Uncontested Divorce Finalized Between Banker and Occupy Wall Street Protester

Every divorce is unique.

Take Florida Banker Husband and Wife. Husband and Wife have been married nearly 20 years, and they’ve had four Children together.

And then the Occupy Wall Street movement strikes a chord in Wife.

And Wife leaves Husband and Children behind in Florida, for New York City and the movement. Wife becomes a full-time volunteer “protester” in New York.

That was about a year ago. So Husband files for divorce.

It’s all very amicable though.

Although Wife apparently has not asked for any, Wife may have done herself out of alimony by acknowledging her expansive resume as “midwives assistant, roller-derby queen, rock star musician, activist, dreadlock princess, African-beekeeper, and organic vegan freak”.

Husband “gets” the home – and the kids. Wife walks away with roughly $85K as her share of the property division.

Their parenting plan allows Wife to visit their Children whenever she wants to – provided that “they want to see her” and that the visits take place in a “safe environment”.

An unusual provision in a settlement agreement. Not recommended, for more reasons than one. But that is another post.

Might either spouse have fared better by contesting their Florida divorce court case in a Florida family court?

It is quite possible that each spouse may “done better” on different aspects of their divorce by contesting their divorce court case in a Florida family court.

But, this way, each spouse has an inexpensive, quick uncontested divorce and, presumably, leaves the marriage with what is most important to them and with minimal angst.

Some people would consider that an enviable outcome.

Read more in this New York Post article: After ditching her family, Occupy mom snags $85K in divorce.

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Are Would-Be Mothers and Fathers Equal as Parents in Surrogacy Births?

New Jersey Husband and Wife want children. But Wife is sterile.

So Husband and Wife arrange an anonymous egg donor and a surrogate mother to carry their Baby.

The surrogate mother waives her legal rights to their Baby in writing.

Finally, Husband’s and Wife’s Baby is born. Arrangements are made among the “players”, including the surrogate mother, for Husband and Wife to be listed as the parents on Baby’s birth certificate.

Only … the bureaucrats at the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics won’t go along with listing Wife as Baby’s mother. They are fine with listing Husband as Baby’s father though.

Huh?! So say Husband and Wife. What is the problem?

Well, it turns out that the New Jersey statute governing surrogate births to sterile couples legislates that:

  1. even if the would-be father is not the sperm donor, the would-be father will automatically be the surrogate birth child’s legal father

  2. but if the would-be mother is not the egg donor, the would-be mother will not be the child’s legal mother; the would-be mother must legally adopt the surrogate birth child.

Based on that statute, the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics fights listing Wife’s name as Baby’s mother on Baby’s birth certificate.

So, Husband and Wife counterstrike, challenging the statute as discriminatory and violating the constitutional principle of equal protection under the law.

But a New Jersey intermediate level appellate court disagrees with them, upholding the statute – and leaving the Wife in the position of having to adopt the now three year old Baby she and Husband have been rearing for three years.

The intermediate appellate court opines that, absent a legal adoption by the Wife, the Baby is biologically related only to the surrogate mother and the egg donor. And that any discrimination in the statute is adequately justified by physiological differences between mothers and fathers.

On appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, three of six justices agree with the lower appellate court … and three justices agree with Husband and Wife.

A “tie”. But, unlike in sports, this tie does not go to extra innings until a clear winner emerges.

Instead, here, the “tie” falls short of the majority required to reverse the intermediate appellate court. Leaving the lower appellate court’s ruling in effect.

Requiring the Wife to adopt her Baby.

Via a streamlined stepparent adoption though. Possible because the statute recognizes the Husband as the Baby’s legal father.

As may be apparent, New Jersey has yet to approve surrogacy contracts. This may go a long way toward explaining this outcome in the New Jersey Supreme Court.


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Doubts About Your Future Spouse Before the Wedding? Divorce More Likely Then

A study bears out what most of us probably know intuitively.

Doubts before the wedding, specifically about your intended, are an early warning system that doesn’t bode well for the success of the marriage.

At best, doubts foretell unions providing less satisfaction. At worst, doubts by women foreshadow a likelihood of divorce that is 2.5 times greater.

Among study participants, a whopping 47% of men and 38% of women admitted to premarital doubts. Interestingly though, women’s doubts were a more accurate indicator of future divorce.

Nineteen percent of doubting women who went through with their marriage were divorced four years later. Among women who did not harbor doubts, only 8% were.

Fourteen percent of doubting men who went through with their marriage were divorced four years later. Among men who did not harbor doubts, only 9% were.

In only 36% of couples did neither spouse suffer doubts though.

It should be noted that 6% of those marriages ended in divorce as well.

Read more in this USA Today article: Pre-marriage doubts signal unhappy unions, divorce.

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Divorce Got You Uncertain? Lost? Overwhelmed? Then A Divorce Coach May Be The Answer

Terms like “quickie divorce” can lead someone to think that divorce is quick and easy and inexpensive. And sometimes it is all three.

But divorce is often complex. Emotionally, legally and/or financially.

I sometimes hear from people who have been “trying” to get what they describe as an uncontested divorce … for years.

They blame the delay on lack of funds to pay for an uncontested divorce.

In South Florida, the filing fee to the county’s clerk of courts is $409.

It is at least possible that other delaying factors are at work …

On one spouse. Or both. Whether or not they recognize it. Or choose to admit it.

And so it begins to get complicated. Even before the law or costs ever enter the picture. In such cases, it will only get a lot more complicated after they do.

Whether to divorce is a purely personal decision. It may be facilitated by a therapist.

But once the decision is made, various professionals may be of assistance in actually getting the divorce.

Attorneys, of course.

Therapists, possibly.

Mediators, perhaps.

And, sometimes, what may be a hybrid of or bridge between the above professions: a divorce coach.

A divorce coach is still a relatively new profession. That really does not have one universally accepted definition. Or role. Or, for that matter, background and experience.

Sometimes a therapist, sometimes an attorney, sometimes both, sometimes neither.

At a high level, a divorce coach may help a spouse transition from an (unhappily) married person to a divorced person, a happily divorced person and/or a happily divorced person who is on a sound financial footing.

But the precise role of the divorce coach and scope or timeline for the divorce coach’s assistance varies from one divorcing spouse to another.

The divorce coach may be involved long before any divorce filing. They may be involved in reaching the decision to divorce. And in designing an overall life plan for transitioning successfully from married to divorced.

The divorce coach may also be involved in developing the legal strategy behind the divorce case. And the groundwork. Possibly before an attorney is ever hired.

A divorce coach may guide a spouse step by step through the legal process. Something that attorneys don’t always do. And clients don’t always want to pay legal fees for.

Or a divorce coach may guide a spouse step by step through the emotional component of the divorce. Or the financial aspects.

Or all of the above. And more.

A divorce coach may also guide a spouse step by step through the negotiation and settlement process in appropriate cases.

In some cases, some divorce coaches work with one spouse.

Some divorce coaches work with both spouses together. Facilitating an uncontested divorce.

Some divorce coaches will prepare the uncontested divorce paperwork for the couple.

Some divorce coaches will also represent the hiring spouse as counsel in a traditional divorce.

Of course, dispensing legal advice and / or providing legal representation require that the divorce coach also be a licensed attorney. Further, the roles and relationships must be made crystal clear to avoid conflicts of interest.

In appropriate cases, a divorce coach can be an invaluable partner (or team member) on the path to divorce.

For best results, it is important to consult a divorce coach early and together flesh out the role that you want your divorce coach to play in your divorce.

Read more in this Before It’s News article: Divorce Coaches: What Do They Do? Are They Worth It?

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