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Family Law Articles

Pre-marriage business becomes marital property

Generally, marital property is property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. On the other hand, premarital property, owned by a spouse before the marriage, is considered separate property and isn’t split up during a divorce. Sometimes the lines get blurred, especially if you don’t keep your separate property truly separate, as a South Carolina case demonstrates. In that case, a husband formed a business before marrying his wife. Several years before they got married, the

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Judge can enforce marriage pact despite religious element

It’s generally understood that U.S. courts can’t decide questions of religious law. After all, the 1st Amendment forbids the government from getting involved in religious affairs. A recent Michigan case shows, though, that courts can enforce valid marriage agreements even if those contracts have a religious aspect to them. In that case, a man named Khaja Syed asked another man, Mohammed Ali, for permission to marry his daughter Nausheen. Ali gave his blessing, so long as

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Case shows ‘do-it-yourself’prenups are dangerous option

A lot of us like to save money, and a good way to do that is by learning how to do something yourself instead of paying a professional a premium. That’s why you might go on YouTube to find a good how-to video for changing out a light switch, replacing your brake pads and rotors, making a hockey rink in your backyard, or installing a ceiling fan. That same instinct might lead you to draft an

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New tax implications to consider in divorce

When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, there was a lot of hubbub about parts of the law that would affect divorces. Most significantly, the new tax law made it so that alimony and maintenance would no longer be tax-deductible for the paying spouse or taxable to the person receiving the payment. This made settling pending divorce cases more complicated. Another part of the law didn’t generate as much attention but may

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Grandparent visitation can be complicated issue for families

If you’re a grandparent who dotes on your grandchildren, it would no doubt be devastating if you were denied access to them. Nonetheless, this gut-wrenching scenario plays out all the time. For example, let’s say your adult child passes away, leaving kids behind, and his or her surviving spouse decides it’s time to move on and stops responding to your attempts to see the kids. Similarly, maybe your child got divorced, his or her ex has

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Changes to military retirement may affect family law

Recent changes to the military retirement system could impact family law issues, particularly division of marital property in a divorce. If you or your spouse are retired military or will be in that category in the future, it’s probably a smart idea to talk to a family lawyer to see how you could be affected by these changes. Historically, retired military personnel participated in what’s now known as the “legacy” retirement system. This is a defined

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Money in 529 college savings plan is marital property, court says

“529 Savings Plans” are a popular way for parents to save for their kids’ college education. Under these plans, parents can open an investment account to save money for tuition, fees, room and board and, in most states, the investment gains are tax-free as long as the money is ultimately used for college. But how is that money treated if the parents get divorced? A recently decided North Carolina case tells us how that question is

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Can a divorce agreement require that kids take out student loans?

Divorce agreements with kids involved create a lot of things to decide, including custody, visitation and child support. It’s also common for divorce agreements to address how the kids’ college education will be paid for. The agreement may state how much each parent will contribute to college costs or, if the kids are very young, defer the calculation until a specific time when the kids are closer to finishing high school. Sometimes, these agreements have clauses

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Visitation pick-up and drop-off: a contentious issue

Child custody disputes are contentious in themselves. But once those are resolved, other related issues can pop up. Who’s driving the kids for visitation is one such issue that sounds petty but can be the source of a surprising level of strife. That’s especially true when you throw in issues such as lateness, the difficulty of getting to the location in question and conflicts between visitation schedules and children’s other activities. Sometimes, tension over this issue

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Should you and your spouse keep your bank accounts separate?

Historically, when couples get married, they tended to merge their lives completely, moving into the same home and merging finances. However, a Bank of America study shows a trend among “millennials” (roughly those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s) to keep separate bank accounts. According to the study, more than a quarter of millennials keep separate accounts. This may be because, on average, millennials tend to get married later, when they’re further along in their

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