Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

Will My Divorce Go To Trial?

Posted on: May 27, 2019 by in Divorce
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divorce go to trial

Many divorcing couples will be concerned that their divorce will go to trial. This is mostly a concern for couples who may be experiencing a high level of conflict. Spouses who can’t agree on the terms of their divorce will end up going to trial. It’s important to note that family courts always encourage spouses to settle all of their differences out of court. If your divorce goes to trial, it could become long, expensive, and emotionally challenging. In this article, we provide tips for avoiding a trial, the costs of a divorce trial, and tools for handling your divorce if it does go to trial. In addition, we address some important legal terms that you should be familiar with before you move forward.

 

Tips for Avoiding a Divorce Trial

No one wants to hear that their divorce will go to trial. It’s always important to reiterate to divorcing couples that they should try to settle out of court. One avenue to help you avoid a trial is mediation. Mediation is when both spouses work with a neutral third party called a mediator. A mediator is someone who will help both parties reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of the divorce. When going through mediation, it’s important to:

 

  • Choose the right mediator. A mediator shouldn’t be siding with either party.
  • Be prepared and have all your necessary documents ready
  • Be open to compromise
  • Make a priority list. Know what terms you’re willing to be flexible with and what terms are the most important to you.

 

Sometimes mediation can take time. Couples experiencing a lot of conflicts will have to meet multiple times to negotiate, compromise, and settle. If there is absolutely no chance your divorce can be settled through mediation, your divorce will go to trial.

 

The Difference Between a Divorce Hearing, a Divorce Trial, and Final Judgment Hearing

Divorce Hearing: The main thing you should know about a divorce hearing is that it’s considered temporary. These are temporary court orders that are given to each party to establish some terms before the divorce trial. The purpose of these temporary court orders is to offer some stability to their situations. At a divorce hearing, a judge will make decisions regarding child custody and visitation, financial responsibilities, property management and rights, and other matters.

 

Divorce Trial: A divorce trial is focused on making permanent decisions. Each spouse and their attorneys will be able to plead their case for certain matters concerning the dissolution of the marriage. This will include their preferences for child custody, child support, alimony, retirement, and division of assets. You’ll have to disclose information on all of your finances, credit cards, loans, property, and retirement funds. If it’s a highly contested divorce, a divorce trial can get ugly. Each party should be prepared to defend themselves and present evidence to support their points.

 

Final Judgment Hearing: A final judgment hearing is also known as a Divorce Judgment and Decree. As you can probably guess, this is when a judge will make his final order. This will be the ultimate decision made on all of the issues presented. These orders are considered final and permanent and the judge will provide reasons why he or she has made these rulings.

 

Cost of a Divorce Trial

If you know that your divorce will go to trial, it’s important to consider the financial cost. Unfortunately, divorce trials are not inexpensive. Divorce trials can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. These costs will be determined by where the divorce is taking place, how many contested issues there are, attorney fees, and how long the trial is. Every individual divorce attorney charges a different hourly rate or a flat rate. These fees can range from $70 an hour to $500 an hour. Remember that you’re being charged for every hour that your attorney works on your case. This could involve travel time, phone calls, pre-trial prep, and other legal work.

 

Tips for Getting Through It If Your Divorce Goes to Trial

Remember that your attorney is there for you every step of the way. Reach out to your divorce attorney if you have questions or concerns about the trial. The more you know and understand about your divorce trial, the less stressful it will become. Keep family members and your support system close to you. Once you realize that your divorce will go to trial, start to practice self-care such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and taking space from your ex. If this is a highly contested divorce with a lot of conflicts, it’s important to avoid power struggles or arguments with your ex. This is especially true if children are involved. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today to learn more about divorce trials and the best way to handle them.

 

3 Reasons Divorce Mediation Fails

Posted on: April 18, 2019 by in Divorce
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Divorce Mediation Fails

If you’re about to go through a divorce, you’ve probably heard friends or family members mention the term ‘mediation’. Will you be using a mediator? Are you and your spouse considering going through mediation? These will be common questions that people closest to you might ask. That’s because mediation is a highly desirable path for those who are going through a divorce. Mediation is a way of avoiding a lengthy and emotional divorce trial. It’s a method that promotes compromising strategies rather than aggressive legal demands. Mediation can be a promising approach to divorce. But what happens if divorce mediation fails? What happens next? In this article, we explain what mediation is, why it sometimes fails, and what to do if it does.

 

What is Mediation?

As soon as you and your spouse decide that a divorce is your best option, you’ll most likely discuss going through mediation. Mediation is the process of discussing the terms and conditions of the divorce without a judge or a trial. You’ll work with a legal counseling professional called a mediator. The mediator should be a neutral third party that has no connections to either spouse. The point of their job is to facilitate the discussion and help the two parties reach an agreement. Mediators are trained professionals that are there to encourage communication, collaboration, and compromise. A mediator can help both parties work out specific issues, find new perspectives, and regulate disagreements. Some couples may meet once or twice for mediation. Others may need a week or two to work out all of the details of their divorce. Divorce mediation fails when both parties can’t reach an agreement and refuse to continue to work with a mediator.

 

Reasons Why Divorce Mediation Fails

There are a lot of success stories out there from couples that chose to resolve everything in mediation. It’s a less expensive, less dramatic, and less emotional approach to divorce. Plus, the divorce can be finalized in a much quicker fashion through mediation as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out the way couples wished it would. There are certain situations that can stall or halt resolutions through mediation. Here are a few common reasons why divorce mediation fails.

 

  1. They’re not committed to finding an agreement. In many cases, divorce mediation fails because the couples are not committed to reaching an agreement or working towards a solution. Mediation takes time and energy. You have to work towards meeting these terms and conditions in the divorce. Couples who don’t put the work in and aren’t interested in showing up to mediation appointments are not likely to succeed in mediation.

 

  1. There’s too much conflict. This is probably one of the most obvious reasons why divorce mediation fails. When there is a high level of conflict and low levels of civility, the chances of reaching a compromise decrease significantly. While some couples have the ability to put emotions aside during mediation, others will have a much harder time being open and kind throughout the process. People who are filled with resentment and anger will struggle through mediation.

 

  1. The mediator is favoring one side. If there’s even an ounce of an imbalance with your mediator, it can throw the entire process off the rails. One powerful reason that divorce mediation fails is that the mediator is suspected of favoring one party over the other. If there are any issues with the mediator, it’s strongly recommended to find a new one and start the process over.

 

If Divorce Mediation Fails

If you’ve come to the realization that your divorce mediation isn’t going in the direction you wanted it to go, you may have to explore the next steps. First, it’s important not to give up hope entirely if your divorce mediation fails. It may be worth taking time to allow emotions to settle. It’s possible to allow time to heal and try mediation a second time. This happens more than people think. Many divorcing couples have found more success with second or third attempts at mediation instead of just giving up on it altogether. However, if mediation wasn’t successful on the second or third attempt, and you’re unwilling to settle, you’re most likely going to have to go to trial. This should be the final option after exercising all other methods. Trials will be long and expensive, but they’re sometimes necessary for those who cannot reach an agreement.

 

For More Information on Divorce Mediation

If you’re approaching a divorce, it’s strongly recommended to work with both a mediator and a divorce attorney. Having your own divorce attorney can assure you that you have someone on your side that represents your best interests. A board-certified Boca Raton mediation lawyer can guide you through the mediation process and a trail if your divorce mediation fails. Contact an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney today to learn more about your options.

Are More Millennials Getting Prenups?

Posted on: April 10, 2019 by in Divorce
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Millennials Getting Prenups

Millennials are famous for starting and ending popular trends. The generation that brought you the selfie has a new focus on their horizon. It turns out; the prenuptial agreement is something that they’ve deemed necessary in their lives. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers discovered that 51% of lawyers recently noticed a significant increase in millennials getting prenups. Why the sudden jump in this premarital contract? Millennials are approaching the prenup from a very different perspective than previous generations. They’ve offered some sound reasons why they believe prenuptial agreements are essential. In addition, the traditional concepts of marriage have shifted with millennials. To help you understand this new phenomenon, here are ten reasons why millennials getting prenups is a move in the right direction.

 

  1. Marrying Later in Life

 

There’s been a steady and significant trend in marrying later on in life. Millennials have proven that they’re in no rush to get married and start a family. Instead of the traditional path of marrying right out of college at 23 years old, this generation is more likely to wait until their mid-30’s to settle down. They’re able to see marriage from a realistic and mature perspective, which helps them to see the prenup in a more reasonable light.

 

  1. Bringing More Assets Into a Marriage

Since they’re marrying later on in life, they’ve had the opportunity to earn more money and collect more assets at this point. Unlike their parents’ generation, they’re entering marriage with more to protect. This is one of the main reasons millennials getting prenups has become such a popular trend.

 

  1. More Women in the Workforce

The days of women being called ‘spinsters’ at 30 years old is over. Society should retire the word altogether. The fact is, there are more women in the workplace than ever before. The traditional idea of the male making more money and demanding a prenup is dying. Statistics are showing more millennial women requesting prenuptial agreements.

 

  1. Traditional Gender Roles are Changing

Millennial couples are more interested in sharing responsibilities. In the past, men have taken more control over their finances while women watch over household budgets. Men have traditionally set the terms and conditions on joint bank accounts, insurance, or credit cards in prenuptial agreements. Millennials getting prenups are more likely to want to share ownership and responsibilities when it comes to their finances.

 

  1. They See Themselves as a Team

When asked why they deem a prenup necessary, millennials will often say that they see themselves as a team. As a team, they set their expectations for marriage and divorce together. They want to set these terms now while they’re on the same page instead of years from now when conflict could cloud their judgment.

 

  1. Consider it a Business Deal

In addition to millennials getting prenups as a team, they also see it as a business deal. The emotional aspects of it aren’t as prevalent as they have been in the past. Prenups are no longer seen as a pessimistic approach to marriage. Prenups are simply business agreements that both parties form together.

 

  1. Protect Their Independence

Millennials getting prenups are protecting their independence in case disaster strikes later on in life. They understand that they can set terms to protect their property, finances, and assets. Passing up this level of protection is seen as juvenile or naive by this generation.

 

  1. They Understand the Realities of Divorce

One thing the Internet has offered to millennials is the ability to do their research. They’re well aware of the fact that divorce rates have steadily hovered around 50% for decades. They’re much more realistic about marriage and divorce than previous generations.

 

  1. They Set Terms that Can Potentially Save Their Marriage

A lot of millennials also see that a prenuptial agreement could save their marriage. Since you’re able to set conditions on divorce, like mediation, trial separations, or marriage counseling, more millennials are choosing to place these terms in a prenup. For instance, they might make it mandatory that they attend three weeks of marriage counseling before reaching an agreement on divorce.

 

  1. Millennials Getting Prenups Have Peace of Mind

Last but certainly not least, millennials getting prenups can experience peace of mind. They can sign this premarital contract and, hopefully, never have to look at it again. People can say what they want about millennials and their trends, but this trend with prenups is indisputably smart. They’re approaching marriage realistically and maturely. They know that protecting themselves and their assets is important. If you plan on getting married in the near future, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. These millennials have pointed out some incredible reasons why this contract can offer security and peace of mind. Contact an experienced Boca Raton Pre-Nuptial attorney today to learn more about how you can create a prenuptial agreement for you and your future spouse.

 

What is a QDRO?

Posted on: March 8, 2019 by in Divorce
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QDRO

After most people go through a divorce, their focus tends to turn to their future. There are always immediate issues to deal with, such as living arrangements, child custody, or alimony. But after that, there’s retirement. That’s when QDRO comes into play. QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and it’s a requirement for anyone looking to split up a retirement plan, after a divorce, legally. Since it’s both a complicated and necessary document, it’s important to understand the drafting process, how long it takes, and who should be involved in the creation of this type of court order. Without a QDRO, you can’t guarantee that you will benefit from an ex-spouse’s retirement savings. In this article, we provide everything you need to know about the Qualified Domestic Relations Order process.

 

QDRO Defined

Many divorcing couples will hear of a QDRO for the first time with their divorce attorney. That’s because retirement plans are under heavy protection federal law and they used to be excluded from divorce proceedings. However, after 1984, Congress passed a law that made a special exception. They created qualified domestic relations orders to allow for retirement plans to be split after a divorce or legal separation. In effect, specialists started focusing solely on drafting QDROs and creating legal pathways for 401(k)’s, retirement plans, and pensions to be divided up. In order to complete a QDRO, you’ll need to include:

 

  • The retirement plan owner’s full name and the address of their permanent residence
  • The payee’s full name and the address of their permanent residence
  • The percentage that the alternate payee will receive
  • How the attorneys determined that percentage
  • Amount of payments  that will be included in the QDRO
  • The processing of payments

 

Obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

After the finalization of your divorce, there will be a judgment regarding the separation of assets. This is when you’ll know if you were granted a portion of your ex-spouse’s retirement plan. However, when a judge simply states that you’ll receive a portion of the retirement plan, that doesn’t automatically make it complete. This is when a QDRO becomes necessary. For instance, let’s say that a judge grants you 50% of your ex-spouse’s retirement plan. This judgment alone does not immediately make it true. It’s at this point that you and your attorney should begin to discuss drafting a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

 

How Long Does the QDRO Process Take?

Unfortunately, the procedure doesn’t move along as quickly as most would like. However, it is an important document that passes through a lot of important hands, so it needs to be completed accurately. It’ll take anywhere between three to six months for a QDRO procedure to be complete. Of course, when the two parties and plan administrators agree to the terms of the QDRO, each step moves along quickly and efficiently. If the parties can’t agree to the terms of the QDRO or if one of the plan administrators gets held up along the way, it could take a lot longer. It’s also important to remember that every retirement plan is unique and has different terms and conditions. Finding practical ways to divide them can take time.

 

Here are the basic steps in a Qualified Domestic Relations Order process:

 

  1. Begin drafting the QDRO.
  2. Obtain a plan administrator’s approval.
  3. Have all of the parties involved approve and sign the QDRO.
  4. Submit the signed QDRO to the court for final approval by a judge.
  5. Send a certified copy of your finalized QDRO back to the plan administrator.

 

Who is the Alternate Payee?

The spouse that’s required to split their retirement plan is referred to as a participant. The alternate payee is the individual that’s receiving the portion of the retirement plan that’s stated in the QDRO. Most of the time, this will be an ex-spouse that has a significantly lower income than the income earner. It’s important to remember that the alternate payee doesn’t necessarily have to be the ex-spouse. However, it can’t be a close friend or extended relative either. Under federal law, the alternate payee can be a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependents of the participant.

For More Information on Obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

If you’ve been granted a portion of your ex-spouse’s retirement plan, it’s never a good idea to wait to complete a QDRO.  A divorce attorney can get the process moving as quickly and as smoothly as possible. As mentioned above, the process can be long, complicated, and include a lot of discussions with attorneys and plan administrators. It’s important to be able to depend on a legal expert to explain each step and navigate any legal issues that may arise along the way. The process is a lot less daunting when you’re working with an experienced attorney that can help you to understand your options. Contact one today for more information!

Planning for Divorce – Cynical or Proactive

Posted on: February 28, 2019 by in Divorce
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Planning for Divorce

Getting married is always an exciting time in anyone’s life. It’s a time to celebrate love, new beginnings, and commitment. This is why it’s often difficult to bring up the idea of divorce when people are engaged to be married. Many couples find the idea of discussing divorce before marriage to be the least romantic thing on the planet. It is true that planning for divorce before you get married can seem cynical or pessimistic. But does planning for divorce before marriage have to be so dark? Could it be considered proactive to make a plan that protects you and your assets if a romantic disaster occurs?

Discussing plans for a potential divorce has become more and more popular these days. This is especially true amongst millennials and younger generations. These young couples are very aware of the realities of divorce. They know that it’s not necessarily cynical to be prepared. They understand that it’s essential to protect yourself and plan for a divorce before you walk down the aisle.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement (often referred to as a “prenup” or “premarital agreement”) is a written contract that you and your soon-to-be spouse will create together. Prenuptial agreements will usually list each persons’ property and assets and specific instructions on how everything will be divided if the marriage fails. However, a prenuptial agreement can include much more than that. Prenups can include guidelines for specific scenarios. For instance, you can state in a prenuptial agreement that you will agree to see a marriage counselor for a certain length of time before you decide to divorce. It’s strongly advised to speak with a divorce attorney at this stage to help you decide what kind of conditions you’d like to set for you and your spouse in an unfortunate case of divorce.

 

Why Would You Want a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many engaged couples will avoid planning for divorce at all costs. Some believe that planning for divorce before marriage can curse the relationship. Of course, the thought of separating at this stage of a commitment can be uncomfortable and even awkward. However, this is a perspective that’s been evolving over the years. First, discussing divorce before marriage can help you and your partner understand the weight of marriage and what it involves. It’s an opportunity to discuss expectations and responsibilities.

While some couples only see marriage as a romantic commitment, others realize that it’s also a business relationship. You’ll have shared properties, assets, and even debts in the future. It’s important to talk about the possibility of untangling these items before they’re tied together. With the recent increase of prenuptial agreements, it’s clear that more couples are seeing this contract as a sign of strength and protection instead of a sign of weakness and pessimism.

 

What Happens if We Don’t Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

This is one of the most important questions that a newly engaged couple can ask themselves. In the worst case scenario, what happens if we do not prepare for divorce? What if we don’t have a prenuptial agreement? The truth is, there’s a lot that lies outside of your control if you don’t have a premarital contract. The state’s laws will dictate who owns what property that the two of you have accumulated during the marriage. Depending on how the marriage ends, you could end up paying alimony, child support, and splitting your retirement or pension with your ex-spouse. The point is that without a prenuptial agreement, the splitting of assets, income, savings, and property can become very messy. Planning for divorce before marriage allows you to prepare for the worst. Many engaged couples will feel more secure in the marriage knowing that a prenuptial agreement contract exists.

 

Who Should be Planning for Divorce Before Marriage?

A common myth is that only celebrities or wealthy couples should be planning for divorce. It is true that when you have a lot of money, assets, and property, it’s better to have a premarital contract. However, the days of only wealthy people planning for divorce are over. Every couple should plan for the possibility of divorce. Having a contract can help you both to express your ideas for your financial future and identify how you’d like to move through financial obstacles if you’re no longer together.

 

For More Information on Planning for Divorce

If you’re planning a wedding, it’s highly recommended also to have a plan for what would happen in the event of a divorce. A Boca Raton divorce attorney can help you identify certain terms and conditions for your premarital agreement. Since divorce is so prevalent, nowadays, it’s important to prepare beforehand. Contact experienced divorce attorney, Lewert Law, today to learn more about how you can protect your financial future and create a premarital contract with your future spouse today.

10 Tips For Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

Posted on: January 17, 2019 by in Divorce
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Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

If you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you know that untangling the web that’s formed by marriage can be messy. Going through the act of separating property, valuables, credit cards, bank accounts, and even time with the kids can take its toll on you. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced. While the task may seem small or insignificant there are a lot of things you must do differently when filing after a divorce. That’s why we’ve composed this list of tips and facts that every new divorcee should be aware of when filing in 2018.

Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced:

 

  1. There’s a new alimony update for the 2018 tax year. It’s always important to be aware of any changes in the tax laws and codes. For instance, this year there’s been a change to how you file alimony payments. If a divorce was finalized by January 31, 2018, there are no changes to the way in which you would handle federal income tax of alimony payments. If you make alimony payments, they can be written off on your 1040 form. These payments do not have to be itemized. The spouse receiving the alimony payments must list them as income for 2018. However, if your divorce was finalized after December 31, 2018, a new law removes the deduction for alimony payments. The spouse receiving these alimony payments will not be including them as taxable income.

 

  1. Know your filing status. If you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced, you must know the status of your separation before filing. For instance, if you are already separated, but your divorced hasn’t exactly been finalized yet, you still need to file as ‘married’. You can file as Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. However, if your divorce was finalized by or before December 31st, you can file as Single or Head of Household.

 

  1. Remember to deduct IRA retirement contributions. If your divorce hasn’t been finalized or you are not considered legally separated by December 31 of 2018, you can deduct contributions to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s IRA.

 

  1. Take advantage of Special Enrollment Periods in the Marketplace for health insurance coverage. If you’ve suddenly lost your health insurance due to a divorce or legal separation, you’re eligible to enroll in during the Special Enrollment period. It will show on your 2018 tax returns that you did indeed have insurance, but you lost coverage due to a major life event. This will help you to avoid paying any penalties for lacking health insurance coverage throughout the year.

 

  1. Understand how to claim dependents. If you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced, and you have been named the primary custodial parent, you will claim the child or children as dependents. However, if you’ve been separated but your divorce has not been finalized, you can either file separate returns (Married Filing Separately) and you each can claim the child as a dependent on your returns, or you can file jointly and claim the child together.

 

  1. Remember that child support is different than alimony. Alimony and child support are not filed in the same way, despite the fact that they’re both payments to your ex-spouse. You cannot deduct child support payments on your 2018 tax return.

 

  1. Child Support payments are not reported as taxable income. Regardless of when your divorce or legal separation was finalized, you don’t have to report child support payments as income.

 

  1. Alimony payments can be deducted if you are filing 2018 tax returns when you are divorced. These payments can classify as a tax deduction if they are:

-in the form of cash

-authorized by court order for divorce

-not filed as a joint tax return for you and your spouse

-paid when you are your spouse are not living in the same primary address

-not part of a child support payment.

 

  1. You must report any alimony payments that you received. It’s important to remember that if you are an alimony recipient, you need to state these payments on both federal and state income tax returns. The new tax laws do not apply to you yet.

 

  1. Beneficiaries of transferred properties do not have to pay tax on the transfer. If you’ve received property from your ex-spouse, the transfer itself is not taxed. However, if you later sell that property, you will pay a capital gains tax.

 

For More Information on Filing 2018 Tax Returns When You Are Divorced

 

It’s always strongly recommended to have a tax expert assisting you when you file after a divorce. While the tax laws and codes are readily available to you, deciphering them in a way that works for you should be left up to a tax professional. To get more information on how to handle your tax returns this year, contact a trusted divorce attorney for all of the resources you need.

 

How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

Posted on: January 7, 2019 by in Divorce
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Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

Everyone knows that divorce can be difficult. It’s rarely a seamless process filled with casualness, simplicity, and cooperation. Of course, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is living overseas, then life at home could possibly lack the dramatic and emotional scenes that most households have during a separation. Unfortunately, serving divorce papers overseas can be much more difficult than simply putting documents into an envelope and placing them in a mailbox. In order to serve divorce papers overseas, you must follow a specific step-by-step process to ensure that you’re doing it legally and effectively. You must keep in mind that each step will be determined by the location of your spouse and the jurisdiction of where he or she is located. If you want to know more about how to serve divorce papers overseas, here is a brief guide to help get you started.

Step One: File the Petition and Summons

First, you’ll start with your own location. However, you have to take into consideration where most of your marital property is located. If you have multiple properties and choose to live in different areas throughout the year, always go with the location that holds the majority of the properties that you own together. This will be where the state court holds jurisdiction over your properties. This is where you will file the divorce petition and summons. You’ll also need to determine if you’ll be seeking property in another country. If so, it’s important to know that country’s service laws. Having an experienced divorce lawyer is highly recommended at this stage if this is the path you’ll be taking.

Step Two: Find Where Your Spouse Is Located

This legal procedure is referred to as “service of process”. Because you’ll need to follow the law of the overseas jurisdiction, you need to know the legal way to serve divorce papers overseas. It’s very important to have a specific address of where he or she is located. It would be frustrating and costly to go through the procedure of service of process if you have the wrong address or you’re unaware of their specific location. It’s vital to know exactly where your spouse is.

Step Three: Long Arm Statute

It’s also important for your divorce lawyer to know and understand the extent of your state’s “long arm” statute. Basically, this is a statute that permits a local court jurisdiction over foreign defendants. This will determine if you state can or cannot serve your spouse or rule on your case.

Step Four: Determine Your Method of Service

You must consider a number of different factors at this step if you wish to effectively serve divorce papers overseas. It’s important to know if you believe your spouse will attempt to avoid the service of process or if he or she is willing to sign and follow appropriate protocols. For instance, if you believe your spouse will evade the service of process, you may need to know the service of process laws of the jurisdiction of the particular country where your spouse is located. If this country is a member of the Hague Service Convention, then you’ll have to follow certain procedures that match their international service of process laws. You’ll also have to determine if the divorce papers need to be translated into the native language of the country.

Your divorce lawyer will help you to decide if the documents should be mailed through service by publication, personal service, waiver of service, service by rogatory, service by certified mail, or service through a central authority. Of course, getting your spouse to waive service and sign documents at an American embassy is the simplest way to handle service of process overseas.

Step Five: Follow-Up

As mentioned above, the details and tasks in each of these steps will change according to the country that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is located. Many of these procedures can become easier or more complicated depending on the nature of your case and the country you’re dealing with. It’s imperative to follow-up in the country where your spouse is located to assure that you’re following proper protocol and the documents are prepared correctly.

For More Information on How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas

If you’d like more information on how to serve divorce papers overseas, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to help guide you through the process. As mentioned above, these steps can be incredibly complex and require extensive research into local jurisdiction as well as knowledge in the process of service laws in another country. It’s never recommended to go through this process alone. Divorce can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally taxing. It can become even more difficult to attempt to serve divorce papers overseas without any legal experience. Call a trusted divorce lawyer today to ensure your moving in the right direction.

Should You Change Your Name After Divorce?

Posted on: December 30, 2018 by in Divorce
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Change Your Name After Divorce

Many people assume you should change your name after divorce. However, it is not always that cut and dry. In some cases, it is mandatory, such as with a divorce decree name change order. If you do not have to go back to your maiden name, the choice is yours. Sometimes, people choose not to because of the long process involved. If you want to know how to change your name after divorce in Florida, a member of the legal team at Lewert Law, L.L.C. can help. There are many reasons to change your name after divorce, as well as reasons not to. If you are still on the fence, you will find for and against changing your name after divorce below.

Reasons to Change Your Name After Divorce

Have you ever wondered “Is it illegal to keep your married name after divorce?” The answer depends on your divorce decree. Your lawyer can guide you as you go through the divorce proceedings. While there are many reasons to keep your married name, the below are reasons why you may want to revert to your birth name.

 

A Fresh Start

Changing your name after divorce can offer a fresh start. For instance, people calling you by your married name on a daily basis may remind you of your married life and relationship. While there are certainly good memories, the pain of the breakup may be too fresh. A name change may enable you to mentally separate yourself from that pain and allow you to focus on moving forward mentally and spiritually. You get to take all the lessons you learned and move forward into a new chapter of your life.

The Breakup was Devastating

Sometimes, divorces can get messy. Several people who change back to their maiden name after divorce cite infidelity, abuse, and other traumatic experiences. Having your ex’s name attached to you after a breakup is not as enticing as it once was.

There is Potential for Future Remarriage

Keeping your married name after you divorce may complicate things if you want to remarry. For instance, changing back to your maiden name before your new marriage may require you to petition the court. If you are successful, you then have to go through the process of changing your last name to your new spouse’s name. That means changing your name on several accounts and government documents several times over. The process alone can be daunting.

You Like Your Maiden Name Better

Put simply, you may want to change your name after divorce because you like your maiden name better. Many women change their name only because “it’s what society expects,” or what their ex-husband wanted. Some women propose hyphenating their last name as a compromise.

Reasons to Not Change Your Name After Divorce

If the court does not make it mandatory for you to change your married name, you may want to keep it. Review the following for more information on keeping your married name after you divorce your ex-spouse.

For the Kids

The most common reason to maintain an ex’s last name after a divorce is your children. Many mothers want to share the same last name as their children, and cite this as a reason to keep their married name. While some only keep the name for a limited time, many keep the name indefinitely.

To Maintain Your Identity

You may not want to change your name after a divorce for several reasons pertaining to your identity. For example, your married last name may be how people know you through:

  • Long-term friendships
  • School functions
  • Professional relationships
  • Certification and degree programs

Depending on how long you have had it, changing your name after divorce might not be a priority at all. Especially if you no longer identify with your maiden name.

The Process and Cost

Aside from the above, a name change after divorce can be a complicated or expensive process. Just think about all the steps you took to change from your maiden name. Now consider the stipulations of your divorce. Unless there is a divorce decree name change order, you do not have to go through that process again.

 

Some people elect not to change back after divorce simply because they would have to change the name with too many institutions, including their profiles, accounts, statements and other documents.

 

Speak to a Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer

Consider your options and the long-term consequences of your choices. If you are still unsure, speak to an attorney who can help. Are you ending your marriage and in need of a divorce lawyer who can inform you of your rights? Do you want to know how to change your last name after divorce? Call Lewert Law, L.L.C. at (561) 220-0123 for a consultation today.

What You Should Know About Asset Division

Posted on: December 21, 2018 by in Divorce
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asset division

Divorces can be incredibly complex, and asset division can be the hardest part. Everyone has something specific that they want to keep, for whatever reason. And asset division can make the dissolution of a marriage a very emotional game of revenge. It is important to know what is available to you. Not only will this help you talk to your attorney, but it will also help you in the negotiation process. You might not want to keep everything you can, so trading something you care less about for something you do want

Asset Division

Asset division can be the most trying part of the divorce process. This can be especially hard if there is any property such as a home or rental properties that you may purchase during the union. The last thing you want is a battle, but during a divorce, these items tend to cause one. The complication of the monetary value of these assets shouldn’t be your only focus. You might want to consider some of the ways the assets will pan out in the future, both for your goals now and in many years coming. Some of these items garner more in costs, taxes, and liquidity of assets than they are worth.

Separate Property

Your state’s laws determine separate property, so the actual specifications and parameters vary. However, the basic concepts are:

  • Property that was in ownership of either spouse before marriage. If you had a home before the inion, it is likely you will walk out with it. The property must have some documentation that can show when it came into ownership; such as a receipt. If you received it in a will, that paperwork would suffice, as well. Sometimes just photographic evidence is enough.
  • An inheritance received by either spouse. Whether you were married when you received an inheritance holds little value. If you were given something, it is yours. If it was given to you as a couple, it is something that will have to be settled in mediation or court.
  • Third party gifts. If something was given to you, it is yours and not to be considered in the asset division. If your aunt gave you a ring, it is yours and not something that has to be considered for the division. However, if you received a pressure cooker for a wedding present, it was for you both. And that is something that has to be considered in the asset division.
  • Payment from a settlement. Receiving money for a personal injury means that it is yours. It is paid to you, specifically and is meant for your use in medical needs. This is something that you are not obligated to share with your spouse. Because you were the one who was named in the documentation, it is yours. If you were both named, it needs to be considered in asset division.
  • The title is in your name. If you had a car or home in your name, it is yours. If you retitle it to share, it is part of  the asset division. Once you retitle it, it becomes marital property. This is most frequent with bank accounts. A chacking or savings that add a spouse is now marital property. Whether you have had it since college has no bearing.

Marital Property

For the most part, anything that is acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. There are few times it matters who owns it or how it is titled. That means that if your spouse acquired assets during the marriage, you are entitled to them. If they were acquired during the marriage, the court or a mediator will decide how the asset division will side. This process is never easy and someone always loses. However, it is necessary and you need to decide which battles to fight. There might be more than you lose or let go than you want, but the important part is to keep the things most valuable to you. When this is all done, you can move on and acquire other things. You can read more about it here.

Because the laws on asset division vary by state, it is best to have an attorney. They will help you understand what your options are and what you just can’t have. This will be invaluable during the negotiation process. If your spouse wants the house, but you need to keep the car; this is a good negotiation point for you. It is something that the right lawyer will be able to execute without losing too much leverage with other assets. These cases require a bit of finesse during the negotiation process and you don’t want to go through it alone. You need someone who has negotiated many cases like these before and has an in depth undertanding of asset division. You can start your search here.

 

5 Reasons to Settle on the Terms of Divorce During Mediation

Posted on: November 12, 2018 by in Divorce
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settle terms of divorce during mediation

A divorce can be a complicated and emotional time, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier. Mediation is the key that makes a divorce less of a battle. You can use a mediator at any point during the divorce process to help settle matters, whether you’re at the beginning or right in the middle of it.

What is mediation?

Mediation in divorce is when both spouses sit down with a neutral third party to work out their differences. This mediator will help a couple decide on crucial issues like splitting their assets and liabilities, childcare, property distribution and any other problem they are having. The mediator will help them decide with as little conflict as possible.

Why should you aim to settle divorce and time-sharing matters during mediation?

There are several reasons why mediation is a good idea during a divorce. They are saving time, cost, and stress, as well as maintaining control over your privacy and your life.

1. Time

Divorces that go to trial can drag on for years. Many times, the desire for revenge, anger, and bitterness are what drives these battles.

Using a mediator means the process is possibly over in months instead of years. Another thing to think about is, after all that time spent in court, 90% of divorce cases wind up settling. The trial proceedings waste precious time, especially when children are involved.

2. Cost

The costs of a litigated divorce can soar into the tens of thousands of dollars. This situation puts the financial security of both parties in jeopardy, as well as their children. There is no need to add financial peril to an already life-changing situation. Mediation reduces the cost of a divorce in many significant ways.

You don’t have to pay for two lawyers.
You have reduced court costs and fees.
Less time spent results in less money out of your pockets.

While mediation isn’t free, in the end, it is much less costly than a litigated divorce.

3. Privacy

Mediation keeps your personal business between you and your spouse. Without it, a trial drags everyone’s affairs out into the open. Each person must go through the painstaking paperwork. The process will reveal all of the couples finances, indiscretions, habits, parenting skills, employment history, and more.

With mediation, all of these discussions can go on behind closed doors, or not at all. In no-fault divorces, couples have the opportunity to leave the problems of the past in the past. Mediation helps people move forward with a clean slate, without having everything about themselves revealed.

4. Control

In a trial, the judge decides the result. If a divorcing couple chooses mediation, they have control over what happens. Since the couple is making the decisions for themselves, they are more likely to be happy with the agreement.

Also, a mediator is not on one side or the other. He or she is a neutral party who listens and helps guide the couple towards a solution. This circumstance is very different from two lawyers battling it out in a courtroom setting. The process focuses on compromise.

5. Stress

All of the above factors together combine to create less stress for both parties. Divorce is almost always stressful to a certain degree, but mediation makes the process much easier to handle.

Mediation stresses respectful communication, and participants use non-threatening language in a peaceful environment. This situation cuts down on stress and leads to better solutions for everyone.

Mediation means less stress on children.

If there are children from the marriage, mediation is even more beneficial. The court process for kids can make an already upsetting situation even worse. The court could interview and observe the couple’s children, and they may also be required to appear in court. This situation is incredibly stressful for kids.

Further, seeing the animosity between parents is very stressful for children. With mediation, divorcing couples make decisions calmly and rationally, and children do not need to be present.

What are the setbacks of going to trial?

Going to trial over a divorce is very uncommon these days. It is an emotionally grueling process not just for the spouses, but for their children as well. All of the five points above are excellent reasons to consider mediation for an easier divorce.

In a trial, it is a lawyer’s job to be their client’s advocate. This role means that all the dirty laundry is hung out and scrutinized and there is no privacy for either spouse. One spouse may hire an aggressive or hostile attorney, which can turn a trial a costly process that can drag on for years. Mediation saves everyone a lot of pain, anger, and expense.

If you have any questions about mediation, talk to our divorce legal experts. Our experienced attorneys will schedule a free consultation to go over all your options.

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Kelley Ms. Lewert never lost sight of the practical realities of my divorce. Although she listened compassionately so that she understood what she needed to, she did not let me lose sight of my goals and what was acheivable within the system even when things got emotional. She protected my financial interests and my personal interests. Thanks to Ms. Lewert, I no longer have to deal with a difficult ex-. She didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear, but because of that, my case did not drag out longer than it should have. I never felt that she put her own interests ahead of mine. Her judgment was reasonable and her advice sound. She and her staff were good at dealing with difficult and unreasonable people in a professional and ethical way. Thanks to Ms. Lewert, I never got drawn into senseless battles, recovered as quickly as possible from my divorce and was able to move on and enjoy a better life. I have recommended her repeatedly to others who need an excellent family lawyer.

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