Monday, January 18, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
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
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.
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.
~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
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!