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Posted on in Divorce

CA divorce lawyerIn an ideal situation, marriage is a partnership between two equally-committed individuals who treat each other with love and respect. Unfortunately, however, abusive relationships are all too common, and they can lead to a spouse suffering a great deal of physical, emotional, and mental harm. While the signs of physical abuse may seem easy to recognize, emotional abuse is much more subtle, and victims of this type of abuse may not realize how much they are affected by this type of negative treatment by their spouse. If you recognize any of the following signs in your own relationship, you may want to consider whether ending your marriage through divorce is the best option for you and your family:

  • Walking on eggshells - Do you feel like you always have to tread lightly to avoid angering or upsetting your spouse? A feeling of constant anxiety that anything you might say or do could cause your partner to become offended, disappointed, or angry is a sign of abuse.
  • Feelings of shame or guilt - Abusers will often try to make their victims them believe that they are not worthy of love or blame them for things that are not their fault. An abusive spouse may try to make you feel bad about yourself or claim that nobody else would love you.
  • Emotional manipulation - Abusive spouses often try to manipulate their victims’ emotions in a variety of ways, such as withholding affection until they get what they want, acting hurt to make their partner feel sorry for them, or refusing to acknowledge their partner’s accomplishments.
  • Gaslighting - One of the most severe and insidious forms of emotional manipulation occurs when an abuser makes their victim doubt their own memories and feelings, often by lying about things that they said or did. By causing their partner to question their sense of reality, an abuser gains control in the relationship.
  • Constant criticism - Emotional abuse can take the form of verbally tearing a person down, either through explicitly belittling a person or by making disparaging comments in the form of jokes or backhanded compliments.
  • Jealousy - Does your spouse always want to know where you are and who you are with? Do they require you to constantly check in when you are away from them? These forms of jealousy are another method that an abuser may use to control their spouse.
  • Isolation - Does your spouse refuse to let you spend time away from them with your friends? Have they tried to convince you to cut off contact with certain family members? Isolating a victim from people who could offer emotional support is a common way abusers attempt to maintain control over their partners.

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Family Law Attorney

If you are in an abusive relationship, you may feel that you have no options and no way to escape, especially if your spouse controls your finances or earns the majority of your family’s income. However, you deserve to live a life free of abuse, and you have the right to leave a bad situation and get help. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we will work with you to protect your rights and help you get the resources you need during a divorce involving an abusive spouse. Contact our Los Gatos divorce lawyer at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

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CA divorce attorneyWhen parents decide to end their marriage, they will likely put a great deal of thought into how their minor children will be affected. In addition to determining how the issues of child custody and visitation will be resolved during divorce, parents often work together to provide their children with emotional support and reassurance, helping them adjust to their new reality of splitting time between two separate households.

Parents of adult children who no longer live at home may not have as many legal issues to resolve during divorce, but they should still be aware of the impact that the end of their marriage will have on the members of their family. Adult children of divorce are often affected in the following ways:

  • Emotional reactions - Parents may believe that children who have established themselves as adults will be less affected by their divorce, but it is important to understand that they will still be likely to feel a great deal of anger and sadness, and they may need some time to adjust to their parents’ new situation.
  • Commitment issues - Children whose parents have divorced are often hesitant to enter new relationships, or they may remain in a bad relationship because they are afraid to repeat their parents’ mistakes.
  • Taking sides - Parents of minor children often work to keep kids from being involved in conflict, but parents of adult children may feel they can be more open about the reasons their marriage failed. This can cause children to feel like they need to choose one parent over the other, which can damage their relationship with both parents.
  • Acting as a confidant - Parents may feel that they can confide in their adult children and lean on them for support. However, a lack of clear boundaries can result in a great deal of stress and anxiety for children.
  • Concerns about the future - The instability that results from divorce will likely cause children to worry about their parents’ ability to financially support themselves, who will care for them as they get older, and how inheritance issues will be handled.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Lawyer

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CA divorce attorneyWhen you decide to get a divorce, the process of separating your life, your home, and your finances from your ex-spouse can become incredibly complicated. During this time, it is important to make the right decisions, especially when it comes to financial matters. Here are some mistakes divorcing couples often make that can negatively impact their finances in the future:

  • Not checking your credit report - During divorce, it is important to get a complete picture your assets and debts and any accounts that are in your name. Obtaining a copy of your credit report will allow you to identify any sole or joint bank accounts and credit cards, as well as any other outstanding debts, and it will help you establish credit in your own name that you can use after your divorce has been finalized. You may also want to consider using an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock to ensure that your ex-spouse does not open any accounts or make any purchases in your name.
  • Not accounting for joint accounts - During divorce, any joint bank accounts should be closed, and their balances should be divided between you and your spouse. If possible, you should try to pay off any joint credit card debt, since both spouses will be liable for this debt, even after divorce.
  • Failing to consider taxes - Be sure you fully understand how the decisions you make during divorce will affect the taxes you pay, including your filing status, dependent tax credits, property taxes, and capital gains taxes. You should also be aware that while spousal support (alimony) is currently tax deductible for the payor and taxable for the recipient, it will be non-deductible for the payor and non-taxable for the recipient for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018.
  • Not understanding retirement accounts - Retirement funds such as 401(k) or IRA accounts that were created during a marriage are considered community property, even if they are in the name of one spouse. When dividing these funds during divorce, spouses should use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to avoid any penalties or taxes.
  • Not following a budget - While you may have become accustomed to a certain standard of living during your marriage, you may not be able to maintain these same standards on a single income. Be sure to create a budget that fully accounts for your income and expenses and allows you to maintain financial stability following your divorce.

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Divorce Attorney

Divorce can lead to financial difficulty for everyone involved, but with the proper planning, you can prepare to successfully move on to the next stage of your life. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can answer your questions about divorce, ensure that community property is divided correctly, and help you complete your divorce as efficiently and effectively as possible. Contact a Los Gatos divorce lawyer at 408-395-8822 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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California family lawyerThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by the States Congress last December, resulting in the most major federal tax reform of the last 30 years. This law affects nearly everyone in the U.S., and discussion of some of its changes, such as a lowered corporate tax rate and an increased standard deduction, have filled the news as financial experts examine its impact. However, one lesser-known aspect of the law is important for divorcing couples to understand, since it will affect how spousal support (which is traditionally called alimony) will be taxed.

How Alimony Is Taxed

Previously, when a spouse who earned a larger income paid spousal support to their former partner, they would be able to deduct this amount from their taxable income, and the payments would be considered taxable income for the spouse receiving them. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes this, so that alimony will now be treated like child support. For divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, spousal support will not be tax-deductible for the payor or taxable for the payee.

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California family lawyerDuring their parents’ divorce, children often experience a great deal of emotional turmoil, and the stress of living in a high-conflict home, uncertainty about the future, and difficulty adjusting to new living arrangements can lead to short-term and long-term physical and mental health issues. Even though parents may disagree about who will have legal and physical custody of their children, they should be able to work together to put their children’s best interests first. When doing so, they should consider recent research which shows that children often fare best in shared custody situations in which they spend near-equal amounts of time with each parent.

Research on Shared Parenting

Until recently, it was often considered best for children to primarily live with one parent after divorce, and experts believed that the stability of a single home was preferable to adjusting to living in two homes. However, a number of recent studies have countered these assumptions and found that children often benefit from sharing time with both parents. Findings of these studies include:

  • Regardless of the level of contentiousness between parents during their divorce, children in shared custody situations (in which they live with each parent at least 35% of the time) experienced less stress than those who live primarily with one parent.
  • When children live in shared parenting situations, they tend to have better relationships with their parents, step-parents, and grandparents.
  • Children in shared custody families show better academic achievement and emotional health.
  • Children in shared parenting situations experience fewer behavioral problems, such as juvenile delinquency, misbehavior in school, bullying, or use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.
  • While many believe that infants and toddlers should primarily reside with their mothers, studies found that their bonds with both parents do not suffer when mothers and fathers share overnight parenting time.
  • The level of parental conflict tends to be a separate issue from parenting time. Children experience benefits from shared parenting, even in high-conflict situations, including when one parent objects to a shared parenting situation.
  • The benefits of shared parenting are not related to parents’ income level.

Ultimately, shared parenting allows children to have a close, ongoing relationship with both parents, and the benefits of these bonds outweigh the problems caused by conflict between parents. While parents should strive to keep their children from being caught in the middle of their disagreements, they should also understand the importance of being a primary figure in their kids’ lives.


Contact a Los Gatos, CA Child Custody Lawyer

In modern divorces, child custody arrangements often reflect the nature of how today’s parents care for their children, with both parents participating closely in guiding their children’s development. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can help you create a child custody agreement which will protect your children’s best interests and help them thrive following your divorce. Contact a Los Gatos family law attorney at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

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