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Springfield Divorce Law Blog

Al-Anon doesn't always save marriages

A spouse's addiction to drugs and/or alcohol has destroyed many marriages. Sometimes people don't even realize that they are married to an alcoholic or addict at first.

Whether your spouse has become a recovering alcoholic or addict, or is still battling the addiction, spouses and other family members often turn to Al-Anon to help them cope as a co-dependent of an alcoholic or addict.

Why verbal abuse is often not considered in custody cases

If a child has been or is being physically or sexually abused by a parent (or the other parent has alleged such abuse), that will obviously play a large role in determining if the offending parent will have any custody or visitation rights to the child. However, sadly, family law judges are less likely to consider verbal abuse when making custody decisions.

Stinging, negative words can impact children for the rest of their lives every bit as much as physical abuse can. However, people can't be charged with domestic violence for what they say to a child, no matter how ugly, in private. Therefore, it's more difficult for a parent's verbal abuse to be considered when custody decisions are made.

Telling your grandchildren that you're divorcing

When people divorce in their later decades, they are likely to face an issue they hadn't anticipated -- breaking the news to their grandchildren. Even though many kids today have friends whose grandparents are divorced, when it happens in their own family, it can be highly unsettling.

Many couples may prefer to leave the task of informing the grandkids to their adult children. They may even feel that it's best if they hear the news from their own parents. However, experts say that it's best if grandparents talk to the kids themselves, preferably together as a couple and with their own kids there to show support and solidarity as a family.

Is 'bird nesting' a custody option worth considering?

For many children of divorce, one of the most stressful things they have to deal with is moving back and forth between their parents' homes, particularly if their parents have fairly equal physical custody. Even if their parents try to ensure that they have clothing, electronics and/or treasured toys in both residences, they may still feel like they don't have one true home to call their own.

Increasingly, some parents are choosing an alternative custody arrangement often referred to as "bird nesting." It involves letting the children live full time in the family home they know while the parents alternate moving between that home and their own residences -- perhaps an apartment or a family member or friend's home. The name is derived from the practice by many bird parents of leaving their babies in the nest while they go out to find food, returning to the nest to feed them.

Will a divorce derail early retirement?

Many people are working well into their senior years these days, whether out of necessity or because they enjoy what they do. Others who have worked hard, lived frugally and saved and invested wisely prefer to retire years before they're eligible for Medicare and Social Security. They may want to travel the world, spend time with their grandkids or start a second act building sailboats or showing their prized tulips.

However, what if your spouse files for divorce before you have a chance to start this new life and seeks spousal and/or child support? Does that put an end to your dreams of early retirement?

What is financial abuse?

Domestic abuse is most often associated with physical and sexual violence or emotional and verbal cruelty by one spouse or partner towards the other. However, many partners seek to get the upper hand in a relationship and exert power through financial abuse.

Financial abuse can take many forms. Sometimes victims (often women) don't even realize that they're being abused because they've never known anything else or the level of control has slowly progressed over time. Many women, particularly older ones, aren't comfortable handling the family finances, so they may have been happy to let their husbands take over that responsibility However, eventually, they know little about their own financial situation or have control over their spending.

Why writing your 'divorce story' can help your heart

The stress of divorce can cause numerous physical and emotional ailments. Some of these can cause long-term problems if not dealt with in a timely manner.

Many people, including therapists and no less than Oprah extol the virtues of journaling. However, a recently-published study found that another type of writing may in fact help reduce the stress of a divorce.

Reports of domestic and sexual violence dropping among immigrants

Advocates for victims of domestic violence across the country report a sharp drop in the number of reports they've received from Latinos in recent months. Many attribute this to the fear among undocumented immigrants that they will be deported if they contact the police or the courts regarding a violent partner or spouse or even to report sexual assault or rape. One police chief says that he fears the trend "looks like the beginnings of people not reporting crime."

These fears aren't completely unwarranted. There have been cases of women being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers immediately after being granted a protective order.

Planning for children's health care coverage during divorce

Divorcing parents must show that they are providing health care insurance coverage for their children. That is stipulated under the Affordable Care Act. Of course, making sure that their children's medical needs are taken care of is a priority for every good parent.

How the financial responsibilities are divided is a matter that's decided during the divorce. It is a separate issue from whether only one parent will have the right to make medical decisions for the child or both parents can make those decisions.

Keep an eye on joint accounts during divorce

For many couples, one of the most difficult parts of divorce is separating your financial lives, which may have been intertwined for years, if not decades. Most couples have at least one if not multiple joint bank accounts and credit cards. It's essential to keep an eye on all of those joint accounts during the separation and divorce process or for as long as your name is still on them for a couple of key reasons.

First, people have been known to empty out joint bank accounts, leaving their estranged spouses in serious financial straits. Some also rack up serious credit card debt, impacting their spouse's available credit for all the things they need to buy as they begin their new life.

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