It is common for long-time couples to discuss future plans such as marriage, home owning, and ultimately raising a family. These plans come with a lot of “what-ifs”— and the unknown can make taking big steps challenging. In particular, having children is one of the most significant decisions a couple can make. But what happens when infertility is an issue?
Fortunately, science has discovered numerous alternatives in fertility technology. One of these options is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): the process of combining an egg and sperm in a lab and then transferring the embryo to the uterus. In some cases the embryo is frozen and stored for future implantation. When choosing to undergo IVF, divorce is usually the last thing on the couple’s mind.
Frozen embryos, while not common in divorce cases, can create significant and unique challenges to reaching a divorce agreement. A common example where this instance would present itself is with the diagnosis of cancer and the treatment may potentially cause infertility. In this scenario, the couple would undergo IVF and store the embryo until carrying a pregnancy is safe. Unfortunately for some couples, the relationship ends and both parties disagree on what should be done with the stored embryos.
In the recent cases of Lee v. Findley and Szafranski v. Dunston, both females were diagnosed with cancer and the respective couples went through IVF to ensure they would be able to have biological children post-treatment. Both relationships ended and now the fates of the embryos are at the center of an ongoing debate.
In the California case, Lee v. Findley, the two are embroiled in a divorce. The ex-husband is requesting that the embryos be destroyed. The ex-wife and her attorneys have argued, “that destroying the embryos would destroy an infertile woman's ability to realize the fundamental and constitutionally protected bond of a parent and a child." The ex-husband fears that if she was to go through with the in vitro that he would be responsible for financial support. She has argued that she would not involve him in the child's life.
When initially starting the process of IVF the couple signed documents presented by the “UCSF that included provisions for destroying the embryos under various circumstances, including divorce, and those agreements are a binding contract.” The husband testified to this, assuming the decision would be ruled by this contract. However, the exceptional circumstances of this case requires evaluation and a decision from the courts.
While the case continues, the UCSF is arguing that one cannot simply change their mind after signing the documents that clearly state the destruction of the embryos in accordance to certain circumstances. Divorce turns out to be one of those circumstances. However, Lee did go through IVF with the purpose of preserving the embryos knowing the result of her infertility due to cancer.
The recent advancements in IVF have made treatment more affordable and accessible to people facing challenges with fertility. Because IVF has become a first choice for many couples, it is likely that these issues will become more common in divorce proceedings. The court's decisions in both Lee v. Findley and Szafranski v. Dunston may set a precedent regarding frozen embryos as part of a divorce—and lay the foundation for how these cases are handled in the future.
Coming to terms with the idea that you and your spouse are wanting, and/or needing, to end your marriage is never easy. When property and children are involved it makes the split more complicated and more stressful. For many men, moving out as soon as possible is an attempt to minimize the stress and potential conflict that comes with divorce. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common mistakes men make when faced with the dissolution of their marriage. Leaving the marital home without evaluating the consequences, or having a strategy in place, can create a significant disadvantage throughout the rest of the divorce process.
In no way should a man feel obligated to leave property if his name is on the title. The division of the marital home is often a significant piece of a divorce case and moving out too soon can create additional obstacles. These obstacles include: establishing a financial precedent that may be unsustainable, eliminating access to important documents, and minimizing parenting time.
Being the first to move out can establish a “new normal” that can be difficult to overcome and significantly impact your relationship with your kids. It is imperative that you remain active and involved in the day-to-day details of their lives throughout the divorce. This active involvement is not only important for helping the kids adjust to the divorce, but will be a factor in any custody issues that may arise. Moving out without a parenting plan in place can limit your ability to spend time with your kids and can impact the court’s decisions regarding custody and support.
An often overlooked, but vitally important piece of divorce is the paperwork. Financial information like bank statements, credit card statements, and retirement accounts will all need to be submitted to the courts. Additionally, important documents like wills and insurance policies can be required for your divorce. Moving out of the home without obtaining these documents can add significant cost and time to the divorce process.
When it comes to divorce, moving out too soon can set a financially unsustainable precedent. The courts may assume that because two households have been created and supported, that the ongoing support of two households is reasonable. What often starts as a temporary solution (sleeping on a friends couch, or moving in with parents/family members) becomes the status quo.
Committing to moving out of the marital home, before you have evaluated the repercussions and created a strategy, can be detrimental to protecting your rights and assets. The tense atmosphere in the home can be overwhelming, but it is in your best interest to understand all the variables before deciding on a course of action. Attempt to make arrangements to stay in the home until you have spoken with an attorney and mapped out a plan for your divorce.
Social media as it relates to divorce has recently been garnering a fair amount of attention. A recent study, funded by a UK law firm, has sparked the conversation by inquiring what role social media can play in the demise of a marriage.
Although the study was conducted in the UK, the findings can be extrapolated to apply to couples in the U.S. Some the key findings of the report include:
- One in seven said they had contemplated divorce because of their other halves activities on Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter or What’sApp.
- Nearly a quarter of the 2,000 married Brits asked, said they had at least one argument a week with their partner because of social media use and 17 percent said they rowed every day because of it.
- The most common reasons for checking their partner’s social media accounts were finding out who their partner was talking to, keeping tabs on them, checking who they were out with, and finding out if they were telling the truth about their social life.
Our managing attorney, Zephyr Hill, was recently asked by HuffPost live to weigh in on the role social media plays in a divorce case. You can watch the segment in the clip below.
Social media is a powerful tool for building and maintaining relationships; but with great power comes great responsibility. For all the benefits these platforms provide, there is an equal opportunity for intended (and unintended) pitfalls. To read more about how social media can be used as evidence in a divorce case please see our blog post “ Social Media as Evidence in Family Law Cases
Goldberg Jones is excited to welcome Amy Broderick to our team of San Diego divorce attorneys. Amy earned her undergraduate degree from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, she earned her Juris Doctor from the Roger Williams University where she graduated cum laude. Additionally, Amy earned a Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy from California Western School of Law.
Amy is a passionate attorney who is dedicated to zealous advocacy for her clients. She understands that each case and client is unique and a customized strategy is essential to producing the most favorable outcome possible. Amy believes that family law cases present a unique opportunity to help men sort through some of the most challenging issues of their lives.
Our managing attorney, Zephyr Hill, commented on the addition of Amy to the Goldberg Jones team saying, “ Amy is a sharp attorney. She understands the nuances of family law and is exceptional at adapting to curveballs. She always has a clear plan of action.”
Amy is not only dedicated to being a remarkable attorney, she is also committed to cultivating a strong legal community that is focused on justice and integrity. She is an active volunteer as a moot court and mock trial judge—helping future lawyers develop skills and experience necessary to maintain the highest standards.
When she isn’t in the office or volunteering, Amy enjoys playing the cello, running, and reading fiction novels by South African authors.
The upheaval and change that comes with divorce can make finding your bearings difficult. Changes in schedules, living situations, and finances often create uncertainty and stress as you try to navigate through the dissolution of a marriage. Doing the following three things everyday can help create structure and consistency for both you and your child(ren) during the divorce.
Spend quality time with your child(ren)
Remaining an engaged and involved parent is critical during a divorce. Kids want to hang out with their dad and setting aside time everyday to spend time with your kids can have far reaching benefits.
Actively finding ways to engage with your kids on a daily basis can provide emotional reassurance. Setting aside time for your child(ren) everyday will allow to you continue to play a principal (and indispensable) role.
Daily quality time with your kids has the secondary benefit of exhibiting to the court the importance of your role as a father. This can have substantial impact on how parenting time is allocated in the divorce. When evaluating a proposed parenting plan, the courts seek to create the least amount of disruption to the child(ren). Establishing a status quo of involvement demonstrates the irreplaceable and essential nature of your relationship with your child.
The logistics of spending time with you child(ren) on a daily basis can be challenging for many fathers. Getting creative will work in your favor. Even if circumstances don’t allow you to physically be in the same place as your kids, you can find alternate solutions for staying connected.
Some resourceful solutions we have seen include:
•Virtual sports game—scheduling a time to Facetime/Skype/Google Hangout and watch a sports event together
•Phone call bedtime story—Buy two copies of your child’s favorite story and call them each night at bedtime to read the book together over the phone.
•Virtual homework help— using whatever technology works best for you, connect with your child each night to provide help with homework.
Find ways to manage stress
Even the most amicable divorce is stressful. Finding constructive outlets for stress is important for maintaining your sanity throughout the process. Unexpected issues will arise and conflict with your ex can be common. Having a plan in place to deal with the detours can help you manage your ability to keep your goals and needs in focus. Getting caught up in the emotional hurricane can hijack your ability to protect what is most important.
Additionally, having a plan for managing stress will allow you to stay focused on adapting to co-parenting. Having the tools to handle difficult conflicts and avoid volatile situations that may have a negative impact on your parenting time is another added benefit.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for managing stress. Every divorce is unique and finding strategies that work for you and your situation is often an exercise in trial and error. A few common strategies we have noticed:
•Working with a therapist to address emotional issues
•Increasing physical activity. Running, playing team sports, or going to the gym can provide a plethora of stress relieving benefits
•Joining a single-dad’s support group
Your kids want to know that you are there for them when they need you. Being accessible to your child(ren), their caretakers, and even your ex, demonstrates your commitment to being a permanent fixture in your child(ren)’s life.
Returning emails, texts, and phone calls (unless there are explicit reasons for limiting contact) in a timely manner is a solid first step in successfully co-parenting. Being available for last minute opportunities is also helpful. Things like picking up your child from school if they are sick, or picking them up from daycare (at mom’s request) if mom can’t make it.
Accessibility is important, but it there is a fine line to walk. You want to be available for your children and be respectful of your ex’s parenting time. Without proper communication, well-intentioned acts can be misconstrued as a violation of temporary orders.
Maintaining your relationship with your child(ren) through the divorce might have its challenges, but it is worth it. Divorce and custody issues can be complicated and confusing and getting accurate answers can be difficult. If you have questions about divorce, custody, or any other family law issue, we are here to help. We are happy to answer your questions over the phone at no charge and no obligation.
Who’s on Fire? Who is going to razzle-dazzle this tournament and take home the NCAA National Championship Trophy? With the Journey to the Tourney reaching its end, it is time to start predicting the teams that will duel it out to the end. However, the competition is not limited to the court—Goldberg Jones will be holding its annual Bracket Challenge.
Think your bracket has the best spread? Fill out the bracket at tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com. Prove that your intuition and knowledge for the game and stats will prosper. You can begin filling it out starting March 17th and ending March 21st. The dominating bracket will win a $250 Amazon Gift Card, that’s just money in your pocket.
Similar to last year, the Bracket Challenge is a winner-takes-all event. So start crafting your bracket ASAP to ensure total domination. To keep up with the action; make sure to follow our Twitter and give us a “like” on Facebook. It will be absolute madness and there is no reason to miss out.
Be part of the action and join us in the most exhilarating tournament that keeps your eyes locked on the TV and internet statistics. Get your gear on, check the stats, craft your bracket, save your seat and let the tourney unfold.
The New Year has made its appearance, but while some are focusing on resolutions and ultimately bettering themselves; others are focused on changing their marital status. Spouses begin to have complications in their marriage at all different times of the year; but the holiday season is often a catalyst for change. Family and financial obligations, and the accompanying disagreements, can be the final straw for many couples.
January brings resolutions and decision making. According to Findlaw, (a free consumer-focused legal information site):
“searches for "divorce" and related phrases such as "family law" and "child custody" jumped 50 percent – from just over 10,000 in December 2010 to nearly 16,000 in January 2011, and continued to surge through March. "Divorce" has been the No. 1 searched term on FindLaw.com since January 2010.”
Although many people make the decision to divorce in January, it is common for couples to wait until March to file and begin the divorce process. According to the same study cited above, January sees an increase in divorce filings; but that number doesn’t peak until March.
If you have found yourself considering filing for divorce in the new year, you are not alone. Divorce is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. It is imperative to understand all your rights and options before you file any documents with the court. If you have questions about your situation or how your circumstances might affect your divorce, please give us a call.
A moment of frustration can easily turn into a legal headache when social media is added to the mix. The combination of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and the ability to instantaneously post personal thoughts or frustrations can later cause a huge uproar with those it may personally affect. When it comes to family law, these incidents can unravel a whole other dimension to a case and can be used against the other party.
Security and privacy settings can provide a false sense of safety. Every post made to the internet is recorded and is never completely out of sight or out of mind. Even services, like SnapChat, that are designed to self destruct messages, have proven that they are not infallible. The only way to guarantee your thoughts or comments won’t live on in social media infamy is to refrain from posting them at all.
Another common misperception is that the only way to access posts is to have an account on the particular platform (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The reality is search engines (such as Google or Yahoo) can uncover accounts and often posts from a variety of social channels. Even though your account may say private, that is not entirely the case. There is often little protection from your followers taking screenshots of your posts and reposting as public content. Additionally, situations can arise where some information that one may have deleted forever has come back to haunt them.
Once again, there is no privacy when it comes to the internet. It is a network primarily used to share and store information. Social media posts are easy to publish, easy to save, but hard to erase. It is advised that no action or response to divorce or family law matters be posted on your social media. This will eradicate any evidence that could be used against you. If you are facing a family law situation, the best course of action is to refrain from sharing any information on social media until your case has concluded.
Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):
Several recent news articles have cited correlations between the costs of a wedding (or the cost of the engagement ring) to divorce rates. The theory is that the more expensive the wedding (or ring) the more likely the couple is to divorce.
Here is the cheat sheet on the statistics listed in a recent article from The Wall Street Journal:
- Men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to divorce than those who spent between $500 and $2,000. In the paper’s language, that pricier ring is “significantly associated with an increase in the hazard of divorce in the sample of men.”
- Couples who spent $1,000 or less on their wedding were not as likely to get divorced in the samples of both men and women.
- Among women, marriages that began with weddings that cost $20,000 or more were 1.6 times more likely to end in divorce. (Messrs. Mialon and Francis suggested expensive weddings could lead to stress from possible debt, which has been found as one reason behind divorce.)
- What characteristics were common to longer marriages? Relatively high wedding attendance, going on a honeymoon, having relatively high household income, regularly attending religious services and having a child together.
These recent articles and their correlations sparked a few conversations around the office and resulted in researching a variety of divorce statistics. We compiled these statistics into the infographic below.
Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):
School is back in session and kids are quickly getting into the swing of homework and extracurricular activities. The start of school presents a great opportunity for being more involved in your child’s daily activities and for building strong relationships with their teachers, coaches, and other people that will be spending a significant amount of time with your child.
A new school year can be particularly daunting for newly divorced dads. Navigating the uncharted territory of being a single parent and the changes that come with a new classroom, teacher, and in some cases new school, can leave dads feeling disoriented.
Regardless if this is your first school year as a single dad or your fifteenth, there are some tactics that will ensure this year will go as smoothly as possible.
Meet the Teachers
Taking the time to meet your child’s teachers at the beginning of the year can help keep communication open and ensure the teacher is aware of your prominent role in your child’s life. Putting a face with a name well in advance of parent-teacher conferences will help your child’s teacher provide feedback and progress updates throughout the year. It is also important to make arrangements with both the school and the teachers to send separate notifications to you and your ex-wife.
Update Contact Info
Updating important information with the school is a necessity. You will want to make sure the school has your current address, phone number, and any additional information that might be necessary. It is also important to let the school know that you are divorced and to fill them in on any custody restrictions that might be outlined in your parenting plan. This is particularly important if you have sole physical custody and your ex-wife’s parenting time is limited, supervised, or otherwise restricted.
Working with your ex to ensure things run smoothly for your child might not be easy, but it is necessary. Transitions, like back to school, can be difficult for all children, and they can be particularly stressful for kids that are splitting time between two homes.
Coordinating with your ex to provide consistency in schedules, expectations, and rules can help ease the transition into a new school year. Even if your ex is less than cooperative, it is important to make your best effort to provide stability for your kids.
Every divorce and custody situation is different, but these general tips can go a long way in helping your kids navigate the changes in their lives. If you have questions regarding your unique circumstances and the legal issues surrounding a divorce or custody situation, please call our office 619) 243-0888.