Archive for September, 2017

11 Facts About Divorce That Will Keep You Up At Night

Divorce: A Look Into The Future

The focus of our One Last Look(SM) program is to educate couples and individuals about the process of divorce and separation as well as the realities of life after the divorce is granted.  The questions and situations we encounter spark interesting insights into what people think they know and how surprised they are when reality confronts them.  Here are 11 that may just keep you up at night.

1  Women Are More Likely Than Men to File for Divorce: Are You Paying Attention?

Women file more than menBecause of the way men and women function in relationships, it is common for men to be unaware of their companion’s concerns.  John & Julie Gottman point out from their research that bids for attention in relationships may impact women more than men.

In their research Drs. Gottman found that men who divorce ignored their wives 82% of the time.  Men in stable marriages ignored a spouse 19% of the time.  On the other hand, women that divorced ignored a spouse’s bid 50% of the time.  Those in stable marriages ignored the spouse 14% of the time.

This is a strong indication that women have a lower threshold than men for being ignored.  This may be how a woman can file for divorce and the husband is unaware as to why it happened.

The statistic of more women filing than men is proven by the number of female petitioners versus the male respondents in court documents.  However, when we dig deeper, it becomes clear that when women are talking about divorce, they are done.  Men, on the other hand, are more likely to pull back in their quest unless they are into a new relationship.

2  Is A Health Marriage Possible

“What went wrong?” is a common comment.  There are many reasons for a marriage to fail.  But research shows that the lack of friendship and paying attention to a spouse are key.

We recently had a couple in our office for One Last Look(SM).  It was clear by their body language that there was still something positive between them.  We asked, “When did you stop being friends?”  The husband looked surprised, but the wife immediately said it was 10 years ago.  She probably could have put an exact event around it if we let her.

If there is an emotional gulf between the couple, starting with friendship is a path back to health, if that is what is desired.

3  “I Will Be Taken Care Of”

Support is not what people thinkNot so much anymore.  Couples read the family code and try to understand what long and short marriages are about under the law.  We get the “half the length of the marriage rule” spouted at us by many husbands.  Wives, on the other hand, refer to the marital standard of living as their basis for moving forward.

Both sides are often surprised with the reality that courts want both to be self-sufficient and that it is common for vocational evaluations to be done.  We are not making predictions in this article.  It is simply our experience that what people end up with is very different from what they were seeking after.  Before someone plans on their online support calculation, make sure to seek some professional counsel.  Even then, that does not predict the actual outcome since courts are not allowed to rely on those calculators

4  He / She Owes Me

There are many paths to settling a dispute.  The “he or she owes me” argument is not always a good one.  The most common of these is supporting a spouse through college.  While our experience indicates that there is some validity to this argument, the outcomes often cut in different directions.  For example, a self-employed person may have a value to their business.  Part of that value may be their license to practice.  But the court also looks at those things that are taken for tax purposes but are not cash expenses.  These “deductions” are added back to the income calculation.

On the other side, a degree that helped someone get a job only provided the ability to earn a living.  The actual value of the degree may be arguable, but you cannot know how a court will look at that in terms of being owed something in separation.  Making this argument may, in part, be a gamble.

5  My Spouse’s Behavior Makes A Difference To The Judge

In the United States, every state has a no-fault divorce law.  That simply means if one person wants the divorce, they are entitled to it.  In California, pleading before the court about the distress of an affair or emotional estrangement are not of interest to the court.  There may be some interest for verified incidents of high conflict or similar grounds.

However, this is more likely to impact support and the placement of the children with one parent over the other.

6  Children Are Resilient In Divorce; Most Of Their Friends Have Divorced Parents

Children are not resilientSad as it is, people think their children are different.  Research indicates that the most likely outcome for a child will be detachment and possible isolation from one parent or the other.  This results from the fighting.  Even though a divorce is done, there is still animosity and pain between the parties.  Children end up helpless in the middle of adult conflict.

One woman, age 25, noted to us that her parents still fight.  If she wants to host a family event, and have both her parents attend, she cannot have it them present at the same time.  Even if there are two separate rooms available, they will not attend.  She must have two separate events – one for mom to attend and one for dad.  For her, the pain between her parents spills into her life at every level.

The result to these types of situations is that children are more likely to divorce if they come from a home where divorce happened.

7  Adults Thrive After Divorce

The end of a high conflict relationship is a relief.  Even facing the many challenges of being a single parent and coping with life feels like a relief on the other side of a stressful situation.

For the average couple going through divorce, “thrive” may not be a good description.  With two households to support, the children living in two locations, the fact that there is no support system within a single combined household.  The demands on time and resource management heavily impacts both adults, and the family in general, after the divorce.

On the emotional side, research shows that people typically move through a mourning period.  In that time, there is a lot of soul-searching and questions as to whether they made the right choice or not.  The results show that divorced individuals were:

  • Generally less happy
  • More susceptible to depression, especially women
  • Likely to see a doctor more often
  • More likely to suffer from serious illnesses
  • More open to consuming alcohol than married adults

Looking to studies in the United Kingdom, research and surveys of divorced people found that 22% wished they hadn’t gone through a divorce.  In a study of 867 people, only one in five had no regrets about the divorce.  The survey also found that:

  • 21% regretted the way they conducted their divorce
  • 33% regretted the way it affected their children
  • 24% wished they had worked through the financial consequences

8  Divorce Is A Private Matter

Divorce is PublicThis is a big misunderstanding.  When papers are filed with a court, they become public record.  Everyone can see who is getting a divorce.  Likewise, if people are not careful, all their accusations are part of the record.  That may include disclosing financial information that individuals would prefer remained private.  Beyond the financial elements, imagine a child researching the divorce of the parents (children do this).  What do you want them to read in the record?  What do you want them to see regarding yourself or your partner – their parents?  It will all be there on display for anyone to read.

9  You Can Settle Matters Without Attorneys

We strongly counsel people against doing this on their own.  The courts do offer some support for those with simple matters.  But most people have complex financial issues and children.  Even if they use mediation, we want each side to have legal support from an attorney.  One simple reason is that every agreement has its positive and negative elements.  If both sides are represented, it is less likely that someone can come back later claiming they did not understand what they were doing.  Legal advice is also valuable so that you are informed about the impact of your negotiations.

10  Social Support And Friends Will Get Me Through

This is a big “maybe.”  When couples separate, there is an impact on those around them.  This is especially true when it comes to married couples.  Suddenly the aspect of friendship shifts.  There are new considerations for the divorced spouse that do not impact the married couple.  Interests, time demands, and needs become different based on life experiences facing both the married and unmarried persons.  The result is that social circles change, support groups become important and new bonds form that would otherwise not be in the picture.  All this change ends up with old relationships fading and new ones forming.  The old guard most likely will not get you through.  The new alliances will take time to form.  That in-between-time can be painful for people when they suddenly find themselves in the reality of being alone.

11  When I Am Divorced, I Never Have To Worry About My Spouse Again

Divorce does not end the relationshipThis is a definite “No.”  We teach people that the first reality in divorce is that the family is not ending; it is reforming.  There is a new relationship that is born out of a divorce.  That new path may be acrimony and pain, or it can be acknowledgment and respectful distance.  If there are children, there will always be the family events and possibly grandchildren.  Beyond that, there may be financial obligations that keep people intertwined for years as all that is sorted out.  Child support, by itself, will not end until the last child turns 18 or is out of high school.  No, you will be involved with your ex-spouse for many years to come.

Final Thought

We found it interesting, as we researched this article, that one of our favorite performers, Phil Collins reunited with his ex-spouse after about 10 years.  The remarriage factor is interesting and, if you are considering divorce, it may give you a reason to think twice before all this keeps you up at night.

 

Armand D’Alo & Robbin D’Alo

Tax Checklist for Divorce

Armand, Robbin and Eva are presenting a class offered through CCH CPE Link.  The class covers problems and issues missed in the heat of negotiation or simple errors in drafting documents.

Join us for a two-hour class that is insightful and filled with information.  If you are thinking of divorce, this is something for you.  If you are a professional, this is another tool to put in you box to help your clients.

This course will address the top ten tax issues that attorneys may miss to properly prepare divorce documents, filed with the Court. Participants will get a Checklist to use in each divorce file.

Who Should Attend

Tax practitioners at all levels regardless of tax practice who want to protect their divorcing clients interests — and their own. This is also an excellent resource for individuals in the midst of divorce — to help them identify key tax issues before signing their divorce agreements.

Topics Covered

  • Tax Forms to be signed during divorce proceedings
  • When $500,000 to him does not equal the $500,000 to her
  • Family support vs alimony and child support
  • QDROs
  • Final tax return — joint or separate — and why
  • Conflict of interests and releases
  • Personal residence — when one spouse moves out
  • Splitting tax breaks
  • Splitting prior tax debts and splitting other debts
  • Innocent spouse issues — and effect on the not-so-innocent spouse
  • And more.

Look forward to seeing you September 19 and 12:00 PM at CCH CPE Link.  Use the link above to check it out.

 

Armand & Robbin D’Alo