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Dad's divorce law and tips for high conflict divorceWhen your spouse walked down the aisle at your wedding, you probably assumed that you would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, about 40 – 50 percent of marriages end. Getting divorced is never easy – especially if you have children. However, some divorce cases are more contentious than others. Consider the following tips for dealing with a high-conflict divorce as a father.

Consider Alternative Divorce Resolution Methods

In the divorce process, you and your spouse will need to decide on important issues such as child custody and asset division. In a high conflict divorce, however, reaching an agreement on these issues can seem impossible. In many cases,  alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative divorce may be helpful. 

Organize Your Finances Now

A large portion of the decisions made during the divorce process are financial in nature. It is impossible to make informed financial decisions if you do not have a complete and accurate understanding of your financial situation. Now is the time to gather financial documents such as tax returns, credit card statements, pay stubs, and business financial records. Make copies of these documents and bring them with you to your consultation with your attorney. 

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Adultery and divorce issues child custody alimonyFew things are more hurtful than realizing that your marriage is coming to an end because your spouse has cheated on you. In these cases, you’re likely to feel a great deal of sadness and betrayal, as well as anger about how your impending divorce will affect your children and anxiety about the changes you’ll be experiencing in your life. All of these feelings can seem overwhelming, and you might want to lash out at your spouse for bringing this turmoil into your family’s lives. However, as you proceed with the divorce process, you’ll want to take a step back, consider things from a legal perspective, and understand how infidelity will affect the decisions made.

Addressing Adultery When Filing for Divorce

Depending on the laws in your state, you may or may not need to address infidelity when filing a petition for divorce. Some states recognize fault-based grounds for divorce, allowing a person to state that their marriage has ended because of adultery or other actions taken by their partner. However, most states allow for “no-fault divorce” in which a person simply needs to state that the marriage has failed due to “irreconcilable differences,” and in some states, this is the only option available. While you may feel that you should make it understood that your spouse’s infidelity is the reason your marriage has ended, blaming her for your divorce could make the process more contentious, leading to disputes that take a great deal of time and money to resolve.

Infidelity and Financial Issues

If you believe that your spouse is to blame for the end of your marriage, you may feel that she should be penalized or that matters related to finances should be decided in your favor. However, most state laws do not take adultery or other forms of marital misconduct into account when addressing matters such as the division of marital property. In most cases, assets and debts that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will be divided in a way that is fair and equitable. However, if your spouse dissipated or wasted marital assets when committing adultery, such as by spending money to buy gifts for her lover, this could affect the decisions made about how property will be divided.

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Divorce during COVID-19The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on all of our lives. Even if you haven’t been directly affected by an infection, you’ve probably had to deal with inconveniences due to being required to stay at home or maintain social distancing. In the worst cases, people have lost their jobs, been unable to make rent or mortgage payments, or suffered devastating losses due to the illness or death of family members. Along with all of these other concerns, many people’s marriages have been pushed to the breaking point or beyond due to the stresses and difficulties they are experiencing. If you’re considering getting divorced, you may need to deal with some issues and concerns that you wouldn’t have to address in other circumstances. During the divorce process, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  1. Figure out how to separate while sharing a home - Moving out of your home and finding new living arrangements might be difficult right now. Due to concerns about infections, you may not want to visit potential new houses or apartments, or you may simply be unable to afford to move because of your financial situation. However, sharing a home with your spouse might seem impossible when your relationship has broken down. You may want to agree that each of you will mostly stay in your own separate areas of your house, and you could create schedules for when each of you will use shared areas such as the kitchen or family room. By figuring out how to make things work while you continue to live together, you can avoid conflicts and arguments and decrease stress during an already difficult time.

  2. Determine court procedures - Currently, many courts have closed or are operating at limited capacity to avoid spreading infections. However, courts will typically be able to address emergency issues, such as domestic violence or orders of protection, if the need arises. As you proceed with the divorce process, you’ll need to understand how procedures might have changed. In some cases, courts might hold virtual hearings, allowing you to address matters without actually entering the courtroom. Your divorce lawyer can help you understand what steps you’ll need to take as you go through the divorce process.

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Protect your health during divorceEveryone handles their divorce differently — maybe you’re grieving with the help of a large bag of potato chips or with a few beers and some friends. Getting through a divorce can be especially difficult for men, as they tend to avoid discussing emotions or seeking help from others. This is especially true in the midst of a pandemic when hanging out with friends or going to a bar are no longer on the table. Not all guys are going to be open to getting in touch with their feelings, so it can be hard to find other outlets for staying healthy, both mentally and physically. Though COVID-19 may be limiting your ability to spend time with family and friends, there are other ways you can come out on the other side of your divorce happy and healthy.

Avoid Overindulging

This is a challenge for everyone at the moment, whether single, married, or in the middle of a divorce. Now that “going to work” consists of sitting in your home with your laptop and a pair of sweatpants, it’s easy to allow yourself to indulge a little too much. Easily accessible snacks, sugary drinks, and alcoholic beverages after work can quickly become your go-to. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to take advantage of these unique circumstances and enjoy yourself, but you may not notice how much is being added to your waistline before it’s too late.

Consistency is Key

The term “consistency” can seem impossible in the middle of a global pandemic. This is especially true if your “normal” has been completely turned upside down due to your divorce. You’ll need to create your new normal in both your professional and your personal life. Try settling on a schedule that you can follow on a daily basis for the next few months. Whether this involves a workout in the morning or time set aside for new hobbies, having a schedule can help you feel more in control and less concerned with the minor details of your daily life.

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Virtual divorce mediation during the coronavirus pandemicMany parts of society have been put on hold temporarily in response to COVID-19 and its rapid spread throughout the world. However, marital issues are not something that many couples are able to simply pause. If your marriage has broken down, and you’re thinking of getting a divorce, you aren’t going to want to wait for the country to open back up before moving forward with your case. Fortunately, attorneys in all areas of practice, including divorce lawyers, have been deemed essential workers, allowing them to remain active and assist clients with the divorce process during the pandemic.

In order to provide services safely, many law firms are offering digital services to meet their clients’ needs. In the area of family law, this includes meetings with soon-to-be divorcees over the phone or by video chat. For many law firms that offer divorce mediation, spouses may speak with their third-party mediator through digital means.

What Are the Benefits of Mediation?

Depending on your relationship with your spouse and the level of conflict between the two of you, divorce mediation can be one of the best ways to resolve disputes and reach a divorce settlement. Mediation offers an alternative to divorce litigation, and it can allow you to avoid the time and expense involved in resolving matters in the courtroom. 

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