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Washington, DC, Family Law Blog

5 signs that your marriage is coming to a close

If your marriage has been on the rocks for some time, you are probably well aware of this fact. However, there is a difference between having marital challenges and having a marriage that's ready for divorce.

In some cases, overcoming challenges brings us closer to our spouses. In other cases, the challenges are far too difficult to overcome. It's therefore important that spouses in conflict learn to understand some of the hallmark signs that divorce is imminent versus the typical marital challenges that all spouses face -- and eventually -- learn to resolve.

Prenuptial agreements are more popular than ever

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), approximately 50 percent of lawyers surveyed have seen an uptick in requests for prenuptial agreements from millennials. The frequency of filing prenuptial agreements before marriage has increased five times during the last 20 years, and most of that increase is attributed to those between the ages of 18 and 34.

One of the reasons for the increase in prenuptial agreements is the fact that the youngest generation of adults is choosing to wait before getting married. This means that many of them have more accrued personal assets to protect.

You may have to establish paternity to gain custody of your kids

Not that long ago, it was very unusual for children to be born outside of wedlock in much of the country. That expectation has shifted drastically in the last generation. More people than ever before pursue long-term relationships without the commitment of marriage. Many couples choose to have children without marrying before conception or after the birth.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with this arrangement, it can create unique obstacles for fathers at the end of a relationship. If you are splitting up with the mother of your children but are not married, you may need to consider establishing paternity for your children.

What's the timeframe of the average divorce process?

Everyone wants to get their divorces over and done with as quickly as possible. What many spouses discover, however, is that the process takes longer than they thought. Just because your distant cousin — who was unemployed and didn't have any assets to his and his spouse's name — finalized his divorce in two months does not mean that you and your husband will finalize your marital break-up that quickly.

Ultimately, the length of your divorce will depend on the strategies you implement. Let's review some of the most common divorce strategies and how long they tend to take:

Is the 80-20 parenting schedule right for you?

Separated Washington, D.C., parents use a variety of strategies to divide their parenting time. Some opt for a 50-50 plan of time-sharing while others opt for a 60-40 or 80-20 plan. All of these plans are valid, but depending on your and your family's situation, one may be more appropriate than another.

Let's take a closer look at the 80-20 plan. For whom might this plan work best? In what kind of situations would this plan be applicable?

Tips for handling your finances during and after the divorce

One of the biggest changes that you will have to deal with when you are going through a divorce is with your finances. This might not seem like it will be a huge change since you won't have to support as many people. However, you might find it to be fairly challenging once you delve into the numbers. People who were in a two-income household will likely find the transition to one income a bit difficult.

It is a good idea to take a look at where you stand financially as early in the divorce as possible. This can help you to come up with a plan for the remainder of the process that you can make a permanent part of your life. Here are some tips that you may find useful:

Ensuring your post-divorce financial stability

More and more divorcing spouses are examining the financial aspects of their divorce proceedings. These fiscally responsible individuals want to survive the dissolution of their marriages with their finances intact, and they're turning to financial planners to help them do just that.

Financial planners throughout Washington, D.C., and the rest of the United States have responded by offering various divorce planning financial solutions. Some planners even hold themselves out to specialize in divorce financial planning.

Is your prenuptial agreement a valid legal document?

A hastily created prenuptial agreement may not be a valid legal document. If you and your spouse have entered into a prenup -- and you want to enforce it or try to get it invalidated -- you should review the following reasons why these agreements sometimes fail in court.

The information that follows will also be useful to anyone planning to create or sign a prenup in the immediate future.

Getting rid of the prenuptial agreement: Null and void

You decided to sign the prenuptial agreement your husband offered you because he brought it up so close to your wedding. You didn't agree with everything inside, but you thought that you needed to sign it to make sure your wedding could go forward as planned.

Now, years later, you're considering getting a divorce but hate that the prenuptial agreement limits your access to your marital property. What can you do? Is there a way to void the agreement?

Who should pay for health care costs after a divorce?

When parents litigate their child custody proceedings, Washington, D.C., courts will determine issues relating to child support and child care expenses and how the divorced parents will divide these expenses between themselves. As such, if you are planning to reach an out-of-court settlement relating to child custody and your parenting plan, you will need to come to a determination about cost sharing.

With specific regard to health care cost sharing, parents will have various options for making a determination on the issue. Whatever decision the parents come to, they can codify it in a written agreement by incorporating the decision into their parenting plan via a well-written parenting provision.

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