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Hartford Family Law Blog

What is a 'fair divorce?'

Divorce can be a highly-charged, emotional process. However, the decisions we make during our divorce may well impact us financially for the rest of our lives. An economist who acts as a financial advisor to people going through this process emphasizes the importance of getting a "fair divorce."

To many people, particularly those who weren't the ones to end the marriage, what seems fair may be taking everything your spouse ever had and ever will have. Obviously, that's not going to happen. However, there are objective ways to determine whether a divorce settlement is fair.

Chris Rock's wife seeks to maintain 'marital standard of living'

As many of our readers know, comedian Chris Rock filed for divorce from his wife, Malaak Compton-Rock, in December of last year. Now, Compton-Rock is seeking a settlement "commensurate with the marital standard of living," according to court documents.

The couple, who married in 1996 had a prenuptial agreement. However, that has since expired. The successful comedian/actor is said to be worth $70 million. The couple owns a home in the posh community of Alpine, New Jersey. Several years ago, it was called "America's Wealthiest Zip Code" by "Business Insider," with a median home price of $4.55 million.

A postnup can help protect stay-at-home parents in a divorce

While there aren't as many stay-at-home moms as when most of us were growing up, a number of women and men decide to be full-time parents while their spouses go off to work every day. While some of these stay-at-home parents have successful careers that they can pursue from home offices, most rely on their spouses to bring in most or all of the family income.

This puts them in a vulnerable financial position if the marriage ends in divorce. That's why a postnuptial agreement can be a good safeguard if you take time out of the workforce to raise your children, whether by choice or because of a job loss.

How to have a 'successful divorce'

The term "successful divorce" may seem like an oxymoron. However, more and more divorces are handled by mediation, collaboration and other types of out-of-court settlements that can help minimize rather than exacerbate the conflict between the soon-to-be ex-spouses. In fact, most divorces are not litigated in court.

No matter how amicable the proceedings, however, a successful divorce requires planning ahead, being prepared and not being afraid to fight for what you need. Here are some tips that can help you do that.

Looking for -- and finding -- the positive after a divorce

After a marriage has ended, it's common for people, at least in their darker moments, to feel like they've wasted some of the best years of their lives or that they've failed in some way. No matter how much friends and family may try to help you see the bright side, that can be hard to do.

Sometimes, making yourself write down all the good things that you got from that relationship can help you feel more positive. Sharing them can help others going through a divorce. Huffington Post readers and bloggers did that recently. Here are some of the positive things they out of their marriages:

How do you ask for a divorce?

Most people who've had a spouse ask them for a divorce can attest that it's a devastating experience. However, being the one to ask for a divorce can be extremely difficult as well. Every relationship is different, so there's no one way that's best for everyone. However, one couple who runs a divorce mediation firm and has counseled numerous couples through the divorce process has some suggestions for making the conversation as painless as possible.

-- Choose a time and place that's appropriate. You generally should be alone and uninterrupted by children or others. Allow enough time for a discussion. If your spouse has been going through a rough patch, such as losing a job, or if there are major events going on in the family, wait until things have settled down.-- Have something prepared to say. You may even want to role play with a therapist or someone else. This includes being aware of how your spouse is feeling. Does he or she know that there are problems or is this going to be a shock? Being prepared means being ready for whatever reaction your spouse may have. It could be anger, despair, resignation or any number of responses, both immediately and over time.If you're concerned for your safety, however, have a plan in place to exit the situation safely if necessary before you break the news. Your family law attorney can likely provide advice and resources.-- Don't use this conversation to start hashing out the details of property division, custody and support. There will be plenty of time for that with the help of your lawyer or mediator. If you start promising things to your spouse because you feel bad for hurting him or her, you may regret it.-- Be firm, but gentle. It's important for your spouse to understand that you've given this a great deal of thought and made up your mind. This is not the time to show anger, frustration or level blame. Focus on "I" rather than "you" statements.

Expedited divorce bill goes to Connecticut governor for signature

A bill passed by both houses of Connecticut's state legislature could help some couples "fast track" their divorce and have the whole thing over and done with in just 30 days. The legislation, which was already approved by the Senate, overwhelmingly passed the House earlier this month.

Couples will need to file a joint petition asking for this streamlined divorce. They must meet 11 requirements, including the following:

What is parental alienation?

Many Connecticut residents first heard the term "parental alienation" some years back when actor Alec Baldwin publicly accused his ex-wife Kim Basinger of keeping their daughter from him and trying to poison their relationship. He said, "Parental alienation is about people who narcissistically project their whole reality onto a child: 'I don't need you, so the child doesn't need you.'"

Parental alienation involves keeping a child away from the other parent in order to punish an ex-spouse. However, by using a child as a pawn, a parent can end up hurting that child, even to the point of causing psychological damage. Further, when parents force their children to choose between the two of them, they feel guilty regardless of what choice they make.

Rosie O'Donnell and wife's child custody battle getting ugly

Rosie O'Donnell's split from her wife Michelle Rounds has become one of accusations and counter-accusations. The main point of dispute is custody of the now-2-year-old daughter that the couple adopted together. The couple, who married in 2012, are facing off in a Manhattan court.

The 53-year-old comedian filed for divorce from her wife this February, several months after the two reportedly split. The news of divorce broke just shortly after O'Donnell left her hosting job on "The View." She told viewers that she needed to focus on her children and her health.

Older couples face unique issues during a divorce

With the divorce rate among people 50 and older having doubled in the two decades between 1990 and 2010, it's important to look at some things that people getting divorced at this stage in their lives should know. Taking these things into consideration during and after the divorce can let come out on the other side financially secure.

Your retirement savings will likely be split between the two of you. This means that you'll be living on less than you anticipated in your golden years. An experienced family law attorney and perhaps a financial advisor can help you determine how to choose from among the best available options for handling retirement funds in the divorce agreement.

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