Through events outside of the ideal design of the situation, the actions and interactions of others cause the formation of marriages, just as they cause the end of them.
As you get older and learn more about what it takes to make a relationship function, you begin to understand the warning signs of what to avoid. Even if you have gotten married or had children with someone, you still have the ability to notice things that may indicate that the relationship is not what it needs to be.
It may be something they do or say. It may be something they have done in the past. Either way, if it is bothering you to the point where you are worried about the viability of the union, then it is time to seek help.
While seeking help in your marriage through a licensed mental health professional may not be the ideal scenario you envisioned when you said “I do,” you may need to be sure that you did everything you could have possibly done, in order to save your marriage. Many people who are not sure about the viability of their relationship utilize relationship counseling as a way of putting the necessary work, and if that still does not make the marriage happy and functional, then they contact a family law attorney.
A family law attorney will be able to assess your unique situation and guide you through the divorce process. As difficult as it may, their job is to represent your best interests during a time when your sight of the situation may be clouded by emotions.
In order to choose the right family law attorney, it is essential to understand how the law firm can go about representing your interests. For men facing divorce, they can count on firms, like Cordell & Cordell, who focus on domestic litigation cases related to the rights of men and fathers and know how to represent their unique interests during divorce and child custody cases.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
During the divorce experience, you may feel a sense of numbness creeping into your mind. You just want it all to be over, but it is vital to your future that you maintain your focus. As challenging as it may be, you may be starting your new life at a disadvantage if you fail to maintain your focus during the divorce process.
With the divorce settled, the design of your life is at a crossroads, and it is up to you to decide how it is handled. You may have to deal with aspects of your previous life, such as alimony, child support, or child custody issues, that can affect your financial future, but they do not control you or how the design of your life looks after the divorce experience. You get to decide that for yourself.
That decision should not be dictated by your childhood ideals of what your life should look like. One of the most important things to remember is that the ideal version of your life that you may have had as a child did not account for the personal growth and experiences that have formed you into the person you are today. The foresight necessary to factor those variables into the situation is not yet present in a child’s mind, making their ability to predict the lasting presence of a future marriage nonexistent.
Therefore, life events like marriage and divorce simply are parts of the larger journey of life, and as joyous or as difficult as they may be, they are never exactly the way you may have envisioned. All you can do is make the best of your situation moving forward, creating a new design for your new life.
On top of the larger sacrifices that marriage entails, there are many smaller ones that you have to make as well. You have decided to set aside the little things that may bug you, in favor of the love that you may share with that person.
As the relationship goes on, those feelings may lessen, due to the passage of time and the changes in the interactions you may have with your spouse. This can lead to a disconnect in the way you communicate and relate to one another, setting yourselves up for possible repercussions to your relationship.
After the relationship ends through the divorce experience and the legal proceedings are over, you can find yourself looking back and noticing the things in your marriage that you ignored. These types of red flags can be hidden by the feelings you may share for the person and the children you may share together.
1. Lack of trust
For many couples, it can start and end with a lack of trust. White lies or betrayals have a way of becoming bigger when they are covered up by your significant other. It erodes emotional intimacy, and the comfort and predictability of the relationship becomes lost, according to Psychology Today.
This can be on display for the courts and the lawyers to witness during the divorce experience. Many soon-to-be ex-spouses attempt to put their trust in one another when it comes to various possessions or issues, in an effort to create a civil dialogue on the matters between the two parties.
This can be taken advantage of, and it is not a recommended legal strategy, when you are attempting to divide the marital assets and decide on important matters. These types of issues need to be handled by an attorney, and everything needs to be in writing.
During this process, it is important to have a family law attorney able to represent your interests in your unique situation. For men going through the divorce, they need an attorney who understands what the experience is like for men and can guide them through it.
Another idiosyncrasy that can dismantle a relationship and also can resurface during the divorce experience is censorship. If you find yourself walking on eggshells around your spouse and feel like you cannot be yourself or you cannot say anything without your spouse blowing up at you, then it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.
This does not just include small things like your personal preference of pizza toppings, but also includes larger issues. If you find yourself regularly keeping meaningful things to yourself in an active and deliberate way, that is a problematic and unhealthy behavior.
This issue can resurface during the course of the divorce experience. Even after the initial separation occurs, you may find yourself so used to keeping things to yourself that you do not notice the moments where you need to speak up.
This instinct may be out of habit or a general fear of speaking up and asking the questions that need to be asked during the divorce experience. This is a detrimental fear to your case and can put your future in jeopardy.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Being controlling also can sabotage a relationship and a marriage. Many spouses struggle with the notion that they are too involved in the lives of their significant others. This can lead to many exploring the divorce experience.
This type of spouse may look to criticize you on issues big and small, as well as isolate you from family and/or friends, according to Psychology Today. They can be keeping score against you and use it as guilt, in order to get their way.
This type of behavior also translates into divorce proceedings, as they may attempt to offer the best possible solutions for them that would end things as quickly as possible. While that may be a sound strategy for them and their counsel, it is not best for you, and during the divorce experience, your attorney is the only other person looking out for you, besides yourself.
You need to be able to do what is in your best interests during the divorce experience. Even though you may have grown complacent in letting your soon-to-be ex-spouse do everything during your marriage, you cannot let them be in your driver’s seat during the divorce.
These sentiments regarding standing up for yourself and making sure that you are well-represented are not exclusive to the divorce experience, however. In future relationships, you need to be a respected equal and treated as such during the course of your relationship. Otherwise, you may find yourself back in a familiar predicament.
You may be in search of understanding, and while many may be willing to show you the understanding you are seeking, there are some who will not be so empathetic. Seeking empathy after your divorce is finalized requires knowing individuals or outlets willing to show you what you are looking for.
As badly as you may wish to unload some of the emotional baggage on those around you, you can only do so if they allow it to happen. They need to be willing to be there for you on the same emotional level as you are willing to be in front of them.
Your family law attorney
Divorce is a difficult time, full of times when you feel like you need to unburden yourself. If you choose to do that with your family law attorney, it needs to be understood that they are representing you and your best interests. Their primary concern is how the facts that you unburden them with affect your case and your future.
This is a good thing. In an emotionally vulnerable time like divorce, it is important to have a partner in your corner, representing your unique interests during a time when you may be too distraught from the breakdown of your marriage to think as rationally as you may need to think. You have someone there who understands what men and fathers need and what the outcome of the divorce means for your future.
While your family law attorney and your therapist may be able to help you in many respects, you still may seek the comfort of those closest to you. You may look to engage with your parents, siblings, or other members of your family and seek the understanding that you are looking for during this difficult time.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
However, there are some issues that may arise with seeking family members as parts of your support system. If your case still is pending, confiding in them may put them in the legal spotlight with a possible subpoena, forcing them to reveal the bad facts against you and your case that you may have disclosed in private.
There also is the issue of judgment that forces many who are going through a divorce to pull back from seeking the counsel and comfort of their family during this challenging experience. Seeking the comforts of family members can sometimes signal to the family members that their opinions on the issue are just as valid as your own.
You may not want to deal with the amount or types of questions regarding the divorce, especially if there are bad facts that paint you in a negative light or if the family is from a particular religion or culture that does not see divorce as a valid option.
The best case scenario when speaking with your family members regarding your divorce is that they will be empathetic toward what you are going through and will be there for you during this difficult time in your life.
In addition to family members there are support groups out there that specialize in helping those who have gone through the divorce experience heal from the trauma of the situation. They help you combat any of the negative feelings or inclinations you may be experiencing in healthy ways and can alleviate the stress you may be experiencing through the discussion of common experiences.
It is natural to seek understanding for the end of a relationship, particularly with the commitment of marriage involved. You want to know that someone else knows what you are going through, and while the details of the end of your marriage may be different than others, the emotions of loss, pain, and anger may be more universal than you previous realized.
It is essential that you seek the support of others and find that empathy. You cannot allow these feelings to be bottled up inside or to be used to justify unhealthy and unwise behaviors. Even if you did not actively make the choice to end an unhappy and dysfunctional marriage, you still can make the active choice to put yourself first and seek help to what ails you.
The emotions attached to the divorce process are unique to the individual. You may feel happy that you are finally free of a dysfunctional marriage. You may feel angry that all of the time, love, and effort you put into the marriage is all for not.
You may feel guilty with the idea that you and your co-parent could not make your relationship work, and now your shared children will have to have two separate homes and have to process the end of their parents’ marriage.
One of the more common emotions attached to the divorce experience is shame.
When you are having marital problems, you may not want others to know about them. You may hold a sense of shame close to you, because you are embarrassed that you and your spouse cannot seem to work through your problems.
Hitting dead ends with personal issues can hurt your pride, and having others know how deeply your pride is hurt can bring feelings of shame to the forefront.
The fear of humiliation can be a powerful motivation for actions during this challenging time. You may look to appease your spouse, just to avoid a divorce without considering what actually may be broken in your relationship or considering what is best for you.
Divorce and shame
When all of it becomes too much, and the divorce process begins, saying the word, “divorce” out loud carries weight. It feels heavy, because attached to it is the shame that society and culture has given it. The concept that marriage is a lifetime commitment incites a sense of shame for those that are unable to sustain their marriages.
You may find the shame to be too much, and for many, this is the case. They may have family members from various religious or cultural walks of life that do not believe in the concept of divorce, making it a taboo subject to discuss.
This can severely limit your support system, especially if you are particularly close with these family members that vocally do not support your exit from an unhappy and dysfunctional marriage.
While it is unfortunate to have individuals in your life not support your decision to divorce your spouse, you cannot allow the shame of what they think or feel to prevent you from living your life. In succumbing to the shame of their thoughts and feelings of the institution of divorce, you are acting against your best interests and damaging your physical, mental, and emotional well-being in the process.
You need to focus on what is best for you, your future, and your children, if you have them.
They are going to be dealing with a level of shame in their daily lives. Whether it is being faced at school or among their friends, they will be facing questions.
It is important for you to maintain a clear outlook and not allow potentially paralyzing reality that your children are facing this to prevent you from helping them to the best of your abilities. You need to consistently remind them that even though you and your co-parent are no longer together, the both of you love them very much and will always be there for them.
You need to emphasize an open line of communication. They need to know that they can tell you anything, because what they are going through is unique, in comparison to what you and your ex-spouse are going through. They rely on the both of you, and for the both of you to no longer be together is a challenging adjustment that can bring about a wealth of emotions, including shame.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
It is important both for your sake and your children’s sakes that you help yourself during this difficult time. You need to sort through what ails you, and just like you would if it were something physical, you need to rely on a mental health professional when your mental and emotional health begins to deteriorate.
In taking steps to help yourself, you can rebuild your confidence and leave shame behind. You can move past your divorce and focus on building a life for yourself and your children, utilizing the present instead of focusing on the past.