Blog on Divorce and Family Law
Learning some basic information about divorce and family law can help prepare you for the legal issues you face. Our attorneys believe that honest advice, straight talk and some basic legal knowledge can make a big difference. A legal issue is a two-sided coin ─ your side versus the other side. Our job is to apply our knowledge, skills and experience to help you get the results you want. However, that doesn’t mean there is no participation on your part. You have important decisions to make that affect your future. The better you understand, the better you are at making smart decisions.
We hope you find our blog useful. Of course, forming a client-attorney relationship is the only way to receive legal advice, and these posts are not intended as legal advice nor the establishment of a client-attorney relationship.
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What do you do about estate planning if you never married? When you’re married, estate planning generally seems quite simple. Typically, the spouse who dies first leaves everything to the surviving spouse. When the surviving spouse passes on, the estate usually goes to the children.
If you don’t put any estate planning in place, and you never married, then Texas intestate succession laws dictate what happens with your estate. The probate court will follow Texas laws. With no spouse and no children, the estate goes to the surviving parents and is divided equally. If you have no surviving parents, then your estate goes to your siblings and their children and is divided equally. If you had no siblings, then the estate passes on to more distant relatives.
Estate Planning If You Never Married: Disadvantages of Intestate Succession
There are several disadvantages to intestate succession. The main one is that you have no say in how your legacy is passed on. You may not even know the distant relatives and would have other preferences about who gets your estate.
The other disadvantage is that determining an intestate estate requires more time and expense, which means less of the estate remains to be passed on.
How Many Individuals Never Marry?
It may come as a surprise, but the number of Americans who never marry is on the rise. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2014 there were 107 million Americans who were 18 years and older that were unmarried. This was 45 percent of all U.S. residents who were 18 and older. Of these unmarried individuals, 63 Percent who were 18 and older had never been married — only 24 percent of them were divorced and only 13 percent of them were widowed.
If you’ve never married, you are increasingly among the ranks of others who also have never married.
Common Estate Planning Options for Never Married Individuals
The New York Times published an article that discussed how never married individuals planned their estates. Many left their legacies to longtime companions, nieces and nephews, siblings, parents and other relatives. Some left legacies to friends. Generally after exhausting this list, estates were left to preferred charities or their colleges.
However, the beneficiaries of your legacy are your decision, and our attorneys are glad to assist you with putting your plans in place.
C.E. Borman & Associates is a law firm that helps people with estate planning, probate, family law, divorce and other related issues.
When you discuss tips about divorce with your attorney, years of legal knowledge come into play. Attorneys acquire a lot of know-how from handling all kinds of divorces and seeing the multitude of situations that arise. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.
Importance of Understanding and Protecting Your Finances
Working with a financial advisor who can collaborate with your lawyer is often a smart idea. Business insider discusses how financial advisors can explain finances in straightforward language. This is particularly important if your spouse was the one who handled all the finances during your marriage. Keep in mind that your spouse’s attorney and his financial advisor have his/her best interests in mind — not yours.
Even if you’re financially savvy, divorces are riddled with intense emotions. It’s wise to have objective professionals involved to watch out for your best interests.
Maintain Hard Copies of Documents
Despite the fact that online copies are very convenient, you don’t want your spouse to lock you out of a joint account. For this reason, it’s wise to print hard copies that you can give to your lawyer for safekeeping. The court wants to see documentation and you’ll need bank statements, tax forms, investment statements and all other documentation related to finances in hard copy form.
Be Honest about Finances
Sometimes when caught up in the emotions of divorce, a spouse will do things like try to hide assets by opening a secret bank account. Another tactic may be to gift money to a friend or love interest. Doing so is against the law. The law requires you to disclose all assets, income, expenses and debt during divorce.
The Los Angeles Times reported about a California case in 1999 where 11 days before filing for divorce, a woman won $1.3 million in the state lottery. She withheld this fact from the court during divorce, and when the judge discovered the hidden asset, he awarded the entire amount to the husband. The judge decided the wife had acted out of fraud or malice. Under California law, which is based on community property, the court would’ve divided the amount equally between both spouses.
Contact an Attorney for Important Tips About Divorce
If you have questions about divorce, our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates are glad to advise you.
Filing for bankruptcy during divorce results in an automatic stay being placed on property division.
What is an automatic stay?
An automatic stay is a court order that stops creditors from collecting debt during a bankruptcy proceeding. In the case of divorce, the stay also prevents the court from making decisions about property division until the bankruptcy case is resolved. When you file for bankruptcy, most if not all of your property becomes property under the bankruptcy estate.
When you or your spouse files for bankruptcy during divorce, it typically delays and complicates your divorce case.
Does it matter what type of bankruptcy you file?
Yes, it matters considerably. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court appoints a bankruptcy trustee to handle the bankruptcy. The trustee must decide which assets belong to the bankruptcy estate. Bankruptcy law gives the trustee the right to sell property (that is not exempt under bankruptcy law) to pay off debts. If you and your spouse jointly own property, the trustee may be able to sell the whole asset.
What if the debt was your spouse’s debt and not yours?
In this situation, the trustee would pay you the value of your interest from the money received through the sale of the asset.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies wrap up much more quickly than Chapter 13 bankruptcies — generally in a matter of months as opposed to years.
What happens in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 involves a repayment plan, and the trustee decides how much money you have to pay your creditors. This bankruptcy will take either three or five years to complete. The bankruptcy trustee still has to determine the value of your property because its value affects how much money you’ll have to pay to unsecured creditors. When your spouse files for a Chapter 13, you or your spouse would need to get permission from the bankruptcy court to continue dividing property in the divorce case.
For a relatively fast divorce, it’s better to file for bankruptcy before or after divorce.
Considering bankruptcy during divorce? Discuss it with a divorce lawyer.
If you or your spouse is considering bankruptcy, discuss this concern with one of our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates. We work with clients to make their divorces go as smoothly as possible.
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At C.E. Borman & Associates, we put our hard won experience to work for you. Call (979) 846-4090 or contact us online to talk about your legal concerns.
We offer legal services to clients in Brazos, Robertson, Madison, Burleson, Grimes, Washington, Austin, Lee and Leon counties.
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