Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Being prepared for the, hopefully, unlikely event of a divorce from day 1

We've all heard that scary statistic "50% of marriages end in divorce".  Whether that statistic is accurate or not is for another day.  Today, we are discussing how to be positive that your marriage will succeed, while ensuring that you can be independently successful if you are faced with a divorce. 

First, maintain your financial independence.  This does not mean you need to keep secret money stashed away or cannot be a stay at home mom.  What it means is ensure that you will always be capable of providing for yourself, should you need to.  Not only is this smart in case a divorce does come along down the road, but suppose your spouse unexpectedly passed away tomorrow, you would need to be able to financially support yourself and your family.  One way to do this is to maintain your education.  Let's say you have a bachelor's degree in business administration.  If you are not working, try to take classes to stay up-to-date on what is going on in the business world and how it is changing.  This will help if you suddenly need to find a job and have been out of the work force for some time.  Another important thing you should be doing is having knowledge about your finances.  It is typical that one spouse handles the finances for the family.  However, the other spouse should be well aware of how much money the family has and where the money is (stocks, 401k, etc.).  This will be beneficial to you not only in the event of a divorce, but also during the marriage.

Second, maintain your emotional and personal independence.  It is wonderful, and I believe a very positive thing, to view your marriage as a partnership and a team.  However, you need to maintain some amount of independence.  This means spending time apart, visiting with friends, enjoying your hobby, taking up a new hobby, etc.  It is said that spending time apart strengthens a marriage.  It will also help you emotionally if you do have to go through a divorce.  Without your separate aspects of life, you may be left feeling like you have nothing left in life.  If you have maintained your friendships and your hobbies throughout the marriage, you will have people to lean on and things to take your mind off of your divorce.

Finally, have a plan for YOUR life.  You will most likely plan for your life together as spouses, and I encourage that as well.  However, you need to remember where YOU want to go in life.  What is your dream job?  Where is your dream home?  While planning for your life as spouses, you should not lose sight of what is important to you as an individual.  Your plan may forfeit some of those dreams for what is best for your family.  However, you should remember your goals and dreams throughout and not lose sight of who YOU are and what YOU want.

I know many of you do not want to think about planning for a divorce, especially if you just got married.  This is not planning for a divorce.  This is planning for a successful lifestyle even if you and your spouse are no longer together at some point in the future.  Maintain your attitude that your marriage will succeed; however, maintain some amount of independence and hopefully, if you do have to go through a divorce or lose your spouse unexpectedly, you will be slightly more prepared. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why speeding could have huge consequences for you

Reckless driving in Virginia is defined as traveling in excess of 20 mph over the posted speed limit or traveling in excess of 80 mph regardless of the posted speed limit.  This means if you travel 81 mph, even if the posted speed limit is 70 mph, you could be convicted of a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  That is in the same category as a DUI in Virginia. 

If you are convicted of reckless driving, the penalty could be up to a $2,500 fine and up to 1 year in jail.  Further, you could have your license suspended for up to 6 months.  These are serious consequences.  Even more serious, is if you kill someone while driving recklessly, you could be guilty of a Class 6 Felony, depending on your individual circumstances (such as driving on a suspended or revoked license). 

While traveling 11 mph over the speed limit may not seem like a big deal, you should be aware of the possible consequences for those actions.  If you have been charged with reckless driving, I sincerely encourage you to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A few things to consider when contemplating divorce

Maybe someone cheated or maybe you and your spouse have simply grown apart; no matter what the circumstances, you are left contemplating a divorce.  Here are a few things to consider while you decide how you are going to handle your situation.

First, consider marriage counseling.  No matter how hurt you feel or how far apart you think you and your spouse have drifted, seeing a professional to work through those feelings together may help.  Marriage counselors will help you and your spouse work through both your feelings so that you better understand where the other person is coming from and you better understand how you really feel.  By working with a marriage counselor, you may be able to open the lines of communication between you and your spouse to work towards a better marriage.  Even if you still want a divorce after marriage counseling, you will have a better sense of your feelings and your desires.

Make it a point to focus on your children throughout the divorce.  Divorce is a painful process and may make you want to lash out and criticize your spouse in front of your children.  Think about how this will affect your children.  Think about how this will affect the relationship your children have with your spouse.  Think about how you would feel if your spouse did the same thing.  Focus on spending time with your children and ensuring they know you both still love them.  Not only is this important for your children, it will likely have positive effects on your well being and state of mind. 

Finally, try to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.  Is it worth the expense to fight your husband over the bedroom furniture set just because you want to win?  Is there a way you can work through this together so that you still have an amicable relationship?  While there are certainly times that you need to fight, consider the financial and psychological effects of fighting your spouse in court before making your decision. 

Keep these things in mind and hopefully your divorce will be a little less painful.