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Hartford Divorce Law Blog

You must know exactly what you own during divorce

It may sound obvious that you need to know what you own when you end your marriage, but it's something people often overlook. This is especially true with high-asset divorce cases, where the assets can admittedly be complex and confusing.

Knowing that you have "around a million dollars" in investments just isn't good enough. Knowing that the lakefront vacation home was "expensive" doesn't give you an accurate idea of what it is really worth today. Knowing that there is "plenty of money in the bank" without any real idea of how much should be there just sets you up for failure.

Understanding why children need both parents to stay involved

After a divorce, the roles that parents have in their children's lives are going to change. It's inevitable. They have to split up parenting time and obligations.

While doing this, many experts believe that the focus should be on making sure that both parents stay involved in their children's lives. They warn against custody agreements that heavily favor one parent -- a split where the father only sees the children for 20% of the time, for instance. It's far better to be closer to a 50-50 split in most cases.

What do your living expenses look like after divorce?

After a divorce, your living expenses are going to change. You suddenly have to cover all of the costs on your own. To some, this comes as a bit of a shock; if your partner handled the finances, this may be something you have not thought about in years.

One part of this equation may be alimony. Say you didn't work, and you even left your career so that you could raise a family or help your spouse pursue their career. If so, your spouse may need to pay you on a monthly basis to make up for the support you thought you would get before the divorce.

Think of divorce as a business decision

People often think about divorce as an emotional decision. They talk about how they just don't love each other anymore or how hurt or disappointed they are. They mention feeling angry, bitter, happy or relieved. All cases are different, but emotions and feelings tend to dominate as they look at the relational side of the split.

It's not that you won't feel emotional during or just after a divorce, but it's much better to think of the divorce process as being akin to a business decision. You do not want to let your emotions sway your reasoning and decision-making or get so caught up in how you feel that you make fundamental mistakes.

Can you use child support for childcare this summer?

When the first summer after your divorce arrives, you suddenly realize that you have a problem. In the past, when the kids were out of school, you and your ex took turns watching them. Now that you are divorced, when you have custody, you still have to work during normal school hours.

You know that the obvious option is to put them in childcare when you can't be with them yourself. However, that's not free. Far from it. Childcare can often be incredibly expensive. You understand it -- you don't mind paying someone to take good care of your kids -- but you also know that it's a serious financial burden. Can you use child support funds to help offset that cost if your spouse has been ordered by the court to pay?

Does having separate bank accounts matter in divorce?

When you got married, you already had your own bank account. So did your spouse. Rather than combining them, you decided to just keep using the separate ones the way you did before you got married. It seemed easier.

Now you're getting divorced. Your spouse, who earns more money than you, wants to keep the money in their accounts while you keep the money in yours. That means that they would leave the marriage with considerably more than you.

After divorce, go to your child's events

Post-divorce life is bound to be different for your children. No matter what your custody plan looks like, things are going to change. Relationships are going to shift. There's just no way around this.

The key is to focus on giving your child the attention and love they deserve, no matter how often you see them. One crucial way you can do this is to make sure that you always go to the events that they are involved in.

The value of routine for children

When determining how you want to set up your child custody schedule, it's important to consider what you can do to build a solid routine for your kids. It's very important to them. If they don't get it, they can feel anxious and unsettled.

According to mental health professionals, children tend to feel more anxious in the summer. You would think that the freedom from school would be relaxing and fun, and it can be at times. However, researchers have actually found that anxiety spikes for a lot of children when school lets out for the year.

Anyone can start an offshore account

In the lead-up to your divorce, a family friend warns you that one of the more common ways that people try to hide assets is by putting them into offshore bank accounts. They then "forget" to disclose those assets, which don't show up on their traditional bank statements. The friend advises you to carefully look into all potential places where assets could be held so that you get your fair share.

However, you feel like it's not an issue in your marriage. An off-shore account sounds like something only an international traveler would really have. Your spouse has never left the United States. While you are fairly wealthy, you just don't think they fit that profile. Isn't it hard to start an offshore account?

Pre-marriage student loan debt is separate property

Since many people get married in their mid-to-late 20s, they often bring student loan debt to the marriage. They may have just graduated in the last few years, and they each have loans to pay back. As a married couple, they work together on making those payments.

But what if you get divorced? Then what happens to the debt?

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