October 17th, 2013

Five Mistakes People Seeking Divorce Should Try to Avoid

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Divorce can be a trying time, especially for couples who choose to go it alone, so it may help potential divorcees to consider a few key mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce.

Of course, in order to help avoid some of these mistakes, many people choose to hire a divorce lawyer to help guide them through the difficult process.



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A recent report from the Huffington Post suggests that people filing for divorce should avoid five common mistakes while going through the separation process.

First, the report says couples should meet with a financial planner before going through divorce mediation. Sources say many people fight, for example, to keep their homes, when they can’t afford the homes in the first place.

It’s much wiser to approach mediation, or any divorce negotiation, with a clear idea of the assets you can afford to keep after reaching a divorce agreement. Make sure what you’re fighting to keep is actually worth keeping in the first place.

Second, people preparing for a divorce should get organized before they tell their spouse the news. This doesn’t mean you have to be dishonest, it simply means that you should prepare for the pending financial stress.

To this end, before you inform your spouse of your decision, sources suggest making a detailed inventory of your financial records, credit history, and future job prospects. Planning before a divorce is just as important as the separation process itself.

Third, sources recommend creating a support network early in the divorce process. Filing for divorce may be a very wise decision for many people, but it can also be emotionally trying.

So your best bet is to consult the aid of a therapist, or share your burden with friends or family, well before you begin to experience emotional trauma. Emotional health, just like financial health, is best protected by taking preventative measures.

Fourth, sources advise couples to not file for divorce in the heat of the moment. Some couples may simply be experiencing a difficult time, and would be best advised to take a few weeks to honestly assess the state of their marriage.

Of course, many couples may quickly come to the conclusion that divorce is their best option. Still, it’s important to catalog the specific reasons why you want a divorce, so you’re not making a poor decision.

Finally, sources recommend sticking with your job and not reducing your hours. Judges frown on this behavior, especially when it appears that one spouse is trying to secure more alimony from the other.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

October 10th, 2013

Affordable Care Act Could Lead to Increase in Divorce Filings

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The Affordable Care Act, also known by the more loaded term “Obamacare,” may expand health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, but could also have some unintended consequences.

One of these potential consequences is that the rate of people filing for divorce could rise, thanks to the financial freedom potentially afforded by broader access to health coverage, according to a report from the Washington Times.


According to sources, fear of losing health insurance is one of the primary reasons couples choose to stick together and refrain from filing a divorce.

And this fear of losing health insurance is supported by a recent finding by the University of Michigan that, every year, roughly 115,000 women lose their health insurance after reaching a divorce settlement.

The Michigan study also discovered that 25 percent of divorce women who lose coverage through their former spouse’s insurance fail to find new health insurance for at least six months after completing their divorce.

Even though the workforce continues to grow more diverse, many women still do not have employment outside the home, or work for companies that do not provide health coverage. In addition, the cost of getting COBRA coverage through a former spouse’s plan can be incredible expensive.

The problem is particularly acute for middle-income women eyeing a divorce. Low-income women are often able to turn to Medicaid, and wealthy women can simply afford their own coverage. And older women tend to have an even more difficult time securing insurance after divorce.

But this calculation could soon change, if the Affordable Care Act is as successful at broadening access to health care as it promises. And if it indeed expands access to health care, many couples who have decided to stick together for health insurance reasons could decide to finally split, sources say.

When the law kicks into gear on January 1, 2014, women mulling a divorce can enter the healthcare exchange to determine if they’ll be able to find affordable health insurance. If so, many couples may decide to go their separate ways.

Of course, while the new law could help many struggling couples, it could also create complications for filers and their divorce attorneys.

Sources believe the government’s health care plans could leads to lower alimony settlements, and could also lead to arguments about the quality of plan the spouse paying alimony can afford. But the law also offers much promise for couples who have stayed together out of financial necessity.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

October 3rd, 2013

Man Upset With Divorce Allegedly Injects Young Son With Heroin

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A man in Washington state who was reportedly distraught over his pending divorce allegedly tried to kill his 4-year-old son by giving him a dose of heroin, according to a shocking report from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


Sources say the man going through a divorce, 37-year-old Eric Lehtinen, was discovered by his estranged wife on a bed in a locked Redmond, Washington, house with his young son. Both the man and his son were reportedly unconscious.

After making the startling discovery, the mother reportedly removed a blanket from her son and found a syringe filled with what looked like drugs on his chest, according to documents filed with the local court.

When emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, both the boy and the father were non-responsive. The boy was immediately taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where he is currently seeking treatment. Sources do not know if he will suffer long-term damage from the incident.

Shockingly, medical staff at the children’s hospital reported finding puncture wounds on several parts of the boy’s body.

And blood tests revealed traces of ketamine, morphine, and codeine in his system, in addition to heroin.

Sources say Lehtinen is already out of the hospital, but is sitting in jail after being charged with attempted murder in the first degree. His bail was set at an appropriately lofty $3 million after prosecutors argued that he was extremely dangerous.

In their words, a man “who is willing to inject his 4-year-old son with heroin in an attempt to kill” his own son is “dangerous man willing to do anything.” The judge didn’t disagree with this assessment.

Ten days before the child was overdosed with a cocktail of dangerous drugs, he was reportedly living with his mother in San Francisco. The mother and her husband had been married for six years, but she had filed for divorce months before.

According to reports, one of the reasons the woman filed for divorce was her husband’s drug addiction, which included abuse of heroin.

But her husband claimed that he was clean, so the mother let her son stay with Lehtinen while she visited Seattle for a job interview.

Lehtinen, however, was distraught over the pending divorce, and court documents say that the father poisoned his son in a terribly misguided effort to delay the end of his marriage.

But, if anything, Lehtinen sealed the end of his marriage, and possibly the end of his relationship with his child. If he is found guilty of attempted murder, the father could be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison, sources say.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

September 30th, 2013

Richard Gere and Estranged Wife Reportedly Headed Towards Divorce

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After 11 years of marriage and 18 years together, Richard Gere and his wife, model-turned-actress Carey Lowell, are reportedly looking to hire divorce attorneys, according to a report this week from the Los Angeles Times.


In an interview last year with Yahoo Movies, Lowell claimed that she first had a crush on Gere when she saw his 1982 movie, “An Officer and a Gentleman.” She claims this caused a heated argument with her boyfriend at the time.

But sources say the couple’s marriage has grown rocky, thanks in part to their different personalities. Friends of Lowell say she enjoys socializing frequently, while Gere prefers to live a more private lifestyle.

According to one friend quote in the New York Post, the couple has a home in Bedford, New York, where Gere prefers to stay “because it’s quiet and he likes the solitude,” while Lowell would rather be in their home in “North Haven in the limelight.”

A source close to the celebrity couple claims the 64-year-old actor and his 52-year-old wife have been separated for several months, although a photograph of the couple together at the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills in January seems to dispute this notion.

Of course, if the couple simply cooperated for the cameras in an effort to keep their personal lives out of the tabloids, it certainly wouldn’t have been the first such instance of Hollywood restraint.

If the husband and wife do eventually decided to get a divorce, it will be the second such filing for Gere, who was famously married to supermodel Cindy Crawford during the prime of both their careers. In addition, this would be the third divorce for Lowell, sources say.

The speculation about their divorce, however, remains simply guesswork, as the couple has not made any official announcement about their intentions to divorce.

Since divorce records are made public if a couple disputes their case in court, many celebrity married couples prefer to settle their marital differences behind closed doors with a mediator or simply negotiate and reach a settlement with the other side’s attorneys.

These alternative forms of divorce are becoming more popular with non-celebrities, as well, since mediation or settlement talks are often less costly and emotionally charged than a prolonged court battle.

The couple, however, may have a bit of trouble settling their divorce among themselves because they have a 13-year-old son, Homer, who sources say was named after Gere’s father.

The presence of a child doesn’t mean the couple won’t be able to settle the matter out of court, but it certainly makes their divorce process that much more complicated.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

September 18th, 2013

Costly Divorce Forces Best Buy CEO to Sell Millions Worth of Stock

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A pending divorce has forced Best Buy CEO Hubery Joly to sell more than $10 million worth of stock in his company to cover the cost of divorce, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.


Typically, this sort of information wouldn’t be available to the public, as most public figures prefer to settle their divorces out of court in order to keep their personal information private.

This is why many famous celebrities turn to divorce mediation to settle their disputes behind closed doors, rather than in open court in front of the public eye.

But Joly is in a unique position because, thanks to the terms of his employment agreement, he had to report the sale of $10.4 million in Best Buy stock to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), which monitors the sale of stock by corporate officials.

This week, company spokesman Matt Furman took a page out of the public relations textbook and tried to get ahead of the news by formally announcing the sale of a significant amount of Joly’s stock in the company in a press conference.

“This sale reflects only one thing: Mr. Joly has recently gone through a divorce and needs to sell a portion of his holdings in order to cover the costs of that unfortunate event. He remains heavily invested in Best Buy,” said Joly.

Interestingly, Joly had to receive a special waiver from Best Buy’s board of directors to make the sale because his employment contract prevents him from making such a large sale of stock without the board’s permission.

And when the company filed its report with the SEC giving notice of the unique sale, it made a point to say that “all other terms” of the employment agreement “remain unchanged and in full force and effect.”

In recent years, companies have made stock options larger portions of executive salaries, in an effort to tie the performance of executives to their compensation. But Joly’s costly divorce threw a wrench into this practice, at least with respect to the Best Buy CEO.

Sources say Joly sold 100,686 shares of Best Buy worth nearly $4 million, and also exercised 350,467 stock options that were worth roughly $6.5 million.

According to reports, Joly, who filed for divorce in his native country of France, still owns enough shares of Best Buy to meet the company’s stock ownership guidelines for its corporate executives.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

September 13th, 2013

Wife of George Zimmerman Seeks Divorce After Six Years of Marriage

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The wife of media legend George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder after the shooting death of young Trayvon Martin, is filing for divorce from her controversial husband, according to a report from the Washington Post.


Sources say 26-year-old Shellie Zimmerman and her husband separated on August 13, and she admitted in a recent television interview that her husband had not spent much time at home since he was acquitted in July.

During her interview with “Good Morning America” on ABC, Shellie Zimmerman said that her husband is “selfish” and that she thinks “George is all about George.” She also claimed that he was verbally abusive towards her and that the embarrassing trial had “ruined her life.”

Shellie Zimmerman also lamented her seemingly unrewarded tenure as her husband’s loyal partner during his prolonged legal drama. In her interview, she told ABC, “I have supported him for so long, and neglected myself for too long, and I feel like I’m finally starting to feel empowered again.”

In addition, Shellie Zimmerman said that her husband had been making “some reckless decisions” since a Florida jury acquitted him in the murder of Trayvon Martin, whom George Zimmerman purportedly killed while acting in self-defense.

Sources say George Zimmerman has been pulled over for speeding on two occasions since his arrest. During one of the stops, Zimmerman bragged to a police officer that he had a concealed weapon in his truck. Both times, he was let off with a warning, sources say.

In addition, George Zimmerman was reportedly involved in a domestic dispute involving a gun this week, but his wife apparently is not going to press criminal charges, sources report.

But a 911 call from the recent incident claims that George Zimmerman punched his wife’s father in the nose, and threatened to shoot him, and Zimmerman is reportedly being held in detention by police in Lake Mary, Florida.

Of course, these incidents might prove extra fodder for Shellie Zimmerman during the divorce process, which will likely be a very public affair, despite her wishes.

But the divorce could be a relatively simple affair, as the couple reportedly has no children. Shellie Zimmerman, however, is asking the court for sole possession of Oso and Leroy, their two dogs.

And while the absence of children could make the divorce process a bit simpler, couples in the past have engaged in heated fights over the custody of pets. So if George Zimmerman is intent on having access to their dogs, this could raise an issue in the divorce proceedings.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

September 5th, 2013

Longer Deployments Lead to Higher Rates of Divorce Among Veterans

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Lengthier deployments, which have become the norm in the U.S. military thanks to prolonged excursions in Afghanistan and Iraq, increase the risk of divorce among service members, according to a report from the Huffington Post.


Sources say the U.S. Department of Justice asked the RAND Corporation to study the impact of longer deployments, and the researchers discovered, perhaps not surprisingly, that longer stints overseas lead to higher rates of divorce.

And the study was certainly comprehensive. The researchers pulled information on more than 462,000 enlisted service members who became married while on active duty in the military between March 1999 and June 2008, according to reports.

Researchers also discovered an interesting relationship between the success of marriages that were sealed before and after September 11, 2001, the date of several terrorist attacks on American soil that took thousands of lives.

The data revealed that couples who married before September 11, 2001, were 28 percent more likely file for divorce within three years of saying their vows if one or both of the partners served in Afghanistan or Iraq for more than a year.

On the other hand, couples who married after the attacks on September 11 had a much lower divorce rate. Sources believe this was due in part to the maturity of couples who married after the terrorist attacks, and their better preparedness for the difficulties of war.

But aside from the interesting link between September 11 and divorce rates, regardless of the time of marriage or the date of deployment, married service members consistently divorce at higher rates when they serve overseas for longer periods of time, sources report.

Researchers believe that longer deployments place higher burdens on military couples, many of whom are in the early stages of their marriage. Unfortunately, several excursions on foreign soil have stretched the military’s resources in the past two decades, leading to longer deployments and more tension at home.

Interestingly, the study also found that female service members were more likely to seek a divorceafter deployment than their male counterparts, and that military members with children were less likely to file for divorce than their childless peers.

The news comes at a time when military members are calling a divorce attorney at record rates. According to the Department of Defense, the military divorce rate has been steadily increasing for the past ten years, and shows no signs of reversing course.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 28th, 2013

Collaborative Divorce Proves Cost Effective for Many Couples

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While many couples bristle at the sound of the word “divorce,” the separation process doesn’t have to empty your bank account, or drag you through an emotional roller-coaster.

In fact, many couples opt for a collaborative divorce, a process that takes place outside the courtroom, often with the aid of a local divorce attorney, and that may help filers avoid the cost and hassle of a competitive divorce.


According to a recent story from U.S. News & World Report, American couples are increasingly turning to collaborative divorce in order to escape the potential difficulties of the traditional divorce process.

In brief, a collaborative divorce requires the cooperation of both parties, who work in tandem with an attorney (or attorneys) to determine how to split their assets, and to make child custody decisions.

The collaborative divorce process does take a bit of patience from both spouses, and a willingness to bargain in good faith, but it doesn’t necessarily require that everyone get along.

According to divorce attorney Michelle Crosby, the idea of a perfectly amicable divorce is “a bit of a fallacy.” She wisely notes that it’s “always a lot of work” to make a divorce amicable “because there is a reason that couples are getting divorced.”

Nevertheless, couples who can agree to pursue a collaborative divorce can enlist the aid of divorce attorneys to make the process as peaceful as possible.

One of the biggest potential advantages of a collaborative divorce is the relatively low cost. According to sources, the average divorce costs filers between $15,000 and $30,000. But the average price tag for a collaborative divorce is a mere $7,500, according to reports.

Collaborative divorces typically involve fewer attorneys, instead enlisting the aid of therapists trained in the divorce process. These therapists often include financial specialists or professionals who are well-versed in the treatment of children in divorce.

Of course, collaborative divorce may not be for everyone. Some couples may prefer divorce mediation, which is similar to a collaborative divorce, in the sense that it occurs outside the courtroom, but differs because it takes place with the aid of a single mediation service or mediator.

And some couples may still need to pursue the more traditional route and fight their divorce in court, which remains quite common and is often the best option if two spouses cannot come to an agreement with the aid of a mediator or divorce specialist.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 21st, 2013

Basketball Star Tim Duncan Quietly Settles Divorce With Former Wife

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Tim Duncan, a star basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs, finalized his divorce case this week in a rare, closed hearing outside the courthouse, according to a report from the San Antonio Express-News.


Typically, the end of a divorce case happens in the courthouse, in front of a judge and a court reporter. Judges rarely leave the confines of the courtroom to meet with divorcing parties on their own terms.

Duncan, however, received rare treatment this week when District Judge David A. Canales used his lunch hour to visit the office of Duncan’s local divorce attorney and finalize the divorce between Duncan and his college sweetheart, Amy, in a private hearing.

This action, according to one family law attorney in San Antonio, is “highly unusual,” but was likely granted because it would have been “highly disruptive” for Duncan and his ex-wife to take care of their divorce in court.

Indeed, Duncan, a 7-foot star basketball player for the city’s most beloved team, may be the most recognizable person in San Antonio, and his quiet nature and desire for privacy have made him even more popular with the city’s residents.

In addition, the judge noted that it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary for a judge to hold a hearing away from the courthouse, although he admitted this was the first time he had ever done so.

Judge Canales also said that Duncan and his ex-wife were concerned that their appearance in court would attract paparazzi photographers, which would disrupt the court proceedings and potentially pose a danger to the parties themselves.

“I don’t see it as doing a special favor for the sake of a favor,” said Judge Canales. “These folks were involved in a very private matter. It was mainly for privacy.”

Sources say that details of the divorce have yet to be released, which, given the secretive nature of the divorce proceedings, isn’t much of a surprise. But the couple presumably determined who would have custody of their two children.

The surprise divorce started on March 27, when Amy Duncan filed for separation from her husband while he was gearing up for a playoff run with the Spurs.

The divorce petition offers little explanation for the split, only stating that the marriage had “become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities between petitioner and respondent that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 12th, 2013

Controversial Study Says Most Women are Happier After a Divorce

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Researchers at London’s Kingston University made headlines this week after announcing that women tend to experience much more happiness after a divorce, according to a report from the Huffington Post.


The findings seem to refute the traditional notice of women after divorce, who are often portrayed in popular culture as emotional, depressed, and upset.

But researchers at Kingston surveyed 10,000 female residents of the United Kingdom, all between the ages of 16 and 60, over the course of twenty years, and discovered that women are “significantly more content than usual for up to five years after divorce,” sources report.

The academics who conducted the study were quick to note that they only studied the short-term impact of divorce on happiness, but the scope of the survey is hard to ignore.

Interestingly, men also reported feeling a bit happier after completing the divorce process, but their increase in happiness was much less noticeable than the increase experience by women.

And researchers also addressed one of the primary oddities of the discovery: Since divorce often has a negative financial impact on women, people have long assumed that it makes them less happy.

Nevertheless, the researchers “took into account the fact that divorce can sometimes have a negative financial impact on women, but despite that it still makes them much happier than men,” according to Professor Yannis Georgellis of the Kingston Business School.

Georgellis noted that one possible explanation for this seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon is that “women who enter into an unhappy marriage feel much more liberated after divorce than their male counterparts.”

Indeed, the emotional relief experienced by many women after leaving an unhappy marriage may often outweigh the perceived financial trauma.

Of course, the researcher’s findings have stirred a bit of controversy, particularly because they seem to contradict findings made by scientists in 2002.

That year, officials at the Institute for American Values announced that married adults suffering through an unhappy marriage were no happier after a divorce than couples who decided to stay together.

That institution, however, defined itself as being “devoted to contributing intellectually to the renewal of marriage and family life,” so it may have had a horse in the race.

Nevertheless, the recent research is bolstered by the experience of divorced women across the country. Divorce isn’t always the right decision for couples going through tough times, but when a marriage needs to end, women often feel quite liberated after signing the divorce documents.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.