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Arlington Family Law Blog

Marriage and divorce the second time around

You may never have believed your first marriage would end in divorce. In fact, you may have had the same expectations for your second marriage. Nevertheless, here you are considering the pros and cons of ending this marriage. Maybe you feel like you are going in circles, reliving the same conflicts that brought down your first marriage. Or maybe you just feel like it was a mistake to try again so soon.

If you have vivid recollections of the stress and anxiety of your first divorce, you may wonder why you are even considering going through it again. You may be surprised to learn that people like you, who remarry after a divorce, have a much higher chance of heading back to divorce court.

Protecting individuals from domestic violence during disasters

When disaster strikes in Virginia, those who are in abusive situations are often the most vulnerable due to the fact that disasters can restrict access to housing, food and water. Due to the additional stress caused by the disaster, the severity and prevalence of domestic violence can actually increase. As such, integrating domestic violence services into relief efforts is incredibly important.

Before the disaster actually occurs, there are two major steps that communities can take to help them deal with the aftereffects. For example, communities should work to identify hazards that can be mitigated. This generally means developing connections between the community's domestic violence organizations and relief systems that are generally active when the disaster is occurring. Once the connections have been made, professionals who provide domestic violence services can be better prepared to help those who are most vulnerable. This may include directly assisting with relief efforts or training first responders.

Ways divorced parents can create constancy for children

One constant struggle for children of divorced parents in Virginia and around the country is learning to find normalcy in splitting time between two different households. The rules at one parent's home often differ from the rules at the other's, and this inconsistent style of parenting can cause upset in the adjustment ability of the children. While no one set of ideas will work for every family, there are steps to take in order to minimize any negative effects of parenting from different households.

Most family courts offer comprehensive parenting classes following divorce, and they can be very effective in helping parents learn to compromise and work together for the common good of the children. The instructors present an unbiased opinion that can offer clarity to confusing situations, and they can provide solutions to help quickly settle any parenting disputes.

How an estranged couple can prepare for mediation

The end of a marriage can be a difficult time for all parties involved. However, Virginia couples can avoid divorce litigation by considering mediation. Mediation allows both parties to try and work together to come to an agreement on important family law issues like child custody and property division. Because both parties are involved in reaching an agreement, they are more likely to be happier with the results. However, both parties can make the process a bit easier by preparing for it.

When both parties agree to mediation, they should be prepared to expect a number of possible outcomes. Successful mediation means that both parents may not get exactly what they wanted out of the process, but they may reach an agreement that falls within the spectrum of what they find acceptable. Being realistic is also important as parties may be more likely to reach an agreement if they are prepared to give and take during negotiations.

Divorce mistakes with lost alimony deductions

Virginia couples headed toward divorce may want to learn all they can about property division requirements under state law and the tax consequences of dividing various assets. In addition to saving money for both parties, this information could also be useful during negotiations. One of the typical provisions of a divorce agreement is spousal support. Couples may use the beneficial tax status of alimony to harmonize other aspects of property division.

Alimony serves as income replacement for the lower-earning spouse. As such, it is taxable as income for the former spouse receiving it. The person ordered to pay alimony in a divorce agreement can claim the amounts as a tax deduction. There are several ways this deduction must be qualified. One qualifier is that the receiver cannot file a joint 1040 or live in the same residence as the payer. Alimony must also be distinct from child support, which is not taxed as income or deductible.

Reasons for establishing paternity through a DNA test

Many family courts in Virginia use DNA testing to establish paternity in child custody dispute cases or if a mother requests child support. DNA tests are easy, noninvasive and have accuracy rates close to 100 percent.

When a child is born to an unwed mother, a paternity test may be conducted to determine who the biological father is. The father can always voluntarily acknowledge paternity, of course, but until he does or if the test indicates that he is, he will not be listed as the father on the child's birth certificate.

Collaborative law may be a better option for gray divorces

If you are in your 50s, you may have special concerns about your impending divorce. You are not the same person you were in your 30s, and your circumstances are such that a contentious courtroom battle may have few positive results to outweigh the negatives.

You and your spouse may wish to end your marriage on a more dignified note, and you dread a divorce process that promises to turn your amicable separation into a battle that may leave your relationship damaged forever. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

Determining whether to go through mediation or not

Once the decision to get a divorce has been made, estranged Virginia couples will need to determine how they want to go about actually ending their marriage. If the couple is able to work together, mediation may be an appropriate method. However, it should be noted that it will not work for everyone.

First, mediation can be a very slow process, meaning it will not work for those who are interested in finalizing their divorce as soon as possible. Mediation often requires the parties to negotiate and re-negotiate over a long period of time. In the meantime, the former couple will be expected to co-parent as they intend to once the divorce is finalized.

Financial planning for an impending divorce

When a marriage is stable, couples usually feel that their financial life is also completely joined. This often results in blurred lines when it comes to making financial decisions and sharing financial information. However, as some Virginia couples know, when a divorce is a possibility the financial aspects of the relationship can become very complicated.

Experts suggest beginning the financial planning process even before mentioning the divorce to the other spouse or moving out. The first step that is recommended is for the spouse to find a lawyer to help proceed in a legally correct way. In the same manner, the person should also speak to a financial planner about how to proceed financially. Once that is established, there are certain things the financial planner and the spouse should do as they begin the divorce process.

The accuracy of child support calculators

Virginia parents going through a divorce may turn to child support calculators to get an estimate of how much they will pay when it comes to child support. However, parents should be aware that these can have flaws and may give a different amount than what the judge eventually orders.

Online child support calculators only provide an estimate because they often do not take all of the external factors into consideration. Further, judges may interpret the parents' situation differently than the parents did when making the estimation. For example, if the judge determines that a child spends more time with the primary caregiver than the other parent estimated, that parent may be ordered to make higher child support payments than those derived from the calculator.

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