Beginning to date after a divorce can be tough. After all, you have been through a lot in your previous relationship, to put it mildly, and you may find it difficult to jump back into the dating pool. Dating someone who is also going through a divorce can pose further challenges. While dating someone who is in a similar situation can be beneficial and rewarding because they know what you are going through more so than anyone else, the situation may require a slower pace and a more carefully navigated path. Read more.
While divorce often poses unique issues to each couple navigating the complicated, emotionally wrought path, there are often overlapping issues that are widely experienced by those facing the end of a marriage. Splitting assets, property and material goods can be difficult, tedious and time-consuming. Navigating custody decisions, parental responsibilities and family life can be heartbreaking. But one aspect of a split that is not often discussed in court is how a couple will split mutual friends. Shared friendships are messy during any split or break-up, regardless how amicably it is resolved.
Yet, in contemporary marriages, friends are often shared. Often times married couples begin as friends, and therefore their mutual friends are exactly that – truly and unequivocally mutual. In these situations, how does one prepare themselves and their friends for the uncharted territory that is to come? Friends often feel the need to choose, or try to maintain friendships with both only to have the choice ultimately made for them. After all, social gatherings attended by both parties can be uncomfortable for all involved, not limited to the couple alone. Read more.
Thinking about the holiday season can be a daunting experience when going through a divorce. While it is only October, we understand the apprehension of facing the upcoming season of cheer when you are feeling anything but cheerful. Divorce is an extremely personal and emotional experience, and there is no right or wrong way to feel – but you are not alone, and the holidays, while different, do not have to be a dreaded occurrence.
Here are some tips for finding enjoyment from the holidays, or at the very least getting through them. Read More.
Before modern divorce, the Mantokuji temple in Japan was known as the “divorce temple” — a place where women could separate from their husbands before law granted them the legal right to do so. Historically, until the 19th century, Mantokuji was a women-only convent that assisted women in ending their marriages. At the time, divorce was hard to come by when instigated by the woman and the temple offered a degree of legal protection. Read more.
Sometimes it can seem like men and women have trouble communicating. While this may be difficult or impossible to avoid, it can be made more bearable by taking the time to laugh every once in a while. This video by Jason Headley may just do the trick. Watch the video here.
Recently, with a landmark decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that a stipulation of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The decision in this benchmark case paves the way for gay couples to receive tax refunds on taxes paid because the federal government didn’t recognize their marriage. Read more.
The decision to divorce is never an easy one. Typically, it is one wrought with frustration and uncertainty. The factors that go in to the decision vary greatly from couple to couple, yet one of the most prevalent scenarios often involves adultery or the suspicion of adultery. While some couples can overcome the damage done by extramarital affairs, it often times is the tipping point for many. When suspicions of infidelity arise they can be difficult to navigate. The uncertainty and distrust can become toxic, regardless of an actual indiscretion. Yet, the initial suspicion can also be the first indicator that something is not right. If that is the case, then there are other warning signs that can often serve as indications that a partner is being unfaithful. Read more.
The importance of updating your beneficiary designations, specifically for policies which fall under Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (“FEGLI”) for life insurance policies has just been highlighted by the Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in Hillman v. Maretta. During the marriage of Mr. Hillman and Ms. Maretta, Mr. Hillman named Ms. Maretta as the beneficiary of his FEGLI policy. They later divorced and Mr. Hillman remarried but failed to change the beneficiary of his FEGLI policy. At the time of Mr. Hillman’s death, Ms. Maretta was still named as the beneficiary and received the benefits for the FEGLI plan, an amount in excess of $120,000.00. The current Mrs. Hillman brought an action to claim the benefits under Virginia law, which states that divorced spouses cease to be the designated beneficiaries of each other’s life insurance policies. Instead, the statute appropriately directs that decedent’s widow or widower at the time of death, or if none, descendants, become entitled to the benefits. Unfortunately for the widow Hillman, the Federal statute provides that the benefits follow in the order of precedence, with the designated beneficiary as the first person in line to receive the proceeds of the policy upon the employee’s death. The Federal law preempts the state law and the benefits go to the ex-wife.
No matter if it is a divorce, death or simply a change of mind or heart, it is important to know whom you have designated as the beneficiary of not only life insurance policies but IRA accounts, 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts, defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans and any other accounts you may possess. An estate planning attorney will review these designations with you to ensure they are as you desire and not in conflict with your estate planning documents and your desires.
Proxy marriages are on the rise. Web chat programs such as Skype allow for these marriages to occur more easily and for the bride and groom to exchanges vows from around the world. In the United States, this practice is used, but infrequently, and most often by members of the military in order to ensure their loved ones receive military benefits in the event of their death. However, these proxy marriages are becoming far more prominent in immigrant communities where people want to marry individuals from their homeland, but matchmaking trips abroad are costly. The convenience that programs like Skype provide have raised concerns regarding marriage fraud and individuals seeking green cards and citizenship. Read more here.
On September 13, as most of you know, MCFM marked an important milestone – our 30th anniversary. We honored the occasion with an event at the Endicott House in Dedham. Thanks to the organizers (in alphabetical order – Lynn Cooper, Barbara Kellman, Diane Spears, Laurie Udell, and Fran Whyman,) it was a well-attended and unqualified success. Quite a few of us talked briefly to the gathering and I was one of the speakers. Les Wallerstein, editor of FMQ, asked me to submit my talk for publication. I asked him if it could “count” as my President’s Letter for the quarter and he agreed. With that understanding, Les, here it is…
To read MCFM President Jonathan E. Fields blog post, please copy and paste the following link into your browser: