Divorce can either be a calm, respectful separation or an antagonistic process that drives you and your spouse to animosity. The underlying cause of the divorce often dictates how amicable the divorce ends up being. Unfortunately, many divorces end up being hostile processes where you and your spouse bicker and argue over every part of the negotiations.
While most hope they can avoid divorce altogether, those that cannot avoid it hope for an amicable divorce. When you are dealing with a hostile spouse or a situation that precludes civility in the process, the only remaining hope is that the fallout from the divorce is minimal. Unfortunately, minimal fallout is just as difficult to secure in divorce, especially if you have children.
Children are one of the most cherished parts of a marriage and the most affected parties. When a child's parents divorce, it impacts their lives and worldview in extreme ways. Depending on the child's age, their mental development leads to them trying to determine "sides" in the divorce. The side they view as the "good side" is usually determined by the parent they feel closer to, which opens the way to one of the most underhanded and despicable tactics in divorce.
In some cases, one parent will take advantage of the divorce and their relationship with your shared children to turn them against you. Divorce is heartbreaking enough, and having your child turned against you is unbearable, which makes combatting this issue critical to your continued relationship.
As horrifying as the idea of your child being turned against you is, it does happen, and it can be extremely subtle.
If you cannot notice the signs of your child turning against you, you will not be able to start fixing the damage your spouse has caused. Unfortunately, those children who prefer the subtle forms of rebellion make identifying the signs far more difficult.
Generally, a child being turned against a parent will demonstrate personality changes that range from glaringly obvious to subtle. You can best perceive some of these personality changes through social media accounts and evidence supplied by friends and family members. One of the more obvious signs is that your child spends less time with you than they did before. This reduced contact can result from your spouse actively keeping your child from you or telling them things to sabotage your relationship with them.
It will also help if you keep your ear to the ground for your child openly expressing disdain for you. Sometimes, your child will post on social media to complain about you or vent their frustration to friends. Keeping an eye on their social media profiles or relying on the parents of those friends to relay these complaints can be effective for identifying these issues. However, knowing that your child is turning against you and correcting the cause are 2 different things, the latter of which will require a great deal of effort.
The instinct of many when they are being portrayed negatively is to redirect blame to the original accuser or another party. While it is important to ensure that the person responsible for the issue is held accountable, pointing fingers can severely backfire. Your children learn from the example set by their parents, which makes examples of petty behavior a dangerous thing when going through a divorce. The other issue is that children look to us for guidance on how to treat others up to a certain age.
When we set poor examples, they tend to reflect those behaviors against their parents.
During a divorce, your spouse may attempt to defer blame to you to turn your child into a resource during the divorce process. When you notice your child rebelling against you, it is smart to communicate with them, but it is important not to blame your spouse. Even if your spouse is directly responsible for your child's rebellious streak, blaming them is a poor decision since it will only encourage that behavior. Furthermore, deflecting blame on your spouse will either make you guilty of turning your child against them or justify your child's perception of you as the villain.
The best choice is to have a calm conversation with your child and make it clear you care about them and their happiness. Rather than demonizing your soon-to-be ex-spouse, focus on making it clear that the divorce is no one's fault. Making it clear that you are not blaming anyone for the end of the marriage, including your spouse, will help set an example of understanding and compromise your child might need in trying times. Blame assignment only reinforces the idea that any blame your spouse places on you to turn your child against you is appropriate.
One of the most effective ways your spouse might attempt to turn your child against you is to heap attention onto them without letting you see them. This method allows them to ingratiate themselves to your child and highlight their importance to your spouse while making you seem less involved. As underhanded as this is, it is a tactic employed by more manipulative people.
Divorce is a difficult time for everyone caught in the process, including your child, who can feel as though they are taking a backseat to everything happening. Positive reinforcement in times of stress, like divorce proceedings, is important to prevent them from feeling abandoned or blamed for the marriage's end. Regardless of their age, your child will need to be reminded of their importance to you and your spouse and how they are still the priority despite the divorce.
However, words will not necessarily be enough to reassure your child of this, and you will need to act to cement their importance. This means you will need to set aside time to spend with them and remain an active presence in their life despite the divorce proceedings. This can be challenging, especially if your spouse actively tries to undermine your child's relationship. But the effort will go a long way to undoing any damage caused by your spouse's underhanded tactics.
Making time to spend with your child during the divorce and showing them they are still your priority can undermine any accusations made by your spouse. Usually, the accusations from your spouse that are poisoning them against you include claims that you are not interested in spending time with them or that you do not love them. These accusations can break your child's heart, and your child will be liable to believe the accusations since they come from a parent. Unfortunately, you cannot use these accusations as cause to begin hostile conduct with your spouse.
We discussed avoiding assigning blame, but there is far more conflict in a divorce than blaming the other person. Divorce proceedings can lead to several petty disagreements and arguments that can destroy the chances of an amicable divorce. Unfortunately, the hostile environment of a divorce can bleed into your child's perception of you. This is especially true if your spouse is actively trying to demonize you to your child.
While not blaming your spouse for the divorce is an excellent first step, the rest is avoiding other arguments that might cause your child to perceive you as hostile. It can be very tempting to get into a screaming match with your spouse or attempt to disgrace them somehow, especially if your spouse is antagonistic toward you throughout the process and is undermining you at every turn. This urge to fight back can be extremely tempting but also devastating to your side of the divorce proceedings.
Making hostile comments and claims against your spouse, even taking their property, or attempting to sabotage their case can damage your reputation with your child. All your child will perceive is that you are trying to discredit their other parent, especially if that other parent is more subtle with their claims than you are.
One of your child's biggest concerns is being left behind and forgotten when their parents get divorced. Ordinarily, this concern is most pronounced when you actively begin dating post-divorce or separation. Children, especially young children, have a strong connection to family ideals and generally want their family to stay together.
Divorce challenges these ideals and desires by separating the family and having both parents lead separate lives. In situations like this, it is common for the children of these marriages to feel unimportant and left behind by their parents. This feeling is exacerbated if you begin dating someone else immediately after or while the divorce is underway.
Typically, one should never start dating again until after the divorce proceedings are complete. Even once the divorce is finalized, immediately introducing a new girlfriend or boyfriend to your child can make them feel like you have replaced their parent. This can fuel the idea that they are replaceable, which your spouse might take advantage of to turn your child against you. Dating someone else allows your spouse to imply that you have no trouble replacing those you claim to love and that your child might be next to be replaced.
This is made worse if the person you are dating also has children you begin raising. Showing affection or care for stepchildren can make your child feel less important and that you are replacing them. While feeling replaced is a devastating sensation, it can lead to your child developing an antagonistic disposition aimed at you, your new partner, and any stepchildren from the new relationship.
As odd as it might sound, maintaining your child's approval should not alter your plans for divorce. Even if your child is adamantly opposed to the divorce, their discontent should not prevent you from pursuing the divorce if the marriage is only causing you harm. While your child might not understand the need for your divorce, allowing them to sway your resolve is not the right choice. Depending on your child's approval to move forward with the divorce means you have handed the power you retain as a parent to them. This ensures you cannot protect your interests and eliminates any power to discipline or instruct your children.
While this is not directly related to preventing your spouse from turning your child against you, it can inhibit your ability to be a proper parent. This also reinforces your spouse's power by allowing your child to control your decisions. By letting your child dictate your willingness to proceed with the divorce, your spouse can push them to keep you from moving forward while they plan their next move.
Divorce is an extremely complicated and unpleasant legal process in and of itself. When children are caught in the crossfire, it becomes even more complicated. Young children have a very simple view of society and family that drives them to fight to keep their parents together. Older children are dealing with hormone changes and social stresses that make them more aggressive when facing major changes. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy for your spouse to abuse this for their own gain and turn your child against you.
While weaponizing your children might seem inconceivable, it happens more than people realize. This is why connecting with your child during the divorce process is important, so you do not lose them to your spouse's machinations. Your spouse might not be the type of person to weaponize your child, but you need to learn about other situations in divorce. Divorce is an emotionally turbulent process, which makes preparing for the possible outcomes an excellent way of protecting yourself. We realize this is difficult for you, and we hope this article proves helpful.
Divorce is a process that inevitably leads to compromise and sacrifice as you separate from your spouse. As unfortunate as it sounds, some of the rights and options you had while married can change or even evaporate when you divorce your spouse. There are also very strict legal regulations surrounding the conduct of both parties in a divorce. Certain misconduct can lead to serious repercussions in the divorce, including the forfeiture of certain rights and resources awarded during the negotiations.
The violations required to justify such a forfeiture are often severe infractions committed against your spouse or the court that violates the law in some way. Unfortunately, what you might consider to be a violation doesn't always qualify as one in the eyes of the law.
One concern many people have when dealing with divorce is that leaving the marital home can adversely affect their standing in the negotiations. Even though the divorce process only begins because the marriage is no longer sustainable, there are still certain respects that must be paid to your spouse and vice-versa. These respects are not always outlined to the parties involved in the divorce, meaning some people are terrified to take certain actions for fear of violating the law. This is why so many are concerned that leaving the home they shared with their spouse will end up hurting their case. The real question is whether that is the case.
Usually, divorce results from issues that have made cohabitation unsustainable or impossible. Additionally, you will likely move out of that home once the divorce is complete anyway. Many do not realize that they are permitted to move out whenever they please, not strictly when the divorce is finalized.
In fact, moving out of the marital home before the divorce begins is a common practice employed when one spouse cannot reasonably cohabitate with the other anymore. In some states, separating for a certain period is a legal requirement before the divorce process can begin in earnest. This is known as the "separate and apart" period that demonstrates you genuinely want to separate from your spouse. Not every state enforces this practice, but those that do require the spouses to live in separate homes for a set amount of time.
An example of a "separate and apart" state is North Carolina, which requires the spouses to live separately for a minimum of 1 year before the divorce can begin. Other states allow you to begin the process immediately if the marriage is irretrievable and do not punish either spouse for moving out of the marital home. In some cases, moving out of the shared home is essential for the safety of one or both parties during the divorce proceedings.
While some states legally require you to live apart from your spouse, others do not have this provision but still encourage certain people to separate from their spouse first. This is because some marriages have become so unstable that continued cohabitation is dangerous and risks their health.
One of the most serious issues in a modern marriage is domestic abuse, where one spouse is mentally or physically harmed by the other regularly. Domestic abuse, while illegal, is not always caught since the victim is often too scared to come forward against their spouse.
Domestic abuse is frighteningly common, with nearly 20 people being physically abused by their partners per minute. This translates to roughly 10,000,000 men and women facing abuse annually. When being abused, it is reasonable to be scared or concerned about approaching your spouse with divorce. Especially since most abusers threaten far worse when the idea of you leaving is broached.
This level of fear, while reasonable, is not something you should be forced to deal with if it can be avoided, which is why it is encouraged for victims of abuse to move out as soon as possible.
By moving out and staying with a friend or family member, you can remain safe while proceeding with the divorce paperwork. Being forced to operate from the confines of a home where your abuser is can lead to your spouse retaliating violently. You can even request a protective order that legally bars your spouse from approaching you until a judge rescinds the effects.
Attempting to move out of the home you share with an abusive spouse can be terrifying, especially if you fear it might impact your rights during the divorce process. However, moving out will not compromise your claim in the divorce and will allow you to escape the grasp of your abusive spouse. Unfortunately, other factors can impact your ability to leave the family home.
One of the biggest staples of divorce negotiations is asset division, which determines what percentage of the property and finances you and your spouse receive. When dividing assets, several factors impact who gets what and whether you or your spouse are given more. One concern is whether moving out will cost you a portion of the assets you would normally receive. Given that divorcees often start over, losing out on important or sentimental property can be devastating to post-divorce life.
The division of assets is meant to be equitable and ensure both parties receive assets that will allow them to lead a life within the bounds of the quality of life they enjoyed while married. Whether you are still living with your spouse has no impact on these calculations, and some states even opt for a full 50/50 split of assets by default.
In states where the division of assets is calculated based on the different quality of life factors, the following details are considered:
These details determine the division of assets, with your current residence having no impact. The only other concern about asset division is who receives the house you moved out of and who is forced to find a new permanent residence. While it might seem like moving out will diminish your chances of keeping the house, this is not the case. If you move out, you still have the same chances of keeping the house as your spouse. Typically, the spouse who keeps the house compensates the other by providing assets and funds of comparable value to the house.
Ultimately, the division of assets must always remain equitable unless one spouse did something dishonest during the marriage. Moving out of your marital home does not qualify as dishonest and only serves to begin the separation process. While this is likely somewhat encouraging, one detail might impact your ability and willingness to move out of the home you shared with your spouse.
Most marriages produce at least one child unless both spouses actively avoid having children. While having a child is not a bad thing, children are deeply affected when their parents get divorced. This is made even more difficult if the relationship with your spouse has become hostile and the child is witness to this hostility.
Divorce is an emotionally confusing and turbulent time for children, especially young children trying to understand why their parents are separating. This confusion can be made far worse if you and your spouse constantly fight while living in the same house.
Constant arguments can make the child feel uncomfortable and adversely affect their mental health. Moving out of the family home can turn it into a conflict-free zone where your child can process their emotions safely and without interference. Seeing you and your spouse arguing might be terrifying for the child, but you might be more scared that moving out will cost you time with them once the divorce is over.
Child custody and visitation is easily the most contentious part of divorce negotiations since no parent wants to forfeit their place in their children's lives. Moving out of the home where your child lives and leaving them with your spouse might cause you to worry that you have jeopardized your chances of securing custody of the child. Fortunately, your continued residence in the family home is utterly irrelevant to the factors determining custody arrangements.
Child custody and visitation arrangements are determined by an all-important detail that supersedes any other claims.
Whenever a decision needs to be made about a child's future in civil court, the decision focuses on ensuring the child remains where all their needs will be met, and they can enjoy the proper quality of life. Divorce will already be extremely disruptive to the child's life, so the custody arrangement is meant to place the child where their life will face the fewest changes.
Typically, the following details affect child custody:
These all contribute to the determination of the child's best interest. If one parent is better equipped to handle the above needs, they will likely be selected as the custodial parent. In some cases, the courts lean toward assigning custody to the mother but only if the mother meets the criteria above. Your chances of being awarded custody are not impacted by your decision to move out of the family home.
With all this in mind, the only concern left is preparing for the divorce proceedings. There are several situations you might find yourself in during divorce proceedings, many of which are unpleasant. Without prior knowledge, you might find yourself at a disadvantage. Fortunately, there are ways to correct this disadvantage.
Divorce is a highly unpleasant and complicated civil process that can be overwhelming. With so much riding on the case, it is easy to find yourself terrified of making a simple mistake that might cost you important rights. While moving out of your marital home does not negatively impact the divorce proceedings, it is understandable if you are wary. Moving out of the home you shared with your spouse cements the fact that your married life has ended, and you are moving toward an uncertain future.
Fortunately, this could easily be the first step to living a happier life than you had been leading while married and sharing a home with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Regardless, divorce remains one of the most complicated legal procedures in the world, meaning knowledge is essential.
The knowledge necessary to survive the divorce process is not as comprehensive as what a lawyer needs to know to guide you. However, key details can play a huge role in how you conduct yourself and protect yourself from your spouse's machinations. Not every situation is inherently toxic, as there are ways to encourage an amicable divorce rather than a hostile one.
Nevertheless, the only way to ensure a satisfactory result is to locate the information on these scenarios. Fortunately, that information has never been easier to acquire than it is now. A few taps on a keyboard can unlock a treasure trove of knowledge you can use to protect your interests. We know divorce is something you would have preferred to avoid, but we hope this article proved helpful to your situation.
The last thing anyone wants to believe is that their spouse is cheating on them, but it is an issue that arises in some relationships. Infidelity is one of the most heartbreaking betrayals your spouse can inflict on you. When you marry your spouse, you agree to remain loyal to each other for as long as you are together. If your spouse steps outside the marriage to engage in an extra-marital affair, they are disrespecting the agreement that marriage signifies.
The issue is that your spouse will not be open about their affair and will attempt to hide it to avoid the consequences. This can make it difficult to determine whether your spouse is cheating on you or if you are misreading the situation. The burden lies in proving your spouse's infidelity.
Typically, some telltale signs can indicate your spouse's infidelity, but using them as confirmation of infidelity is not viable. Sometimes the signs of infidelity are similar to other issues that could stress your spouse. This usually means you will have to find a way to prove it more definitively, especially if it seems like divorce is imminent.
This has led some people to hire a private investigator to secure physical evidence of their spouse's infidelity. The concern with hiring a private investigator is ensuring that doing so will not jeopardize your case.
You might already know what a private investigator is, and you may have an image of a noir-era private eye complete with fedora, trench coat, and New York accent. While this image is reminiscent of classical literature and media, the reality of a private investigator is far more mundane.
While early private detectives specialized in observation and note-taking, their modern counterparts are more discreet and use more advanced tools to secure the evidence their employers need. Private investigators might take different approaches to their jobs but tend to follow a similar routine.
Unlike the noir-era investigators portrayed in television dramas, the odds of a modern private eye being armed are pretty low. This is especially true if they are the sort of investigator who specializes in civil investigations. While firearms are a rare sight on a private investigator, the other tools of the trade are far more likely to be used by any professional you hire—namely, the wide range of surveillance equipment common to the trade of private investigation.
Where long nights of observation and note-taking were once essential to the role, high-powered cameras, audio recorders, and GPS devices have modernized private investigation. These devices allow modern investigators to gather hard evidence from a distance with minimal risk of letting the subject of their investigation realize they are present. As a result, modern private investigators have become more akin to covert observers than private officers.
The real question is whether hiring one for your purposes is a good idea.
You can hire private investigators for any number of reasons by average citizens, including catching your spouse in the act of infidelity. Hiring a private investigator for this usually involves them documenting video or photographic evidence of their time with their lover. This evidence can prove that your spouse is guilty of infidelity, which can be submitted during divorce negotiations. While divorce is probably not the result you wanted, any evidence gathered by a private investigator that proves infidelity is admissible in court.
The legality of hiring a private investigator is not in question, as any licensed practitioner can legally observe your spouse if they are suspected of infidelity. The practicality of hiring a private investigator is another concern that might give you pause when contemplating the decision. Should you investigate on your own or hire an investigator? The question is worth asking. However, there are a few advantages to hiring a private investigator you would not enjoy if you decided to investigate yourself.
The most important advantage of hiring a private investigator is their experience in the role of covert investigation. Unless you have a history of investigating without being discovered, you will be at a severe disadvantage when trying to gather hard evidence of your spouse's infidelity. Private investigators have skills dedicated to gathering information and seamlessly integrating themselves into the environment. This skill for integration allows them to blend in where you might stick out if your spouse were to notice you.
In addition to their experience, private investigators have greater freedom to conduct their investigation without rushing. You likely have a full-time job or possibly children to care for that precludes you from being able to stake out your spouse's current location.
Conversely, a private investigator performs these stakeouts and investigations as their full-time job. This allows them to take their time and gather as much information as possible without worrying about other engagements.
Finally, a private investigator will always be a stranger to your spouse and not someone they will see coming. This gives private investigators an element of surprise that you will never be able to have. Since you are a known quantity, your spouse will be familiar with your vehicle, behaviors, and appearance.
Seeing signs of you when they are out with their lover will put them on high alert and possibly compromise your efforts. Anonymity is key when trying to catch your spouse in the act, but it is not something you will have.
Unfortunately, there are a few caveats that private investigators must meet if you want to hire them.
Despite being hired to investigate private citizens, private investigators are not granted special privileges that exceed those of an officer of the law. Private investigators are beholden to the letter of the law and must not violate it to accomplish their goal.
Any evidence obtained by illicit means is disqualified, and the investigator risks facing charges for their violations. The restrictions imposed on private investigators are similar to those placed on police officers, but a few are unique to the investigator industry. The biggest restriction placed on private investigators relates to their law enforcement counterparts.
The most important restriction is that private investigators can never identify or present themselves as an officer of the law. This means they cannot claim to be an officer to your spouse as a pretense for accessing information, nor wear a police uniform and badge. Impersonation of an officer is a serious felony that could land your private investigator in serious legal trouble.
Aside from being forbidden from identifying as an officer, private investigators are prohibited from:
These restrictions exist to protect the rights of your spouse and any other citizen that they might investigate. While they are extremely important to preserving the Constitutional rights of American citizens, another major restriction is imposed on private investigators. Unlike the others, this restriction relates specifically to the profession of private investigators rather than the investigation process. This restriction is about licensing private investigators that allow them to practice as an investigator legally.
While the specifics of what a private investigator must do to practice their craft is not necessarily your concern, it can impact your ability to hire one. Every state in the United States has laws regulating the licensing requirements of a private investigator. While these laws might vary by state, the universal requirement is that private investigators must possess a valid license. Without such a license, any private investigator who offers their services is violating the law. Currently, there are only 5 states that do not require private investigators to possess a license:
The remaining 45 states maintain strict licensing requirements that prohibit private investigators from operating professionally without meeting them. Listing the licensing requirements of all 45 states would be impractical for this article, but a few requirements are shared across multiple states. These are:
There are a few educational and supplementary requirements that are state specific, but these minimum requirements are the most commonly shared across the country. If the private investigator you are considering does not have a valid license and you are not a citizen of the 5 exception states, hiring the investigator is a poor decision.
Any evidence submitted by an unlicensed investigator in states where one is required is void, and the investigator will be charged for failing to have the proper credentials. Unfortunately, this is not the only concern when it comes to the licensing of your investigator.
Depending on the circumstances, your spouse's lover might be across state borders. This might impact your ability to retain the services of a local investigator since they might have to follow your spouse to another state. Most states allow investigators to conduct their business across borders because their investigation began in the state where they are licensed.
Suppose you attempt to send a local investigator across state lines to begin the investigation. In that case, they might be unable to fulfill the contract since the investigation did not begin in your state. There are exceptions, as 8 states allow private investigators to conduct their business without a secondary license. These states are:
Ultimately, your investigator will require a license to look into your spouse's potential infidelity. If they do not meet the state requirements, they will be unable to fulfill the contract. If you hire an investigator who meets these requirements, you should have little trouble retaining their services to determine if your spouse is cheating on you.
While you are probably hoping that the investigator's work proves unnecessary and your spouse is loyal, there remains the possibility that they will return with evidence of infidelity. While this evidence is likely a heartbreaking development, the evidence can help ensure that you can separate from a disloyal spouse.
Unfortunately, infidelity is a common cause of divorce, but the victim of the infidelity is generally treated favorably compared to your spouse. We realize that is cold comfort in the face of divorce proceedings, but it might help you remain confident during the proceedings.
Despite the advantage inherent in being a victim of infidelity, you should consider doing a little more research into divorce. Knowing about certain situations that might arise in divorce proceedings can help prevent you from being blindsided. Fortunately, this information is more easily accessed than it once was. Regardless, we hope this article has proven helpful despite the unfortunate circumstances.
Have any further questions on the topic of divorce or anything divorce-related? If so, be sure to leave a comment down below, and we'll gladly assist you however we can!
When we marry, the person we marry is our partner in everything from the moment the marriage is finalized. This means that there is a profound understanding and compromise between you and your spouse. This intimate connection allows you to address any concerns either of you has, but it also produces a deep familiarity.
Familiarity with your spouse grants you certain insight into their personalities and allows you to detect subtle shifts when something is troubling them. It also allows you to notice changes in their behavior. When you spend enough time with somebody, especially a spouse, you learn their behavior patterns, and it is fairly noticeable when they deviate. In some cases, this deviation might have less to do with a "what" and more with a "who."
If your spouse works full-time, or even part-time, in a position where they regularly interact with their co-workers, they are bound to form connections with those people. Inter-office friendships are common and highly beneficial to one's mental health when working, especially in high-pressure positions.
It stands to reason that your spouse might form a stronger bond with a specific co-worker who fills the role of "best friend" at the office. Sometimes, these bonds go far deeper than they normally would, and their relationship with their office friend leads to a deeply emotional connection.
Keeping an eye out for certain behaviors can help identify such situations.
The term "emotional affair" might seem odd to you, which makes defining the concept an important part of identifying them. As human beings, we have a limited capacity for opening up to others emotionally, and our spouses expect to be the recipient of that ability. This is not to say it is impossible to open up with friends and family, but the most intimate of concerns and feelings are often reserved for our significant other.
It is worth noting that emotional affairs can begin as innocuous friendships where the bond between your spouse and a close friend becomes deep enough to warrant confiding. Unfortunately, confiding in someone other than you often has the unintended consequence of satisfying their emotional needs before you hear of the problem. This can lead to the platonic nature of your spouse's relationship with their co-worker becoming more romantic than originally intended.
This is because they have exposed their deeper emotional issues to someone outside the marriage. However, an emotional affair only applies to their willingness to expose their emotional issues to this other person. Not every emotional affair goes further than sharing details best shared with you, but it can negatively affect your relationship. In some cases, an emotional affair can lead to outright infidelity. Determining whether your spouse is sharing these emotional tribulations with someone else can be difficult unless you know what to look for in your spouse.
One of the most obvious signs of an emotional affair involves the amount of communication your spouse maintains with a co-worker. Generally, people only communicate with their co-workers during work hours unless they develop a friendship outside the office. Even when these friendships develop, the communication levels are liable to increase, so your spouse can organize social outings and activities with this co-worker.
While this uptick in communication is reasonable when establishing a friendship, it usually does not take up time beyond daylight hours. If your spouse is constantly in communication with a co-worker via text message, phone call, or e-mail, it can indicate emotional investment in the other person.
If their contact with this co-worker bleeds into time usually spent with you, they may find emotional fulfillment in this co-worker instead. This means they will have less to invest in the marriage you share with them.
Similar to the previous section, another sign that your spouse might be involved in an emotional affair is if they are constantly around this co-worker. It is not uncommon to have social outings with co-workers with whom you feel close. These can include excursions to bars, restaurants, or lounges where you can unwind and chat.
The key detail is that these outings are once or twice a week at most and do not interfere with time spent at home with family. If your spouse is overly involved with a co-worker emotionally, these social outings are liable to increase in frequency.
Depending on how deeply they have come to rely on this person for emotional fulfillment, it can get to the point where most of their waking hours are spent out with this co-worker instead of at home. Instead of once or twice a week, they could spend the entire week with this person. An arrangement like this is worthy of concern since your spouse spends more time with a co-worker than you.
One more troubling and heartbreaking sign of an emotional affair is when your spouse actively compares you to this other person. These comparisons can start as small comments about how their co-worker friend does something one way, whereas you do it another. Eventually, these comparisons could become harsher and emerge during arguments about marital life. Your spouse may become more critical of anything you do and explain how their "friend" does it. This comparison can be devastating since it shows how much your spouse has come to appreciate this other person rather than you.
For example, you might suggest an evening out to your spouse only for them to counter with how the activities they do with their co-worker are more entertaining and how you should "be like them." Your spouse suddenly comparing you to someone else over any little thing is one of the biggest and most painful signs of an emotional affair. Unfortunately, other serious signs can be even more concerning.
Another devastating sign of an emotional affair involves how much of their personal life your spouse shares with this co-worker. Some details of your personal life are shared with friends, but the most intimate details are generally reserved for your spouse. Additionally, certain conversations and arguments with your spouse are meant to stay between you and no one else.
While your spouse is likely to confide in their friends with certain minor concerns or issues, if they share the more intimate details with a friend, it might be disconcerting. This concern can be amplified if the "friend" is someone with whom your spouse spends excessive time.
A prime example of oversharing with a "friend" that might indicate an emotional affair is if you and your spouse have a major argument. It is not necessarily an argument about chores or how your spouse spends their time, but something serious like deciding on having children or attending couple's therapy. If your spouse turns around and divulges the argument to their "friend," it shows that they want to include this person in the more intimate and private conversations you share.
When you are concerned that your spouse is overly attached to a co-worker, you might feel compelled to confront them about the relationship. While it is reasonable to start the conversation a little aggressively, you will want to take a diplomatic approach, so they do not feel cornered.
This diplomatic approach is crucial to identifying another potential sign of an emotional affair.
If your spouse is overly defensive about their friendship and shows signs of anger, frustration, and irritation about the question, it could mean they are overly invested in this person.
This is born from underlying guilt and knowledge that you are right, and they could not prevent this conversation from happening. The more aggressive they are in their defense of the relationship, the guiltier they feel.
Having a spouse who goes out with friends is not uncommon and is not inherently an issue but having a little insight into these plans is equally important. Usually, when we ask our significant other their plans for the day, they provide insight into the location, activity, and people going with them.
This information is not born from a desire to track your spouse's activities or location at all times but to have an idea in case there is a situation where they are needed. If your spouse is aware of their deep connection with their co-worker, they might try to avoid hang out with them in secret and keep you in the dark about their meeting.
If your spouse begins omitting information about their plans with this co-worker or even omitting their presence, it could be a sign of an emotional affair. This connects to the previous point about being defensive. Because they feel guilt over their deep connection to this co-worker, they attempt to prevent you from knowing about their interactions with them. This sign can be more difficult to identify since you would likely need to violate your spouse's privacy to catch them in the lie.
This is far more extreme and a sign that the emotional affair might lead to a physical affair. There is no greater pain than seeing your spouse flirt with someone else when they are meant to be loyal to you. Playful flirting is common in office settings, and it can be innocuous at times, but that does not make it easier to accept when your spouse flirts with someone else. While your spouse might genuinely be flirting as a joke or out of friendliness, it is more likely that they are expressing interest in this co-worker. However, this is not a conclusion you should immediately make.
If your spouse is flirting with a co-worker while showing any of the previously discussed behaviors, it can cause concern. If this co-worker is absorbing a great deal of your spouse's time and thoughts, they likely have a deeper connection to them than just friendship. Flirting can be even more difficult to observe than secrecy since your spouse will likely avoid doing so in front of you. If you can catch them flirting with a co-worker while they show the other signs discussed here, it might spell trouble for your marriage.
Emotional affairs can be more heartbreaking than physical affairs only because physical affairs are usually only about sex. An emotional affair means your spouse might be phasing you out of their lives emotionally and mentally, which can be devastating. No one wants to see their spouse replace them with someone else, even if they do not have a romantic interest in this other person.
Having your spouse confide in another person emotionally can make you feel unimportant or that your spouse does not trust you with their emotional tribulations. Eventually, these emotional affairs can destroy your marriage since your spouse is no longer willing to be emotionally open with you.
In some cases, emotional affairs can lead to divorce since your spouse will not always be willing or able to correct the relationship. We know divorce is not the result you want and that you would almost certainly prefer reconciliation and your spouse realizing the issue of their emotional affair.
Unfortunately, divorce is a potential outcome you might have to consider if your spouse shows no remorse or regret over the situation. While divorce should be a last resort in this situation, it can be helpful to learn more about the process so you can be prepared. Fortunately, such knowledge is easier to come by than it was in the past. We only hope this article proved helpful to your situation.
The division of assets is one of the most important details in any divorce negotiation. While the end of a marriage is often stressful and traumatic, understanding how a divorce will affect your life after it's finalize is critical. The division of assets can encompass several resources shared between you and your spouse. While financial and real assets are among the most common subjects in divorce negotiations, other details are commonly broached.
Ordinarily, divorce negotiations focus on the division of assets between the two spouses, but some marriages involve an additional layer of negotiation that is just as crucial.
Child support is one of the biggest points of contention in any divorce proceeding since it involves one parent paying the other to support the child. When tensions are high and finances are tight, child support can be a significant burden. While child support is a constant in divorce cases where children are involved, it is not well understood by the general public. Specifically, one of the biggest questions about child support is how the payment amount is calculated.
If you are not overly familiar with the concept of child support, it is little more than a regular payment for the care of your child. When you have a child, but you and your spouse cannot continue the marriage, it is common for one parent to take primary custody while the other gets visitation rights. The non-custodial parent is expected to contribute to the child's financial needs regardless of the custodial parent.
These payments are expected from any parent who wants to retain their parental rights but has not been awarded custody. While child support payments are common, a lot of detail goes into calculating and assigning responsibility for these payments.
The support payments paid out by the non-custodial parent are designed to provide the child from the marriage with the financial resources necessary for their youth. Because the child support payments are part of parental oversight from the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent cannot use them for non-parental expenses. The custodial parent must dedicate child support payments to essential expenses necessary to the child's development. The most notable of these expenses include healthcare and education.
Once a plan is established, child support payments are non-negotiable, and the non-custodial parent is 100% responsible for making the payments on time. As for how much the non-custodial parent is expected to pay, that determination involves different calculations.
Raising a child is a significant investment, and the parents are responsible for providing for their child and their financial needs. When involved in a divorced, neither parent who intends to remain in their child's life is absolved of this responsibility. When one parent is assigned custody of the child, they are responsible for the day-to-day care and costs of raising them. The other parent contributes to this with child support payments consistent with their financial role before the divorce.
The complication of this system is that every state has unique regulations and laws to help calculate that amount. Despite each state having specific criteria for the calculations for child support payment, there are a few universal details that states tend to consider when deciding how much the non-custodial will pay.
The most important factor determining child support payments is the parent's income. Some states factor in the income of both parents, whereas others only consider the income of the non-custodial parent. Typically, the lower the income of the custodial parent compared to the non-custodial parent, the more the non-custodial parent pays.
Another important factor in child support calculations is the time each parent spends with the child. In this case, the less time the non-custodial parent spends with their child, the more they tend to pay in support. This enhanced child support is meant to compensate for the lack of direct interaction the non-custodial parent provides their child. This does not always factor into the calculations, and there are other details that most states consider.
Among them are:
While these factors are common with most child support payment calculations across state borders, the only effective way to determine how much you might pay requires specific knowledge. For example, in Virginia, the child support payments are calculated by considering:
These factors are usually combined with the same general factors mentioned above, and most states follow similar guidelines. However, some states use stricter policies for determining the child support payments expected from the non-custodial parent. While grasping how the payment amounts are calculated is important, other details require consideration.
One concern the non-custodial parent might have is finding a way to alter the child support payment to be more forgiving. Sometimes, the amount expected for child support is too high to sustain the parent's current financial situation. In these circumstances, adjusting the support amount is the only way to prevent the payments from bankrupting them. While rare, it is possible to request an alteration to the child support agreement to lower the payment amount.
Proving the change occurred is not enough to get the altered support plan approved. You also need to prove that the change in your financial situation was:
If the change in your financial situation does not meet the above criteria, you are unlikely to get a judge to approve an alteration to the child support agreement. While the different states have specific criteria that can alter the above, most situations that constitute a change are fairly universal.
Among them are:
Child support agreements are not as clear-cut as many believe, and many agreements can be altered under the right circumstances. This makes child support one of the most important factors of a divorce, but there is one question you might also want to ask.
A common misconception is that child support is like spousal support, and when your spouse remarries, you are no longer expected to pay the support.
Child support aims to ensure that the non-custodial parent continues to fulfill their financial obligations to their child. This means that child support payments must continue until the child is no longer dependent on their parents for finances. Once a child is emancipated from their parents, the need for child support fades since the child is no longer their parent's responsibility in the eyes of the law.
Ordinarily, emancipation occurs once your child becomes a legal adult on their 18th birthday, though they can emancipate themselves before they turn 18. Once your child is legally emancipated, you can petition the courts to absolve you of future child support payments. We want to stress that you must petition for the right to cease payments since stopping outright without permission could lead to legal repercussions.
We recognize that going through a divorce is highly unpleasant, especially since it can impact the time you get with your children. Unfortunately, child support payments are a harsh reality of the divorce process that you must adhere to if you want to retain your parental rights. Child support payments are more forgiving than most believe since the court considers your financial situation and that of your spouse before confirming a payment rate.
You also have avenues for adjusting the agreement as your financial situation evolves. We realize this is a small comfort in the face of divorce, but you can take matters into your own hands if you have concerns beyond child support.
While one of the more complicated civil proceedings, divorce law can be better understood with a little information. While the finer points of divorce law are best left to legal professionals, understanding the details that apply to you is easier than ever. Knowledge is the ultimate weapon in any legal scenario and finding that knowledge is as simple as tapping a keyboard. While divorce is likely the last thing you were hoping to learn about, we hope the information we have provided here has helped you somehow.
Have any additional questions about child support or how it is decided in a divorce? If so, be sure to leave a comment down below. We'll gladly answer any of your potential questions on the topic of child support or anything else divorce-related to the best of our ability!
The legal world is full of similar terms and concepts that seem identical but are actually completely different. Some terms are notably easier to distinguish but can still prove challenging to comprehend without firsthand experience. Even in legal scenarios where the general concept is common knowledge, specific situations can arise that alter how the case proceeds. This is not made easier because the legal world covers many potential issues and claims.
While you might have some insight into the different legal terms surrounding certain cases, the nature of the case also brings several new terms with which you might not be familiar. One of the most complex forms of civil law, for example, is divorce.
If you are going through divorce proceedings, you have likely heard many legal terms being thrown about with little explanation. Ordinarily, your attorney would explain the exact nature of these terms, but some inept attorneys might forgo this step.
Understanding these differences can help prepare you for negotiations, conversations, or legal filings, especially since arbitration and mediation can completely change how your divorce is negotiated.
We first need to clarify that arbitration is not a process unique to divorce and can apply to other civil suits. Divorce is merely one of the civil matters to which arbitration can be applied. As for what arbitration is, the concept is built on the fact that every divorce is meant to reach an equitable resolution that does not favor one party over the other.
The way arbitration functions is that you and your spouse must hire a single arbitrator or a panel of 3 arbitrators, depending on your needs and the state laws. The arbitrator presiding over your case will then serve as an impartial 3rd party that listens to both sides and reviews evidence before making a final decision.
Arbitrators can be found through agencies such as the American Arbitration Association, JAMS, or the National Arbitration Forum to find well-established representatives. However, you can also seek an independent arbitrator who suits your philosophical and financial needs. In some cases, going through an attorney will allow you to locate an arbitrator through them.
Once you have retained an arbitrator, you question what kind of arbitration you want. Two major types of arbitration determine how effective the process is: binding and non-binding. Depending on the form your arbitration takes, you might waive the ability to appeal the decision made by your arbitrator.
Arbitration procedures help you and your spouse reach a reasonable arrangement without seeing the inside of a courtroom. The process is only as effective as the arbitrator you retain, and both you and your spouse must agree on the arbitrator. This is why going through an agency is considered the most responsible choice. Once the arbitration begins, you will present all the evidence you would have presented in a litigated divorce proceeding to the arbitrator so they can make an informed decision. That said, the rules of evidence in arbitration are far simpler than those in a litigated case.
The discovery process used in litigated cases, including depositions and interrogatories for gathering information, is completely absent in an arbitration. Instead, important information is presented to the arbitrator over the phone so that you can send copies of documents and a list of witnesses to the arbitrator for review. While arbitration has its advantages, it is not the only course of action you can take to avoid litigation.
Divorce mediation shares a few similarities to divorce arbitration, making it a potential alternative to presenting the divorce in court. The biggest similarity is that divorce mediation requires a neutral 3rd party to oversee the negotiations.
A mediator will try to streamline the discussions surrounding:
These are some of the most sensitive topics in divorce and can trigger huge arguments that devolve quickly. The mediator offers potential compromises and works to prevent any hostility that might interfere with a reasonable settlement.
The first step to mediation, like arbitration, is finding a qualified mediator to oversee the negotiations.
While mediation can keep the divorce from being litigated, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of mediation and arbitration over litigation.
Arbitration, like most things in life, is not a perfect tool. While arbitration has advantages, it has disadvantages that affect its viability as a method for resolving your divorce. This is not to say that arbitration is a poor choice, but that weighing the benefits it offers over litigation with its disadvantages is important.
We will start by listing the advantages arbitration has over litigation:
The disadvantages of arbitration are:
Arbitration might have its share of advantages and disadvantages, but it is not the only legal process that has this issue. Mediation has an equal amount of pros and cons.
Mediation might be fairly different from arbitration, but these differences do not give mediation immunity from potential issues. Like arbitration, mediation has advantages and disadvantages that can help you determine which is best for you if you prefer to avoid litigation.
Mediation's major advantages include:
While the advantages offered by mediation are appealing, they are not always able to outweigh the disadvantages involved:
Mediation is only one tool for divorce that helps you avoid litigation. In some cases, litigation is preferable, given the disadvantages mediation brings. Ultimately, deciding to mediate is about what you think you can accomplish by sitting down with your spouse.
We know that divorce is probably the last thing you want to deal with and that the prospect of divorce can be terrifying. If part of that fear stems from litigation, the alternatives available can work. While there is no "right choice" between mediation and arbitration, they can be preferable to litigation if money is an issue or if going before a courtroom is too daunting.
Mediation can help spouses with an amicable or amenable relationship, while arbitration can give you a definitive answer without a judge's oversight. We hope this information is helpful and wish you the best of luck in whatever comes next.
Divorce is not what anyone envisions when they first get married, and it is something we go to great lengths to avoid. Unfortunately, divorce is a reality of the marriage institution we must consider. Some marriages can be saved from divorce with a little guidance and patience, but other marriages are healthier when dissolved. While divorce might not be inevitable, knowing what it might bring could help.
We recognize that divorce might not be pleasant to think about, but the more you understand the process, the less likely you are to be swept up in a complicated case. Many facets to a divorce claim are often overlooked, but some parts of divorce are simpler than appearances suggest.
When dealing with a divorce, there are a lot of negotiations to have and evidence that needs to be gathered to ensure an equitable settlement. While some spouses are more dishonest and underhanded than others, it is possible to enjoy a fairly amicable negotiation. Regardless of the nature of the divorce, the most important part of any negotiation is knowing what you need to discuss.
Ordinarily, it falls to you and your legal counsel to coordinate what you intend to negotiate with your spouse, but a little preparation can go a long way.
Spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony, is one of the main talking points in any divorce negotiation. Spousal support is a tool employed by civil law wherein one spouse pays the other a set amount regularly to maintain their quality of life. This is not to say that spousal support is designed to bankrupt one spouse to fund the other but to help both spouses live in a similar level of comfort as they had as a married couple.
Many factors determine which spouse pays the support, how much they pay, and how frequently the payments are made.
Generally, the following details are taken into consideration to determine spousal support:
If you are on the lower end of these spectrums, it is more likely that your spouse will be the one paying support. While spousal support can be important in post-divorce life, it is not necessarily an automatic part of the negotiation process. Your spouse can avoid spousal support outright if a prenuptial agreement is signed before the marriage that absolves both parties of such payments.
A common point of contention in divorce proceedings is child custody and visitation. Not every couple has children, but those who do must come to an arrangement on which parent will take custody and the visitation rights of the other. Child custody is an extremely complex and sensitive detail of divorce since neither parent is likely to want to give up their ability to see their child. The custody and visitation arrangements are predicated on each parent's right to retain a presence in their child's life, but it adheres to a far more sacred principle above that right—the child's best interest.
Child custody is more complex than most aspects of divorce negotiations because it can be divided into multiple subtypes. Sometimes a parent gets full custody of the child while the other receives visitation rights. In other cases, both parents share custody of the child and alternate based on a set schedule enforced by law.
While custody arrangements are never excluded from divorce proceedings, they can blindside you if you do not prepare for them ahead of time. While you do not have to ask for custody negotiations per se, you should consult with your legal counsel before the negotiations begin. By consulting, you can assess your odds of being the custodial parent or if there will be a shared custody arrangement. It can also prepare you for your spouse being the custodial parent since your counsel can provide a rough assessment of whether living with you will meet the criteria of the child's best interests.
While we are not claiming to know how these negotiations will proceed, knowing that this will come up is important. If you do not think you will be the custodial parent, you can still negotiate a reasonable visitation schedule so you remain a major part of your child's life. However, as a non-custodial parent, there is another topic you will need to ask about in the negotiations.
Unlike spousal support, an optional component of divorce proceedings in certain cases, child support is inescapable if both spouses want to remain in their children's lives. Supporting a child is not an inexpensive venture, and you will usually end up supporting them into their early 20s as they work their way through university.
While child support is not expected if you waive your parental rights, we have no doubt you intend to remain a constant in your child's life. If you are not selected as the custodial parent, you will be expected to make regular payments toward child support. Remember that the visitation schedule does not change the amount you owe in child support and does not excuse failed payments. The amount of child support you owe is also determined through factors similar to those used to calculate spousal support. Fortunately, asking about child support payments during the negotiation process can provide some relief.
By consulting with your legal counsel before a judge gets involved, you can get a preliminary estimate of how the child support payments will work out. Once you have that, you can ask about negotiating the rates so the payments are fair to you and your spouse. This is not to say you can always negotiate lower payments, as a judge is responsible for determining what is fair. On the other hand, if you are the custodial parent, it is important to consult with your counsel and the judge to ensure your spouse is held accountable for the support they owe.
Support payments are not the end of what you will need to inquire about during divorce proceedings. Some parts of divorce proceedings are more niche and will not always be applicable unless you are in a specific circumstance. These niche requests are usually reserved for the more serious divorce cases where your spouse is not as trustworthy as you believed when you first married them.
If you believe your spouse might do something reckless such as take your children before the divorce is resolved or alter your financials behind your back, you might need to inquire about an ex parte order. An ex parte order is a fancy name for a temporary restraining order (TRO) designed to protect your spouse's shared assets and children from underhanded machinations. While not common, some would do anything to ensure their spouse gets as little as possible in a divorce. Sometimes people marry someone controlling or abusive and will take the desire for divorce as an insult.
While your spouse might not necessarily fit these criteria, it might be in your best interest to request an ex parte order if you believe they will attempt to compromise your shared financial accounts.
With an ex parte order, neither you nor your spouse will be able to:
With an ex parte order, your financial accounts will be safe from any underhanded actions your spouse might take. Generally, ex parte orders are automatically issued to prevent either spouse from doing anything morally or legally questionable. However, some states only issue ex parte orders when they are requested by one or both parties in the divorce.
When an ex parte order is issued, they remain in effect until the divorce is finalized and the assets are properly divided. It is important to remember that an ex parte order does not prevent you from using personal funds for normal expenses or opening new bank accounts for when the divorce is completed. They only protect existing assets from tampering.
Another niche request only comes up if your spouse is a drug addict whose condition threatens your safety and your children. Drug addiction is a common and unfortunate condition that can severely compromise the judgment of the addicted party. The biggest obstacle when divorcing a drug addict is proving they are an addict in the first place. Depending on the addict your spouse is, it can either be obvious or nearly impossible to tell at a glance. When proving your spouse is a drug addict, the best method is to ask your counsel about requesting a drug test for your spouse.
The legal system is extremely picky regarding which drug tests are admissible in a court of law. As a result, an official petition for an approved test is required if you want to use one as proof of your spouse's addiction. Conversely, you will need to account for any accusations from your spouse that you are a drug addict. Combatting these accusations is easier if you request to submit to a drug test to prove your sobriety.
It is rare for drug addiction to play a role in divorce proceedings, but it is a possibility that you must consider. Despite everything we have discussed here, there is always more to learn about divorce and civil law. The only obstacle is finding a source for this information.
Unfortunately, divorce is an extremely unpleasant facet of civil law that is a common issue with couples worldwide. The reality is that over half of all marriages end in divorce, making it more likely than most people care to admit. While divorce is unpleasant, it is worth trying to understand what it entails to ensure you survive the process. Some divorce proceedings are more complicated than others, especially if your spouse is a less savory individual. Keeping abreast of the details involved in divorce proceedings can serve a remarkable purpose in allowing you to overcome the challenges it brings.
The key to learning about divorce is information, which was originally very difficult to come by unless you trained as a legal professional. Fortunately, this information is far more accessible than it was 50 years ago. Additionally, this information is more easily understood by the average citizen. Using this information, you can learn more about how divorce works and how to overcome the challenges of the proceedings. We know divorce is not something you ever wanted, and we can only hope that the information we have provided here is of some benefit to you.
Society functions on enforced rules and regulations to prevent somebody from impeding your rights (or somebody else's rights!). These laws protect us from harm and encompass many everyday activities. Among the rules to protect us are specific privacy laws about personal correspondence.
For citizens of the United States of America, federal regulations protect the privacy of mailed correspondence. These provisions were enacted to ensure others could not access citizens' private information, especially since several government documents are exclusively provided via traditional postage. These regulations have long been lauded as a tool for protecting the privacy of American citizens, but some questions remain.
Most privacy protection laws are drafted with the idea that a single citizen can uphold their rights. The concept comes into question when an individual shares their life with a spouse, and both of their correspondence arrives at the same address. If you are currently married, you might wonder if you and your spouse can legally open each other's private correspondence. It is a reasonable question considering marriage involves sharing assets and property.
One misstep could lead to severe consequences, so knowing the legal basis for such things is important. Therefore, we feel it is important to provide some information surrounding the legality of opening your spouse's mail with or without their consent.
When it comes to the law, it is not always as uniform as we think. Laws can be divided into one of two different categories—federal and state laws. State laws vary depending on your state, so the laws in New York might be very different from those in Texas. However, some laws are universal and regulated by the federal government. These federal laws remain identical across state borders and are seldom open to interpretation by state officials. Among these federal regulations is the law about opening another person's mail.
The law about opening another citizen's mail is 18 U.S. Code § 1708, which states:
"Whoever steals, takes, or abstracts, or by fraud or deception obtains, or attempts so to obtain, from or out of any mail, post office, or station thereof, letter box, mail receptacle, or any mail route or other authorized depository for mail matter, or from a letter or mail carrier, any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or abstracts or removes from any such letter, package, bag, or mail, any article or thing contained therein, or secretes, embezzles, or destroys any such letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein; or
Whoever steals, takes, or abstracts, or by fraud or deception obtains any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein which has been left for collection upon or adjacent to a collection box or other authorized depository of mail matter; or
Whoever buys, receives, or conceals, or unlawfully has in his possession, any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein, which has been so stolen, taken, embezzled, or abstracted, as herein described, knowing the same to have been stolen, taken, embezzled, or abstracted—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
This section of the U.S. Code protects the mail of American citizens from unauthorized access, though some choose to risk jail time for short-term profit.
While these regulations are non-negotiable for strangers, one must wonder whether provisions exist for your spouse. Especially since important correspondence for at least one of you might arrive without the other's presence. This common scenario can end up more complicated than people realize.
The simplest answer to whether you can open your spouse's mail is "no." As the subject of this article might imply, this answer is only applicable to opening your spouse's mail without permission. You can never open or read correspondence addressed to someone other than yourself without express permission from the other party.
Technically speaking, receiving consent from your spouse does legalize the act, and you are not violating federal law if you do so under their instruction.
Another exception to this rule is if the mail is either addressed to both of you or is marked "To Resident." In these scenarios, you technically qualify as one of the intended recipients of the mail. These regulations allow your spouse to maintain their privacy despite sharing a household and assets with you. While you might be given consent to open your spouse's mail at the moment, you might be better off refusing to open their mail on their behalf. Your best course of action is to allow your spouse to retain full control over their mail while maintaining full control over yours. This can be beneficial if your marriage experiences hard times down the line.
To reiterate the above, you must be sure to receive explicit consent from your spouse to open their mail. Any situation where your spouse does not give this consent could lead you to violate federal law. This means you should never assume their consent is "blanket consent," which is always applicable. There might be correspondence your spouse wants to keep private and does not want you reading. You could face fines or jail time if you read this correspondence against their will.
In addition to the federal consequences of mail tampering, it can complicate civil matters. These civil complications apply only if you and your spouse are going through a divorce, but they can be detrimental to your post-marital life.
Perhaps one of the most tragic parts of marriage, divorce is a growing issue in modern relationships. Divorce proceedings inherently risk being a case of you and your spouse pointing fingers and accusing each other. There are a lot of "he said, she said" arguments made in divorce proceedings designed to help protect the accuser's interests. This is not to say that petty arguments drive all divorces, but that some spouses might try underhanded techniques to get the edge over their spouse.
While this might not be the case in every divorce, and you might not even be on track for divorce, it is still important to consider.
The issue that arises is that it is impossible to prove that you had their consent to open their mail unless you asked for it on paper. Asking for written proof of this consent is not common because there is meant to be trust between you and your spouse. Only an extremely dishonest person would falsely accuse you, but it is a consideration you must keep in mind.
Again, we realize divorce might not be in the cards for your relationship and that you sought this information to avoid violating the law. We only want to ensure that you are fully informed of all the potential consequences of mail tampering. If it comes to light that you read your spouse's mail against their will, you could face federal charges during the divorce proceedings. Furthermore, if a citizen wants to file a claim against a spouse who has read their mail without their consent, they can sue for damages and receive a considerable financial settlement. These types of civil suits can cause more trouble in your divorce than you would normally encounter.
Avoiding reading your spouse's mail is crucial if you are in the middle of divorce proceedings or are already divorced. Unfortunately, the situation is a little more complicated than only avoiding their posted mail. What many people do not realize is that there are similar protections in place for electronic correspondence.
The modern era has revolutionized the forms of communication we employ to convey information to each other. Once upon a time, written correspondence was the only medium we could use to send messages over long distances. Nowadays, we have access to electronic mail and text messages to effortlessly send messages across the country in mere moments.
This digital correspondence has made life much simpler in many ways and complicated certain legal protections. While the U.S. Code has established laws to protect the privacy of written correspondence, it brings the question of whether electronic correspondence is under the same protection.
Once again, the U.S. Code has established federal laws that protect the privacy of your spouse's electronic correspondence. While Chapter 83 of the U.S. Code was responsible for written correspondence, Chapter 119 was drafted to offer the same protections for e-mail and text messages. Specifically, 18 U.S. Code § 2511 prohibits the interception and disclosure of electronic communications.
Per this code:
"(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, any person who—
(a) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication;
(b) intentionally uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when—
(i) such device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in wire communication; or
(ii) such device transmits communications by radio or interferes with the transmission of such communication; or
(iii) such person knows, or has reason to know, that such device or any component thereof has been sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce; or
(iv) such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place on the premises of any business or other commercial establishment, the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce, or (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the operations of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or
(v) such person acts in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States;
(c) intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection;
(d) intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection; or
(e)(i) intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, intercepted by means authorized by sections 2511(2)(a)(ii), 2511(2)(b)–(c), 2511(2)(e), 2516, and 2518 of this chapter, (ii) knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of such a communication in connection with a criminal investigation, (iii) having obtained or received the information in connection with a criminal investigation, and (iv) with intent to improperly obstruct, impede, or interfere with a duly authorized criminal investigation, shall be punished as provided in subsection (4) or shall be subject to suit as provided in subsection (5)."
This code makes it illegal to go through your spouse's electronic correspondence without their consent. With this information, you should be fully equipped to avoid committing a fatal error and a federal offense. However, there is always more to learn about the law.
Although a federal offense, opening someone's mail, even a spouse's, without their consent generates civil complications. With this information, you should be able to keep abreast of the potential consequences of opening your spouse's mail without their consent. That said, there is always more to learn about civil law, and there is no shortage of information on certain civil legal matters.
Generally, we like to think we know the people we marry. After all, there is an extensive "getting to know you" process before the concept of marriage is ever broached. The dating phase allows us to assess romantic partners to see if they are the kind of person with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives.
Unfortunately, some people are not as genuine as they might appear in the early days of the relationship. Almost everyone has some secret or other they decide is not worth disclosing to their spouse. Most of the time, these secrets are innocuous and are not a major issue that will impact your marriage. Other times, the secret is something that has clear signs and presents a major threat to you.
Psychopathy is easily one of the most dangerous mental conditions in the world, as it can lead a person to do unspeakable things. Psychopaths are individuals who cannot feel empathy and have very poor behavioral control. Many infamous psychopaths have committed horrific crimes, while others are immoral or hostile to the general public.
Before we get into the signs of psychopathy in your husband, there is an important distinction that must be made. The terms psychopathy and sociopathy are frequently and erroneously used interchangeably. A sociopath is very different from a psychopath in ways that cannot be ignored.
The main differences between the conditions are as follows:
Additionally, psychopathy can be the result of other psychological trauma and develop in later life. Sociopathy is a psychological condition that the person is born with and is not a result of traumatic incidents. With these differences in mind, we can begin assessing the signs of psychopathy in your husband.
These behaviors are often used to overcome initial warning signs about their personalities and can allow psychopaths to attract romantic attention from you.
Ultimately, these behaviors are impossible to maintain long-term, but a psychopath might be convincing in an argument and know how to hit all the right notes. If your husband is a particularly smooth talker, it might indicate psychopathy. That said, this is not the most reliable indicator since those without psychopathy can be just as silver-tongued.
Despite lacking empathy, most psychopaths are prideful and believe themselves somewhat superior to others. The ego of a psychopath can vary, and it is not always as obvious as outright claiming superiority. Rather, the superiority complex of psychopaths instead lends itself to their disregard for the consequences of their actions.
However, the ego of a psychopath is not always as simple as being self-centered and more a matter of believing they are beyond the judgment of those around them. A psychopath might view your opinion of them as inconsequential due to their own perceptions of themselves.
While psychopathy is a longstanding mental health issue in human beings, it is still not fully understood.
The lack of understanding about psychopathy has led the most recent version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision, colloquially known as the DSM-5-TR, to outline several personality traits associated with psychopathy. Among the currently recognized psychopathic tendencies is a general lack of anxiety or fear.
Typically, situations that elicit anxiety in others might have them feeling otherwise detached or disinterested. If your husband shows an almost unrealistic level of fearlessness or calmness in the face of adversity, it might indicate psychopathy.
Similarly, to the previous sign, psychopaths, by nature, cannot process empathy. Empathy allows us to understand and recognize the emotional state of others. This lack of empathy makes them unable to connect with others profoundly or understand how their actions affect others. To someone with psychopathy, the feelings of those around them are unimportant; thus, they feel no remorse for their lack of empathic response.
Insofar as your husband is concerned, the lack of empathy will likely become obvious the longer you remain married. It could signify a lack of empathy if your husband seems confused or otherwise unconcerned with your emotional state, including sadness, anger, and anxiety.
A lack of empathy is very difficult to diagnose if you are not trained to detect it. However, it could give you the basis to broach therapy with your husband.
One of the key signs of a psychopath is how they interact with others to ensure they get their way. Despite lacking empathy, most psychopaths are highly intelligent and retain the desires common in every human. The main difference is that a psychopath will go to greater, more nefarious lengths to see their desires met.
Usually, this entails manipulating those around them to serve their goals even when they are counterintuitive to the other person's. The lack of empathy that psychopaths suffer does not prevent them from learning the vulnerabilities of those around them. Instead, it allows them to weaponize and use them as tools to manipulate others into believing they want to help. If your husband is prone to manipulative tactics and phrases, psychopathy might not be too difficult to believe.
Another common sign of psychopathy is a poor attention span.
This inability to focus on what is being said to or going on around them is often misattributed as a sign of Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, ADD and ADHD are conditions where the inability to focus is born of impulsivity and distractions.
A psychopath's inability to focus on what is around them results from being bored. Psychopaths seldom are interested in situations or stories that are not directly related to them and will be bored with listening or addressing them. They will be prone to abandoning current conversations, goals, relationships, and so on for more exciting alternatives. They will abandon even things believed to be important to them if it no longer excites them.
If your husband expresses boredom with you, your relationship, your children, or anything else he seemed to care about, it might indicate a psychopathy diagnosis.
One of the most nefarious signs of psychopathy is their compulsion to lie, which they do frighteningly well. Like most people, a psychopath will lie to get out of trouble with their friends and family, but they also take it a step further. A psychopath will lie to make themselves look good to you or strangers. They will also use more lies to cover up the previous ones, which can eventually expose them since keeping all those different stories straight is difficult to accomplish.
Even if you challenge a psychopath's lie, they will only adjust the story and try to obscure the facts to suit their needs in the current situation. When you are married to a psychopath, catching them in a lie is much easier. So, if you constantly catch your husband in lies, they might be a psychopath, though this criterion is far from definitive.
This sign of psychopathy is slightly rarer given the lack of affection a psychopath has for their sexual partners. Nevertheless, promiscuity is a sign of psychopathy, depending on the situation. Unlike other promiscuous partners, who seek a new romantic relationship or are only interested in sex, a psychopath is likelier to weaponize sex. They might turn sex into a means to an end, using it to get what they want from someone else.
Combined with their lack of remorse or concern with consequences, they will often cheat and engage in unprotected sex with their supplementary partners. This behavior usually exposes you to sexually transmitted infections (STI) or inadvertently siring a child with their other partners. Promiscuity is not necessarily a sign of psychopathy in your husband, but it is a factor to consider if you believe they are.
Part of a psychopath's manipulative nature is their ability to turn themselves into the victim regardless of who is really at fault. When an argument arises, or you find yourselves in an avoidable situation that was your husband's fault, he will likely try to turn himself into the victim. He will also likely recount multiple stories of how others took advantage of him, even if those stories are highly inaccurate or outright lies.
They do this because they not only need to be the focus of your attention but because they are unable to take responsibility for their actions. Psychopaths will take measures to avoid being held accountable for their failings and shortcomings. If your husband is a psychopath, he is liable to try and turn you into the villain privately and to your mutual friends and associates.
Everyone has had a relationship that ended poorly. It is an inescapable part of the human experience for those who have dated. Some people even had marriages in their past that ended in divorce. Psychopaths are no exception to this; they are far likelier to have failed marriages in their past.
The history of failed marriages in psychopaths is generally because their psychopathic tendencies drove their past spouses away. Likely, the same reasons your husband's previous marriages failed are the same as those causing yours to deteriorate. It could be a red flag if your husband has a long trail of ex-wives or husbands behind him. Again, not necessarily a sign of psychopathy by itself but can contribute to such a notion when combined with the other flags.
Divorce is already difficult to endure. When the marriage and life you built with your husband ends, it is difficult not to feel a sense of remorse. The situation is only made worse if your husband is diagnosed with psychopathy, especially if he presents a clear and present danger to you or your children. Psychopaths can become violent; without help from a trained psychology professional, it can be difficult to identify them as such.
Unfortunately, the warning signs of psychopathy are not unique to that particular mental health issue. Alone, these red flags are not always sufficient to identify your spouse as a psychopath. You can only make such determinations if your husband simultaneously displays most, if not all, of these signs. Additionally, you must observe more warning signs of psychopathy, but only a trained professional can effectively identify them.
If your husband is diagnosed with psychopathy, your divorce might seem like a saving grace from an otherwise tumultuous and terrifying marriage. Nevertheless, your husband will retain his legal rights and can pursue his personal interests in the divorce. Aside from a mental health diagnosis, the divorce process does not change significantly compared to others.
The only way to effectively protect your interests in the divorce is to seek as much knowledge as possible about what situations or issues might arise throughout the process. This information can equip you to protect yourself from the legal machinations of a man who already lacks empathy and remorse. We know this is terrifying and unpleasant, and we hope you never need this list.
When we get married, we agree to love them through the good and bad. Of course, we also spend a substantial amount of time getting to know them in ways we do not know anyone else. Unfortunately, our spouses do not always stay the way they were when we first agreed to marry them.
Life puts us in unusual circumstances on an alarmingly regular basis that forces us to cope as best we can to survive. The issue is that not every coping mechanism available to us is in our best interest. Some people turn to less savory methods to cope with the realities and stress of life solely for a brief respite. One of the most devastating choices for coping is drug abuse.
Drug abuse is a common and life-shattering issue that can leave the drug user's life in tatters. Even more unfortunate is that most drug abusers are unable or unwilling to make changes to overcome their addiction. If your spouse is someone who uses drugs to escape, their addiction affects you almost as much as it affects them.
Drug addiction is often portrayed singularly in its more extreme form, where the addict is little more than a disoriented and dysfunctional person. Unfortunately, drug addiction is far more complicated than what popular media tends to show in its content. Three distinct types of drug addicts could match your spouse.
Understanding the kind of addict your spouse is allows you to find the best angle of approach for divorcing them. Functional addicts are more likely to put up a fight when the divorce begins, while dysfunctional and extreme addicts will have a disadvantage.
That said, it is important to remember that drug addiction is a disease, and your spouse is not always in control of their actions. To that end, it might be in your best interest to take a semi-sympathetic approach but not to the point you forfeit the divorce if their addiction severely impacts your safety or health.
One of the most important parts of divorcing a drug addict is keeping an in-depth record of their drug use. While this can be difficult to do since you will not be with your spouse 24/7, recording what you can as specifically as you can is extremely useful.
The first step is keeping a journal that outlines the times they used drugs before and during the marriage. If you observe your spouse using their drug of choice or other drugs, add to your journal detailing when they were taking the drugs, where they were, and what drug it was. This will help you create a timeline of their drug use to present to your attorney, but it will not be sufficient to provide useable evidence.
You will need to support your written record of their drug use by gathering as much hard evidence as possible. Some of this evidence is harder to gather than others, one of which is trying to get photographs of your spouse while taking the drugs. This will probably be the biggest challenge, depending on your spouse's awareness. A drug-addicted spouse will often attempt to hide their drug use and avoid all cameras in the vicinity. The more dysfunctional addicts will likely be unaware of their surroundings and will be easier to capture on camera. These photographs make your claims of their drug use virtually irrefutable.
You can use other forms of documentation in your claims against your spouse. Even the addicts deepest in the hole might attempt to kick the habit at least once. Usually, this is accomplished by attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings or checking into a rehabilitation facility. Either option generates records that can be submitted as evidence of their addiction's existence. If you have lawful possession of copies of these records, submitting them as discovery makes your claims of their drug use more viable. You will need to find additional proof to confirm their relapse.
Additionally, if your spouse has a criminal record for drug abuse, you should get copies of those. Criminal records greatly increase your chances of a favorable divorce settlement since a criminal spouse is viewed as a more serious threat to you and your well-being regardless of drug addiction. If the criminal record is for drug-related crimes such as possession or intoxication from their drug of choice, those records support your side of the story.
When in a legal battle against a drug addict for any reason, divorce included, presenting evidence that your spouse is currently using drugs is a powerful tool. While it can be difficult to prove their active use of drugs without a confession, there are ways you can prove it without them admitting it.
In some cases, it is possible to compel your spouse to submit to a drug test, the results of which are then presented to the judge overseeing the divorce process. Getting a drug test approved in court will require collaboration with your attorney to ensure the best possible strategy.
You and your legal team can submit a request to compel a type of drug test that your spouse will have to respect. The most common form of drug test is urine tests, requiring your spouse to remain under observation to ensure they are not submitting a sample from someone else to skew the results. However, hair follicle tests also use a hair sample from the accused spouse. Hair follicle tests are tricky since they are unreliable and cannot be admitted in court without consent from both parties.
It would be best if you took the time to learn more about the different kinds of drug tests and how they are conducted. Doing so will allow you to request the best type of test for your needs and preserve its admissibility in court. When you request a drug test, you will be expected to pay for the testing since your request led to the cost being necessary.
If the test comes back positive, not only is your divorce from your spouse more likely to succeed, but it will also help when negotiating important divorce agreements. These subsequent negotiations bring us to the next major point of divorcing a drug addict. Namely, the effect divorcing your addicted spouse will have on any children you might share.
One of the major points of contention in divorce is child custody, with both spouses often fighting over who gets full custody of their children.
When dealing with an addicted spouse who presents a current danger to your children, it is important to keep them away from your children. Fortunately, child endangerment is something the legal system takes very seriously and offers tools to overcome. The main tool for preventing a dangerous spouse from accessing you or your children is to have a restraining order or emergency child custody order issued against your spouse. One of the main methods for keeping your spouse away is an ex-parte order that keeps your spouse away physically and financially.
Emergency child custody orders are standard child custody orders issued rapidly to protect your children from exposure to your addicted spouse. If you want such orders issued for your children, you must present additional evidence proving your spouse is an active threat to your children's safety. Any evidence of physical or sexual abuse aimed at your children is sufficient but can be difficult to gather without alerting your spouse. Once again, photographic evidence is your best bet at proving the threat your spouse represents.
A drug addict is not inherently forbidden from seeing their children. While they will initially have very little contact with their child, they can petition for more visitation or custody if they prove they have or are being treated for their addiction. If your spouse is in recovery from their addiction during the divorce process, the judge will need to factor this in when deciding visitation and custody arrangements. The odds of an active addict receiving custody are nonexistent, but they will retain the right to interact with their child if they are not actively harming them.
Divorcing a drug addict is infinitely more complicated than can be outlined in any one article. Especially since the legal regulations for such matters vary by state. This information should be sufficient to prepare yourself for the divorce process and gather the resources needed to put together a viable case against your spouse.
Divorce can be a harrowing process even when your spouse is not a drug addict since your marriage is ending. The situation becomes infinitely more complicated when your spouse is a drug addict. A drug addict is ultimately bound to their condition until they get the help they need, but not every drug addict is willing to seek treatment.
Some addicts cannot seek treatment because their addictions have become so strong, but it is important to remember that your spouse is technically a victim. Drug addiction is a disease, and many of your spouse's behaviors result from that addiction. This is not to say you should excuse their actions but that your spouse's addiction has much control over them.
While your spouse's drug addiction is a disease, divorcing them is still valid, and you should not be ashamed. Living with another person's addictions is a great strain and risk to you and your health. The issue is the divorce process itself since divorce is one of the most complicated legal proceedings in the world. The complicated nature of divorce mainly revolves around the number of clauses and laws surrounding the proceedings to ensure equitable distribution of assets.
When preparing for a divorce, the best thing to do is learn as much as possible about the different scenarios that might arise. Once upon a time, this information was hard to access, but now it is much easier to locate. We know this is a difficult time for you and hope the information in this article is of some help.