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June 2015 Archives

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) enable distributions to be made from retirement plans such as defined benefit or pension plans, defined contribution plans, individual retirement plans (IRAs), annuity plans, etc. to the spouse or former spouses of the plan owner provided that such orders are qualified. The spouse or former spouse is known as the "alternate payee" and has the right to receive a portion or the entire benefit payable to the spouse who is actual owner of the retirement plan. The owner of the retirement plan is known as the "participant".

New Prenatal Paternity Test Could Lead to Legal Changes

The issue of paternity is an important one. Not only does it matter emotionally, but it is also an incredibly important legal (and financial) issue that impacts significant rights and obligations. In cases where paternity is not definitively known, determining who the father is as quickly as possible can be crucially important.

Bankruptcy and Divorce

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Act became effective October 17, 2005. The Act makes several very important changes in the Bankruptcy Statutes as they apply to divorce litigation. Significant changes are made in the new law which affect property settlements, alimony and child support payments, or alimony and child support arrearages. The most significant change is that payment obligations under a property settlement agreement or divorce judgment are no longer dischargeable in bankruptcy.

The Value of Credit Reports

Personal credit reports can provide a wealth of information. Too many times, this information proves to be surprising. In today's "quick credit here" world, it is far too easy for a spouse to obtain credit that is tied to his/her spouse. For instance, who among us has not received a "you're pre-approved" credit card offer? It would certainly be easy for a spouse to list his/her spouse as a co-cardholder without the spouse's prior knowledge.

Do Parents Have to Account for How Child Support is Used

One of the complaints we hear most often is "the other parent doesn't spend my child support payments on the child." We certainly understand that it can be very frustrating for non-custodial parents to pay child support each and every month. This is particularly true if (a) the amount of money paid is significant, (b) it impacts the payor's budget in a noticeable way, and/or (c) you disagree with the other parent's spending habits.

Money Saving Tips for the Military Spouse

You can save money for Col Smith in several ways in negotiations over his pension. The first one to use a set dollar amount in specifying the pension share for his wife upon divorce. This means that the spousal entitlement is calculated (usually with 50% of the marital share as the model) and then converted in today's dollars to a specific monetary amount, such as: "Mrs. Smith shall receive $495 a month from the disposable retired pay of Col Smith." This method of dividing the pension, if accepted by the other side, means that all future increases in Col Smith's pay belong to him and, upon retirement, the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) which are applied to retired pay go solely to him. She receives none of these benefits. The COLA, when applied solely to Col Smith's pension, will roughly double its value over twenty years.

Hidden Money for Non-Military Spouses in Divorce

One overlooked source of money has to do with insurance. Many military members, including Guard and Reserve, choose USAA for their insurance needs. A little known fact about USAA is that members have a Subscriber's Account (formerly called a "Subscriber Savings Account") which contains monies contributed through premiums for property and casualty insurance (such as car insurance) and distributed from time to time to the subscribers. These periodic distributions amount to a refund of money not needed for operating reserves and they come as a credit on the quarterly or yearly premium, thus saving money for the customer. If one of the parties will be retaining USAA membership and benefits, including the balance in the Subscriber's Account, then it makes sense to ask how much is in the Account and allocate the sum to that party, even though it is money which can't be spent at present.

The Importance of Financial Literacy for Women Preparing for Divorce

If you're a Massachusetts woman and thinking about moving forward with a divorce, one of the most important decisions you can make is to become more involved in your family's finances. Too many women are not involved in financial decision-making, which can seriously handicap them during and after a divorce. In other words, do not underestimate the importance of financial literacy in this process.

What to Do Before Filing for Divorce

If you're finally ready to make the decision and move forward with divorce, it is important to make sure that you are as prepared as possible before taking the plunge. After all, things will change rapidly once the decision is made, so it is best to get your ducks in a row before filing any papers. But how do you know what to do before filing for divorce? A recent article in Time magazine discussed three of the most basic things everyone should do before revealing their plans to divorce.

Tips for Dads Going Through Divorce in Massachusetts

A recent article explored some specific tips for dads going through divorce. Certainly the desire to be a good parent is universal, but the author of the piece felt that some fathers were inadvertently failing to fulfill their family obligations, often not understanding what role they should play to best help their children cope with the split. Experts believe the following to be among the best advice given to fathers in the midst of a divorce:

What Happens to Children's 529 College Savings Plans After a Divorce?

It can be confusing in a Massachusetts divorce to know who gets what in terms of the equitable division of the marital assets. Bank accounts and the family home need to be divided, and determining how to do that can be hard enough. When you include other types of accounts, such as 529 college savings plans, it becomes even more confusing.

The Importance of Having a Detailed Separation Agreement

Many recent articles concerning separation and divorce have discussed the expensive mistakes couples often make that can cause their cases to become even more costly. One of the best examples is the failure to write things down in the right way. Experts note that one party simply verbally telling the other that they will do something is not legally binding and can be disclaimed at a later date. When it comes to Family Court, if your agreement is not written down, signed by both parties, and handled in the proper manner, it is probably worthless.

Is There an Increase in Social Media Leading to Divorce?

Is there an increase in social media leading to divorce? Research has revealed that 1 in 7 married individuals have considered divorce because of their spouse's postings of Facebook or other online sites. Similarly, many spouses regularly search online for evidence of their partner's infidelity, and nearly 1 in 5 couples admit they have daily arguments over the ways their spouse uses social media.

Law Offices of Renee Lazar
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Bedford, MA 01730
Phone: 978-844-4095
Fax: 781-687-5807
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