Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wall St Journal article Focuses on Six Costly Financial Mistakes in Divorce

Saturday May 16 article in Wall Street Journal focuses on 6 costly mistakes:  overlooking assets, keeping the house (maybe a bad idea), underestimating expenses, seeking revenge, forgetting about taxes, and thinking the work is done.  These are all issues I have addressed in this blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The D-I-Y Divorce: A Couple of Huge Risks

Many parties proceed with a divorce without hiring an attorney.  We see many stipulated divorce decrees submitted by people that can clearly afford an attorney.  One of many risks in doing so is to fail to properly address pension or retirement plan division by a properly-drafted and approved (by the plan administrator) qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) dividing the 401k, pension or other retirement plan.  You could discover 5, 10, or 20 years from now that you failed to submit the proper paperwork to the court.  Hiring a lawyer then may be either too late or even more expensive.
A second risk is failing to properly address the division of real estate.  We see many divorce decrees with either no legal description ( Lot 1, Block 1, Sam's Sunshine Addition,  Sweetland County, AZ) or what appears to be an incomplete legal description.  This can create serious title problems  that may expensive to fix.

Moral of all this: at least consult with an attorney before you submit a stipulated decree to the court.

Monday, April 27, 2015

NY Court Allows Wife to Serve Divorce Papers on Husband Via Facebook

Traditionally a party who is avoiding service of process could be served by publication of notice in a local newspaper.  That has become a fiction in this age of social media and Internet news sites as so few people read their local newspapers let alone the legal notices.  So service via Facebook (service by alternate means) makes a lot of sense.
Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/06/us/divorce-papers-facebook/index.html

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