Knowing When It’s Time to Separate

Knowing When It’s Time to Separate

The one thing that every couple wants is a successful marriage. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Sometimes in marriage, divorce is inevitable. But how do you know when to keep fighting and when it is time for the marriage to end? There are several ways that allow you to know when it is time to separate.

You and Your Spouse Frequently Criticize Each Other

One sign that your marriage might be over is if you and your spouse are frequently critical towards each other. While occasional criticism is normal, excessive, almost passive aggressive criticism is not. Often times when this is happening, one or both spouses can be left feeling as though they are not good enough. If these feelings continue long enough, then the marriage will be coming to an end very quickly.

You Put Your Children First

In any relationship that involves children, it is important for you to put their needs above your own. If you continue to put your children’s needs above everything else, including those of you and your spouse, it can be detrimental to your marriage. While your children’s needs are important, you cannot spend all of your time and energy solely on them. In order to have a functioning, healthy relationship with your spouse, you need to invest in the needs of that relationship as well. By maintaining those needs, both of you are better equipped to handle the needs of your children.

You Feel Lonely With Your Spouse

If you have feelings of loneliness when you are with your spouse, this could also be a sign it is time to separate. Your spouse is the one who is meant to be your companion and best friend. They are the ones that you love and are meant to be able to confide in and share everything with. You are supposed to feel anything but loneliness when you are with them. But if you feel none of that when around them, your relationship might be beyond repair.

You Continually Argue About the Same Things

Another sign that it’s time to separate is if you and your spouse are constantly arguing over the same things. By arguing constantly, nothing is being resolved and the both spouses will remain miserable. If arguments are not being resolved, then there is no way for the relationship to continue moving forward. It stays in a stalemate with both parties feeling as though they cannot make any headway. Without resolving any disagreements, you will no longer experience any of the closeness that you had before and will potentially start drifting apart.

You Don’t Enjoy Spending Time With Each Other’s Family and Friends

Finally, one last sign that a divorce might be right for you is if you no longer enjoy being with your spouse’s friends and families. As a couple, the relationships you have with your other half’s friends and family are almost as important as the one you have with your spouse. It is often said that when you marry someone, you marry their family. As such, your relationship with them is crucial. If you do not enjoy spending time with your spouse’s family or friends, chances are you will begin to drift apart from your spouse. If these issues are not resolves quickly, then it can lead to you and your spouse spending more time with your individual friends and families than with each other.

Deciding whether or not a divorce is necessary is a difficult process. If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, feel free to contact Christine Howard today. Christine would be glad to talk with you about the process and answer any questions that you may have. She can be reached by phone at (864) 282-8575 or by email at lnorris@christinehoward.com.

Adapted from 8 Ways You Know It’s Time to Divorce by Terry Gaspard.

Divorce Mediation: Streamlining Your Divorce

Divorce Mediation: Streamlining Your Divorce

Divorce can be a challenging process, both emotionally and literally. It can be especially challenging if both spouses are not on good terms. But one thing that can help to ease tensions during the divorce proceedings is divorce mediation. This is when the divorcing couple hires a separate, unbiased party to act as the mediator in any and all discussion. Most times this person is their divorce attorney. But it actually can be anyone the couple chooses and can agree upon. Divorce mediation is a great solution for couples who may not be able to come to an agreement on their own, but what about couples who can? In these cases, streamlining divorce is an alternative option to consider.

What is Streamlining?

Streamlining divorce is when a couple has basically reached an agreement about their divorce. They do not need help with coming to a decision like other couples would. Instead, they are ready to move forward with their divorce in the most cost-effective way possible. To do this though, they need legal help. They need someone who can walk with them through the process and make sure that everything is running smoothly. This is where a divorce attorney comes in.

What is the Attorney’s Role?

A divorce attorney’s role in the process is to act as a guide. The couple already knows they want to divorce, and they already have a plan in place. They just need help enacting the plan. This is where the attorney can help. He or she already knows their way around the legal system. They know what is needed in order to give the separating couple a smooth break. By working with the couple, the attorney can make sure continue to offer advice to the couple and ensure that the divorce is being handled correctly. In turn, the couple can have peace of mind knowing that their attempt at handling their own divorce was successful.

Benefits of Streamlined Divorce

In addition to having more control over the divorce, streamlining it also allows for a more cost-effective divorce. By settling any differences between each other, couples are able to save money because they are not spending as much time in the company of their attorney. Another benefit of streamlined divorce is that it allows less fighting between the divorcing couple. By tackling this process together without attorney assistance, they are required to work with each other to determine the terms of their divorce. This process can help ensure that the split will be as friendly and as easy as possible for everyone involved.

While divorce can be difficult, it is important to not make it harder than it needs to be. Streamlining your divorce can be a simple solution. If you or someone you know is thinking it might be time for a divorce, feel free to contact Christine Howard. Christine would be glad to talk with you about all of your options and help you determine the best course of action for your needs. You can reach out to Christine’s office by phone at (864) 282-8575 or by email at lnorris@christinehoward.com.

Uncontested Divorce: Pros and Cons

Uncontested Divorce: Pros and Cons

There are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, couples are unable to reach a decision as to why they are divorcing. When this happens, they are forced to take their divorce to court. An uncontested divorce happens when couples are able to reach a decision. This allows them to divorce quietly with the dignity of both parties in tact. While the pros of uncontested divorce make it the obvious choice, it is not without its cons as well.

Pros

There are many pros to an uncontested divorce. One of the biggest pros is that it is cost-effective. Because there are no long and drawn-out court battles, the bank account is saved from taking a massive hit. Another advantage is that there is less tension created in the relationship. Most divorced couples would like to remain friends. For the sake of everyone involved (especially children) it is best if the couple can remain friendly with one another. In most cases, this is possible. In others, it is harder. But through an uncontested divorce, there is a much higher chance of an amicable split. One last pro of an uncontested divorce is that couples are able to have more control over the division of their assets. By divorcing in a way that is amicable, the couple is better able to come to an agreement about who gets what without attorneys interfering.

Cons

While uncontested divorce is the most desirable option, it does have some cons. For instance, there are times when it is not practical. This occurs in certain cases, such as if the divorcing couple has a history of domestic abuse. Couples who suffer from abuse are not as likely to be able to, or even want to resolve their issues in a peaceful manner. Another instance where uncontested divorce is not optimal is with couples who are constantly fighting. Any chance that these couples have at an this type of divorce is very slim. Couples who are in this situation often times will not even be able to work with attorneys, let alone with each other to make an divorce end peacefully. The only alternative is a court date.

Divorce is never an easy process, but it can be made simpler. If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a divorce, but is not sure about what options are available, feel free to contact Christine Howard. Christine would be more than happy to talk with you and answer any questions that you might have about the process. If you would like to get in touch, call our office at (864) 282-8575 or email at lnorris@christinehoward.com.

Adapted from The Pros and Cons of Uncontested Divorce by HG.org.

Three Reasons for No-Fault Divorce

Three Reasons for No-Fault Divorce

Divorce is a difficult process to go through. One thing that makes it even more difficult is figuring out what type of divorce you need to file for. You have two options, fault or no-fault. You might be wondering, what is the difference between the two? How do I know which one applies to me? The distinctions are pretty simple. Reasons for fault divorce include infidelity, desertion, drug or alcohol addiction, and many others. The distinguishing factor for a fault divorce is that one spouse is at fault for the divorce. But in a no-fault divorce, the feeling is basically mutual. There are three situations that are eligible for no-fault divorce.

1. Irreconcilable Differences

This is one of the most common reasons for no-fault divorce. Irreconcilable differences are sighted when the couple decides that they are no longer compatible with each other. There may be many reasons as to why that is. Most couples who file for divorce under this claim are people who can no longer agree on anything. They have tried basically everything to save their marriage, but nothing has worked. The only option left is divorce.

2. Incompatibility

Another reason for no-fault divorce is incompatibility. Incompatibility literally means that the couple no longer feels compatible with each other. The grounds for divorce are plain and simple. The couple does not feel like they are able to live together anymore. When this happens, the divorce proceedings are fairly easy. The courts are not interested in why the marriage is ending. All they care about is that it is over. No one is at fault here, so the proceedings can continue without much issue or court time.

3. Irretrievable Breakdown

The last reason for no-fault divorce is irretrievable breakdown. In this instance, both parties are admitting that the marriage is ending. There is no hope of it being salvaged. The couple has no options left other than to separate. Through this method, divorcing couples can quickly complete the process of divorce due to the short amount of court time that they will have to take part in.

Similarities

All three of these methods qualify as forms of no-fault divorce. So, what do they all have in common? All three are not concerned with who did what. That’s why they are referred to as reasons for no-fault divorce. There is no proof of any form of wrongdoing like what would be found in a fault divorce. Neither spouse cheated on the other or abused the other. There was no history of a harmful addiction or any mental illness. Instead, both spouses have mutually agreed, for whatever reason, that it is time to end this chapter in their lives and go their separate ways.

While no divorce is ever a fantastic thing, they are sometimes unavoidable. Choosing to separate through a no-fault divorce can make the entire process a bit easier because the reasons for separating are mutual. There is less of a chance of a major fight in court. If you or someone you know is considering a no-fault divorce, but might not know how to start, feel free to contact Christine Howard. Christine and her team of attorneys frequently deal with these cases and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you would like to get in touch, call (864) 282-8575 or email at lnorris@christinehoward.com.

Dating During Separation

Dating During Separation

Divorce is a difficult process to go through. The divorcing couple is having a realization that their lives as they knew them are over. Not only are the upcoming legal aspects going to be frustrating, but the each spouse is also suddenly single again. Singleness can be hard to deal with, especially if a person has been with someone for a long time. But sudden singleness should not propel a person into the dating sphere immediately after separation. Instead, recently separated people should take time to consider how dating so soon after splitting might impact their divorce.

Potential for Adultery

Starting to date right after a separation is filed could lead to some undesirable consequences. This is not to say that a person cannot date during separation, there are just a few things to keep in mind before doing so. Firstly, the entire divorce process could take a hit. By beginning to date during the separation period, a person could potentially be accused of adultery. This accusation can lead to a turn in the divorce. For instance, if the divorce was originally no-fault, then it be moved to a fault divorce. According to South Carolina law, adultery is defined as “marital misconduct.” So even if the person is not sleeping with the one they are dating, the argument could be made that infidelity is still happening.

Alimony and Division of Assets

Another impact that dating during separation could have on divorce is through alimony and division of assets. Any type of adultery during the separation period could result in an undesirable outcome regarding alimony payments. According to South Carolina law, spouses are unable to receive support from the other if there is an instance of adultery. Specifically, if it is done before the signing of the formal property agreement or a permanent order of property agreement. In this case, the offending party can be barred from receiving alimony payments.

Division of property and assets can also be negatively affected. By dating before finalizing the divorce, a person is risking potentially lessening their share of the estate. This is because courts (depending on the laws of the state) will sometimes look at how the “marital misconduct” affects the financial aspect of the relationship. They will also look at how the misconduct affects the overall marriage breakdown. If found guilty, the individual accused of being unfaithful can potentially loose more of their share of the property.

Child Custody

Dating during separation might also impact child custody and visitation. If the courts determine that the dating spouse has acted inappropriately, then they can limit the amount of time the parent gets to spend with the child. Custody can also be impacted if the dating parent exposes their children to the person they are dating.

Final Result

Dating before divorce, while it can be done, is never a good idea. There are too many risks involved that could lead to the dating party receiving less than originally planned in the divorce. It is better for all parties involved (husband, wife, children, etc.) for spouses to hold off entering the dating world until the divorce is finalized.

If you or someone you know is curious about dating during the divorce process, feel free to contact Christine Howard. Christine would be happy to answer any questions about the process that you may have. She can be reached by phone at (864) 282-8575 or by email at lnorris@christinehoward.com.

Divorce Mediation: Streamlining Your Divorce

Phases of Divorce Mediation

Divorce is always a difficult task to undergo. Both parties are realizing that the marriage is over and they are trying to come to grips with this new reality. Even when couples are as civil with each other as possible, the process is still hard. But when couples aren’t so civil, well…it’s not pretty. This is where divorce mediation can help. Having a third party (usually a divorce lawyer) enter the discussion and assist both parties in expressing their desires helps the entire process flow more smoothly. When experiencing this process, couples will experience several phases of divorce mediation.

Phase 1: Beginning Phase

In the beginning phase, the mediator will lay the groundwork for how the mediation will work. This includes gathering information from both spouses to gain a background about the entire situation from which he or she can work. The beginning phase will also determine how the rest of the process will go. This is mostly based on how well couples communicate. The mediator will evaluate communication between spouses and determine a method that will provide the best possible outcome. Through this process, everyone involved will be able to create a plan for the rest of the mediation.

Phase 2: Gathering Information Phase

The second of the phases of divorce mediation is the gathering information phase. In this phase, the mediator will gather information about both spouses. This is so that the mediator can be as informed as possible when dealing with a case. This phase is an essential part of the process because any information that the mediator gets can help to complete the process with little hassle. In order to obtain information, the mediator will ask couples to bring in various documents. These could be anything from tax returns to insurance statements. The mediator will need these documents to summarize the process and work out a settlement.

The mediator can also help couples to gather any information that they might not be able to get a hold of. For instance, if a couple is having a hard time finding a specific insurance policy, then the mediator can be look for it themselves. They will also go over the legal rules and actions of the divorce with the couple. These would include what various state laws say about division of assets, child custody, insurance claims, etc.

Phase 3: Framing Phase

In the framing phase, the mediator will work with couples to set goals. These goals will help each spouse realize what they want to gain from the divorce. Going into a divorce without a plan is never a good idea. But framing the divorce allows both parties to figure out what they want from the process. Some couples might come in already knowing exactly what they want, and that’s great. But for couples who are not sure, framing is a necessary step.

Framing deals with issues such as property and financial division, child custody, and alimony. All of these issues need to have the perspectives of both spouses. In most situations, the spouses’ perspectives will overlap with each other. Both parties will want their property to be divided fairly. Both parties will definitely want the best arrangement possible for their children. By working with the mediator to frame the process, they will have a better chance at achieving their desires.

Phase 4: Negotiation Phase

After the mediator has gained information, and worked with the parties to decide on the goals, they now have to negotiate a settlement. The mediator will assist the couple in covering all of their goals and will make sure that nothing is left out of the settlement.The couple will then work with the mediator to determine potential outcomes. Through discussing the possible outcomes, the couple is able to work with the mediator to decide which options will make both parties happy.

After discussing the outcomes, the process will shift to help the couple to narrow down their focuses and determine which option is best for everyone. This may sound easy, and sometimes it can be. But there could also be some challenges. It is important to remember that this step will require compromise on both sides. Problem-solving is a major aspect of this phase. Both spouses need to be willing to work with the mediator and solve any problems that might arise. Otherwise, the divorce can quickly dissolve into fits of anger, making the process more stressful for everyone.

Phase 5: Finishing Phase

The last of the phases of divorce mediation is the finishing phase. In the finishing phase, the settlement is completed and is sent to both spouses for their approval. The spouses will look over the agreement with their mediator and, if both are satisfied, will then sign off. If needed, the mediator can write up a memorandum that both spouses can sign before leaving their session. Memorandums are typically used if the issues in the case are considered simple. This document functions as an “agreement” until a formal settlement agreement can be drawn up. Most times the memorandum will be the base for how the formal agreement is built.

Divorce is always a difficult time. But with divorce mediation, the process does not have to be so difficult. If you or someone you know is looking for mediation, feel free to contact Christine Howard. Christine would love to talk with you and answer any questions you may have about the process. She can also act as or recommend a mediator to you for your divorce. To get in touch, contact Christine Howard by phone at (864) 282-8575 or email at lnorris@christinehoward.com.

Adapted fromĀ The Stages of Divorce Mediation by Emily Doskow, Attorney.