Sunday, August 12, 2007

You Are Leaving a Trail . . .

Examining credit card statements, cell phone records, email accounts and ez-pass bills often provides a detailed account of an individual's day to day life.

If you are doing something that you want to keep secret, you may want to pay cash (but be careful where and when you withdraw it from an ATM), use a payphone, avoid email and refrain from having your trips recorded on your ez-pass account.

Click here for a story about a husband who sent his girlfriend flowers, only to have his wife discover it when the flower company sent a card to his house.

Obtaining ez-pass records may be a way to prove someone is not where they are supposed to be. See story here.

While sifting through these records may raise privacy concerns, you should remember that in cases where your spouse is the co-owner of the credit cards, cell phone, ez-pass or email account, your spouse has as much right to the information that you do. So remember that you are most likely leaving a trail of whatever you do.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cyberspace - Not the Place for Divorce

Rarely in my practice has a client's internet habits helped a case. In fact, nearly uniformly, it has hurt their case.

Examples include:
- damaging photos on myspace
- evidence of inappropriate behavior on gambling or porn sites
- email correpondence evidencing an affair, illegal behavior or simply admissions

Click here for a pathetic missive (which reads like a press release) sent by an author whose wife apparently left him for Ted Turner. Pouring out your heart, dirty laundry and hurtful comments in an email or other forum generally does not promote an amicable divorce. The author then complained that the email was disseminated -- but could he have reasonably expected it not to be? And the drama goes on and on. All of this could have been prevented, had the author refrained from sending out his personal information into cyberspace.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Christmas in August

For parents who share custody of their children, now is the time to start thinking about the holidays, in order to assure smooth transitions and peaceful arrangements. Planning the holidays now will give you time to work out any potential conflicts.

Tips for Happy Holidays:

1. If it is not spelled out in your custody arrangement, decide how the holidays will be divided: splitting time, rotating holidays (you get Halloween, they get Thanksgiving and then vice versa next year), or rotating a holiday from year to year (Mom gets even years, Dad gets odd years). The best arrangement depends on the individual family. If you visit relatives that live four hours away, splitting Thanksgiving Day with a transfer at 3:00 pm might not be an option.

2. Be flexible and put your child's best interest first. Think about what will be easiest on your child.

3. Plan times for phone calls to and from the non-custodial parent. Make sure the other parent has contact information.

4. Know your child's school schedule and decide on holiday schedules well in advance, especially if travel plans (like flights or hotel rooms) need to be booked. Confirm with the other parent in writing.

5. Speak with the other parent about gift plans for your child so you do not duplicate gifts unless absolutely necessary. Rare is the child who needs two handheld computer games (or even one!) but having a bicycle at each parent's house might be practical and useful.

6. You may end up celebrating a holiday without your child. That is the reality of separated families. If the schedule results in you spending Christmas without your child, make sure you make plans for yourself so that you have a full day and arrange to celebrate the holiday with your child on an alternate day.

So while it may be a bit early to start shopping, it is not to early to start planning . . .