How To Face Divorce

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DIVORCE DISCUSSION

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EXPERIENCE YOU CAN TRUST

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Welcome to Scott A Levine P.A.’s blog. Here there will be a bountiful source of news and information that could help you during a time of nedd. I am here to make sure that if you need my services, which unfortunatly may be needed at some point during a relationship, you will have a firm that will personalize service to assit you through this tough time. I want to supply this information for you to give you the best chances at resolving legal issues properly, this how ever is no substitue for legal counsal and I always recomend speakign to a qualified legal advisor before making any legal choices.

1 Sept
Having Second Thoughts?Stopping a Divorce in its Tracks
Posted by Scott Levine
Having Second Thoughts?Stopping a Divorce in its Tracks

At Scott Levine Family Law we understand how difficult going through a divorce can be. It’s possible for you to experience a roller coaster of emotions throughout the process, and many times, couples decide the divorce isn’t what they wanted. How can you stop a divorce from being finalized? We’re here to help.

For clients who think they can work on their marriage and would like some time after filing divorce papers to try andsettle their issues before dissolving the union, a Motion to ABATE the proceedings is filed. This means the divorce is put on hold. Typically, the couple is given 60 to 90 days to reconcile, and the best way to go about this is by attending marriage counseling to get to the core of the couple’s problems. If the couple was living apart for the divorce, we encourage them to still live separately because moving back together can fuel the stress of the relationship rather quickly, andput them back at square one.We also encourage couples to regularly meet with their attorney throughout the process of reconciling. It’s important for the attorney to be involved as much as possible throughout the process because it’s much easier for them to help you if they are kept in the loop.

If the parties are able to reconcile and neither wants the divorce to go forward, then the petitioner who filed for divorce can file a motion to voluntarily dismiss the dissolution proceedings.Once the paperwork is finalized, the divorce will not be processed and the couple will remain legally married.

On the other hand, if during the reconciliation period the couple is not able to work out their issues and choose to move forward, the process begins again from scratch. For this reason, it’s important to be 100% sure of your decision to file for divorce, to avoid doubting yourself down the line and having to re-file and pay for double the fees.

Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions orconcerns regarding reconciling a divorce. We want nothing more than to help you through this confusing time and we will be there for you regardless of the outcome.

1 Aug
Steps To Divorcing an Abusive Partner
Posted by Scott Levine
Steps To Divorcing an Abusive Partner

As we all know, divorce can be a very difficult time for the parties involved. Divorce can brings stress and a variety of different emotions for the two spouses. Not everyone’s divorce experience is the same. Some might not have any problems, and some might have a very difficult time. Unfortunately, those who are divorcing because of a violent partner have one of the toughest experiences with divorce. One of the hardest parts about domestic violence the necessary steps to leave. Here at Scott Levine we will do anything it takes to make sure you overcome this difficult time. Here are a couple tips to help you through this dark time.

Take Immediate Action

When someone is involved in a violent relationship, there are scared to leave. Even though this is a very frightening time, immediate action needs to be taken. Violence in a relationship should not be tolerated in ANY circumstances. Once your partner starts being violent, you need to call the police right away. If you feel like your life is in danger you need to leave your home and get somewhere safe. If you have children, you need to remove them from the environment as well. Once you’re in a safe place you should call the authorities and inform them about your situation.

The Next Step

Once you know you want a divorce from your abusive partner, it’s time to make the next step. Contact Scott Levine, and tell us about your situation. Here at Scott Levine we know exactly what to do to ensure you will have a smooth divorce. We will help you get any resources you need in order to heal during this process.

Get Support

At times people believe they can do everything on their own time. We recommended you try not to handle this situation on your own. Joining a support group is the best way to get through this time. This allows you to connect with people who are going through the same thing as you. It’s always better to talk to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Most doctors recommend attending these support groups during the divorce and at least six months after the divorce is finalized.

Divorce is never an easy event to go through, and we know it’s extremely hard when violence is involved. We hope these tips will help you if you ever find yourself in this kind of situation. Always remember to speak up in these situations because if no one knows you’re in trouble, no one will be able to help you.

1 July
Have You Filed A Joint Tax Return?
Posted by Scott Levine
Have You Filed A Joint Tax Return?

One of the main thoughts someone has while going through a divorce is “Who gets what?” Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows. Both taxpayers are jointly and individually responsible for the tax and any interest or penalty due on the joint return even after the divorce. This is true even if a divorce ruling states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. It’s important to know the rules because one spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if the other spouse earned all the income. In some cases, a spouse will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. The three types of reliefs are listed below.

Innocent spouse relief:Innocent spouse relief is a document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that outlines the three types of tax liability relief for spouses or former spouses who filed joint income tax returns. A request for innocent spouse relief will not be granted if the IRS proves that you and your former spouse transferred property to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. A fraudulent scheme includes a scheme to deceive the IRS or another third party.

Separation of liability:Separation of liability is an option if the income tax debt is a result of a joint audit or joint-filed original tax return. Commissioner filed returns (CFRs) are not eligible for a separation of liability. Also, the debtor must have a final divorce decree, legal separation papers or a death certificate. If the divorce is still in progress, the debtor does not qualify for separation of liability.

Equitable relief: When a court awards a nonmonetary judgment, such as an order to do something (mandamus or specific performance) or refrain from doing something (injunction), when monetary damages are not sufficient to repair the injury.

At Scott Levine, we are aware this information may seem overwhelming. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. We can’t stress enough how important it is to keep an open communication with your attorney during the divorce process. Contact us today if you have questions about any of these reliefs.

1 May
Is a prenuptial agreement the best thing for your relationship?
Posted by Scott Levine
Is a prenuptial agreement the best thing for your relationship?

Is a prenuptial agreement the best thing for your relationship? Many people fear that discussing these matters, or even bringing up the word prenuptial agreement, will cause turmoil in their relationship. Often, this is not the case. One of the main irreconcilable differences leading to divorce is finances. Talking to your spouse ahead of time regarding finances, property and marital asset management can avoid a lot of these problems. You both can get on the same page in the beginning so that the issue does not pop up and cause an argument later. Before making this decision, you should go through the pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement.

Pros of a Prenuptial Agreement:
• documenting each spouse’s separate property to protect it as separate property
• supporting your estate plan and avoiding court involvement to decide property distribution
• distinguishing between what is marital and what is community property
• documenting and detailing any special arrangements between you and your spouse
• avoiding extended court proceedings, which result in the time of expensive divorce attorneys
• reducing conflicts during a divorce
• establishing procedures and rules for issues that may arise in the future
• assigning debt, such as credit cards, school loans, and mortgages, to the appropriate spouse to avoid both spouses sharing debt liability.

Cons to a Prenuptial Agreement:

The timing may not be right. The beginnings of a marriage are typically a time of marital bliss, when many of the issues involved in a prenup are not discussed. You may be at a point in your lives where you don’t yet know the answers to some of the issues in a prenup. The truth is these issues will come up eventually, whether during the marriage or if you divorce. If you think the timing of discussing these issues is bad, or you just don’t have a basis for formulating decisions or answering questions, then the timing may not be right for you.

You can always wait until after you are married, when you may know a little more about the management of your household. An agreement made after you’re married is called a “postnup”. These are enforceable, but be sure to consult an attorney before creating one, because the legalities and enforcement of postnups do vary from prenups.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind what a prenup can and can’t include. A prenup cannot include child support or child custody issues. The court has the final say in calculating child support. The court determines child support based on a “best interest of the child” standard, with several factors at play. A court would never uphold a provision of a prenuptial agreement that dealt with child support.

A prenup cannot include personal preferences, such as who has what chores, where to spend the holidays, or what school the children should attend. Prenuptial agreements are designed to address financially based issues. Judges grow uncomfortable when they see private domestic matters included in a contract, and will often view the document as frivolous, striking it down.

If you’re still not sure if a prenup is right for your relationship, try taking a prenuptial agreement questionnaire. You can simply ask your attorney for this information, or you can find one online. The most important aspect to remember is to communicate with your partner. Deciding to get a prenup is something both of you need to agree on. Also keep in mind that at the end of the day a prenup was made to help a relationship, not break it.

1 Apr
Steps to Recovery
Posted by Scott Levine
Steps to Recovery

When you first realize that you’re getting a divorce, you might feel like your life is over. It’s perfectly okay to feel that way because going through a divorce is a difficult time. At times people have no clue how to start living their life again after the divorce is finalized. Believe it or not, coping after a divorce is easier than you think.

1. Find Yourself a Good Listener:
The one thing you are going to feel the need for is communication. Find a friend or a family member who will provide good advice based on your specific situation. The last thing you want is to bottle up all your emotions. If you have children do not involve in the issues of the divorce because it will make the process of divorce harder for them. Don’t feel bad about talking to your friends and family members about how you feel. If they really love you, they’ll understand the difficult time you’re going through.

2. Write down your feelings:
It may seem like you’re a little kid writing in a diary, but writing down your emotions is one of the best ways to deal with pain. Journaling will give you a sense of independence because it will keep you from becoming too dependent on friends and relatives to talk about express how you feel.

3. Don’t seek Revenge:
As sweet as it may be, focusing on getting revenge keeps you from focusing on rebuilding your life. Seeking revenge will just make you go crazy. It also doesn’t give your heart a real chance at moving on because you’re constantly still thinking about your previous spouse.

4. Focus on your goals:
Focusing energy on work will help take your mind off of the divorce. It will also give you structure and routine during stressful situations. Be careful not to use work to keep from facing and dealing with this problem. It will help with the coping process, but don’t drown yourself in work. Remember to still make time to have fun.

5. Broaden Your Horizons:
Take advantage of being single and free. Try things you’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t because you were tied down. Make a bucket list of activities you’ve been dying to try. Remember it’s okay to do these things alone. You’ll be able to fully clear your head and enjoy the moment that you’re in.

7. Get Out of the house!
You should try to get out the house as much as possible. This is a perfect time to try all the new things on your bucket list. Try joining a divorce support group or a singles group for divorced people. Doing enjoyable things with people who have been through the same experience can be good therapy.

Coping with the pain from a divorce isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. All you need to do is keep an open mind and the rest will fall into place.

1 Mar
What is a non-custodial parent?
Posted by Scott Levine
What is a non-custodial parent?

A non-custodial parent is a parent who does not have physical and/or legal custody of his/her child by court order. Being a non-custodial parent is a tough situation to be in. You might have been really involved in your child’s life on a day-to-day basis, now your time together is limited. While it can be very frustrating time for you, remember that everything happens for a reason. Just because you don’t have legal custody, doesn’t mean you still can’t be in your child’s life.

Know your rights: The first thing you must do is completely understand what your rights with your child are. Once you understand what you are entitled to, be sure you actually use all of your rights. If you have the right to access school records, do so. If you have the right to be updated on your child’s medical visits, make sure to constantly have access to that information. Using all of your rights not only keeps you involved in your child’s life, but puts you in a good position should you ever seek a change in custody.

Don’t be embarrassed: There are too many parents who are embarrassed or angry about the custody arrangement that they were given. Instead of focusing on your negative feelings about the situation, focus on the positives. Enjoy every moment you have with your child. Make the moments you have memorable to show your child you still love them. No matter what, you are your child’s parent for the rest of their lives. Don’t let a piece of paper get in the way of how much you care about your child. You may feel frustrated by this decision, but try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. They most likely feel frustrated as well, and all they want is to spend time with you. Always remember your participation as a parent is very valuable to your child, especially if they’re younger in age.

Keep in contact with the other parent: It’s not uncommon to feel as if this whole situation is the other parent’s fault. You must look past your anger and frustration and remember being a parent is a team effort. The very best thing you can do is find a way to be agreeable and reasonable to the other parent. Always make yourself available. For example if something comes up and your ex spouse asks you to babysit, try your best to help them out. You must be very accommodating about schedule changes. If you and the other parent can reach a point where you can work together, it will only result in positive effects for your child. At the end of the day your child is what matters most and it is important to keep this in mind.

1 Feb
Divorce can equal a happy ending
Posted by Scott Levine
Divorce can equal a happy ending

Deciding to get a divorce can be one of the most terrifying decisions in a person’s life. Majority of the time divorce is seen as a negative thing, but in reality getting a divorce can be a very positive decision in a person’s life. The main reason people get divorced is so they can be happy again. Although the happiness someone is seeking might come after the divorce is final, the divorce still resulted to a positive ending. Getting a divorce not only gives you your happiness back, but also a variety of blessings along the way.

As we all know the divorce process can be a stressful time for everyone involved. During a divorce you’re constantly going through different emotions that can really take a toll on you psychically and emotionally. Most attorneys say going through a divorce is one of the hardest things someone can go through. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Going through something this difficult can only make you a stronger person in the long run. You’ll feel as though you can handle anything that life throws your way. Not only do you become stronger, but also you will grow as a person in general. Always remember that divorce can be the beginning of a new fulfilling life.

Although going through a divorce may push you away from your previous spouse, it can bring you closer to other people in your life. Divorce can make you feel alone. When you feel alone, sometimes all you need is a shoulder to lean on to bring your sprits up. This person can be your mom, dad, or even a good friend. When someone shows compassion and support it’s proven that you’ll become closer to that person. Who knows, maybe that person will become your next love interest.

Last but not least, you will learn from this experience. After the divorce is final, you will know what works in a relationship and what doesn’t. When you’re ready to date again, things will come a lot easier compared to the first time. If you fall in love again, don’t be intimidated by the idea that you don’t have what it takes to make a marriage work. You actually have better odds at making your marriage work since you’ve been married before. Studies show that people who remarry are less likely to get divorced. Sometimes all it takes is experience to get it right the second time around.

If you’re feeling scared about getting a divorce, you shouldn’t be. Getting a divorce can change your life in the best ways possible. Life is all about learning from your experiences, whether they’re good or bad. Overcoming a divorce not only allows you to learn about yourself, but also life in general.

1 Jan
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
Posted by Scott Levine
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

When someone files for divorce, they tend to have a lot questions about the process. Before hiring an attorney it’s important to go in with some knowledge about the process instead of nothing at all. Here are a couple of the most common asked questions couples have about divorce.

1. What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

• Unlike divorce, legal separation doesn’t end a marriage. Legal separation allows the couple to live separately, but they are still legally married. During the time the couple is living apart, they must follow the rules and responsibilities the court made for them. Examples of these rules are paying child support and custody of a child.

2. What is an annulment?

• An annulment is a legal procedure that cancels a marriage. Annulling a marriage is as though it is completely erased. It declares that the marriage never technically existed and was never valid.

3. Does my spouse have to agree with the decision to get a divorce?

• No. You may obtain a divorce regardless of how your spouse feels about it, as long as you, and at least one witness, can testify to the facts, such as the one-year separation, necessary to establish grounds for divorce.

4. What is alimony?

• Alimony is an allowance paid under court by once spouse to another when they are separated, not divorced.

5. Who gets alimony, and why?

• Alimony is hard to predict. Although there are no exact guidelines in deciding who receives alimony, there are certain factors a judge must consider. Some factors include: The lifestyle of each partner, the length of the marriage, and the amount of property that needs to be divided.

6. How long does it take for a divorce to be final?

• Everyone’s experience with divorce is different, so there’s not straight answer to this question. Most states require a mandatory waiting period between the filing of your divorce petition and when the court will issue your final divorce decree. The average mandatory waiting period is between 30 and 90 days.

7. Can I date while my divorce is being processed?

• There is no specific rule that states you can’t date while getting a divorce. Most attorneys advise people not to date considering going through a divorce is a very stressful and confusing time. Dating someone during this time can add to the person’s stress. Judges rarely punish someone who begins dating once they have physically separated from their spouse.

Here at Scott Levine we want nothing more than to help with any problems you may have. If you have more questions regarding the divorce process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
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1 DEC
Peer Review Rating of 5.0 out of 5.0
Posted by Scott Levine
Peer Review Rating of 5.0 out of 5.0

Here at Scott Levine P.A. we are pleased to announce that Scott A. Levine has received an “AV” Peer Review Rating of 5.0 out of 5.0 in the areas of Family Law, Criminal Law and Litigation. Scott Levine received this honor on November 18th, 2014.

What exactly is an AV rating?

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, also known as AV ratings, are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability.

These rating are generated from evaluations of lawyers, other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are the most prestigious ratings an attorney can receive. Only the most experienced attorneys have the honor of receiving this rating. When an attorney has received an AV rating, it means they have showed a high degree of skill and dedication throughout their career. People should keep this in mind when deciding what attorney to work with.

The reviewers must rate the legal abilities of the attorney on a scale created by Martindale-Hubble, which was founded in 1868. There are five certain areas the attorney is reviewed on. Each category is rated on a scale from one to five (one being the lowest, and five being the highest). The five areas are stated below.

• Legal Knowledge – Lawyer’s familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s). This is one of the most important areas the attorney is reviewed on. If the attorney isn’t familiar with the all the important legal terms, they won’t be able to assist their clients properly.

• Analytical Capabilities – This category involves attorney’s creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge. Attorneys are expected to think outside the box when handling their cases. Attorneys need to be able to change their way of thinking depending on which case their dealing with. In order to be successful, attorneys need to be able to work with a variety of different clients.

• Judgment – This category involves the attorney’s demonstration of the prominent factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue. The attorney must be able to use their judgment to their advance when dealing with certain cases.

• Communication Ability – This category involves the attorney’s capability to communicate persuasively and credibly. One of the greatest skills an attorney needs is being able to speak in a professional manner at all time. If an attorney isn’t professional, they won’t be taken seriously.

• Legal Experience – This category involves the attorney’s level of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s). The more experience an attorney has, the creditable they become.

Scott A. Levine has worked very hard over the years to accomplish such an honor. This exceptional rating is just another reason why Scott Levine P.A is the best place to turn when you’re looking for an attorney!

1 NOV
How To Face Divorce
Posted by Scott Levine
How To Face Divorce

At times when people are getting divorced, they want nothing to do with the process. Although divorce is often difficult to face, you must be involved in the court proceedings to ensure things work out the way you want them to. If you really choose not to be apart of the process, they are several ways your spouse can get a divorce without your participation.

Petition and Notice
Your spouse files the divorce petition and other forms required by your state in the court that handles divorce cases where you both live. The petition contains information about your spouse, you and reasons for the divorce and the marital debts and assets. Once he files the petition, he must notify you using the method the court requires, such as personal service or certified mail, by sending you a court-approved notice form and a copy of the petition. The notice form tells you how long you have to respond to the divorce papers.

Service by Publication
Your spouse might not have to find you if you are actively avoiding the papers. If your spouse can’t locate you to send notice, the judge will publish the notice of the divorce petition in a newspaper in the county for a specific number of days. The notice tells you what was filed, when a hearing will be held on the matter, how much time you have to respond and what court the divorce was filed in. This notice is considered sufficient in cases where one spouse can’t be found. In some counties, your spouse must hire a court-approved person to try and find you before he’s allowed to serve you notice by publication. After the notice has run for the number of days the court requires, your spouse can proceed with the divorce without your participation.

Default Judgment
If you don’t respond to the papers once you’ve received the notice, your spouse can ask the court to give them a final hearing on the divorce. The judge can award your spouse a divorce judgment by default. A default judgment occurs when one spouse was summoned to court but didn’t respond. This leaves the judge to award the divorce based on the facts shown on the filing spouse’s petition. Your spouse gets the divorce on their terms, even if you don’t agree with everything he stated on the petition or you know some of information on the papers is not true.

At the end of the day, the divorce will still happen with or without you. The best advice would be to just cooperate as much as possible with your spouse. Divorce is already hard enough; the last thing you want is for things to not go your way because you weren’t active in the process.

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