Divorce attorney

An experienced divorce attorney can protect your rights every step of the way. From alimony to child custody, get informed about the divorce process from the NJ & NY lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman.

4 Lessons for Dating After Divorce

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding band

After the emotional roller coaster of a divorce, settling into a new normal can come as a relief. Starting to date again may be a key step that helps you move forward. However, there are plenty of things you can do when you start dating after divorce that can torpedo the experience. Here are some hard-learned lessons from others who have been through re-entering the singles scene.

Learn how to flirt again

We fall into communication habits with people we spend a lot of time with. For someone who has been married for a length of time, the flirtation muscles may not have been exercised in years. Practice them in everyday, nonthreatening places like in line at the bank or waiting for library checkout.

Be yourself, whether that means cracking a joke to the next person in line or offering him or her a compliment. When it comes to flirting, non-verbal cues are key. Smile, but not desperately. Stand close, but not too close. It may take a few practice rounds but flirting will become natural again.

Do not trash your ex

It is natural to feel self-conscious about a former marriage, and this can lead to over-compensating in order to let a prospective mate know that you were not the bad guy. But saying negative things about your ex can have the opposite effect. Not only can it signal an unattractive and unhealthy preoccupation with the past, it can lead your date to wonder whether you can focus on the current relationship rather than dwell on the past.

Wait until the divorce is final

Jumping into a new relationship might sound like a great way to take your mind off your divorce, but not waiting until the divorce is final can create problems. It can lead to questions about the timing of the relationship and suspicions of adultery. It can even lead to your new mate being called as a witness. Best to be patient and avoid these issues.

Take it slow if you have children

Professionals agree that it can be unfair to children to introduce them to a boyfriend or girlfriend before things are serious. While getting a taste of just how many fish there are in the sea can seem like a great way to get over your ex, viewing a parent with a parade of love interests is often confusing for children and leads to hurt feelings when relationships end. Take your children’s feelings into account and consider not introducing a date until you have a sense that this one could be a long-term fixture in the family.

Get expert guidance through your NY or NJ divorce

Going through a divorce can be physically and emotionally draining. Put your trust in an experienced divorce lawyer who has been through the process many times. The Bergen County, NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman are here to help you understand the divorce process, from state filing requirements to division of assets to child custody issues. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Additional resources for dating after a divorce:

  1. Divorce Magazine, 3 Reasons to Wait for Your Divorce to Be Finalized Before Dating, https://www.divorcemag.com/articles/reasons-to-wait-for-your-divorce-to-be-finalized-before-dating/
  2. Metro Parent, 9 Rules for Parents Interested in Dating After Divorce, https://www.metroparent.com/daily/parenting/divorce-family-law/dating-kids/
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What Questions Should I Ask a Divorce Attorney?

A divorce can be a long road; you and your attorney will be working together for the length of the proceeding, anywhere from six weeks to a year, and possibly after that if the order needs enforcement action.

Having a good rapport with your attorney ensures you will communicate effectively, easing the process and helping to ensure you are working toward the same goal. Here are some things to ask a prospective divorce attorney to see if he or she is a good fit for you.

Relevant experience

Not all legal experience is of the same value. Not all lawyers practice family law, and those who do may not all handle divorces. Even among divorce lawyers, some may have experience with specific issues or types of clients and their related needs. For example, you may prefer a lawyer who has handled many divorces involving members of the military, hospital employees, or other situations that involves special types of retirement benefits. Consider asking:

  • How long have you been practicing family law?
  • How much of your practice is dedicated to divorce?
  • How many cases like mine have you handled?
  • How many of your cases have you taken to trial?

Strategic approach

It is important know that you and your attorney see eye-to-eye on the plan for your case. While your attorney may have to tell you things you do not like to hear, make sure you have compatible visions for the case.

  • What is your plan to accomplish my goals?
  • Are there preemptive actions I should take before filing?
  • If I have a choice in jurisdiction, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Would a collaborative or other non-traditional approach be beneficial?

Costs involved

Cost can play a significant role in some of the choices you make. Your overall satisfaction with the process will be much greater if you ask detailed questions to gain a clear understanding of the costs involved from the very start. It is usually not possible to give a definite answer at the start of a case, but these kinds of questions should give you an idea of what the divorce will cost you.

  • What are your retainer cost and hourly billing rates?
  • What other fees will be involved?
  • What is the total cost you anticipate?
  • Do you offer alternative or flexible payment options?

Hands-on representation

The big-picture questions are important but it is the daily handling of your case that will give you some sense of control over the situation. Try to gain an understanding of how responsive the attorney will be to your needs.

  • Who will be available to answer my calls?
  • Who in your office will work on my case?
  • How quickly will you return phone calls?

Divorce lawyers serving New York and New Jersey

If you are contemplating a divorce, call the dedicated NY and NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. With offices in Rockland County, NY, and Bergen County, NJ, we have helped clients all over New York and New Jersey for the past 40 years.

Call (888) 624-4916 today to schedule a confidential consultation.

 Additional Resources:

  1. NY Courts, Divorce Basics, https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/family/divorceBasics.shtml
  2. org, Divorce: New Jersey, http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=187&state_code=NJ
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How to Let Your Spouse Know You Are Filing for Divorce

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding bandIf you are thinking about filing for divorce, it’s important to know how to let your spouse know it. In some couples, the idea of divorce may be in one partner’s mind, but far from the other’s. In others, there may be dissatisfaction or even counseling and separation, but not an agreement on divorce.

There are two aspects to letting your spouse know: the emotional and the legal.

Emotional Aspects

You need to let your spouse know respectfully that you are filing for divorce. First, you need to choose a place and time when you will have some time to discuss your plans. It needs to be a place where you can talk privately and without interruption, especially by phones, other adults, or your children.

Second, plan what you will say. You will to make it clear that you are moving ahead with divorce. Never equivocate. The break has to be clearly stated, or arguments can ensue, especially if your spouse doesn’t want to divorce or is highly anxious or agitated about the prospect.

Third, never blame your spouse during the discussion. That only lays the groundwork for recrimination later on. You must separate for the happiness of both should be your message.

Fourth, if possible, emphasize your desire to reach a fair settlement in terms of spousal support and children. 

Can I File for Divorce Without Notifying My Spouse?

Note that the initial discussion is just for information between you and a spouse. It has no legal standing.

For divorce proceedings to begin, you will need to visit an attorney specializing in divorce or family law.

Sometimes, we are asked if a divorce filing can be done without notifying a spouse. While it is possible to begin the proceedings without notification, a spouse must eventually be served court papers, called a divorce petition or summons, that indicate a divorce action is pending in court.

These papers must be filed in the appropriate court, and are then served to the spouse.

There are several ways to serve these papers, including via mail, a process server, or hand delivery by a person neither yourself nor one of your children. Your lawyer can advise you as to the customary method.

One of the points of serving the papers is so the spouse can respond if the divorce is to be contested.

If You Need a Divorce Lawyer in New York or New Jersey

If you need a Rockland County divorce lawyer, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been helping clients with divorce and related processes in New York and New Jersey for more than 40 years.

If talks with your spouse are not viable, we can negotiate and fight for your rights via litigation.

We are here to guide you through a range of issues, such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony and spousal support, division of marital assets, modification after divorce, parental relocation, and conservatorships.

Additional Resources:

  1. Dillon, Cheryl. “How To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce.” Equitable Mediation. https://www.equitablemediation.com/blog/how-to-ask-your-spouse-for-a-divorce.
  2. Margulies, Sam. “Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce.” Psychology Today. November 12, 2009. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/divorce-grownups/200911/telling-your-spouse-you-want-divorce.
  3. Women’sDivorce.com. How To Serve Divorce Papers. https://www.womansdivorce.com/how-to-serve-divorce-papers.html.
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Why You Should Consider Postponing Your Divorce

Bergen County divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at the NY & NJ law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Mr. Goldhamer was selected by the prestigious Superlawyers.com as a “Super Lawyer” in 2014 for his work in matrimonial law and estate law. Mr. Goldhamer also keeps busy with teaching, lecturing, charity work and as a guest on various media outlets.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

The new Tax Law, Divorce & Business Valuations:

There are reasons to delay a dissolution. Tax-driven divorce issues require caution. One is how private businesses should be valued. This has always been an important component of divorce settlements.

But the new tax law increases the cash flow of certain pass-through entities — businesses where the taxes on the earnings are paid by the owner, not the company — in a way that may raise their value. With increased cash flow and reduced taxes, a business could have a substantial increase in value. The Forensic Accountants will have to examine the result. A family owned business is almost always the most contested asset in a divorce.

It affects many issues: child support, alimony & sometimes Equitable Distribution. You must get the valuation done correctly. Higher cash flow from the change in the tax law this year will not be known until the business owner files a tax return next year. The difference can be big or small. A good accountant can run the numbers both ways.  But, not knowing that exact valuation throws more uncertainty into the negotiations. So for couples going through a divorce now, and expecting a big increase in the value of their business next year, it might be better to postpone.

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Why Prenuptial Agreements Drafted Prior to 2019 Are in Jeopardy

New York & New Jersey divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a co-founding partner at the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. When not practicing matrimonial and estate law in NY & NJ, Mr. Goldhamer packs a busy schedule with charitable efforts, lecturing, TV & radio appearances and more. Paul was named a “Super Lawyer” by Superlawyers.com in 2014.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

Prenuptial Agreements & the Tax Law Change:

Prenuptial Agreements drafted prior to 2019 are in jeopardy. The deductibility of Spousal Support payments are in question.

It is common in prenuptial documents for lawyers to insert language calculating alimony (or Spousal Support) and stating the alimony payments are deductible by the Payor.

But the Tax Law has changed. Alimony or Spousal Support is no longer tax deductible after Dec. 31st, 2018.

Lawyers cannot know whether these clauses will hold up in 2019 and beyond. On one hand, you have a written contract, but can you count on its validity? Without a court ruling, or direction from the I.R.S., the deduction might not be valid if alimony is no longer deductible. A married couple might want to consider renegotiating the agreement, even if it might be a tough conversation.

Call Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. We know how to fix this.

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Timeframe for Divorce: How Long Does It Take?

Wooden Gavel On Petition For DivorceDeciding to initiate the divorce process is a major step, regardless if you and your soon-to-be ex are on good terms or not.

While most couples facing the end of a marriage want to move on with their lives as swiftly as possible, there are several factors that will determine the length of a divorce proceeding, such as where you live, how congested the family law courts are in your area, and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

Primary factors that affect a divorce timeline

There is no definitive time frame for divorce in New Jersey, but couples who cooperate on financial matters, property division and issues concerning child custody tend to reach the finish line faster.

Is the divorce uncontested?

Without question, an uncontested divorce proceeding will finish much faster than a divorce where couples are fighting over spousal support, who gets the house, child custody and other matters. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have come to a complete agreement on every detail of the split. This includes everything from alimony and child visitation to tax liabilities and division of marital property. It’s important to keep in mind that both parties should enlist the services of a qualified divorce attorney, even in amicable break-ups. This ensures that legal documents are drafted correctly, and the process is moves efficiently through the court system.

Generally speaking, a no-fault fault divorce — or uncontested filing — in New Jersey can take anywhere from two to three and a half months, from start to finish.

A contested divorce filing is more complicated and time-intensive. If you do not agree on property division, child support and other legal matters – the divorce process can drag on for many more months. However, New Jersey courts have taken measures to ensure that divorce proceedings take no longer than one year (starting when the divorce complaint is filed). As always, there are some exception, typically involving high-conflict cases.

Mandatory waiting periods

Fault-based divorces in New Jersey that involve willful desertion or adultery usually require a waiting period before petitioning on those grounds. Proving the other spouses alleged misconduct can lengthen divorce proceedings considerably.

To petition for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey, the courts ask that irreconcilable differences have lasted for at least 6 months. There is no mandatory waiting period if the couple has been married for less than six months or has been living separately for a minimum of 18 months.

Tips to shorten the divorce timeline

Follow these tips to keep costs down and expedite the divorce process:

  • Retain competent legal counsel to assist with all facets of divorce planning
  • Try and settle as much as possible with your spouse ahead of time and meet him or her half-way
  • Be 100 percent honest about your financial status, assets, debts, income and liabilities
  • The more a couple can compromise and agree on specific terms, the easier the process

New Jersey divorce lawyers

The law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. represents clients who need expert legal advocacy in all areas of matrimonial law. Safeguard your interests by partnering with experienced Bergen County divorce lawyers. Reach out today for a private consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Divorce Magazine, How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce? https://www.divorcemag.com/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-a-divorce/
  2. Women’s Divorce, Frequently Asked Divorce Questions https://www.womansdivorce.com/divorce-questions.html#TIME
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Reverting to Your Maiden Name After Divorce: 4 Common Questions and Answers

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding bandMany women would like to revert to their maiden name after a divorce, but are not sure how it is done or whether they are expected to do it or not. Others may not be sure it is necessary, or may even want to change their last name to a third option, neither their maiden name nor their married name.

It’s good to know the answers to common questions such as these.

1. What’s the procedure for changing my name back to my maiden name after the divorce?

It’s very common for divorce decrees in both New York and New Jersey to include a provision to change one’s name back to a previous name. While this is often used by women wanting to change back to their maiden name, the provision often applies to both men and women, since some men change their names upon marriage (eg, a hyphenated last name). Signing the papers, including the provision, will change your name.

If your divorce decree doesn’t include this, you can simply legally change your name back, by following the legal procedure to change your name in your area.

2. Can I just use my maiden name without legally changing it?

Nothing is stopping you from using your maiden name if you want to, without using the divorce provision or changing it legally. But bear in mind that it must be legally changed to appear on official documents, such as your driver’s license, Social Security card, or passports. Two last names can be confusing, and even cause issues or delays in using these documents.

3. Can I use a third name of my choosing (neither my maiden nor married name?)

Sometimes, people don’t want to use their married surname, but they don’t want to use their maiden name either.

Usually, divorce provisions give only the right to revert the name back to the previous one. If that’s the case, you wouldn’t be able to choose a third name. However, you could change your name to one of your choosing via a legal name change ex divorce decree.

4. Will changing my name have any impact on the financial settlement?

Name changes have no impact on the financial settlement one receives or is responsible for in a divorce case. These are decided on completely different criteria.

If You Need a New York or New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

The experienced Rockland County and Bergen County divorce attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been handling all matters pertaining to divorce for more than 40 years. We are committed to long-lasting, fair, and reliable solutions that benefit you. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Reverting to Maiden Name. Woman’sDivorce.com. https://www.womansdivorce.com/reverting-to-maiden-name.html
  2. Inspiration for Starting Over. Woman’sDivorce.com. https://www.womansdivorce.com/inspiration.html
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New Jersey Divorce Rates Among Nation’s Lowest

Wooden Gavel On Petition For DivorceDivorce is an unfortunate fact of 21st century American life. Over the past 60 years, divorce rates skyrocketed in the United States, and research indicates that nearly 50 percent of all marriages today end in permanent separation or divorce.

A recent report compiled by 24/7 Wall St shows that some states are better than others when it comes to long-lasting marriages. According to census data from 2017, New Jersey has one of the country’s lowest divorce rates, as does Hawaii, Illinois and New York.

States with lowest rate of divorce

Divorce rates in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 1979, and according to The National Center for Family & Marriage Research, levels have slowly begun to decline. Experts attribute this wane to the fact that people are waiting longer to tie the knot, and many have college educations and stable jobs before being wed.

Statistics suggest that finances play a major role in divorce rates. New Jersey and other states with low divorce rates have higher median household incomes. Unemployment is another influencing factor.  Nearly half of the states with the highest divorce rates also had unemployment rates that exceeded 4.9 percent (the national average).

Which states are the best places for getting hitched and staying hitched? Here are some of the results:

  • Massachusetts (country’s lowest divorce rate –12.3 per 1,000 married people)
  • Hawaii (second lowest divorce rate – 12.6 per 1,000 married people)
  • New Jersey (third lowest divorce rate – 12.7 per 1,000 married people). Many Garden State residents know how to make a marriage last. NJ has the lowest percentage (6.9 percent) of men aged 15 and older who are divorced.
  • New York (fourth lowest divorce rate –12.8 per 1,000 married people) The median household income of New Yorkers hovers just under $63,000 a year – roughly $5,000 more than the national average. This financial security may play a role in keeping love alive in the Empire State.

States with the highest divorce rates include Arkansas (23.4 per 1,000 married people), Idaho (21.9 per 1,000 married people) and Nevada (21.3 per 1,000 married people) — where some 2,000 quickie Vegas weddings take place every week.

Maintaining a healthy marriage is hard work. Relationships break down for many reasons: infidelity, money troubles, lack of communication or simply two people growing apart. When a marriage can’t be saved, it’s important to align yourself with a competent divorce attorney.

Legal guidance in Bergen County, NJ

The law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman was established in 1975 to help New Jersey and New York residents in all matters of matrimonial and family law. Our veteran legal team has the resources and expertise to safeguard your rights in divorce proceedings and find the best resolution for delicate issues involving child custody and spousal support.

Our NJ divorce lawyers help clients terminate their marriages as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you’re ready to explore your legal options with KGG Law, we welcome you to schedule a private consultation today. Call us toll-free at (888) 752-5018 to arrange an appointment at our Bergen County or Rockland County law offices.

Additional Resources on Divorce Rates:

  1. National Center for Marriage and Family Research, Bowling Green State University, Divorce Rate in the U.S. https://www.bgsu.edu/ncfmr/resources/data/family-profiles/schweizer-divorce-rate-2017-fp-18-21.html
  2. New York Post, New York has one of the nation’s lowest divorce rates https://nypost.com/2017/10/20/new-york-has-one-of-the-nations-lowest-divorce-rates/
  3. 24/7 WallSt, States With the Highest Rates of Divorce https://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/10/20/states-with-the-highest-rates-of-divorce/5/
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How Is Child Custody Decided When Parents Live in Different States?

Child custody in divorce: Mother comforting her daughter, sitting in the bedroom, huggingIf you and an ex-spouse or divorcing spouse live in different states, you may be wondering how child custody is decided. It’s a good question, because states often handle custody very differently.

Custody Generally Follows the Rulings of the Child’s Home State…

Almost all U.S. states follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). According to the Act, custody will follow the determinations of the child’s home state. All custody hearings are physically held in the home state.

The child’s home state, in turn, is usually determined by where the child has lived for the last 6 months. That state’s jurisdiction will have priority over any other state, regardless of where the parents live.

So if your divorcing spouse lives in Florida but you and your children together live in New York, custody law will follow New York law.

If you and your children relocate to any other state, New York remains the children’s home state for six months. After that, the new state, provided the children are still living with you, become the home state.

…But Other Factors Can Be Considered in Deciding the Home State

But there are cases where these general rules may yield to other considerations. The UCCJA also places authority to determine which state is the child’s home state in the court’s hands. The court may consider multiple other factors, in this order according to the UCCJA.

  • The child’s relationships with other people in the state may also be a determining factor in deciding the home state. These connections may be with grandparents, doctors, teachers, other people, and friends.
  • Safety can be a determining factor. If an abusive former spouse caused you to move to another state to put distance between you, for example, the new state may be determined to be the home state.

If parents don’t agree on what the children’s home state is, they might both attempt to gain custody in their state of residence.

If that occurs, judges from both relevant states examine the evidence and decide which state should be considered the home state. Two states are never allowed to be the children’s home state, because of the possibility of conflicting or competing rulings.

If You Need a Divorce Lawyer in New York or New Jersey

At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, our Rockland County, NY & Bergen County, NJ divorce lawyers have been helping clients with child custody solutions in New York and New Jersey for more than 40 years.

We are experts in child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony and spousal support, division of marital assets, modification after divorce, parental relocation, and conservatorships.

Additional Resources

  1. Boyd, Karie. “How Is Child Custody Decided When Parents Live in Different States?” January 18, 2016. DivorcedMoms.com. https://divorcedmoms.com/how-is-child-custody-decided-when-parents-live-in-different-states/
  2. Smurda, Matthew. “Which State or Country Should Handle My Multi-State or International Child Custody Dispute?” October 31, 2016. DivorceMagazine.com. https://www.divorcemag.com/blog/multi-state-or-international-child-custody-dispute-/
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Remarriage After Divorce: Legal Implications

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding bandIt’s well known that divorce has profound legal implications. How often you see any children from the marriage, your salary, and even where you live can be affected by legal proceedings surrounding your divorce.

But what about remarriage? Are there any legal implications if you remarry after a divorce?

See below for the legal implications of remarriage on key areas of divorce agreements.

Child Support

If you or a former spouse are paying child support under the legal terms of a divorce, remarriage is not likely to affect the payments. Courts usually hold that biological parents are responsible for financial support of their children. Step-parents are not.

The situation could change if the new spouse moves to become an adoptive parent, but one of the parties to the divorce would likely have to petition the court for a change.

Custody and Visitation Rights

If you have custody of or visitation rights with children from your former marriage, there is no reason for these to change upon your remarriage.

But bear in mind that marriages often involve moving or even beginning new families. If your former spouse has visitation rights on weekends and your new spouse has a job requiring that you move across the country, the former spouse’s visitation rights may be affected.

It’s a good idea to talk with your former spouse about your new plans and try to come to an amicable agreement. Both custody and visitation rights are legal rights, and your former spouse may decide to begin a court case if new arrangements do not allow them to be met.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is usually given today if one partner in a divorce has no means of earning a salary, is primarily responsible for child-rearing, or needs retraining for a salary. Whether spousal support stops upon remarriage or not depends very much upon the terms of the divorce decree.

Before you remarry, it’s a good idea to read over the terms of the divorce decree and perhaps consult an attorney about the current spousal support obligations you have.

Other Financial Obligations

It’s a good idea to review your financial obligations before a remarriage, so you and your spouse are on the same page. Are you, for example, committed to putting children from the former marriage through college? Have you agreed to this? That may mean a lengthy financial commitment that both new spouses need to be aware of.

Do you have other financial obligations stemming from the former marriage, such as payment into retirement funds, or payments on a house? Because these payments affect your disposal income, your new spouse may expect to know about them.

If You Need a Divorce Lawyer in New York or New Jersey

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is a family law firm that has represented clients in divorce since 1975. We are committed to long-lasting, fair, and reliable solutions that benefit you and your family.

Our expertise includes child custody and visitation rights, child support, alimony and spousal support, division of marital assets, post-divorce modification, parental relocation, and conservatorships.

Additional Resources:

  1. Brooks, Rodney. “Remarrying in retirement? Look before you leap.” USAToday. August 21, 2014. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2014/05/20/retire-baby-boomer-divorce-remarry-pension/9171469/
  2. Heidelberger, Eirene. “How To Gently Talk To Your Kids About Divorce.” Huffington Post. August 23, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-gently-talk-to-your-kids-about-divorce_us_5b7eca66e4b03067348d99eb
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