Considering adoption? Here are some things you should know

National adoption day logoNovember 22 marks National Adoption Day, a nationwide event designed to bring attention to the more than 100,000 children living in foster care while awaiting their forever families.

Last year, about 4,500 children living in foster care were adopted. And, since the inception of National Adoption Day 15 years ago, an estimated 50,000 children have been adopted, according to the organization’s statistics.

As a family law attorney, I am always happy when clients come to me asking for my help with the adoption process. Whether you seek a private adoption or an agency adoption I can assist with the legal aspects of your adoption.

Many people fear the process because they believe there is too much red tape; that they will only be able to adopt a child with some type of disability; that those available are older or in some way “damaged;” or that they risk having the birth parent take away the child.

Before considering adoption there are steps you can take to make sure it’s the right decision for you.

Read more: Considering adoption? Here are some things you should know

Family law event calls for changes to country’s divorce court system

DivorceI just returned from Arlington, Va., where I spent the weekend attending a family law reform conference. Attendees discussed potential solutions to improve how the family law court system operates.

The creators of the documentary Divorce Corp, which aired earlier this year, sponsored the event. The documentary, directed by Joe Sorge, focuses on what is described as “the big business of divorce” and calls for significant reforms regarding alimony, child custody and child support.

Several hundred people attended the weekend event in which law professors, reform advocates, mental health and abuse experts came together to create an action plan for reform in the United States. One of the goals discussed was for Divorce Corp to become a national resource for various organizations to discuss parenting and support matters and to find the best solutions for families and children.

Among the solutions discussed: The “Scandinavian” model of divorce. In countries such as Sweden and Iceland, divorce and post-marital childcare and support are usually created inexpensively, without courts and lawyers. In the United States, we have mediation and collaborative divorce – both are viable options that allow couples to work together with the help of a neutral third party and work out an agreement in a cost-effective way.

Read more: Family law event calls for changes to country’s divorce court system

Divorce battle costs British Couple nearly one-third of their life savings

money and calculatorWhen it comes to racking up divorce-related court fees, a couple in Manchester, England likely might take the award for most money wasted.

According to numerous published reports, the couple, who was not identified, blew through £920,00 – or about $1.44 million in U.S. dollars – in divorce-related costs.

It turns out that was about one-third of the family’s savings that they had spent nearly two decades amassing. Of the total, £154,000 ($241,441) went to a team of forensics accountants hired to value the ex-husband’s business interests.

In fact, it was reported that the couple had engaged in so much back and forth bickering they presented the court with 12 files of information.

Read more: Divorce battle costs British Couple nearly one-third of their life savings

Collaborative marriage planning an alternative to prenup

negotiationBefore getting married, many people sign a prenuptial agreement – that is an agreement the couple enters into before they tie the knot that determines who will get what in the event that the marriage ends in divorce. In such cases each spouse has, or should have, their own attorney representing them to ensure they get what they want out of the deal.

Previously, I have written about collaborative divorce. This is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is designed to help couples that are splitting up with a way to work out their differences in a collaborative way.

Now, many couples are turning to collaborative marriage planning. This alternative to the creation of a prenup is gaining momentum, and rightfully so. Instead of each party taking an adversarial position even before saying “I do,” each works with their own collaborative attorney who helps them to come up with ideas and options that, should the marriage end in divorce, result in a more amenable dissolution.

In addition to each party having their attorney at the table, collaborative marriage planning brings in a neutral facilitator to ensure that all of the issues are addressed, that both parties are heard and that everyone remains respectful of each other and the process.

Read more: Collaborative marriage planning an alternative to prenup

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