An Overview On Alimony Payments

If you are looking at the possibility of seeing your marriage end soon, you may wonder about child support and alimony. While child support is all but inevitable if you have children, paying alimony isn’t so cut and dry. There are certain financial expectations that come with having to pay alimony, and it’s completely dependent upon your state’s laws. But here is a general overview of alimony as a whole, so you can get a better understanding of situations in which you may be ordered to pay it. 

Alimony is Alive and Well

There may be some type of misconception surrounding alimony, because there are many more women in the workforce today than there were 50 or 60 years ago. Back then, when husbands were the main breadwinner of the family, if a couple divorced, the wife may not have had many skills outside of running a home and raising a family, and was completely dependent upon her husband’s financial support. Today, with more and more women who have careers and jobs, the need for financial support from a husband isn’t as great. But that does not mean it doesn’t exist. 

In general, if you earn substantially higher wages than your spouse and you’ve been married for a number of years, you may be ordered to pay alimony, or “spousal support”, depending on the state you live in. If you have not been married for a long time, or your spouse makes close to the same amount of money as you do, alimony will probably not be awarded. 

Alimony Payment Duration 

If you find yourself ordered to pay alimony to your spouse, there will be a designated amount ordered that will end when the following happens: 

  • A date, set by the court, is reached 
  • Your former spouse remarries
  • A full-time parent is no longer a necessity for your children 
  • The court determines your spouse has not made a reasonable effort to become self-supporting on their own 
  • A significant even like retirement, for which the court may at least modify the monthly amount 
  • Your former spouse dies

It is possible for you and your spouse to come to an agreement as to how much alimony will be paid and for how long it will be paid. If you can’t come up with an agreement on your own, the court will make the necessary decisions for you. So if you are faced with the prospect of paying alimony, it may be beneficial to work towards an agreement in order to avoid the time and cost of court appearances. Speak with a family law attorney like Aaron Law Offices PLLC for more info.

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Parental Abduction: What You Should Know If You Are Planning To Snatch Your Child

When you are divorced or divorcing, you may have plenty of reasons to be concerned about your children, especially if your mate is planning to live with someone you don’t trust, or your children are being abused, neglected, or molested. Before you take the drastic step of abducting them, there are some important things you should know.

Facing Legal Ramifications

Before divorce proceedings and custody agreements are made, both parents have equal rights and access to their children, so if you took them and left, you could not be charged with kidnapping. Once an order has been made through the court about custody arrangements and visitation, however, you are legally bound to honor the agreements made, so taking them off is a bad idea.

States differ on what constitutes kidnapping on the part of a parent. Usually, authorities will look at any court orders that define the custody arrangement. They will also look at your legal status and your intent in taking the children. If you have legal custody, you can’t be charged with kidnapping.

If you don’t have custody and you take your children off without permission of the other parent, you would likely face a parental kidnapping charge, especially if your intent is to conceal them and prevent your ex from having access to them. Because they are your children, they are likely to go with you willingly, so you can receive this charge even if you did not use force or have a weapon. In many states, keeping the children over 24 hours can constitute kidnapping unless you can prove they were in imminent danger of harm.

If you are convicted of parental kidnapping, you will receive several years of prison time or probation, and large fines. This is partly because your children are minors and they cannot legally consent to go with you.

If you can prove that you did not take the children to terrorize your mate, the charge may be dropped to “custody interference.” This can result in you losing any attempts you are making to get lawful custody, you may be held responsible for your ex’s legal fees, and you may be sanctioned for contempt by the court for your actions. The court may also order reduced or supervised visitation, if it is apparent that you might try unlawfully taking them again.

You Are Not Powerless

If you are truly concerned about the children’s welfare while they are with the other parent, there are some actions you can take to protect them. First work on accumulating evidence that you can later present to the authorities or the court. This would include:

  • Keeping a dated notebook to record things your children have told you about incidents of neglect or verbal and/or physical abuse.
  • Taking pictures of any marks or bruising on your children.
  • Taking them to a physician/counselor if need be, and having the professional forward any reports to you and your attorney.
  • Talking to the school authorities and soliciting their help.
  • Reporting neglect and abuse to child welfare authorities.

You should talk to a family/divorce lawyer about the custody issues you are having and your concerns about the children’s safety and well-being. He or she can tell you what your options are, and will help you to fight for them.

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The Importance Of Implementing An Estate Plan

You don’t want to think about the end of your life and what will happen to your assets after you have passed away, but by doing so, you can prevent your family and loved ones from having to deal with the stress that comes when losing someone who did not have an estate plan in place. An estate plan can help with decisions before and after your death. Here is an overview on a few important elements to an estate plan. 

Several Elements to An Estate Plan

There are a few essential elements to an estate plan, including a will, health-care proxy, and power of attorney, You may also benefit from establishing a trust. Putting an estate plan together is often done with your financial adviser and an estate planning attorney.

One of the first things you should do when implementing an estate plan is to take an inventory of your assets. This should include your savings, retirement account, business interests and real estate. 

From there you’ll want to ask yourself who will inherit your assets, who you trust to handle your financial affairs, and who you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf when and if you become unable to make those decisions on your own. When doing your estate plan, the answers to these questions are very important. 

Your Will

The answer to the question of who you want to inherit your assets goes into your will. Your will outlines who will receive what. When you die without a will, called “intestate,” the court ultimately makes those decisions for you. So if you have something in particular that you know only one person should receive, such as an antique ring or a special collection, you need to designate your wishes in your will.

Power of Attorney

The answer to the question of who you trust to handle your financial affairs goes in your power of attorney. This is a special document that appoints someone to be able to handle your money, stocks, investments, transfer real estate, and make all necessary financial decisions on your behalf. The person who you designate as your power of attorney has no limitations on what they can do, so you need to appoint someone you trust will make the same decisions that you would make with regards to your financial affairs. 

Health Care Proxy

Lastly, your health care proxy will outline the person who you appoint to handle all medical decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. This means that your life will essentially in their hands, so again, choose someone you trust.

There are a lot more elements to an estate plan, but the above gives you a starting point. When you don’t have these elements in place, your family’s hands are tied as to who gets certain assets, who can make decisions about your finances and who can make health care decisions on your behalf. The court will intervene to answer those questions, so take the time now to help save your family from added heartache later. For more information about estate planning, contact a professional such as Robert Stone Attorney at Law.

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