Archive for November, 2008

Legal Fees, necessary or not?

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Legal fees can be a necessary expense when contemplating divorce. However, how do you know if you are paying your lawyer too much and if they are doing what they claim to be doing for you?

Remember, every telephone call, letter, pleading (filing with the court), court appearance, research and even email is being charged to you. Divorce, custody and support cases can be very expensive for the parties involved. It is best if husband and wife can attempt to be civil and try to negotiate the details of division of property, custody, visitation, etc., before taking this to the lawyer.

Getting along, the best you can, will save both parties money in the long run. That is not to say a lawyer is necessary in all cases or that no one should get a lawyer, only you know if you need a lawyer or not. However, getting divorced is emotional enough without having money issues piled on top.

Trying to work together to end a marriage will be the easiest way to save money throughout the divorce. Hiring lawyers to “fight it out” will only cost you what little your “marital estate” may be worth. It is best if you both can negotiate rather than allowing the court to decide who should get what.

Inheritances! Yours, Mine or Ours

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

You’ve just inherited a large sum of money from your great-aunt Esther. Now, what to do with the funds. Do you place the money in a joint bank account? Do you keep the money separate, just in case since you and your spouse have had problems and contemplated divorce in the past? Or do you pay for the much needed roof and other upgrades on the marital home thinking you will get a higher selling price if you need to sell the home?

The first thing you need to understand is if the inheritance will fall under the Marital Property Act as community or separate property. Most states see an inheritance as separate property but some, do not. If an inheritance is seen as separate property you need to know if there are ways a state would see the inheritance as community property.

For the most part, as long as the inheritance is not used for the “benefit” of the marriage for you and your spouse, the funds should remain separate property. However, to protect the inheritance, you should seek the advice of a qualified financial expert and/or lawyer. Additionally, community property states may look at inheritances differently so it is very important that you know how the inheritance will be affected if a divorce should occur.

Child Relocation: Here Today - Gone Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

In the midst of a divorce mom may decide she needs to go to work and her best bet is in another state. She up and moves the children, starts her job and begins her new life. Dad is left in the state that the original divorce/custody papers are filed. What now?

Some states may require mom to move back to the original state pending custody resolution. Some states may even hold a hearing to determine if mom can relocate with the children, even if it is for the betterment of the family.

It is best to not relocate until you have custody resolved or at least both mom and dad agree on the relocation. Tearing a family apart even one state away can wreak havoc on the children. The courts will make their determination on relocation as to what is in the “best interest” of the children anyway so make sure moving isn’t being done for punishment.

Covering the Issue of College Expenses for Your Children

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

When parents divorce, oftentimes the children are younger and possibly not even school age yet. They have not even thought about their child’s college support but in deciding to get married felt they wanted their child to attend post-secondary school. Now the marriage is unraveling and divorce is imminent. What to do about college expenses.

There is no set one way to come to terms of college support. Each state has their own way of dealing with college support and this “obligation”. If you want to make sure your child has a college education, this should be set out, in writing, as part of the divorce settlement/support obligation. If not, this support could possibly be lost.

It is best to discuss this issue with a lawyer or at the very least if both husband and wife are doing a pro se divorce, with each other and set forth specific details as to what is to be covered and what conditions should be placed on the child attending college. There are many different areas, including but not limited to the child’s attendance to classes enrolled in, living expenses, books, even doing laundry at school costs money. All the necessary expenses need to be addressed. Leave no stone un-turned in this area of support.

Divorcing Women Getting Taken to the Cleaners

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

One issue that plagues divorcing couples is finances. Women, you need to know what finances go through the home. Do not fall victim to the “ignorance is bliss” attitude when it comes to finances. Letting your spouse take care of all the financial aspects of the marriage/household is fine but you must know about the finances should divorce ever become a possibility. If you do not know what debts or assets you have, how can you benefit from them? Or, what debts out there in your marriage can come back to haunt you?

Not knowing about your finances is an easy way to get taken to the cleaners. Your spouse can easily hide assets quickly as you never knew they existed. Arm yourself with knowledge, before the possibility of a divorce. You may never need the information, but what happens if you find yourself in need of it? Will your spouse willingly give up the financial information? You cannot bank on a friendly divorce. It is a goal to be sure, but not an absolute.