Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Key to Winning in Divorce Court

The rule to remember is: Anticipate and prepare. Think about what your opponent (your spouse) wants, and what he or she will do to get it. Consider their possible defenses and offenses, and then do your homework. Find information to counter what they have to say. Look on the Internet, go to the library, and find magazines and books. When you fight back you need to always back yourself up with proof. Anybody can say anything, but having facts in print is imperative.All of this must be in the context of the law, and the law can be a brutal thing. The first time you enter a court you may feel overwhelmed. The judge’s rulings may seem unfair to the point of being ridiculous. Here is an example: your ex isn’t paying any child support and you receive a shutoff notice for the electricity in midwinter. You don’t have a court date for another three weeks. Your attorney informs you that you must wait until your court date to get any help. Emergency orders are rarely granted. So your electricity can be shut off while you wait for your court date. You wait, hoping they won’t shut it off before the court date. Then, with two days to go, your lawyer calls. Your court date has been postponed! This happens all the time. The calendars of family courts are always overcrowded. You may sit waiting through a whole day, paying your lawyer more with each hour that passes, only to be told that your case has been delayed for two weeks.Your lawyer will know these things, but don’t rely too completely on that. A good lawyer is an expert, but a lawyer is also your representative and your advisor. He or she is there to convey your case to the court. To do the job well a lawyer must know exactly what you are after. But you must have some knowledge of the law as well. Only then can you ask the right questions, and make informed choices when the lawyer presents you with options and decisions. It’s essential for you to learn as much as you can about the family laws in your state. These are the laws governing marriage, children, common assets, and divorce.Every day women suffer travesties of injustice in courtrooms. It is a bruising process. Realize that from the start. Form a thick skin. If you don’t, you will be constantly frustrated and upset. I shed many a tear from frustration as my husband walked away without paying our children a dime. At each juncture I returned to a home where every responsibility was mine. I still thank God I had a family that helped me through those dark days. I often think of the women who do not have such support, and wonder how they manage.Once again, the rule is: Anticipate and prepare. If you realize the road will be a long and hard one, you can anticipate the difficulties, and prepare with the support of your family.
About the Author:Christina Rowe is the author of the new book "Seven Secrets To A Successful Divorce-What Every Woman Needs To Know". Find out the survival skills that will save you time, money and heartache during your divorce.For a FREE chapter of "Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce" go to

Monday, October 09, 2006

How to Escape an Abusive Husband
There are many important things you should do if you are an abuse victim preparing to leave your spouse. These include: making copies of important records, papers, and bills; putting these records, some cash, and extra clothes in a safe place or a trusted friend’s house; and leaving when you must. If you can, start your own bank account. Get credit cards in your own name.
If the threat of physical violence is imminent escape with your children as soon as you can.
In such a situation, have an escape plan. Figure out what room in your house is most secure, and has a reasonable exit to the outside. Be prepared to give in to verbal demands in order to buy time. Once you have determined that the moment has come, go immediately. If you see a dangerous situation arising, do whatever you must (short of increasing the physical danger to yourself or your children) to create an opportunity for escape.
Once you are away from the home, go to the nearest shelter, or to the home of someone you trust. Also consider whether your spouse will follow, and if so, where he is likely to look.
Using the Legal System to Escape an Abuser
As I noted above, often a divorce action provokes an abuser. His violence may escalate. Protective or restraining orders can help, but they can also further infuriate the abusive spouse. Law enforcement can’t protect a victim or children around the clock. This is something you should discuss with your attorney.
Remember, when you ask for a protective or restraining order against your spouse, the judge will want as much evidence as possible. Document erratic behavior and any violent actions starting now. You can do this by writing everything down, or keeping a computer file, but be sure it is safe from discovery. Try to recall each detail. Ideally such records should be moved to wherever you are keeping your important papers in case of escape. One way to keep things written down, and retrievable from anywhere, is web based email, such as yahoo or hotmail, as long as you make sure the password is secure, and that you log off whenever you are finished. You can write things and save them as a draft, and there is no risk of losing the hard drive if you have to leave in a hurry. Call others as soon as possible after an incident, and have them keep a record of it. If you have bruises, show them to others, and ask them to make a written note of what they’ve seen. Keep the paperwork on hospital visits. If you have made any 911 calls, get the tapes of them. Your attorney will need as much evidence as possible.
If you are representing yourself in a motion for a restraining order, and you have such proof, let the evidence speak for itself. There is nothing wrong with expressing your fears, but do not say more than you have to against your spouse. If there are witnesses to violence, and/or solid physical evidence (cuts, bruises, broken items), these will be the most convincing factors. Most judges will be impressed more by a victim who simply states the need for protection and then presents compelling evidence. If you have a lawyer, but still have to testify, do so without anger. Present yourself as a victim of deranged behavior, and in need of a sane, sensible solution. Concentrate on the violence of the abuse, rather than on the abuser.
Judges seek to be referees in divorce disputes, not favoring either side. A judge will often resent being manipulated into issuing a restraining order early in the proceedings, especially if the victim later uses it as evidence in the divorce trial. Show that your concerns are only for the safety of yourself and those around you. Demonstrate that the order will be a useful tool in cooling things down and producing a just settlement.
Another issue that will concern a judge is the children. Judges are prone to try to sustain contact between parents and children. If your children are subject to abuse, then any protective or restraining order should apply to them. If the abuse is not aimed at them, and you intend to allow your spouse any contact with the children, discuss this with your lawyer. Often a restraining order can be limited in a way that is designed to defuse the anger of the abuser.
There are also other options to protective and restraining orders. In most states, a party in a divorce action can ask that a no-contact order be a condition of the divorce proceedings. However, these usually expire with the final decree.
The extent of abuse, and the potential for further abuse, should be the most important factors in any settlement. If there is an obvious threat of further abuse to a spouse and/or children, the contact should be limited or completely cut off. The safety of the victims must be the basis for settlement.
If the abuse is confined to the spouse, and isn’t sustained or life threatening, a judge will often arrange for visitation rights with the children. If this is the case, make sure all conditions are met to ensure your own safety when exchanging children for a visit. Judges sometimes draw up conditions for these exchanges that include third parties (trusted friends or family members), performing the exchange in a public place, or other security measures.
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Deciding to Divorce

The most intense, heart-wrenching decision comes at the start: Should you get divorced? Much has led up to this question, including the notions of separation and divorce. Up to now they have only been thoughts and words, with no immediate consequences. Now that you realize the time to decide has come, you have to contemplate action. The focus on action clarifies the situation, but also makes it seem more difficult and scary.
Any number of scenarios might lead to the end of a marriage. Sometimes there’s no choice; it’s your spouse who crosses the line. Often an affair ends a marriage. Other times physical abuse occurs, and the marriage becomes dangerous and intolerable. Circumstances like these leave little choice in the matter. A divorce becomes the only acceptable step.
But many divorces arise out of situations that are far less cut-and-dried. You may find that your marriage has grown dull. You look at your mate and realize that all the physical attraction you felt is gone. Or maybe the emptiness is in a different area. You might feel restricted, and even suffocated in everything you do. Your soul mate is no longer your soul mate. Your lives have grown apart. In situations like these others may still see your marriage as ideal, but deep down you feel it is all pain and misery. This may be one-sided. One partner may think everything is fine, while the other only wants out. Or you may be gasping for breath, and not even knowing it. If you come to the realization that your marriage is failing, should you get a divorce?
Before you take any steps you should contemplate where they might lead. Divorce is a painful, difficult choice. Ending a marriage is almost never easy, even when both sides agree that they no longer love each other. When one spouse still has deep feeling and the other doesn’t, or when there is any sense of imbalance at all—whether it be emotional, financial, or professional—that can only make it worse. In most cases you are ending a long relationship. There was love here once, and intensity. You are considering cutting the cord with someone who was the most important person in your life.
The presence of children amplifies the problem. The younger the kids, the worse it can be. Most children cannot help but feel torn when parents separate.
Divorce is often a financial earthquake for both parties. The family home might be sold. Two households are set up, both having to accommodate the children. Unless both parties are rich, this will affect your family’s standard of living.
Whether the problem is mental, spiritual, or a combination of factors, divorce is a step you should examine carefully. If there is no physical abuse in the picture, you may want to go to couple’s counseling before making the final decision. Offer to go with your spouse to see a therapist. Put it in positive terms, and make it a wholehearted offer. If you don’t think of it this way, counseling will have little chance of having any value. Your spouse may say no, but you will have tried.
If there is abuse, either physical or mental, couple’s counseling is almost certainly not the right course. Spousal or child abuse should not be tolerated. If it happens you need to protect yourself. In such a case you should simply look for the quickest, safest way out. Appeal to friends and family or, if necessary, go to a shelter. Do whatever you must do to effectively separate yourself and your children from your spouse, then look for a lawyer.
Has your spouse cheated? For me this was the cause of my divorce. Some will be able to forgive their spouse and try to save the marriage. I was unable to accept my husband’s affair and he quickly changed into a different person, both emotionally and physically, leaving me no choice but to file for divorce.
I know from my own experience, and from observation of many divorces, that your road ahead is long, frustrating, and probably ugly. The best scenario would be that you and your spouse begin by meeting with a mediator to agree on a fair settlement. If this route is possible it will save both of you thousands in legal fees. If you feel that your spouse will agree to an amicable divorce, this is the way to go.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Are you considering divorce? I’m talking about quiet, sober consideration of a question, not the thoughts that flare up from the heated emotions that come right after an argument. Have you thought through the effects of a divorce, and come to the conclusion that you may want to act? If you have, there are things you should do right away.
If your spouse has already filed before you, then you must act immediately. If not, you should take certain actions quickly, but not carelessly. The things you do now will affect every decision throughout the process, right down to the final decree.
If you have reached the point where divorce is a clear option, and particularly if you are considering an action that shows you mean to separate from your spouse (if you are thinking of leaving, or asking him/her to move out), you should do the following before approaching your spouse:
Seven things you must do before approaching your spouse about divorce
Make copies of your spouse’s pay stubs for the past eight weeks.
Make copies of your joint tax returns for the past five years.
Copy all bank statements and documentation of stock accounts, IRAs, and pension plans.
Make copies of all of your monthly bills over the past three months. These should include mortgage statements, rent payments, utility bills, car payments, insurance premiums, children’s expenses, medical expenses, and credit card statements.
Copy deeds to any properties owned jointly or in your spouse’s name.
Copy documents relating to any investments. These should include stocks, bonds, real estate, and any corporations or businesses owned in any part by you and your spouse.
Make a list of all collectibles, jewelry and other valuables. Photograph or videotape these items. Also list all furnishings and take pictures of these also
This may seem like an overwhelming task, but doing it will ensure that you have all the information ready when you need it most. Once you leave, or if your spouse leaves and takes these records, then you may have to ask your attorney to file a motion to force your spouse to produce them. That would become just another costly hassle down the line. Avoid it. Make copies.
Why do you need all these documents? If divorce proceedings get into a courtroom it means you and your spouse are in a battle. What are at stake are almost certainly income, lifestyle, and assets. You and your spouse are sorting out all of these things in a courtroom, so you need to establish the cost of living and the lifestyle you and your family enjoyed while married. This becomes the baseline the court will use for a settlement. The judge will base decisions about child support and alimony on this information. You must show what your family spends on maintaining a home, food, clothing, transportation, health, education, and any other necessities. In addition you need to clearly establish what your spouse earns or is capable of earning.
If you exit your home empty-handed, or if your spouse walks off with these records, you have no proof. In theory, the Court can force your spouse might produce these records, but only if your spouse is honest in producing the necessary documents, and only at the cost of one more bill from your attorney. That bill will probably come when you can least afford it. And if your spouse swears that the records produced are the only records in existence, you may be stuck with that answer. Once again: Make copies. Give them to a trusted friend or relative before informing your spouse you want a divorce.

Friday, August 11, 2006

“With Christina Rowe’s help and coaching I was able to find a great attorney. I am now able to provide my children with the financial security that they deserve. This book is a must read for any woman going through a divorce”

Cindy, mother of two

“When my ex-husband refused to pay medical expenses for our children, I was able to bring him back to court without paying a lawyer. After reading Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce-what every woman needs to know I was successful in court and saved myself a lot of money in attorney fees”

Sophia Demeson, mother of three

“How I wish I had read this book 5 years ago! I suffered through a long, painful divorce. If the information in this book was available to me back then I would have saved myself money, time and heartache”

Ginny Fredrick

“I am currently going through a complicated divorce. I now know how to protect myself financially thanks to this book. If you are going through a divorce I highly recommend you read Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce-what every woman needs to know by Christina Rowe. It is a lifesaver”

Christine Vela

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Friday, August 04, 2006


My name is Christina Rowe and I am the author of the upcoming book Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce-what every woman needs to know. I learned the hard way about the perils of divorce. I was a happily married woman with four children. Then I caught my husband cheating and my life spiraled out of control. What followed were two years of hell. I went through it all: money problems,dealing with a deadbeat ex-husband,navigating the court system,corrupt lawyers and more.
Eventually my life got better. I made it through the storm. In my hard hitting, tell-all book I share with you the secrets to a successful divorce for women. I share my story and give you specific tips and recommendations on how not to be taken advantage of during your own divorce process. I will teach you down to earth survival skills that will save you time, money and heartache during your divorce. I would like to share some of those tips here and would love to hear about your own divorce and how I can help you!