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In many divorces, the marital home is one of the most valuable assets of the parties. There are three general possibilities in what to do with the marital home in a divorce: 1.) Spouse A keeps the house; 2.) Spouse B keeps the house; or 3.) The parties sell the house. In scenarios 1 and 2 above, the spouse not getting the martial home generally has to execute a deed after the divorce is over that awards their interest in the house to the other spouse. The transfer usually takes place through a Quit Claim Deed. The other issue is…
Court dates in divorce and family law matters can be stressful. The thought of coming to court can cause stress and anxiety. Many might even be worried about being seen by others they know. They might feel embarrassed if others see them. Others might not want to take the time off work. They’d rather save their vacation and personal days for a more joyous experience. There are many different types of court dates in divorce and family law matters. Apart from trials, there can be pretrial conferences, settlement conferences, motion dates and even temporary hearings. Even when a person…
In traditional litigation, it’s often the war of the competing experts. Whether the issues in the case are financial or custody related, both sides often enlist their own experts. At trial, this can make it more lengthy and more contested. It can cost the paries a great deal in legal costs. The judge also has to determine whose opinions and methodologies are more credible after hearing their testimony and reviewing their reports. In some cases, a business valuation might be the source of the dispute. It could be a real estate valuation regarding residential or commercial property. In a…
August is the start of the school year for most children. For many kids, where they are going to go to school is a forgone conclusion. It might be that they are simply returning to the school that they attended in the past. However, for many other children, the school they are going to attend can be a source of disputes between family law litigants. When parties are divorcing, one spouse can live in one school district, while the other has moved to another school district. In other cases, one parent might want the children to go to private school…
In dividing marital property and debt in a divorce, equitable distribution is the law in most states today. Equitable distribution means that courts must divide marital property in a just manner when considering all the factors. One item many do not realize is how common offsets are in divorce property division. Dividing marital property and debt in a just manner is more complicated in many cases than may appear. Like a butcher, many assume that courts split all marital property and debt in half. Thus, if there is a bank account with $100,000 in it, many assume the account must…
Inheritance is an event that eventually happens in the life of many. When a family member becomes deceased, or even a close friend, an individual may inherit a piece of their deceased family member’s or friend’s estate. The inheritance can be through the probate process in probate court where a Last Will and Testament existed. In other instances, there might be a non-probate transfer of inheritance. This can come by way of life insurance or other assets, like bank accounts, that have payable on death or transfer on death designations. With real estate, there might even be a beneficiary deed.…
When a divorce begin, many are upset. The are emotional. The might even be angry. Events that led up to the divorce can cause a wide-range of emotions. These emotions can cause lots of parties to march into the courtroom to litigate their divorce. Before long, discovery has been issued. Subpoenas are flying. Depositions might be taking place. There can also be court dates from pre-trial conference, settlement conferences and eventually a trial date. For many parties, the emotions might eventually level off. The anger that might have originally been there when the case began might be giving way.…
In divorce or family law matters, pre-trial conferences, settlement conferences and other preliminary court dates often take places. These court appearances can sometimes take place in open court. In other instances, they can take place in chambers with only the attorneys present. In many of these court appearances, the attorneys in the case tell the judge their client’s versions of the facts of the case. They also might tell the court what it is their clients wants. The hope on the part of the attorneys and the parties is often to have the judge weigh in terms of what…
When many are trying to resolve their divorce, they end up negotiating with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Many prefer negotiating directly with their spouse versus hiring lawyers to help them. The idea of lawyers becoming involving just feels wrong to them. But when they start negotiating, the reality is even where both parties want a divorce, there area areas of disagreement. This can be the case even where the parties agree on “most” issues in their divorce. It could be a custody issue that hangs up the settlement. It could be that the finances are complex. It could be that…
7 Spousal maintenance cases are some of the most litigated cases in the context of divorce. In many instances, one party is seeking spousal maintenance, while the other party does not desire to pay it. Next to child custody cases, spousal maintenance cases can become very acrimonious. In many of these cases, the only way to reach is a resolution is at trial. One component that many do not realize is that the cap on the amount of maintenance that can be ordered in many states is the reasonable needs of the party seeking maintenance. The amount of the reasonable…
Divorce and family law matters can certainly be an emotional time. In many of these cases, parties are worried about custody and support of their children. Custody cases in particular can cause a wide-range of emotions. While parties should never put their children in the middle, parties can sometimes get caught up in a contentious custody battle. This can cause some parties to become emotional and lose sight of what is really important. Divorce cases involving spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) can also be contentious. There are certain scenarios where one party feels as if they will not be…
An increasing number of individuals are interested in having a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married. The idea is that if the marriage does not work, the divorce can be simplified. Many hear horror stories of divorces their friends or family members have gone through. They do not want to worry that this will take place if their marriage does not work. It is true that parties can enter into a prenuptial agreement that deals with important issues in case of divorce. For example, a prenuptial agreement can address property and debt division, spousal maintenance and attorney’s fees. While many…
After a trial in divorce or family law matter, post-trial motions can often be filed. A post-trial motion could be in various forms. It could be a motion simply for a new trial. It could also be a motion to amend, reconsider or for new evidence to be presented. When these motions are filed, many do not understand the purpose behind them. Many also do wonder whether these motions work. Others are perplexed by the filing of these motions because they expected finality after a trial. The reality is that these motions are common after a divorce or family law…
In divorce and family law matters where custody of children is litigated, it can often present a unique set of complexities for a family court. Family court judges might start with default parenting plans or custody schedules in mind. In many cases, they might start with these schedules in most of they cases. What this can often result in is a one-size fits all approach to child custody matters. In some courts, courts might start with a general presumption of shared parenting. Other courts might still start with a presumption of a child predominately living in one home over the…
Most parties desire to settle their divorce or family law matter. Most do not want to end up putting their case in the hands of a judge at trial. At the same time, settlement is hard for most parties. The truth is that if settlement was easy, most would not be going through a divorce or family law matter in the first place. When a case is filed in court, most judges want to have the case concluded in a certain length of time. Some courts may eye a tentative one-year deadline. In other courts, the length of time can…
In 2016, new child custody legislation was passed in Missouri known as HB1550. This new law went a long way toward making shared parenting the norm in Missouri. However, in 2018, new legislation was introduced in Missouri to move the needle even further. This new legislation is known as HB1667 in the Missouri House of Representatives (and SB14 in the Missouri Senate). HB1667 was proposed because many believed that courts were not really implementing the changes in HB1550. Some of the key changes in HB1550 was to indicate that custody decisions could not be made based on the gender…