Cobb County Divorce Lawyer on Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Your Kids About Your Divorce

Cobb County Divorce Lawyer on Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Your Kids About Your Divorce

RosalindSedacca

Rosalind Sedacca has some great information I wanted to share with you as my readers:

“Getting psyched up to tell your children about your pending divorce – or separation? Not sure what to say? When to say it? How to say it? What to expect after the conversation? What to do next? How do deal with your special circumstances? What therapists, mediators, attorneys, clergy and other professionals suggest you do and don’t do to make things better all around? Well, you’re not alone.

Having the “divorce talk” with a child you love is one of the toughest conversations you’ll ever have. Shouldn’t you be prepared?

Professionals all agree on some of the most common mistakes parents make when bringing up divorce or separation. These include:

* asking children to bear the weight of making decisions or choosing sides
* failing to remind children that none of this is in any way their fault
* forgetting to emphasize that Mom and Dad will still always be their Mom and Dad — even after divorce!
* confiding adult details to children in order to attract their allegiance or sympathy
* neglecting to repeatedly remind children that they are safe, innocent and very much loved
* failing to explain clearly that everything is going to be okay.

These are just some of the most common messages that parents fail to convey because they’re just not prepared — and most probably quite scared!

If you’re about to tackle this tough conversation — or you know someone who is — there’s finally help you can depend on to simplify the process. I just completed writing How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide(TM) that Prepares Your Children — with Love! It provides an innovative new concept I created, based on my own life experience. And, most importantly, it works!

To learn more about this new therapist-, attorney- and mediator-endorsed guidebook for parents, click on the link below. You’ll get the whole story of how the easy-to-use template works, how you and your children will benefit from this personalized family storybook approach — and much more. Most important of all, this simple guidebook doesn’t just tell you what to say – it says it for you! So you’re sure to do it right, for the sake of your kids.”

Click here to learn more …
http://www.howdoitellthekids.com

MEET ROSALIND SEDACCA, CCT
Rosalind Sedacca is a writer, an award-winning professional speaker, and Certified Corporate Trainer specializing in both communication and relationship issues. She has facilitated workshops and seminars throughout the United States and beyond on creating ‘conscious’ relationships for both singles and couples. Based on her own personal experience, her new book How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! provides an innovative and professionally acclaimed new approach to breaking the divorce news to your children. Rosalind’s Child-Centered Divorce Network provides resources that help parents create successful outcomes for the entire family for years and decades to come.

10 Tips if Divorce is Imminent

1.    Consult an Attorney

Make sure you know what your rights and obligations are.  Be aware of how your behavior could affect the outcome of any potential divorce proceedings, i.e., should you move out of the marital home?

2.    Copy Documents

Make copies of everything you can find: tax returns, bank statements, check registers, investment statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits handbooks, life insurance policies, medical/dental insurance policies, mortgage documents, applications for credit, deeds and titles to property, financial statements, credit card statements, wills, social security statements, automobile titles, any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the parties, documentation of any child support either spouse already pays, etc.  Remember to check the home computer for additional documentation.  Florida requires certain documents be disclosed in all divorce proceedings.  Find that list here.  It is easier to obtain these documents before you separate than after.

3.    Inventory Household and Family Possessions

List the major items: furniture, artwork, jewelry, appliances, automobiles, etc.  Did you forget about anything in storage or that someone else is holding for you or borrowed from you?

4.    Know the Household Budget and Expenses

Examine and record where every penny goes.  This is important to determine if there are temporary needs while the divorce is pending and to determine the amounts owed between parties when negotiating a settlement or final judgment.

5.    Determine How to Manage Family Debt

Try to pay down any debt you may have if you can before divorce.  Division of debt is often a sticking point in divorce proceedings.  Cancel credit accounts if one spouse is too willing to whip out the credit card for unnecessary items.

6.    Find Out Exactly What Your Spouse Earns

Gain this information through paystubs, other documents, or casual conversation with your spouse’s business partner.

7.    Make a Realistic Appraisal of Your Earning Potential

What is a realistic view of your earning potential before and after the divorce?  Will some changes need to be made here?  If you have been a homemaker for a lengthy period of time, will education help you become self-sufficient?  Will your work schedule or location be effected by your divorce and your ability to care for your children?  What child care needs should be considered?

8.    Examine Your Own Credit History

Either establish or reestablish credit in your own, individual name.

9.    Build a Net Egg of Your Own

Try to have access to your own money in case your spouse stops paying the household expenses or bills during the divorce proceedings.  You may also need additional money for an attorney’s retainer, security deposit on a new residence, deposits on utilities, costs of moving, etc.

10.  Put Your Kids at the Top of Your Agenda

Divorce is not about you or your spouse when children are involved.  Children generally have no choice in the matter and their needs and wellbeing should always be your first concern.  Keep their routines as normal as possible, don’t argue in front of the children, don’t bad-mouth the other party to the children, stay involved with your children and their activities as much as possible, and don’t use your children as your sounding board, psychologist, attorney, or counselor! 

SOURCE: Nassau Florida Family Law & Divorce… – http://jmmflaw.wordpress.com

Sign Up for Free Report on “12 Steps to Preparing for a Georgia Divorce”

I am still working to complete my book on Georgia divorce, which I will make available to my readers when it is completed, but in the meantime, I have completed a free report on "12 Steps to Preparing for a Georgia Divorce."

This guide is available to anyone who provides their contact information on the "Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter" form on the upper right side of this page.

When you enter your email address there, you are taken to another page to provide your complete contact information (name, address, telephone, etc.) and you can select from a number of choices of free reports and newsletters I offer.

Select the "Free Report: Georgia Divorce Law" option and you will receive the longer book when it is completed, but you will also receive the "12Steps" report right now. I will send you a link to a page where you can download the report.

Thank you for your interest and for being a reader of this blog!

Divorce Advice for Women — 11 Things to Do Now

Dreamstime_2000804Maryland attorney James Gross, editor of the Maryland Divorce Legal Crier, has posted two useful (and gender-specific) lists of things to consider in preparing for divorce. These ideas are general and you should speak with an attorney as to the advisability of them in your case.

Once you decide you are going to get a divorce, there are some things you can do to get ready for it.

1. Start a War Chest. You are going to need your own money for a divorce. You will have to be able to maintain yourself and your children for a while if you are dependent on your spouse and your spouse decides to cut off support. You will also probably need funds to hire a lawyer. If there is anyway to start a separate account to guard against future financial contingencies, now is the time to do it. If you have to borrow money from a relative or friend, be sure to sign a promissory note so the court will look at this as a loan that you have to repay and not as a gift.

2. Keep a Divorce Calendar. If you are currently using a desk calendar or day planner, you will now need to include your divorce events. There will be meetings with your lawyer and court deadlines to keep track of. It may be helpful to keep track of discussions with your spouse. It may be used as evidence in your case when your spouse did not keep an appointment or violated an agreement or court order in some fashion. Visitation dates with children need to be calendared. You will also want to keep track of appointments with your children’s teachers, doctors, coaches and tutors. This may become evidence of your participation in your children’s lives in your divorce.

3. Make a To Do List. You will need to stay organized and set your priorities during a divorce. This is the easiest way to do it. List all the items you have to accomplish and mark them off as you go through them.

4. Prepare a Divorce Notebook. A divorce produces a lot of paperwork. It comes at you in a blizzard. The simplest way to keep track of all these papers is with a three ring binder and a three hole punch. Put papers in chronological order and make an index.

5. Set up a Divorce File. You may prefer to set up individual files for various categories of divorce papers. Some examples are correspondence with your attorney, drafts of agreements, financial information and pleadings. Files with brads and a two hole punch will help you keep papers neat and organized.

6. Cut Expenses. If you have debt in your name, like credit cards or student loans, you will want to pay those debts down as much as possible before a divorce. If your family is like most American families, you have been spending close to your entire income, if not more, and when one household becomes two, there will not be enough money to pay the expenses of both unless something changes. You may have to cut expense, sell the car and get a less expensive model, or maybe sell the house. If your spouse does not voluntarily support you and the children, your remedy is to ask the Court to order support. You will not have a good prediction of any of this and you will not know the answers for sure until the agreement is signed or the judge makes a ruling. But the point is to think about it, and identify problems and possible solutions. Then take the actions that you can take and avoid missteps.

7. Stick to a Routine. It will help if you try to keep things as normal as possible in your life. Do not skip meals or change sleeping habits. Positive routines like using your to do list and calendar will help you keep focus. Exercise is always a great way to relief stress. Try not to isolate yourself from your friends.

8. Be Constructive. Try to maintain a positive outlook and do not let yourself be lured into needless conflicts with your spouse. You will need his signature on a settlement agreement before your divorce is over. You will still be parents together for years after the divorce.

9. Make a Plan. Take it one day at a time. Focus on the present and not the past. Try to control only those things within your control. Many things in a divorce are outside of your control. Try not to blow those things out of proportion. Make a plan. Then keep working your plan. That is how you will take control of your divorce and not let it take control of you.

10. Gather Financial Information. The more you can organize your own financial documents, the more you will reduce your attorney fees and improve your chances of success. You are going to have to gather and organize a lot of information for your attorney or your case. A good way of organizing the information you find is a financial statement which can be used as a checklist. Many courts have a form financial statement available at the court clerk’s office and sometimes online. If you can obtain this form and fill it out, it will help you gather and organize your financial information. Give it to your lawyer at the first meeting to save time and expense.

11. Do Your Research. It is valuable for you to learn everything you can about divorce early in the process. If you know little or nothing about the process, you may not make the best decisions or choices. Most people are uncomfortable with the unknown. You can raise your comfort level and your odds of success by finding out what is going to happen before it happens. The Internet is a convenient way to obtain summary and detailed information about divorce. Of course there are other ways to research the subject. You can start your research at a library or book store. There are seminars and support groups. Talk to friends who have been through divorce. But keep in mind that every divorce is different. It’s a good idea to learn about the basics of divorce law in your state early in the process. You can learn about divorce law by looking up your state’s statutes on the Internet or checking attorney’s websites or other helpful sites.

Divorce Advice for Men — 11 Things to Do Now

Dreamstime_2000679 Maryland attorney James Gross, editor of the Maryland Divorce Legal Crier, has posted two useful (and gender-specific) lists of things to consider in preparing for divorce. These ideas are general and you should speak with an attorney as to the advisability of them in your case.

There are a lot of important actions that men can take to protect themselves in a divorce. Some things for you to consider regarding specific financial matters include the following.

1. Documents. Move your documents, records and other papers somewhere else, like a friend’s house or your attorney’s office. You can expect that your children’s mother will be going through your desk, briefcase, automobile, telephone records, bills, and computer, looking for financial information and other evidence to use against you.

2. Bank Accounts. Go to the bank and divide the joint bank accounts in half and deposit your half in your own name. You can also put them all in your name, but sometimes this will make the judge angry with you. However, it is often easier to give money back than to get it back. If you are the breadwinner do not put your children and their mother out in the cold without some money to get by on. This will aggravate the judge who will make you pay anyway. Make arrangements so that bills will be covered. Let your children’s mother know what you have done, but not before you have done it. You do not want her to clean out the account first.

3. Stock. Call your broker and divide any stock, bonds or mutual funds that are held jointly with your children’s mother. While this is not a taxable event, you will have to take future taxes into account if you want to be fair. Therefore, ask your broker to make sure the tax basis is equalized as well.

4. Credit Cards. You do not want to wake up one morning and discover that your children’s mother has charged $5,000 on your joint credit card on a spending spree. You may be responsible for paying part or all of that $5,000. Close all joint credit or loan accounts and notify the banks, charge cards, and others by a certified, return receipt letter that you are no longer responsible for the expenses of your children’s mother. You may ask the company to reopen an account in your own name. This is a good time to request it. Let your children’s mother know so she is not caught by surprise at the gas pump when the credit card no longer works. If your she has already started her spending spree, report the card as stolen. If she has charged her attorney fees on the card, you can dispute the charges with the company.

5. Insurance. If you cover your spouse or children on your insurance, do not drop them from the policy at least until the divorce is final. You are probably responsible for their medical bills until then anyway. Even after the divorce, the employed spouse may want to keep the spouse and children covered. If you are paying child support, a large unexpected medical expense for the child could be assessed against the noncustodial parent as additional child support. The same could happen with alimony and an ex-spouse. Federal law allows most employees to cover their spouses for up to thirty six months after a divorce for a small additional premium. However, the employer must be notified prior to the final divorce decree.

6. Expenses. Two cannot live as cheaply as one, especially if they are separated and trying to maintain two households. It is time to cut costs as much as possible. Cancel anything you do not need like extra telephone lines or cable television. If there is any personal property you do not want or need, sell it. However, do not cut off the utilities on your children and their mother without giving them plenty of notice. Make sure you can prove this notice to the court because leaving your children and their mother home without heat or light in December seldom sits well
with the judge.

7. Pensions. Retirement funds acquired during a marriage are marital assets that can be divided by the divorce court. So chances are good that your wife will share in anything you contribute now to your pension plan at work or your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Fill out the paperwork to have your employer stop your contributions to your 401(k) account or other pension plan. Do not make contributions this year to your IRA. This will keep your spouse from getting part of it and chances are you will be needing the money soon.

8. Inventory. Make a list of everything in the house. Take pictures or video tape everything if you wish. Be sure to date your inventory. Include furniture, furnishings, appliances, clothing and jewelry. Then you will know if something turns up missing, and you will have evidence of it.

9. Valuables. Move any valuables, like collections, jewelry, artwork, firearms, cash, and heirlooms out of the house to a safe place. Anything with significant or sentimental value to you ought to be secured from your children’s mother. You are not trying to hide things. But you do not want to come home from work and find that your valuables have been sold at a yard sale.

10. Safe Deposit Box. You can establish a safe deposit box to store your valuables away from the house. If you already have a safe deposit box, and your children’s mother has access to it, you will want to remove your items and store them somewhere else. Make a list or take a picture or video tape of whatever is left in the box for proof later. The same goes for any storage unit you may have.

11. Get a Lawyer. Find a good family lawyer and set up an appointment right away. Some lawyers charge for an initial consultation and some do not. In the initial meeting, you will be able to get some good advice and strategy for your particular facts and circumstances. You will also be able to assess the attorney to see if it’s a good fit for you. During this meeting, the attorney will discuss costs with you. But be aware that any estimate by an attorney is the roughest of all guesses and depends upon what your spouse and her attorney do. Your attorney will probably tell you not to sign anything before he or she reviews it. Your attorney will also advise you about other matters you will need to consider during this change in your life, for example executing a new will and changing any powers of attorney.

Top Ten Things To Do Before Your Divorce

Ten_dollar_bills There is no substitute for planning, and planning for your divorce can make the process go smother, lower your lawyers fees, and help ensure you emerge on the other end of the case ready to move forward, and with the least amount of emotional and financial damage.  The following “Top 10 things to do if you are going to get divorced” is from The Oregon Divorce Blog (via the South Carolina Family Law Blog) for those considering divorce:

  1. Consider your other options: While not appropriate in every case, consider if you really want to be divorced. If not, talk to a marriage counselor or other professional who can explore saving your marriage. If the process works, great! If the process does not work, you can at least get help discovering what went wrong, how to cope, and how best to move on.
  2. Consult with and retain a family law attorney: Clients often make strategic mistakes prior to filing. For example, moving out of the family home, even briefly, can impact a custody and parenting time case. We blogged about the difference between consulting a lawyer and retaining a lawyer before. Make sure you at least consult so you know your rights, and how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
  3. Copy documents: Your case will be smoother and your fees lower if you have a copy of all essential documents to provide to your lawyer. Obtain copies of pay stubs, tax returns, retirement account statements, bank statements, car and boat titles, real estate documents, insurance polices, etc. If you or your spouse uses financial software to track expenses, save a copy of the file.
  4. Inventory your personal property: Go room to room and make a list of major items of value. You do not need to inventory every muffin tin, but you may end up out of the house for a period of months while the case progresses, and you may forget what is there.
  5. Get a copy of your credit reports: Getting a credit report is very useful in identifying debt, accounts, and what accounts are open and closed. Pull a copy of your report from each of the three credit bureaus or a tri-merge report and your lawyer will thank you.
  6. Establish your own credit and source of funds: If you do not have credit in your own name, apply for them and get several. You will need to establish your own separate credit history, and do not want to be in the position of having your access to funds cut off. If there is a joint cash account, consider splitting it and transferring ½ to a separate account in your sole name.
  7. Keep the kids out of it: Getting ready for a divorce can take lots of time and energy. Make sure the kids don’t suffer any more than necessary by making them the first priority. Do not put them in the middle. Do not argue in front of them. Do not badmouth your spouse in front of the kids. Keep their routines as normal as you can. Stay connected (or get connected) to their activities at school and after school. Courts take a dim view parents that put kids in the middle of the conflict. Just don’t do it.
  8. Know your finances: Make sure you know what you make and are capable of making, what your spouse makes and is capable of making, and where the money goes each month. What are the credit cards? How much is owed? Where are the retirement accounts? Can you earn enough in your current job or will you need your spouse to support you for a period of time? If your job involves travel, will you need a different job without travel if you don’t have a spouse to watch the kids while you are gone? The more you know about the finances the easier it will be to communicate with your lawyer. Knowing the finances and having a plan helps put you in the best position after the divorce is over.
  9. Manage debt: This could be the worst time to increase your debt level. Unless your lawyer tells you otherwise, don’t make major purchases. Don’t go on shopping sprees. Some lawyers advise their clients to contact joint creditors and have accounts closed, or limits reduced to prevent the accumulation of new debt during the divorce.
  10. Take care of yourself: Divorce can be a very stressful experience. Take care of yourself, even before anyone files. Work out. Find a support group, either through your friends or a formal divorce support group. Consider getting counseling. Many clients choose to get into counseling to help with the process, and report back that it was helpful.

Source:  "10 Things To Do If You Are Going To Get Divorced" by C. Sean Stephens, published at The Oregon Divorce Blog.
Source for Post: South Carolina Family Law Blog