Family Law Blog

The Rise and Rise of Postnuptial Agreements

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Many San Jose family lawyers find that there is little need to convince people about the need to sign a prenuptial agreement. However, an increasing trend that is especially suited for people who fail to sign a prenuptial agreement is the postnuptial contract. Statistics seem to indicate there has been an increase in the number of people asking for postnuptial agreements after the marriage.

Postnuptial agreements are very similar to prenuptial agreements, with the only difference that these are signed after the marriage has taken place. Postnuptial agreements are agreements between married couples, and currently all 50 states allow postnuptial agreements to be signed.

So, what can be covered in the postnuptial agreement? You can cover everything that is included in a prenuptial agreement, including how to divide assets in the event of a divorce, alimony, spousal payments, and other matters. In fact, an increasing number of people are now using postnuptial agreements to dictate terms about lifestyle choices that their spouses can make during the marriage. For instance, it's not uncommon to find prenups that clearly state that the spouse must not put on more than a specified number of pounds during the marriage. Not surprisingly, many postnuptial agreements also now have similar lifestyle clauses.

The need for postnuptial agreements is likely to be especially high in the case of same-sex married couples, who married before the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. For these people who bought property and invested in assets before the striking down of the law, a postnuptial agreement now presents a strong way to protect those assets in the case of the dissolution of the marriage. Postnuptial agreements are also ideal in those cases where one partner has received a major inheritance, or an expensive gift like a piece of property after the marriage, and want to protect this property.

Excessive Holiday Spending Could Mean Marriage Trouble

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The holidays are undoubtedly a joyous time for families, but for many couples, these can also be a highly stressful time. One of the biggest issues for couples during this time is the amount of spending that one spouse does during the holidays. In fact, according to a new survey, approximately 50% of all married couples in the United States admit that they spend the holidays fighting over how much to spend during the season. The research also indicates that some of that fighting could possibly lead to trouble for the marriage after the holiday season is over.

The research was conducted by McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union, and was based on questionnaires that were given to 1,000 individuals. The participants included individuals in both heterosexual and same-sex marriages, as well as divorced couples who were remarried or in relationships.

Approximately 40% of heterosexual married couples admitted then they fought frequently over holiday spending. The rates of such fighting seemed to be lower than in the case of divorced couples, with a rate of 43%, and 37% in the case of same-sex couples.

The survey also finds that holiday shopping and spending is a major issue for many married couples. Many couples admitted that they often resorted to stealthy and devious behavior to hide their spending from the partner. Many couples admitted that they often resorted to using secret credit cards that were unknown to their partner, in order to buy things on the sly without their partner's knowledge. They also admitted to frequently lying about the amount that they spent on shopping.

One of the most underestimated factors in any divorce is the breakdown of communication and marriage. Lying about money matters, especially something like shopping during the holiday season, can actually indicate a breakdown in marriage communication.

Gut Instinct Can Be Indicator of Divorce Risks

Monday, December 02, 2013

There have been earlier studies that have found that premarital jitters can be an indicator of trouble down the road. Yet another study now corroborates those findings. According to this new study, persons who get a strong gut feeling about the unsuitability of the marriage just before the nuptials, maybe much more likely to divorce.

The results of the research were published recently in the journal Science. The researchers followed a total of 135 newlywed couples over a period of four years. These couples were evaluated every six months through questionnaires, in which they were asked to evaluate the relationship by using adjectives like “bad,”“good,”“satisfying” or “dissatisfied.” They were also subjected to another assessment in which they were made to sit in front of a computer screen, while different positive or negative words flashed on the screen. The person was asked to hit one key to denote a positive word, and another key to denote a negative. Just before the word was flashed on the screen, the person would see a picture of his or her partner.

The researchers later found that the semi-conscious attitudes that the persons displayed while reacting to the words - and images of their partners - as positive or negative, did indicate the measure of long-term happiness. Those who took much longer to respond to positive words after seeing their partner’s photograph on the screen, seemed to be much less happy in their marriage after a period of four years, compared to those who very quickly responded to positive words.

It's not clear how the results of this test can be used to seriously evaluate a person’s chances of success in a marriage. It may not be as simple as taking a test before making the leap. However, the study does seem to confirm that gut feelings do matter, and that couples who have a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach just before the nuptials, should probably re-evaluate their choice.

Increase in Divorce Filings in January

Friday, November 22, 2013

Over the holiday season, while many people will be enjoying time with families, there will be quite a few people who will be forcing themselves through one more holiday with their spouse. Unfortunately, the fact is that many people, who are planning to separate from their spouses, have already made up their mind, but do not want to make the announcement just before the holiday season for the sake of the children. However, come January, none of those concerns matter anymore, leading to an increase in divorce filings.

Any Los Angeles divorce lawyer will tell you that the month of January is a hectic and busy one. Divorce filings increase after January 1, as persons who have been waiting for the holiday season to file the papers finally make a decision, and make the move.

There are several reasons why people don't file for divorce during the holidays. Usually, plans for divorce are postponed till after the holidays, and very often, it has to do with the children. No one wants to ruin the holidays for the children by announcing a separation.

Other times, it is financial concerns that can put off divorce plans. During the end of the year, many employees are eligible for holiday bonuses, or year-end bonuses, and these can make the financial pangs of a divorce much easier to bear. Separation can become financially stressful, as you have to move out and start bearing all household expenses on your own. In other cases, people simply wait to see whether the marriage has a chance of working out over the holidays. It’s natural to want to wait for a little bit of the holiday magic to be sprinkled over your relationship.

In many cases, waiting out the holiday season is just a formality, and people typically do end up filing for divorce as soon as the new year rolls around.

Research Claims Yearbook Photo Predicts Divorce Risk

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How broadly you smile during a high school yearbook picture could predict how successful a marriage you have in the future. At least that is the conclusion of new research that analyzed college yearbook photographs.

The researchers went through hundreds of college yearbook photographs to gauge the intensity of people’s smiles in the photographs. They found that people, who smiled broadly and openly for the camera, seemed to have much more lasting marriages, and a lower risk of divorce, than those who smiled weakly or did not smile at all in these photographs.

During their analysis, the researchers focused on subjects who had broad smiles that made it seem like their eyes were smiling too. The subjects were then asked about whether they were divorced, and the researchers were quite surprised find that those who smiled the least in the photographs, were approximately 5 times more likely to divorce later in their lives, compared to the persons who smiled the most for their yearbook photographs.

It may seem surreal that the way you pose for a high school yearbook, could actually affect your divorce risk down the line. However, Los Angeles family lawyers have a very simple explanation for this. According to the researchers, it is likely that people who smile broadly for their yearbook photographs are simply more compliant with what the photographer is asking them to do. This kind of obedience is very often the secret of a long and successful marriage. It could also be that people who smile much more openly and brightly have a much more sunny and pleasant disposition, and are much more optimistic about life. They are also much more likely to be more social. The researchers claim that all of these are characteristics of people who have long and successful marriages.

Child Support Battle Gets Out Of Hand

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Defining matters involving child custody and child support payments at the time of the divorce is extremely important, and it is very important to resolve these matters in the interests of the parties concerned. Failure to do so right at the time of the divorce can lead to ugly situations down the line. Recently, three women were jailed after launching an assault related to failure to pay child support.

The assault occurred at a restaurant, and injured seven people, including several people who had nothing to do with the dispute in question at all.The incident occurred in Pennsylvania, where a woman frustrated at the lack of child support payments by the father of her child, entered a diner looking for the man. She found him there, and after an altercation with her, the man promptly left the restaurant. It is not yet clear if the man worked at the restaurant. The woman then left the restaurant, and returned with two of her friends. They then proceeded to attack other staff members at the restaurant.

One of the women poured a pan of boiling sauce on one of the staff members, leading to serious burn injuries to the face, head, neck and hands. The employee had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment of her injuries. Another woman was armed with an aluminum baseball bat, and proceeded to attack several of the staff members at the restaurant.

By the time the women were subdued, at least seven people at the restaurant had suffered injuries. The women were arrested soon after, and jailed on charges of aggravated assault.

Issues of child support and child custody can be very emotional, and unless these issues are resolved at the time of finalizing the divorce, things can very quickly get out of hand, like it happened here.

Divorce Increases Risk of Accident Mortality

Saturday, November 02, 2013
There seems to be a never-ending stream of interesting research literature involving divorce and other family law-related issues recently. In fact, one recent study holds that people who are divorced are much more likely to die in accidents, compared to married persons.

The research was conducted by sociologists at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania. The research determined that divorced people were as much as twice as likely as married people, to die from preventable causes of accidental death as defined by the World Health Organization. These causes include fire, smoke inhalation, poisoning, plane crashes and accidents. In fact, according to the researchers, compared to married people, single people are twice as likely to die from some of the most preventable causes of accidental death, like poisoning. They also have a likelihood of dying in the least preventable causes of accidental death, like car crashes, that is the same as for married people.

The study involved a total of 1.3 million adults above the age of 81. These people had either been killed in or survived accidents between 1986 and 2006, and the data came from the National Health Interview Survey.

According to the researchers, it is interesting that marital status so heavily influenced a person's risk of surviving an accident. It is likely that married people receive positive support from their spouses that reduces their risk of fatal injuries. Besides, spouses may discourage risk-taking by a partner, and may also offer immediate support that dramatically lowers a person’s risk of dying after suffering injuries.

The researchers believe that their study very firmly proves that social relationships, and especially marriage, do help prolong life, especially in cases where death occurs due to preventable factors, and could reasonably be avoided.

More Women Asking for Prenuptial Agreements

Friday, October 25, 2013
Just a few years ago, the term “prenuptial agreement” evoked images of a wealthy, possibly older man, and a young, possibly trophy wife, signing a contract that effectively blocked the wife from too much access to the man's wealth in the case of a divorce. Flash forward to 2013, and the situation is dramatically changed. According to a new survey of divorce lawyers, there has been a significant increase in the number of women who are requesting prenuptial agreements.

The survey was conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. 60% of divorce lawyers in the survey admitted to seeing an increase in prenuptial agreements over the past three years, and 46% saw an increase in prenups requested by women. This is a significant finding, and it is possibly rooted in the fact that the real estate and financial markets are continuing to improve. That means that women are less likely to want to share these assets in a divorce.

This trend is also the opposite of just a few years ago when the housing market had crashed. In those days, divorce lawyers came across numerous cases involving spouses fighting over who would take the house with a substantially depreciated value. A house like this was considered to be a liability, and not an asset.

However, although women are now asking more often for prenuptial agreements, some things have still not changed. The average prenuptial agreement signed in California continues to include provisions for the separation of the marital property, as well as arrangements for alimony to be paid in the event of a divorce, and matters related to the division of the property in the event of a divorce.

Facebook Misbehavior Can Complicate Your Divorce, Child Custody Case

Friday, October 18, 2013
Facebook is frequently being cited as a factor in divorce and child custody cases, and not surprisingly, your San Jose divorce lawyer will advise you to deactivate all your social networking accounts while your case is still pending. That's because human emotions very often take over, causing people to make potentially dangerous mistakes on Facebook that could ultimately cost them their case.

A recent example is a case out of Alabama, when a man who threatened the mother of his child on Facebook over a child custody dispute, finds himself behind bars. The 31-year-old man allegedly made terrorist threats against his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. He posted statuses using vile language, and alleged that if he didn't “get his hands” on the baby, he would get his hands on his ex-girlfriend in the courtroom, and “shoot her.” The post was laced with expletives. He also posted pictures of himself using a rifle.

Police soon received anonymous tip after he posted these statuses on Facebook, and forwarded the information to the local Sheriff's office. An investigation was launched, and the man was arrested. Investigations found that the man had made several such posts on Facebook, threatening his ex-girlfriend with violent acts.

The man could have maintained a cool head, and waited for his hearing before a Family Court judge. In fact, he and his ex-girlfriend were due to appear before a judge to argue about custody. However, his chances now look very bad after his arrest. He has admitted to making the threatening posts, and it has been confirmed that he was not in possession of any weapons.

Such foolhardy behavior on Facebook will not go unnoticed, and you can be quite sure that lawyers for your ex-spouse will be monitoring your behavior on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites to gather ammunition for their case.

Having Divorced Friends Can Increase Your Own Divorce Risk

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Having friends who are divorced can actually increase your own risk of going through a breakup. In fact, according to research conducted by a team consisting of researchers from the University Of California San Diego, Harvard University and Brown University, having a divorced friend can actually amplify your own divorce rate by as much as 75%.

In fact, according to the research, you don't even have to be close friends with a divorcee to amplify your own breakup date. Just having a casual acquaintance who is a divorcee can increase your own breakup risk by as much as 33%.

In other words, divorce is possibly quite contagious.

Individuals who are divorced influence not only their friends, but also their friends’ friends. According to the researchers, understanding why divorces affect friends could actually help facilitate better understanding of the adverse effects of divorce. It could also help in the development of strategies to help reduce the negative impact of divorce, and also develop better coping skills for people who have been through a breakup.

According to the researchers, the study's findings could also provide more clues about why approximately 43% of marriages in the United States end in divorce, and whether this is an individual or social problem.

The good news is that the reverse may also be true. In other words, having friends who have strong and healthy marriages, possibly spells better prospects for your own relationship. Having a social circle that is full of strong relationships, increases stability in your own marriage, and might help to enhance the durability of your own marriage.