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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.…
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…
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…
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…
Most parties want to settle their divorce amicably outside of court without a trial. For various reasons, some parties cannot reach a decision on every aspect of their divorce. Some parties might not even be able to reach an agreement on much of anything. Either way, this can result in a trial taking place. A trial is the only way to resolve a divorce where a complete settlement is not reached. When making think of the concept of a divorce trial, they can resort to mindset of thinking of winning or losing. The view is that one party wins and…
Divorce rates have been high in United States for decades. This is not exactly a new phenomenon in society. There is, however, some recent data showing that millennials are having more of a tendency to stay together than previous generations. Nonetheless, there are still lots of individuals getting divorced. As much as some may want it, divorce is something that is not going to ever go away. For various different reasons, couples decide that their marriage is not working and they end up calling it quits. There are instances where parties have engaged in marital misconduct that has necessitated the
In many divorce matters, parties own a house jointly. When a married couple owns a home together, this is known by tenancy by the entireties. In these instances, the married couple is also on the mortgage together if the home is not paid off. After the conclusion of the divorce, one party often gets the house. The other party then moves elsewhere. A remaining issue when this is the case is that the mortgage has to be refinanced to remove the other spouse from the mortgage. This is important for many different reasons. First, the spouse who is not…
During the holiday season, divorce filings can decrease. Many are unwilling to commence divorce proceedings during this time. Many are also giving their marriages one last shot. This line of thinking certainly makes a lot of sense. It is not in spirit of “peace on earth, goodwill to men” to be initiating a divorce during Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year. However, after the these holidays pass, divorce filings can begin to rise. Many do not feel the need to wait any longer. Many also tried one last time to improve their marriage, but it did not work out. This
Paternity cases are one of the most common family law cases out there. Paternity cases involve litigation between unmarried parents over custody and child support related issues. The truth is that a large portion of children today are born out-of-wedlock. Next to divorce, paternity cases are perhaps the most common type of family law case. In many cases, the paternity of the father is not at issue. Both the mother and the father have no questions about the identity of the father. There are other cases, however, where that is not the case. In some cases, the alleged biological…
As the holidays approach, many divorced and divorcing parents can get into disputes about the holiday schedule for the children. The holidays are an important time. Parents can feel a wide-range of emotions. And parties are often at odds about who is going to get the children when. This is why during a divorce or custody case, it is important to have a specific holiday schedule put into play. The holiday schedule should account for all the holidays. For example, does one parent get the children on Christmas Eve? Does the other get them on Christmas Day? What about…
Child custody cases have great implications on the upbringing of children. What parenting plan is ordered can ultimately impact the lives of children in a significant way. Custody cases also involve who is making decisions for the children. Depending on the state, this is known as legal custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities. When family courts have to make a custody order in a divorce or paternity case, they have to weigh the best interests of the children. Weighing what is in the best interests of children involves looking various factors. One of these factors is the mental health…