Divorce

DIVORCE: REIMBURSEMENT OF ALIMONY

As the name implies, reimbursement alimony is designed to reimburse one spouse for expenses incurred by the other. If, for example, one spouse helped put the other spouse through college or a training program and the couple divorced soon after the training program is complete, the spouse who supported the family during that period might obtain reimbursement alimony as a payback for the resources spent. 

A classic example is a nurse who marries a medical student and supports the family while the medical student finishes medical school (and perhaps a residency program). If the couple divorces soon after the medical student completed training, the nurse would probably be entitled to reimbursement alimony to compensate for the training program’s resources. In this case, reimbursement alimony is not necessarily given because the nurse needs funds for day-to-day support (since the nurse seems to be self-supporting). Instead, the alimony is given as an equitable payback for supporting the spouse through medical school. 

Alternatively, a court could choose to give the supporting spouse a substantial majority of marital property in compensation. But in many cases in which one spouse has just completed a training program, the couple has not accumulated many marital assets. So reimbursement alimony is given as an alternative. Reimbursement alimony can be paid over a period of time. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

DIVORCE AND PERMANENT ALIMONY

Permanent alimony continues indefinitely. The main bases for teasing payments of permanent alimony are the death of the payor, the recipient’s death, or the remarriage of the recipient. The cohabitation of the recipient with a member of the opposite sex also is a common basis for the cessation of permanent alimony. Generally, cohabitation needs to be of a permanent or near-permanent nature, with the parties living together sharing living expenses. A few overnight visits usually do not constitute cohabitation to stop alimony payments. 

Unless an agreement between the parties says otherwise, permanent alimony payments can be adjusted upward or downward based on a change of circumstances. If the recipient gains employment at a well-paying job or receives a significant amount of money from another source, that might be a basis for reducing alimony payments. If the recipient incurs unexpected medical expenses (that are not covered by insurance), that might be a basis for increasing alimony payments if the spouse paying alimony has the ability to pay more. 

A drop in income by the payor, including at retirement, can be a basis for reducing alimony. Courts may examine the reason for a drop in income, and if the drop in income of the payor is in good faith or not through the fault of the payor, the court is more likely to approve a reduction in alimony. If the drop in income seems to have been engineered by the payor to create a basis for reducing alimony, the court is more likely to disapprove of a reduction in alimony. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

WHAT IS REHABILITATIVE ALIMONY?

Rehabilitative alimony refers to alimony given to a spouse so that the spouse may “rehabilitate” herself or himself in the sense of acquiring greater earning power or training to become self-supporting. Rehabilitative alimony might also be given to a parent who stays home with young children until she is considered appropriate for the parent to work outside the home. 

There is no uniform time at which parents are expected to work outside the home, but when the youngest child is in school full-time, it is common for the parent to resume work. (Of course, in many families, intact and divorced, the parents work outside the home when the children are preschoolers. And in some families, one parent stays home as long as the children live at home.) 

Rehabilitative alimony is usually for a fixed period of time. The court (or the parties by agreement) may include a provision that the alimony is subject to review at the end of that period. If alimony is subject to review, it means the court may look at the facts of a case later to determine whether alimony should be continued, discontinued, or changed in amount. 

If the order or agreement regarding alimony does not contain a provision for review, it might still be reviewable, or it might not be reviewable, depending on the state’s law. If the recipient of alimony wants the alimony to be reviewable (with the possibility of continuation), it is best to include language to that effect. If the alimony’s payor does not want alimony to be continued beyond a certain time, the payor should seek to have the language to that effect in the agreement or order. A court is likely to approve cessation of alimony on a certain date if that is what the agreement or order calls for. Still, the court usually has the power to continue alimony in certain circumstances, such as the recipient’s chronic illness. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

Does a Woman Have to Change Her Name After Divorce?

A woman who divorces may resume her unmarried name or keep her married name as she wishes. She can even change her name to something completely new, as long as she is not doing so for fraudulent purposes. Court proceedings generally are not necessary to change a name. 

If a woman is changing her name, she should notify government agencies and private companies that have her name records. Examples of places to notify: the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Passport Agency (within U.S. State Department), Post Office, state tax agencies, driver’s license bureau, voter registration bureau, professional licensing agencies, professional societies, unions, mortgage companies, landlord, banks, charge card companies, telephone companies, other utilities, magazines and newspapers to which she subscribes, doctors and dentists, and schools and colleges that she attended or that her children attend. 

It can be useful to have the divorce decree state that the wife will resume her unmarried name, but generally, it is not necessary to do so for a woman to make a valid name change. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

What is Alimony Maintenance?

Alimony and maintenance are terms that refer to payments from one spouse to the other spouse for the benefit of the spouse who is receiving payment. Some states use the term alimony; other states use the term maintenance; both mean the same thing. Only about 15 percent of divorces or separations involve payments of alimony. (For simplification in the rest of this section, we will use only the term “alimony,” but wherever “alimony” is used, “maintenance” could be substituted.)

The overwhelming majority of alimony awards are from the husband to the wife, but in appropriate circumstances (such as a husband who takes care of the children and home while the wife works outside the home), payments from the wife to the husband also can be ordered. The United States Supreme Court has held that it is constitutional for a state’s statute to allow alimony payments only to the wife; if payments to the wife are permitted, payments to the husband must be permissible. All states allow courts to order alimony. (For many years, Texas laws prohibited courts from ordering alimony, but those laws have been repealed.) There are several types of alimony, each of which is designed to meet particular needs. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

What You Need To Know About Divorce and The Effect Of Bankruptcy

A property settlement might be dischargeable in bankruptcy, or it might not be dischargeable, depending on the case’s facts. A discharge in bankruptcy means that all of a debt or a portion of a debt no longer has to be paid because a federal court has declared the debtor to be bankrupt. 

Before 1994, many former spouses of persons who declared bankruptcy after the divorce found themselves out of luck when seeking to collect what was due. For example, a wife may have agreed to a divorce based on a promise from her husband that three years after the divorce, he would pay her a certain amount of money as part of the property settlement. If the husband declared bankruptcy after the divorce was finalized, the wife might never collect the amount that was due. 

Congress saw the potential unfairness of this, particularly when the debtor is technically bankrupt (owing more money than the debtor has assets). However, the debtor nonetheless still has the capacity to pay any debts. The new law, which took effect in 1994, allows the bankruptcy court to weigh the parties’ hardships. If it appears that the bankrupt debtor has enough property and income to pay the debt to the ex-spouse, the debtor will have to do so. If the debtor truly does not have enough money for the debtor’s basic support and his or her dependents, then all or a portion of the debt may be discharged in bankruptcy. 

Although in appropriate circumstances, a bankruptcy court has the power to discharge a debt owed in a property settlement, the court cannot discharge past-due payments for alimony or child support. A debtor’s bankruptcy may be a basis for reducing future alimony and child support, but not for reducing or eliminating past-due alimony and child support. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

What You Need To Know About Divorce And Allocation of Debts

In addition to dividing property, most couples also have debts to divide. Sometimes the debts will exceed the assets. The court, or the parties by agreement, will divide whatever property the couple has and then allocate teach party’s responsibility to pay off particular debts. (The wife pays off MasterCard; husband pays off Visa, and so on.) 

If the debts were jointly incurred, both parties remain ultimately responsible for them. If the spouse who was supposed to pay a particular bill does not, the creditor can still look to the other spouse to collect the amount due. For example, if during the marriage the husband and wife applied together for a MasterCard, both signing the application and both promising to make payments, both are liable to MasterCard, even if only one spouse made the charges. 

If a court or a settlement agreement requires a wife to pay the MasterCard bill, but she does not, and MasterCard collects from the husband, the husband can sue the wife for the loss, or he may be able to deduct his loss from future payments he may owe his wife (such as alimony if there is any). 

Given the potential for continued joint debts, it is important to limit one’s liability for the other spouse’s debts even after a divorce. Thus, it is best to close joint credit card accounts or other joint accounts as soon as a divorce is pending (unless the party has a great deal of faith in one’s soon-to-be ex-spouse). If it is not possible to close an account because there is an outstanding debt that cannot be paid off immediately, it is prudent for a spouse to notify the creditor that they will not be responsible for any additional debts beyond current outstanding balances. 

For example, if there is an outstanding home equity loan of $10,000 but an available line of credit of $40,000, it probably is best to notify the creditor (orally and in writing) that the line of credit should not be extended beyond $10,000. Similarly, if one spouse co-signed on a business loan for the benefit of the other spouse’s business, it would be prudent for the spouse who does not own the business to notify the creditor that he or she will not be responsible for any business debts beyond those already incurred. 

One spouse normally will not be responsible for than-other spouse’s debts were incurred only in the name of the spouse who made the purchase. In many states, however, an exception will be made for debts that are considered family expenses. Examples of family expenses include groceries for the family, the children’s necessary medical expenses, and children’s clothes. If a debt is considered a family expense, both spouses are probably liable for the debt, even if only one of them incurred the debt. Community property states also generally make spouses liable for each other’s debts incurred during the marriage. 

Educational loans are a common debt. Generally, a court will direct each party to repay his or her own loans for educational expenses. If, however, the debts were incurred during the marriage, the court can direct one spouse to repay the other spouse’s educational debts. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

What You Need To Know About Divorce and Personal Injury Awards

Occasionally couples are faced with dividing a personal injury damage award. If, for example, the husband or wife were involved in an auto accident for which someone else was at fault, the injured party might receive (or be entitled to receive in the future) a sum of money for the damages. When the couple divorces, who is entitled to the damage award? 

States take different approaches to the issue. Some states view the award as separate or non-marital property. Thus, all of the damage awards belong to the injured party. In those states, courts reason that only one spouse suffered the injury, and the damage award was designed to make the injured spouse whole. Therefore, all of the damage awards belong to the injured spouse. 

In some personal injury lawsuits, there are two damage awards: one for the spouse who received the physical injury and another damage award for the spouse of the injured party to compensate that spouse for loss of companionship, or consortium, that resulted from the injury. (Loss of consortium refers to a loss of sexual relations and, under some definitions, the term also refers to a loss of general companionship.) If a state treated damage awards as separate or non-marital property, each spouse would be entitled to their own damage award, but they would not be entitled to any portion of their partner’s award. 

Other states treat damage awards as marital or community property, which means the court can divide the husband and wife’s award. In these states, courts reason that the damage award arose from something that occurred during the marriage and benefited the entire family; therefore, the award should be treated as marital property. In practice, courts in these states are likely to give more of the damage award to the injured party, but the court has the power to allocate some of the awards to the other spouse.

In other states, there is a mid-ground approach that focuses on the type of damage award. Many personal injury damage awards (particularly those set by a judge or jury) are divided into parts. Depending on what type of damage award is given, the payment may go to the injured party or the parties jointly. Payments for medical expenses are likely to go to whichever party will pay the medical bills; payments for pain and suffering are likely to go to the injured party who experienced the pain and suffering, and payments for lost wages may go to both parties since the wages would have benefited them both. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

What does constructive abandonment mean?

This term is used to describe one spouse’s unjustified refusal for a period of one year or more to have sexual relations with her or his spouse. However, if the refusal is consented to or acquiesced in by the other spouse, it ceases to be a divorce ground. A spouse who locks out her/his spouse or whose abuse drives the spouse from home may have committed constructive abandonment. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

Within A Marriage What Constitutes Physical Abandonment?

Generally, the ground of abandonment requires a voluntary separation by one spouse from the other for a period of one year or more with the intent not to resume cohabitation. The abandonment must be without the consent of the other spouse and be without justification. If physical abandonment is with the consent or acquiescence of the other spouse, it cannot be used as a ground for divorce. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.