Family Law Articles

Both spouses can share in gift from husband’s family

A recent South Dakota case makes clear that a gift to a married couple from one spouse’s family will count as a gift to both of them in the event of a divorce, even if the benefactor later claims he or she intended otherwise The case revolved around South Dakota land that had been in Dennis Ryland’s family since 1878, when his great-grandfather homesteaded it. Ryland had only one child, who had moved away from South

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Mom can’t move kids away without court consent

A mother who wanted to move her kids 90 minutes from their father, who shared joint custody, couldn’t do so without the court reviewing the children’s best interests, a South Carolina appeals court recently ruled. The couple divorced in June 2014 and had joint legal custody and joint week-to-week physical custody of their two children. Neither parent paid child support, although the mother, who apparently earned more money, provided medical insurance and childcare costs. The order

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Ex-wife can ‘claw back’ millions in hidden assets

When marriages go bad, feelings can be raw, making it tempting to want to hide assets to punish your soon-to-be ex. But if you get caught, the consequences can be severe, as a recent case shows us. The couple in the case, Robert and Janet Foisie, decided to divorce in 2010. They went to mediation, where they agreed to fully disclose and equally divide their assets. Robert also allegedly told Janet during mediation that he had

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Court OK’s prenup-turned-post-nup

Prenuptial agreements are a useful way for a soon-to-be-married couple to protect assets they are bringing into a marriage. Essentially, these are contracts that lay out exactly what each spouse is entitled to (and obligated to) in the event of a divorce. If you and your soon-to-be-spouse are considering such an agreement, be sure to work with an attorney who can make sure it’s properly executed. Otherwise it may not be enforced, as nearly happened in

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COVID-era divorce solutions could outlive pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis has impacted every aspect of life, including divorce. With courthouses closed to the public, divorcing couples have had to contend with technology solutions like Zoom for hearings and trials. This has made what’s already a challenging process even harder as participants deal with bad connectivity and sound, background distractions and getting documents to a judge that can usually be handed over in person. Nonetheless, Zoom and similar tech solutions have improved the process

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Right to ‘maintain lifestyle’ not absolute after divorce

It’s a common notion that a divorcing spouse has an unshakeable right to support which will maintain the lifestyle he or she became accustomed to during marriage. But this is not always true. A recent Massachusetts case makes this clear in the alimony context. There, a divorcing wife received custody of the children, child support and alimony. Four years later, she caused a fatal accident while driving drunk and went to prison for eight years. During

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Adultery allegations may form basis for alimony reduction

A recent Virginia case suggests that engaging in extramarital affairs can come back to hurt you later on, even if your spouse did not raise your alleged adultery as an issue in the initial filings. That’s because in some states the divorce itself and spousal support may be separate issues with different considerations. The case in question involved Julia Karabaic-Chaney and Jacob Chaney. Julia filed a complaint for divorce, seeking equitable distribution of their property (in

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Child support may terminate only with judicial emancipation

If you pay child support for a teenaged son or daughter who leaves the other parent’s home to live elsewhere, do you still have to keep paying? Though it may vary from state to state, a recent North Carolina case indicates the answer is “yes.” The parents in that case, Shannon Morris and Dean Powell, married in 1994 and had two children before divorcing 2013. The judge granted joint custody of their son “Richard,” with Shannon

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Despite divorce agreement, ex-wife gets insurance benefits

If you are getting a divorce and you want someone other than your soon-to-be former spouse to receive benefits under your life insurance policies and retirement plans, a recent case from a federal appeals court shows how important it is to review these documents and update your beneficiaries accordingly. The case also shows how important it is to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney capable of picking up on ambiguities in divorce documentation. In this case,

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Do you need a prenup for your ‘grey’ marriage?

Last year, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie ended their 25-year marriage, joining hundreds of thousands of other couples who’ve obtained a “grey divorce” after age 50. Even after MacKenzie walked away with shares of Amazon.com valued at $38 billion, Jeff remains the world’s wealthiest person with his $115 billion stake in the company. But if Jeff remarries, he’ll very likely get a prenuptial agreement that lays out in advance exactly what the new

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