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Family Law Articles

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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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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