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Trying to hold it all together over the holidays? You’re not alone. It’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for the newly divorced or couples desperately trying to hold their marriage together, the season may be anything but wonderful.

Whether your family celebrates Hanukkah or Yule, Kwanzaa or Christmas, marital challenges do not discriminate. Conflict can present itself in the form of passive-aggressive in-laws, vindictive exes, and combative co-parents — turning holiday miracles into holiday nightmares.

This month, we will be sharing practical ways you and your loved ones can get through the holidays with minimal conflict and strife. We believe this blessing is a good place to start:

However, even when you’ve done the inner work necessary, external factors — specifically, relationships — can test us at a time when holiday-related stress is at an all-time high.

If tension threatens to diminish the intended joy, peace, and giving of the season, it may be worth creating a game-plan so you can prepare for difficult situations.

For instance, if you’re a co-parent and trying to juggle schedules and transfer kids between separate households, read our guide for developing a holiday co-parenting plan that works.

Or, if you and your spouse know divorce is the only option but you are still living in the same house and struggling to keep the peace, you may find the suggestions here to be helpful. It may even make sense for you to visit the weCommunity forum to connect with others who may be experiencing something similar.

While the reality of the holidays may not be all glitter and glamour, it can certainly be a time of clarity, self-discovery, and quite possibly, joy. We wish you all the best things while you go through this transition. As always, we are here to answer your questions along the way.

The post Holiday Dread? Resources for Getting Through it appeared first on Wevorce.

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It was June 7, 2008. I should have been getting ready to go on vacation to Hawaii, but instead, I was lying face-down on my bed, crying my eyes out. Why? Twenty minutes earlier, my husband of seven years had confessed that he had been seeing someone else. And then divorce happened.

But my divorce didn’t spell the end for me. It could have, given my attitude at that terrible time. I had no motivation to do anything but sit, sleep, and be sad.

Finding my way back was a process, and, because I am a blogger, I would love to share this experience with others – helping them to overcome major negative events and come out the other side as winners.

Divorce and Death – They are Similar

I have decided that divorce is very much like death. It involves the loss of someone who was very close and, in most instances, loved. There are definite stages of recovery from such a loss, and I certainly acquired an intimate understanding of them all. Here is a look at my life through the recovery process and how I emerged victoriously.

Shock (and a bit of denial too)

I was in shock.

The man I had shared my life with for seven years was leaving me. He didn’t love me anymore. How was this possible after I had poured so much into this marriage? He moved out immediately, to a hotel at first. During that time, the denial set in. He would come to his senses, I knew, and realize what a mistake he had made and would be back (not!).

I spent those first days unable to focus on anything – not on eating, personal grooming, and certainly not on anything related to my work. I cried; I called him; I slept fitfully; and, even though I had several articles to write, I did not even open my laptop.

The Pain and Guilt Set In

After several days, during which I didn’t even shave or wash my hair, and with a sink full of dirty dishes and dust bunnies creeping across the floors, the pain set in. It was a gnawing kind of thing in the pit of my stomach that was with me all the time. And with that pain came some guilt. What had I done wrong? What had I not done that could have kept him in love with me? Maybe I didn’t satisfy him sexually; maybe I was just not good-looking or sexy enough. This is the stage when all of the self-doubt settles in, and it carries over to other parts of your life too. I began to doubt that I could ever write a decent article again.

And the thought of opening that laptop was abhorrent.

Anger — it Actually Helped

I’m not sure how the anger crept in. Most people think it’s a pretty negative emotion. But for me, it was healthy. I was pissed at him. I committed seven years of my life – good years – to a man who couldn’t stay faithful and who betrayed me. And with that emotion, I actually opened my laptop – not to write an article but to get my anger out. The words just fell onto the page, as I got it all out – what a relief.

I highly recommend this outlet to anyone. Getting my anger onto that computer screen was a cathartic experience, and it actually began my recovery. I didn’t write any articles, but I did write, and my confidence began to creep back in.

Reflection

Once I got the anger out, I became a much calmer person. Yes, I was lonely; yes, I was pretty depressed; but I began to reflect on the whole of my life and what I had accomplished all on my own, none of which had to do with my marriage.

My life began to get organized again; I made the bed, did the laundry, grocery shopped, and renewed my personal grooming regimens.

I even contacted my editors and clients, stating that I would be getting back to work. This was huge. I had made promises that I now had to keep. This is another thing I highly recommend. Even if you lack the motivation to do anything, making a commitment has a way of forcing you into action.

The Reconstruction Phase

As I forced myself back into my previous writing schedule, my mind actually began to function again. I began with several blog posts for TrustMyPaper, an assignment I had taken on a few weeks before but had forsaken in my grief. With each paragraph, my confidence grew. And with that confidence came the motivation to get back to what I knew I did well. And this talent was not dependent upon anyone else or upon any relationship. It was all within me. What a great feeling.

Finally – Acceptance

Am I still sad about a failed marriage? Yes, I am. Something that was important to me has died. Do I miss having a partner in my life? Yes, I do. Acceptance has not brought complete happiness.

But I have learned one very important thing. My identity and my worth are not built upon anyone else. They are within me, my history, my experiences, my skills and talents, and my achievements. More than ever, I am motivated to grow my career and to look forward. And best of all, I am starting to anticipate good times in my future.

About the Author: Marie Fincher is a content marketer at Trust My Paper company. After a painful divorce in 2008, she decided to chase a new career. She now works as a freelance marketer and writer. She also loves inspiring others to take control of their lives by sharing her own experiences.

The post Getting your Groove Back — Finding Motivation for Work After a Divorce appeared first on Wevorce.

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Divorce is a difficult process emotionally and often financially, and it only gets more complicated for higher-net-worth individuals. More financial assets to divide, more issues to contest, and more to gain or lose.

In order to reach a fair and agreeable settlement, you need to know what to expect, and the best way of preparing for your divorce may be to retain an attorney who knows how to protect your best interests. The following four tips will help you navigate your high-net-worth divorce.

1. A High Net Worth Divorce is More Expensive

Community assets are divided during divorce in a way that is determined to be fair and just by the court. High-net-worth individuals have greater assets to divide, making the process more involved for the divorcing couple and their attorneys.

Tip: Gather and Understand Your Financial Documents

You’ll need to study and understand your finances in ways you may not have before. Regardless of your financial background, you’ll need to know everything about your finances before getting a divorce. Make sure to retain and use these documents before beginning your divorce proceedings.

It is crucial to do this before divorce proceedings begin because this information often disappears after the divorce is underway. It can become more difficult to find the information you need once you and your spouse begin dividing your belongings, and once the documents like tax returns or W-9s disappear, it’s often impossible to use the information until formal legal proceedings are underway. How can you know or plan for what to divide if you don’t know the full extent of your assets?

If you cannot determine the full extent of your assets, forensic accounting may be necessary to track down hidden assets and to determine the parties’ financial holdings and history. Forensic accountants can also help determine whether properties may be separate or community property, but their services will cost additional time and money during the divorce proceedings.

What is Separate vs. Community Property?

Separate property is not divided during divorce. It is usually owned prior to the marriage, inherited or received as a gift at any time.

High network estates usually have to trace separate property assets to prove to the court that the asset or cash should NOT be included in the community property bucket. Tracing basically provides a record of exactly when the asset was received and the relevant transactions.

These records are intended to prove whether or not separate property assets may have been mixed with community assets, resulting in a loss of its separate property status. For example, one party may have deposited a payroll check earned during the marriage into a separate property banking account.

2. High Net Worth Divorces are More Likely to be Long and Contested

High-net-worth individuals are typically in a better position to afford the contest over community property. The cost of their legal representation becomes a smaller portion of the equation compared to what they stand to gain from the other party.

These cases also tend to take longer than the typical divorce case. Evaluating the assets to determine their value can take time. Additionally, it must be determined whether certain assets are considered separate or marital property. Fleshing out which assets should go with which spouse can also be cumbersome. All of this leads to long, drawn-out court battles. It is not unusual for divorce cases involving high net-worth couples to last many months or even years.

Tip: Talk to a Valuation Appraiser

If you are part of a couple who has a complex financial portfolio, you will often want to bring in an appraiser to value the overall amount of the state. This is one of the most important parts of determining the accurate value of the couples’ estate. If only one spouse owns and operates a business or other operations that are part of the estate, it is very important for the other spouse to get his or her own valuation expert to determine how much the operation’s assets are worth.

A valuation expert can also point out the assets that you may be missing in your own valuation of the marital estate. Life insurance policies, for example, can be major assets, but divorcing couples often overlook these assets. The value of life insurance policies can be a major portion of the marital estate. Overlooking these assets can cost you a great deal in your divorce.

3. They Often Involve Out-of-State or International Assets

High-net-worth individuals often maintain property or conduct businesses in other states and countries. Many times, these issues also have tax consequences. Complex asset issues require the assistance of a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of high-value assets, business interests, and international issues.

If you or your spouse has connections with overseas jurisdictions, you need to act fast by asking for early expert advice before taking action in court.

4. Alimony and Child Support Payments are Much Larger

There may be a need for temporary orders related to spousal support, temporary living arrangements, the payment of legal expenses and child custody matters while the divorce is technically pending.

Child support is intended to meet the financial needs of children involved in the divorce, including educational, medical, and extracurricular needs. Individual states have child support guidelines. For example, as of the date of this post (November, 2018), Texas’ child support guidelines are based on an individual’s net monthly income, and the amount of net monthly income considered for support purposes is capped at $8,550. In some circumstances, child support can be awarded above this cap, if the needs of the child are proven to exceed the amount of money that would be normally be awarded under the child support guidelines.

Alimony payment calculations may also cause difficulty and confusion in a high-net-worth divorce. When spouses conceal assets like property and bank accounts from discovery, it may result in alimony payments that leave one spouse at a distinct disadvantage. Unfortunately, it is not at all unusual for one party to take advantage of the other during a high-net-worth divorce, whether through misrepresenting assets or fraudulently concealing financial information.

Tip: Accurately Calculate Child Support and Alimony Payments

The guidelines for calculating child support are complicated, so it’s often difficult for a spouse to determine the appropriate amount to pay. Without a proper calculation, the payments may not cover the amount that the child truly needs in order to be properly supported.

For couples who have a complex marital estate that needs to be divided, a team of specialists who understand the unique issues affecting high-net-worth divorces will often be a worthy investment. One of the most important people a person going through a divorce can have on such a team is an experienced divorce attorney. An attorney who has dealt with the complexities of high-net-worth divorces in the past will be in a unique position to offer clients the best advice possible on how to ultimately attain a fair divorce settlement that will prepare them for the future.

About the Author: Alfredo Ramos is a writer specializing in issues important to parents and families – leveraging his experience in divorce, adoption, and other cases through work with the Ramos Law Group.

The post 4 Ways Divorce Changes with High Net Worth appeared first on Wevorce.

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Divorce is a personal and private decision. And yet it’s done in a public form — the courts. So how do you file for divorce without publishing all the details of your life and finances?

It’s helpful to learn what exactly about a divorce is private and what is public. What information can be found by your friends, colleagues, and children? How can anything about your divorce be kept private?

It all depends on the jurisdiction of the divorce — even down to the county level. States and counties that remain updated on technology will often allow anyone to log in to the county court clerk’s website and review anything that has been filed, ever. If a document has been filed, the document has usually been scanned and uploaded to the website.

The only filter between John Q. Public and a county’s divorce documents is usually a login registry. This is to ostensibly prevent computer programs from fishing through information for nefarious purposes. Still, most counties require an approved registration for a legitimate purpose before they allow people to review filed documents.

Counties and states that have not yet begun scanning their documents still keep files available at the circuit clerk’s office. Typically, the older files are stored off-site in a warehouse and must be ordered by name. In this antiquated system, there is not a registration requirement but the requester must usually “sign out” if the requester looks at a file and, therefore, leave a record of them having seen the file.

In a divorce, almost all financial documents are not required to be filed with the circuit clerk. They are instead referred to by reference.

A financial affidavit is a form every state requires. In this form, a divorce litigant fills out their entire financial history. The financial affidavit and its details are never kept in the public record and are merely mentioned as having been exchanged between the two parties.

The final documents settling the divorce can also be unfiled and merely mentioned by reference. The judgment for dissolution of marriage can be filed and declare the two parties divorced but merely reference the details of the divorce as being incorporated in the judgment for dissolution but not included. Therefore, the two parties will have copies of their marital settlement agreement and parenting plan — but no one else will.

If filed documents contain sensitive information that a litigant would not like published, that litigant can file a motion to seal the file. When a judge seals a file, no one may look at the file unless by order of a judge. In some jurisdictions, this is done on a perfunctory basis. In other jurisdictions, the judge will likely want to know what’s so special about this divorce that it should be sealed.

Finally, there is a way to get divorced that doesn’t involve going to court at all.

Celebrities famously get divorced all the time but we never see the details of their divorces. Why is that?  It’s because celebrities enter into a binding arbitration with a former judge who will adjudicate everything privately and then simply enter a brief judgment of dissolution of marriage with all the details referenced but not published.

About the Author: Russell Knight is a divorce and family law attorney in Chicago, Illinois. For over a hundred family law articles about Illinois law, specifically, visit www.rdklegal.com.

The post Will My Divorce File Be Public Information? appeared first on Wevorce.

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