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Falls Church Virginia Family Law Blog

COVID-19 and divorce: Lessons from a high-profile case

Mary-Kate Olsen is known for her role as a mischievous youngster on the popular television show Full House in the late 1980s. Since then, in addition to acting, she has grown a successful career as a fashion designer and producer. In addition, she became married to Olivier Sarkozy in 2015.

Unfortunately, on April 17, 2020, she filed for divorce. Like many who are pursuing divorce, she has experienced some hurdles, evidencing how the current coronavirus pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives - even the most personal. In Ms. Olsen's case, she filed for an emergency order out of fear she would lose her apartment because her soon to be ex-husband had terminated the lease. Like many court filings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the court denied the request, stating it did not qualify as an emergency.

How can parents stay connected with their children after divorce?

No matter what the custody schedule is, transferring custody from one parent to the other parent and missing time with their children can be emotionally difficult - especially when the whole family is still adjusting to the new custody arrangement post-divorce.

Parents naturally want to remain involved in their children's lives, even when they are with the other parent. So, how can parents stay connected with their children?

Post-divorce: Summer parenting plans

As summer fast approaches, parents must once again prepare to have their children home full-time.

Divorced parents who share custody of their children often face more stress to prepare for this situation. So, what should parents consider for their summer parenting plan?

What do ERISA, QDROs and taxes have in common?

The one word that ties these three together is divorce. If you participate in your employer's retirement plan, then you know that withdrawing any funds early means a hefty tax penalty, usually 10%. When you started contributing to your plan, you probably didn't anticipate making any early withdrawals.

Now that you are getting a divorce, your spouse has the right to a certain percentage or amount of your retirement plan. It appears as though you will end up making an early withdrawal after all. Is there a way around paying the tax penalty? Will you owe taxes on the distribution amount?

What happens to my business during my divorce?

A divorce is an emotional time, and you certainly have many things on your mind. You may feel fortunate to have a job you love, and running your own business may distract you from the turmoil in your personal life.

Unfortunately, you may not realize how closely your business entwines in your private matters and the dissolution of your marriage. The sad fact is that many business owners learn too late that their companies and their livelihoods are on the line when it comes time for asset division in their divorces.

Avoid sabotaging your own mediated divorce

You may have heard horror stories about litigated divorces or maybe witnessed them in your own family. In a divorce, the courtroom can quickly become a war zone, and a process that may otherwise have ended positively becomes a bitter affair.

Although this is not the way every litigated divorce ends, it happens often enough that more and more couples are opting for mediation as a more peaceful and civil way to dissolve their marriages. If you and your spouse are planning to use the mediation option to end your marriage, you will want to be careful to avoid any behaviors that may derail the process.

Three tips to share expenses when co-parenting after divorce

Getting a divorce is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult if children are involved. Even though you will no longer be in a romantic relationship with your ex, the parental relationship will continue. The level of involvement will vary for each couple, but those who choose to co-parent will likely communication often.

Watch out for psychological abuse during your divorce

Divorce can seem like a betrayal. Even a process that is going along amicably can derail if one spouse suddenly becomes overwhelmed with emotions. It is not uncommon for a former partner to play dirty to gain an advantage over the other spouse or simply to exact revenge for perceived wrongs.

You may think you know your spouse well enough to be able to predict whether he or she will take vindictive actions against you. However, during a painful divorce, it is never wise to make such assumptions.

Is social media destroying your marriage?

The explosion of social media platforms in recent decades offers a variety of ways for people to connect throughout Virginia, across the country and around the world. Social media is responsible for the reunion of old friends, for adopted children finding their birth parents and for family members remaining close despite the many miles between them. Families can stay connected to loved ones who are deployed with the armed services, and many married couples even credit social media for bringing them together.

Unfortunately, social media is also the source of conflict and tension between many couples. In fact, up to 25% of couples in one survey admitted that social media arouses jealousy, suspicion and arguments between them. Family law attorneys all over the country are noticing more and more divorces stemming from social media addiction. If you feel that social media is creating an irreparable breach between you and your spouse, you are not alone.

When can I deny my ex visitation with our child?

If you are divorced or separated from your child's other parent, it may go without saying that you don't always get along. In fact, there may be very bad feelings between you and your former partner that make it a challenge to co-parent. However, your difficulties with your co-parent should not affect your custody schedule. As tempted as you may be to deny your ex access to your child, you should understand that doing so may result in negative consequences for you.

Refusing to allow your child to go with his or her parent simply because you are upset or angry with your ex can be a big mistake. Family courts do not look kindly on parents who use their children to punish each other. While there may be legitimate reasons for keeping your child home from your ex's house, you would be wise to seek legal advice before taking matters into your own hands.

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