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Hartford Family Law Blog

Handling the holidays in Connecticut as a newly-single person

The holidays can be a stressful time for all of us. However, if you're going through a divorce or are newly-divorced, this time of year can be particularly depressing. Many people will be seeing relatives and friends whom you may not have seen since the break-up or not even know about it. Some will be going to holiday events alone or spending some of the holidays without their children for the first time.

Here are some ideas to make the holidays more than something to just "get through" without your once-significant other at your side. No matter what you decide to do for the holidays, remember to look ahead to a new year and a new life.

Man accused of dumping soon-to-be ex's car in river surrenders

Divorces can get ugly, and sometimes innocent cars suffer. That's what happened here in the Northeast earlier this month.

Police in Pennsylvania say that a man took his estranged wife's 1990 Corvette from her home, drove it to the banks of the Delaware River and sent it plunging into the water. According to a witness, the man got out of the car before it went into the water.

How can you keep your Connecticut home after a divorce?

Among the biggest issues for a couple splitting up is who keeps the house and how that person affords the mortgage on his or her own. Connecticut property values, as our readers know, can easily run into the upper six figures if not higher.

Many Connecticut homeowners require jumbo mortgages. As one Connecticut mortgage company executive notes, this is anything above the $417,000 maximum backed by the government. The ability to refinance a jumbo mortgage after a divorce is at least as dependent on a person's income as on one's assets. This means that it may be difficult, if not impossible, for one spouse to afford the home on his/her own.

Divorce, custody battle may impact multiple companies

Sometimes, divorce battles can have an impact far beyond the couple and family involved. One particularly nasty fight playing out in a New York court may have ramifications for two biotech companies and their stockholders.

The divorcing couple are a healthcare investment banker for a unit of Leucadia National Corp. and his wife. She is seeking custody of the couple's two daughters as well as $7 million. She has claimed in court papers that her husband is an unfit father because he has led a "Wolf of Wall Street-"type life filled with illegal drug use and general debauchery. She has named chief executive officers of two biotech companies as participants in the activities in which she claims that her husband was the "ringleader."

Why is settling your Connecticut divorce out of court best?

Although we'd never know it from the coverage of some high-profile divorces with couples fighting it out in court -- not to mention in the media -- over money and child custody, the vast majority of divorces do not go to trial. Experts estimate that over 90 percent are settled out of court, even when the financial stakes are high.

Family law attorneys say that for a number of reasons, it's preferable for a couple to settle their divorce outside of a courtroom. For one thing, a divorce trial can be a stressful and emotional experience. It can also be costly.

Connecticut juvenile law issues require experienced guidance

One of the most frightening things that can happen to most Connecticut parents is the prospect of losing custody of a child. Sometimes, an ex-spouse or other adult in the child's life makes an accusation of abuse or neglect. The Connecticut Department of Children and Families is often involved when these accusations are made.

Divorces and other disputes between spouses can get ugly and vengeful. It's not unusual for one parent to accuse the other of abusive or neglectful behavior towards a couple's child. However, proof of this behavior must be presented for a parent to lose custody. Even if a child has already been removed from a parent's custody, our firm can work to help a parent regain custody. Further, under Connecticut law, anyone who knowingly falsely reports child neglect or abuse can be fined or even face prison time.

Connecticut laws guide child support calculation and modification

For Connecticut couples with children who are going through a divorce, child support is often a primary focus of the process. Connecticut's child support guidelines are based on a number of factors. These include both parents' incomes as well as things like medical and daycare expenses.

Since these guidelines are mandatory and based on a specific formula, the process of calculating the amount of child support owed is easier here than in some states. However, it's still essential that it is determined accurately and that both parents accurately report all of their income. We help ensure that our clients' rights are protected, whether they are paying or receiving child support.

How a divorce financial planner can help determine alimony

Alimony reforms reflect the changes in divorce laws. Because divorce was once allowed only for marital misconduct, the "guilty" spouse was often ordered to pay alimony to the person wronged. As no-fault divorce has become more prevalent, alimony is now often based more on economic circumstances and need. However, the length of time and the amount paid can still be unpredictable, and laws vary by state. Various states are reforming alimony laws, but it is a slow, complicated process.

One of the biggest calls for reform revolves around the concept of lifetime alimony. Just two years ago, Massachusetts ended lifetime alimony in most cases, such as when the payor retires or when the recipient begins sharing a home with a partner.

Dividing student loan debt in a Connecticut divorce

Americans are saddled with more student debt than ever before, and that debt, which can easily run into the six figures if you attended an Ivy League school like Yale or got a graduate degree, can follow you into middle age and beyond. For many couples, that means that their student loans outlast their marriage.

What does that mean for divorcing couples? The thought of suddenly being solely responsible for your student loan debt can be overwhelming, particularly if you have more debt than your spouse.

Changing views on parental relocation and Connecticut law

One of the biggest dilemmas that divorced parents face is the relocation of one parent. Studies have found that a move that separates children from one of their parents can have long-term psychological and even physical consequences.

While by all indications, it is preferable for both parents to remain in the same area, that is not always feasible or desirable. There are ways to make a relocation less traumatic for the children involved. One study discussed in the Journal of Family Psychology recommended that parents wait until the child is at least two. That way, he or she is more likely to have the language and cognitive skills to deal with a long-distance relationship. Generally, the older the child is, the better able he or she is to deal with the relocation.

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West Hartford, CT 06107

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