MonthOctober 2018

Survey Highlights Growing Use of Social Media in Divorce

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), an organization comprised of prominent divorce attorneys from across the nation, recently released the results of a very interesting survey regarding the prevalence of social media in divorce cases.

Specifically, the survey found that 81 percent of AAML members had seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases utilizing some form of social media evidence over the last five years.

FaceBook, the social networking site, was identified by 66 percent of those polled as the primary source of social media evidence, as suggested by legal SEOs.

“Going through a divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny. If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises, an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence,” said Marlene Eskind Moses, the president of the AAML.

It is important for clients going through a divorce to be especially careful when using any form of social media, including comments/posts on profile pages, tweets, emails or photos. Any questionable or potentially damaging content may be used to undermine your credibility in divorce-related proceedings (child custody, child support, alimony, etc.).

In fact, if you are in the midst of a divorce or separation, it may be wise to consider reviewing your privacy settings or revisiting your online habits.

Bankruptcy, Alimony and Child Support Payments

Given the current state of the economy, it is not surprising that more and more Americans are filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can provide a fresh financial start for many people, it does not discharge all of their preexisting obligations, including student loans, back taxes and – most importantly – alimony and child support payments.

In fact, under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, alimony and child support must be paid first, before any other creditor.

While this is always true no matter the circumstances, it may still be wise to consider filing a “nondischargeability compliant” if you are divorced. This can help guarantee the protection and enforcement of your alimony and child support rights.

If your former spouse does initiate bankruptcy proceedings, you should receive notice from the bankruptcy trustee on two separate occasions: at the time of filing and at the time of discharge. (The state child support enforcement agency (a.k.a. the Arizona Department of Economic Security) should also receive notice.)

If your former spouse has sufficient assets and these assets are liquidated, then he or she will more than likely be in a better position to cover past due alimony/child support payments. Liquidation may also enable them to resolve enough outstanding debts so that it becomes that much easier to make future alimony/child support payments.

However, if your spouse has insufficient assets, the bankruptcy court will probably order catch-up payments. In these situations, it may be beneficial to retain the services of an attorney to negotiate payment terms on your behalf. The same can be said if your former spouse goes to court (post-bankruptcy) seeking alimony/child support modification.

Choosing an Adult Family Home

Adult family homes offer a wide variety of options for the residents of our community. The family setting gives the individuals a home atmosphere which plays a part in their everyday quality of life. For many, they are a favorable alternative to a nursing home. These homes are licensed by the Department of Social and Health Services.

Most homes have specialty licenses for individual needs. Make sure they are qualified to meet yours:
· Dementia Specialty: The staff in these homes have been trained to work with the behaviors of individuals with a dementia diagnosis.
· Specialty Mental Health Homes: These homes specialize in working with people that have a mental health diagnosis such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
· Developmental Disability Homes: The staff in these homes are trained in issues related to different developmental conditions.
When choosing a home for your loved one you can never be too thorough. It is important to ask the appropriate questions:
· Ask about the history of the adult family home.
· What are the qualifications of the caregiving staff?
· Are there any visitation restrictions?
· Under what circumstances will a resident be asked to leave?
· What is the protocol for handling medical emergencies?
· When will rates be adjusted?
· What extra fees are charged?
· What are refund policies?
· Does the home provide transportation to doctor appointments?
· If the resident becomes heavy care, will he/she have to move out?
Be observant when visiting an adult family home:
· Is the home neat and clean?
· Is the home free of odor?
· What kind of meals are served?
· Are the residents dressed appropriately?
· Is their clothing clean?
· Do residents appear happy and well cared for?
· Is there good interaction between the residents and the staff?
· Are the caregivers sensitive to privacy needs and treat the residents with respect and dignity?
Timing is important regarding the movement of a loved one to a care facility. It is important to begin the selection process when it becomes apparent that a move will be taking place in the near future. This will allow adequate time to find the home that suits the resident as well as the family of the resident.
Making Promises We Cannot Keep….
Many of us are in the position of caring for aging parents or in-laws to some degree or another.As they face a health crisis or their health gradually declines, they may have fears of “being put in a nursing home”. They may have had experiences in the past of their older relatives being in nursing home years ago and it has stuck with them all this time.

Because of fear, the aging relative may try to get us to promise that we will never make them go to a nursing home. We have to have an answer ready that will reassure them that we love them, yet not commit ourselves to promises that we cannot keep. Think about your answer now, when you are not under the pressure of the health crisis

Replay the words in your mind that you will say when that issue comes up. Try to speak in positive ways.Some possible suggestions are:

· “Mom, I love you and I want to do what is best for you. I will take care of you as long as I possibly can. I want you to be safe and well cared for and that might mean letting someone else help us. I just want what is best for you.”
· “Dad, you know that we care about you and want to help you to stay in your house. You might need more care than we can help with and would need to be somewhere else.We just want you to be safe.”
· “Uncle Bob, we want you to be safe. We will make whatever decisions we have to when the time comes. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. I care too much about you.”
You must use words that are comfortable for you. Just be sure that you start and end by reassuring the person that you love them and want to do what is best for them and will keep them safe.

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