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Showing posts from July, 2010

Protecting your Privacy in a Divorce. Who has access to your mail, e-mail, etc.?

I recently read an article entitled Is Your Boyfriend Reading Your Facebook Messages?, which stated that in response to an online survey, more than 20% of men admitted to reading their partner's e-mail or messaging accounts, and another 20% said they hadn't yet but would if they were suspicious that their partner was up to something.

Of course, this raises significant concerns about the behavior of the 20% who have already invaded their partner's privacy, including concerns about trust in a relationship and the dangers of controlling behavior in relationships.

It is just as shocking, though, that just as many men responded that they hadn't invaded their partner's privacy yet, but would if they were suspicious. Or, at least it would be shocking if I wasn't a divorce attorney.

In fact, I often warn my clients that everything they say can and will be used against them in Court, and that includes things they say on facebook, twitter, and even potentially in th…

How much will my Divorce cost?

Every divorce case is different and every case will therefore have different costs. For instance, if you are Tiger Woods your costs could include the loss of endorsement deals, in addition to the more typical costs of attorney's fees, alimony, etc. And that's not even taking into account whether or not you think his poor playing of late is also caused by the stress of his divorce.

To generalize for those of you who are not billionaire celebrities, though, I can tell you that there will still be significant costs to getting divorced and they will include:

1. The Emotional Cost: Divorce is often described as the second most stressful event in a person's life (next to the death of a loved one). We can't ignore that stresses in our life have a cost on our daily productivity, our ability to be optimistic, and our availability to deal with other stressful events. This cost is often best addressed through therapy or family support, and just because it can't be fixed…

5 Worst Divorce Mistakes - MISTAKE #1 "My kids have a right to know what's happening."

MISTAKE #1: INVOLVING YOUR CHILDREN IN YOUR DIVORCE

While listening to 107.9 (Matty in the Morning) last week I heard a caller who described herself as a 17 year old girl. This girl when asked where she was, stated that she was at court with her Mother for a Contempt hearing against her Father for non-payment of child support. The girl thought it was funny, which is a perfect example of how a 17 year old child is still not mature enough to understand how inappropriate and damaging it can be to involve your children (no matter their age) in any of your divorce disputes.

The mistakes parents make involving their children in a divorce case range from a simple slip of an angry snide comment about the ex, to a revealing argument meant to win over your child because you think they're old enough to understand, to purposeful comments meant to alienate the child from the other parent.

In any of these cases the damage to the child is significant. A simple comment releasing a parent's fr…

5 Worst Divorce Mistakes - MISTAKE #2: "All of this is because of that slut!"

MISTAKE #2: FLAUNTING OR FOCUSING ON THE BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND

Many divorces begin with the discovery of an affair. Whether or not this is the true cause of the divorce is not as important of a fact as it used to be, especially in a no-fault divorce state like Massachusetts. Regardless, the introduction of a third person into the complicated dynamics of divorce can still make the process much more difficult, often causing the parties to focus on the emotions involved in a divorce instead of the practical breakup of the business partnership.

Two of the most common ways that a new significant other can complicate a divorce case can be easily avoided. The first is when one party focuses all of their energy and anger over the divorce on the significant other. They want the significant other to be deposed and made a witness, even if the value to the case is minimal. They convince themselves that the new person is the cause of the divorce (rather than a symptom). This misplaced focus can…

5 Worst Divorce Mistakes - MISTAKE #3: "Our friends should know my side of the story!"

MISTAKE #3: TELLING THE WORLD YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY

Although I always encourage my clients to confide in and find support in close family members or family, I also warn them against the danger of sharing too much. The dangers of sharing your private information on sites like Facebook and Twitter have been discussed on our blog before and have made recent news as well. But this is just the latest way to share too much.

While it is important to have a support system when going through a divorce, talking to anyone who will listen usually results in your personal information making it back to your spouse, or even into court. Mutual friends can inadvertently disclose important strategies while trying not to take sides. And helpful friends explaining what their sister's best friend's brother's divorce was like can provide poor and unreliable information. If you have concerns make sure you discuss them with your attorney first and only discuss your case with your closest co…

5 Worst Divorce Mistakes - MISTAKE #4: "Do I have to tell the court about EVERYTHING?"

MISTAKE #4: FAILING TO MAKE FULL DISCLOSURE

Another costly mistake that many parties make in divorce cases is failing to disclose all of their assets or debts. As we have previously stated, divorce is about the break-up of a business partnership. If we don't know what went into the partnership, how can we split it up appropriately and completely.

Whether through laziness or deceitfulness, parties often fail to put all of their information on their Rule 401 Financial Statement. Financial Statements, however, are signed under the pains and penalties of perjury as TRUE, ACCURATE, and COMPLETE statements of all of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. The consequences of lying or filing an incomplete Financial Statement are significant, and could include a Judge finding you to be an unreliable witness at trial (i.e. take all relevant testimony from your spouse only). In addition, if a settlement is reached in your case and it is later discovered that a particular asset wa…

What are the 5 Worst Mistakes People make in their Divorce case? MISTAKE #5: "I Want My Day in Court"

There is a saying that criminal law attorneys see bad people acting their best while family law attorneys see good people acting their worst. As a divorce attorney, I have seen generous and commendable behavior, but I have also witnessed my share of vindictive and damaging actions committed by divorcing litigants. I have put together this list of the worst mistakes that parties make in their divorce case in the hopes that at least some people will think twice before committing these mistakes in their lives.

I have excluded purposefully bad behavior such as physical abuse because it should be obvious that such actions are not only inappropriate but criminally dangerous.

MISTAKE #5: WANTING YOUR "DAY IN COURT"

Divorce is best viewed as the break-up of a business partnership. A long and drawn out divorce trial will ensure that you pay your attorneys significant funds, but will not ensure the best outcome. Is it likely that a Judge hearing only admissible evidence over the cou…