How to Guide

 

HOW TO GUIDE

 

How to Guide

How To Create A Parenting Plan?

Putting together a Massachusetts parenting plan, formally called a child custody / visitation schedule, can be a very difficult process. There are only so many hours in the day and both parents generally want to spend as much of their free time with their child(ren) as possible. Additionally, both parents may have busy work schedules that complicate the matter. There are many factors that influence the parenting plan and two organizations have developed “Model Parenting Plans” in order to facilitate the decision making process.

A Massachusetts Task Force comprised of judges, lawyers, probation officers and mental health professionals put together “Model Parenting Plans.” The plans list eleven factors that should be taken into consideration when developing a parenting plan. The Factors are:

1. Level of tension or conflict between parents

2. Parenting skills already in place

3. Child’s physical and emotional health

4. Child’s temperament and adaptability to change

5. Child’s developmental age and abilities

6. Child’s daily schedule

7. Availability of each parent

8. Location of both parents

9. Parent’s ability and willingness to learn basic care giving skills

10. Sibling groups

11. Close caretaking relationship

 

The Model Parenting Plans are grouped into categories by age. An infant parenting plan is different than a teenager parenting plan.  [click here to view the Massachusetts parenting plan guide]

The Massachusetts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts has also developed a “Model Parenting Plan” information guide called, Planning for Shared Parenting, A Guide For Parents Living Apart. This guide is frequently used by Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Judges and Lawyers as a starting point to develop a parenting plan. The Model Parenting Plans may be deviated from based on individual circumstances. The guide states that it is intended only as a guide from the time the parents separate until the initiation of court action. In reality, this guide is used during the divorce process and post divorce as well. [click here to view the AFCC parenting plan guide]

Regardless of the model that is used it is important to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child(ren). Parents should not use the parenting plan as an opportunity to reduce or increase their child support payments.

How To Decide If You Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal tool that states the parties’ responsibilities and rights regarding spousal support and division of property at the dissolution of marriage. At the time of divorce, parties who do not have a prenuptial agreement are completely subject to the laws of the state. Think of it similar to having a will. People have wills because they want to decide how their property will be distributed upon death and people get prenuptial agreements because they want to decide how their property will be distributed if they get divorced.

Further, a prenuptial agreement promotes financial planning. Each party must disclose their finances or risk a future invalidation of the agreement. The mandatory disclosure makes couples think about how much money they have, need and want. Otherwise, these matters may never be discussed.

Prenuptials should be considered by anyone who has substantial assets, is on their 2nd marriage, or if both parties have kids that plan to go to college. A little planning now will make life easier down the road.

How To Determine Health Insurance Eligibility After Divorce?

When negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement, it is important to understand how your current health insurance will be affected by the divorce. There are two types of plans; insured and self-insured. An insured plan is one in which the employer pays an insurance company or HMO, which accepts the risk of paying claims. A self-insured plan is one in which the employer accepts the risk of paying the claims. To find out whether you have an insured or self-insured plan contact your company’s HR department and ask for the Summary Plan Description (SPD). Within the SPD it will say what type of plan you have.

Self-insured plans are exempt from Massachusetts insurance laws. This means that the employer is no longer responsible for covering the ex-spouse. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the ex-spouse is allowed to stay on the spouses’ insurance plan for a maximum of 36 months. The ex-spouse may be charged up to 102% of the employers’ cost.

Insured plans are governed by Massachusetts General Laws c. 175 § 110I, which provides that the employer must continue health insurance coverage for the ex-spouse. Unfortunately, it is generally accepted that ERISA preempts Massachusetts law and allows the employer to pass on the additional cost of the difference between the individual and family plan to the employee. The cost difference is generally substantial and must be taken into account when drafting a divorce agreement.

The bottom line is that prior to reaching a divorce agreement is it necessary to understand the potential health insurance costs in order to incorporate future health insurance expenses into an equitable distribution of assets.

How To Determine What Is A Martial Asset

A great tech blog, Gizmodo, recently featured an article titled Virtual Assets Are Not Community Property. For those who do not know, online gaming worlds have virtual goods for sale that cost real money. The article discussed a recent divorce ruling in China addressing whether virtual assets are includable in the marital estate.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 Section 34 lists 14 factors to consider in determining an equitable division of marital assets. While it is important to understand how the Court will ultimately divide the assets, first it is necessary to determine what is as a marital asset. The Court determined that A party’s “estate” by definition includes all property to which he holds title, however acquired. Therefore, this provision gives the trial judge discretion to assign to one spouse property of the other spouse whenever and however acquired See Rice v. Rice, 372 Mass. 398 (1977).

At the time of the Rice ruling, the Court most likely did not contemplate that there would be an online world containing virtual assets. So does this mean that assets in virtual land are not subject to division? The assets can probably be considered marital assets and these assets are worth big bucks. TechCrunch.com estimates that in 2011 sales of virtual goods will be approximately 653 million dollars and the social gaming industry will be worth over 1 billion dollars. When getting divorced everything either party owns may be considered marital assets, so it is important to find a lawyer that understands how to make the facts work for their client.

How To Draft A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

What is a QDRO?

QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. A QDRO is a court order that allows a tax free transfer of assets incident to a divorce. Part of the divorce process is reaching an equitable agreement between spouses. Once the agreement is reached, it may be necessary to transfer finances between parties in order for the parties’ assets to be divided. It is generally a taxable event to transfer non-vested pensions or other retirement accounts without a non-taxable qualifying event. The use of the QDRO makes the transfer a non-taxable event.

When do I get a QDRO?

A QDRO can be completed immediately after a the court’s acceptance of a divorce agreement.

How do I complete a QDRO?

There are no two QDROs alike. Since almost all companies use QDRO processing centers, it is necessary to contact the company’s HR department to learn their preferred method of finalizing a QDRO. When drafting the QDRO it is best to follow each and every step suggested by the HR department and the QDRO processing company. Allow it is important to follow the plan administrators steps the final QDRO should be carfully drafted to comply with ERISA and include clauses that require the plan administrator to administer the benefit per the party’s intentions.

8 Steps to a completed QDRO

  1. Receive a Judgment Absolute;
  2. Contact the HR department where retirement plan(s) derived;
  3. Follow the plan administrators’ directions;
  4. Draft the QDRO;
  5. Have the plan administrator review / sign off on QDRO;
  6. Have each party review QDRO and sign Joint Motion for Approval;
  7. Send to Court for approval; and
  8. Send Court’s signed QDRO to plan administrator.
How To Enforce A Child Support Order?

Establishing a Child Support Order

Child Support is money paid by one parent to the other parent for support of the children. On January 1, 2009 Massachusetts enacted new child support guidelines. The state listed eight factors why they implemented the guidelines [click here to review the guidelines]. The guidelines determine the amount one parent will pay the other parent. Unless the parties make a joint income of greater than $250,000.00 per year and there are not other deviating factors, then the parties will pay and receive child support based on the guidelines.

Processing Child Support Payments

Once child support is ordered by the court then the payor must pay the payee. It is best to manage the payment of child support by using the (DOR). DOR will keep a ledger of all payments by the payor. Additionally, the court can order that the payor’s employer to pay the child support obligation directly to DOR.

It is also in the best interest of the payor to use DOR to pay child support. DOR keeps track of all payments and a payment history can be viewed on their website.  Any dispute about whether or not a payment has been made can be cleared up by looking at the DOR payment history. The payor does not have to deal with proving payment to a child support payee alleging that they never received payment.

Enforcing Payment

If a payor falls behind on child support payments, then the payee can file a Complaint for Contempt. The payee should wait until the payor has missed two payment cycles before filing the Contempt. A party who files the Contempt may request that the court order the other party to pay court costs, missed wages and attorney fees.

A party that is found in Contempt by the court may be put in jail until the party is able to pay a set amount of past due child support as ordered by the court.

If you need assistance collecting child support do not hesitate to contact an attorney.

How To File For Divorce?

If you have made the decision that you are ready to be divorced, then the next step is to file for divorce. In Massachusetts, you can either file for a contested divorce or a joint petition for divorce. A joint petition for divorce means that both parties have agreed upon the terms of divorce as related to finances and children (if applicable). A contested divorce means that the parties have not agreed upon the terms of the divorce as related to finances and children (if applicable).

A general rule of thumb is that if you are not sure whether your divorce should be filed as contested or uncontested, then it should be filed as contested. A party can file a contested divorce and still work out an agreement after the divorce complaint is filed.

Frequently, one party wants to be divorced and the other party does not. It is important to note that neither party gains the court’s favor by being the party that filed for divorce.

The divorce documents should be filed in the county’s Probate and Family Court where one of the parties resides. Click here for a list of courts.

Once the divorce is filed, the party filing (plaintiff) will receive a summons that must be sent to the opposing party with the complaint for divorce. The summons and complaint must be served via an uninterested party over 18 years of age or the defendant can sign and notarize the summons. It is best practice to have the summons served on the defendant via a constable or sheriff. The summons and complaint must be served to the defendant in hand.

If you have any questions regarding filing for divorce, service of the summons, or additional requests of the court that may be filed along with the complaint, then you should contact a lawyer prior to submitting any forms to the Court.

The following packets contain a checklist and necessary forms to file for divorce. They DO NOT contain any forms to make requests of the court pending the outcome of the divorce.

Contested Divorce Documents

Uncontested Divorce Documents

How To Get A Home Paternity Test?

While home DNA tests are legal in Massachusetts, they are not admissible in court. DNA testing is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209C. The statute states that for a DNA test to be admissible in Court, it must be completed by a laboratory approved by an accreditation body designated by the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services pursuant to Title IV, Part D of the Social Security Act. A recent article in the New York Daily News said that Duane Reade (NYC’s popular pharmacy chain) is selling over the counter DNA tests. In Massachusetts, these DNA tests will not hold up in court. Let’s take a look at why.

The most widely regarded DNA testing facility accreditation body is the AABB. This organization certifies testing centers to make sure they are complying with the best standards and practices of the industry. In order for the sample to be admissible in court, it must be tested at an accredited facility. So why are home tests not admissible in Massachusetts if an accredited facility tests the sample?

Home tests are not admissible evidence in Massachusetts courts because there is no chain of custody. To make sure that the DNA is admissible, it is necessary to have the sample taken from a licensed professional who can credibly testify to the chain of custody. The professional will (1) obtain the parties consent and confirm the identification of the tested parties, (2) gather and package the samples in tamper proof medical containers, (3) transfer the samples to the laboratory, (4) test the samples at the laboratory, and (5) record each stage of the process. This will ensure that the chain of custody is maintained.

Although a Duane Reade home testing kit may seem inexpensive, convenient and private, the reality is that a DNA test at an accredited center is the only way to guarantee the result will be admissible in court.

How To Get A Restraining Order?

A Massachusetts protective order, often referred to as a restraining order is a court order that may state that one party cannot communicate and/or go near the other party. The court has the authority to make the order as narrow or inclusive as the court sees fit.  The purpose of the protective order is put both parties and the police on notice that the plaintiff is fearful of the defendant causing him/her harm. A violation of the court’s civil protective order is a criminal offense.  It is important to remember that the protective order is only a piece of paper and cannot physically stop someone from harming someone else. If there is an emergency, call 911.  Who and How does someone get a Massachusetts protective order?

Who Should Get A Massachusetts Protective Order (M.G.L 209A)

If a person does any of the following acts to another family or household member, then the abused person may get a Massachusetts protective order:

  • (a)  attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
  • (b)  placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; and
  • (c) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.

How to Get a Massachusetts Protective Order

    1. Go to the local Massachusetts district or probate and family court (click here for a list) and tell the clerks at the desk that you would like to file for a protective order. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork. Once completed, you will go before a judge to explain why a protective order is necessary. It is important to convey specific facts to the judge that show that a protective order is warranted. A failure to communicate your situation may cause the judge to not grant the protective order.

 

  1. If the court is closed, then you should go to the police station or call the police for a protective order. You will have to explain to the police why you need a protective order and the police can get you a temporary protective order.

In either situation, the original protective order will be temporary. The order will provide a date and time that both parties must appear before the court. The police will serve the defendant with notice of the hearing. If the plaintiff does not appear at this hearing, then the protective order will expire. At that hearing the court will determine if the protective order should be continued and with what conditions.

Resources

Talking to a judge in an open courtroom with the abuser present is a very difficult task. It is advised to contact an attorney to represent you in court.

Additionally, the following hotlines can provide advice:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
  • Massachusetts statewide hotline 1-877-785-2020
How To Know If You Are Ready For Divorce?

Divorce does not begin with legal representation in front of the Judge. Long before a divorcee decides to pursue a divorce, an analysis of whether or not the spouse should stay married is done. Obviously, this decision should not be taken lightly. Many spouses will find themselves in this situation and will not know where to turn for advice.

Spouses often find themselves in counseling. While counseling is a viable option, articles such as the following are a low cost, private, and non-committal alternative to counseling. Susan Pease Gadoua, Author of Contemplating Divorce, A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go wrote a Huffington Post article titled, Knowing If Your Marriage is “Workable”. The article provides an introduction to the thought process of getting divorced and makes the spouse examine their marriage and the underlying reasons for either staying or leaving.

The above article and others like it are good tools to spur self reflection. A good article challenges a spouse to think about why they may want a divorce. As stated above, there is no one size fits all reason to get a divorce and only the spouse truly knows whether or not it is the best thing to do. As a divorce lawyer, I am able to be most effective when a client comes into the office with an understanding of why the marriage failed.

If you are not sure whether divorce is right for you or have a friend who you know may be thinking about getting a divorce, then take the time to read the above article or share the article with your friend. The combination of legal and non-legal advice will put a divorcee in the best possible position to have a successful divorce.

 

How To Modify Massachusetts Child Support Orders?

The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has continuing jurisdiction over child related matters. This includes child support. A court order that was issued during the Complaint for Divorce may need to be modified. Some of the reasons that a parent may need to modify the child support order are a change in employment status, increased wages or a change in child care or insurance expenses.  How is the order actually modified?

The first step to modify a child support order is to file a Complaint for Modification. It is important to file the complaint for modification as soon as a parent believes a change in child support is warranted because any court order modifying the child support order is retroactive only to the date the complaint is filed.

The standard for modifying a child support order is a material change in circumstances. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 Section 28 provides the legal standard. Additionally, the following two cases have helped define the statute:

  • Ardizoni v. Raymond, 40 Mass.App.Ct. 734 (1996) : The standard for modification of child custody/visitation is a material and substantial change of circumstances since the prior judgment was entered and the desired change of child custody/visitation is in the child’s best interest.
  • Cabot v. Cabot, 55 Mass.App.Ct. 756 (2002) : If an incorporated separation agreement or a divorce judgment fails to provide for a child’s education, a modification complaint may be brought on the ground that the educational costs are a material and substantial change of circumstances.

If you are unsure if a change in your situation is a material change in circumstances, then the first step is to see if the change results in a significant change in child support. You can use the child support guidelines located on the Court Forms page to determine the change in Massachusetts Child Support. If there is a significant change, then you will want to file a Complaint for Modification. If you are not sure if your situation warrants a modification, then contact a masstachusetts divorce and family law attorney.

 

How To Protect Children Online?

So what has baseball taught us about divorce? Baseball has reminded us how divorce can destroy a business. The Dodgers, a Major League Baseball (MLB) team in Los Angeles, is owned by Frank McCourt. Mr. McCourt is going through a highly publicized divorce. Ms. McCourt is seeking a share of the Dodgers. The Dodgers have been struggling financially and it was recently reported that Mr. McCourt had to borrow 30 million dollars from FOX to meet payroll. Yesterday, MLB announced that it was taking over the day to day operations of the Dodgers. http://lat.ms/emt0E1 This is similar to the FDIC taking over a bank or a corporation taking over a franchise. So how can someone protect themselves from being in Mr. McCourt’s position?

Planning, Planning, Planning

Divorces can be expensive. The greater the assets that are involved the more likely the parties will fight tooth and nail. Between two sets of living expenses and legal fees a divorcee may find that their nest egg is no longer as big as needed. Additionally, small businesses are frequently the victims of the financial pinch.

A recent article by Jeffrey A. Landers, “Divorce-Proof Your Business, Even If You’re Still Single Or Happily Married!” provides some strategies for protecting your business in case of divorce.  http://t.co/vYVIQLu. He focuses on women business owners, but the article’s principles can be applied to men business owners. The purpose of the strategies can be summed up as follows:

“Consider this as a type of insurance policy, similar to your homeowner’s insurance – you hope you never have to use it but you feel secure having it. And, if that storm ever blows through and levels your house, you’ll be really glad that you have it!”

Divorce is similar to all major life events. It goes a lot smoother with a little planning. Because each state’s divorce laws are different, contact a local divorce attorney for divorce planning advice.

How To Protect Your Business From Divorce

So what has baseball taught us about divorce? Baseball has reminded us how divorce can destroy a business. The Dodgers, a Major League Baseball (MLB) team in Los Angeles, is owned by Frank McCourt. Mr. McCourt is going through a highly publicized divorce. Ms. McCourt is seeking a share of the Dodgers. The Dodgers have been struggling financially and it was recently reported that Mr. McCourt had to borrow 30 million dollars from FOX to meet payroll. Yesterday, MLB announced that it was taking over the day to day operations of the Dodgers. http://lat.ms/emt0E1 This is similar to the FDIC taking over a bank or a corporation taking over a franchise. So how can someone protect themselves from being in Mr. McCourt’s position?

Planning, Planning, Planning

Divorces can be expensive. The greater the assets that are involved the more likely the parties will fight tooth and nail. Between two sets of living expenses and legal fees a divorcee may find that their nest egg is no longer as big as needed. Additionally, small businesses are frequently the victims of the financial pinch.

A recent article by Jeffrey A. Landers, “Divorce-Proof Your Business, Even If You’re Still Single Or Happily Married!” provides some strategies for protecting your business in case of divorce.  http://t.co/vYVIQLu. He focuses on women business owners, but the article’s principles can be applied to men business owners. The purpose of the strategies can be summed up as follows:

“Consider this as a type of insurance policy, similar to your homeowner’s insurance – you hope you never have to use it but you feel secure having it. And, if that storm ever blows through and levels your house, you’ll be really glad that you have it!”

Divorce is similar to all major life events. It goes a lot smoother with a little planning. Because each state’s divorce laws are different, contact a local divorce attorney for divorce planning advice.

 

How To Protect Yourself Against Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a hidden reality. It affects people of all incomes, races and religions. Domestic violence is often not reported to the police due to the abused being fearful of additional abuse by the abuser. Frequently the abused does not have the necessary support group to distance themselves from the abuser or believes that the abuse is a onetime incident.  A recent domestic violence incident exemplifies why continued domestic violence education is necessary.

Boston.com reported a recent horrific domestic violence incident in Somerville, MA. Jose Gonzalez, a 32 year old Somerville, Massachusetts resident and his 30 year old unnamed girlfriend got into an argument in their car. While arguing a police officer approach the car and asked the girlfriend if everything was ok. She told the police officer that everything was fine and the police officer went on his way. 15 minutes later Mr. Gonzalez dropped off his girlfriend at the hospital where it was found that three of her fingers were missing. A knife and her fingers were later found near the location of the parked car. http://bo.st/etxkAp

Clearly, this is a sad story. This story needs to be shared with all women in order to prevent future events. So how does a woman prevent this from happening to her? The first step is to acknowledge that she may be in an abusive relationship.  A sign of an abusive relationship may be if she finds herself having to walk on eggshells around her partner. Is she constantly watching what she says or does around her partner? Is she always being belittled and controlled? These are all signs of an abusive relationship.

The City of Somerville has created a directory of shelters, organizations and emergency information to help combat domestic violence. Click here to read it. As an attorney I am able to help a victim get a restraining order and equally if not more importantly connect that person with organizations to help them make empowered decisions.

How To Recognize Teen Depression Related To Divorce ?

Divorce influences not only the divorcees, but their children. Not only are children expected to understand why their parents are splitting up, but they often feel pressured to choose a side. During this period of instability children may slip into depression and parents, consumed by the split, often fail to notice.

Depression and other mental conditions are medical conditions that are increasingly being treated with the seriousness that physical conditions such as cancer or diabetes receive. According to The Ganley Foundation’s Executive Director Grace Carricarte, suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students and the third leading cause of death for high schoolers. The Ganley Foundation provides educational material that outline some of the common signs that those who are depressed exhibit.

Mental health diseases are pervasive throughout teen social circles. ESPN’s Outside the Lines recently featured teen depression and suicide on the show. Jordan Burnham, currently in college, spoke of his battle with depression in high school. He was popular, a top athlete and had a supportive family. The disease got the best of him and it culminated in him jumping out of a nine story building. Fortunately, he has lived to share his story and make others aware of a disease that is rarely talked about.

How To Talk To A Person Who Is Divorced

Courtesy of www.suhaibwebb.com. The following article titled “6 Things Not to Say to Someone Who is Divorce” by Amal Killawi and Zarinah Nadir is a good list of how to talk to someone recently divorced. The authors audience is mainly Muslim, but their advice applies to all cultures. Society tends to treat divorced persons as if they have somehow failed in life. Divorce is not a sign of failure, but rather a person’s willingness to actively improve themselves. Try to think about the following article the next time you speak to a divorced friend or acquaintance.

Divorce is never easy.

But it’s the reality for 50% of American couples and 31% of American Muslim couples.  With these statistics, you’re likely to have friends or know people in your community who have been divorced or are currently experiencing a divorce.

Divorce is often a time of monumental hardship and change. Many people do not know how to convey their sentiments when learning about a divorce.  Comments are usually well-intentioned, but can be grossly misplaced. In honor of our brothers and sisters who have experienced marriage dissolution or are currently in the process, we present a list of the top 6 things not to say to divorcees.  These statements are based on real-life experiences shared with us.

1. “Are you sure?”

Unless this question is posed by close family and friends or persons involved in the mediation process, it is highly inappropriate, offensive, and intrusive.  If people were unsure of their decision, they would not have shared the news with others.  Additionally, for some people, divorce may not have been their choice or decision to make.  People are likely to be under a great deal of emotional stress, and asking them about the uncertainty of their decision is disrespectful of their journey before separation.

2. “How long were you married?”  And upon finding out it was a relatively short period – “Oh, well, at least it was short.”

Marriage duration is not an accurate indicator of the value of the relationship, the length of the healing process, or the legitimacy of the marital experience. Whether the marriage lasted for 5 months or 5 years, it is important to acknowledge the significance of this loss.  The end of a marriage often also symbolizes the end of the dreams, aspirations, and life plans of the couple. Additionally, it is important to realize that regardless of the duration, some people may have suffered through distressing trials in their marriage.  The last few months could have been a living nightmare.

3. “I saw it coming all along.”

Since when has “I told you so” ever been a sensitive comment?  Unfortunately, some people use these opportunities to reveal their intuitiveness about a person’s marital problems.  Although they may consider it to be a statement of reassurance – that one should not be upset because the relationship seemed destined for divorce anyways – it is just plain rude and insensitive.

4. “Who filed for divorce? Did you go to court?  What did you get? Who has custody?”

For Muslims in the United States, divorce is often both a civil and religious process.  These processes can be lengthy and draining emotionally and financially.  Practice caution when asking questions about the divorce process.  Take the lead from the divorcee before entering into a conversation. If the person doesn’t share, don’t probe.  These are personal questions and may still be contentious.

5. “But you were such a perfect couple!”

Or any variation of this such as, “But he is such a nice brother!” or “She’s such a religious sistermasha’Allah!”  There’s no such thing as a perfect couple or a perfect person.  It is important to remember that people’s public personas can be very different behind closed doors.  No matter how well we think we know others, there is nothing comparable to living with another person in a marital relationship.  Statements that pass judgment should be avoided because the reality is we do not know.

6. “May you get remarried soon!”

Not everyone who has experienced a divorce appreciates a du`a’ (prayer) for a speedy remarriage.  While prayers are important for a person going through hardship, keep in mind that certain prayers expressed during this time may not always be appropriate.  Some people do not wish to re-marry for some time.  Additionally, some divorces are as a result of traumatic experiences such as domestic abuse or infidelity, and divorcees may very well be fearful of re-experiencing this trauma in a future marriage.  It’s better to focus your du`a’ on helping them to adjust and move on, instead of praying for another marriage!

So then, what is appropriate etiquette?

  • Follow their lead.  Recognize that some people may want to talk, while others do not.
  • Respect their preference.
  • Express empathy. Say, “I’m sorry about your divorce. How are you doing?”
  • Offer support and encouragement. Simply saying, “Please know that I’m here if you need anything” can go a long way.
  • Stay silent. If you don’t know what to say, silence is golden and acceptable.
  • Be sensitive to their needs. Make them feel included despite their change in marital status.
  • Honor their journey. Grief is generally a part of the healing process as people learn to adjust to life after separation.

Remember, you may encounter someone at any stage in that process. By practicing sincerity and utilizing common courtesy, we can be more mindful in our interactions with people undergoing a time of reflection and change.

– See more at: https://somervillelawoffice.com/how-to-guides/how-to-talk-to-a-person-who-is-divorced/#sthash.SNzoCxcP.dpuf