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White Plains Divorce Law Blog

Should you officially serve your spouse divorce papers?

You decide that you want to end your marriage, and so you file for divorce. You go to the court to file the papers. They explain that the next step is to give your spouse a set amount of time to respond, which you do by serving those papers to him or her. You can officially do this with various service methods, such as the sheriff's office.

However, do you really need to go that far? Maybe, despite the problems in your marriage, you are basically getting along. You hardly think that you need to call the sheriff to serve those papers. It seems too formal and contentious. You decide to just give the papers to your spouse yourself, skipping all the drama.

Stave off that post-divorce loneliness

Even if you wanted to get divorced, you still may feel a bit lonely when your relationship ends and your ex moves out. You may have been married for years or even decades. It's a big change to start living on your own again.

In order to stave off this loneliness, the key is to be proactive. Don't let yourself fall into isolation, which is so easy to do. Spend time with other family members. Seek out friends. These people will be there for you. Be open to that companionship to make the transition easier.

What should you consider when deciding to keep the house?

Are you thinking of trying to keep the house during your divorce? Is your top goal simply to keep some consistency in your life -- and the children's lives -- by making sure you get the family home?

If so, here are three key things that you need to consider:

Divorce is not the uncommon taboo it once was

Attitudes toward divorce have shifted in the United States, and it has left some people wondering exactly how to approach the topic.

For instance, one woman who remembers growing up in the 1980s and the 1990s said that at the time, she felt like divorce was something that no one ever talked about openly as it was viewed as something of a taboo. People felt like they had failed in life if they split up, and so they just did not broach the topic.

4 reasons you may be able to change a custody schedule

It is incredibly important to follow the child custody schedule that you get during your divorce. Never willfully break it and violate your ex's rights.

That said, it is also critical to remember that these schedules may not work forever. You can, in some cases, modify them to better fit what you and your child need. Four potential reasons to do so include:

7 signs that may mean a divorce is coming

Impending divorce is not always obvious before it happens. Some couples split up after one unexpected event or because of outside factors, such as a drug addiction problem. However, there are some signs that experts use to predict divorce. They may mean that a marital breakdown is statistically more likely.

Again, these just mean that it could be more likely -- not that it is a guarantee. Even so, it is important to know what to look out for. Some signs include the following:

  1. Doubts right before the wedding: People often assume jitters are normal on a big day, but they can actually predict that the marriage won't last.
  2. An early marriage: Couples who get married young, especially in their teens, have a harder time keeping the relationship going.
  3. A late marriage: At the same time, getting married after age 32 could also mean divorce is more likely.
  4. Divorced parents: Those whose parents split up are around 40 percent more likely to end their own marriages than those whose parents stayed married.
  5. Serious debt: Money problems end a lot of marriages, especially when one person does most of the spending.
  6. Smoking: If both people smoke, it may not matter, but if only one person does, that couple faces higher odds of divorce.
  7. Living together first: The chances of divorce go up slightly if the couple lived together before they decided to tie the knot -- though this is a very common practice in modern society.

The other parent of my child is not exercising custody rights

Imagine a judge awards you with full physical custody of your children and awards your ex-spouse with visitation rights; however, your ex hasn't once shown up to exercise his or her custody rights. Should you file a lawsuit to revoke or limit your ex's visitation rights? Or, should you be patient and hope that your ex later develops an interest in your children -- which would probably be the healthiest situation for your children in the long run?

Many family law attorneys actually discourage parents from attempting to revoke or limit the other parent's visitation rights. This is because, no matter how bad or irresponsible your ex happens to be, your children may not understand or forgive you for taking such an action. A more recommendable course of action is to take whatever action is necessary to help support and foster a better relationship between yourself and your ex. Doing so will help safeguard your children from feeling unwanted or unloved, and prevent them from suffering from the hurt and pain that goes along with such feelings.

Who benefits from a 50-50 child custody plan?

Divorcing parents will always struggle to find a workable solution to sharing the time they have with their children. In some cases, the best way to work out a parenting plan is to share the children 50-50. This usually involves the children living half the time with one parent and the remaining time with the other. Parents might divide their kids every other week, every two weeks or split the week right down the middle. Ultimately, it's best that the plan works to provide each parent with equal weekend time to enjoy with the kids.

As for whom the 50-50 plan works best, parents who answer "yes" to the following might benefit from the 50-50 plan:

  • The parents live close enough to one another to make exchanges convenient.
  • The parents can communicate and make decisions without constantly fighting.
  • The child is mentally and emotionally capable of living in two different homes.
  • Both parents have a commitment to the best interests of the child or children.
  • Both parents are on board with the idea of a 50-50 plan.

You work hard for your child: Make sure to document it

If you're in the middle of a child custody dispute, or about to be in one, there's one thing you should consider doing immediately: Keep a childcare journal. This journal will include information pertaining to the daily things you do on behalf of and with your children. It could serve as the most important piece of evidence that your child custody matter hinges upon: Who serves as the primary caretaker of your children?

The parent who can prove the status of being the primary caretaker is the parent who will receive preference in any child custody case decision. In some cases, both parents serve as primary caretakers, and in other cases only one parent performed the lion's share of the work required to raise the children. Regardless of your situation, you want to have evidence of the parenting tasks you performed.

Should I fight my prenuptial agreement in court?

Imagine your husband has been having an affair and he wants to get a divorce. You agree, and that's when his lawyer contacts you to remind you of the prenuptial agreement you signed two decades ago - something you had long-ago forgotten about. The question is: Will your prenuptial agreement even hold up in court? Can you challenge it after all these years?

Here are several legal grounds by which you might be able to contest a prenuptial agreement:

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