Archive for January, 2009

I Do, Or Not

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Annulments are not as easy as one might think. It tends to be far easier to obtain a divorce than a civil annulment. There are strict guidelines that need to be followed when attempting to obtain an annulment. In receiving an annulment basically the courts (and/or the church) is stating that the marriage never took place.

There are civil annulments and religious annulments and having your marriage annulled by one forum does not mean it is annulled in both. In fact, the annulment process is separate in both a civil and religious setting.

In any event, if you are seeking an annulment, arm yourself with as much information as possible. Seek the advice of an attorney and read as much as you can about annulments. You may not be afforded the option of a civil annulment but a religious annulment is a different issue and you can talk to your clergy regarding it.

Caught in the Trap

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Domestic Violence is not something to be taken lightly. If you believe you are a “victim” of domestic violence you must seek help. Trained professionals can only help if you are willing to let them.

There is no reason to feel ashamed. Even the best suffer from domestic violence. There are countless Hollywood stars crying domestic violence and getting a great deal of publicity for it. You do not want to be like the “stars” but if you believe you are a victim, then seek help, immediately.

There is nothing you did to deserve the violence being inflicted upon you. You did not say anything wrong or look at another person, domestic violence has less to do with the person that is on the receiving end of the violence. Domestic violence has everything to do with the person inflicting the hurt on another.

Each state has laws regarding domestic violence. There are shelters and women’s centers that offer help. There are many resources out there for those who are in the midst of a domestic storm.

Dividing Assets and Debts

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Assets and debts need to be divided when divorcing. However, the amount of debt or asset one spouse wants may be discretionary as long as the parties agree to the division. In other words, if the parties agree, dividing the debt and assets is what you decide so long as it is “fair”. If you want to give your wife the house and just walk away, no questions asked, that is acceptable, so long as you know what you are doing and there is no duress or coercion. However, when drawing up the Marital Settlement Agreement, one issue a judge will look at is “fairness”. Dividing assets and/or debts does not necessarily need to be a 50/50 split, but the courts do not favor one-sidedness. The court will want to know that the person taking on the debt with taking little in assets understands the consequences or responsibility with taking on such debt.

Additionally, the person taking the asset, such as a house, must remember that it may look good on paper, but can you really afford the upkeep of the house, mortgage, home owner’s insurance, taxes, maintenance of the home, etc. It may look as though you are coming out on the rosy side, but working the numbers is telling as to what is possible or not.

It is best when divorcing to work on a Marital Settlement Agreement that both parties can not only live with but afford. In the long run, what good comes if the home is lost to foreclosure and the party who took on the marital debt filed for bankruptcy and is free and clear of the marital debt?

Finally, remember that some creditors are not bound by the Marital Settlement Agreement agreed to by the parties. Joint and individual liability still exists for some creditors. It is best to know if the debt is in both names, just one parties’ name or if the credit card company, for example, is able to come after the ex-spouse for repayment.