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#160075 - 02/12/04 07:43 PM Divorce
Anonymous
Unregistered

I believe that I am not far away from the end of my marriage. (Posting anonymous for that reason)Is there anything that I should be doing now to protect myself through the divorce process? I don't want things to be bitter and ugly but I want to be able to protect myself financially and to shield our two small children from as much hositility as possible. Any advice would be appreciated.

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#160076 - 02/12/04 07:51 PM Re: Divorce
Skittles Offline
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Skittles
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 13,963
TN
Just know what all your debts and assets are. Mine was amiable (7 years ago), but difficult. Know what you are willing to give up (tangible items) and what you aren't. Good luck. It's not fun no matter how smoothly it goes.
_________________________
My Opinions Only

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#160077 - 02/12/04 07:55 PM Re: Divorce
DeeQ Offline
10K Club
DeeQ
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,766
Turnpike Exit 10
If the two of you can possibly be agreeable with each other, the two of you should go to a divorce lawyer together and draw up a settlement and support agreement. It will be a lot less expensive than a full blown ugly war.

Just a short story:
My divorce $350.00
Both parties agreed (of course you and your spouse will have to make concessions, so be prepared.) Pick your choices carefully, I have yet to regret agreeing to the little idiotic things he wanted just to keep it simple.

My fiance's divorce:
Total: $45,000.00 full blown trial divorce (yes, $45,000.)
He is now estranged from his children because his ex was evil. She made him out to seem like a horrible father. (I know this can't be true, the way he cried over them not wanting to see him and seeing the way he is with my son).
The kicker, she was the one who wanted the divorce and had a lover (with whom she now lives), but he has to pay alimony, to boot!

So, if you can manage to keep things civil and in perspective, the better for all including the children. My ex and I have a relatively easygoing relationship (it's not easy, but you can do it for you peace of mind and the kids).

There is my sad tale of woe, may it prove useful to you. And remember, it's not the end of book, you are just starting a new chapter. Good luck.
_________________________
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain

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#160078 - 02/12/04 07:57 PM Re: Divorce
Busy Bee, CRCM Offline
Diamond Poster
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,089
PacificNW
I agree with Skittles re: the debts and assets. And, make sure that the liabilites that are passed on to your spouse through the settlement are truly getting paid, because if they are not, it can cause some pretty major damage to your credit history. It's taken me quite awhile to repair the damage to my own history.

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#160079 - 02/12/04 07:58 PM Re: Divorce
Anonymous
Unregistered

When I got divorced, I was fortunate that there was no anger and no kids involved, and kids do make a night & day difference, so I can't help much there, except to say that the easier the two of you make it on yourself, the better the kids will manage. Just as kids feed off parent's happiness, they will also certainly feed off, and emulate their anger. My best advice is this...divorce stinks for everyone. It can be crappy or it can be ultra-crappy. Do whatever you have to do to eliminate as much of the unnecessary bickering and nitpicking as you possibly can - make that effort on your part and don't get sucked into whether or not your spouse is acting one way or the other. If you feel the need to play the stereotype role of the person going thru a divorce that we see everyday in the papers and on the TV and Movie screens, then you will fulfill that prophecy. be willing to break that mold, be willing to give in to areas where your mind right now may be saying "there is no way he/she is taking the furniture". Break the cycle! Divorce stinks, but it is a reality in whatever percent the experts say it is now. Unfortunately, there are ligitimate reasons why married couples would be better off starting over - that should not mean that these situations can't be acknowledged as such as have the excruciating details and logistics of divorce have to be such an event that it drains you and your kids of the chance to continue having a fruitful and meaningful life. That all said, i hope you find the way to save your marriage - it is absolutely worth working at - work harder at that than anything else, and if that is still not the answer, do yourself a favor, and take the initiative in handling a divorce in an adult and civil manner for your own sake and for the kids' sake.

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#160080 - 02/12/04 08:10 PM Re: Divorce
Phoenix Offline
Platinum Poster
Phoenix
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 832
southeast
Try to get a credit card in your own name NOW, and pay it properly.
Joint contracts remain joint contracts no matter what the dissolution agreement says, and I've seen too many examples of spiteful ex-spouses not abiding by the terms of dissolution agreements and forcing ex-spouses out of homes via default.
Meet with a lawyer even if no court action is taken. And, make sure that it's a lawyer experienced in family law and independent of anyone your soon-to-be-ex is likely to know or choose. There's too much to consider - child support and custody, alimony, income tax impacts, pension and IRA benefits (ask about QDRO - Qualified Domestic Relations Order), who's going to handle future child health care and education (including college) issues, your health care if you're not on your own health insurance plan, and how - and you will not remember to ask everything.

And - even you haven't separated and basically practiced acting as if you're divorced, take that step (but don't start or intensify any relationships - they'll just complicate the emotions further). When you both realize how much is involved with a divorce, you both may find some way to reach toward each other again.

Good luck.
_________________________
From the end spring new beginnings.
Pliny the Elder

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#160081 - 02/12/04 08:31 PM Re: Divorce
JacF Offline

Power Poster
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,719
PA
Alot of good points already brought up, but I would like to emphasize some of them again, as well as open up a few more talking points. Of course, if there's still hope that you marriage can be saved and restored to good health, then I encourage you to pursue those options. But if divorce is inevitable, then:

Pick your battles. Some things are too absurd to waste time fighting over. Also, be proactive in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution by asking your spouse upfront about his/her custody and settlement expectations, and offering your expectations as well.

Work forward, not backward. During my divorce, we played the blame game way too many times, and it was costly both emotionally and financially. When a marriage reaches the point of divorce, the finger pointing is unproductive and usually irrelevant. Unless your spouse's past actions are something that are relevant to the outcome of the agreement (such as abuse) stay away from them.

This is sometimes the toughest part: Affirm your childrens' relationship with your spouse. And this doesn't end with the signing of the divorce decree. Your childrens' relationship with both you and your spouse needs to be preserved and nurtured. They love both of you, and they need to know that both of you love them as well.

Feel free to PM me if you need to talk to someone who has been there.

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#160082 - 02/12/04 08:37 PM Re: Divorce
La. Lady Offline
Diamond Poster
La. Lady
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,873
Divorce is such a sad thing. Not that it is wrong. I truly believe that divorcing is better than struggling in an unhappy marriage, "for the sake of the kids".

Anon, I've never divorced, so my advise is limited. I only know what a dear friend of mine went through. I agree with the other posters, know what you've got (assets and liabilities), take your time in thinking things out before you agree to anything and lastly try to keep things as civil and as simple as they can be in such a situation.

One last thing, good luck to all of you.........

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#160083 - 02/12/04 09:11 PM Re: Divorce
renniks Offline
Diamond Poster
renniks
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,162
New England
Everyone has covered most of the financial things to watch out for, but, no one mentioned something very important:
Health Insurance!! Make sure you and your children are covered if he/she maintains the policy.

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#160084 - 02/12/04 09:57 PM Re: Divorce
Princess B Offline
New Poster
Princess B
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 23
WOW, there is a lot of good advice here. Thankfully, I didn't have kids when I divorced. My advice would be to protect your credit. CLOSE all accounts that are held in both of your names. Pull your credit report now so you don't forget about any. Realize that you are both responsible for debt held jointly even if the divorce decree says your spouse should pay it.

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#160085 - 02/12/04 10:05 PM Re: Divorce
Anonymous
Unregistered

Anon -

Before you start closing out accounts and opening new credit accounts and checking your credit - figure out something that none of us posters can possibly know. First of all, we don't know enough info - we don't know which of you is the one with the earning power, the assets, good credit/bad credit, etc. We don't know if the two of you share the same concerns about preserving the integrity of your financial health and credit history. It is not that uncommon for two people going thru a divorce to be getting a divorce for reasons that have nothing to do with financial stuff, and it is not out of the question that the two of you could share the exact same concerns about finances. Only you can know that. Now, if your spouse is the type that might start irresponsibly stop making payments on joint credit, or go out and start spending excessively on joint credit, then by all means, follow some of the good advice posted. But before you start doing that, figure out if it's necessary. Maybe if the two of you proceed with this thing you can sit down and discuss finances, health insurance, etc and make a plan. If you are both concerned with that (and you should be) and you don't realize it and start closing credit cards and opening your own, that is probably more antagonistic than anything else you can do and will do nothing but guarantee a nastier process. So, by all means, protect yourself if you feel it necessary (as should your spouse), but if it is not necessary, take the financial and insurance steps needed together.

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#160086 - 02/13/04 03:18 AM Re: Divorce
Pup Offline
Power Poster
Pup
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,045
Pedaling along a scenic highwa...
Well said, Dave. As a separated man with two kids living with their mother, I can only advise to keep the kids and careers top on the list. You'll always need your career to support you and your kids will always need each and both of you. Good luck with whatever you decide to do and however you decide to do it. And, I'm sorry you have to be in the position you're in.

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#160087 - 02/13/04 08:13 AM Re: Divorce
Rocky P Offline
Power Poster
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,441
Florida
Divorce, even amicable is hard, because of all the years invested. I agree with all the postings, especially Maria's. If you can get through it without the animosity of the court carving your belongings and life, it will be so much better.

I had a previous divorce that a single attorney handled the paperwork. My ex spouse is still one of our best friends, and godmother to my daughter - and luckily, my spouse also considers her a friend.

As a task, take a look at your retirement plan(s), including all former employers where you may have an account. If the retirement plan is subject to ERISA (federal law), it is generally outside the boundaries of a divorce (state law). If you do not change the beneficiary, the divorce will not automatically delete your spouse as beneficiary for you. There could be multiple scenarios that if you remarry, your ex could get the benefits in lieu of your (then) current family.

Ensure your will and other personal documents are changed too, including authorities to act (if children) in your absence, preserve your credit, etc. Depending on circumstances, get a credit bureau and look for old accounts to change/cancel. Also any deposit accounts, recorded assets, safe deposit boxes, etc. which need to be
divided-up, or retitled.

Sorry this is happening.

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#160088 - 02/13/04 12:41 PM Re: Divorce
DeeQ Offline
10K Club
DeeQ
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,766
Turnpike Exit 10
And I just remembered one more thing, and if it is appropriate, if you are working on the separation agreement, make sure that there is a "no alimony" clause. Obviously, you are working, and if your spouse should lose his or her job, they can go back to court to pursue spousal support.
As a woman, it would have never dawned on me that that could happen, fortunately my attorney was a lot more realistic than I was.

Good luck. And as Jac said, feel free to PM me if you want to chat.
_________________________
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain

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#160089 - 02/13/04 01:34 PM Re: Divorce
Brandy Osborne Offline
Platinum Poster
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 660
KY
I would say also open a bank account in your name only, i have seen to many times where one of the two will come in close out and clean out joint accounts. the other person comes in and realizes they have nothing in the bank, and the bank couldn't have stop it... I always here "i never thought they would do this"
as a child of divorce... i can say that being honest with your children, but not talking bad about their other parent is important. looking back now i'm sooo glad my mom did what was right for her and divorced my biological father. also try not to force them to see the other parent... that can breed resentment... but hopefully the other parent will stay involved as well.
_________________________
Practice, practice makes perfect,
Perfect is a fault, and in fault lines change

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#160090 - 02/13/04 03:22 PM Re: Divorce
Rubaiyat Offline
Diamond Poster
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,373
Lido Deck
As others have said it is important to take care of the financial end of things, but in my opinion, the most important part of a divorce is to make sure that both mom and dad do everything in their power to lessen its effect on the kids.

A divorce means that two people won't be married any more. But, it doesn't mean that they aren't parents any more. And I think it is paramount that kids understand this, and more importantly, are shown this constantly. Kids need BOTH their parents, and personally I feel it is a parent's responsibility to make sure their children know that mom and dad are there, especially during and after a divorce.

Fight over the house, fight over the bills, but do everything you can to help your kids grow up happy and healthy.
_________________________
--A bad day at sea is better than a good day at work.

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#160091 - 02/13/04 04:37 PM Re: Divorce
captain morgan Offline
100 Club
captain morgan
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 200
Land of "uffda"
I can't say alot more than what has already been said. From my divorce experience settle on everything you can before contacting lawyers. Leave the harder assets to split among the lawyers.
The divorce maybe costly, but in my case,my new life is priceless!!

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#160092 - 02/13/04 04:38 PM Re: Divorce
Kwiltr Offline
100 Club
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 132
My divorce was nine years ago. One of the most helpful things for me was having a dear friend tell me that just because my marriage was failing did not make me, personally, a failure. She was so affirming of me as a person. I needed that badly during those months.

Life does go on, and God is good. My daughter has maintained a good relationship with both her dad and me. She was in junior high when we separated, and that first year was awful for her. Make sure you keep in touch with what's going on inside your kids' heads as much as you can. If there's already a lot of stress at home between you and your spouse, your kids feel that and will likely react to it in some way. My daughter was aware of the stress even before her dad was, I think. I was fortunate that her teachers kept me informed of what was going on at school. She'd always been a good student, and just quit turning in assignments. We got her through that, but I was glad to know right away, not at the end of a disastrous marking period.

I was able to get a good state-specific book that had divorce information on property division, child support, etc. I got a couple of credit cards in just my name, which isn't a bad idea regardless of what the future holds. Try to keep the lines of communication as open as you can. The more you and your spouse can discuss things as adults, the better your chances are of either reconciling or being able to separate and remain (at least) civil.

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#160093 - 02/13/04 05:10 PM Re: Divorce
Anonymous
Unregistered

There really is no such thing as a good divorce. And divorce mediation is an oxymoron. Take a 3x5 card and write down in bulletpoints the goals you want, and keep that card with you and read it often. Make the goals reasonable and achievable, and stick with those. Many people start out saying, "Let's do what's best for the kids...", etc., etc.; but since divorce is in effect one party suing the other, the result tends to be similar to all law suits -- a protracted legal, expensive battle which often times leaves scorched earth. You asked, and I'm telling you the truth. I know firsthand what is meant by a "bitter divorce".

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#160094 - 02/13/04 07:01 PM Re: Divorce
Kathleen O. Blanchard Offline

10K Club
Kathleen O. Blanchard
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 21,285
You can make it work for both you and the kids. Unless there are outrageous problems, the bitterness does not have to go to extremes. Both parties must agree not to criticize the other in front of the children, not to make the children pawns, etc. My daughter, who was very young when we divorced - she barely remembers her Dad living with us - has a good relationship with her Dad. We shared taking her to activities, we stayed living near each other for her sake, etc. Her friends and their parents all knew him and her friends were as likely to sleep over at his place with her as at mine. It took a lot of hard work and lot of deep breaths but it worked out in the end. When ask if she wishes her parents weren't divorced, my daughter has always answered "No"; she says she can't imagine what it would have been like if she had to live with both of us, knowing our personalities as she does.

If no one keeps fanning the flames, it is possible to have the bitterness die down - again, absent outrageous behavior!
_________________________
Kathleen O. Blanchard, CRCM "Kaybee"
HMDA/CRA Training/Consulting/Mapping
The HMDA Academy
www.kaybeescomplianceinsights.com

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#160095 - 02/13/04 09:34 PM Re: Divorce
zaibatsu Offline
Power Poster
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 6,153
Since most of you know that I have two small children, just want you to know I was not the original anonymous poster.
_________________________
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city

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#160096 - 02/13/04 10:19 PM Re: Divorce
Anonymous
Unregistered

I don't have any direct experience with divorce, but one of my sisters is a counselor, so I'll tell you what she would say.

Take care of yourself. This is a time when it's easy to get consumed with anger, hurt, bitterness, bewilderment, feelings of "what if?" and depression. Life is like a book with many chapters and varied plot twists. You are getting ready to begin a new chapter in the book of your life. To a large extent, you can control how that chapter will flow. Are there things you wanted to do, but couldn't while married because your spouse "wouldn't let you" or made you feel guilty because he/she didn't enjoy them? Do them now. Take solace in a little solitude. Play the music YOU like at the volume you like. Watch the kind of tv shows that would have sent your spouse running from the room or complaining loudly.

Control what you can control. Schedule some time to do things that make you happy -- whether it's watching a favorite movie for the umpteenth time, or eating spaghetti every meal for a week. Realize that marriage is a series of compromises. When you are single, you have more freedom to make decisions about both the big and little things in life. Celebrate that freedom -- rather than bemoaning the split.

Accept the facts. Whatever happened to lead up to this moment is history. You can't change it. Neither can she/he. Don't belabor it, don't dwell on it, don't waste any more energy on wishing it had turned out differently. Your cards have been dealt. Maybe you didn't get a Royal Flush. Get over it. What DID you get? How can you play the cards you actually have to?

Quit trying to make your spouse feel bad. Doing so makes you a smaller person and accomplishes nothing. You may think it will make you feel better to berate them. It won't.

Vow to yourself that from now until the end of time, when you speak to your kids about your spouse -- or speak to your spouse in front of them -- you will keep a mental image of the good times. This is a person you once loved enough to believe you wanted to be with them forever. While that may no longer be true, any demonization of them should occur only in your own mind -- not in conversations with the children you two share.

On financial matters, pull a copy of your credit report immediately in order to identify EVERY single joint account that's out there. There may be some you haven't used in a while and have forgotten about because they don't have an outstanding balance. Close them. Open new accounts that are individual accounts. The advice given above about bank accounts is right on target. Close joint accounts (you don't want to be responsible for overdrafts he/she incurs -- and most deposit account contracts make both parties on a joint account liable).

If he/she is named as the beneficiary on an IRA, a POD account, or a life insurance policy, you may wish to instead have a living trust created and make the trust the beneficiary. By so doing, you can provide for your two kids in a way where you designate who the successor trustee will be and how the funds should be used for the benefit of the children (or whoever you wish your beneficiaries to be).

Don't overindulge your children out of guilt. Discipline and rules must remain consistent. They need to feel loved -- but not allowed to get out of control. Make the time you spend with them meaningful and important, but don't be too clingy. Just because you have greater emotional needs does not meet they are the well from which those needs should be filled.

Find someone else to feel sorry for. Look around you. There are lots of folks who didn't make out well in the lottery of life. They're struggling with illnesses, lack of education, poor earning power, all kinds of obstacles that will make your troubles seem minor in comparison. It's all a matter of perspective, and you need to take a step back and get a fresh one.

Take a deep breath and realize that you'll get through this. You have friends and family who love you and are there for you. This too, shall pass.

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#160097 - 02/13/04 10:25 PM Re: Divorce
redsfan Offline
Power Poster
redsfan
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,455
The Pennant Race
Caveat: In the interest of full disclosure, I have never been through a divorce.

There is lots of great advice above about the steps to follow if you reach the end of the road. Before you get there, though, I would encourage you to consider making a last attempt to save your marriage. Once, you loved your spouse enough to commit to spend the rest of your life with him or her. That is a commitment worth saving, and one worth fighting for. Talk honestly with your spouse about your fears and concerns. Evaluate whether your marriage has a chance to survive. It it does, take that chance.

If your marriage is over, as others have pointed out, your relationship isn't. You will be parents together for as long you live. Unless your spouse presnets a physical danger to your kids, remember that you have no right to interfere with their relationship with their other parent. If you are the custodial parent, don't prevent your kids from seeing your ex. And don't talk badly about your ex in front of your kids. They need both parents to be present and active in their lives. Don't mess that up.

But most of all, make sure that you tell your kids that nothing about this is their fault. Then tell them again. And AGAIN. AND AGAIN. You need to keep repeating that, because your kids may not believe you the first time, or the second, or even the third. But if you keep telling them, and showing them, eventually they will get the message. And you will be saving them (and yourself) from a world of hurt and heartache. And they will hurt enough anyway.

But if your spouse is abusing you physically, all bets are off. Get out NOW. Take the kids with you and run like hell. Don't look back. Do whatever you have to to protect yourself and your kids.

I will add you to our prayer list tonite. Whatever happens, good luck.
_________________________
The opinions expressed here are personal and do not represent opinions of my employer.

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#160098 - 02/13/04 10:43 PM Re: Divorce
zaibatsu Offline
Power Poster
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 6,153
Quote:

I believe that I am not far away from the end of my marriage. (Posting anonymous for that reason)Is there anything that I should be doing now to protect myself through the divorce process? I don't want things to be bitter and ugly but I want to be able to protect myself financially and to shield our two small children from as much hositility as possible. Any advice would be appreciated.




An attorney friend of mine told me once that when a couple or a spouse comes into him for a divorce, he asks them if they have tried praying together. He tells them to go home and start praying together every day. He said that no couple that ever took him up on his advice ended up divorcing. He said that once they started praying with and for each other and started hearing each other speaking from their hearts, they realized things they never knew before and most of it was good.
_________________________
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city

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#160099 - 02/14/04 04:01 AM Re: Divorce
Kathleen O. Blanchard Offline

10K Club
Kathleen O. Blanchard
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 21,285
I will add one thing about trying again, which I did over and over. It is always worth it. When it was finally over, was when my spouse decided to wake up and say "Oh, what am I doing?" His saving grace was when he said to me that he realized that he had been stupid and lost me and didn't want to lose our daughter too. For me, the abuse was not physical but mental and emotional. I had to get away and be by myself for a long, long time. But he stuck to his word and was and is a good father. Our daughter is now in her early twenties and her Dad and I get along well and she has good relationships with both parents. We were able to make the most of what was left for her sake.
_________________________
Kathleen O. Blanchard, CRCM "Kaybee"
HMDA/CRA Training/Consulting/Mapping
The HMDA Academy
www.kaybeescomplianceinsights.com

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