Standard of Living

MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009

I ponder why a Husband and Wife often refuse to lower their standard of living during or after they are divorced. Do you really think it is possible to have the same standard of living with greater expenses and less income? Look at your material possessions in your life. Are those possessions really creating happiness and satisfaction or are your material possessions the cause of your anguish? Do you really think others will not "like you" if you do not have a lot of material possessions? I dare you to try life with fewer material possessions. Who knows? You may have less stress and be happier. If not, you can always buy more stuff.

Greed

SUNDAY, JULY 5, 2009

I observe greedy people on an almost daily basis. Greed can be as simple as taking something small without considering that somebody else may want to share in it; it can be an assumption of entitlement to something small or large, or it can be a blatant taking of something large. When i see greed i always stop and observe the person in their act of greed. They become consumed by the material item they must possess, whether it be money, a sports car or even a box of cookies. Thier facial expression change during the act of greed as if some foreign energy has consumed them. When i feel their energy of greed, it is a very negative energy that physically exhausts the person. Greed is an energy so negative it can consume a person. So if you are a greedy person, stop. By giving off the negative energy of greed, you can only attract negative energy into your body and spirit. Become a giving person and enjoy the bliss of positive energy.

'PreNups' Beware

 

There is always, and I repeat ALWAYS, one very upset spouse in a divorce where a PreNup was signed. No matter what you are told, the reason your spouse is asking you to sign a PreNup is because they want to give you less then you are legally entitled to.

Every PreNup should have a "sunset clause," stating that once you are married 'X' number of years, it becomes null and void. This is the only way to equalize what you are waiving, which is usually alimony and money for an attorney to represent you in a divorce. It could be that at the signing of a PreNup, you are an emotional hostage at your wedding time. Do not sign a PreNup unless you have an experienced attorney negotiate a very fair one for you!

Tell the Truth

 

It is important to tell the truth when testifying in Court. You will always get more of what you want with the truth even if it is not pleasant. Divorce trials are bench trials, not jury trials. Judges hear testimony all day long, year after year. Although you may think you are pretty slick, for attorneys and Judges, it if fairly easy to tell when somebody is lying. Judges are human just as everyone else, so it is a natural tendency to punish or rule more severely against your position if you are lying. Everybody makes mistakes and everybody in the Courtroom, whether it is you, the Judge, the deputy, the attorneys, the court clerk or court reporter, has made mistakes and done stupid things. We know you are not perfect as nobody else is, so tell the truth and you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of your matter.

Alimony and Tax

 

If you receive a monthly alimony payment, you are obligated to pay federal income tax on the alimony you receive (unless you obtain a private ordering which is very rare). Therefore, it is wise to calculate the estimated taxes you will be obligated to pay, and because you declare your alimony as income, your former spouse is allowed to deduct it on their tax returns (thus decreasing the amount of tax they will pay). So, it is wise to calculate the tax savings to your soon to be ex-spouse when negotiating how much alimony you are to receive. Money paid to you during your divorce case (temporary alimony) is not taxable as income to you unless it is in a Temporary Order entered by the Court. There are other rules that apply to determine the taxable effect of your alimony, and you should work closely with your attorney and accountant to determine the net amount of your alimony, versus the gross amount. Please be Careful!

Establish a "Fall Back" Account

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2009

You must have a "fall back" bank account if you receive child support and alimony, as there is no guarantee that you will receive your support every week or month on a timely and full basis. Even with an income deduction order, your former spouse can quit their job, or if they pay you without an income deduction order, they can stop paying you at anytime (even though your court order states otherwise.)

Once your former spouse stops paying you, you will have to pay an attorney (or seek the help of the Department of Revenue) to pursue contempt remedies (jail) against your former spouse. Due to the financial shortfall of funds for Judges, it can take several months to process your contempt claim. If your former spouse does not have any assets, the Judge cannot throw the him or her it jail. If no jail, there is not incentive for your former spouse to pay you. However, if you former spouse has assets, the Judge should send him or her to jail, order immediate payment of all past due support, and order reimbursement of your attorney fees and costs. Your former spouse can get out of jail by paying what Judge ordered him or her to do.

You must have money set aside to support yourself and family. Make it a priority to set aside a "Fall Back" bank account and hope you never have to access it. A skilled attorney can present valid reasons to a Judge to not jail your former spouse. If you former spouse is not thrown in jail, it may empower him or her to not pay you in the future. Be safe rather than sorry.

Three types of Divorce Attorneys

 

During my career as a divorce attorney, i have noticed three types of divorce attorneys. There is only one type that is good for you and your family.

The first one would be somebody who is lazy and just not a good attorney. This type of attorney will harm you by not protecting your rights or failing to obtain a result (via agreement or trial) that will benefit you.

The second is a smart attorney, but this type is just interested in proving to you that he or she can "win" no matter the financial or emotional devastation to you or your family. This type of attorney thinks they are "winning" something by getting something your spouse wanted in written form (agreement or court order) although nobody won anything due to the emotional and financial devastation to your family. There are no "winners" in a divorce.

You need to avoid the first two types of attorneys at all costs. Talk to your friends and family with their experiences with divorce attorneys.

The third type of attorney is smart, competent, enjoys his or her job, and understands there are no "winners" in a divorce. If two spouses are halfway reasonable, your case should be settled. A trial should be a definite option to obtain your reasonable goals, but only an option of last resort. Be careful, as you only have one chance to do your divorce right. Doing it wrong will affect you for a lifetime, and possibly your children.

Beware of Family and Friends

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2009

Every divorce is different. Your family and friends will tell you the outcome of thier divorce and that yours should have the same or similar result. Remember that every divorce is different and for many reasons, your divorce may have a completely different outcome. Because your family and friends do not know every fact of your marriage and they do not know the current state of divorce law, your divorce may have a different outcome than that of your family or friends' divorce. Family and friends are great for emotional, spiritual, moral and financial support, but they may not be the best source of legal advice. You do not need to justify anything you do in life to your family and friends, as you only need to justify your life decisions and actions to yourself. You are paying your divorce attorney a lot of money for his or her advice, so listen! Your attorney is trying to help you even though you may not want to hear what they are telling you. A divorce will not fix the majority of your problems, it will only define your and your former spouse's legal obligations to each other and your children

Problems

Sunday December 13, 2009

A Divorce attorney (and Judge) can only resolve your legal issues. It is up to you to solve your problems. A Divorce attorney can make suggestions to you based on the facts and law of your case, but noboday can grow money on a tree for you. You must understand that after a divorce you will have more expenditures (two houses, etc.) and probably less income as time requirements from being apart will not allow either your (or your spouse's) career to be as effective in producing income versus when the two of you were together as a team. Money by no means is happiness and usually possessions and greed are the root of your problems, but notwithstanding that, it is always financially difficult after your divorce. If you understand this, it will be less of a shock to you and much easier to handle when it occurs, but then again, nobody knows what the future will hold for anybody. Life is an adventure so enjoy it, good and bad, bad and good. It is solely your choice.

Your Business

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2009

If you own a business that was started or acquired during your marriage, it is an asset to be divided between you and your spouse. There are many different ways to determine a value for your business. The part of your business that is related to your "personal" good will, that is you, is a non marital asset that solely belongs to you. However, the hard assets and the "enterprise" good will, are assets to be valued and distributed accordingly.