How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce Case

    Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly popular over the last five years. In fact, an estimated 1.01 billion people use Facebook each month in August 2012, a 233 percent increase from the same month three years earlier in 2009. And while these websites can be extremely beneficial for gathering news, information, and even staying in touch with friends, it can potentially be detrimental to your divorce case.

    From making your divorce more public to friends and family to presenting evidence against you and even hurting you emotionally after the divorce is finalized, due to child support and other issues, social media websites have changed divorce forever. In fact, the Huffington Post reported that a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) suggested over 80 percent of all divorce attorneys said evidence from Facebook and Twitter has increased over the past six years.

    There are a number of ways social networking websites can affect your divorce case. Location-based status updates can show where he or she is at a specific time. Also, photo uploads of a party or get-together where alcohol is present can seriously impact a divorce settlement, especially when children are involved. If you are going through a divorce, you may want to keep the following in mind:

    • Be careful with how much your social media circle crosses over into your ex’s circle.
    • Do not change your relationship status to “single” if you are not yet divorced and have simply started the divorce process. Even something as small as this can provide evidence that you may have been unfaithful or planned to be before the divorce process began.
    • Think twice before posting anything to Facebook, Twitter, or any other site. This is especially the case for photos.
    • Do not post updates with your location

    You should also be careful with social media sites after divorce, especially if you and your former spouse remain friends or in contact because of children. Divorce can be a very emotional time and photos or status updates could bring back old memories or increase the risk of an argument with your ex.

    Benefits of Prenuptial Agreements

    Prenuptial AgreementWhen a couple gets married, they often don’t want to even consider the possibility that their relationship will ever end. However, after many years together, the strain of life’s everyday burdens, as well as the simple personal changes that everyone undergoes over time, may eventually lead a couple to decide that they would be better off separating. Unfortunately, the separation process, particularly in a divorce, can often cause serious financial issues to emerge.

    One way to avoid this issue is by signing a prenuptial agreement. These agreements define the property rights of each individual before the marriage, and can help to limit the acrimony that may occur during divorce proceedings. Many couples tend to think that prenuptial agreements are unromantic and begin a marriage on a needlessly combative note, but prenuptial agreements can actually have a number of benefits, both during a marriage and in the case that it should end. Some of these include:prenuptial agreements can actually have a number of benefits, both during a marriage and in the case that it should end. Some of these include:

    • Ÿ  Reducing uncertainty and anxiety: couples who share all marital property may experience anxiety and frustration, feeling that they are bound to their relationship out of property concerns. By removing this barrier,
    • Ÿ  Protecting adult children: prenuptial agreements are particularly well-suited to marriages which happen later in life, especially if one spouse has adult children for which they wish to ensure an adequate inheritance.
    • Ÿ  Protecting business ownership: if one spouse has a significant ownership stake in a business, a premarital agreement can help to ensure that the business remains in their hands.

    Regardless of the strength of a relationship, many experienced Austin divorce attorneys recommend prenuptial agreements to all couples with significant assets to ensure that any possible divorce proceedings are as untroubled as possible. A family lawyer has extensive knowledge about prenuptial agreements and can help you move forward towards a happy life, while making sure to protect the things most important to you. If you go through a divorce in the future, you should make sure that you are protected.

    Property Division

    For married couples who decide to pursue a divorce, one of the most important considerations to take into account is how property will be divided between both spouses. Because most couples have accumulated a considerable number of possessions during their time together, it can sometimes be difficult to determine who exactly should get what. However, effectively dividing this property is critical to ensuring a successful divorce settlement.

    In some cases, a couple considering divorce can simply divide their assets between each other through mutual agreement. However, if bitterness should develop later on in the process, these agreements aren’t legally enforceable and may leave one spouse vulnerable to exploitation.

    Mediated divorces are another, more legally secure way for a divorcing couple to achieve division of marital property on their own terms. In mediated divorce, both parties will work with a third-party mediator to reach an agreement about property division which is satisfactory to each spouse. These agreements do typically have the force of law behind them, and therefore both spouses can feel more secure in their decision.

    Many divorce, unfortunately, involve considerable acrimony between the two parties, and in these cases, reaching a mutual agreement about property division is usually impossible. Therefore, it is often necessary to take the issue to a court, where it will be decided regardless of what either side wants. In most states, marital property is divided as equitably as possible, although this does not by any means imply that it will be divided equally. Rather, the positions of both sides will be taken into account to determine who should receive what. Because of the considerable impact that this element of a divorce proceeding can have on an individual’s life, it is important to have the qualified assistance of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in this type of situation.

    Domestic Violence Protection

    Every relationship has its share of difficult moments. However, for some, arguments and fights with their significant other can turn violent. Worse, some relationships can devolve into a persistent cycle of abuse, typically with one partner directing the majority of their abuse against the other. This can not only be damaging to the ongoing physical and mental health of the abuse victim, but may very well threaten their life: many abusive relationships eventually result in intimate partner homicide, often after years of abuse.

    Because of the significant danger which those who have been victims of domestic violence (PDF) may find themselves in, states have formulated laws to help ensure that there are legal safeguards in place to help prevent this type of tragedy from occurring.

    Ex parte orders, sometimes known as temporary restraining orders, can be obtained as an immediate safeguard against harm. Though the assistance of a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer may be necessary, filing for and obtaining an ex parte order is typically fairly straightforward and easily accomplished if there is evidence of the individual being directly threatened by their spouse or significant other.

    For more permanent protection, victims of domestic abuse can file for orders of protection, also known simply as restraining orders. Like an ex parte order, an order of protection may require the abuser to vacate the premises they share with their significant other and deny them the right to any form of contact with their victim. The most important difference from an ex parte order is that orders of protection are often permanent, and can be enforced across state lines.

    Those who have been the victims of domestic abuse need to be aware that they can get the protection they need, and should do so as soon as possible. Speaking with a qualified domestic violence attorneyor law enforcement official is essential to preventing the worst case possible.

    Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

    There are many different reasons why a married couple may decide to end their relationship. At times, both spouses may simply have grown apart over the years, and no longer wish to continue their lives with each other. In other situations, the actions of one spouse may have led the other to decide that they want something different. Depending on what reason a spouse has for pursuing a divorce, there are different types for which their case may best be suited.

    Broadly speaking, divorces can usually be divided into the categories of “fault” and “no-fault.” A no-fault divorce, as the name implies, is one in which neither spouse claims that the other is to blame for the dissolution of their relationship. Rather, both individuals pursuing a no-fault divorce agree that the time has come to part ways, and in choosing this form of divorce, make the legal process which they must undergo as simple and painless as possible.

    Divorces in which one party is alleged to be at-fault are somewhat more complicated, and not every reason for which an individual may consider their spouse to blame for marital problems qualifies as legitimate grounds for divorce. While the rules for fault divorces vary from state to state, generally speaking, a few issues stand out as particularly common grounds for divorce. These include the following:

    • Ÿ  Extramarital affairs
    • Ÿ  Drug and alcohol abuse
    • Ÿ  Domestic violence
    • Ÿ  Abandonment
    • Ÿ  Imprisonment

    If one spouse can demonstrate that any of these elements were the deciding factor in their decision to pursue a divorce, they may be able to receive significantly more generous terms in a divorce settlement than would otherwise be expected. According to a divorce lawyer from the law firm Kirker Davis, LLP, this is because those circumstances show that the spouse was actively harming the marriage and family. The assistance of a qualified family law attorney can help those considering divorce to understand their full range of options and what they should expect in divorce proceedings, as well as help them get everything they want out of their divorce, be it child custody or alimony.

    Enforcing Child Support Agreements

    When a married couple separates, there are a considerable number of different decisions that must be made in order to ensure that both sides are satisfied with the outcome. For parents with children, the number of decisions that must be made can be even more overwhelming. However, in many cases, one of the most important issue which must be resolved is the allocation of child support.

    Often, when a couple divorces, one spouse will be left with significantly fewer resources than the other. This can make that spouse’s ability to support their children much more difficult. Therefore, child support agreements and parenting agreements may be necessary to ensure that the children are fully provided for wherever they may be living.

    Unfortunately, for some individuals, child support obligations are seen as a burden, rather than a necessary investment in their child’s future. Therefore, some people refuse to make the child support payments required of them. This can have a serious impact on the lives of both their children and their former spouse. For this reason, a number of different measures have been taken to help ensure that child support agreements are fully enforced.

    Enforcement Mechanisms

    There are several different ways that a child support agreement can be enforced. These include the following:

    • Ÿ  Wage garnishment
    • Ÿ  Criminal penalties
    • Ÿ  Asset seizure
    • Ÿ  Suspension of licenses (driver’s, professional, hunting, etc.)

    These are just some of the ways that child support agreements can be enforced. With the assistance of a qualified divorce lawyer, a spouse who is being denied the support payments to which they are entitled can take the legal action necessary to ensure that they get the assistance they need. In these types of situations, the help of a qualified attorney is often essential to ensuring that the rights of a parent are upheld.

    Alternative Forms of Adoption

    adoption

    The adoption of a child is, for many families, one of the most exciting and important times in their lives. However, there is often a significant legal process that is associated with adoption, conferring a variety of different rights and obligations on the adoptive parent and establishing the relationship with their new child. The exact nature of this process can vary significantly, depending on the state in which the adoption is pursued and, in particular, which type of adoption is involved.

    There are several different forms of adoption, and the rules required of each type can vary considerably, from minor variations to major changes. Many people think of one type of adoption, typically a family or single parent contacting an adoption agency and seeking to provide a new home for a child. However, there are a significant number of other forms of adoption. The following is a brief explanation of some of these alternative forms of legal adoption currently available.

    • Ÿ  Step-Parent Adoption: this is generally a fairly straightforward form of adoption. As long as both birth parents consent to the adoption, a step-parent will typically be able to complete adoption of a step-child quite easily. However, if one of the parents does not consent, the process can be considerably more difficult, and may require the assistance of a qualified adoption attorney.
    • Ÿ  Same-Sex Couple Adoption: while the legal landscape around same-sex adoption continues to shift, at the moment it is generally more difficult for same-sex couples to adopt a child than opposite-sex couples. However, the laws vary significantly between states, and in some areas, adoption for same-sex couples is no different than for anyone else.
    • Ÿ  Relative Adoption: adoption by a relative typically occurs in situations where one or both of a child’s parents have died or otherwise been rendered incapable of giving them the care they need. This form of adoption is often one of the easiest to be completed.
    • Ÿ  Adult Adoption: while rare, adult adoption is provided for in almost every state. Typically, this type of adoption is conducted for inheritance purposes, and most states have considerable restrictions on who is eligible for adult adoption.

    Joint Custody

    For a couple pursuing divorce, one of the most difficult issues can be deciding how to determine child custody arrangement. Many parents consider their children to be the most important thing in their life, and would do anything to ensure that they play an important role in their child’s development. Therefore, many couples decide to pursue joint custody to ensure that their child has all the love and support they deserve.

    Joint custody arrangement can vary significantly. For some parents, the joint custody they share is only legal custody. This means that both parents have an equal right to have input on important issues in their child’s life, such as religious training, education, and medical care. However, sharing joint legal custody does not necessarily mean that both parents will share physical custody of their child; one parent may still have the child living with them permanently.

    Alternatively, parents can share joint physical custody of the child. This means that they will both have a right to a certain, prearranged amount of time with their child. These types of custody arrangements can vary widely; in some cases, one parent may have their child during the week and the other parent during the weekend. In others, parents will alternate periods of time during which they keep the child, either on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis.

    There are distinct benefits to joint custody, both legal and physical. For one, it ensures that both parents have a say in their child’s life, and can help the child remain connected and supported as they grow. Furthermore, it can make parenting easier for both parents. However, there can also be downsides to joint custody. Constantly moving the child back and forth between homes can feel disruptive to their life, and animosity between parents can be damaging to their emotional development. Therefore, it’s critical to reach a custody arrangement that will work for both of the parents as well as the child. Discussing these issues with a qualified divorce lawyer can help to ensure the best possible outcome.

    The Benefits of Mediated Divorce

    Mediated Divorce

    When a married couple reaches a point in their relationship where either one or both partners become convinced that they cannot continue their lives together, it is often necessary to consider the possibility of divorce. Unfortunately, the divorce process can often be highly contentious, placing unnecessary emotional duress on those already going through a difficult time in their lives. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Choosing to pursue a mediated divorce can significantly ease the stress of the divorce process, allowing those pursuing this path to focus on what matters most.

    Unlike a contested divorce, in which both sides pursue the services of a divorce lawyer and fight over the terms of their separation, mediated divorce involves the two parties negotiating the details of their divorce with a neutral third-party mediator. This allows both sides to have significant input on the ultimate divorce settlement and ensures the fair treatment of all involved.

    In addition to reducing the level of bitterness that both spouses may feel during the divorce process, mediated divorce can also help to reduce the costs that a divorce process may incur. Most mediated divorces can be accomplished in ten sessions or less, for a total time of around twenty hours. This is significantly shorter than the time that a contested divorce usually takes, and therefore the costs of a mediated divorce are often several times lower than other types of divorce.

    Most importantly, though, mediated divorce can help to make both partners more satisfied with the outcome of their separation long after the process is finished. By ensuring that the wishes of both sides are not left unconsidered, the mediated divorce process allows both spouses to feel that they have been given a fair treatment and move on with their lives.