Family Law Blog

Should Social Media Be Included in a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

We live in an increasingly changing world, and one of the major changes that wasn't really such a big deal ten years ago was social media. Just a few years in the past, couples may have laughed at the very thought of adding social media into their pre-nuptial agreement, but times have changed. Now social media is crucial for image management. What you put out there or what your spouse puts out there can come back to bite us in a very personal as well as professional way.

Adding clauses for social media into a pre-nuptial agreement may not be for everyone. However, there are many these days that use social media to foster a positive image of ourselves, and that needs to be maintained. People who come from prominent families have careers in the spotlight including everyone from movie stars to Twitch streamers with substantial followers, high-level executives, and even restaurateurs have an image to protect.

Adding clauses for social media into a pre-nuptial agreement can cover a wide array of different actions. This can include eliminating and not posting further negative reviews of competing businesses, topics addressed on social media (such as politics or religious views), tagging locations while out and about, access to the accounts by the other party in a marriage, or even guidelines for posting pictures of any future children. All of these clauses in a pre-nuptial agreement can work in a positive way to help protect the image of both parties. After all, what one spouse posts can highly affect the other's reputation.

If you are looking to craft a pre-nuptial agreement and want to address social media in it, contact us today. We often work with more traditional pre-nups, but the world is changing and we know that pre-nups need to change with it.


What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

You made a lot of good memories in your home, and even if your marriage started to sour, those memories may be something you want to hang on to. However, the messiest part of divorce is dividing up the stuff, and the family home is part of that stuff.

If you want to keep the property, your best course of action is to come to some agreement on it. When it comes to property division, real estate isn't physically divided by the courts, but rather it must be sold off and the monetary value is then split between the divorced couple. This means you lose the house and all those memories are now just solely in your mind.

However, there are some cases in which one party may retain ownership without having to make a compromise. The most common situation for this is if the home was bought before the marriage. If you bought the home before the marriage and your name remained the sole name on it, then it will most often be awarded back to you. However, even if you added your ex-spouse's name on to the house, it may still be argued that since you bought the property before the marriage that it is still yours.

Unfortunately, most married couples buy their first home together. This means that no matter how much you cherish those memories, your property will still need to be divided. If you still want to retain it, you will need to work extensively to compromise with your ex-spouse. If you are divorcing and desperately want to keep your family home, contact us today! 

Utilize Technology to Facilitate Co-Parenting

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Communication! When you cannot communicate with your child's other parent, it can make everyone's life miserable, especially if the other parent is trying to make it difficult! 

The Game: do these false accusations and lies sound familiar?

  • I didn't get the message!
  • You never sent me _____!
  • My phone was off!
  • My battery died!
  • I sent you the money last week!

Well, good news! Technology can help! Stop stressing out about petty lies and accusations so you can focus on your child!

Here are two companies that offer software that can help: 2houses and Our Family Wizard. Both offer you the ability to communicate solely through their program, which eliminates a lot of miscommunication and false claims! Both programs feature financial tracking options that allow you to upload relevant receipts. The programs can calculate how much each party should pay and you can pay through the portal! The calendars are easy to use so that both of you can add events or request a change in the schedule! Our Family Wizard's messaging system detects aggressive tones and makes suggestions to keep communication civil. Both programs are available on desktop and phone apps for easier access! 2houses offers a free 14-day trial and monthly payment options while Our Family Wizard offers a 30-day money back guarantee, military discounts and scholarship opportunities. 

If you are in a high-conflict situation and the other parent is damaging your child's emotional well-being, contact us! We can help you develop a parenting plan that will protect your child!  


If Divorce is on Your Mind

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Are you contemplating divorce? The legal process is complicated and can involve working with your spouse as much as possible to avoid unnecessary conflict, or it could mean a long drawn-out court battle. The important thing to remember is that no two divorces will be precisely the same, as different factors will come into play. 

The First Step

You will either be on the receiving end of a divorce petition, or you will be in the position of serving it to your former partner. You should consider where to file for divorce. Usually, the next step entails you filing papers in the state or county where you or your spouse lives. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with your state or county's residency requirements so that you are filing in the correct location. If your partner serves in the military, you have the option to file papers where your partner is stationed. 

Will You File for a "No Fault" Divorce?

Choosing between a "fault" and a "no fault" divorce is an important part of the filing process. "Fault" divorces encompass the negative aspects of a marriage such as abuse or adultery. If children aren't in the picture or assets are at a minimum, getting a "summary" divorce is a possibility. Seeking the advice of a lawyer would be wise here, as you don't want to inadvertently surrender your property or child support rights. 

Mediation is Important 

Divorce doesn't need to be synonymous with bitter conflict. Mediation is a very valid option when it comes to resolving the finer points of separation, and can save you quite a bit of time and money. Mediation experts, while not perfect, are experienced in hammering out solutions to points of contention between you and your spouse. This process should be considered among the first steps to take after filing for divorce rather than a last resort.   

If you are contemplating divorce, contact us for more information. 

What You Should Know About Child Custody

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Are you about to be embroiled in a child custody battle? Being granted custody of your child isn't a straightforward process, and it could play out in any number of ways depending on the decisions that you make. Here are some of the aspects surrounding child custody law that you should consider: 

Mutual agreement via Mediation

Keep in mind that spending any length of time in court is going to cost you. So it's always a good idea to attempt mediation and try to resolve the issue of custody with your former partner and his or her attorneys. However, it's also worth noting that these negotiations don't have to be formal. You and your former partner could meet at a coffee shop and have a calm, rational discussion about visitation rights, who the child should live with, child support, etc. If that fails, you could proceed to formal negotiations featuring attorneys from both sides and a licensed mediator. The mediator might be able to find points of reconciliation that weren't able to be reached prior to professional intervention. 

Child Custody Battles Outside of Marriage 

If the parents are unmarried, the mother will typically be awarded custody by the courts. While the law usually grants custody to the mother, the father still has the right to pursue visitation rights. The good news is that the lack of a marital bond means unpleasant legal entanglements such as child support or property disputes are rendered a non-issue.

Not the Parent?

In some cases, child custody disputes can arise between a relative who isn't the biological parent of the child and an absent parent. If this is your situation, you'll have to submit a "non-parent custody petition" to the courts, which requires details such as relationship to the child, reasons for the custody request, as well as the status of the parents. 

Please, contact us for more information. 


You Can Get Help Collecting Child Support

Friday, November 03, 2017

Custodial parents sometimes find it difficult to collect the child support they need to take care of their children, child support that was court ordered. Help is available.

Child support payments are not voluntary. They are ordered by a court during child custody hearings. These cases may be part of a divorce, separation, or a paternity determination. Child support is usually paid by income withholding from employment. If child support is in arrears or unpaid, additional measures can be imposed to collect it.

Passports can be denied or seized if more than $2500 in unpaid support is owed. 

Federal and state income tax refunds may be offset by the child support debt.

Child support orders cross state lines. States communicate with one another about scofflaws of child support. Orders are enforceable across state lines.

Child support payments that are in arrears are often reported to credit bureaus.

States can fail to renew drivers or business licenses for those in arrears on child support. Their licenses can also be suspended.

Unemployment, Social Security, and retirement payments can be garnished. Military pay can also be garnished. Liens can be placed on property held by the person owing back child support.

Some payments are not subject to garnishment. These include Veterans disability payments, some Social Security payments such as Supplemental Security Income(SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) as well as student loans.

Payments in arrears may or may not be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. There are different circumstances regarding debts under bankruptcy laws. Child support payments are not usually forgiven. It is a valid debt.

Modification of child support orders is possible if circumstances change. Either a custodial or non-custodial parent can ask the court for a modification. Significant changes in the financial situation for either parent may qualify for a modification, either to increase or decrease support payments.

Contact our firm for any issues regarding paying or collecting child support. We are here to help.

What Can’t Prenuptial Agreements Cover?

Friday, October 27, 2017

What Can’t Prenuptial Agreements Cover?

Before tying the knot, it benefits both parties if they sign a prenuptial agreement to protect their individual assets. Prenuptial agreements don’t mean that you expect a divorce to happen, merely that you acknowledge that people might change and your directions in life might head in opposite ways. However, while you can put a number of different provisions in a prenuptial agreement, sometimes some really quite wacky ones, there are some things that a prenuptial agreement can’t dictate.

There are only a small handful of items that you can’t put in your pre-nup, but they are still important to know. Clauses you can’t put in your pre-nup include:

  • Custody of Children – If you decide to have children together, your prenuptial agreement cannot dictate who gets them in the event of a divorce. Typically this must be worked out by the couple at the time with the court dictating who can provide the better home life.
  • Child Support and Visitation – Like custody, a pre-nup cannot set an amount of child support that one party must pay nor can it set visitation rights. These based on court decisions.
  • Anything That Encourages Divorce – This is an incredibly vague clause that can cover a number of things. A common example is that while you can define individual property, you cannot put in how it is split in a divorce since that is basically saying it will happen.
  • Anything That Is Illegal – If you have an underground gambling den or are the Don of a Mafia family, you should probably leave that out. Courts can’t overlook illegal activities.
  • Anything That Is Unfair – Like things that encourage divorce, anything unfair is another cover-all clause. The best example of this is alimony. While you technically can set alimony in a pre-nup, a judge can completely throw it out if it is deemed to be unfair to one side.

If you are getting married soon, a pre-nup can be an awkward thing to bring up, but it can protect both sides. To create prenuptial agreement or check that your existing one is valid, contact us today.


What to Do When Spousal Support Payments are Late?

Friday, October 20, 2017

If your ex-spouse has agreed to make spousal support payments, then you have a reasonable expectation that those payments will show up on time. After all, this isn't fun money, spousal support is awarded because you became accustomed to a certain standard of living or just plain old need those payments to live on your own. So if your ex-spouse is no longer sending regular payments, what do you do?

Your first step needs to be obtaining the court order that awarded the payments. If you and your spouse agreed to a deadline or the court set one, then you have proof that they are knowingly ignoring a court order. Do note that if you have a voluntary agreement of spousal support, if you did not get it written and notarized, this will make receiving payments near impossible.

Once you have found the valid court order that demands payment, the quickest and most efficient way to make sure a spouse makes their payments on time is to seek wage garnishment. If they have knowingly been skipping payments, then it will not be a difficult court battle to win what is called an Income Withholding Order that garnishes wages. However, if your ex-spouse has lost their job and cannot make payments, your spousal support payments may be put on hold.

If your ex-spouse has stopped the spousal support payments that you need, contact us today. Divorce and spousal support non-payment is a tricky business and both sides of a divorce can benefit from having a knowledgeable lawyer by their side.

Informing A Child About The Decision To Divorce

Thursday, October 12, 2017

If you have a child, and you and your spouse have decided to get a Divorce, it is likely you are pondering the best way to go about informing your offspring about the changes they are about to endure. Letting a child know that their parents are about to go separate ways can be a bit challenging, and extremely heart-breaking. Here are some points to keep in mind when starting the divorce process.

Be Sure To Let Your Child Know The Reasoning

Without getting into specifics, let your child know why you are deciding to get a divorce. Alerting them that you do not get along with your spouse as much as you did in the past or that you both believe you will be happier apart may not make your child feel better, but they will realize the truth in these words may lead to you having less stress and an overall positive outlook in the future. Let your child know they are in no way responsible for the divorce. Hearing this from their parents is important.

Work Out A Plan For Visitation If Possible

Do your best to work with your soon to be ex-spouse regarding the time each of you spend with your child. A sit-down discussion one-on-one about their well-being can be enough to get both parties to realize that your child should not be used as a pawn or for negotiating purposes. Their lifestyle and what is to happen soon should be foremost on your mind, as well as your spouse's. Keep their interests in mind with any decision you make throughout the divorce process.

Keep Things As Close To Normal As Possible

It is a good idea to stick with the same routines as much as you can. Incorporate visitation time with the other party into the schedule, making sure your child is well aware of the dates and times they will be seeing your spouse. Do not speak poorly about your spouse to your child, no matter how angry you are. This will help to keep your child from feeling as if they have to pick sides, leading to possible depression as a result.

The divorce process is extremely difficult. Pick up the phone and contact us to find out more about child custody, visitation rights, in addition to property and asset distribution today.


Social Security and Divorce: What Happens To The Benefits When You Split?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Social security is meant to help support you when you reach retirement age, and if you get married then you and your spouse's social security benefits are entwined. But what happens if you get divorced? Well, it really depends on how long you were married as the Social Security Agency points out.

10 Years is The Sweet Spot

If you were married for ten years, or longer, then it is possible to receive benefits based on your spouse's income. As long as you:

- Are 62 years of age (or older)

- Have not remarried

- Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive either retirement or disability benefits, and those benefits are greater than what you would receive for your own retirement or disability

If you meet the above qualifications, then you could be entitled to one-half of your ex-partner's social security benefits. Additionally, if you have remarried but you divorce, your marriage is annulled, or your partner dies before you reach the ten-year mark, then you could become eligible for benefits under your former partner's social security once again.

It's also important to remember that your ex-partner doesn't necessarily need to be receiving social security in order for you to claim your portion of it. If your ex-partner qualifies for social security (whether or not they're currently receiving any benefits), and you have been divorced for at least two years, then you can start receiving your benefits as soon as you qualify for them.

Divorce complicated social security, but the system can be navigated with relative ease if you pick up the phone, and contact the agency in question. They're typically more than happy to answer your questions, and walk you through the process until you're comfortable with how it works.

For more information on divorce, division of property, and how you can move on with your life after your split, simply contact us today!