Tag: best divorce lawyer

Divorce Surprises

According to a recent survey, 46% of divorced women reported their divorce brought unexpected financial problems. What are some of the divorce surprises you can run into if you find yourself in family court?

Divorce Surpises

In the study, 1,785 adult women were surveyed across three stages: those with divorce “on the horizon,” those in the midst of divorce, and those who described themselves as “divorced and determined.”

Divorce Tricks

Slightly related, I recently wrote about dirty divorce tricks which were in the news. These tricks should serve as a warning, not as a “how-to course”, because they can seriously backfire. A couple of common tricks to watch out for include:

  • Refusing to pay household bills until a court forces you to in an attempt to “Starve Out the Other Spouse”.
  • Waiting until the latest possible day to pay support money, even if you’ve got the money to send. Never mind the children.
  • Asking the court for sole custody of the children when you only want to share custody.

These tricks are not the kind of divorce surprises reported in the survey though. The above tricks are the result of planning to harm the other side.

Divorce Surprises

The surprises from the survey are very different. The divorce surprises have nothing to do with fraud, or the other side failing to disclose assets. So what are they?

  • Not knowing the size of your debt, including the first mortgage, home equity line of credit, the credit card debt, 501(k) loans, and student loans.
  • Not anticipating you may have to return to the workforce
  • Assuming your child support and/or alimony would be higher or last longer
  • Assuming you could keep the marital home
  • The staggering cost of health care insurance
  • Underestimating the emotional and financial cost of getting a divorce

In general, the study found that many women find themselves in a financially vulnerable position post-divorce due to a lack of financial knowledge and planning. The study claims a solution is twofold:

  • Reinvent careers to become self-sufficient and
  • Invest to avoid outliving your money.

The Forbes article is here.


Divorce to Save Money?

The Hill reports that a Texas couple may divorce to save money in order to pay for their daughter’s rising health-care costs. There are times when people have divorced “on paper” to save money, but is this a good reason and does it work?

Divorce save money

Health Care Scare

Can you divorce to save money? Jake and Maria Grey may try. They told NBC’s “Today” that Brighton, the older of their two daughters, has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a developmental disability that requires 24/7 care.

“We shouldn’t have to make that sacrifice to get our child Medicaid!”

They said they spend thousands of dollars annually out of pocket, even though Jake Grey has private health insurance. The couple added that they are considering divorcing to save money so that Maria Grey can qualify for Medicaid as a single, unemployed mother.

Divorce to Avoid Penalties

I’ve actually written about a similar issue, namely: divorcing to save money on taxes by avoiding the marriage penalty tax. Back when the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed, it raised taxes on couples making more than $450,000, and individuals making more than $400,000. As it turns out, some couples found out they could save over $25,000 a year if they divorced.

Think about that for a second. If you could save over $25,000 a year in taxes, you could take a couple’s trip to Italy, ski Deer Valley, put a little cash away for college, and still have some mad money to spend just by divorcing and turning your marriage into a long-term relationship.

Divorcing on Paper

There are a lot of risks though, known and unknown to divorcing on paper but staying together. I would encourage anyone considering a “divorce on paper” to think about a few things:

  • The impact on your relationship. I don’t know of a good way to ask for a divorce: “Honey, I want a divorce. No, no wait, come back, it’s to save big bucks . . . really!”
  • There is no fake divorce. Once the court signs the final judgment of divorce, you are divorced. Once you’re divorced, your Ex may find someone who thinks marriage is more valuable than 5% adjusted gross income.
  • IRS rules regarding your filing status have something to say. IRS publication 504 warns that if you obtain a divorce just to file as unmarried with the intent to remarry the next tax year, you have to file as married individuals.
  • State law. All no-fault states have minimum requirements for getting a divorce. Florida, for instance, requires at a minimum that your marriage be irretrievably broken before you can get a divorce.
  • In addition, there are estate planning issues, retirement and social security complications, and many other issues besides the mere tax savings.

Most people who marry do so forever, and with the sincere intention of honoring their vows. Is the money worth it?

Jake Grey’s $40,000 salary is too much for the family to receive Medicaid, and Maria Grey said they are No. 60,000 on the list to receive state assistance.

It’s drowning us to try to keep up with her medical expenses. We’ve done everything we can do to try to keep her afloat, and we’re going to reach a point where we can’t do it and we won’t have another option. We don’t know what to do.

The Hill article is here.


My Big Fat Gray Divorce

Nia Vardalos has filed for divorce from husband Ian Gomez. Her 1993 nuptials inspired the hit movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and the marriage lasted for nearly 25 years. Nia’s is another example of the recent phenomenon of “gray divorce.”

Not Zorba the Greek

As PEOPLE magazine reports, after the couple’s 1993 wedding, Vardolos wrote the one-woman play “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” partially based on her own experiences. She starred in the 2002 hit movie playing Toula Portokalos, who falls in love with non-Greek Ian Miller. Gomez played Corbett’s best man, Mike.

The actress, 55, filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.

Vardalos said she separated from her husband over a year ago on June 29, 2017, almost 24 years after they said, “I Do.”

Florida Gray Divorce

I’ve written about gray divorces before. The legal nuances of gray divorce can be different than what other couples might encounter. In a gray divorce, the financial considerations take on more importance than the children’s issues – because the children are emancipated or nearly so.

When couples choose to divorce in their 30s or 40s, they still have time to recover financially, because adults at that age have several years, if not decades, left in their careers.

But when divorce occurs when a couple is in their 50s or later, the so-called “gray divorce”, careers may either be coming to a close or are completed, and spouses are often living on fixed incomes provided through Social Security or retirement benefits.

Here are some things to consider:

  • By the time a couple enters the golden years, there may be gold to divide, including businesses, retirement funds, and vacation homes. Valuing these assets can be difficult. A financial advisor may be an important component in the divorce.
  • Health insurance is often tied to the employment of a spouse. Courts may need to intervene if one party has dwindling capacity to handle their own affairs.
  • Wills and trusts need to be reviewed to make sure they reflect post-divorce wishes. The same is true for long-term care, such as medical directives, living wills and trusts.
  • Retirement plans can be substantial and complex. Retirement plans vary, and they all have different restrictions, tax consequences, distribution and vesting rules.

There are special concerns involved in a gray divorce. As always, information is power, so make a point to seek out experts for guidance.

Most gray divorces involve marriages that have lasted for several decades, which makes it difficult to disentangle the spouses from each other. However, couples who divorce after many years together should receive a close-to-even split of assets, legally putting each spouse on an equal playing field for the future.

A Woman’s Way

In a joint statement obtained by PEOPLE, the couple said:

“We’ve been respectfully separated for a lengthy period of time. Our relationship became a friendship so the decision to end the marriage is completely mutual and amicable. It is our hope that decency will prevail on the reporting of this story which will soon be yesterday’s news. Thank you for respecting our privacy.”

Unlike many gray divorces, the couple share an 11-year-old daughter whom they adopted in 2008. She is asking for joint legal and physical custody of their daughter. The actress also asked that spousal support to be “determined in mediation.”

She and Gomez received the news that they had been matched with their then 3-year-old daughter in 2008 after more than nine years of struggling to become parents.

The PEOPLE article is here.


Smelly, Dirty Divorce Tricks

The billionaire co-founder of PIMCO allegedly left dead fish and other vile smelling liquids in the mansion he once shared with his ex-wife Sue Gross. The gross smelling liquids are a perfect example of smelly, dirty divorce tricks to watch out for.

Smelly Dirty Divorce Tricks

Failing the Smell Test

Court documents outline how the Los Angeles bond king — who later joined Janus Capital — left the home in Laguna Beach “in a state of utter chaos and disrepair” following the couple’s divorce. California’s tax assessor values the home at more than $11 million.

Photos published by the paper from the case show a lineup of foul smelling sprays, including “puke smell” and “fart prank,” that were allegedly used by Bill.

Sue also alleges the 74-year-old hired an “army of spies” to monitor and harass her and her family members, the paper reported. It also reported that a source close to Bill “denied the house was left in disarray.”

Smell a Rat

Last month, Sue testified that she fooled her ex-husband into thinking he was sleeping in the presence of a Picasso painting for several months after she swapped the priceless piece of art for a fake she had created herself.

Their court documents also include a restraining order, showing acrimony between Bill and Sue Gross, even as they’ve agreed to at least some of the financial aspects of their parting.

Days before the divorce was finalized, Bill Gross was granted a temporary restraining order that bars 67-year-old Sue Gross from approaching him or entering properties where he is living or working.

The order also calls for Sue Gross to stay away from her ex-husband’s girlfriend, Amy Schwartz. Bill Gross said in a court declaration filed in January:

“Sue’s escalating harassment of me and my employees has crossed the line into danger and my inability to feel safe in my own home”

A representative for Sue Gross responded by saying Bill Gross was the aggressor:

“The last year has been painful … since she became the target of Bill’s bullying and threatening behavior in the divorce proceedings. Sadly, as (was) heavily documented around his departure from Pimco, Bill has clearly suffered from paranoia and rage since well before … the separation.”

Florida Dirty Divorce Tricks

I’ve written about behavior and dirty divorce tricks before. They can seriously backfire. A couple of common tricks to watch out for:

  • Refuse to pay household bills until you are forced to do it by the court to “Starve Out the Other Spouse”. The goal is to get the other spouse in a financial position where he or she, out of desperation, will accept an unfair settlement.
  • Wait until the latest possible day to pay support money, even if you’ve got the money to send. Never mind that your spouse just might need the money to pay bills or buy things for the children.
  • Petition the court for sole custody of your children when you will actually agree to a shared custody and equal timesharing. The real purpose for the request is to strike fear into the heart of your spouse and use it to coerce financial concessions.
  • Refuse to speak with your spouse about anything, including the children. This helps to create conflict, court hearings, and increase legal fees to wear the other side down.
  • File a fraudulent domestic violence petition to have your spouse excluded from the family home.

Yes, sadly these are cases of what people have actually done during the pressures of a divorce, and all of these instances are documented. Consider the stress family cases have on everyone and show some respect to others.

Come Out Smelling Like a Rose?

The fighting has prompted Sue Gross to step down from the board of the William and Sue Gross Family Foundation to form her own as-yet-unnamed charity.

It is unclear how her absence will affect the family organization, of which Bill Gross once described her as “the boss.”

The foundation, with reported assets of $355 million, has helped finance causes as diverse as UC Irvine’s nursing program and Doctors Without Borders.

The Orange County Register article is here.


Hiding Money in Divorce

“Martin” actress,Tisha Campbell-Martin, is accusing her estranged husband of hiding money during their divorce proceedings. Hiding money, especially when you are going through a divorce raises all kinds of concerns . . . for both parties. What are some of the consequences?

hiding assets in divorce

Campbell-Martin filed legal documents in court – which were obtained by TMZ – claiming her husband Duane Martin was hiding and misappropriating money while they were married.

It’s unclear how much money she thinks he was hiding from her or what specific remedies she is seeking.

Hiding Assets in Divorce

In Florida divorce, judgments and marital settlement agreements can be set aside on various grounds, including fraud. Divorce fraud has become very common, and I’ve written on the subject before.

One of the areas ripe with fraud is hiding money in a divorce. In certain cases, Florida allows you to challenge and vacate or modify a marital settlement agreement if the agreement was based on things like fraud, deceit, duress, coercion, misrepresentation, overreaching.

Additionally, Florida courts have allowed challenges to agreements where the marital settlement agreement makes unfair or unreasonable provision for the challenging party given the circumstances of the case.

Judgments may also be overturned because of fraud and fraud on the court. The thinking is that cheaters should not be allowed to prosper, and it has long been central to our legal system.

Florida rules of court expressly allow you to get some relief from a judgment if it was the product of fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party.

Courts have available to them all kinds of sanctions, in a wide variety of shapes, attempting to encompass the virtually limitless ways people in divorce manage to misbehave.

Truth or Consequences?

According to the article, actress Tisha Campbell-Martin is asking a judge to take legal action against her husband for hiding money during the divorce. She originally filed for divorce in February, after 20 years of marriage.

The couple separated in December of 2016. She is seeking alimony from her husband, and allegedly wants to block the court’s ability to award him spousal support. What are some of the remedies the judge in Campbell-Martin’s case can consider?

If you lie during the divorce process, during your deposition for example, in order to hide assets, you may have committed perjury – which is a crime. Also, if your lies are discovered by your spouse, your spouse’s attorney, or a judge, you may face severe sanctions.

Similarly, if you don’t properly report your assets on your financial affidavit or fail to disclose financial information to your spouse during a divorce, a court can order you to do so. If you defy the court when it, for example, orders you to share account balances and the location of money, you can be held in contempt of court.

The TMZ article is here.