What Not To Do In California Divorce Court

What Not To Do In California Divorce Court

Marriage is hard work, period. But it turns out there are a slew of surprising things that can make it even harder. Relationship experts call them divorce “risk factors.” Like risk factors for heart disease or breast cancer, these traits and habits don’t cause divorce, and by no means do they guarantee that a marriage is headed for trouble. They simply raise a couple’s odds of splitting up.

Many of the factors (like how attractive you are, or the sex of your first-born) are things you have no control over. But taking steps to strengthen your relationship is never a bad move. That could mean making little tweaks (like exercising together, and banning phones at dinnertime) or doing some heavier lifting — such as adjusting your financial expectations, or learning to communicate better.

Read on to see if you and your partner match any of the scenarios below.

Your parents got divorced

Divorce is more common among children of divorced parents. But a new study in Psychological Science suggests this may have more to do with nature than nurture: The researchers examined data from nearly 20,000 adults who had been adopted as kids, and found that the patterns of marriage and divorce were more similar to those of their biological parents, not their adoptive ones.

“A lot of the scientific evidence to date has suggested that seeing your parents go through a divorce contributes to your own propensity to experience divorce yourself,” author Jessica Salvatore, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, told Health in a prior interview. “But those studies haven’t controlled for the fact that those parents are also contributing genes to their children. By looking at adopted children, we’re able to separate out the genetic factors and the environmental ones.” The genetic link is likely due to inherited personality traits like neuroticism and impulsivity, which are in turn linked to a higher chance of divorce, she said.

Your alcohol habits don’t match your spouse’s

If enjoying a bottle of wine together is your idea of a perfect date night but your spouse prefers to stay sober, it may cause some problems down the road. In a 2014 University of Buffalo study, researchers found that among couples in which one person was a heavy drinker and the other wasn’t, 45 to 55 percent got divorced before their 10th anniversary. Meanwhile, when both partners — or neither partner — drank, only around 35 percent of couples split up.

According to conventional wisdom (and concerned parents of college sweethearts), the longer you wait to get married, the stronger your bond will be. The latest statistics paint a somewhat more complex picture of the ideal age to get married; but tying the knot in your teens and early 20s still seems to increase divorce risk, compared to getting hitched in your late 20s and early 30s. But waiting just a little longer — until after age 32 — may once again raise your divorce risk, according to an analysis from the Institute of Family Studies.

This might help explain some shocking celebrity breakups: Good-looking partners have a harder time staying together. The authors of a recent paper published in the journal Personal Relationships found that physical attractiveness was indeed linked to a higher likelihood of getting divorced. In a series of four studies the researchers determined that both regular people and celebs were more likely to split if they scored higher on scales of attractiveness. Hotties were also more vulnerable to temptation than more average-looking married folk.

This might help explain some shocking celebrity breakups: Good-looking partners have a harder time staying together.

You shelled out big bucks for your wedding

A wedding that breaks the bank might also break the marriage. Emory University researchers found in a 2015 study that women whose weddings totaled more than $20,000 were 3.5 times more likely to get divorced than women whose weddings cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Men and women who spent less than $1,000 on their nuptials, on the other hand, were the least likely to get divorced.

You didn’t waste any time getting pregnant

How quickly you have a baby may affect how that union plays out. According to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women (in a first marriage) who waited to have a baby at least eight months after their wedding day were more likely to make it to their 15th anniversary than women who had a baby before the big day or within the first seven months.

Your first kid is a daughter

Statisticians have long noted a higher rate of divorce among couples with a firstborn daughter compared to those who have a son. The findings have been interpreted over the years to reflect a sexist preference for sons on the part of fathers ? a simplistic generalization that isn’t panning out in newer research. A 2014 study published in the journal Demography suggests that rocky marriages–the kind that may already be headed for divorce ? might actually produce baby girls thanks to a concept known as the female survival advantage. “Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive,” study co-author Amar Hamoudi said in a statement. “Thus girls are more likely than boys to be born into marriages that were already strained.”

You didn’t finish college

Earning at least a bachelor’s degree has been linked to a longer and stronger marriage. A 2012 National Health Statistics report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that women and men who completed college had a 78 percent and 65 percent chance, respectively, of their marriages lasting at least 20 years. Women and men with a high school diploma had just a 41 percent and 47 percent chance of the same marriage duration. Women and men with some college education but not a bachelor’s degree had a 49 percent and 54 percent of a marriage lasting two decades.

You were raised without religion

Women who grew up in religious households are more likely to stay with their spouse than women without a religious upbringing. According to 2012 National Health Statistics data, protestant women had a 50 percent chance of their marriage lasting 20 years. Catholic women had slightly higher odds at 53 percent. And women raised in “other religions” had a 65 percent chance of staying married that long. Women who were not raised religious had only a 43 percent chance.

You’ve been divorced before

A second or third marriage isn’t doomed, but your odds of lasting for the long-haul are slightly lower if you’ve been married and divorced before. About 35% of first marriages end within 10 years, while about 40 percent of second marriages end within that period, according to CDC data. But of course sometimes, the second or third time’s the charm.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-things-that-make-you-more-likely-to-get-divorced_us_59e7a7dbe4b0432b8c11ec26?section=us_divorce

Prenuptial agreements are on the rise, particularly among millennials.

In a recent survey of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 62 percent of the lawyers polled said they saw an increase in the number of clients seeking prenups during the previous three years. And more than half of the attorneys said they?d seen an uptick in the number of millennials requesting prenuptial agreements.

The prevalence of prenups doesn?t make asking your partner to sign one any easier, though. To make the conversation less thorny, we asked divorce attorneys to share their advice for best ways to ask for a fair, equitable prenup.

1. Have the conversation as early as possible.

This is a delicate, uncomfortable conversation, but if it?s something that genuinely matters to you, you owe it to your partner to bring it up as soon as possible, said Lisa Helfend Meyer, a family law attorney in Los Angeles.

?In fact, bring up the subject when you are still dating,? Meyer said. ?That way, you can gauge your partner?s reaction to one. If the reaction is to move to the other room, then you know you will need to handle with extra sensitivity.?

2. Know that it?s going to be a weird, heavy conversation.

There?s no way around it: Broaching the subject is going to cause some tension in your relationship, said Atlanta-based divorce attorney Randall Kessler. In his 30 years in family law, he?s rarely heard of a prenup conversation that?s been hiccup-free.

?I?ve heard all kinds of approaches. What usually seems to work best is the truth,? Kessler said. ?Say something along the lines of, ?My family and I have always discussed and agreed that if I or my brother ever got married, we would sign a prenup,? or, ?My best friend went through a horrible divorce and all he can remember from it is his lawyer saying, ?If only you had signed a prenuptial agreement.??

If you communicate your wishes in an open and honest way, and your S.O. respects that, you?re very likely on the road to a solid relationship, Kessler added.

3. Emphasize how much of a headache you?ll be saving yourselves later.

Ultimately, a prenup has the power to uncomplicate a messy, knotty personal situation, saidCarla Schiff Donnelly, an attorney in Pittsburgh.

?Emphasize the fact that a prenup will simplify a divorce and make it quicker, less expensive and less emotionally taxing,? Donnelly told HuffPost. ?That will benefit both your fiancée and any future children.?

4. Remind your partner that all relationships end one way or another. You?re just trying to make the inevitable easier.

One way to introduce the idea of a prenup is to talk about how you?d each want to be treated at the end of your marriage, said Katherine Eisold Miller, a divorce attorney in New Rochelle, New York.

?All marriages end, one way or another. Instead of saying, ?I can?t marry you until we have a prenup,? try framing it this way: ?At the end of our marriage, whether it ends in death, as we anticipate, or divorce, what would be important to you and how would you like to be treated???

Then, pivot and ask your partner if they?d be open to hearing what would matter most to you in either case.

?A prenup should do something for both people and give them some certainty in difficult times,? Eisold Miller said. ?A conversation like this allows for both voices to be heard.?

5. Point out that a good prenup benefits the lower-earning spouse, too.

If you?re worried about coming across as greedy or penny-pinching by bringing this up, remember that a carefully written, thoughtful prenup protects both parties, Kessler said.

?Sometimes, the prenuptial agreement is even more valuable to the less-wealthy spouse because it gives him or her some security about finances in the event of a divorce,? he said.

6.Suggest that you co-create the agreement.

Don?t make this a weird power play: Both partners should be active participants in drafting the prenup to ensure that it?s equitable, said Dennis A. Cohen, a family law attorney and mediator in Marina del Rey, California.

?The trick is to make this a co-created agreement that deals with both of your concerns, not just the partner who has substantially more income or assets than the other,? Cohen said. ?It may be helpful to have a neutral mediator help you reach an agreement that addresses both of your needs and desires.?

Regardless of how you go about it, end the conversation with a promise to be fair and reasonable throughout the process, and actively listen to your partner?s concerns.

?This is, after all, a person you love and want to marry,? Cohen said. ?Keeping that uppermost in your mind, words and deeds will result in you coming up with an agreement that works for both of you.?If you are going through a divorce and you have to go to court to reach a settlement with your former spouse, there are several things you should not do. When you are in the courtroom it is important to be respectful and not let your emotions get the best of you. You can make sure you are prepared for this by avoiding the nine mistakes mentioned in the article below.

Take it from divorce attorneys and don’t make any of these common mistakes that almost always end up costing people who decide to litigate.

1. Going to court without a lawyer.

“This is the No. 1 mistake. Yes, you might do fine, but lawyers ? good lawyers who are in court often ? will know the procedures, the etiquette, the judge’s likes and dislikes and many other things that can be invaluable. You often only have one chance at a good result. Hedge your bets, improve your odds, get a good lawyer. Or at least consult with a lawyer ahead of time to better understand the process.” ? Randall Kessler, a divorce attorney in Atlanta, Georgia

2. Not being prepared with your paperwork.

“If the judge asks you a question and you don’t have a good answer, there’s a very good chance they won’t be pleased. For example, if you show up to court for a hearing where you are seeking a reduction in financial support, you better have documentation ready to prove your income and debts. If the judge asks for something and you don’t have it, that won’t help your case.” ? Jason Levoy, an attorney and divorce coach in New York City

3. Not meeting with or talking to your lawyer about the trial ahead of time.

“Trial is unknown territory for most people and learning what to expect is crucial. Practice, practice, practice. And if possible, go watch another case ahead of time to see and feel the courtroom environment.” ? Kessler

4. Dressing inappropriately.

“Like it or not, appearances count. If you walk into court looking like a hot mess, you’re going to have a harder time convincing a judge that you should have 50/50 parenting time and joint custody of your kids. Yes, I know that doesn’t seem fair. Sorry, but judges are human, too. And if you walk into court wearing expensive clothing and jewelry, good luck convincing the court that you don’t have enough money to pay your child support.” ?

Karen Covy, a divorce attorney and coach in Chicago

5. Making unreasonable demands.

“Don’t overreach. Many people think that in order to get $500 per month, they need to ask for $1,000 per month. But this may well come off as greedy and overreaching. Make a reasonable proposal. The judge is looking for a reasonable solution.” ? Kessler

6. Not turning off your cell phone before you walk into court.

“Judges are busy. They have a lot of cases to cover, and they don’t appreciate being interrupted. Anything that beeps, buzzes or rings in a courtroom will draw the judge’s attention to you in a way you definitely are not going to want. Even using your cell phone in court is considered disrespectful. So, when you walk into the courtroom, leave your cell phone in your pocket.” ? Covy

7. Interrupting the judge.

“This is a big no-no. Tape your mouth shut if you have to, but interrupting a judge while they are speaking will get you nowhere fast. I always tell people to write their thoughts on paper so you don’t forget, but wait for your turn to speak. You will get it. Nothing pisses off a judge more than a litigant who interrupts them.” ? Levoy

8. Giving the court clerk and other courtroom personnel attitude.

“The judge may be the one who makes decisions in your case, but the judge’s clerk is the one who makes sure the courtroom is running the way the judge wants. If you piss off the clerk, you will also anger the judge. (Plus, the clerk will probably make sure your case gets called dead last that day.)” ? Covy

9. Being angry.

“Judges do not like angry people, even if the anger is justified. Be polite, sweet and endearing. The judge is a person who will be deciding how to help you through this mess and it is much better if the judge likes you. Even if you are 100 percent in the right, present your situation politely ? it makes a difference.” ? Kessler

Quotes were edited and condensed for clarity.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/9-mistakes-people-always-make-in-divorce-court_us_5a6b6071e4b01fbbefb15dca

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