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Family Law Articles

No maintenance for ‘self-sufficient’ ex-wife

When people get divorced and property is divided up, some of the assets may be the type that produces income (like investments or rental property, for example). In some cases, it’s possible that a spouse receiving income-producing property in a divorce may also be awarded maintenance payments from his or her ex. If that happens, the paying spouse usually won’t later be able to point to “reasonably foreseeable” income from these assets to justify lowering his

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Father’s paternity undone after 16 years

Once a court rules that someone is a child’s father, it’s very rare for that order to be undone later on. In other words, once you’re deemed the dad, you remain the dad, with all the legal rights (like visitation) and responsibilities (like support) this may entail. But in rare cases, a court might actually undo or “vacate” such an order. This happened recently in South Carolina. Michael Ashburn was stationed at Parris Island around 2000-2001

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Wife entitled to ex-husband’s life insurance proceeds

If you’re planning on getting divorced, it’s a very good idea to change your life insurance beneficiary if you don’t want your soon-to-be-ex to still receive the benefits. It’s risky to assume your ex will automatically be disinherited upon divorce, as a recent ruling from South Carolina illustrates. Married couple John McMeeking and Candace Murphy separated in 2010. At some point before their divorce became final, an order was issued resolving their marital debt as well

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Husband’s ‘egregious’ adultery nets wife bigger property split

While adultery can destroy a marriage, it typically doesn’t impact how property will be split during a divorce. In other words, a court usually isn’t going to give the betrayed spouse a bigger share of the marital property just to punish the cheater for his or her indiscretions. But a recent case from Virginia shows that sometimes it will. In that case, a couple who both came from modest backgrounds married in 1983 and built a

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Tax reform will have big impact on divorce

The new tax law passed by Congress late last year and signed into law by President Donald Trump does a lot of things. For example, if you’re fortunate enough to leave behind a huge estate, your heirs will now get the first $10 million tax-free. In addition, the corporate tax rate on income for businesses has been cut dramatically. Of course, Uncle Sam has to find a way to pay for these cuts. One of these

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Stepdad who fought for shared custody must now pay support

Do you know the old saying, “With privileges come responsibility?” A Pennsylvania case illustrates that this is particularly true in custody disputes, especially when you’ve fought really hard for parental privileges. In that case, a man married a woman with twin boys from a prior relationship. Four years later, the couple separated. The stepdad had developed a bond with the twins and the ex-couple informally shared custody. But three years later, the mother finished law school

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Divorced parents don’t need to pay emancipated daughter’s tuition

In some states, family courts can order parents to pay their children’s college tuition. But a recent New Jersey case shows that courts will set limits on this. The case involved Caitlyn Ricci, a 23-year-old college student who went to court to become “emancipated” — in other words, legally independent — from her parents a few years earlier when she moved out of her mother’s home to live with her grandparents. After a family court entered

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Man owes ex-wife a chunk of his $1M ‘bad faith’ settlement with insurer

Divorcing couples can agree to many different things in their separation agreements and property settlements. But sometimes those agreements extend further than expected. This happened in a recent Missouri case. In that case, Charles Baker and Kathleen Jo Weaver-Baker got divorced while Charles had a personal injury suit pending (he’d lost part of his hand when a truck hit his motorcycle a couple years earlier). As part of their separation agreement, Charles agreed to pay his

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Is absent spouse an ‘abandoning’ spouse?

When a person dies “intestate,” that means they’ve passed away without ever making a will. If that happens, their property is doled out to surviving family members according to that state’s “intestate succession law.” This means the state is pretty much creating a will for you according to its idea of how most people would set one up, typically with a surviving spouse first in line, followed by kids, grandkids, parents, siblings and so forth. But

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Issues to consider with shared custody

A number of states are moving toward some form of “shared” or “joint” custody as a baseline when determining parental arrangements after divorce. In other states, these may be arrangements that a judge decides upon or which parents agree to. Either way, the trend is toward some kind of shared parenting arrangement. But it might not be the right thing for every family. Here’s a rundown on what’s happening across the country and some things you

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