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Rockville Divorce Law Blog

Watching your words around loved ones who are divorcing

When an individual decides to divorce his or her spouse, that individual's loved ones often question how they can best be of service during this time of transition. If one of your loved ones is seeking a divorce or has recently finalized one, the most important thing you can do is be supportive in the ways that your loved one needs you to be. Note that your loved one may need you to be supportive in ways that are foreign to you and ways that may differ significantly from what you would need in the same situation.

Unfortunately, even individuals with the best of intentions can make the divorce process more trying for their loved ones simply by forcing certain kinds of support on them, regardless of what kinds of support they actually need. One of the best examples of this reality is the kinds of things that loved ones choose to say to divorcing individuals.

Survivor stories: Why domestic violence victims struggle to leave

You were likely drawn to your romantic partner for a number of reasons. When he or she turned violent or otherwise abusive, you likely struggled to reconcile the person you learned to love with the individual he or she becomes when abusive. This confusing duality is only one of a host of reasons why it is often difficult for victims of domestic violence to leave their abusers.

In the wake of several recent and high-profile domestic violence scandals, a number of domestic violence victims have begun to share their stories on social media. These stories are being shared for a number of reasons, and not least because these individuals want others to understand why they "didn't just leave" at the first sign of abuse and because they want other victims to know that they are not alone.

Dealing with financial abusive behavior by a romantic partner

Within the context of a romantic partnership, abuse can take many forms. Physical abuse can lead to devastating physical injuries, while emotional abuse can lead to psychological scars. Both of these kinds of domestic abuse are relatively well understood and various networks of support exist to help those who have been victimized in these ways by their romantic partners. However, an additional form of partner-related abuse is far less understood. But lack of understanding does not make combating this kind of abuse any less essential to the wellbeing of those it affects.

Financial abuse occurs when one romantic partner exerts extraordinary amounts of control over his or her partner's finances. Of course, there are situations in which an individual can exert this kind of control and not be abusive in doing so. For example, if a spouse is gravely ill and the other spouse makes all the couple's financial decisions as a result, this may be a situation in which this kind of control is exerted as a form of support. However, in other circumstances, financially abusive behavior allows one spouse to keep the other under his or her control.

What poor sleep during your divorce may cost you

There are many reasons why you may be tossing and turning at night in the wake of your decision to divorce. First, you may be worried about how the divorce will affect your kids, your finances, your relationships with mutual loved ones, your living situation and any number of other fixtures in your life. Second, you may simultaneously physically exhausted and mentally amped up from the stress you are under. Finally, you may simply have trouble sleeping because you are not used to being in bed alone.

However, it is critical for both your own health and the success of your divorce process that you seek adequate rest whenever possible. Research out of the University of Arizona indicates that if you consistently fail to obtain adequate sleep longer than 10 weeks post-split, you risk suffering long-term spikes in blood pressure. This kind of biological response to stress and fatigue can cause or exacerbate any number of challenging medical conditions.

Preparing to tell your kids about your divorce

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you may have many concerns about the future. You may be concerned with splitting up your possessions, adjusting your budget to fit a single income and navigating mutual relationships. If you are a parent, you may also be concerned about telling your kids that you have decided to pursue a divorce.

It can be difficult to tell kids about a decision to divorce, no matter how old they are or how supportive they may ultimately be. When preparing to break this news to your child or children, it is important to keep the message age-appropriate. If you have questions about what an age-appropriate message might be for your kids in particular, please head down to your local library or bookstore and browse many of the parenting titles designed to help you with age-appropriate communication.

Thinking about reclaiming your maiden name post-divorce?

When you married, you may have opted to take your spouse's last name for any number of reasons. Perhaps you felt that it would bond you in a unique way. Perhaps you thought it would be convenient. Or perhaps you just preferred your spouse's last name to your own. Whatever the reason was that you opted to take your spouse's name, it was your choice to make. And now that you have decided to divorce, it remains your decision whether to reclaim your former name or to keep your current name.

When determining whether to reclaim your maiden name, keep your spouse's name or choose a new name, you should consider a few important points. Does it matter to you that changing your name on every account and government document associated with your current name is time consuming and potentially frustrating? How would it make you feel to associate yourself with your spouse's name now that he or she is no longer your spouse?

When deployment interferes with child custody disputes

When the men and women of the U.S. armed forces are deployed, they leave their families behind in order to serve the nation as a whole. They place their faith and trust in the idea that their families will be fine when they are gone. But sometimes, tragedy strikes. A family member dies or becomes ill while the service member is deployed. A natural disaster destroys his or her home. A judge insists that the service member must either return home or lose custody of his or her child.

“Wait!” you may be exclaiming. “The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects military families from that kind of action,” you may be insisting. And you are correct. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act does hold that deployed men and women are allowed to temporarily suspend administrative and legal proceedings pertaining to various family law matters. This act helps to ensure that service members are not denied child custody rights and other rights because they are deployed and cannot appear in court.

Is it time to start thinking about divorce?

We frequently write about the divorce process and all that it entails. An attorney experienced in family law can generally speak at length about the legal aspects of the divorce process and about the various approaches couples take when filing for divorce. However, no attorney can tell you with any kind of certainty whether or not you should file for divorce. That decision is up to you.

Of course, an attorney would likely advise you to leave as soon as you can do so safely if your marriage has become abusive. But beyond this seemingly bright line, it can be difficult to determine when divorce is the right choice for a couple and when it may not be. Only you know your values, limits and priorities well enough to know whether your marriage has ultimately become so unhealthy or unhappy that it is time to move on. However, it may take some time to reach a conclusion one way or another.

Why you need a divorce lawyer, even for amicable divorces

If you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways, you likely already have a strong sense about whether or not you are going to be able to divorce amicably. Of course, sometimes tensions can cool and calmer heads can prevail in heated situations. Conversely, revelations and changes of heart can inspire amicable processes to turn contentious in a heartbeat. However, many spouses correctly assess whether or not they will be able to successfully navigate divorce mediation or will need to litigate their divorces from early in the process.

Whether you opt to mediate your divorce, litigate your divorce or process an uncontested divorce claim in a straightforward way, it remains important that you speak with an experienced attorney. Even the most straightforward of divorce claims can cause you unnecessary time, money and headaches that can easily be avoided if you consult with a legal expert first.