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World’s richest man did not have a prenup

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is and wife MacKenzie Bezos news when they announced that they are filing for divorce after 25 years of marriage. The two did this where they live in Washington State, which is a community property state where couples split marital assets in half. Having started Amazon after the marriage, this means that MacKenzie Bezos stands to get half of the couple’s estimated wealth of $137.1 billion dollars.

Some in the media are questioning the wisdom of not putting a prenuptial agreement in place, yet the couple met and married years before Jeff made his first million in 1997. Therefore, the question of a prenup, particularly back then, seemed more like a pie in the sky dream than a reality. Moreover, who really expects to become the richest person in the world? A postnuptial agreement could have been drafted, but the split is fortunately an amicable one. This is good news on several fronts.

Financial tips for legal separation

Depending on circumstances, it may be best for the couple to seek a legal separation. It is similar to a divorce because a legal separation defines obligations and rights when there is a split, but it does not terminate the marriage.

Once separated, couples can determine child custody and maintenance as well as how to divide assets. At this time, couples no longer accrue marital assets. The couple is still married, however, and may choose to remain so for reasons involving insurance coverage, military benefits, health care plans, tax issues, religious beliefs or some other reason unique to the circumstances. Some will be surprised to note that financial aspects of a legal separation are often no easier or less complicated than filing for divorce.

Parallel Parenting as an alternative to co-parenting

Divorce is a challenging and emotional prospect, especially if there are children involved. If there is a lot of animosity between you and your ex, the thought of co-parenting might be overwhelming. When the relationship between ex-spouses is amicable, co-parenting works. However, if there is high conflict between the two of you, parallel parenting is a better option.

Parallel parenting allows both parents to be involved in the lives of their children but disengage from each other. It is a way for exes with a high degree of animosity to still effectively parent and put their children first, but limit direct communication with each other. Eliminating direct communication helps break the pattern of ineffective and damaging communication and shields you and your kids from conflict.

Who gets the dog when you divorce?

Divorce is a difficult and emotional process as you separate your lives and possessions. Typically, the more complex issues are child custody and property division, but an increasingly common and heated topic is ownership of the family pets. And in divorce, many people wonder - what will happen to the dog?

Families have long considered pets to be a part of the family, and in some cases pet owners think of the dog or cat to be their “other child”. Since the bond between people and pets is so strong, it is often a highly debated and very emotional point of contention between a couple in divorce.

Gambling addiction can lead to divorce

Gambling in of itself is not a bad practice. It can be an economic engine in a community, a form of entertainment, and a Yale University study has even found it to be stimulating to seniors. However, like so many activities, an interest in doing something can shift to become a compulsive obsession. This can lead to financial difficulty and duress upon other aspects of one’s life like marriage, career and future aspirations.

Compulsive gambling is not a physical addiction the way opioids or alcohol is, but it nonetheless is an addiction. Numbers vary, but is estimated that 2.6 percent of the U.S. population (or about 10 million people) struggles with gambling issues. Not surprisingly, statistics show that an estimated 65 percent of marriages with at least one gambling addict end in divorce. More than 85 percent of marriages with at least one gambling face threats from bill collectors and creditors.

Does your spouse have a Borderline Personality Disorder?

Mental health issues are often difficult to pinpoint, particularly if you are not an expert. Nevertheless, these disorders can lead to a lot of pain, frustration and confusion for those who live, work or interact with the person. Mental health experts believe that issues like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are characterized through different patterns of behavior or trends, which can show in every aspect of an individual's life.

While a few traits may be obvious to those around the individual with BPD, there may be up to five different symptoms. Regardless of the setting or issue, people with BPD have intense emotions, intense relations and impulsivity issues that can make them difficult to deal with or understand. This can take its toll on a marriage, sometimes irreparably damaging it.

Alternative parenting arrangements: nesting

The needs of families are as unique as the circumstances and individuals involved. Nonetheless, parenting arrangements generally fall into the format of shuttling kids between the parents’ homes. Some parents favor keeping the kids in one home during the school week and the other on weekends. Another plan splits up the time in blocks of days. Those parents who live in different states may have the kids on certain alternating holidays and summers.

One plan that has gotten a lot of attention recently is the concept of nesting or bird nesting. Instead of the children moving, the premise of nesting is to keep the kids in the family home while the parents rotate in and out at prearranged times. The parents may even share a second residence they stay in when not on parent duty.

Tips to celebrate the holidays with a newly adopted child

The holiday season can be a time to appreciate your many blessings. Many people look forward to celebrating with friends and family. If you have recently added to your family through adoption, you may have additional considerations that come with an expanding family.

Parents of a newly-adopted child may feel pressure to host the best holiday season to help ease the transition for them and their child. There are some very positive ways to help families navigate the season after the happy addition of an adopted child.

Divorce and Addiction

Living with a spouse who is battling addiction can be heartbreaking. The disease may rob them of reason, compassion and relationships with loved ones, including children. This one time soul mate is now someone who cannot be trusted to go buy groceries, pick up the kids or help support the family.

According to a recent survey on drug use and health, 24.6 million Americans are involved in a marriage where one spouse has substance abuse issues. Living with someone who is fighting alcoholism, drug addiction or some other form of addiction can leave a spouse feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and conflicted. The marriage is supposed to be until death do us part, yet a spouse's destructive tendencies are a danger to the family and themselves.

Not just your account: social media affects kids as well

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter -- ubiquitous social media. Fun? Sometimes. Benign? Maybe not. In the middle of ending a marriage, social media can spell disaster for you. And, more importantly, for your kids.

Ending a marriage is never easy. Support from family and friends is essential. As you reassess and reevaluate the years of your marriage, and your future, you will need to process your emotions. Is social media the appropriate outlet for that process?

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