Jones, Hawkins, & Associates, LLC
Call For A Consultation: 334-625-1754
Call For A Consultation: 334-625-1754

Montgomery Family Law Blog

Co-parenting in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for all parents. Many are struggling to work at home while caring for and even trying to homeschool their kids. Others have to find child care because their jobs require them to go in to work. Yet others are facing temporary and even permanent layoffs and considerable financial uncertainty.

Many divorced parents are dealing not only with the upheaval in their own life and job but that of their co-parent's. The custody agreement they worked out may not have taken into consideration having their kids unexpectedly out of school for an extended period. They may be unable to make their child support payments because they're not earning an income.

Addressing the necessary financial topics prior to a divorce

Going through a divorce can be a stressful and intimidating process that could leave you facing a variety of difficult decisions, some of which may affect your future. It is no secret that the outcome of your divorce will inherently affect your finances, and you might be wondering how best to protect this aspect of life.

While knowing every topic to address during your divorce could prove vital to seeking an acceptable outcome, it can also be somewhat complex. Seeking advice on the financial issues that may arise along the way could play an integral role in helping you form a sound strategy for subsequent negotiations.

What to know about prenuptial agreements

Individuals in Alabama and throughout the country may want to consider crafting a prenuptial agreement before their weddings take place. This may be ideal for anyone who owns a business or who wants to create one in the future. The agreement could protect a person's ownership interest in a company that could eventually grow into a local, regional or national power. Those who are getting married for the second, third or fourth time may want to create a custom marriage contact.

This could be especially helpful for someone who has children from a previous marriage. Stipulating what happens to a child's inheritance by using such a document can be almost as powerful as putting assets in a trust. A person who doesn't have children but still wants to protect his or her wealth can do so by creating a prenuptial agreement.

Wealthy couple fight for artwork in their divorce

When getting a divorce, spouses may have a hard time agreeing on how to divide their marital property. In Alabama, if a couple is unable to come to a decision on how to split their assets, a judge will decide how to split them in an equitable manner; this does not always mean that everything will be shared 50-50. In New York, which is also an equitable distribution state, one wealthy couple has been battling over a large artwork collection since 2018, as well as expensive real estate in the Hamptons and Manhattan. The divorce is so contentious that the husband has refused to discuss child custody, saying there needs to be a decision on the finances first.

The individuals, David and Libbie Mugrabi, who are well-known art collectors, have been married since 2005, but David's family has been trading at auctions for at least 20 years. During their marriage, Libbie is said to have assisted her husband with selling his artwork, which means Libbie is likely to claim that she is entitled to a portion of assets from her husband's business. Libbie would also be entitled to a portion of any artwork that was part of the couple's personal collection.

Strong co-parenting can help children adjust to a divorce

When Alabama parents end their marriage, their children may wonder whether they can still go on loving both of them or whether they did something to cause the divorce. Each parent should make an effort to encourage the child's relationship with the other parent and should reassure their children that the situation is not their fault.

Children may also feel as though they have to choose between their parents. If parents can spend holidays together, this can help children adjust. Even if this is not possible, parents should get used to being at some events at the same time since occasions such as their child's wedding and graduation will only be held once. Children should also feel like they can talk to one parent about frustrations with the other parent. Parents should treat this as they would a conflict the child is having with any other family member or friend instead of letting their own emotions affect their reactions.

Tips to help co-parents raise children after a divorce

Staying unified after a divorce is just one of the challenges that co-parents in Alabama face after going through a divorce and trying to raise children. However, when parents are able to remain consistent as far as daily schedules, discipline methods and family rules are concerned, this will help the children to feel secure.

Another strategy that successful co-parents have used is to share important moments in the lives of the children with each other. When a co-parent can take a snapshot of the child's latest work of art or their report card and send it to the other parent, this can help them cope with the sadness that comes along with realizing that they will not spend as much time with their children after a divorce.

Spousal support does not have to threaten your financial security

When it comes to money, no one wants to come out on the other side of divorce in a worse position than they were before. Financial security influences almost every aspect of your life, from where you live to what groceries you can afford. Knowing this, you understandably want to do your very best to preserve your current financial position. However, you still need to factor spousal support into your future plans.

If your spouse stayed home during your marriage, or if you earned more, then you should expect to pay spousal support. Spousal support -- also called alimony -- is not a single, flat rate for everyone in the state of Alabama. Asking friends or loved ones about what their monthly support payments look like will not give you an accurate picture. Instead, a number of personal factors will help determine your monthly support payments.

How food stamps affect child support

Many single parents in Alabama apply for government assistance in the form of food stamps. When a mother fills out a food stamp application, she can choose to include her child as a recipient. If she does, the state will automatically open up a child support case if the mother is not already receiving child support payments.

Government agencies can only request child support payments from the absent parent if the identity of that parent is known. Typically, the identity of the absent parent is found by looking at the child's birth certificate. There will be an opportunity for a presumed father to contest paternity before a child support order is issued.

Divorce more common after winter holidays

Alabama divorce lawyers and other experts say that the turn of the year is an increasingly popular time to seek a divorce. There are a number of factors that contribute to this surge in divorce filings, but many of them are related to the surrounding holiday season. Lawyers and even Google searches bear out the claim that divorce is more common in January. In fact, even as overall divorce rates drop, an annual spike in January continues to point to the month's reputation as "Divorce Month."

For many parents, the winter holidays can be an important season. They may want their kids to enjoy one last holiday season without associating it with their parents' separation. They know that in the future their children will need to go back and forth on holidays from one home to another and want to give them one more holiday together, especially if they are concerned about how the decision will affect their children emotionally. Other people may be affected by a negative holiday season. They may find that the constant interactions with family and busy schedules that are part of the winter season lead to escalated disputes or serious conflicts, highlighting their reasons to end their marriage.

Why prenuptial agreements are worth discussing

While weddings are largely seen as romantic events, it is also important to understand the financial side of marriage. Ideally, those getting married in Alabama or any other state will discuss financial and other important matters before the wedding takes place. With a prenuptial agreement, a married couple gains more control over how their assets and liabilities are divided in the event that the marriage doesn't work out. Absent a prenuptial agreement, a judge could decide how assets and liabilities are divided.

Couples are encouraged to draw up the prenuptial agreement as far in advance as possible. In some cases, it may be a good idea to discuss the framework for such an arrangement before getting engaged. At a minimum, discussing the possibility of such an agreement allows each person to discuss how they will approach financial issues while married.

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