Category Archives: Divorce

Divorce Advice: 7 Tips for a Successful Divorce

divorce advice 7 tips for a successful divorce

At their wedding, couples promise to stay together for better or for worse.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. In fact, experts indicate that as many as 50% of marriages end in divorce.

In spite of how common it is, divorce is often very difficult. The process is especially challenging because most people involved in divorces have never been through the process before.

So even couples who mutually agree to separate can experience ugly divorce proceedings. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s our best divorce advice to help you get through the process as painlessly as possible.

Get divorce advice from a good lawyer

Sometimes, parties involved in a divorce are reluctant to hire a divorce lawyer. If they have an amicable relationship with their spouse, they may fear that getting an attorney involved can make things contentious.

Just because you hire a lawyer, though, doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amicable divorce.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Hiring a lawyer is simply taking an important step towards understanding the divorce process. A lawyer will help you learn the language of divorce, and will ensure that your rights are protected.

Do your research

That said, sometimes people getting divorced make the opposite mistake. They hire a lawyer and expect that their legal counsel will handle everything.

Yes, it is your lawyer’s job to help you through the divorce proceedings, but it is your job to learn about the process.

Educating yourself will help you to better communicate your needs to your lawyer.

Additionally, apart from the custody of children, division of shared property is the most difficult aspect of divorce. Gaining a better understanding of your finances will help you navigate this process.

Have realistic expectations

Often, divorce battles drag on because one or both spouses have unrealistic expectations about how much many they should get, or how much they can pay.

The process will go a lot more smoothly if you go in understanding your rights and responsibilities.

At the end of the day, unless you had a prenuptial agreement, the spouse who makes more money will likely have to pay alimony. The sooner you accept this piece of divorce advice, the easier it will be to negotiate a reasonable number.

That said, if you are the spouse who makes less money, understand that you probably won’t get as much support as you think you deserve.

Unfortunately, one of the hard truths about divorce is that you will likely have to make adjustments to your lifestyle. This is simply what happens when you take one household and break it off into two separate ones.

Pick your battles

Once you accept that your life will change after divorce, it will be easier to set your priorities.

A good piece of divorce advice is to remember that the most important things are the items that money can’t buy. Things like family heirlooms, photo albums, and keepsakes are important to get a hold of.

Additionally, you can’t put a price on your personal health and mental well-being. While it is important to fight for a fair settlement, at a certain point it’s just not worth squabbling over pennies.

On the same note, don’t get greedy. Sometimes, spouses going through a divorce try to hide money in secret accounts or to sell off assets.

In the long run, moves like these will end up making you look bad in court, and can do more harm than good.

Put your kids’ needs first

When two adults go through a divorce proceeding, it can be easy to forget about the people caught in the middle: the children.

If you have young children, keep in mind that the divorce will likely be just as challenging for them as it is for you. In some cases, it can be even more difficult for them.

That said, don’t fall into the trap of believing that divorcing makes you a bad parent. Many couples try to keep the marriage together for the kids. This is probably why couples with children are less likely to divorce than couples without kids.

But staying in a bad marriage can be even more damaging to children than a divorce.

The key is to keep your children’s needs a priority throughout the divorce proceedings.

One way to do this is to avoid using your children as gambling chips with your spouse. Remember, your children are not assets to be won. They are people whose lives are being affected.

Unless you are leaving an abusive situation, it is likely in your children’s best interest that they have contact with both of their parents. Working to achieve a custody agreement that meets these needs is crucial to your children’s health.

Try to settle out of court

When divorce proceedings go to court, they tend to get more complicated. A judge with little knowledge of the situation ends up making decisions about who gets what property, and where the children will live.

Settling matters through a legal mediation is often a better approach.

Hiring a dedicated mediator can help ease negotiations between both parties.This process can often conclude much more quickly than a lengthy court battle. Not to mention, settling out of court is much less expensive.

Take healthy steps for self-care

When discussing divorce, it is easy to get wrapped up talking about shared assets, custody, and living arrangements. These are all only business aspects of a divorce.

It’s important to remember, however, that divorce has many emotional components. No matter how sour your marriage has gone, in most cases, you started out wanting to be married to the other person. This can make divorce very painful.

Additionally, this emotional trauma can have negative health effects.

So, as you go through the process, be sure to take steps to care for yourself. Seeing a therapist can be a great way to talk through your feelings, and come to terms with the end of your marriage.

If your need divorce advice, contact us. We’ll put you in touch with a lawyer who can help you with your unique situation.

10 Tips For An Amicable Divorce

10 tips for an amicable divorce

Divorce is an unfortunate fact of life. Circumstances change, and people grow apart. But your divorce does not need to be acrimonious.

An amicable divorce is easier on all parties. And why shouldn’t it be easy? A divorce is a major life event but the process can be smooth.

Once you and your partner have made the difficult decision to separate you can still remain on civil terms. The ending of a marriage is the end of a contract. Contracts can be finalized in a way which benefits both parties.

So what are the tips for an amicable divorce?

Don’t Rush the Process of Friendship

Of course, it would be wonderful if every divorce ended with a hug and handshake and the couple remained firm friends for life. This can happen, but it is not a good idea to try and be friends too soon.

A divorce is a painful and disruptive event. You both need time and space to think through your feelings and adjust to the changes in your lives.

Remain professional and courteous, but don’t try and hasten a friendship. Let everything evolve in its own time.

Write it Down

Trust is important during a divorce agreement, but this is a challenging time for everyone. There is a lot to be talked about. Words are spoken, and sometimes words are forgotten or recanted.

If you reach an agreement on assets or other components of the divorce make sure you take a note. This way, if anything changes, you have a record of the agreement.

Issues of money and parenting are emotional topics. Keep a record and be precise with the details.

Create a Parenting Plan

When there are children involved in a separation emotions can become heated. Try and work as a team with your ex. Keep everyone’s best interests at the forefront.

A parenting plan should clearly outline the expectations and guidelines of your continued co-parenting after the divorce is complete. The plan should cover where the children will live, weekend arrangements, holiday arrangements, and other key issues.

Remember to keep sight of the fact that your children are involved in a divorce regardless of their age. A divorce affects the entire family. Ensure they don’t become a bargaining tool.

Consider Mediation

Sometimes, regardless of the best intent, you and your ex can reach an impasse. Perhaps there is a point or two which you just cannot agree on. This may be the time to enlist the help of a mediator.

Mediation is a popular way to settle family legal disputes. The mediator can offer an unbiased point of view and work with both parties to educate and instruct.

A mediator who is also a lawyer has the experience and legal knowledge to help couples reach an agreement.

Establish Clear Rules and Consequences

A divorce is a stressful time and humans can sometimes act badly under stress. Each of you may be determined to have an amicable divorce but there can be moments when the end result is lost in the heat of the process.

It can be helpful to define a set of rules along with consequences should the rules be broken. This will allow both you and your ex to feel secure if one of you strays from the agreement.

In effect, you are establishing the rules for your new post-divorce relationship.

Leave Old Habits Behind

Once you and your ex-partner have decided to divorce you are removing yourself from the relationship of marriage. A marriage provides a couple with a support person to prop them up through life’s challenges. A divorce releases you from this requirement.

Resist the urge to be there for your ex’s difficulties whether they be emotions, work, or family. You can still show concern, of course, but it is not healthy to continue to be the key support once you have made the decision to divorce.

Make a reasonable gap between the two of you and let go of your requirement to support your ex through their troubles. Concentrate on developing positive new habits for your life without your ex.

Allow Relationship Transformation

You have both decided on an amicable divorce but what happens next? How do you adjust to the relationship post-marriage?

Your new relationship with your ex will be different. It has to be. A marriage partnership needs to evolve after a divorce.

Don’t rush it. Allow your new relationship to transform and grow and release your expectations of what it should be.

Accept Support When Offered

A divorce is tough, regardless of how smooth the process is. You can’t do it alone. If friends or family offer their help, take it.

Sometimes all you need is a friendly ear and a willingness to listen. A divorce can be an isolating time. A frank conversation with someone who cares can be all you need to reclaim the feeling that you are not alone.

Don’t try and do this by yourself. Others may have experiences that they can share which will help with some of your questions. Ease your pathway and accept support.

Don’t Lay Blame If You Want An Amicable Divorce

It can be tempting to blame your ex for the marriage breakdown. It may be their fault but laying blame does not help anyone. Accept the marriage dissolution and go forward peacefully.

It is all too easy for a divorce to become messy and confrontational. Removing blame from any interactions with your ex will make your discussions flow more smoothly and increase the chances of reaching an agreement.

A pointed YOU said (did, had, etc) immediately puts the other party on the defensive. Bypass the blame game.

Select a Divorce Option

There are many ways to complete the divorce process. You can choose to go to battle or you can choose a more peaceful approach. An amicable divorce is more likely if you take the peaceful route.

Talk with the professionals. Find out what your options are. You can choose litigation, collaboration, or mediation.

A good divorce attorney will lead you through the dispute and resolution process and out the other side with your sanity intact.

How Divorce Can Negatively Affect Your Health

divorce can negatively affect your healthDivorce can oftentimes be very hard on your finances, but did you also know that it can take a toll on your health? Knowing these potential health-related problems can help you to stay healthier while getting your divorce.


If you are feeling more insecure and stressed, these could be signs of anxiety. Conversely, if you are feeling a bit down, having a difficult time getting out of bed, and feeling hopeless and alone, these could be signs of mild depression. Given the many unanswered questions that attend divorce discussions, and perhaps the worry about the future, anxiety or depression are real possible health risks.

Weight Changes

If you are anxious, or perhaps a bit blue, you could see drastic weight changes – either up or down. Weight fluctuations can be a problem when you are constantly upset or worried and paying less attention to eating complete meals or relying too much on take out.

Heart Disease

Middle-aged men and women are both at higher risk for heart disease when they are going through a divorce, for a variety of reasons. The usual culprit is the combination of high-stress levels that last for a very long time, especially for women.

For women, the inflammation caused be stress tends to last longer, even after the divorce, because they are more likely to suffer more financially, have less emotional support, and to live alone longer post-divorce. For women, the risks are significant: one study showed that for women who have experienced divorce are 24% more likely to experience a heart attack; women with more than one divorce, the increased risk is 77%.

Sleep Issues

Perhaps one of the most common health-related problems during a divorce is sleep issues, which can be difficulty falling asleep, or difficulty staying asleep, or both. Sleep difficulties can be a cause of sadness and other symptoms related to depression, so working on getting a good night’s sleep through stress reduction and exercise is critical to your health.

Chronic Conditions and Mobility

Studies show that people going through a divorce or more at risk for chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, but mobility can become a problem, too. Even simple tasks like walking or climbing stairs can become a problem.

Stress and Immune System Fatigue

With stress comes a weakened immune system, which means that you can get more colds, the flu will stick around longer, and it can contribute to all the feelings that come with depression. When there is stress, your risk for autoimmune diseases, where your own immune system turns on itself, are much higher.

Problems with Digestion

Sometimes a stomach ache can be a symptom of a problem that is caused by high stress and anxiety. If you do not manage these mild symptoms, however, it can lead to further digestive tract systems, like heartburn and indigestion, or even irritable bowel syndrome.

If you are experiencing any of these health-related problems, studies show that devoting time each day solely to taking care of your physical and mental health can help, considerably. Even a quick daily walk and some deep breathing can help to improve your health during a divorce.

Top 10 Reasons People Divorce

reasons people divorceThere are many reasons people divorce. With as many as fifty percent of first marriages ending in divorce and sixty percent of second marriages succumbing to the same fate, it is important to understand exactly what issues couples feel can not be resolved. While nobody could effectively predict, let alone list, all the reasons that have been given for divorcing, here are the top ten reasons people divorce.

1. Lack of communication – Too often people keep little annoyances inside and allow them to build into large problems. The people in the marriage many times expect their partner to know what they need or want without being told.

2. Money – Lack of money creates stress in the best of situations. When one partner is a free spender and the other a saver, this can create additional stress and blame for financial problems.

3. Sexual incompatibility – Two people who do not think of sex the same way in terms of what and how often soon find this a major roadblock.

4. Lack of trust – Before an infidelity even occurs, there is often a lack of trust in at least one partner. This can make the other partner feel trapped. A lack of trust always indicates a lack of love.

5. Unfulfilled needs – This goes back to a lack of communication. Too often we expect our partner to know and fulfill all our needs but that is too much to expect from one other person. The pressure can become too much.

6. Personal growth – This happens most often when the couple marries young. As we age, some people grow emotionally. Some people find they want a different direction in life. When one partner grows and the other doesn’t, or they grow in different directions, the marriage falls apart.

7. Family interference – Many couples spend too much time involving friends and family in their disagreements. Instead of working on things themselves, they allow family and friends to exert too much influence on their decisions.

8. Lifestyle differences – This often happens when there is an addiction involved. One partner may be a heavy drinker and the other doesn’t drink. One may become addicted to either prescription or illegal drugs and the other partner can no longer deal with the fallout.

9. Arguing – Some couples thrive on arguing constantly, but most get to a point where they don’t want the constant drama and upset. When every little thing sets off an argument, life becomes unhappy and divorce normally follows.

10. Abuse – This can be either psychological verbal or physical abuse. Either partner can be the abuser. As more people are becoming aware of what abuse can do even generations later, couples are splitting up and the abused partner getting to safety sooner.

Regardless of the reason given for divorcing, many boil down to not really knowing the person you are marrying. The ease of divorce makes it easier to jump into marriage. Taking the time to really know the person you are seeking to spend a lifetime with will help make that lifetime not only possible but also enjoyable.

Who Gets What After The Divorce?

who-gets-what-after-the-divorceDivorce is frequently, but not always, a fraught topic for many couples. The reason is that divorces bring into play a number of complicated issues like child custody and visitation rights, potential alimony payments, and often the division of assets and debts post-divorce.

So, how exactly does the court view property within the context of marriage and divorce? Just considering some of the things involved and how those, even theoretically, should be divvied up can be daunting. How does someone get half of a car, for instance, or how should pensions and stock options be handled and equitably divided?

Those are great questions, but first, let’s consider what assets are typically involved in divorce proceedings. One of the most common material assets brought up within the context of family law is physical property like homes as well as rental properties and vehicles. Financial assets like stock options, retirement plans and pensions, certain businesses and brokerage accounts might also come into play.

Equitable Distribution and Community Property 

The law in some states maintains that all property acquired after a marriage should be split 50-50 following a divorce (community property state) whereas other states say that the division doesn’t need to be a 50-50 split but merely equitable.

California – along with states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Washington -are community property states where any property that is acquired after your marriage date is divided equally following a divorce. Believe it or not, though, California is one of the exceptions and not the rule in America since most other states are equitable distribution (a.k.a., common law property) states in which judges have more latitude in how they divvy up property.

The interesting thing is that in community property states like California both spouses are said to have equal rights to all material and financial assets acquired after the marriage date. This means that if for instance, only one spouse had steady employment throughout the marriage or earned considerable more than the other spouse, assets are divided up equally between spouses in a divorce proceeding in states like California.

The flip side is that both spouses are considered liable for debts in the same 50-50 manner. In equitable distribution states family law judges would have the legal latitude to give the higher earning spouse more of the debt burden during divorce proceedings, but in a community property state like California, the judge should be applying the “equal ownership” concept to assets and debts alike. This includes credit card debt, interest, car loans and even home mortgages you might be struggling to pay down.

Are There Limits to Community Property? 

Simply put, yes. These limits are dictated by one overriding factor: time. Assets acquired before the marriage and/or after couples have separated with the intention of terminating the marriage are considered separate property owned by each individual spouse. The title to a home or title to a car, as well as other physical property, owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, should be owned by that same spouse post-divorce.

The interesting wrinkle to all this is that sometimes individual property and community property mix during the course of a marriage.

What happens then? If one spouse works at a high-income job throughout the marriage and uses that income to purchase a car or home, then in a community property state like California that car (or more likely, it’s blue book value) would be split post-divorce between spouses. Value appraisals for other material assets like homes, antiques or even retirement assets will typically be valued by relevant authorities like accountants, financial experts and judges themselves.

Tax Time and Your Divorce

tax-time-and-your-divorceDivorce is angst-ridden enough without the fiscal complications, but you’ll make it through the financial year more smoothly if you get to know the tax laws. The IRS generally thinks of you as married until the end of the tax year, so even if you divorce on New Year ’s Eve, your marital status won’t change when it comes to what you owe the government. Nothing is ever quite that simple, though. There are more tricks to filing that you need to consider.

Filing Status

The IRS doesn’t always use federal law to determine your marital status. You will have to check the laws of your state. Some let you separate under a decree of separate maintenance, which means you’re considered married until the last day of your divorce. The U.S. hasn’t caught up when it comes to registered domestic partners, who can’t file joint returns under any circumstances.

  • If you’re under a decree of divorce, you must file as the head of your household or as a single person.
  • If you’re still married, you can file your taxes as a couple or separately under ‘married filing separately.’ Filing jointly is usually easier on the pocket.
  • Federal taxes are usually lower if you file together.
  • Head of household status can be used if you have children. It comes with extra tax benefits and lower tax payments. If you have custody and will be unmarried by the end of the year, you qualify for this benefit as long as the children are your legal dependents. The IRS redefines custody frequently.


If you divorced last year and have custody of children, you might qualify for childcare and education tax credits. Child support payments aren’t deductible, but they’re not considered income either. Alimony is taxable income, and if you’re the one paying it, it’s fully deductible, too. However, if you receive it as a lump sum payment, it won’t be taxable or deductible.

Tax Returns During Your Marriage

Even if you file separately, you’re responsible for your prior tax returns from years when you filed together. Joint tax returns come with enough complications to make your head spin, so make sure you handle them well in advance and keep yourself safe with an indemnification agreement. This way, if your spouse has due taxes, you won’t be held responsible for them. Any overpayments should be allocated in the divorce proceedings. If your spouse added your name to their returns during your marriage, consent must be formally revoked.


If you have assets that will be transferred to you during your divorce, they will count as capital gains. When married, you’re not taxed on your home if it’s under $500 000, but when single, you’re only exempt up to $250,000. If you sell the house as a part of the divorce, you might qualify for a reduced exclusion, depending on whether you’ve lived in the home for at least two years of the last five. Retirement assets can be cashed out, but you will have to pay tax on them. The only way to avoid this particular payment is by transferring the funds to your ex-spouse under a Qualified Domestic Relations order.

If your spouse agreed to a joint return and refused later, you’re unlikely to get a court order to force them.

Divorce comes with its fair share of chaos and confusion, and tax law is constantly evolving, which could push you into a different tax bracket. It’s critical to check current state and federal law or, even better, hire a competent professional to advise you.

Late-Life Divorce

late-life divorceDivorce at any age is difficult, both emotionally and financially and a late-life divorce can be even more devastating. As the population in general ages, we are seeing more divorces occurring in couples who have been together for decades. These “gray divorces” pose additional issues that are often not present in a divorce between younger couples.

A Late-Life Divorce: Going From We To Me

Many couples over fifty may be on their second or third marriage. Others have been together for thirty years or more. They have bought a home, raised a family and prepared for retirement. Determining who gets what is more complicated than I’ll take the house and you can have the car. The longer the  couple has functioned as one unit, the more difficult the financial aspects, in particular, can be to sort out.

Your Home

Determining who gets your home isn’t simply a matter of handing over the deed. The person who keeps the house will need to take into account the taxes they need to pay every year, the cost of any repairs and if the home is to become rental property, the income that may be generated from it over the coming years. This can all have an impact on alimony payments, the division of other property and even how retirement benefits are divided. If you sell your home, living expenses change regarding needing to pay rent and utilities.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits are even more complicated to divide in a late-life divorce. You may have contributed equally to any retirement plans or one partner may have been the sole contributor. In either case, the benefits will need to be divided so that each person has something to live on during those years. Division of retirement benefits will depend greatly on other financial factors. How will the divorce affect social security payments if the original receiver dies?

Health And Life Insurance

Aging couples often have to deal with decreasing health in addition to other issues. Who is responsible for the health insurance, and how much, becomes a factor. Life insurance policies often have each half of the couple listed as the beneficiary. It will need to be determined whether this is to remain the same or if the beneficiary information will change. It is possible that if either party remarries, financial information will differ and you need to take this into account.

Estate Planning

Wills need to be re-examined in light of the changing relationship. As a couple, you may have written wills to reflect your partner as the sole recipient of your property and other assets. You may have left that partner in charge of carrying out your final wishes. Now, you will both have to determine if this arrangement is actually the best for both of you. Often, it will be better to revise each of your wills to reflect the changed status of your marriage.

Seeking Assistance

Later-life divorces have so many financial nuances that going it alone can make it confusing and make an already chaotic time overwhelming. Seeking the aid of an experienced divorce lawyer who has knowledge of all the special financial considerations unique to late-life divorce. Seeking assistance can make a major difference between being able to survive this split with enough to get through the remaining years of your life or being destitute and feeling like you are completely starting over financially. In the end, you have enough to deal with emotionally that you don’t need the stress of trying to untangle the financial aspects alone.

Why Does Divorce Have To Be So Complicated?

Why Does Divorce Have To Be So Complicated?The process of legally separating from somebody with whom you’ve been previously tied, perhaps for many years, sounds like a complicated process. That’s why most people don’t think getting a divorce is going to be fast and pain-free. However, the lengths many people go to during a divorce can make the process so complicated that even the cynics among us find it miraculous.

Why are divorces really so complicated though? While it depends on the couple, and every situation is different, there are some common reasons why a divorce can be a long, drawn-out affair.

Real Estate And Assets

When a couple owns a home together, trying to decide who stays in the house can be a major issue. If the couple used joint funds to buy the home, determining who will stay and how funds will be paid to the person relocating can be very tricky. It can also make tempers flare since many situations lead to both partners feeling like they’re entitled to stay in the home.

Other joint assets like investment and retirement accounts complicate the divorce process further. Splitting investments isn’t always as easy as cashing out an investment plan, and in many cases, dividing them is the best choice for both partners.

Figuring out who gets what and why can be a serious problem however, especially when both partners want to retain the same assets.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, or one partner paying to help the other support themselves after a split, can be troublesome for many couples. The most common problem when it comes to spousal support is the amount one partner pays the other.

Often, the individual that has to pay spousal support may feel like they no longer should have to pay for their partner since they’re no longer connected to them. At the same time, the person looking to receive financial support may feel they’re owed payment because of money earned in the relationship when they were an equal partner.

When couples can’t resolve this issue on their own it is often up to the courts to determine what is fair. That makes the issue of spousal support one that could take months or years to completely hammer out.

Do You Have Children?

One of the biggest reasons divorces can become complicated affairs is trying to figure out who will take care of the children and when. Many parents want equal custody, but in some cases, one partner may want that while the other wants full rights to care for their children.

In some cases, you’ll also find that parents argue over when they get to have their children at the home. If both partners work for example, weekends are going to be when parents want to spend time with their kids.

Cases where one parent things the other is an unfit caretaker also may divorce very complicated. These divorces can drag on for months and often turn nasty very quickly.

Hiring The Right Attorney

Getting a divorce isn’t always going to be a simple task. Even when young couples with few assets and no children get divorced, the process can take months.

Hiring a skilled attorney to help you negotiate divorce is something you need to do. Even if you don’t want a contentious divorce – and nobody really does – you need somebody on your side to make sure whatever arrangements are made are fair to you.

Hiring the right attorney can also keep conversation between you and a former partner from turning into screaming matches. If you’d like a free telephone consultation, please contact us at (510) 521-9500 for our East Bay office, or (415) 482-7800 at our San Rafael office.

What is a Malignant Divorce?

malignant divorceThere is no question that divorce is a time of stress and can bring out the worst in us for a period of time. There aren’t many people alive who don’t have the ability to respond negatively to divorce.

But sometimes the negativity and stress go beyond normal and develop into what is now being called a “malignant divorce.” It’s one way of describing a divorce that involves high-conflict and often toxic behavior. Fortunately, most divorces don’t descend into the kind of hostility and potential danger that malignant divorces do.

What Are Characteristics of a Malignant Divorce?

Hostility perhaps best defines a malignant divorce. Instead of legal negotiation when it comes to issues such as child custody and how to divide marital assets, a couple resorts to hostile confrontation. Malignant, high-conflict divorces typically involve the following personality types and the resultant behaviors which come with each:

The Victim.  When one of the parties in the divorce is obsessed with the idea that they’re wronged – as well as the certainty of it – then they’re acting in the role of the victim. He or she believe that they’ve wasted years of their life being with you, or that you’re now unfit to take care of your children.

Control Freak.  He or she may have been a control freak during the marriage and is now taking it to a new extreme during the divorce. He’s now planning every detail, such as documenting your incompetence, so he cannot lose in court.

Narcissist.  This is a common type of behavior type when it comes to malignant divorces. The person is completely self-centered and self-serving, and even more so now during your divorce. He or she will completely dismiss your needs and all of the history of devotion and companionship you once had.

Avenger.  This is the most dangerous type of participant in a malignant divorce and the behavior can be a natural extension of the traits listed above. The avenger is not just interested in winning, but is obsessed with you losing and, hopefully, losing in a miserable way.

What Else Characterizes a Malignant Divorce?

The speed at which it occurs, as well as the ferocity, are two common characteristics of a malignant divorce. What was once an ordinary, functioning couple, is now two people at each other’s throat in what seems like the blink of an eye. Resentments that have festered over the years are suddenly out in the open, and with a vengeance. Pent-up anger comes pouring out and what was once love turns quickly to hate. A person that you were once sexually attracted to now seems repulsive.

As previously mentioned, the ferocity of a malignant divorce is enough for both parties to renounce the good history they had together, including the family you nurtured, to be swept away in anger and victimization, and an obsession with being the one who ‘wins’ when the divorce goes to court. Normal communication dissolves into accusations, blames and threats. Everything, from the house, to the kids, to dividing of the assets becomes an issue.

A reasonable divorce, on the hand, occurs when the couple value what they had and mourn the loss while recognizing that the relationship has ended. But one of the ironies of divorce is that the force needed to blow apart what was a close-knit family is enough to bring on the ferocity of a malignant divorce.

If you’d like a free telephone consultation, please contact us at (510) 521-9500 for our East Bay office, or (415) 482-7800 at our San Rafael office.

Tax Implications to Consider Following a Divorce


Going through a divorce is not an enjoyable experience to say the least. It is one of the most stressful things that two people will ever have to go through in their lives. When a couple decides that it is time to go their separate ways, they have a lot to think about, a lot of decisions to make. They have to think about their kids and where they will go, what to do about their house, their pets, other assets and so on. One other thing that has to be taken into account is the tax implications that come into play when you are talking about a divorce.

Taking care of things on the tax side is pivotal:

Settling on Property

One of the tax implications that goes along with a divorce is that of figuring out what to do with property from a tax perspective. It is far more difficult to figure out tax implications relating to property than it is dividing up the property in the first place. Certain assets, such as a home with a mortgage, are going to have tax liabilities or benefits, while others may have no tax implications at all.

Child Support

Child support payments are not deductible on your personal income tax return, no matter what other people may actually tell you. So when you are paying child support, do not do so thinking that you are going to be able to get a deduction as a result of it. This can cause issues with the IRS when you try and use these things to take away from your taxable income.

Tax Exemptions

When you have children you have the ability to get tax benefits and exemptions. A child can get you an exemption of thousands of dollars and figuring out who is going to be able to claim the children and the exemption or exemptions is very important. Generally whoever has custody of the children is going to be able to include them on their tax return.

Alimony Payments

Alimony payments, contrary to child support payments, are something that is tax deductible. If you are the person that is paying out the alimony payments, you get to deduct these to reduce your taxable income.

Tax implications relating to a marriage are important to pay attention to. There are just so many different areas where taxes can come into play. When you are talking about property, alimony, child support, understanding how to file your return and what you can deduct and not deduct is pivotal to accurately settling with the Internal Revenue Service.