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Stamford Family Law Blog

Higher divorce risk linked to women's serious illness

"In sickness and in health, till death do us part." These words are a famous part of the marriage vows taken by many people in Connecticut. Even with the best of intentions, however, serious illness can place a major burden on a marriage. This may be especially true when the underlying relationship is already strained or unhappy. Many people do not contemplate the difficulties that can arise when one person becomes seriously ill during a marriage. While one may expect that divorce is more likely in case of either partner's illness, statistics show that the actual results are highly gendered.

When the female partner in an opposite-sex relationship becomes seriously ill, the likelihood of divorce increases considerably. This is backed up by multiple clinical studies examining women with cancer and other diseases. While wives with cancer are more likely to divorce, other studies indicate that separation is even more likely when a woman has a stroke or heart disease. No similar effect has been observed for couples when the husband is seriously ill. In many cases, the marriages become stronger.

Divorce trends and what they mean for you

Over the past few years, the divorce rate in the U.S. has decreased. Many people have attributed this fact to the decline in marriages.

While the lower rate of marital unions has affected the divorce rate, a closer look reveals a more relevant reason for the decline, as well as trends for specific demographics. Understanding this can help you take the right approach to your divorce.

Financial advisers contribute greatly to divorce planning

Emotional dissatisfaction typically motivates people in Connecticut to seek divorces, but the process requires an intense examination of marital and individual finances. People from all income levels generally benefit from the guidance of financial planners and accountants. A person going through a divorce might need to find new advisers to gain impartial perspectives instead of relying on service providers hired during the marriage.

A financial planner could provide insights about the influence the divorce will have future income. Advice could help someone decide if it is viable to keep a family home or if the property should be sold. The adviser could also work out what the person's monthly budget will look like after the divorce and how to continue planning for retirement. As decisions are made and proceeds from a divorce settlement are distributed, a financial planner could assist the newly single person with opening new bank or brokerage accounts.

January leads to an increased interest in divorce

The first full week of January marks a time when divorce filings tend to surge in Connecticut and throughout the country. People like to start the divorce process in January because the new year represents a chance to get a fresh start in life. It is also just after the holiday season when some finally realize that they can't remain in their current relationships anymore.

Of course, it may not make sense for an individual to rush into ending a marriage. Instead, it may be best to meet with an attorney to get more information about the separation process. In some cases, it's a good idea to pursue counseling prior to divorce.

How children benefit from joint custody

Parents in Connecticut who are getting divorced will need to consider how child custody will be handled. In the past, it was thought that children did better under the care of their mothers. Experts warned that children who spent overnight time with their fathers during their younger years could experience behavior and other challenges.

Many fathers have been opposed to this idea. However, they often give in to the pressure and allow their ex-wives to have full child custody. Modern research, however, supports the idea that children who are under joint physical and legal custody, even when they are young, do better than those who grow up raised by just one parent. Of course, this is only true in cases where neither parent is abusive.

3 tips for surviving your first Valentine's Day after divorce

If you are newly single, you may be dreading Valentine's Day this year. The first Valentine's Day after your divorce can be painful and disorienting. But while this holiday may be gut-wrenching at first, you can learn how to make it through it. 

It is possible to celebrate Valentine's Day and have a good time even after the end of your marriage. Here are a few pointers on how to spend this holiday.

Divorce challenges spouses who own businesses together

Many couples who end their marriages in Connecticut encounter difficulties when dividing marital property. Spouses who own a business together or with other partners, however, have even greater challenges to overcome when preparing for divorce. They need to determine the value of the enterprise and make decisions about selling the business or buying out a departing partner.

Financial advisers emphasize that a divorcing owner needs to obtain an accurate valuation of their enterprise as determined by an independent professional, like a forensic accountant or business appraiser. This person will scrutinize financial records and calculate the current value of business equipment, real estate and intangible assets like a recognizable company name. The appraiser will also watch out for irregularities that might indicate that one spouse is trying to alter the value of the business. Hidden liabilities, like informal loans, might also be detected by a forensic accountant.

3 options for the fate of the family business in a divorce

When you and your spouse started your business, you probably gave little thought, if any, as to when and how it might end. Now you and your spouse have decided to divorce. Is this the end of the story for your business, too?

Your company is likely to be the single most important item in the property division phase of your divorce proceedings. Make sure you understand the options, what is fair and what is not, and give careful consideration to the ultimate fate of your family business. Here are three solutions to consider.

DNA testing and family court issues

For people in Connecticut dealing with family court issues, DNA paternity testing is an increasingly important part of the courtroom landscape. DNA testing is becoming widely popular and accessible in a range of contexts: criminal cases can hinge on DNA evidence, and many people are opting for private DNA tests to learn more about their families and ancestry. Because DNA tests are over 99.99 percent accurate, they can play a critical role in firmly and legally establishing a child's parentage, especially when the mother and the father are unmarried.

While a married man may be presumed to be the father of his wife's child, the same is not true for an unmarried father. He may not be named on the birth certificate, and in some cases, the father may not even know that he has a child. DNA paternity testing can arise in several different circumstances. The mother of the child may seek child support and an order for a DNA test to establish paternity. Once paternity is clear, a child support obligation can be established, and the father would also likely have a right to visitation time and custody of his child. In other cases, the state may initiate the motion for a paternity test after the mother seeks public benefits.

Reasons a child support order may be changed

In Connecticut and many other states, a child support order is based on the amount of money each parent makes. The financial needs of the child are also taken into consideration. For instance, the parent of a child who has special medical or educational needs may be expected to pay more each month. If necessary, a parent can ask for a reduction in the amount of financial support being provided to the child.

Such a request may be granted if there is a change in a parent's financial circumstances or if the child has reached adulthood. It is important to note that a judge is unlikely to alter a child support obligation retroactively. This means that any past due support will likely need to be paid as per the terms of a previous court order. Those who fail to pay child support as ordered could face significant penalties such as jail time or wage garnishment.

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