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Hartford Family Law Blog

Determine your goals before drafting a prenup

Most everyone who is contemplating marriage should consider getting a prenuptial agreement. If it's structured properly, it can protect not only the assets you bring into the marriage but those you may obtain later. It can also protect you from being saddled with a spouse's debts.

People who come into a marriage with considerable assets, ownership or interest in a business or an anticipated inheritance, should definitely talk with a family law attorney experienced in drafting prenups.

How can divorced parents make the holidays less stressful?

The year-end holidays can be among the most stressful times for many divorced parents. You may have to interact more with a former spouse you may not get along with (not to mention former in-laws). You may not have your children at home for every single holiday event because they're at their other parent's home. You may find yourself competing for who can offer a better vacation, a larger Christmas tree or better Hanukkah gifts.

Even if you have a holiday child visitation schedule written into your parenting plan, there can still be issues that arise. There are ways to make the holidays less stressful for all involved -- most importantly, for your kids.

Why are older people divorcing at higher rates than ever?

The term "gray divorce" has become more prevalent in recent years. It refers to couples 50 or older who decide to go their separate ways, sometimes after many decades of marriage.

Perhaps one of the most prominent couples to do so was former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper. The two announced five years ago that they were separating after four decades of marriage.

Be smart about selling your home amidst a divorce

Many divorcing Connecticut couples opt to sell the family home during or after a divorce. With real estate prices being what they are in our state, it's often just too expensive for one person to afford.

There are other options to selling the house. Sometimes, one spouse can afford to buy out the other's share, for example. However, many couples decide to sell and split the proceeds.

Creating a post-divorce financial plan is essential

Divorce nearly always means a change to your financial situation. This can be especially challenging if you weren't the one in the marriage who dealt with the finances. If that's the case, it may be worthwhile to hire a financial advisor who can get you on the right path. Whether you enlist professional help or do it yourself, the sooner you start working on a strong financial future for yourself as a single person, the better off you'll be.

Create a written financial with specific goals and detail how you plan to achieve those goals. Focus on things that are within your control. This is a time for a fresh perspective. Your individual goals may not be the same as those that you and your spouse had together. Maybe you've always wanted to spend a few weeks in Italy. That may not be your most important priority right now, but include it as something to work towards.

Recognizing and dealing with children's divorce stress

Most divorcing parents are concerned about the impact of their break-up on their children, and they make an effort to help them get through this difficult time in their lives. However, the impact of a divorce can manifest itself in various ways. Parents may think that their children are handling the transition just fine, when in fact they're exhibiting signs of stress that they may not recognize.

What are some of the behaviors that you should watch for in your children during and after your divorce? One child and adolescent psychologist says that lack of interest in playing and being with friends can be a sign that a child is stressed by the break-up. If you notice that your child doesn't seem to be having fun, that should also be a red flag that he or she needs some extra support.

New Connecticut law expedites divorce for some couples

A new Connecticut law that went into effect Oct. 1 will expedite the divorce process for some couples in our state who are seeking a "non-adversarial" divorce. The law allows qualifying couples to get a divorce in just over a month. This is about two months sooner than the usual three-plus months the process usually takes.

Under the new law, a couple who meets the following requirements can file a joint petition to dissolve their marriage without the 90-day waiting period or having to appear in court:

Acclaimed actress Glenn Close announces divorce

The spate of divorces among high-profile couples that we saw over the summer seems to be continuing into the fall. Just this month, the publicist for Glenn Close announced that the acclaimed actress and her husband David Shaw had ended their nine-year marriage.

As many of our readers may know, Close originally hails from Greenwich, Connecticut. The 68-year-old actress comes from a long line of northeasterners.

How do you co-parent when you have conflicts with your ex?

When people with children divorce, most have to maintain some sort of relationship with their ex. Their role as parents, though changed, continues. While some couples find a way to have an amicable co-parenting relationship on their own, others need some help. These so-called "high conflict" couples can often benefit from family therapy, intervention, mediation or other types of support that can help keep their children from getting caught up in their parents' issues. They can minimize the negative impact of their parents' divorce on their emotional well-being.

Post-divorce family therapy can help parents work out a parenting plan that allows the children to feel safe and loved no matter which parent they are with and not be subjected to negative comments or actions by one parent involving the other. Sometimes, children of divorce can also benefit from therapy to help deal with the upheaval that their parents' break-up and possible ongoing battles have had on their lives. Since parenting plans will need to change as children get older and family circumstances change, such as with a remarriage or a move, regular review of this plan is often crucial.

Handling paternity issues for Connecticut men

Issues of paternity arise for a number of men in Connecticut. In some cases, a man is told by a woman that he is the father of her child when he's not certain whether he is or not. In other cases, a man wants to assert his rights as a father, including visitation or custody, but the mother of the child fights him.

Fortunately, now there are DNA tests that can establish within nearly absolute certainty whether a man is the father of a child. Obviously, the first step is determining whether you are the father of the child in question. If you aren't, that's the end of the question. If you are, then there are issues of child support, visitation, custody and more.

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