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Alpharetta Family Law Blog

Tips for reestablishing a relationship after parental alienation

As divorced parents in Georgia, you and your ex-spouse may struggle to hide the hard feelings of your failed relationship from your child. However, it is absolutely necessary for the emotional health of your child. If the other parent is sharing his or her bitterness with your child as a method of emotional manipulation, it could lead to difficulties and alienation in spite of your continued attempts at a parent-child bond. We at the Siemon Law Firm have helped many parents to establish a parenting schedule that is in the best interests of the child, even in the face of alienation.

Psychology Today explains that if you find yourself in this situation, your goal should be to help your child understand the need for both parents. However, you may not benefit from attempting to counter the negative descriptions your child has been hearing with declarations of your own self-worth. Instead, experts recommend that you allow others to demonstrate their respect for you. This illustrates to your child that many or even most people do not agree with your ex-spouse's attitude against you. 

Is parental alienation syndrome damaging your parent-child bond?

Regardless of the child custody order you and your ex-spouse were granted in Georgia, you may feel as if you do not have enough time to maintain the relationship you had with your child before the divorce. In fact, you may be experiencing obstacles to a successful bond without even realizing it. According to Psychology Today, as many as 15 percent of divorces that include children may be affected by parental alienation.

If your child is being manipulated into taking the other parent’s side and disengaging from you, he or she could be developing parental alienation syndrome. This psychological condition is a result of brainwashing that arises from behaviors on the part of your ex-spouse such as convincing the child that you are dangerous, refusing to allow the child to talk about you or have pictures of you. The other parent may force the child to take his or her side against you, or risk losing the love of that parent.

Factors Georgia courts consider when assessing alimony requests

For better or worse, money is at the root of all or most of the disputes that arise during a divorce. This can be especially true when the financial stakes are higher than normal. For instance, if you and your soon-to-be ex accumulated significant assets prior to or during marriage, it is likely that many of your discussions will revolve around financial settlements.

Alimony, or spousal support, is one common topic of discussion in high-asset divorces. In Georgia, alimony can be granted on a permanent or temporary basis, though it is not awarded in every case. In order to assess whether one person is entitled to alimony, Georgia family courts will consider a number of factors.

What you should know before divorcing a narcissist

Taking steps to initiate a divorce may be a difficult decision for anyone in Georgia. Even aside from the emotional upheaval that is typically experienced by both spouses, the division of marital property and debt has the potential to leave a person in a less stable financial position. When one spouse has the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder, the other may benefit from taking certain measures to prevent more devastating financial fallout.

According to PsychCentral.com, a narcissist displays several characteristics that deviate from normal behavior and affect the way he or she thinks, feels and interacts with others. These include a lack of empathy, an arrogant or disdainful attitude and a sense of entitlement. Narcissistic people may also believe that their achievements are naturally superior, and they may exploit others to get what they want while expecting people to hold them in high esteem. Narcissists often have trouble with impulse control, as well.

How age may affect divorce

While some people in Georgia who are over the age of 50 may make the decision to stay in an unsatisfying or unhappy marriage, for others, that is not an option. Even when it is the best choice, AARP points out that when older adults decide to end a marriage, the division of property at that stage of life can have serious financial consequences.

A person who was not the primary breadwinner during the relationship may be particularly concerned about how a divorce will affect finances. There may not be time to acquire an education or skill and become self-sufficient. But, alimony payments may not be sufficient to provide the standard of living that had been enjoyed before the divorce. Acquiring new living situations may also be a challenge for those who had shared the family home with a spouse, as well. Seniors who are unable to afford their own home may have to consider living with a child or taking on a roommate.

Parenting issues and your child custody case

After a divorce, you may have a child who is willing to test the boundaries you have set in order to get what he or she wants. However, because of the child custody laws in Georgia, your child may have another tool to use in attempting to get you to give in. This is owing to the fact that the court considers your child’s wishes when determining what is in his or her best interests, particularly after the age of 11. At the Siemon Law Firm, we understand that this factor could even lead to a modification of an existing child custody order.

The Charlotte Observer notes that if you and your child’s other parent are able to communicate, you are more likely to be able to co-parent effectively. This may be enough to prevent a manipulative threat from carrying undue weight. While it may be difficult or impossible for you to approve all of your ex-spouse’s parenting methods, both of you – and your child – may reap the benefits of your cooperation.

Fathers need adequate bonding time with their infants

Even though welcoming a baby into the family is an exciting time for many parents in Georgia, for some it is not enough to overcome conflict between parents. When a divorce is inevitable, creating a visitation schedule that allows strong attachments to develop between the infant and each parent is essential to healthy development. In the past, child custody arrangements tended to favor the mother in these situations. However, according to Psychology Today, it is just as important for the father of an infant to have visitation that includes overnight stays.

Experts used to believe that a child needed to form a primary attachment with the mother, and therefore should spend most of the first years with her. Now, researchers understand that not only is this theory incorrect, it can actually harm the child’s development. Denying the father adequate time with the infant can also affect his ability to form a close bond with the child and set the pattern for minimal involvement and a distant relationship in the future.

3 things to know about reaching a divorce settlement

The divorce process can be very difficult, so much so, that many people just want to get it over and done with. The problem is that this rushed approach can end up really financially hurting someone. This is why it's important to really look at a potential settlement -- from all angles -- and talk through all decisions with an attorney before anything is set in stone.

At The Siemon Law Firm, we know just how contentious financial issues in divorce can become. In fact, in our experience handling Georgia divorces, second to child custody, property division is one of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce, as both spouses want to make sure they are walking away with what is right and fair.

What is a forensic accountant and why do I need one?

For some people in Georgia, dividing the financial and tangible possessions from the marriage during a divorce may be fairly simple. If you have complex assets, though, the process of identifying them all in the discovery phase may be a challenge. Forbes suggests that locating and valuating marital assets may be best accomplished by hiring a forensic accountant, a person who has been trained in the identification and valuation of assets.

Before possessions such as real estate, antiques, artwork and other tangible assets can be divided equitably, you and your spouse have to know what they are worth. Even if you have had their value assessed recently, it may fluctuate over time and so need a new appraisal. The ability to identify property values and to understand the best valuation date to use are skills many forensic accountants offer.

What can you learn about hidden assets from a 1040 form?

Dissolving your marriage in Georgia is a legal matter that may be as stressful financially as ending the relationship has been on your emotions. As you and your spouse go through the process of discovery, you will both need to provide all of your financial documents so the assets and liabilities can be divided equitably. If you have some concerns that your spouse is not providing a full account of these, you may want to hire a financial professional, but there is some information that should be easily accessible to you.

Forbes suggests that you examine tax forms to determine if your spouse is hiding assets that should be listed as marital property. If he or she is not forthcoming about where your jointly filed federal income tax returns are kept, you should be able to receive copies of the information from your tax preparer. Alternately, you could request copies from the Internal Revenue Service, although there is a fee for this service.

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