Hiding Your Assets in Divorce: What You Should Know

Couple at Lawyer's office

Couple at Lawyer's officeWhen you’re thinking about divorce and have a considerable amount of assets and money, you may be tempted to hide those from your spouse. This is especially true if you believe that you have (solely) worked for that money or if you are extremely angry at your spouse. You may have your reasons for doing so, but it can get you in legal trouble.

Can you get away?

While there may be a chance that you can get away with concealing some of your assets, there are always risks if you do so. You have to keep in mind that during the “discovery” process, both spouses are required to submit relevant information to the other party and have to provide testimony about those. Albuquerque divorce attorneys note that if you lied and got caught, you may face perjury charges and monetary fines.

What are the penalties?

If you, however, fail to provide financial information to the other party, the court will order you to submit them. If you disregard the court orders, you may be held in contempt or even be incarcerated. There are serious risks involved in hiding assets, as it can affect not just the property distribution, but also child support and alimony. The consequences of getting caught are also expensive.

What should you do instead?

This is why rather than attempting to hide your assets, you should consult a reliable divorce lawyer. Your attorney can protect your rights, assets, and interest while helping you reach a fair divorce settlement. You shouldn’t also let your emotions rule your financial decisions, as it could harm your purse. You have to pick your battles wisely and only fight for those that are worth it.

Deceiving your spouse by concealing your assets means that you are messing with the law. Other than losing your credibility in court, you could also face monetary sanctions if you get caught. It is best to declare your finances upfront to protect yourself during the settlement.

More Americans May Rush Their Divorce Due to Tax Changes

Divorce agreement contract with couple fighting over moneyA spike in divorce cases could occur across the country within the next several months, mostly because they would want to avoid being subject to a new rule on alimony payments.

By 2019, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will no longer deduct alimony from a paying spouse’s income. This will repeal a 76-year-old rule that has required the recipient to pay the taxes on alimony.

Divorce rush

If you live in New York, the need for divorce mediation by Long Island lawyers will be more relevant if you want to expedite the process of negotiations. Once the tax changes take effect, however, it may lead to messier court battles just because of disagreement over alimony payments.

Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, believes this will be the scenario. Since men comprise the majority of paying spouses, the tax changes will prompt them to settle on a lower figure. On the other hand, their wives’ lawyers may argue their case for a higher settlement in front a judge, Marzano-Lesnevich said.

State capitals

A possible impact of the new rules on alimony payments could lead to a lower divorce rate in states such as New York. An analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey showed that Hudson ranked as the divorce capital of the state.

The city had a divorce rate of 16.7% in the last two years, while the state’s divorce rate reached 8.7%. Married couples accounted for more than 29% of the state population. The survey based its findings on a study of divorce cases among couples between 15 years old and above.

You should consult with a lawyer and find out how the new alimony system will affect your income. For now, your best course of action would be to hasten the divorce process before Dec. 31.

What to Do when Preparing for Divorce

Divorce agreement paperwork being signedA divorce lawyer will give you proper legal advice and will represent you in court. Unfortunately, the lawyer who served as the mediator during the mediation process cannot represent you or your partner in a divorce trial. You may want to get referrals from family and friends when looking for a divorce attorney. The Burnham Law Firm, P.C. recommends consulting with divorce attorney in Denver.

Do Research

Divorce is common nowadays but many do not understand the process as it is complicated and involves different aspects of family law. It is best to start preparing by doing research on it. You can read articles online or see a divorce attorney. It also helps to take notes on important things such as documents to prepare.

Prepare All Documents

Prepare all the documents you need even before the divorce process takes place. This includes financial records like credit cards and bank accounts statements, retirement records, insurance policies, and pay stubs. You should also make a list of all the assets and debts attained during the marriage, as well as you and your partner’s income and expenses.

Be Financially Ready

Divorce is a long, demanding, and expensive process. You have to be financially ready for it. Make sure you have a steady source of income beforehand.

Be Emotionally Prepared

Divorce is emotionally stressful. Understand the healing process and its five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It may help talk to a divorce therapist. You can also open up to family members and friends about.

Divorce does not always mean failure. At times, it is the better thing to do than staying together. Regardless, you should prepare yourself for it. You have to know the ins and outs of the process and be financially, physically, and emotionally ready.

Untying the Knot: Setting Objectives in Divorce Settlement

divorce decree documentFiling for a divorce is not only about legally severing a marital tie with another person. There are other things to think about, such as your assets, finances, properties, and children. It’s likely that your life is going to be different during the process and after everything is finalized. This makes it important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the settlement.

Striving to be Fair

Being realistic when setting your objectives is advisable. Keep in mind that when your case goes to court, the judge will strive to be fair to both parties. You cannot expect the judge to favor one spouse unless there’s a valid reason for doing so. Matthewsfamilylawyers.com and other family law attorneys note that the court will look at each party’s needs to continue with their lives and focus on the best interest of kids.

No Blaming

Remember that the court is also not interested why the two of you broke up or who is to blame. It’s easy to believe that you deserve more because of your ex’s mistakes and behavior. If the court will handle the case, they would take an unbiased view of the situation, particularly if kids are involved. They will also consider your current and future needs.

Clarity Matters

Being clear about your objectives and minimize further conflicts and misunderstanding. This will help your lawyer understand what you are looking and want to achieve. You also need to agree with your attorney on how to approach decisions in the divorce process. If there’s something that matters to you but isn’t financially significant, make sure that your lawyer knows about it.

When setting your objectives and making decisions, it is best to listen to what your lawyer is telling you. Keep in mind that they’re experts in divorce law and its processes. If your lawyer thinks that you are being unreasonable or unrealistic, be sure to value that advice. Experienced and reliable lawyers have your interests at heart.

3 Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting a Divorce

wife and husband doodles in divorce process concept broken relationshipsThe first few months or years of your marriage is usually filled with excitement. You and your partner could be looking forward to buying your first home or having a baby. But things start to change later on and before you know it, you find yourself arguing frequently with your partner. And one day, you wake up and realize that you’re no longer happy.

According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of married couples in the US end up in divorce. Irreconcilable differences and falling out of love are just some of the reasons couples decide to split. If you’re in a difficult situation and thinking about divorce, don’t make an overnight decision. Remember that it takes days to process and evaluate because the decision will greatly affect you and your entire family.

The Burnham Law Firm, P.C. notes that one of the first things you should do is consult with divorce lawyers in Boulder. This way, you will know your rights and be familiar with the legal process. Once you’re clear with the legalities, ask yourself these questions before making a final decision:

Do you still love your partner?

Some people keep thinking that they still love their partner, but what they really feel is pity disguised as love. But if you feel genuine love for your partner, you may have to think twice before letting go because you can’t lose someone you deeply care about.

Are you getting a divorce out of spite?

If you want to cut the marriage just because of your pride or resentment, you better pull over and meditate. Give yourself time to heal before saying the final word.

Can you handle the consequences?

Just imagine being severed from a person whom you’ve been with for years. Your life will change and everything from your work to your sanity will be affected. It may be temporary, but ask yourself if it’ll be all worth it in the end.

Getting divorced is a big decision, which is why you need to be careful. Use all the help you can get to understand the situation and learn about your legal options.

Alimony: Things You Need to Know About Spousal Support

Alimony written on an envelope with dollars.Spousal support, along with other legal family matters, can be peacefully settled by both parties. However, significant issues like this usually need professional help by a compassionate lawyer who considers the best interest of both parties and the family.

According to Smith Horton Law, the importance of seeking professional help comes in when a legal issue begins to affect the family adversely. Unlike child support, alimony computation doesn’t have “worksheets” and depends on the state’s laws.

Who Qualifies for Alimony

Alimony is financial support granted by the supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for his/her maintenance. The recipient may get the spousal support monthly or in a lump sum. Apart from this, alimony may also include the transfer of title or possession of personal property.

Various states operate on different statutes. However, The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, a basis used by the majority, states the following factors in granting alimony:

  • The age and the physical, emotional, and financial condition of the parties
  • The length of time the dependent spouse would need to be self-sufficient
  • And the ability of the supporting spouse to provide for the dependent while still being able to support himself or herself

Recent statistics show that 97% of 400,000 alimony recipients are women. But today’s cultural shifts see more female breadwinners, more wage-earning couples, and more male alimony recipients. Spousal support laws and guidelines have kept up with the times and address this legal matter beyond gender roles.

Why the Need for Spousal Support

In most cases, there will be a spouse who is more financially stable or earns more than the other. The existence of a dependent spouse takes place when one spouse gives up his/her career to invest time in taking care of the family.

Disparities happen when a spouse with higher earning power eventually replaces some or all of the assets, while the dependent spouse will resort to asset liquidation. Alimony comes in and levels this kind of inequality.

Remarriage and Cohabitation

The rules of alimony change in the case of one or both spouses remarrying or finding new life partners.

A dependent spouse’s financial support can meet termination once he/she moves in with a new partner. This is also the case if the dependent spouse commits illicit sexual behavior, then the supporting spouse will be free of financial responsibilities. However, if the supporting spouse commits such acts, then the court awards alimony to the dependent.

Above are only some things one needs to know when considering filing for alimony. Since different states operate under various laws, experts advise to be vigilant and seek the help of a professional.

When is Prenuptial Agreement Best for You

Family Law Attorney in DenverThere are certain situations that may call for you and your future spouse to enter a prenuptial agreement. Contrary to popular belief that prenuptial agreement is a precursor to divorce, it could even strengthen your relationship.

Now that you are engaged and have agreed on a date for the wedding, maybe it is also time for you to evaluate whether you need prenuptial agreement or not. While there are some who view a prenuptial agreement as an acknowledgment of a possible future divorce, it actually is not. It is simply a certain degree of protection if ever the ugly head of divorce shows up. So how do you know if entering into such agreement is the best thing for you?

You are a co-owner of a business

Imagine, for instance, that you are one of the four owners of a business enterprise holding an equal share as the other three. If sometime in the future your spouse files for a divorce, all your holdings will be subject to the proceedings. In short, your spouse may end up owning part of your shares, thereby becoming also part of the business.

What can happen?

Such situation may not be welcome to your partners and could potentially result in professional disagreements. In fact, according to Business.com, this situation can debilitate your business. To prevent this from happening, entering into a prenuptial agreement that specifically excludes your business shares from any proceeding may be the best option for you.

You have more money than your spouse

Supposing you invested $85,000 at Google’s initial public offering of $85, that would have been equal to a thousand shares. Today, your Google stocks could be worth more than $1,250,000. Though such amount may not qualify you as a multimillionaire, it is still a substantial amount even by today’s standards.

Your spouse has little

Assume further that your spouse has less than five thousand dollars to call as assets when you got engaged. In this situation, it might be prudent for you to seek a prenuptial agreement with regards to your shares of stock. A prenuptial agreement can help clarify about who owns what asset.

Your soon-to-be spouse has a huge financial baggage

Obviously, you would not want to be burdened by someone else’s debt in case your marriage ends, would you? There have been many cases like this before and it is always the spouse who had no debt in the first place ends up losing big time. If you are aware of your spouse’s debts before the wedding, it might be for your protection that you seek a prenuptial agreement.

These are only some of the instances when entering into a prenuptial agreement may be the right thing for you to do. Your family law attorneys in Denver could further enlighten you on other situations that may necessitate a prenuptial agreement.

Grounds for Divorce: Accepting Faults and Moving On

Divorce Lawyer in HoustonSo you’ve had it. You give up. You remember three years ago when you said your I Do’s in The Bell Tower in Houston. The world seemed brighter and nothing else seemed to matter but the both of you.

Fast forward three years later, you realized you married so young and so soon. You thought it was the right thing to do back then, but now you decide it’s finally time to move on.

The process of divorce is chaotic. You would have to get an experienced divorce lawyer to help you get through it. You must also know the grounds for divorce before you do anything rash.

Insupportability or Living Apart

Insupportability occurs when the marriage cannot be fixed as it is no longer healthy and has caused many disagreements. Living apart, on the other hand, is when the couple has lived separately without cohabitation for at least three years.

Adultery or Abandonment

Adultery is when your spouse cheats on you. It’s vital that the person declaring the grounds for divorce has ample evidence to prove that his or her spouse committed adultery.

Abandonment is when the spouse clearly intended to abandon the relationship and has been away for a minimum of one year.

Confinement in a Mental Hospital, or Cruelty

Confinement in a mental hospital is valid when, during the filing of the divorce, the spouse has been confined to the institution for at least three years. This is also applicable if there is no potential improvement from the mental disorder and, if he or she does improve, there is a potential relapse.

Conviction of Felony

This is when there’s felony imprisonment for at least one year and if there's no pardon. However, this won’t be valid if you testified against your spouse, which put him in prison.

Marriage is a major step, but divorce is an even bigger one. It is a decision you won’t get back. Ensure that you’ve done everything you can to try and resolve any conflict before making any decisions. 

Colorado’s Family Law on Child & Religion Issues During Divorce

Divorce ProcessThe divorce process affects not only the wedded couple but their children as well. There are numerous ways in which the question of the child’s welfare physically, mentally and emotionally is taken into consideration. There are also the laws that are being upheld by different states. 

It is important that for settling divorce issues, local family law lawyers in Denver’s assistance is sought.

Religious Issues

One of the most common issues that need to be decided upon separation during divorce is which religion a child must follow. As of now, there is no national law on this matter; however, there are three factors that would be considered in decisions about the child’s future religious upbringing: actual or substantial harm, risk of harm or no harm required.

There are two interests that will be weighed upon as well. First, there is the right of the parent to influence his or her child’s religious belief. Second, the child’s present and future interests. This issue would not be so much of a problem if both parties share the same belief; however, conflicts arise when there are two religions involved. This is the point where the three legal standards are considered. Lawyers can guide divorcees on the legal aspects of this sensitive issue.

Actual Harm

In the presence of an actual or substantial harm, the court will deny the parent’s right to influence his child’s religious belief if the practices in that religion can harm the child. For example, a father who threatens his child that believing in other religion will cause “eternal damnation” as well as other verbal abuse can cause mental and emotional harm to the child. This will result in the court banning the father from sharing his belief to his child.

On the other hand, the risk of harm involves future harm that can be inflicted on the child due to a parent’s religious practices. Lastly, for the no harm required, the custodial parent gets to decide which religious belief he or she deems fit for his or her child to follow.

Divorce is an ugly process, but lawyers are there to expedite the process. You may not love it, but it can be made easier.

3 Situations that Call for Help from a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce Lawyer in Denver

Divorce Lawyer in DenverGoing through a divorce is one of the most difficult situations you can experience in life. Nobody ends up being the winner, but sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do when your marriage falls apart. When this happens to you, it’s better to hire a credible divorce lawyer instead of simply representing yourself in court. This way, you can have legal advice and guidance on how to protect your rights. Here are some reasons you should hire a divorce lawyer.

Unfamiliarity with the Law

Most people don’t have adequate knowledge of matrimonial and family law that makes representing themselves almost impossible. Divorce Matters says you need a divorce attorney in Denver, Colorado by your side. The lawyer can brief you about the basics you need to know, guide you on how to present yourself in court and help you make a case to successfully get what you deserve out of the divorce.

Being Too Emotional

Being too emotional can be your downfall in court. Some people just give up fighting for their rights because of shame, guilt, or fear. Some hurt their cases because of a sudden emotional outburst during a hearing. When you are working with a lawyer, you will be guided accordingly about how you should dress, act, and speak in court. Maintaining a good image in court will give you credibility.

Not Having an Objective View

Because of the emotional stress of divorce, people may find it hard to have an objective point of view about their situation. Emotions of sadness, fear, rage, resignation, or confusion may take over, and that will be detrimental to your case. A divorce lawyer can keep a clear head and unbiased emotional state to provide you with objective advice that will prove to be essential to your case.

These are just some of the situations that will definitely make hiring a lawyer a must when you’re going through a divorce. This way, you can come out as a better person and fight for what you deserve.