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Rochester New York Family Legal Blog

4 reasons your friends make bad divorce lawyers

Whether contemplating a divorce or going through one, you may find your situation to be all-consuming. That is perfectly normal, as dissolving any marriage can be both stressful and sad. While it is okay to talk to your friends about your experience, you should be careful about asking for legal advice. 

There is an old and colorful expression about opinions. Put cleanly, everyone has one, and it is not worth much. While most opinions are relatively harmless, asking for advice about your divorce could cause you to make some bad decisions. Here are four reasons your friends are not good divorce lawyers: 

The driving force behind collaborative divorce

When two people marry, they do so believing that they will always agree with each other, always enjoy each other and always stay together. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Over half of all marriages still end in divorce, and dividing one life into two can make even the most amicable people bicker.

You assume divorce involves disagreement at all levels, and that coming to a reasonable conclusion is impossible. Collaborative divorce, however, allows couples to work out the details of their uncoupling within a safe and much less hostile environment.

Worries about reaction of family members delays estate planning

Many people in New York avoid thinking about the end of their lives and how that will affect their estates. Although these feelings are understandable, concerns about how their family members will react to their final wishes also contribute to delays in estate planning. A survey of financial advisers conducted by Key Private Bank revealed how often family dynamics complicated end-of-life arrangements for estates.

Out of 130 advisers, 77 percent cited family relationships as the most difficult aspect of estate planning. The technical details of writing wills and setting up trusts did not trouble people nearly as much as the strain that estate decisions might place on family relationships. One trust administration manager explained that people fear that their estate plan choices will create conflict. Decisions that divide assets among children in a fair but not equal manner could cause resentment. After making their intentions known, people worry that behaviors between benefactors and beneficiaries might change.

Why a Facebook divorce is a really bad idea

If you are like most people in New York and across the nation, you likely have become “addicted” to Facebook and other social media. While admittedly you can have a lot of fun keeping up with your friends and family this way, sometimes you should resist the urge to “share all” with them. Your divorce is one of these times.

During your divorce, Facebook can become your new worst enemy instead of your best friend forever. Why? Because the information you share there, supposedly with only your family and friends, can instead wind up in the hands of your spouse and/or his or her divorce attorney.

Is alimony a sure thing?

When couples decide to end a marriage, things may start amicably. However, once the process gets going that same couple may turn from agreeable to unwilling to compromise on anything.

In a high-asset New York divorce, one of the most contested elements is spousal support. If a spouse wants alimony, does the other have to oblige? Certain conditions must exist before a court can rule one way or the other.

Powers of attorney and other important estate planning documents

With a thorough estate plan, one can be sure that their assets will be handled properly after death. However, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, more than three-fourths of millennials and around half of all Americans do not have an estate plan. New York residents who are just getting started in the estate planning process have several documents to think about.

With a living will, one can clarify their plans for end-of-life care. Powers of attorney can appoint an agent to handle medical, legal and financial issues if the creator is incapacitated. This could be the most important function of an estate plan for people who have few assets.

Are you responsible for your deceased parents' debt?

For many people, losing a parent is one of the toughest things they may ever go through, and while losing your mother or father will almost undoubtedly take an emotional toll, it can also leave you facing increased responsibilities. You may, for example, be responsible for handling your deceased parent's financial affairs after his or her passing, and just how much work this will entail will depend largely on your parent’s financial circumstances and whether he or she left behind a clear will or estate plan.

Unfortunately, many people fail to organize their finances before they pass on, and in some cases, they leave the world without tying up loose ends with regard to credit card debt, mortgage debt and the like. In fact, U.S. News & World Report notes that almost half of today’s older Americans pass away with less than $10,000 in assets to their name, highlighting just how many of today’s older Americans are dying in debt. If your deceased parent is among them, you may have concerns about whether you could potentially be on the hook for any outstanding debts your parent left behind.

What to do when visitation rights are denied

Parents in New York and throughout the country are generally allowed to see their children after a divorce. However, a judge must do what is in the best interests of the child at any given time. This could mean that a parent is denied visitation or is given limited visitation rights. Visitation may be denied or allowed in a supervised format until a parent addresses concerns that a judge may have.

For instance, a parent who has anger issues may be required to complete an anger management course. Parents who are dealing with drug or alcohol abuse may be required to go to rehab and remain sober for a certain period of time. It is important to note that child support and child custody are two separate issues. Therefore, a failure to pay child support is generally not a reason to keep a parent from seeing a child.

High-earning parents have advantage to alienate children

Co-parenting can be difficult in any situation, regardless of how well the parents get along. In a typical post-divorce setting, New York parents may have different views on raising their children. Anger and resentment can also linger for years, creating a tempting situation for one parent to get back at the other in the most painful way possible – by using the kids against him or her.

This common scenario, explains Psychology Today, is parental alienation syndrome. In this situation, the alienating parent devotes time and energy into painting a negative picture of the ex, turning family and friends against him or her and sabotaging visitation and parenting time with the children.

These apps may help you through your divorce

Getting a divorce is no easy task. Not only do you need to deal with the legal, financial and emotional complications throughout the weeks or months of the divorce proceedings, but you must figure out how to manage custody, support payments and rebuilding your life once your divorce is final. 

All of this can seem overwhelming. But there are many ways to ease your stress and figure out what you need to do. One tool that you may not realize can help you through your divorce is your phone. There are numerous apps available to guide you through various aspects of your divorce. Here are some to consider.

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140 Allens Creek, Suite 3
Rochester, NY 14618

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