Guest Article by Myburgh Law P.C.

During an uncontested New York divorce, many couples feel the understandable desire to speed things along as quickly as possible. It’s common to fall into the trap of thinking that, because the dissolution of the marriage is quick and uncontested, they will not need the services of a lawyer. While it is true that an uncontested marital dissolution will enable both parties to go their separate ways much more quickly, there are both long term and short term reasons why hiring a qualified New York attorney is important even in an uncontested divorce.

As part of the process, both parties will have to come to a marital settlement agreement, also known as a stipulation of settlement. If there are children involved, a parenting plan has to be agreed upon as well. Thus, a mutual agreement must be reached on terms such as child custody, where the child will reside, child support, spousal support, division of debt and division of assets. Marital settlement agreements and parenting plans can quickly become confusing to someone who does not have training in family law. A lawyer with experience in family law will ensure that their client understands the terms they are agreeing to and will work to make sure that their client’s wishes are fairly represented in the final agreement.

While some people may feel that they are able to represent their own needs in an uncontested situation, it is easy to underestimate the emotional toll that the dissolution of the marriage can have. Increased levels of stress and frustration often occur during the negotiation process. While these reactions are to be expected, they sometimes prevent individuals from making decisions which are best for the long term. A momentary rash desire to just have the process be over can result in life-long consequences when it comes to assets such as retirement savings, pensions, investments, houses, and 401ks. An attorney can look after these interests for their client without the added emotional turmoil often felt by the client.

Additionally, not all uncontested divorces remain that way through the entire legal process. Unfortunately, some parties will begin negotiations and realize that they simply did not agree on as much as they previously believed they did. Child custody arrangements are often a major point of contention between the parties, as is debt division. If the negotiations do take a turn towards contested territory, it’s good to have an attorney present to help one navigate through the much trickier legal issues surrounding this type of marital dissolution.

However, the proceedings may go just as smoothly as expected. Yet if one partner has a lawyer present, the one without legal representation may feel exposed or resentful without proper counsel. In such situations, both parties having an attorney to represent them promotes an atmosphere of equality and cooperation that is necessary for a successful negotiation.

Ultimately, a divorce is a life-altering event whether it is contested or uncontested. While the dissolving of a marriage will rarely be entirely pleasant, having the proper representation can be the deciding factor in how smoothly the process will go. Having a comparatively quick, hassle-free dissolution of marriage is very possible, and choosing to use the services of an attorney familiar with all aspects of family law is the best way to reach that goal.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were able to settle their divorce quickly.  Part of this was due to the fact that they had a prenuptial agreement.  A prenuptial agreement determines alimony and property distribution in the event of divorce.

But you cannot provide for custody, visitation or child support in a prenuptial agreement.  The reason for this is that the court has jurisdiction to determine what is in the best interest of the children based on circumstances at the time of divorce.

Likewise, child support will depend on custody and income at the time of divorce.  The parties can agree on custody, visitation and child support in a separation agreement or marital settlement agreement and the court will normally approve such an agreement.  These issues related to the child are the ones that Cruise and Holmes had to negotiate and resolve.

Two Mothers and Father’s Rights

In 2011, a young girl in California had two mothers.  One went to prison.  The other was hospitalized.  The girl’s father tried to assert his father’s rights to gain custody of the child.  The state appellate court ruled that he could not be the legal guardian of the girl because California law allows a child to have only two parents.  Custody was given to the state.

Sen. Mark Leno, (D) San Francisco, has introduced a bill to amend the law in California so that a child can have more than two parents if it is in the best interests of the child.  Leno said, “There are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today.”

Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia all permit a child to have more than two parents.

Under the proposal, families with three or more parents would share custody, financial responsibility and visitation for the child, based on a judge’s determination of each parent’s resources and time with the child.

Benjamin Lopez, legislative analyst for the Traditional Values Coalition, said Leno’s bill is just  a new attempt to “revamp, redefine and muddy the waters” of family structure in the drive to legalize gay marriage.

Why would anyone marry a narcissist?  Because they can be charismatic and charming and put on a show to make you fall in love with them.  Only later will you discover the reality.  It’s all about them.

Narcissists lack the capacity most of us have for empathy and emotionally recognizing the needs of others.  The narcissist thrives on constant conflict to stay connected and fight for his or her own rights.  They are usually oblivious to the needs of their spouse or children.

The narcissist will not forgive and move on if you divorce them. Their anger lasts for years sometimes.  They cling to the narcissistic injury: “How could you do this to me?”

It is probably not possible to have an amicable divorce with a narcissist and co-parent in a reasonable way. They will disparage the other parent, make up false allegations, and resist child support because that requires giving money to their ex.  Their feelings of entitlement get in the way of dividing assets fairly.  They do not think about what is best for the children. They think about what is best for them.

The narcissist is not aware or conscious of their own bad behavior and feels entitled.   They have excuses for everything and blames others for their actions. They are used to exploiting others to meet their own needs. The way to regain power now is in creating massive chaos in the divorce process and using the children as pawns.

Sometimes it takes two to Tango.  But sometimes it takes only one.  Divorcing a narcissist requires an understanding of this personality type.  It may require a mental health consultant and appointment of a strong parenting coordinator for post divorce disputes.

Learn more.

The financial crises in Europe is hitting divorced and separated fathers hard.  Many are unemployed and struggling to make alimony and child support payments.  Elisabetta Povoledo of the New York Times tells of fathers in Italy and Spain who are living in their cars or on the streets.

“If your guy doesn’t pay his alimony, we’ll file a motion for contempt and you can tell him we’ll be asking for jail time,” said Sobel, who was representing the ex-wife.  He didn’t like the ex-husband’s attorney, Caster, ever since he had yelled at Sobel and hung up on him in another case years ago.  Sobel had a long memory.

“Come on, Sobel,” Castor said.  “The judge is not going to put my guy in jail.  It’s contractual alimony, not court ordered alimony.”

“Whadya mean, Castor?  The Agreement is incorporated into the Divorce Decree.  That makes it a court order.  And your client has failed to comply with it.”

“Well there is no imprisonment for debt in Maryland.  Check the state constitution, Sobel.”

“You check it, Castor.  I’ve got it right here.  Section 398 of Article III says ‘No person shall be imprisoned for debt, but a valid decree of a court of competent jurisdiction or agreement approved by decree of said court for the support of a wife or dependent children or for alimony shall not constitute a debt within the meaning of this section.’

“Sobel, me and my client will, as they say, see you in court.”

“Tell your client to bring his checkbook or a toothbrush, Castor, for when he goes to the slammer.”

The law firm of Cordell and Cordell has published a free app for iPhone and iPad called Men’s Divorce Source Lite.

The screen shot shows Goals and articles on Advice, Child Custody, Finances, Parental Alienation, Child Support and Alimony.

GizMagazine.Com has a description and screen shots of other handy divorce apps that, for a nominal cost, can help with your divorce.

A bill has been introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates to extend child support to age 21 if the child is enrolled in college.

A similar bill was defeated last year.

Under current law, a Maryland divorce court cannot order a parent to pay for college, but can enforce an agreement that provides for this.

Do you think the court should make parents pay for their children’s college?

See House Bill # 986.



Craig Campbell

My ex-wife’s at the door a-knockin’
Lord that woman won’t leave me alone
Same question, where’s my money
Well, honey, you can’t get blood from a stone

When I get it, you get it
Times are tough, get in line and wait
When I get it, you get it
And that’s all you’re gettin’ today, yeah.

Want to know when child support terminates and whether or not you’ll have to pay college costs?  Here’s a state by state chart.