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Professionals you may need when going through a divorce

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

A divorce is a huge life change for nearly everyone who goes through it. Most people get through it by leaning on family and friends for support as they struggle to get used to their new reality of no longer being married. It is important to make sure that you are prepared for life after divorce – emotionally and financially. Often, this means consulting with many professionals to help get your new life in order:

  1. Divorce attorney – This one is the most obvious. An experienced divorce attorney can ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under the law as it relates to equitable distribution, child custody, child support, and alimony. Even if your divorce is uncontested, it may be prudent to at least have a consultation with a divorce attorney to make sure your divorce will be finalized without a hitch and that you are not missing anything.
  1. Estate attorney – If you had an estate plan while married, it is important to revisit it while going through or after a divorce. It is likely that any estate plan made while married treated your spouse as the beneficiary of all your assets – this is not likely to remain your desire after divorce. In addition, your financial situation may change after a divorce. You could have been subject to estate tax laws while married, but not when everything is divided. Conversely, if you receive a large lump sum of alimony or property, this may bring the estate tax laws into play where they did not apply previously.
  1. Financial planner – If you had a financial planner while married, he/she definitely needs to know that the divorce is happening so that accounts can be divided according to the final divorce decree. Often, some stocks may need to be sold in order to comply with the order, so it is important to keep your financial planner in the loop.
  1. Accountant – Once your divorce is final, you and your ex can no longer file a joint tax return. As such, your accountant may have different recommendations as it relates to deductions, charitable contributions, and exemptions. As with your financial planner, it is imperative that you keep this professional in the loop regarding the status of your divorce and any financial changes.
  1. Realtor – If you and your spouse are ordered to sell the marital residence as part of the final divorce decree, you will likely need a realtor to help you do so. Make sure the realtor has a copy of the divorce decree so that he/she knows exactly what terms must be adhered to in the sale of the residence. In addition, the realtor can help you find a new place to live if/when you are required to vacate the marital residence.
  1. Therapist (Adult and/or child) – Divorce is tough on everyone involved. Check back in with yourself and your kids regularly to make sure everyone is dealing with it in a healthy way. If you need a professional to help you work though any lingering issues, don’t be embarrassed to seek one out.

Online Tools that Can Help Strengthen your Marriage

Monday, September 14th, 2015

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In this digital age, the internet is a multifaceted tool that can be used in a variety of ways. From facilitating visitation between parents and children who live on opposite coasts, to helping co-parents work together better, online tools geared toward simplifying the divorce process and fostering better co-parenting relationship are incredibly useful. In addition to online tools geared toward divorce and post-divorce issues, there are also several online resources available to couples seeking to strengthen their marriage. Listed below are just a sampling of the online resources available to couples seeking to address common marital concerns such as adultery and parenting. Although seeking the advice of a family or couple’s therapist is always advisable in the event of marital strife, taking advantage of online resources such as the ones listed below may be a great first step to take on your way to a blissful marriage.

Affairs-Help – Designed to help couples address the painful experience of infidelity.

Couples-place.com –Online learning community for solving marriage problems, improving relationship skills, celebrating marriage, and achieving marital happiness.

DivorceBusting.com – Website geared toward couples and individuals seeking to save their marriage from an impending divorce.

The Marriage Conversation – A marriage podcast and resource published by Stephen W. Frueh M.Div; PhD, a coach and educator who has a passion for teaching people the fundamentals of effective relationships.

Marriage Builders – Provides couples ways to overcome marital conflicts and some of the quickest ways to restore love.

Marriagetools.com – An online magazine devoted exclusively to fostering healthy marriage relationship, and solving common marital concerns.

While We Heal – This site is the home of Parents’ Commitments to their Children, a free, confidential, and engaging website for parents wishing to remember their children’s needs as they work through marital problems.

Post-Divorce Financial To-Do List

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

After months, even years of wading through the divorce process, you have finally obtained your Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce. Now what? There are likely several task that your divorce decree mandates that you do, like pay child support or abide by your co-parenting arrangement with your ex-spouse. However, for your financial well-being, we have listed a brief financial to-do list that we hope will help you re-establish some normalcy in your life post-divorce.

  1. Obtain a copy of your certified divorce decree, and keep it in a safe place so that you will be able to readily provide it when needed to show proof of your divorce.
  2. Close joint credit accounts.
  3. Close joint bank accounts.
  4. Remove your spouse’s name, and change your name and/or address of all accounts that remain open post-divorce, like bank, brokerage and investment accounts and
    credit accounts. Additionally, if necessary change your name and/or address on your driver’s license, car title, vehicle registration and insurance policies employment records IRS records, life, health, homeowner’s and disability insurance policies, social security card, utility bills, and title to any real property that you retain.
  5. Research your health insurance options and obtain information concerning COBRA, if applicable.
  6. If your divorce decree states that a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is necessary to divide retirement funds, provide the QDRO to appropriate banks, pension plan advisor, or plan administrators to ensure its acceptance.
  7. Ensure that all quitclaim or warranty deeds have been executed and properly recorded to effectuate any transfers of property.
  8. Update your will, trusts and other estate documents. Additionally, be sure to update the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy as well.
  9. Open new bank accounts and credit accounts if necessary.
  10. Check your credit report and credit score.

Using a Parenting Coordinator in a Georgia Divorce

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Although you and your spouse are ending your marriage, if you have children together then you will always have a relationship–you will always be parents. It is important to remember that the children must always be the focus of the divorce, and the goal should be to minimize the impact of the divorce on your children. However, divorcing parents often disagree about parenting issues like discipline, religion, education or household responsibilities. Disagreement about parenting issues can further escalate the tension in your relationship with your spouse and can be detrimental to your children. In situations in Georgia where a majority of the conflicts during the divorce are related to the children and differences in parenting style and philosophy, a parenting coordinator can be an invaluable resource.

A parenting coordinator is a psychologist or mental health professional who can help you and your spouse discuss parenting issues, determine what an appropriate parenting schedule will be for your time with the children, and help you come to a consensus about how you will be effective co-parents in the future. He or she can help resolve parenting issues that arise during your divorce,and can help you and your partner work together to reduce your conflicts related to the children. The parenting coordinator typically does not attempt to resolve marital issues, but assists with disagreements related to parenting only.

A parenting coordinator is not a guardian ad litem, who is a representative of the Court appointed to determine the best interests of the children, but one who works directly with the parents to attempt to resolve parenting issues outside of Court. With the Court or the parties’ consent, he or she may make decisions for the parties on parenting or child-rearing issues, but parenting coordinators do not give legal advice. The value of the parenting coordinator is in resolving issues outside the courtroom, and can help you set establish a working relationship that allows you and your former spouse to be effective co-parents not only until the end of the divorce, but throughout your children’s lives.

If you have questions about a parenting coordinator, or if you are a parent with concerns about how to work with your spouse during the pendency of your divorce, contact Meriwether and Tharp.

By Elizabeth Doak, Associate, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC

Atlanta Parenting Seminar Information

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Under Georgia law, both parties in a divorce are required to attend a parenting seminar in Georgia if the parties have children under the age of 18 due to the volatile nature of divorce and the impact it has on children. See Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.8. The parties are not required to attend the seminar together – they can take it at separate locations and on different dates. Even though the content of the parenting seminar is basically the same throughout the state, each county manages its own parenting seminar program. Generally, the topics addressed are how to reduce stress for children during a divorce, visitation recommendations, financial obligations, conflict management, the changing parental roles during a divorce, stress indicators for children, and the needs and age appropriate expectations of children going through a divorce.

You can find more information for parenting seminars in Metropolitan Atlanta counties from our blog at:

Please note that there are only a limited number of seminars offered each month so it is important to review the schedule and try to attend the next available seminar. If you cannot attend the parenting seminar for the county in which your divorce is filed, most counties allow you to take the seminar in any other county in the State of Georgia to receive credit. If you take the seminar in another county, however, you will need to bring the civil action file number assigned to your case with you.

Atlanta Divorce Support Groups

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

The divorce process is difficult for all parties involved. When someone is going through a divorce, he or she may feel that no one understands what they are going through emotionally. A divorce can be devastating on many different levels. Not only is someone losing their spouse and his or her best friend, but in most cases, he or she is losing his or her extended family and the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed. One of the spouses may feel like their entire world is falling apart and he or she has no one with whom they can share their feelings or to whom they can vent their anger. In some cases, one of the spouses may go to a counselor or therapist

When you are going through a divorce, who do you speak with when you feel that you have nowhere else to turn? The answer is quite simple. You need the support of both men and women who are experiencing the same emotions and feelings as you are. There are numerous divorce support groups throughout Atlanta. Most of these support groups are sponsored by an organization called DivorceCare and the groups are held at churches throughout Atlanta. Their meetings are two-fold. The first half, which lasts between 30 and 40 minutes, is a video seminar featuring top experts in the field, which discuss various issues and topics on divorce. The second half is a group meeting where they discuss both the video and what is happening in the lives of the group members. In addition, some of the DivorceCare locations also offer additional groups during the holidays since it can be an especially difficult period for someone going through a divorce.