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Know Your Rights About Spousal Support

But before you re-watch The First Wives Club and begin your vengeful plotting, it may be a good idea to become informed as to the kind of benefits or spousal support to which you are entitled. Keep in mind that not all divorces or separations involve spousal support. In fact, current statistics state that only about 10 to 15 percent end with a spousal support judgment. The statistics change for child support, which is a different ballgame altogether. You might have thought it was the other way around, but not everyone is married to Lionel Richie.

Divorce laws vary by state, so you must first meet the residency requirements of the area in which you live. You must also have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage according to your state’s divorce laws. Once divorce papers are filed by one spouse and sent to the other, the receiving spouse, if they disagree, has the opportunity to file papers telling his/ her side. This is called “contesting the divorce.” Financial issues can often stall the process. However, property division and spousal support are sometimes settled out of court. Custody and child support may be decided as part of your divorce if not already handled in family court. For more information, check out the various websites listed below. So, what is Spousal Support?

Spousal Support is the payment or transfer of money (or assets) from one spouse to another after a divorce. You may be more familiar with the phrases “prenuptial agreement” (which may contain clauses to provide or exclude spousal support) “alimony,” or “permanent maintenance.” The laws associated with spousal support seek to prevent a divorced spouse from suffering due to a diminished standard of living. It is not unusual for one spouse to have been out of the workforce for such a significant amount of time that it would be difficult for him/ her to quickly attain a job or professional position in order to maintain his/ her standard of living after the divorce. There are other possible reasons for seeking spousal support and some are stated below. Your attorney can help you determine which, if any, apply to you. In general, The United States Supreme Court has held that both former husbands and wives are able to receive spousal support payments. It is no longer just a man seeking a way to “buy his way out of the marriage.” More information is available at www.divorcesupport.com.


A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people who are about to marry, setting out the terms for retention of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of property, and division of the aforementioned should the marriage end. These agreements are fairly common if either or both parties have substantial assets, children from a prior marriage, potential inheritances, or high incomes. Sometimes people shy away from prenuptial agreements, but marriage itself is a legal contract. If you have considerable assets, protecting yourself with a prenuptial agreement may be highly beneficial. If you are getting divorced and have a prenuptial agreement, bring it to your attorney for a thorough review.

Temporary Maintenance vs. Permanent Maintenance

There are two main types of spousal support that can be received at the end of a divorce: temporary maintenance and permanent maintenance. Temporary maintenance is often dispersed to a recipient in the form of Alimony. This is money paid from one spouse to another for day-to-day support of the spouse who has fewer financial resources. Sometimes alimony also can be used to pay back a debt.

On the other hand, courts can award permanent spousal support to provide money for a spouse who cannot become economically independent and/or desires or requires maintaining a lifestyle that the court considers appropriate given the resources of the parties. Common reasons for ordering permanent maintenance include advanced age, chronic illness, or inherent inability of the recipient to have “earning power” comparable to that of the more prosperous spouse. Although this form of support is termed “permanent”, the level of support can change or cease depending on the changing circumstances of either the payer or the recipient. Spousal support generally ends if the recipient remarries and may also end if the recipient lives with someone else.

The new trend of Alimony

In the past, most alimony awards provided for payments to former wives by “breadwinning” former husbands. As the American culture has changed, today most marriages include two wage earners. Women are viewed as less dependent, and men are often more likely to be primary parents. The courts and spousal support awards have kept up with the times. The tradition of men paying and women receiving spousal support is slowly retreating, and orders of alimony payments from ex-wife to ex-husband are on the rise.

A major final issue…do you need a lawyer to procure your assets?

The law does not require you to have a lawyer, but, generally speaking, it is better to have one, if at all possible, during a divorce. A lawyer has far more expertise and legal knowledge regarding the issues of child custody, child support, financial support, and division of marital property. A good lawyer can help you protect your assets while investigating those of your spouse to ensure full disclosure.

That being said, hiring a divorce lawyer can get expensive. But like many things, you could end up paying more if you are not well advised, particularly if your situation is complex. For simpler circumstances, particularly if the divorce is going amicably, you might choose to use a divorce mediator instead to avoid escalating hostilities. You can find more information at www.womenslaw.org as well as www.divorcenet.com.

Additional information

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a lawyer and do not endorse the services of the websites and information I refer to in this article. I am NOT offering legal advice and provide these links and the material in this article for your information as a journalist ONLY.

The following links may provide helpful information about divorce and spousal support:






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5 Tips For A Florida Uncontested Divorce

When going through an uncontested divorce in Florida you can use the Florida divorce forms, prepare the documents without assistance, or have a divorce lawyer or family law attorney prepare the documents. Whichever method you choose, we have five tips to make your uncontested Florida divorce easy and successful.

1. Determine whether in fact your marriage is broken and cannot be repaired.

Nothing is worse than you trying to get a divorce in an amicable fashion while your spouse thinks it can be worked out. When this happens an uncontested divorce will likely take longer or may never happen. This means it will become contested while your spouse puts off discussing the issues you need to resolve.

2. If you have children, discuss who they will live with and who will have visitation.

A carefully drafted visitation schedule should take into account not only the rights of each parent to spend time with the children, but also the children’s schedule, particularly when they are older.  In Florida child custody laws allow both parents to play important roles in their children’s lives and allow for joint decision making about a child’s future.

3. Calculate the child support.

Child support in Florida is based on the parent’s net (that is, after tax) income and the amount of time they spend with the children. Unless the children are spending more than forty percent with the parent who has visitation, the standard Florida child support guidelines apply. More than forty percent time sharing will result in adjustments to said amount. For more information on Florida Child Support please see Florida Child Support Information Page.

There are three important things to be aware of pertaining to child support payments:

First, if you’re the parent paying it and your are not seeing the children for any reason, you cannot stop paying child support.

Second, if you’re the party who should be receiving it, you do not stop or interfere with visitation if the other parent is not paying it. Only the court can determine to stop visitation. Nothing makes family judges more upset than parties playing games with visitation and child support.

Last, it doesn’t matter what your expenses are as far as the court is concerned.  By law child support is the number one obligation you will have; it comes before paying your other creditors, like your credit card and car payments, etc.

4. Take inventory the property you own and debts you owe.

Make a list of both what you own, and what you owe. Sit down with your spouse to decide how these items will be divided. If you both have property or debt from before the marriage, you need to address those issues too.

5. Make and draft an agreement.

Whatever you and your spouse agree on, write it down. This will be your marital settlement agreement which the court will incorporate into your final judgment of dissolution of marriage. Once part of the final judgment that both agree to, it will become an order of the court directed at you, the parties to the divorce.

If you have any questions, get a consultation with an attorney. Doing your uncontested divorce doesn’t mean you have to do without legal advice on divorce, particularly the legal consequences of any decision you want to make regarding your divorce—once you agree to certain things, you may not be able to change them. Rather, uncontested means you and your spouse will not contest or disagree, not that you and your spouse will not know the legal consequences of your agreement; so seek legal advice for divorce.

If this article has been helpful please feel free to use it as is.  Also please Contact Us and we will be glad to give you more information and help you through a difficult time.

Trip Bechert is a Family Law Attorney that has been helping families through their difficult times.  He offers Divorce in Florida and Mediation services to couple in South Florida.

Dating Suggestions After The Divorce

Yes, while you were married you probably thought of public speaking as the most frightening activity you could attempt. The very thought of a crowd of strangers looking at you, listening to how you speak, making judgments about who you are and what you know, caused the average marriage partner to freeze in panic. You watched others speak publicly, and probably thought..”Man oh man, better them than me”.

Then you got divorced, and at some point you realized that you were expected to date. Your face went pale, you experienced cold sweats, and you swore you’d be willing to speak to angry crowds rather than go through dating again.

After all, dating couldn’t be like it was way back when, right? It was sort of easy back then. We came together easily, and we parted ways easily. but now? Me? Date? OMG.

The truth is, is that it hasn’t really changed. At least the people haven’t changed much. Most of them are the same ones you grew up around and experienced all those similar experiences with. Yes, the periphery has changed, but we’re basically still the same.

What you’ll find below is a compilation of two lists. Dating “Do’s” that suggest what to place importance on, and “Don’ts”, obviously thoughts and activities that can be obstacles to successfully making friends. Remember one thing in all this. You’re looking to engage a subset of people in order to find one or more that share your interests, beliefs or activities. Most won’t fit quite right. Some will. Just make friends. Most people are looking for friends too.

There’s some controversy about when one should begin the dating process. That answer will be found in your personal beliefs and ability to recover from trauma. Some believe that, for religious reasons, a person should not date until the ink is dry on a divorce decree. Your state’s laws may support the notion that any dating while legally married is adultery. Make sure you check your state’s laws. Others believe you should date once you’ve emotionally healed from the loss of a love. There is a body of thinking that suggests that in order to figure how long it will take you to heal, you should take the number of married years and divide by two. This author recognizes that healing begins when it does, which can include before or during a divorce separation, and for some, that healing can be complete before the final gavel on the divorce. Everyone is different. Once you’re indifferent to what the ex does and says, you’re healed.

During your divorce, you were concerned with child custody, divorce laws, child support, alimony, separation, legally separated, divorce recovery, advice, statutes, divorce settlement, family law, recovery, divorce articles, legal, visitation, fathers rights, marital separation, annulment, parental alienation, healing, spiritual, lawyers, grounds for divorce, mediation, divorce support, adultery, counseling, common law, grandparents rights and more. Now its time for the new you.

Dating Do’s- Thoughts and Behaviors to consider

* Meet your date in a public place. This should always be the case, especially if the meeting results from getting to know someone on-line.

* If you are the guy, be sure to have the date planned out. You would have already suggested a place to go together. Surprises can make the woman very uneasy.

* Be attentive to your date. Be engaged. be interested. Surely the time between speaking with your date last, and your date now, created some additional interest. It’s okay to talk about yourself some, but don’t be boorish.

* If you are the man, be chivalrous. Yes, open the door for her, hold her seat as she gets seated (the chair, silly, the chair), and be prepared to order for her if it’s dining.

* If you’re the woman, you might offer to pay for the outing when the date is originally discussed, or perhaps make it Dutch. If he insists on paying (and most will), accept that and don’t make a big deal about paying during the date. Instead, if you feel obliged, think of something (an ice cream cone) that you can pay for.

* Crack some jokes. If you don’t know any, go on-line. Be funny. Funny is charming. be tasteful, of course. No dirty jokes.

* Be flexible. Life throws us curves, and you may need to select another place to go, or dine at. This should be an adventure. Explore. Observe. Observe how you interact with your date. Were you nervous? What did you like? Would you change anything?

* During conversation, don’t get too far ahead of yourself. If your date hears you naming his future children, or planning the garden you will share with him, he may get skittish.

* Be genuine, and be complimentary. If there’s something about your date that you particularly like, say so. (Avoid staring at her chest if you tell her you like her dress). Even if there isn’t anything striking, compliment her nice appearance.

* When you are out on a date, be OUT. Only one conversation with your children, and be sure to shut off your cell phone. You can impress her that Obama is calling another time.

* Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Do this on your date, and if you haven’t started yet, do this until you die. It will serve you well.

* If your date is important, treat that person so. If your date is not important, what the heck are you doing there? Be on time, call if late, and show respect for your date’s time.

* Look your best. Wear appropriate clothes for the venue. For God’s sake shave. Don’t put on too much cologne or perfume. Your date won’t be impressed that you buy it buy the gallon.

* Pay attention to body language, because your date likely is. face your date when speaking, and make eye contact. Smile. Don’t map your date’s face too much with your eyes, because that can give your date the idea you want to skip dessert and really go for the dessert.

* For men, be sure to get your date to her door after the date. Make sure she’s safe when you leave her.

* Remember that you may have to kiss alot of frogs before one turns into a Prince. It’s a numbers game. You wouldn’t expect to find a dear friend without meeting many that couldn’t be that good friend, right?

* If a relationship is meant to last forever, you have time. Don’t rush into intimacy, shared toothbrushes or a pet dog before the time is right.

* Think of it this way. The last time you saw a picture of yourself from many years ago, you thought: Wow, I wasn’t nearly as fat as I imagined back then. Now imagine taking a picture today, and looking at it in 20 years. You look marvelous, darling :-)

* If there’s any doubt about dating, join the chat room and ask opinions

Dating Don’ts- This stuff is like Poison

* Don’t act distracted during a date. Don’t leave cell phones on. Don’t let your eyes wander while your date is speaking. Be attentive.

* Don’t agree just to agree. Be yourself. Express your views. Obviously you don’t want an argument to start, but your date would like to know you have convictions, and what they are.

* Don’t be pretentious. Sometimes people allow nerves to alter how the really feel, or behave. Remember, you’re both trying to get to know what makes the other tick. If there is something not genuine your date will be disappointed.

* Don’t turn the date into a therapy session. There’s no need to show your date how much you’ve learned from Dr. Phil, or Men Are From Mars. If you are a man, resist trying to fix her problems during the date, and for the lifetime of that friendship. Women don’t necessarily want solutions, they want someone who will listen and understand.

* Make no uninvited physical advances. For that matter, make no advances if they appear wanted. You could be wrong, and even if you aren’t, knocking boots in the bed of the pick-up truck starts the relationship off wrong.

* Don’t be afraid to ask the male for a date. Most men are open to it these days, and it indicates a woman who is confident with self-esteem. Remember dates can be meeting for lunch, or just a movie.

* If the date looks like its headed to disaster, don’t be afraid to end it early. In a kind manner, simply tell your date that this isn’t what you’re looking for, and excuse yourself.

* For heavens sake don’t get drunk. Unless your date is more drunk and can’t tell, being looped is a disaster, and can indicate problems with alcohol or problems that you use alcohol to minimize.

* Don’t ask questions you wouldn’t feel comfortable asking. If you’re a guy, don’t ask questionable questions you WOULD answer. Don’t pry. Don’t ask how much child support she gets.

* Don’t look for faults. Everyone has them. A first date is to explore generalities, so there’s no need for an inquest.

* Don’t make snap judgments too early. Spend 10 minutes determining if there is a physical attraction and 30 minutes or longer judging emotional chemistry.

* Don’t discuss politics or religion on the first date. You’ll know if your date is a Hari Krishna or not without asking. Besides, you’ll be able to change him and convert him later (just kidding).

* Resist competing with your date, if you have a signed bottle of Robert Mondavi vintage wine. One-upping the other can really irritate a date. If your visitation or child custody is a big win for you, don’t compare.

* Let him pick the restaurant, even if your idea is better. There’s plenty of time later to explain the difference between silverware wrapped in linen and those that are not.

* Don’t introduce your kids on the first date, or the third for that matter. Kids are sensitive to parents dating, and confusing them with a series of dates that disappear is to be avoided. include them only if the relationship deepens and there is real promise it could be a long-term arrangement.

* When you’re dating in general, don’t go out and try to act like you’re 25 again. Attracting younger suitors may seem to open up possibilities, in the end you’re best chances of long-term relationships are with people more your age.

* Don’t discuss your ex to any degree. Your date knows it didn’t work. If you must mention that, be positive and discuss the future with what you learned lessons from.

* Avoid dating someone from work, especially if it’s a small office environment. In the likely chance it doesn’t work out, someone will probably feel the need to relocate, and work is challenging enough without having to check the water cooler before you get a drink.

* Don’t keep your ex on your buddy list. There’s just no point. You two disagree(d) on enough important things that keeping them in your group will likely cause friction eventually. Allow them their own circle of friends.

* Never drop your friends for a guy. Think balance. You should be capable of managing relationships with both. The last thing you need is to dump your friends, end that hot love affair and have those former friends want to continue to be former friends.

* Don’t write your ex an letter or email telling him/her how you really feel. You did that already, and in most cases they outreach ends up being a bad idea (re-opening wounds, affections, etc.) that shouldn’t be re-opened.

* Don’t use the toilet in front of him. Just don’t. That’s a marital thing.

* Don’t take naked pictures while dating. It can cause years of aggravation after the breakup.

* Never have sex with your ex. That includes former partners. Such behavior can stir up old feelings that got over-ridden by other factors that caused you to be no longer together, and you don’t need the feel good feelings resurfacing, waiting for the bad stuff again.

* Don’t tear down your ex to a date. If you’ve altered your behavior because of an ex’s past behavior, mention that, but avoid crapping in the ex’s back yard.

* Avoid swearing or vulgar language. Most people believe cursing is the curse of the crippled conversationalist.

* Ask questions of your date about topics that interest you or him/her. People love to talk about themselves.

* No bragging about money or possessions. no one likes a braggart, and you want the person to like you for YOU, not what you have.

* Positively no sex on the first date. Let’s face it, one or both probably have gone without for awhile, but giving in can cheapen the beginning of a relationship. If it’s meant to last a lifetime, there’s no hurry.

* Don’t accept a second date unless you are certain. A second date should only be discussed once you’ve spent several hours together and both have a good handle on what to expect.

* Resist making snap judgments. What might appear to be one way could prove to be something else. be gracious, deliberate and centered.

* Turn off your cell phone. Set it to vibrate, and tell your kids to only call if there is an emergency.

Thomas Michaels is a free-lance writer who also writes for Divorce Recovery Suite, and on-line divorce support and resource site. Visit the site to discover more methods for divorce recovery.

Divorce and Expense Sharing

There are many expenses during and after a divorce that couples will need to share. Learn more about divorce expense sharing and how it is determined what costs will be split.

Divorce and Your Finances

When you get divorced, you are ending a partnership that was financial as well as emotional. This means that there are many different decisions that must be made regarding how money, assets, debts and expenses are to be handled. One of the major issues that comes up is the question of what expenses are to be shared during the divorce process and after the divorce has become final. Issues of divorce expense sharing may be determined by the two people who are getting the divorce, or they may be determined by the court in the event that the two people are unable to agree.

What Expenses Will Be Shared

The exact nature of the expenses that will be shared varies depending on the specifics of the divorce situation. The two parties to a divorce are free to work out almost any agreement that they would like to work out, if they can actually agree on the terms of the divorce, and the court will sign off on it. This means that a couple can agree to have any expenses shared that they wish. If a court decides issues of expense sharing, however, then things become a little more formulaic in regards to what expenses they may be ordered to split.

Common examples of shared expenses include:

The cost of paying the mortgage on a family home The support of the children, including paying for daycare and other educational and medical expenses The cost of health care

Support Payments

Most commonly, divorce expense sharing takes the form of one spouse being ordered to pay support payments to the other. There are two primary types of support payments that may be ordered. These include:

Child support: This is a court ordered mandate that both parents share the expenses for the child. The payment of child support is based on each parent’s current income and prospective income, as well as on any special needs of the child. Who has custody is also important in determining child support. The non-custodial parent will have to pay child support to the parent who has sole custody or primary custody to ensure expenses are shared. Parents who share joint custody and who each have the children living with them for a part of the time may not have a child support arrangement, or the payments may be less, since each parent will naturally pay for the child’s expenses when the child is in his or her care. Spousal Support: While not ordered in all divorce cases, spousal support may be ordered to provide one spouse with the money to pay for his or her expenses if that spouse’s income isn’t enough for him to maintain a standard of living similar to that which he enjoyed during the marriage

These support payments may continue until a child is 18 years old, after which the court may also institute a requirement that the parents share educational expenses. Spousal support payments may be awarded for a temporary basis if the receiver just needs them to help him out while he attempts to increase his income, or they may be awarded on a permanent basis unless or until the receiver remarries.

Shared Expenses During a Divorce

While spousal support and child support deal with how expenses are shared after a divorce, there may also be a need to share expenses during the divorce itself. For example, if the husband moves out of the marital home, he may still need to help pay the cost of the mortgage and of the care of the kids. Since no support agreement or child support agreement will be in place at this time, because the couple is not yet divorced, an expense-sharing arrangement may need to be worked out. This may be especially important in states that require a long waiting period before divorce, such as states where the couple has to live apart for one year or more.

To resolve the issue of expense sharing during the divorce process before the divorce is finalized, the couple may create a legal separation agreement. This can specify who will pay what, and the court may review it and make it legally binding so the divorce expense sharing arrangement is enforceable by the court.


Stepping Into The World Of Child Support

Have you ever stopped to consider what the words, “Child Support” really mean? Right away most of us probably think of money. And, yes, that’s a major factor. But the money is simply a way of supporting your children among the many other ways you look after and care for your offspring. Unfortunately, after a divorce, child support can be a source of contention. This article is meant to be a general guide for you to use in case you need it.

The amount of support

Child support amounts can consist of an agreement decided upon in negotiations and/or mediation, or by a court decision concerning how much your child will receive from the person paying the support. The amount is set according to a percentage of the paying parent’s income. Along with child support, the two divorcing parents can agree on who pays medical insurance, or the court may order one or both parents to provide insurance for the children, or require the non-custodial parent to help with medical bills.

Something a paying parent might not realize is that child support guidelines don’t always base the monthly amount on what that parent earns. It can be based on what the parent is capable of earning. Education, job skills, and possible wages are all calculated. So if the paying parent takes a low-wage job to avoid making higher child support payments, the court may order a higher amount anyway.

Making Child Support payments

In an amicable divorce, the parents often handle the child support themselves and don’t need help or involvement from the state-run child support agency. However, in many cases, the paying parent sends his or her monthly check through the agency. This is a good method to use if the paying parent suspects that the ex might lie in court and claim that he or she never paid. It’s important for the non-custodial parent who is obligated to make monthly child support payments to protect him or herself.

Never make child support payments in the form of cash unless there is a receipt.

Child support and taxes

States work hard to help families receive the child support they deserve. It’s to everyone’s benefit, since families who get child support often don’t need to receive public assistance; this obviously keeps taxes down.

There is a tax credit available to moderate and low-income working families and individuals. It’s called the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. It can provide a refund even to families with incomes so low that they don’t owe any federal taxes.

To find out more information about this tax credit, you can call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040, or check out their website IRS

The federal umbrella

All states receive assistance, guidance and some money from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, or OCSE. Additionally, OCSE can help locate parents.

The purpose of OCSE and the various state-run agencies is to cooperatively ensure that both parents support their children.

Generally, the state in which you live can offer help with the following issues:

• asking the court to order child support

• enforcing the child support decree

• collecting child support from parents living in other states

• setting-up income withholding with the paying parent’s employer if necessary

• finding a missing parent

• helping establish legal paternity

• reviewing court orders if changes in fortune have occurred.

Most states work cooperatively with other states to find missing parents and acquire overdue payments. They have computer systems that can determine if a non-paying parent has a job or is receiving unemployment.

Sometimes there’s disagreement about fatherhood. (We could be talking Jerry Springer here). In the most serious cases, the agencies can provide genetic testing to establish beyond doubt who the father is.

Attorneys, mediators and helpful websites

Attorneys can provide important child support information that parents need during and after their divorce; however, parents no longer have to depend solely upon attorneys. There is a lot of research available these days, thanks to the Internet. Remember, though, that child support laws vary by state. Each state has its own website dedicated to making information available about child support laws, issues, and requirements, and at NCSEA

(National Child Support Enforcement Association), you can find links to all fifty states.

On these state websites, there are child support calculators available to help you figure how much you should get or how much you may owe.

Custody and child support are such complicated issues with far-reaching repercussions, however, that it remains a good idea to retain an attorney who can help with the specifics.

To assist you in navigating the pitfalls and landmines of divorce, check out other articles, as well as newsletters and audiotapes on Stop Marrying Mistakes

You can also order the book: Stop Marrying Mistakes, Using Principles to Claim a Healthy Relationship by Dr. Kevin B. Skinner, LMFT and Lisa J. Peck, on the same website.

How long child support lasts

Child support generally ends when a child reaches the age of maturity. This is usually eighteen, but in some states can be as high as age twenty-three, and where a child is incapacitated, child support can go on longer.

Review of existing child support orders

At times it becomes necessary to review child support. This can be done at the request of either parent and is performed by the local child support agency. In fact, every three years, both parents may be notified of their right to ask for a review.

Two things are examined in a review.

• Whether the ordered amount agrees with the state’s guidelines

• If the order includes a provision for health insurance for the child if insurance is available at a reasonable cost

If the original order includes both of these details, the agency may not ask the court to change the order. If it doesn’t, then the agency may ask for a change.

A review is done when:

• Either parent asks for a review and there has been no review for three years.

• A state agency requests the review. For instance, this can happen when the child is in foster care.

• The court orders a review

• The agency might agree to a special review if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, as when a parent is laid off or the child goes to live with someone else.

If a review is ordered, both parents will receive notice.

A change in child support

An adjustment can be made to child support because of special circumstances. The child support can go up or down due to the changes. It may also require one of the parents to contribute to health insurance.

If both parents agree to the change, the child support agency will submit the agreement to the court, which must make final approval. If the parents cannot agree, then the court will decide whether or not to make the change.

Child support agencies don’t charge any fee for reviewing or changing the orders. However, the court clerk usually charges a modest filing fee, which the parent who requested the review pays.

When your ex doesn’t pay

A sobering statistic from the National Child Enforcement Agency claims that our national child support debt is over $122 billion, and that 82% of this is not being collected by the federal government. If this statement is factual, it means that a staggering number of parents are struggling without any child support assistance.

Many times separated or divorced parents, both mothers and fathers, end up with little or no financial support from the other parent. If you’re a divorced parent receiving regular child support checks from your ex, congratulate yourself. It’s all too rare.

Ways to collect past due child support:

• The credit bureaus can be notified of the unpaid support, which will adversely affect the ex’s credit.

• Support can be taken from tax refunds. In fact, Dennis Cauchon, who writes for USA Today, reports that 2 billion dollars of the economic stimulus checks from 2008 will be diverted to pay for child support, student loans and back taxes.

• Support can also be taken from lottery winnings.

• In some states, deadbeat parents can even lose their driver’s license.

• The court might get involved, and if the ex refuses to search for a job, a jail sentence can be levied.

• In the worst cases, the district attorney brings criminal charges against the non-paying parent.

• In most states, those families who use food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, and/or Medicaid, are allowed to receive free child support services to help them collect unpaid support.

• Check your state’s child support website for suggestions and details by typing your state’s name in your search engine.

• The child support agency involved in your case might ask the court to take action against the non-paying parent in a procedure called Judicial Enforcement. Charges, like civil contempt or criminal non-support, can be filed against the offending parent. If convicted, the parent can be fined or jailed.

• Laws now give child support agencies the ability to pursue what is called Administrative Enforcement. This allows the agency to take action without asking the court’s permission.

• A tool called “Child Support Lien” can be used. This lien places a hold upon property until the overdue support is paid. If the child support lien isn’t taken care of, it can be next to impossible to sell or transfer the property. If a lien is placed, the parent will be sent a “Notice of Lien and Credit Bureau Reporting.” This will tell you the amount of the lien and explain your right to dispute.

Putting your children first

Our children deserve our support, financially, emotionally, and psychologically. Even if you can’t be with them every day, even if you live in another country, send the child support check. Send pictures and letters too, and tell them you love them as often as you can. Someday, when they’re grown and your relationship with them is fantastic, you’ll know the extra effort was worthwhile. Whatever situation you are in, make a stand for your children.

21 free tips to Stop Marrying Mistakes. Lisa J. Peck invites you to enjoy and celebrate your own healthy relationship by stepping it up in every area of your life. For help on empowering yourself and recovering from divorce: visit Stop Marrying Mistakes

The Price of a Divorce

It seems cruel that amid all the emotional struggles a divorce brings with it, money has to be such a tremendous burden and source of added anxiety. Divorces have many costs, some more tangible than others. This is an article about the tangible toll that a failed marriage has and tips on what to expect and how to cope.

From the reallocation of property and debt to child support to taxes to retirement planning, there are a slew of financial issues that are intertwined with most divorces. Chances are you and your spouse share a lot of assets, from furniture to stocks to pets! You might even have a sentimental attachment to some of them. Unless the two of you agree on how to divide all the property up, you might have to brush off on your bartering skills. Some parting couples even opt to sell all the property at once and divide the profits.

While that comfortable sofa and antique dresser might be in demand, the debt you two shared certainly won’t be. A joint credit report deserves a good look as you and your lawyer(s) determine what’s fair. As you distribute the debt, try to cap off whatever debt you currently have. Divorce is expensive and you want to deflate the financial burden as much as you can today. Again, more bartering may be in order here. Take on more debt in exchange for more assets, or vice versa. If you have an open mind and cooperate, you’ll likely come to a fair divorce settlement. It’s not unusual for a divorcing couple to split the debt  right down the middle.

Surprisingly, you’re going to have some new tax issues to think about too. If you have dependents, which person will get that tax exemption from now on? Many other tax exemptions and deductibles that you probably took for granted as a married couple will need to be reevaluated after a divorce.

Not to mention, child support and alimony! These issues are highly variable and personable but they are going to be big ones if you and your former spouse have children together.  

Men sometimes have great financial difficulties affording child support, but statistics show it’s newly single mothers that have the most money problems. This is especially evident when a woman must suddenly afford childcare or is swept into a new work environment; kids typically must adjust to a lower standard of living, just like their parents, after a divorce.

An entire family structure gets disrupted during a divorce and that has not only an effect on the personal relationships, but on the overall economic situation of all involved. And these financial issues are deep and complex and have enduring effects.

The best advice for you, the soon-to-be-divorced, is to remind yourself the financial turmoil is only temporary and it can be dealt with the most adequately if you can keep your cool and think practically. While it’s tempting, dividing up property and debt is probably not a time for vengeance or proving a point. The divorce will go quicker and more amicably if you try to stay as calm and rational as possible!

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Divorce Ammo – What They Don’t Tell You About Divorce

Arm yourself with divorce tips, advice, and strategies that will save you thousands on your Divorce!