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Connecticut Family Law Blog

Making sure a child custody arrangement works for the school year

School has started here in Stamford, and that often means chaotic mornings, long drop off lines and extracurricular activities, along with homework. These days are often challenging enough in a home with two parents, but when the parents are divorced and living in separate homes, they can present an even larger challenge. That is, unless the parents took the time to put provisions into place for the school year when they made their child custody arrangements.

Were communications with the school discussed? Do the children's teachers know to include both parents in any communications? Does each parent know to include the other in any communications with teachers or the school?

When an attorney may be needed in child custody matters

Like many Connecticut parents, you may have attempted to resolve your divorce issues without enlisting the aid of an attorney. Then, quite unexpectedly, things took a turn for the worse when it came to resolving your child custody issues. The following may help you determine when to get an attorney involved, if you do not have one already.

What started out as friendly negotiations for overnight visitations and vacations may have hit a brick wall for some reason. The other parent may be making what you believe are unreasonable demands. You may decide that trying to share custody equally will not work during the school year, and suggesting a different arrangement did not sit well with the other parent. In any case, the situation has changed, and you may need help.

Planning to divorce? You don't have to rush into court

Making the decision to end your marriage probably required a great deal of thought. Once you made the decision, you may have reacted as other Connecticut residents have in the past, and your fight or flight instincts told you to rush into the divorce process in order to move on as quickly as possible. However, jumping head long into the process without any preparation could cost you in the future.

It may be beneficial to slow down and take stock of the situation first. You may be one of the many Connecticut couples who do not relish the thought of battling it out in court. Fortunately, you can choose another, less contentious (and expensive) path. Mediation and collaborative law have increased in popularity in recent years to resolve divorce issues.

Dividing real estate assets in divorce

When couples choose to divorce, the prospect of fairly dividing assets and liabilities can seem overwhelming. This is especially true when a couple owns more complex assets, such as multiple real estate holdings.

For many couples, a family home is the most significant asset they may have between them, which can present a difficult dilemma when it comes to deciding who should keep the home.

Couples don't have to use divorce mediation

Facing the end of a marriage is an emotional time. Perhaps making it even more stressful is the barrage of media coverage telling Connecticut couples that divorce mediation is the way the way to go. In fact, the media may actually border on shaming people into feeling as though their divorce will not be successful if they end up in court.

In truth, using mediation is often a more cost effective, less timely and less contentious way to handle the divorce. However, there are cases where the level of cooperation and compromise needed in order to benefit from mediation just is not there. Some couples are not able to sit down together and negotiate their own settlements for a variety of reasons.

Trust funds and divorce: Court allows transfers to protect funds

Trusts are legal tools that can serve a number of functions. One function is to protect assets from creditors. An interesting case questions whether a spouse going through a divorce counts as a creditor. If so, is it legal for the managers of the trust, the trustees, to transfer funds to protect them from the future ex?

The case, Michael J. Ferri, Trustee, et al. v. Nancy Powell-Ferri et al., involves a couple going through a divorce. During the divorce, trustees of the husband’s trust began decanting funds from the trust into another trust in an effort to protect the funds from becoming subject to division during divorce

Using family law to help ensure the success of a business

Most Connecticut entrepreneurs take care to review the legal and business decisions they need to make when starting a new business. They may even consult with an attorney regarding the formation and planning involved. However, they may not consider how family law could affect the future -- and potential success -- of any new venture.

An engaged or married Connecticut resident who is starting a business or already owns one may benefit from some family law advice regarding the business. Otherwise, it could end up on the chopping block in a divorce. Prior to marriage, a prenuptial agreement could be signed that ensures that the business remains a separate asset of the owner. After marriage, a postnuptial agreement could be signed that does the same thing.

Is your spouse attempting to invalidate your prenup in a divorce?

Before getting married, you may have spent a substantial amount of time working through the creation of a prenuptial agreement. The goal then was to sort out some financial issues and provide a plan for dividing assets and debts should the marriage end. Now that you are in the initial stages of a divorce, your spouse is asking a Connecticut court to invalidate your prenup. Do you know why?

Several factors could make your prenuptial agreement invalid. One of the simplest reasons is that it was not properly executed. You and your spouse may have handled the agreement on your own without the benefit of legal counsel, and may not have been aware of the proper way to execute it. In fact, if each of you failed to at least consult with an attorney prior to signing the agreement, that could be the way your spouse is attempting to get it thrown out now.

Family law issues: Overcoming an objection to an adoption

Many Connecticut residents have children outside of wedlock. When the relationship with the father of a child ends, the mother may find love again and marry. Her husband may wish to adopt her child, but the biological father may come forward to object. A family law attorney could prove helpful under these circumstances.

In order for an unmarried father to have any legal rights to a biological child, his paternity must be established. If this was not done at the child's birth, the father may seek it through a court proceeding. If DNA testing concludes that he is the biological father, then he will more than likely gain legal parental rights to the child.

How to establish paternity under Connecticut family law

Many couples decide to wait to marry or not to marry at all, yet still want to have children together. If you are one of these couples, you need to be aware that the legal paternity of your children is not guaranteed since you are unmarried. Under Connecticut family law, the assumption is that the husband of a woman having a child is the legal father, but that presumption does not exist for unmarried parents.

Without a legal determination of parentage, a father does not enjoy all of the legal rights or responsibilities of parenthood. This includes major issues such as custody, visitation and child support, among other things. Fortunately, you can obtain these rights by establishing that you are the biological and legal father of your child, either through an Acknowledgement of Paternity or through a court order.

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  • Wendy helped guide us through a very difficult and emotional process and was really able to provide an even and fair account for both parties. It's quite evident in her expertise in this area but the way she was able to make you feel safe and secure in a very insecure time goes far beyond her legal prowess. If the two parties are really willing to cooperate and collaborate, she's there to help gain the best possible solution for all involved, especially if there are children.
  • Regardless of how committed one is to the fact that divorce may be imminent and necessary, it is truly one of the most emotional and stressful situations one can experience. It can also be daunting. Wendy has a remarkable ability to cut through the noise and help you focus on the big picture while drilling down on what is most pertinent to your particular situation., they are a formidable team who work collectively with your best interests in mind.
  • Wendy and her staff were a delight to work with. During this difficult process I felt confident that the outcome would be fair and balanced, as it did. Very supportive, always well prepared and very knowledgeable. Would choose them all over again!
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