I have posted a number of articles on my Georgia Family Law Blog site on the topic of Collaborative Divorce Law. The following, about the intangible values in resolving a divorce case in a more respectful manner, is from an article by Bruce Derman, Ph.D., of The Coalition for Collaborative Divorce, from its site, NoCourtDivorce.com:
There are many things that go into the price of a divorce besides money and property. See if any of the following are costly for you by filling in the value of each item. At the end total the amounts and you will begin to see the true cost of your divorce.
|What is it worth to truly celebrate your child’s wedding together?
|What is it worth to be able to co-parent your children?
|What is it worth for your child to not end up in therapy as a result of your divorce?
|What is it worth for your children not to be emotionally scarred from your divorce?
|What is it worth to have your ex support your visions for your children?
|What is it worth to be able to look in your adult son or daughters eyes knowing you ended their most important relationship with dignity and integrity?
|What is it worth to be able to have your children grow up in a safe, respectful, non-abusive atmosphere?
|What is it worth for your child to not have to take care of your emotionally following your divorce?
|What is it worth to not drag your ex into your next relationship?
|What is it worth to resolve your long-term concerns for your family?
|What is it worth to not live under the threat of going back to court constantly?
|What is it worth to support your highest self and not your lowest?
|What is it worth to not have to continually obsess on the unsatisfactory experiences that occurred in your divorce?
|What is it worth to feel that the decisions involved tin ending your marriage were not yours?
|What is it worth to live your life from love, not hate?
|TOTAL COST OF DIVORCE
Jeff Lalloway of the California Divorce and Family Law Blog posted a series of articles last year on what to include in a prenuptial agreement. Thanks to PrenuptialAgreements.org for its recent post alerting me to this series:
If you have smartly decided to get a prenuptial agreement before you marry, there are many areas you may want to cover. You can cover as few or as many of the items as you want. Some of the items may not be relevant to your situation. Be sure that if you follow the list, you will cover most of the key issues.
1. Decide how all of your debts will be handled. This includes those debts incurred before you are married and those incurred after you are married.
2. Make sure you disclose all of your assets, liabilities, sources of income, and any other potential future assets, such as gifts or inheritances.
3. Should you divorce or die, decide who will get your primary residence or any vacation homes.
4. Determine what will happen to any assets or property you bring to your marriage. Normally, this will be separate property. But you need to agree with your soon-to-be, what will happen to any post-marriage appreciation, earnings, or proceeds of that property.
5. Figure out what will happen, if you divorce or die, to any assets or property you acquire after you get married.
The New Year will bring several new laws to Georgia including more changes to the state’s rules for divorcing parents. The new law streamlines the process for determining child custody because the bill’s sponsors said our old laws often trapped kids in traumatic legal battles.
Representative Judy Manning (R) chairs the House Children and Youth Committee. She and other sponsors of the new law said they’d heard from parents of kids stuck in custody fights that never seemed to end.
So, the 2007 legislature passed some changes.
One requires each parent in a custody contest to file a parenting plan with the court. The hope is the judge could then get both parents to sit down and agree on a final plan; so mom and dad won’t fight to pile up hours with the kids, just to win custody from a judge who doesn’t know their individual lives.
“The idea that you can count the hours that you had with your child was really too tight for the parents. It got to be too personal, and too much of a squabble,” Manning said.
Other parts of the new law:
Judges can award attorney’s fees. That’s supposed to keep wealthier parents from using constant challenges as a weapon.
Parents can further streamline the process by agreeing to use binding arbitration instead of the courts.
Kids 14 and over can no longer be the sole deciders of which parent’s house they’ll call home.
“Sometimes it became part of a bidding war, where one parent would promise a car or a computer or a cell phone or whatever,” Manning said.
Two years ago, there was a huge fight over how to divvy up money between so-called first and second families. But, this law – to shorten the pain for all kids – passed both the House and Senate with just one no vote.
The new law also requires courts to keep track of how many custody fights they handle. Up to now, lawmakers and judges haven’t been able to get good statistics on how many kids are affected by custody battles.
The video of the broadcast of this report is here.
SOURCE: WXIA (11Alive.com) by Denis O’Hayer
Reposting of Links to Articles on HB 369
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Public Policy Statement
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Appeals
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Parenting Plans
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Arbitration in Custody Cases
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: No Presumptions in Favor of Either Parent or Form of Custody
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Best Interest Standard
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Additional Custody Factors for Family Violence Cases
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Fourteen Year Old Election
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Custodial Preferences of 11 to 14 Year Old Children
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Custody Evaluators and Guardians ad Litem
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Requirements for Relocation and Chages of Addresses of Parents and Children
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Attorney’s Fees
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Home Studies by DFCS
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Custody Agreements
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Extracurricular Activities Included in Joint Legal Custody Decisions
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Permissible Parenting Time Provisions in Family Violence Cases
An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Effective Date
Should you keep a record of those angry cell phone voice messages from your ex? The now infamous Alec Baldwin voicemail message to his daughter (in which he berates his daughter) illustrates how advances in technology can help introduce evidence into child custody battles. In some situations, this evidence can point out character flaws that aren’t always obvious to the courts. The following information about copying answering machine recordings and cell phone voice mail messages can come in handy if you are gathering evidence for a custody case.
Voicemail Messages May Influence Court Custody Decisions.
Will You Be Ready?
If you’ve ever considered recording your phone conversations, you know that it is illegal [in many states; not Georgia; see Georgia’s Laws on Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations] unless you get the other person’s permission. Ironically, if you are trying to capture angry, hysterical, threatening or scary conversations from someone, this would defeat the purpose, because they most likely would never agree to be recorded! And even if you did make a recording, because it is illegal, it would not be admissible in court!
But, if this type of person leaves a message on your answering machine or on your voicemail, it is understood that they are being recorded. Therefore, it is more likely that this would be allowed in a court situation to support your divorce or custody case. Each situation and jurisdiction is different regarding these matters, so we cannot say that in every case, the voicemails would be allowed in court, but we can say that it is more likely than secretly recording a phone conversation.
If you have cell phone voice messages that you think would help you in court, you probably have been saving them every few days. If you didn’t, you know that your service will erase them permanently after 30 days. The problem is that eventually, you have saved so many messages that there is no room for more messages. This frustrates everyone and makes the angry caller suspicious.
So, that leaves us with the question of "how do I get these voicemail messages onto a CD?"
There are four options:
OPTION 1 – VoIP Service + Phone Recording Software. This is where you have your computer call your voicemail and you record the message directly into your computer.
OPTION 2 – Cable Connection + Phone Recording Software. This is where you hook up cables between your phone and your computer and you record the message directly into your computer.
OPTION 3 – Receive Voicemail as Email Attachment. This is where you sign up for a third party service that has a feature that can literally grab your voicemail and send it to you as an mp3 in an email attachment.
OPTION 4 – Voicemail Transfer Service. This is where you hire someone to do it for you.
SOURCE FOR POST: Woman’s Divorce Blog in an article written by Howard Richman.
Georgia’s Laws on Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations
High-Tech Evidence: A Lawyer’s Friend or Foe?
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY: EMAILS, TEXT MESSAGES, VOICEMAILS AND MORE…
Illegal Electronic Surveillance in Divorce Cases
Tell-All PCs and Phones Transforming Divorce
On Christmas Eve, James J. Gross, of the Maryland Divorce Legal Crier, had a very appropriate post for the season and I am reproducing it with thanks to him and to Dick Price at the Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County, Texas Blog, who brought Jim’s post to my attention:
"The Twelve Days of Christmas Divorce
On the twelfth day of Christmas,My true love sent to me
Twelve demands for relief,
Eleven prayers for property,
Ten thousand for alimony,
Nine hundred for child support,
Eight pages of interrogatories,
Seven requests for documents,
Six requests for admissions,
Five thousand for attorneys,
Four requests to enjoin,
Three pre-trial motions,
Two process servers,
And a complaint for a final divorce!"
I hope everyone has as merry a Christmas and as happy a holiday season as possible as you work through whatever legal issues you face. May your next year be much better and happier!
SOURCES FOR POST: Maryland Divorce Legal Crier and Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County, Texas Blog.