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Protection and Divorce - Assets, Custody and Support

Posted by attorney Bruce Gordon

OK you're expecting to get served any day now. You want to preserve as much of your own assets as possible. Do you go buy gemstones and bury them? No any attempt at hiding assets is usually harshly dealt with by a judge.

Now is the time to be careful. Actions that you might have done a year ago will be scrutinized now. Indeed the actions you did a year ago will also be scrutinized.

If you have a prenuptial agreement pull it out and review it with a lawyer, be ready to bring or fill out a financial statement, and bring the past 3 years tax returns, for both you and your spouse.

Put together a statement of your involvement with the children, what you do, what your spouse does and things you and your spouse do together. Be honest about it. There is evidence out there that a good Lawyer can find and the last thing you want is your spouse's Lawyer having the right information and your Lawyer not having it.

There is no longer a general prejudice in favor of one sex or another when it comes to raising children. There are some things that can only be done by a mother for young children, that is basic biology, but it is still important for both parents to be a part of your children's life. It is possibly more important early on. Remember the game Peek-a-boo? It is based on an important psychological concept. Young children don't remember anything that is not right in front of them. The technical term is permanence. Two and Three year olds are learning that a person not in front of them still exists and will come back, but it is very important that there is at least a little contact FREQUENTLY.

So what is Support? It is two separate issues; depending on the state you live in they can be very different. Some states have no alimony. Some calculate child support higher than others and some make it last until 18, some until 21 and even as long as 23 years. How it is calculated depends on a lot of factors, income of the parties, health insurance costs and taxes. It can also depend on how much time each party spends parenting the child. It can be varied by agreement but is usually subject to review by a judge.

What support does not depend on is your personal expenses. Medical expenses sometimes affect it, but you needing a large apartment or new wardrobe does not change support for the children.

Alimony on the other hand may depend on lifestyle choices made by the parties a long time ago. If one party has always been home or gave up a career to raise children etc. that may be taken into account. But remember the judge can't award what isn't there. If your total income is $75,000 a year the judge has to allow both parties to live a reasonable life, allowing for children and other factors that may affect this.

Many states now see alimony as a remedial measure and only allow it for a short time, in Connecticut it is often tied to the length of the marriage but in other states it may be fixed by law.

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