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Baltimore Metro Family Law Blog

Divorce near retirement can be financially stressful

Whether your relationship suddenly took a downward turn or had been deteriorating for years, divorce can be an overwhelmingly emotional experience. While many things get better with age, divorce is unfortunately not one of them.

Pursuing a divorce later in life — also called a gray divorce — can have serious financial implications. The financial aspect of ending a marriage might even be more severe for those closer to or already in retirement.

Negotiating changes to your holiday parenting visitation schedule

For divorced parents this time of year, one issue that's likely forefront in your mind is seeing the kids over the holidays. Regardless of your relationship with your ex, figuring out the holiday visitation schedule is not only challenging, it may be one of the biggest conflicts you encounter when it comes to joint custody.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that plans change and life is full of surprises. You may have been satisfied with the initial parenting plan but then suddenly a holiday party gets rescheduled or a special event pops up. With Thanksgiving just around the corner and December festivities not far behind, what are some methods you and your ex can consider to ensure the holidays are merry and bright for you and your children this year?

How to seek what your spouse may be hiding in divorce

Like most parents in West Virginia, you have likely played hide and seek with your children on more than one occasion. Such games are timeless and often provide free and easy means for keeping kids occupied and entertained. Fast forward to your upcoming divorce proceedings, however, and you may quickly realize that not all hide and seek games are innocent or harmless. In fact, when it comes to property division and assets that rightfully belong to you, the last thing you need is to have to prove they exist.

Many spouses try to hide assets in divorce. Reasons vary but often include desire for revenge or attempts to avoid having to hand over certain luxury items to a spouse. Not only is hiding assets not a game at all, it is illegal. Knowing your rights and how to protect them if you suspect your spouse is trying to give you the short end of the stick may help you resolve a major problem before it gets out of hand.

Do you know you can write your own parenting plan in divorce?

Over the years, as you've raised your children alongside the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, you've likely faced many ups and downs together as a family. Perhaps, one of your biggest challenges came the day you sat your kids down to tell them you were getting divorced. Hopefully, you have a close relationship and were able to reassure them that while some things would definitely be changing in their lives, the one thing that will never change is your love for them.

In fact, studies show when children know they have parental support and are able to be open about their emotions and feelings during divorce proceedings, they often fare quite well. Like most good parents throughout the state, you want what is best for your children and are willing to cooperate and compromise to provide for their well-being.

Balancing the scales of child custody

Within a relatively short period of time, the structure of the average family household has changed. Society no longer expects mothers to stay home, raise the children and keep house. Fathers are not necessarily the sole breadwinners of the family. Your own family may reflect these welcome changes if you and your spouse both work fulltime out of the home and equally share the household chores.

Of course, not all changes in family dynamics are positive, and you may find your own family unable to stand up to the pressures from within or without that assail it. If you are facing a divorce, you certainly will not want to fall under the delusion that child custody will be determined based on standards and assumptions of past generations.

What are my options in the event of parental kidnapping?

It's a scenario that no parent wants to consider, but what if the unthinkable happens to your family? Your ex-spouse has taken your child and disappeared, in direct violation of a custody agreement. Your head is spinning, but there are important steps to take and options to prevent the same from happening again.

After the child is located, you will be able to work with your lawyer and the court system to ensure the safety of your child. Setting limits for your family is going to be the important focus of your co-parenting now. Here are a few recommendations for you in the event of a parental kidnapping.

Keeping kids needs front and center during divorce

Like many divorcing parents, worries about finances and property division all likely pale in comparison to your number one concern:  How your impending divorce will impact your children. Whether from well-meaning (but misinformed) family members or from outdated parenting articles, you've probably heard horror stories about the negative impact divorce can have on children. The fact of the matter is, though, that experts have discredited much of this information and the rest often involves behaviors that are avoidable.

Experts in child custody and development have come up with a few tips to help you keep your children's needs front and center during divorce. Granted, some of these behaviors may be easier said than done, but with a little effort, there are some methods you can attempt to help your children handle the changes divorce brings.

Common divorce mistakes and how to avoid them

Even though you may be certain you are making the right decision and things will be better in the long run, there's still no question that divorce is a stressful time. Very few life events feel as overwhelming or complicated as ending a marriage. Not only do you have the division of assets, property and finances to worry about and child custody to figure out, but your emotions are almost certainly running high. At such a time, it may feel nearly impossible to keep track of everything.

It's not unusual for people going through divorce proceedings to overlook certain aspects. A family law attorney can definitely provide insight and guidance along the way, but there are still instances where you might forget something important or make a mistake. For this reason, some advisors recommend creating a simple divorce checklist to help you keep from making some of the more common mistakes.

The pitfalls of procrastinating over your divorce

There's no denying the marriage is over. You and your spouse may have agreed to end it, or you simply recognize the signs that divorce is inevitable. Nevertheless, taking the steps to formally dissolve the marriage is harder than you expected, and you still haven't made that consultation appointment with a divorce attorney. Your spouse may be losing patience waiting for you to sign the papers.

Perhaps you are thinking things will get better, or you just don't feel emotionally ready for such a big step. However, postponing the divorce process may have a more negative effect on your relationship with your spouse and may actually make your divorce more difficult.

Finding a sustainable and beneficial parenting plan

As a parent, your main concern during a divorce is protecting the well-being of your children above all else. Despite your desire to provide the youngest members of the family with stability and continuity, it is easy to allow strong emotions to drive your decisions. In this situation, your goal should be to find a parenting plan that suits the needs of your family.

Children benefit when provided the opportunity to maintain a strong relationship with both parents after divorce. By working closely with a West Virginia family law attorney, it is possible to work through disagreements and concerns with the other parent and develop a custom-tailored parenting plan.


Joseph Brophy Cordell, Attorney at Law
115 1/2 West King Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: 304-707-0673
Fax: 304-263-3378
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