How Divorce, Alimony, and Child Support Affect Veterans’ VA Benefits

Written by: Margaret Wadsworth

Each state has its own laws governing divorce, child support, and alimony. But there are also federal laws governing the distribution of veterans benefits, and state family law courts are required to adhere to these laws. Federal law provides certain protections for veterans benefits. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, VA disability payments are exempt from being treated as marital property and cannot be divided as part of a divorce.

If you fail to make alimony (spousal support) and child support benefits, the state can sometimes order your VA benefits to be garnished. Typically between 20% and 50% of your benefits can be garnished.

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Responsible v. Entitled Parenting

by: Laurie Futterman, www.miamiherald.com

A child learns to be responsible or entitled according to what he or she is rewarded for. To teach responsibility, reward for accomplished behavior. To teach entitlement, reward for something other than accomplished behavior. Divorce also begets entitlement, as warring parents assuage their guilt and vie for their child’s love with material goods.

How do parents create responsible children who learn that their behavior determines their life and that continuous responsible behavior brings positive rewards and freedom? They allow natural consequences to occur as the result of a child being irresponsible. They provide rewards only after repeated consistent behavior rather than after one good deed.

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Problems With Paternity: Fraud To Securing Parental Rights

Written by: Joseph E. Cordell, Huffingtonpost.com, 2/18/16

Paternity fraud as a “National Epidemic”
A major (yet underreported) problem in the United States and much of the Western World is fathers unknowingly — or knowingly in many cases — being required to support children who are not theirs biologically. In fact, studies have found as many as 30 percent of fathers paying child support are not the biological father of the children they are supporting.

Problems for unwed fathers
Unwed fathers are given essentially no legal rights to their children until they formally establish paternity. An unwed mother is assumed to have full physical and legal custody of her children until a father can officially establish paternity; a process that can be convoluted, expensive and time-consuming.

There are numerous different scenarios where paternity can create issues that it is difficult pinpoint exactly where changes need to be made. If you question whether you are the father of a child or are attempting to prove your paternity, speak with an experienced family law attorney immediately to discuss your options.

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Psychologist Reveals These 4 Behaviors Are The Biggest Predictors of Divorce

The divorce rate for couples in the U.S. is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, which is why it is important to understand these 4 behaviors that psychologists say are the biggest predictors of divorce:

1. The first sign is a lack of communication.
2. The second sign is exclusively expressing negative feelings.
3. The third warning sign is a noticeable decrease in affection toward your partner.
4. The fourth and final warning sign of divorce is a lack of responsiveness to your partner.

Knowing these 4 behaviors is not the same as fixing the problems that may or may not be present in your marriage, but the article below has some advice on how you can change to avoid the unfortunate ending of what was once a happy beginning.

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Supreme Court Rules Domestic Abusers Can Lose Their Gun-Ownership Rights

Written by Carrie Johnson, npr.org.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 6-2 vote that domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanors can be barred from owning firearms. The majority opinion, written by Justice Elena Kagan, concludes that misdemeanor assault convictions for domestic violence are sufficient to invoke a federal ban on firearms possession.

The plaintiffs in this case, Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, both of Maine, had pleaded guilty in state court to misdemeanor assault charges after slapping or shoving their romantic partners. Several years later, each man was found to have firearms and ammunition in their possession in violation of a federal law affecting convicted domestic abusers. Both argued that the weapons ban should not apply to them because their misdemeanor cases were for “reckless conduct” rather than intentional abuse.

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Does Spousal Abuse Have Any Effect on a Divorce?

August 12, 2016. Information provided by: divorcenet.com

Of course, spousal abuse affects divorce, especially the emotional aspect of divorce. It’s hard not to feel angry and resentful of your spouse for abusing you and it’s hard not to feel ashamed about being abused and wonder why you put up with it so long. Whether abuse affects the legal aspect of divorce is up to you and your divorce attorney.

Florida has abolished the no-fault – fault distinction in filing the divorce papers. However, fault (i.e. abuse, in the current discussion) comes into play when determining equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, the award of alimony, and determination of parental responsibility (i.e. custody and time sharing.) If you’re considering divorce, get good legal advice on Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders, property settlements, alimony, child custody and time-sharing, and child support.

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How Pregnant Lawyers in Miami are Responding to Zika

Attorney Megan Wells was interviewed for an article featured on Law.com. Here is an excerpt from the article:

On top of managing litigation caseloads and expanding families, pregnant lawyers in the Miami area are figuring out how to manage the risks of living and working so close to a neighborhood the CDC has warned expectant mothers away from after an outbreak of the Zika virus.

For Miami Lakes-based family law solo practitioner Megan Wells, the precaution of choice is wearing multiple mosquito-repellent bracelets on her ankles and wrists whenever outside. Not a look that goes well with a business suit. At 28-weeks pregnant, Wells is just at the time when, according to what she has read, the baby is less at risk of damage if she does contract the Zika virus. But with reports of 14 Zika cases in her area, Wells isn’t taking any chances. She has stopped taking evening walks or sitting out on her balcony.

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Child Custody Evaluations: Do’s and Don’ts for Parents

July 20, 2016. Information Provided by: divorcenet.com

If you’re in the midst of a child custody battle, you may be dealing with a custody evaluation as part of the court process. As you proceed through the evaluation, there are some important dos and don’ts to remember:

Do:

  • Acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses as a parent.
  • Be truthful in answering questions about your history and current situation.
  • Keep your focus on your children’s well-being and what’s best for them.
  • Follow up promptly and thoroughly if you’re asked to provide paperwork or information.

Don’t:

  • Say negative things about your spouse.
  • Coach your kids about what to say or do.
  • Be late or miss appointments with the evaluator.
  • Disobey custody orders that are in place while the evaluation is pending.

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Child Custody Procedures

July 20, 2016. Information Provided by: statelaws.findlaws.com

One of the more contentious issues in a divorce can be the battle over who gets custody of the children from the marriage.

Oftentimes, parents are able to work out a mutually agreeable solution, known as a “parenting plan,” for the custody of the children. If parents cannot reach an agreement on child custody themselves, a Florida family court can make a decision based on evaluating what is in the best interests of the child.

Ultimately, the court will issue a custody order which will dictate how, when and under what circumstances the parents of the child have custody or visitation rights with their child.

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Thinking about divorce? Pre-divorce steps you can take

June 3, 2016. Information Provided by: FloridaLawHelp.org

 1. Get help to try and save your marriage. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, take time to consider whether or not the marriage can be saved.  

2. Get a pro to help you talk to your kids. Whether or not you decide to try counseling for your marriage or yourself, you should seriously consider talking to a mental health professional if you have children and are planning to divorce.  

3. Get your papers together. Gather information about your finances and belongings before you meet with a lawyer.  

4. Think about working together first. Consult with an attorney first to advise you the best route to take.  

5. Think before you post. You should not write anything or put any photograph on social media that you would not want the judge who ends up deciding your divorce case to read or see.  

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