Regina’s Blog

Regina’s Blog2016-11-01T18:59:38-04:00

Regina's Blog


This is a blog about relationships, and it covers dating, marriage, parenting, modern family dynamics and divorce as seen from the very personal perspective of a divorced divorce lawyer.

1502, 2024

5 Key Considerations In Favor of a Prenup

By |February 15th, 2024|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Marriage these days is nothing like those of prior generations.  Over 1/3 of women these days outearn their husbands, and over 75% of couples have a two-income household.  As everyone has become painfully aware of the divorce rates (along with the financial and legal entanglements that arise from these unions) prenuptial agreements have consistently been trending upwards over the past two decades-- not just with the trust fund babies or second marriages. Working with couples about to marry, here are some key points I ask them to consider: Property- what do you want to keep as separate versus what will you be building together?  For many, there may not be much at the moment, but perhaps there are intellectual property rights, the expectation of an inheritance or interest in a future business that they need to protect. Spousal Support- do you think each person should be self-supporting and that a full waiver of alimony is appropriate? Or maybe we can just minimize the exposure for each party by setting up some caps in terms of the amount and/or duration in the event someone might need financial assistance in the future if the couple parts ways. Managing Expenses- while sharing a home together, what are the expectations with respect to how much each person will contribute? Many people these days maintain separate accounts, but fund one joint account in proportion to their incomes to cover agreed-to expenses for housing, food, and travel. House- in the event of a split, who should be the one to move out and after how much notice?  How will we determine if a buyout is feasible, and if not how long before the home gets listed for sale? Dispute Resolution- should someone want to terminate the marriage, in the event of a legal dispute wouldn't you want a provision that requires mediation, arbitration or the Collaborative Process before anyone goes to court?  These forms of alternate dispute resolution not only save time and money, but also are completely confidential. Ultimately, the entire drafting process for a prenup can usually be done quickly and for far less than the cost of your entire catering bill.  Furthermore, unlike a wedding which is over in a day, the final product is a durable, thoughtful contract that protects you both indefinitely until death or divorce.  A truly loving partner will work with you to find a mutually agreeable solution to any [...]

902, 2024

What Goes Into A Parenting Plan?

By |February 9th, 2024|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

We all know that many couples are opting not to get married these days, and yet they are still creating families.  In the United States, we now have about 40% of children born to unmarried women.  Whether the fathers are involved or not afterwards varies greatly, but as soon as the couple starts to experience major disagreements about parenting it's imperative they get some professional assistance with creating a Parenting Plan. When parents are contemplating a separation, they need to clearly establish in a legal contract what their respective rights and responsibilities will be with respect to the children.   A Parenting Plan is a legal contract that outlines (1) the level of financial support each party will provide for the children, (2) a mechanism for making major decisions about the children’s health, education and general welfare, and (3) a the time-sharing arrangement they will have on a regular weekly basis, as well as holidays and summer. The first step in developing a parenting plan is to discuss with an experienced professional what the parents will say to the children about the separation, and hopefully develop a shared narrative that is age-appropriate.  Next is to work together to acclimate the children to two separate homes, and possibly two different sets of rules in each house.  The more that children can be shielded from sudden changes, and major disruptions to their lives, the better off they will be in the long run. Each family has a different set of dynamics and the needs of the children can vary greatly, especially depending on their ages.  Therefore, a significant amount of time and care needs to be given in devising a time-sharing schedule that will promote predictability, consistency and stability for everyone involved.  Sometimes, the input of a mental health expert may be needed depending on the complexity of the situation or if the parents have extremely differing views. Often, families need to consider a graduated schedule, which allows for a ramp-up period so the children can adjust to transition between two homes. Some families benefit from having one schedule during the school year and then a different, more liberal schedule for the summer months.  Each family has their own traditions/holidays/special days that are important to them, and these need to be considered carefully and memorialized. Setting up a communication protocol for the parents is key to a successful co-parenting relationship going forward.  [...]

1912, 2023

Uncontested Divorce Lawyer: Do You Need One for Your Case?

By |December 19th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

Divorce, often a complex and emotional journey, presents various paths depending on the circumstances. An uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on major aspects like asset division, alimony, and child custody, is one such path. It raises an important question: is an uncontested divorce lawyer necessary for a process that seems straightforward? This article delves into the crucial role of a lawyer in ensuring a smooth, legally sound uncontested divorce. Understanding Uncontested Divorce An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on all key issues of their separation, paving the way for a faster, less costly, and less stressful resolution compared to contested divorces. However, the legalities and procedural intricacies of divorce remain, necessitating professional guidance. The Role of an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Legal Guidance: An uncontested divorce lawyer provides invaluable advice, ensuring your rights are protected while navigating the complexities of divorce laws. Document Preparation and Review: Handling numerous legal documents is a critical aspect of divorce. A lawyer ensures all paperwork is accurately prepared, completed, and filed, minimizing the risk of errors that could delay the process. Objective Perspective: Emotional involvement can cloud judgment. A lawyer offers an objective viewpoint, helping you make informed decisions that align with your long-term interests. Mediation and Negotiation: If disagreements arise, a lawyer can serve as a mediator, facilitating constructive discussions to maintain the uncontested nature of the divorce. Benefits of Hiring an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Efficiency: Legal expertise streamlines the process, saving time and reducing stress. Accuracy: Professional handling of legal documents and adherence to court procedures ensures accuracy and compliance. Protection of Rights: A lawyer's guidance ensures that your rights and interests are safeguarded throughout the process. Conflict Resolution: Lawyers can preemptively address potential issues, avoiding future disputes. Do You Need an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer? While it may seem an additional expense in an amicable separation, the benefits of hiring an uncontested divorce lawyer are significant. They bring clarity, efficiency, and legal expertise to a process where mistakes can have long-lasting implications. Especially in cases involving children, substantial assets, or potential future conflicts, the advice and representation of a skilled lawyer are invaluable. Choosing the Right Lawyer Selecting the right uncontested divorce lawyer is crucial. Look for someone with: Experience: An attorney well-versed in divorce law and familiar with local court systems. Communication Skills: Clear, empathetic communication is essential for understanding and navigating your unique situation. Reputation: Seek a lawyer [...]

1712, 2023

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution for 2024?

By |December 17th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

As we wind down 2023, my biggest take-away is this: repair what you can and walk away from what you can't. Both personally and professionally over this past year I learned to isolate areas of stress and determine which ones I could fix and which ones were beyond my control. There is a powerful lesson in quitting, especially with lost causes. Letting go allows us to stop wasting time and resources on futile people or projects and instead focus our energy on positive endeavors that are achievable and completely within our control. With that in mind, here are 5 key areas in our lives that we can strive to improve upon in the new year: 1. Personal Relationships- We are social beings, not meant to be as isolated as many of us have become the past 3 years as a result of Covid. Navigating relationships with colleagues, friends, family and/or a significant other have never been easy, but it's certainly become more complicated as we all grapple with the lingering effects of a pandemic that has changed how we all live and interact with others. As we now accept our "new norm" it's important to identify those individuals that are worthy of our time and effort and say good-bye to those that are not. 2.Physical Health– How comfortable are you with your own body? If you want to lose weight or tone your muscles, change your workout or maybe even get some medical intervention to fix things you don’t like about yourself, go do it! Focus on yourself for a bit, and don’t feel guilty about it. The great thing about setting physical goals is that within a short period of time you can really start to see results, and this will boost your spirits greatly. The undisputed fact is the more positive your energy is, the faster you will recover from whatever heart break or disappointment comes your way. 3. Intellectual Stimulation– Are you bored at work or at home? Having a great mind is a gift you should not squander. We all suffer lulls either at home or at our jobs, but rather than allow your brain to just atrophy find something new to learn and challenge yourself. Learn a new language online or in a classroom, sign up for continuing education courses that will either help you advance in your career or maybe assist you with changing jobs. Or [...]

3011, 2023

Are You Staying Together For The Wrong Reasons?

By |November 30th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

During COVID, a lot of us switched to working remotely and/or reduced our social engagements significantly, and while some (mainly introverts) may have thrived under this new norm, for others (mainly extroverts) this level of isolation has proven to be quite unsettling. Tack on the wildcard of how all the changes the last three years have impacted your financial well-being and future prospects, and you truly have the conditions for a perfect storm.As parents, many of us also struggled to see our kids through this pandemic, which truly took its toll on a lot of children-- particularly those in high school that did not get to experience a normal transition into becoming a young adult. There is nothing more heart-breaking than seeing your own children struggle and/or be deprived of certain experiences you took for granted in your own life at their age, including prom, senior week and/or graduation ceremonies and parties.When you are in the middle of a perfect storm situation, the last thing a person can stomach is making any decisions that will cause further disruption into an already unstable environment. And so it may be that for some couples, even in an incredibly toxic relationship, the choice to leave and further destabilize things isn't an easy choice.  For those watching on the sidelines, it may be hard to comprehend, but trust me when I say that implementing major changes is hard even under the best of circumstances, let alone during the worst of times. Finding your way to a safe harbor isn't always so clear cut, but it usually starts with an awakening stage.  This is when you realize that you are staying in an unhappy situation for all the wrong reasons, e.g. for the sake of the dog or kids, to maintain a certain lifestyle, or to avoid being alone.  Once you start to see this, you will start to ask those around you to weigh in and ask what their thoughts are on certain red flags you've tried to overlook for far too long.  You will also begin to articulate your doubts out loud, maybe suggest some options for counseling, and with each new bid to connect that is rejected, your resolve to find alternatives to staying together will grow stronger by leaps and bounds.  Now we are moving past the awakening stage to formulating an exit strategy. The path to freedom is clear [...]

2811, 2023

A Guide to Divorce Mediation: The Role of a Mediator in Your Case

By |November 28th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

Let's imagine you're at a crossroads in your marriage. The joy and happiness that once filled your relationship have faded, replaced by dissatisfaction, disagreement, and, ultimately, the realization that you both want different things. Many people contemplate divorce around this time when they realize they are not looking forward to the holidays spent in constant tension and disagreement. This is where divorce mediation comes into play. Divorce mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the divorcing couple reach a mutually agreeable resolution on various aspects of their separation. This process is not about determining who is right or wrong; instead, it's about finding common ground and working towards a resolution that respects both parties' interests and needs. The goal of divorce mediation is to foster dialogue, reduce conflict, and promote understanding. It offers a platform where you can express your needs and concerns, hear your spouse's perspective, and negotiate a settlement that works for both of you. Contemplating Divorce Around the Holiday Season? You’re Not Alone The holiday season is often a time of joy and celebration. However, for some couples, it may also be a time of stress and tension. This is when many people contemplate divorce. The reasons for this phenomenon are manifold, ranging from heightened stress levels, financial pressures, unrealistic expectations, to the realization of unresolved issues in the marriage. Spending more time together during the holidays can highlight differences and conflicts that you may usually overlook or ignore in daily life. The holiday season can also magnify financial difficulties, as the pressure to spend on gifts, travel, and festivities can lead to disagreements and tension. Perhaps, the most profound reason is the reflection and introspection that the end of the year brings. Many people contemplate divorce around this time when they realize they are not looking forward to the holidays. You might start to question whether you want to spend another year in an unhappy or unsatisfying marriage. If this resonates with you, divorce mediation can be a beneficial first step towards a new beginning. The Role of a Divorce Mediation Attorney While a divorce mediation attorney might sound similar to a divorce mediator, their roles are distinctly different. A divorce mediation attorney represents one party in the mediation process, providing legal advice and guidance. The divorce mediation attorney helps you understand your legal rights and obligations. They [...]

1911, 2023

Don’t Accept The “Penny Method” When Dating

By |November 19th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Although many of us may have experienced this when dating, it helps to clearly define what this tactic looks like: the ‘penny method’ is all about intentionally and methodically weaning someone off the initial effort that was used to win them over at the start of a relationship until they’re happy with just breadcrumbs.  It is a manipulation tactic used to control the other person while chipping away at their self-esteem, in a sick attempt to build a co-dependent relationship.   Here's a glimpse into how this works.  The person seeking to win someone over is very charming in the beginning and goes a bit overboard with generous gestures starting with the very first date.  Within a month you will hear "I love you" and maybe even get a commitment ring.  You will get whisked away on romantic trips such as a weekend in New York City or a quick trip to the charming parts of South Carolina.  There's lots of talk about marriage and locking in the future with plans for more luxurious experiences, like an all expenses paid trip to Greece.  They start referring to you as their spouse, and maybe even add you to their country club membership, with many more promises of a life together with a fairy tale ending. And yet, ever so slowly in private they start to withdraw their attention and affection.  The little surprise notes and funny texts disappear, and unfortunately get replaced with daily digs that aren't funny.  Generous gestures are swapped out for constant reminders of how lucky you are to get whatever crumbs are doled out to you, particularly on special occasions, which are now down-played like never before.  Even the compliments that used to come without any prompting before a date night stop entirely, and instead you find these nights now end with horrible arguments that make no sense.  Rather than feeling cherished and loved, you start to feel like nothing more than a convenient roommate, if that.  Promises are slowly retracted, and every attempt is made to make you feel like you are either too demanding or unstable and perhaps need to get a shrink and get on meds.   (Checking in with your own counselor actually isn't a bad idea here).  While you struggle to decipher what has led to such a drastic change, definitely go back and retrace all your steps.  It will all make sense [...]

1511, 2023

Why Is A Cohabitation Agreement So Important?

By |November 15th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Although 46% of adults in the U.S. are single these days, that does not mean they are living alone. A lot of people live with their romantic partners, and yet they fail to have an agreement that outlines their rights and obligations with respect to their finances if they separate or someone dies.  A simple cohabitation agreement outlines what they each need to contribute while together and what happens in the event of a break-up, or death of either party. Here are 12 key questions to ponder: (1) How much will you each contribute to the household expenses while together? (2) If you are both renting a place together, who moves out if things don't work out?  (3) If you own a place together, how much time do you have to agree on the terms of a buyout before the home needs to be listed for sale? (4) Who remains responsible for the lease/mortgage? (5) Who gets to keep the security deposit/escrow funds? (6) What happens to any joint bank or credit card accounts? (7) Which furniture/household items remain with each party?  (8) How much written notice needs to be given to the other person before the process of unraveling ties begins? (9) Do you need an explicit provision regarding confidentiality if you work from home? (10) Would you like for all social media posts together be taken down within a reasonable timeframe without anyone making any disparaging remarks about the other? (11) In the event of either party's death while still happily living together, do you need to provide a certain amount of life insurance or name your partner as the beneficiary in your will or retirement accounts?  (12) If you can't agree on the implementation of your contract, wouldn't you want to add a requirement to mediate/arbitrate before anyone files in court?   All of these questions, can be easily addressed in a straightforward agreement that you both execute before any problems arise, and maybe they never will.  But lots of partnerships unravel, just like half of all marriages will end.  Better to be safe than sorry, and negotiate a conscious uncoupling upfront.  I'm not saying it won't be emotionally messy-- there is nothing anyone can do to prevent that, but we can minimize the legal and financial implications when you need to part ways. By Regina A. DeMeo      

1411, 2023

Do You Need To Split Before The Holidays?

By |November 14th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The holidays are right around the corner, and by now you are either excited to spend them with your partner or you are dreading it.  If it is the latter, don't ignore the signs of discontent or distress, which often manifest themselves in the form of procrastination either with making any plans or buying gifts, as this will only make the situation worse.  Instead, try to be honest (at the very least with yourself) and figure out either a coping strategy or an exit plan. Many people break up around the holidays because inevitably as the end of year approaches we start to look back at what we have accomplished and what we want for the year ahead.  During this time of reflection, it's hard to avoid certain painful truths, especially with respect to our intimate relationships.  The ultimate question is this: do you see a future together?  If the answer is a clear no, then it's time to call it quits. Although in business dealings we all know to hire slow and fire fast, in our personal lives we tend to drag our feet far longer than we should before we cut ties.  Some of this definitely has to do with our hope that we can rekindle that spark we once felt in the beginning of the relationship.  That honeymoon phase is intoxicating for sure, but over time, the infatuation phase subsides and you start to see the other person for who they really are, and as you collect more data points you either feel like the luckiest person on Earth when you are with your partner or enough bad incidents have caused significant doubt that this relationship can progress any further. No matter how much time/energy/money you have invested in the past together, you cannot fall for the sunken cost fallacy.  We all need to know when to stop investing in a losing cause.  The most common reasons people will bail include (1) their partner never seems happy, (2) they refuse to stop drinking or get counseling, (3) they've grown tired of babysitting a man-child or princess, (4) there is no longer any trust or respect between them; (5) they dislike the person they have become and (6) they no longer feel the couple belongs together.   Any one of these is just cause to call it quits-- sooner rather than later. When in doubt, here are a [...]

2810, 2023

Tips for Recognizing 4 Main Types of Domestic Abuse

By |October 28th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

As we wrap up Domestic Violence Awareness month, I hope the key take-away is that we all need to be vigilant year-round to this profound problem that impacts about 1/3 of women and 25% of men in intimate relationships. The abuse rarely starts right away.  In fact, there is usually a very romantic honeymoon period that lures people into the relationship.  Yet ever so slowly, things start to change.  It can start with little digs that are played off as a joke, or small embarrassing stories shared with others that appear to be in jest.  Over time, the slights escalate, and either a person starts to doubt his/her self-worth or grows to resent the other, maybe a bit of both. Arguments can easily escalate, especially when alcohol is involved, and even without raising a finger certain words can cut deeper than a knife.  Apologies the next day grow old when the same repetitive behavior persists without any effort to change.  The cycle of violence can go on for a while, until one day someone finally accepts this one fundamental truth: love should not hurt. Over the past two decades, I have worked with countless survivors of abuse.  Those that manage to escape these situations do not succeed on their own-- they rely on the help of either family, friends, neighbors, therapists, neighbors, the police, an attorney,  or some other trusted individual that can lend a sympathetic ear and provide sage advice.   If you see someone in need, do whatever you can to connect them with the appropriate resources to develop an escape plan. Here are the 4 most common scenarios my clients have encountered from their partners: Physical abuse- this often starts as an accident- someone held on a little too hard, swung unintentionally, or pushed a little too hard, and yet these mishaps keep happening.  Many fail to documents the injuries, or have any witnesses, a police reports or medical records that can verify their allegations. There is also a lot of shame around this situation, and it's important to change the narrative immediately.  The abuser is the only one who should feel any shame, and the person finally leaving the abuser should be celebrated for finding the courage to leave the toxic situation.  Ultimately, what they wish to do with the evidence of abuse varies a lot. Some want to file for a Civil Protective Order, some [...]

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