Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year. New Decade. New Marital Resolutions.

New Year. New Decade. New Marital Resolutions. Read in Psychology Today at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Health Insurance Coverage For Life

Health insurance coverage is one of the most prized commodities on the market. Once you have it, you never want to lose it. When you get divorced, however, you cannot remain on a "family" policy because you are no longer a member of a family. You a legal stranger. [ There are provisions under COBRA for extensions of coverage on your own for a limited period that are not discussed here.]

Agreements often discuss health insurance benefits, but you have to be mindful of the limitations of insurance coverage and also careful in crafting the terms of your Agreement.

In a case decided on January 12, 2010 by the Virginia Court of Appeals (McCoy v. McCoy, Record No. 3087-08-3), the ex-wife gets to continue having her former husband pay for her health insurance coverage even after she remarried! Even though a court does not have the independent authority to order a husband to provide health insurance after the divorce, the poorly worded Agreement was incorporated into the Final Decree of Divorce and gave the court the authority.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What To Do After The Divorce Is Final

The Property Settlement Agreement may have requirements that certain things be done, such as deeds to real estate being prepared and signed; mortgages being refinanced, titles to vehicles being transferred; debts being paid. These do not happen automatically. You have to act to see that they are done! Surprisingly, many people do not. Take action where action needs to be taken on the requirements of the agreement that benefit you.

Be certain that protections that are required are in place. If life insurance was required, you need to SEE proof. The same is true for medical or any other type of coverage.

Be sure to change beneficiaries on EVERYTHING. Including retirements, insurance policies, IRA's, bank accounts.

Be certain that no joint accounts for anything exist.

Notify everyone. Social Security. Employer. If you have children and there is a custody order, provide a copy to the child's school.

Make the necessary filings. For example, if you were awarded a portion of a retirement you need to file the appropriate paperwork within the required time.

Prenuptial (Premarital) Agreements

Should I Make A Prenuptial Agreement With My Future Spouse?

The answer to that depends on your specific circumstances, and on the two of you as individuals. Financial planners and divorce attorneys argue that prenuptial agreements should be considered if any of the following particulars apply: there are children involved from a previous marriage, there is an individual ownership of a business or family company, there are significant individual assets or a substantially unequaled income between parties, or there is concern about a future spouse's personal debt. Since laws about what constitute marital property and what governs the division of assets after marriage varies from state to state, a prenuptial agreement can work as a legal protection mechanism for both parties.

Often, prenuptial agreements are misunderstood. It is argued that prenuptial agreements are an attack on trust, or evidence that financial matters outweigh the presence of love in a marriage. This is not necessarily true. Most prenuptial agreements are made by couples who want to bypass the mandates of court in the event of a divorce or death, or couples who have children or grandchildren from prior marriages and want to ensure that individual property such as businesses or estates pass down to the family rather than the spouse. Regardless of the circumstances, prenuptial agreements are a comprehensive decision, and should be approached bereft of emotional misconceptions.


Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation

By: LawInfo

Published: 10/2009

The goal of a divorce is to dissolve a marriage and while that goal may be simple the legal process of achieving the dissolution of the marriage is often complex. State laws vary concerning when a person can get a divorce. Many states have adopted no fault divorce statues that do not require a court to find that spousal misconduct, adultery or abuse occurred. Instead, the court may grant a divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences or a finding that the marriage relationship is no longer viable.
While the parties may be assured that a divorce is possible they still must figure out the terms of that divorce. Most commonly that means decisions regarding alimony, child support, child custody and the division of property. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement about these decisions then the court will make the decisions for the couple. Many divorcing couples want to maintain as much control over these decisions as possible and, accordingly, enter mediation in order to come to an agreement to present to a judge.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation involves both parties meeting with a neutral mediator who helps the parties work through a divorce settlement. A mediator will gather information from both sides, analyze the information and help the parties reach fair settlements. The mediation process may occur in one session or multiple sessions. Each party may be represented by a family law attorney.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
A divorce mediation allows you to remain in control of the important decisions such as property division, alimony, child support and child custody that will fundamentally affect you and your children. A mediation agreement is not binding unless both parties agree to it. Unlike in court, if you do not agree with the outcome of the mediation then it is not binding. You still have the right to go to court.
It is important to note that most mediation agreements are not all or nothing agreements. For example, if you reach agreements regarding property division, alimony and child support but not child custody then most courts will accept your mediated divorce agreement in those areas and only decide the issue of child custody.
Divorce mediation is typically less expensive than going to court because it requires less attorney time. Parties, especially those with children who will have an ongoing need to communicate, may learn to negotiate with one another and begin building a post divorce working relationship that allows them to communicate effectively with regard to their children.
While divorce mediation is appropriate in most cases for the reasons described above, there may be situations when it is not appropriate. For example, if one spouse is intimidated by or fearful of the other then that spouse’s interests may best be protected in court. While mediation may work, it is important that a spouse who is fearful of the other be represented by independent counsel.
A divorce is often difficult. Mediation does not take away all of the difficulties but it does allow the spouses to communicate with each other and to walk away with a negotiated agreement of which each approved so that they can begin working on their future.

Don't Be Afraid

Don't Be Afraid To:

~Ask for help when you need it.

You may be overwhelmed taking care of your kids and just need a couple of hours to yourself. Ask a friend or co-worker to babysit. Go to the movies. Go walk around the mall. Go to the library. Go to the gym. Do nothing!
You may feel like you are losing control. Before you do, consult a therapist. If you do not have health insurance coverage, you should consult your local Community Services Board.
You may be in a bad situation and not know what your legal rights are. You should consult a lawyer. This may be a divorce lawyer, a bankruptcy lawyer, etc.
Whatever you do, don't think that if you ignore it, the problem will go away. It will just get bigger.

~To leave when you or your children are in danger.

~To say "No" to unreasonable demands.

~To take care of yourself so that you can take care or others.

~To think before you act.

~To trust yourself.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why Military Divorces Are Special

Just as service members are governed by their own set of rules and regulations relating to the conditions of their military service, military divorces have their own unique considerations. There also are many myths and misconceptions that have become accepted as "truths" within the military community. For this reason, it is crucial that you be represented by an attorney with military divorce experience.

Here are a few of the problem areas:

~There is a myth that a spouse is not entitled to a portion of the service members' retirement until the parties have been married for 10 years. This only concerns when direct payment will be made from the Finance Center. After 10 years the Finance Center will pay the spouse their portion directly. The spouse is entitled to 50% of the "marital portion" (part during which marriage and active duty service overlap) unless all or part of this is waived.

~The Survivors' Benefit Plan (SBP) which provides coverage for the surviving non-military spouse for his/her share of the retirement often is ignored or the documents are not sent in within the one year period. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to purchase private insurance coverage. Also, SBP ends if the spouse remarries before age 55 but can be reinstated if that marriage ends in death, divorce or annulment. Do not have the service member agree to name the former spouses as beneficiary under his/her SGLI because this can be changed (Ridgeway case from US Supreme Court). The issue should be addressed in some manner, however.

~Do not forget another retirement component that may exist-Thrift Savings Plan(TSP). Voluntary contributions can be made and accumulate tax free.

~Remember the VA waiver. The spouse is not entitled to any of the disability pay that is received from the VA that is set-off dollar for dollar against the retirement.

~Do not be hasty in finalizing a divorce. Consider the implications for current and future benefits. These days especially you cannot underestimate the value of medical coverage!