The information contained in these articles is of general interest, and should not be relied on for specific advice in your case.

picture of a split couple with baby

Five “No-No’s” When Getting A Divorce

Any of these may be the kiss of death to an amicable, reasonably priced divorce:Don’t date.  There’s no rush!  This is true even if the divorce was not “your” idea.  Don’t join dating services or post your Facebook status as “single.”Don’t make changes to your existing life, auto, health or other insurance policies, unless you have your spouse’s written agreement.  This includes changing deductibles, carriers, insureds or beneficiaries. Don’t unilaterally tell your children you are getting a divorce.  It is usually better for parents to share this information as a team.  Your children do not want to take sides or be […]

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Date of Separation

When was it, and why does it matter?When?  The date on which one or both parties clearly communicate to the other their intent to end the marriage.There are many details which may be helpful in determining the date of separation, including:-          Are the spouses still living together?-          Are they sharing finances?-          Are they still “working on the marriage?”-          Have they told anyone they are separating/divorcing?-          Are they still acting like a married couple in public?-          Are they still having sexual relations?-          Has either spouse changed his/her mailing address?Spouses may not agree on their date of separation.  They may each perceive […]

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Documents are King: The Importance of Documents When Considering Divorce

Divorce can be overwhelming.  One of the things people may overlook is the importance of documents.  Verifying the nature and extent of income, assets and debts, reimbursements and credits, and other details of divorce requires documents.  Getting copies of the documents you will need now, will streamline the divorce process and may reduce the cost of divorce later.What documents?Key documents include:Income tax returns for the last three to five years, particularly if income varies, or businesses or self-employment are involved.  Include all attachments, W-2s, and 1099s.Paystubs for you and your spouse for at least three months, showing all deductions from […]

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Is Divorce Contagious?

–          Sometimes it seems as though when someone in your neighborhood, family, or social circle gets a divorce, others tend to head down the same path.  Is the grass really greener on the other side?  If divorce is sounding like a tempting option, here are some things you may wish to consider:o   No two divorces are the same – just as no two couples and no two families are the same.  In a divorce, the differences matter a lot. o   “My friend receives/pays $7,500/month in spousal support!”  Maybe so, but that is no indication of what will happen in your case.  […]

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Life After Divorce

Now what do you do? The documents are signed, the Judgment is filed with the court, you are officially “divorced.”  Now what?-          Don’t throw away the Judgment – ever!  Years later, you may need to provide proof of your divorce (including a copy of the Judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment) for any number of reasons, including remarriage, adoption, home loans, and Social Security benefits.  It is also wise to hold on to copies of the “Disclosure” documents you exchanged with your former spouse, particularly the Schedule of Assets and Debts, and Income and Expense Declaration.  Don’t throw away […]

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What is meant by joint legal custody

Family Code ‘3083, with reference to the order of preferred joint legal custodystates as follows:“In making an order of joint legal custody, the court shall specify the circumstances under which the consent of both parents is required to be obtained in order to exercise legal control of the child and the consequences of the failure to obtain mutual consent. In all other circumstances, either parent acting alone may exercise legal control of the child An order of joint legal custody shall not be construed to permit an action that is inconsistent with the physical custody order unless the action is expressly […]

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Collaborative Divorce

Planning Opportunities

This is the forth in a multi-part series by Christopher M. Moore. Read Part 1 (PENALTY-FREE DISTRIBUTIONS FROM RETIREMENT PLANS BEFORE AGE 59½ : A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY),  Part 2 (Retirement Plan Interests as Community Property) and Part 3 (Taxation of Retirement Plan Withdrawals) Planning Opportunities The two common opportunities for planning afforded by Code §72(t) are those relating to distribution pursuant to a QDRO and periodic distributions from an IRA. Any amount may be distributed in a lump sum directly from a qualified retirement plan (other than an IRA) to the non-employee spouse before age 59½, without imposition of the penalty tax. Where an IRA is involved, the benefits may still be […]

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Taxation of Retirement Plan Withdrawals

This is the third in a multi-part series by Christopher M. Moore. Read Part 1 (PENALTY-FREE DISTRIBUTIONS FROM RETIREMENT PLANS BEFORE AGE 59½ : A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY) and Part 2 (Retirement Plan Interests as Community Property) The rules governing the taxation of retirement plan withdrawals may be summarized as follows: All such withdrawals are ordinary income for federal and state income tax purposes. An “additional” or penalty tax of 10 percent applies to distributions from qualified retirement plans to recipients under age 59½. Internal Revenue Code §72(t). The combined state and federal income tax, taking into account the deductibility of state income tax on the […]

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Retirement Plan Interests as Community Property

This is the second in a multi-part series byChristopher M. Moore. Read Part 1 (PENALTY-FREE DISTRIBUTIONS FROM RETIREMENT PLANS BEFORE AGE 59½ : A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY) here. Retirement plan interests are community property to the extent that the benefits are earned or accrued during the marriage.There are two judicially-approved ways to divide the community interest in a retirement plan. The first method is to reserve jurisdiction over the plan interest and divide each payment between the spouses based on the respective community and separate interests, as and when each payment is received. The second is to value the plan interest […]

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