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Denver Divorce Law Blog

If your divorce has left you feeling 'not okay'

“How are you doing?” Sometimes, this question is a welcome one. When old friends embrace each other on the street after a long absence and are joyous in their reunion, this question is a happy, natural byproduct of the situation. However, this question can also be truly unwelcome. If you are the parent of a truly sick child, if you have lost a loved one or if you are divorcing, this question can feel loaded and frustrating.

On the one hand, the person asking you this question may genuinely want to know the answer. He or she may be prepared for you to be vulnerable and to be honest. If you are sitting with your dearest friend and he or she asks you this question, it may not feel loaded and frustrating. It may be an invitation to vocalize your troubles. However, if anyone but your closest loved ones asks it, you may be tempted to either lie and say you’re “okay” or scream at the top of your lungs that you are “not okay.”

'Divorce' for unmarried cohabitating couples

There are many reasons why individual couples opt to cohabitate but not to marry. One of the reasons why some couples choose to avoid making their unions legally “official” is that they believe that in the event of a breakup, they will be spared the pain and expense associated with the divorce process. Certainly, if a couple has only been cohabitating for a few weeks or months, this may be true.

However, if a couple truly begins to blend their lives in significant ways, they may be compelled to face many of the same legal hurdles that married couples do when they opt to divorce. If an unmarried couple’s finances, property and even children are shared, the courts may be called upon to help that couple fairly divide the elements of life that the unmarried couple has blended over months and years.

Avoid these phrases if you want an amicable divorce

The process of divorcing from one's spouse can be complex, frustrating and surprisingly delicate. We have previously written about the fact that it is possible to avoid costly and time-consuming divorce litigation if you and your spouse are both willing and able to work through any differences you have between you with the aid of your attorneys and perhaps with the help of a mediator.

However, a relatively amicable divorce can only remain amicable if tensions do not flare out of control. As a result, it is important to prepare yourself to use healthy communication techniques designed to keep tensions low and communication productivity high.

Loved ones: Divorce 'interference' is rarely productive

If a loved one has recently revealed to you that he or she is seeking a divorce, please think carefully before you interfere with this decision. You almost certainly want your loved one to be spared hurt and pain. However, it is rare that a married couple approaches the subject of divorce lightly. By the time that someone announces an intention to divorce to his or her loved ones, the subject has likely already become a significant presence in that person’s life.

Certainly, as a loved one you may wish to offer your support and your advice. But it is generally difficult to offer unsolicited advice without appearing to interfere. As a result, it is important to think carefully before offering unsolicited advice, as it may offend and alienate the individual you are seeking to help.

Why a post-divorce future can be uniquely bright

In the immediate aftermath of your decision to divorce your spouse, you likely experienced a host of negative emotions. Perhaps the decision to divorce was brought on by a traumatic event like infidelity. Or perhaps the decision to divorce was inspired by a variety of factors which added up to an unhealthy and unhappy situation. No matter what prompted the decision to divorce, the decision is now yours to “own.”

Thankfully, owning your divorce does not generally mean that you need to stew in your negative emotions. Generally, you will need to process your negative emotions in healthy ways until you can move forward. You may never “get over” your divorce in the sense that you have fully processed every nuance of the experience. However, you can work towards processing enough of your negative emotions that your future begins to look brighter instead of bleaker.

The pros and cons of seeking marriage counseling

We frequently observe that no two marriages are exactly alike. As a result, there is no one “right” way to determine whether or not a marriage should come to an end. Many couples seek guidance on this issue from marriage counselors. If you are considering counseling, you certainly may benefit from it. However, it is important to think carefully about the counseling process before you commit to this investment in your marriage.

Marriage counseling can help spouses to articulate their problems. In many cases, this process can aid couples in working through them. Sometimes the marriage counseling process is completed when a couple feels confident in their union again. Other times, couples conclude that they should separate or divorce. If a clear resolution is reached and participants feel confident that they are making the healthiest decision for them, counseling can be tremendously beneficial.

A few reminders co-parents can benefit from

Co-parenting can be a crazy adventure. It can be a frustrating experience or an enriching one on any given day. Because any co-parenting relationship can produce a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, it is generally helpful for co-parents to frequently remind themselves of what their values and priorities are. It can become much easier to focus on the task of advancing a child’s best interests if such reminders are frequent and easy to digest.

For example, it can be helpful to keep a picture of your child near the phone and near the computer. That way, if communication with your co-parent starts to get heated, you can focus on your child’s picture and remember the true goal of your communication. Is inflaming the tension between you and your co-parent serving the best interests of your child, whose endearing face is right in front of you? If not, that reminder can help you to calm down and re-focus the conversation.

Are you divorcing a narcissist?

The label “narcissist” tends to be thrown around quite a bit in American culture. This term has become a popular way to describe someone who is selfish or self-involved. It is important to understand that true narcissism is actually a personality disorder. People living with this personality disorder may have a difficult time maintaining healthy relationships. Individuals who are loved ones of narcissists may be exposed to emotionally abusive behaviors by the narcissist. Therefore, when one is divorcing a true narcissist, it is important to have an empathetic attorney and a strong support system.

Narcissists tend to be very loving and extremely charming at the beginning of relationships. They are prone to invest in grand gestures that can touch the hearts of basically anyone. However, as a relationship progresses, narcissists tend to behave as if they are incapable of wrongdoing, that the other person’s needs and wants do not matter and that conversations are completely one-sided. It can therefore be uniquely challenging to seek a fair divorce settlement when one is divorcing a narcissist.

Divorce planning: don’t forget potential income tax issues

One of the issues divorcing couples don’t often consider until problems arise is that they may be jointly and severally liable for each other’s income tax debts under federal law. This means that one can become liable for an ex-spouse’s tax liabilities even after divorce, even if it was established in the divorce proceedings that spouses are liable for their own tax debts or that only one spouse is liable.

The problem is similar to what ex-spouses can face with respect to credit card or mortgage debt—creditors do not care what agreements may have been made in divorce, but only who they may legally pursue for payment of the debt. The IRS is no different, and the agency can and will seek the payment of tax debts from ex-spouses, regardless of who specifically owes the money.

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