Attorney Rory Coetzee

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Posted by on in Family Law
We spend a lot of time talking about how to “get through” a divorce, but what about coming out on top? Is it possible to “succeed” at divorce? The editors at HuffPost think so, and we agree. With the help of an experienced family divorce attorney, you can “win” divorce. Here are a few tips Laura Miolla provides: 1.      Silence your saboteurs. Notice those negative voices and acknowledge them in your mind. Realize that they are trying to create a dark future for you. Once you’re recognized them you have a choice- believe them or choose to put their opinion aside and think positively. 2.      Identify what you want. Too many people go into a divorce just trying to get past it, without taking the proper time to consider what it is they want out of the process. You have a lot to win and lose in a divorce...
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Both parents must decide on custody of minor children under the age of 18. Divorce courts are very concerned regarding the well-being of any children born naturally to both parents or adopted by the parents. If the wife is pregnant, the child should be listed as "one unborn" in the petition and be treated as a born child for purposes of a dissolution of marriage. There are four basic types of child custody recognized under state laws:  1.Sole Physical Custody: Sole physical custody means the children shall reside with and under the supervision of one parent, subject to the power of the court to approve the parent's plan for visitation rights granted to the other parent.  2.Joint Physical Custody: Joint physical custody means that each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody. In other words, the physical custody of the children shall be such that both parents...
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I recently presided over a trial in which two parents who had been divorced for almost 4 years spent more than $15,000 to pay lawyers and a psychologist to argue about what should have been an arithmetic problem--child support adjustment. Even though I have presided over dozens of such trials, I am still shocked every time I see divorced parents spend thousands of dollars to change child support. Actually, the cases usually involve more than child support disputes. They start out when one parent asks for an increase in child support. The parent who is being asked to pay more support counters with a request to change custody. That is when the war really begins, and the legal fees skyrocket. One solution would be for divorced parents to hire a lawyer for their children. It could be a part of their divorce settlement agreement. The children's lawyer would review child...
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Abandonment: A Divorce Issue In high conflict divorces, those that never seem to end, abandonment is a common factor. These days, when we see divorced spouses returning to court two or more years after the divorce process was technically completed, we inquire into their early childhood experiences, and we frequently find abandonment trauma in their family histories. The most obvious form of abandonment is when a parent deserts the family, but it can also be the result of a parent dying when a child is young. Sometimes the effect of a parent being ill and away at hospitals or just not able to invest adequate time and energy into parent/child interactions is perceived by the child as abandonment. It can even be one consequence of parental drug or alcohol abuse. A substance-impaired parent is not emotionally available, and to a child that can feel like abandonment. Not surprisingly, many adopted...
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Children Lose When A Divorced Parent Is Forced Out  by Honorable Anne Kass. Ann Kass is a District Judge in the Second Judicial District State of New Mexico What some divorcing parents would like, more than anything, is for the other parent to vanish. They believe that would solve all their problems. What they don't recognize is that when one parent disappears, the children's problems generally get worse. A few years ago a case in my Court showed me what a high price children can pay when they lose a parent through divorce. The case had started 14 years earlier. The divorcing parents had a one-year-old daughter. They were quarreling about how much time dad should spend with her. At some point the mother grew weary of the fight, and she moved to Nevada where she filed a second divorce suit. People could do that back then. It seems the...
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  I was talking with a judge from South Carolina a few weeks go about an interstate custody problem. When I told him that I hear only family law cases, he said: "How in the world do you stand it? I find after hearing a few divorce cases, I need to hear a friendly first degree murder case or two to regain my sanity." A number of judges have told me they'd sooner preside over grisly criminal cases than divorce or custody suits. I think the reason so many judges don't like to decide divorce cases (and the reason so many lawyers won't even accept divorce cases) is the fact that in so many divorce and custody cases, both sides are absolutely right. Lawyers and judges are trained to concentrate on the past and to think in terms of right and wrong. An automobile collision occurred--whose fault was it? A...
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Sharp-tongued parents turn child into chameleon. Chameleon kids are an all too frequent product of divorce. These are children who behave, think and feel one way at dad's house and an altogether different way at mom's house. Chameleon kids often tell each of their parents different stories to keep them both happy. Telling each parent, "I want to live with you." is a common example. Complaining about or criticizing one parent to the other parent is another. Chameleon kids go far beyond that, however. Sometimes they change the way they dress, their interests, and virtually all aspects of their lives as they go back and forth between their parents' homes. In one case a teenage girl rode horses at her mom's house and talked about rodeos. At dad's house, she wore preppie clothes and talked about school proms. The most extreme case I can remember involved a young girl whose...
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One of the issues involved in divorce cases is which spouse has to pay what debts. In divorce cases debts come in two flavors: community debts and separate debts. A community debt is, by and large, any debt created by either or both spouses while they were married. Community creditors generally look to both spouses to pay community debts, but the creditor is within his rights to ask only one spouse to pay the whole community debt. It is the right of the creditor to demand payment from only one spouse that creates a good deal of confusion for divorced husbands and wives. One of the divorce court's tasks is to decide and order which community debts each spouse will be responsible to pay. But the divorce court's order affects only the two spouses. The divorce court's order has absolutely no effect on the creditors, who can demand that the...
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Posted by on in Family Law
  People spend a lot of time talking about how to be happy post-divorce. That includes how to move on, date again, co-parent, etc. But what about the time while you’re in divorce? Unfortunately divorce can be a long process- sometimes it can take years, God forbid. Here are three easy steps Dr. Lisa Kaplin shared with HuffPost regarding the best ways to be happy in a divorce: Think of this as a step in the right direction. It doesn’t really matter who’s leaving who. If you’re getting divorced, it’s for the best. Even if you’re not totally convinced it’s for the best, that mentality won’t help you. Remind yourself that things happen for a reason. Holding onto your ex during the process and hoping that it will turn around will most likely only hurt yourself in the long run. If you have serious resentment or anger, you may truly...
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Parenting is known as the hardest job in the world, and that’s when both parents are under one roof. After a divorce or separation, parenting (or “co-parenting”) can be even more challenging. You’ll go through ups and downs, and some days will be more challenging than others. Psychologist Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz recently shared some advice about what to do when it’s not going as well as you’d hoped, and I thought I would share that here: Accept where you are. You aren’t in an ideal situation, and it’s silly and unhelpful to deny that. Don’t get caught up in the “it isn’t far” game. It will only hinder your progress. You’re right- co-parenting is tough. But accept the fact that you’ll have it harder than some parents, and be willing to put in the work. Trust yourself. If your ex is a less-than-perfect parent, that’s not something you can...
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Posted by on in Family Law
Rarely does anyone walk into a divorce, child custody, domestic violence or child support hearing actively hoping that the judge will uphold an unfair result. In matters of family law, participants generally hope that issues are resolved fairly. However, the concept of what is fair in the eyes of one individual may not be the same as what is fair in the eyes of another. Scientific studies indicate that individuals are ordinarily affected by a phenomenon called the self-interest bias. This bias greatly informs what we perceive to be fair in matters of family law and what we do not. Simply explained, the self-interest bias informs our perceptions of what contributions we have made to our children's parenting, our marriages and our relationships generally. It therefore informs what we believe we deserve in the ultimate outcome of family law disputes. Generally, the self-interest bias causes each person to overestimate their personal...
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Foreign law is routinely used in American courts, but in everyday cases applying existing American legal rules related to family law, contract law, tort law, evidence law, and the like. Those American legal rules (such as “choice of law” rules) often expressly call for the consideration of foreign law. Let me offer a few such examples, starting in this post with family law. Consider, for instance, Ghassemi v. Ghassemi, a 2008 Louisiana case. The Ghassemis were first cousins born in Iran. They married in Iran in 1976 and had a son born in Iran in 1977. The husband then came to the United States to study, while the wife and son stayed behind. The husband remained in America, and in 1995 arranged for the son to join him in America. The wife also eventually came to America, and in 2006 she petitioned for divorce from the husband. To rule on the...
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