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Alpharetta Family Law Blog

Financial dishonesty: What are the odds?

Expecting trust in a marriage is one thing, but when dividing marital property during a divorce in Georgia, it may seem unreasonable to have faith that your ex-partner is telling the truth about his or her finances. This may particularly be true when dishonesty was a factor in the destruction of your relationship. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 2014 Harris Poll survey data indicate that many marriages involve hidden assets.

More than 2,000 American adults participated in this survey, which asked questions about financial deceptions in marriage. NEFE states that of these, 13 percent of the participants admitted they have been dishonest with their spouses about significant amounts of money, either spent or earned. If you uncovered evidence before the separation, or if you have not yet had your suspicions confirmed, you may still decide that you want to look for clues before reaching a settlement. Missing bill statements, reluctance to discuss finances or unexplained receipts may be signals that your hunch is correct.

Keeping the assets you love without compromising during divorce

There are a number of losses that are associated with divorce in Georgia. The loss of the relationship and time with children may be the most difficult for some, but determining which items you will keep and which will go to your spouse can also cause emotional distress. This may be particularly true when it comes to possessions that have sentimental value. We at the Siemon Law Firm have provided legal advice to many people seeking a divorce agreement that allows them to keep assets they love without losing their fair share of the settlement.

Having a strong emotional attachment to one of your tangible assets could lead you into trouble in a divorce. According to CNBC.com, allowing your feelings to guide you during the process of property division may be detrimental. It may be a good idea to have a financial value placed on each asset before negotiation begins in order to prevent a lopsided settlement. Experts recommend that this valuation come from an expert who can determine the actual fair market value.

Parenting plans may affect a child emotionally and financially

Spouses who are working on a parenting plan as they go through a divorce in Georgia may find it difficult to agree as to the amount of time each of them get to spend with their child. In addition to the hard feelings of the breakup, one parent may believe that the other’s parenting style is unsatisfactory and wish the child to spend less time with that parent. However, the National Conference of Legislatures provides information indicating that a child with adequate time to develop a strong parent-child bond with the noncustodial parent typically has better financial support as well as emotional health.

Statistics show that when noncustodial parents are allowed to spend more time with their children, they are more likely to make their child support payments in full. When parents are not able to maintain or develop a relationship with their child, they often become less committed to their responsibility to pay the amount the court has determined is necessary for the child’s well-being. Therefore, other than cases involving abuse, the child’s needs are best met through a parenting plan that is as generous as possible to the noncustodial parent.

Ozzy's divorce is high-asset, celeb example of gray divorce trend

"I'm 63 years of age and I can't be living like this," says now talk show host Sharon Osbourne. She is talking about her marriage with well-known rocker Ozzy Osbourne. The couple has been married for more than 30 years and is reportedly at the beginning of a divorce that's already making headlines. 

In previous posts we have discussed older couples ending their long-term marriages. These kinds of splits have taken on their own term, "gray divorce." While neither Sharon nor Ozzy is looking gray (they still rock their black rock star duds), they do fit into that classification. This newly-announced divorce reflects the trend of gray divorce.

When you and your spouse are citizens of different countries

Every divorce in Georgia or elsewhere in the United States includes dynamics that are unique to the couple. However, if your spouse is a foreign national or has dual citizenship, U.S. family law may not be the only legal factor that applies to your situation. At the Siemon Law Firm, we are aware of the importance of identifying the laws in a spouse’s home country to determine the impact they may have on a divorce involving international assets.

According to Reuters, the United States and countries in Europe have divorce laws that are different from each other. Therefore, where you and your spouse decide to file, will determine which country’s laws will apply. For example, if you and your spouse have ties to France and the U.S., and you are living in the United States and file for divorce there, then American laws will apply. If you file for divorce in France, then French laws will determine the outcome.

Upside-down mortgages and property division

During the emotional turmoil of divorce in Georgia, you or your spouse may also be dealing with the physical upheaval of determining where to live. The family home often represents stability, which may make it seem worth fighting for in the divorce settlement. However, if the mortgage you owe amounts to more than the house is worth, you must determine the best way to deal with the liability. At the Siemon Law Firm, we are aware of the potential solutions to this problem, and have helped many couples reach an agreement that satisfied both parties.

According to GoBankingRates.com, there is more than one way to address the negative equity in your home when dividing marital property. For example, you and your spouse may decide to accept the loss by opting for a short sale. The difference between the sale and the mortgage amount may still have to be paid if you choose this route, though. It could have a serious impact on your credit score, and you could face tax penalties, as well. However, in some cases homeowners are able to work with the lender to minimize the impact, making it much more preferable than a foreclosure.

Steering clear of emotional damage to your child during a divorce

Regardless of who initiates a divorce in Georgia, bitterness and anger may tempt the couple to act in ways that they may regret later. Identifying potential pitfalls early and agreeing to avoid certain behaviors may allow them to work together toward a settlement and parenting plan that benefits them both without litigation. Even more importantly, their ability to sidestep disputes can be a boon to their child during the transition.

According to Psychology Today, there are many ways partners may use their children to attempt to hurt each other. Unfortunately, these may be even more damaging to a child than to the ex-spouse. Criticizing the other parent in front of or to the child is one such activity, as this may cause a feeling that he or she must choose between the parents. This may lead the child to feel disloyal and will mostly likely heighten the sense of conflict. Another tactic that may cause emotional harm to a child is telling him or her about the impending divorce before informing the other spouse of it.

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.

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