Thursday, April 16, 2015

When Your Lawyer Tells You Want You Don't Want to Hear

So you went to the doctor and asked the doctor to look at a mole growing slowly on your arm.  Do you want them to tell you the truth or what you want to hear, that is, that it is not cancerous? The same applies to your lawyer's advice: do you really want the truth, or as Jack Nicolson yelled in the courtroom in A Few Good Men, " YOU CAN"T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" 

I have addressed this issue before in the context of the lawyer writing the client a C.Y.A. letter.  It is the lawyer's professional obligation to counsel a client on the applicable law and likely result after a trial or hearing if the client refuses to settle, including the litigation costs.  Lawyers are not magicians or miracle workers.  In most cases they cannot make your DWI or divorce "go away."

Here is a link to a good article in Above the Law.com:

http://abovethelaw.com/2015/04/standing-your-ground-even-to-clients/

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why the Much-Dreaded Prenup May Be Right for You

As a family lawyer I saw a number of young soon-to-be-marrieds about a prenuptial agreement.  Most often it was a woman bringing in the prenup given to her by her "betrothed" with a request that she discuss it with a lawyer.  Almost all never came back and I assume they simply signed it, regardless of my advice.  Nothing like a prenup to destroy the romance.  Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal regarding prenups and trusts for blended families:

http://blogs.wsj.com/totalreturn/2015/03/18/for-blended-families-consider-prenups-and-trusts/?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_yourmoney

Monday, March 9, 2015

How Best to Use a Mediator

There is a good article in the March 7, 2015, Wall Street Journal on how best to use the services of a mediator in resolving your case:
"Five Strategies to Get a Better Deal in Mediation."
I am not able to provide a link.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Legislation Being Considered in Minnesota to Take Some Divorces Out of the Courts

Here is a link to an article on Minnesota Public Radio about divorce outside of the court system.  Many civil disputes are resolved outside the court system through mediation and arbitration.  However, family law cases involve ongoing relationships if the children are minors, and often involve unequal financial and emotional power.  The courts have a public interest in protecting children, even from agreements that are not in the best interests of the children.

LINK  http://courtnet/NewsClippingItemDisplay.aspx?item=61309

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Potential Issue With Dependency Tax Exemptions Under Obamacare

Parties who are in the process of being divorced or are divorced may want to discuss with an accountant the consequences of Obamacare on their or their former spouses claiming of a child as a dependency exemption.  I have been told by a former tax preparer that the IRS doesn't care how the parties divided up the exemption under the divorce decree.  This issue has recently been raised on the financial pages of several newspapers.

Monday, February 23, 2015

End of Divorce is Not End of Necessary Planning

My experience as a family law was that clients wanted to forget the emotional and financial pain of the divorce as soon as the judge signed the decree.  But, as an article in Saturday's Wall Street Journal discusses, post-divorce it is extremely important to review one's estate plan, last will and testament, and life insurance to avoid unintended consequences in the event of one's untimely death during the minority of the children.  The article is well worth reading.  You may have to sign on or locate a copy at your local public library.