Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Divorce Lawyer's View on Marriage Equality

There is so much to discuss and to consider. Many couples, particularly those in same-sex relationships, have been pondering the day that same-sex marriage was treated like, well, marriage. That day has arrived. While various people and various religious and other groups may refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, governments in our country, both local and federal, must now consider such marriages (if properly handled, just like opposite sex marriages) as valid marriages.

The interesting thing to me, as a divorce lawyer, is that those already involved in a committed, same-sex relationship — perhaps with children, real property (like a house) and maybe a business — now have a mechanism to civilly and somewhat predictably, separate if needed. In other words, without same-sex marriage, dissolving such relationships and shared property and children could often be and has often been, chaotic. No rules, snatch and grab, biological parent gets all the rights and the other parent doesn't even get visitation. Those were real concerns for many same-sex couples, until this decision.

The point is that it will now be much easier to bring resolution and peaceful closure at the end of a same-sex relationship. And we should dispel the notion that divorce lawyers will now make lots of money. To the contrary, until same-sex marriages were permitted, separating a same-sex couple, dividing their assets, resolving their child custody and support issues, partitioning real property like their house, all required separate lawsuits. Now it can all be done at once pursuant to the same laws and rules that have been fully developed for opposite sex couples (the laws and rules of divorce). Property can be transferred in a divorce as a nontaxable event. It will be less costly and easier to do. That makes divorce lawyers less money, but it is a good thing.  Same-sex marriage does not mean that same-sex couples will now form serious relationships. Obviously they already do. Same-sex marriage now simply recognizes those relationships and permits those couples to have the benefits (and some may argue disadvantages) of being married.

The debate about whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry may continue for a period but really, in my opinion, it is done. It will eventually sink into the general public psyche. For instance, after the Loving v. Va case, people eventually stopped calling it "interracial marriage." Now it's just "marriage." The same thing will happen with this. And the world will go on.

- Randy Kessler

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pope Francis: Sometimes marriages fall apart

VATICAN CITY— Pope Francis — the leader of a Catholic Church that has always preached the indissolubility of marriage — acknowledged on Wednesday that sometimes it is impossible for spouses to stay together.
"It is true … that there are cases when separations are inevitable. Sometimes they can even become morally necessary," the pontiff said during his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square.
Francis said he was referring to cases of domestic violence and exploitation, affecting the weaker partner or small children.
His remarks came a day after the publication of a working document for the Oct. 4-25 synod, a world summit of bishops due to discuss how to treat people who do not comply with Catholic family ethics, including divorcees, unmarried couples and homosexuals.
"Around us we find several families in so-called irregular — I don't like this word — situations, and we pose ourselves many questions. How can we help them? How can we support them? How can we support them so that children do not become hostages of their father or mother?" the pope said.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Divorce Coach Could Offer a Calmer Perspective

For a while, mediation was considered the great new panacea, a supposedly more civilized route to a less adversarial – and less expensive – separation agreement upon which to base post-divorce life. But more couples are discovering that alternatives to the lawyer route may not be all they were chalked up to be.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Text messages, apps increasingly used in divorce cases

Among attorneys surveyed, 97 percent said they've seen an increase in evidence taken from smartphones and other wireless devices in the last three years. Texts accounted for 46 percent of the evidence gathered, followed by emails at 30 percent and phone numbers or call history at 12 percent. The top apps listed for divorce evidence were Find My iPhone and Snapchat.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Police seize children because the family was camping

Thinking about taking the kids for an extended camping trip this summer?  Just don't make it too rustic or you could find yourself investigated by CPS.  Is CPS trying too hard to define what makes a home habitable?  Where does the line get drawn?

Don't Make These 3 Huge Mistakes During Divorce

Remember that it doesn't just affect you, but your kids as well.
You just filed for divorce and you're feeling overwhelmed. After being married for so many years, getting used to the idea that you're no longer together is hard.
You try detaching yourself from the situation in the hopes that it'll help you move on, but you know that the reality is that your ex will always be around because of your kids.
You argue constantly, which just succeeds in reminding you why you're getting a divorce in the first place.
When you're caught up in the moment, it's easy to forget that your divorce doesn't just affect you, but your kids as well. That's what makes having an amicable divorce that much more crucial.
Authors John Gray and Charles J. Orlando, Relationship Help Doctor Rhoberta ShalerShannon Rios Paulsen LMFT, and Jennifer Maddox LCSW  discuss different mistakes that you must avoid making at all costs. Protect your kids from going through an even more heartbreaking experience.
1. Take responsibility for your marriage ending.
Shannon stresses that you must hold yourself accountable for what happened between the two of you. She says "When you're not responsible, you play the blame game. [...] Well, you have to bring it to yourself and say 'What was my role in this?' Because if you don't do that, you can't learn, you can't grow, you can't create the next level best relationship."
2. Don't EVER bash your ex, especially in front of the kids.
We know it's incredibly tempting to lash at your ex about every grievance during your marriage, but it'll only hurt you and your kids in the end. John raises the excellent point that "it's hard to say nice things about [your ex but] you have to be motivated to. And the motivation is your children. [...] You look at these innocent little children, and half of that child is daddy, and [the other half] is mommy."
3. Constantly arguing puts your kids in a tough spot.
You may think that you're being subtle, but your kids can sense when something's not right. Don't ever put them in the awkward position of having to listen to you two fight.
There are countless other mistakes that couples often make when getting a divorce that could just as easily be avoided. You can check out the video for the rest of them and make sure that you're not in danger of repeating them.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Social Networks blamed for China's Rising Divorce Rates

A new study from China says social media is to blame for rising divorce rates in that country.  

The divorce rate in China has been steadily rising since 2004, according to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In 2012, 3.1 million couples divorced, or 23.4 per cent of the population, compared to 4.7 per cent in 1979. The rate was close to or over 30 pc in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and other big cities in 2013.
Couples surveyed for the study, published in Chinese magazine Banyuetan, said the presence of social media in their lives had not brought them closer and in some cases, had made matters worse bringing the relationship to an end.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Annie’s Mailbox: Divorce is better than living in misery

"In many cases, a divorce is better for the kids than living in a miserable, unhappy environment with parents who argue and don’t respect each other. Get counseling, with or without him, and figure out what is best for your family."

Sunday, June 7, 2015

11 Promises to Make to your Kids After Divorce

During divorce, your kids need to be reminded that you'll be there for them, regardless of what happens between you and your ex. From complaints about the new living arrangement to boy problems, you want them to know you've still got it covered.

Huffington Post asked their readers and HuffPost bloggers to share with them

the promises and assurances they made to their kiddos after divorce. Read 11 of the sweetest responses below

Friday, June 5, 2015

12 Unexpectedly Wonderful Things About Life After Divorce

"It's hard to get out of bed some days after divorce, let alone map out a future spent on your own. But at some point in the process, you start to realize that you're so much more than your relationship status and that life goes on -- and gets better -- after divorce."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What is Community Property anyway?

Community Property concerns the distribution of property acquired by a couple during marriage in the event of the end of the marriage, whether by divorce or death of one of the parties. In community property states, all property accumulated by a husband and wife during their marriage becomes joint property even if it was originally acquired in the name of only one partner.  There are a few exceptions to this rule.  Arizona is a community property state.  This means this logic governs how divorce works in Arizona.

Laws vary among the states that recognize community property; however, the basic idea is that a husband and wife each acquire a one-half interest in what is labeled community property. A determining factor in the classification of a particular asset as community property is the time of acquisition. Community property is ordinarily defined as everything the couple owns that is acquired during the marriage with the exception of separate property owned by either of them individually. Separate property is that property that each individual brings into the marriage, in addition to anything that either spouse acquires by inheritance during the marriage.  There are a few more exceptions that qualify as separate property.  A qualified attorney can explain what those exceptions are.  Please visit Petersen Law Firm PLLC at for a consultation.