Monthly Archives: July 2014

Divorcing? Protect your finances, personal data

No doubt you’ve seen many warnings against sharing personal or financial information with strangers, but what about your spouse – or ex-spouse? A recent study by McAfee uncovered some unsettling results:

•Although 96 percent of adults surveyed trust their significant other with passwords, intimate photos and other personal content, only 32 percent have asked their ex to delete the information when ending the relationship.

•One in five people said they’re likely to log into their spouse’s Facebook account at least once a month.

Some 30 percent admitted they’d “cyber-stalked” their significant other’s ex on social media.

Given the high rate of divorce and how frequently marriages end acrimoniously, it’s not a big leap to think that a scorned lover could severely damage your credit and reputation. If you’re getting divorced, here are some important legal, financial and privacy considerations:

If you and your spouse are in complete agreement on how you wish to divide assets and settle debts, you may be able get by with a do-it-yourself divorce kit. It’s still wise to have a divorce attorney review the forms to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.

If your separation is more complicated but relatively amicable, you may also want to try collaborative divorce, mediation or arbitration:

Collaborative divorce. Both parties retain a lawyer and the four of you hash out an agreement outside the courtroom. You each control the final agreement instead of having to abide by a judge’s decision.

Mediation. You each have lawyers but hire a third-party mediator to work through differences on critical issues. Mediators don’t have the legal authority to impose final decisions.

Arbitration. Like mediation, except that the arbiter hands down a binding agreement by which you each must abide.

If you can’t settle out of court, be prepared to possibly pay many thousands of dollars in attorney and court fees. Ask around for referrals to lawyers who specialize in divorce.

You may also want to consult a financial planning professional for advice on how to fairly divide property, calculate child support and ensure you’re sufficiently insured, as well as explain Social Security and retirement plan implications.

To protect your credit status, close joint bank and credit card accounts and open new ones in your own name; otherwise, an economically struggling or vindictive ex-spouse could amass debt in your name and ruin your credit. If your ex retains the house or car, make sure your name is taken off the loan so you’re not responsible if they flake on payments.

Be sure all closed accounts are paid off, even if you must transfer balances to your new account and pay them off yourself. That’s because late or unmade payments by either party on a joint account – open or closed – will damage both of your credit scores.

Check your credit reports before, during and after the divorce to make sure you’re aware of all outstanding debts and to ensure that all joint accounts were properly closed. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, don’t always list the same accounts, so to be safe, order credit reports from each.

Change all passwords, PINs, and other information your ex could use to access your electronic devices and financial, email and social media accounts. Also, don’t email or post malicious or revealing information that could be damaging if presented in court.

Bottom line: Divorce can be a painful experience to live through. Don’t make it worse by not protecting your own financial interests.

Original Source: http://www.tristate-media.com/warrick/community/community_news/article_2c7d7c3c-126e-11e4-99fa-0019bb2963f4.html

Every Divorce Is Unique

Everyone knows at least one couple who has been through or is going through a divorce. When a couple is separating there are two types of friends; those that share too many details about their divorce and those who share nothing. What you need is a friend who has been through the process that is willing to lend an ear and offer advice as needed based upon their experiences. Each divorce experience is different, learn lessons and take advice from others but understand your divorce is unique.

The first thing you need to do when your considering a divorce or you find yourself served with divorce papers is to consult a reputable divorce attorney. I know, I know, that is obvious however even if you don’t thing a divorce attorney is affordable you still need to talk to one. Many offer free consultations and low cost alternatives to those who can’t afford a divorce attorney throughout their entire divorce process. Going through a divorce without any legal representation will end up costing more than just financially in the end. Even in an uncontested divorce hiring a divorce attorney is needed. Hire legal representation before signing anything that has to do with your divorce.

This too may seem obvious but many couples forget; put your children and their needs before anything else when you are going through a divorce. Children are not to be used as pawns during your divorce. They are innocent victims. Your divorce is as difficult if not more difficult on them than it is either of you. Throughout the process be conscious of your divorce and the effects it is having on your children. Their best interest is in fact the only thing the two of you must agree upon during the entire process. Children thrive in an environment that both parents are included in. Consider this before dragging them into your mess and before denying them from seeing their other parent.

Consider who you trust with information pertaining your divorce. Some advice is nice but too much can lead to issues. Don’t bring a new mate into your divorce, don’t rely on only family when going through a divorce; find one or two people to trust with the most sensitive details of your divorce and turn to them during your crisis. Involving too many people brings in to play a lot of opinions and advice that may not apply. Too many opinions cloud your judgment and can lead to rash decisions.

Consider mediation as trials are not something that is needed for every divorce or something that everyone is prepared for. When you go to trial your divorce becomes something that is then put into total stranger’s hands and is removed from yours. Divorces settled through trial can take time, a lot of money as well as expensive attorneys. Consider going through mediation with your spouse, roll up your sleeves and come up with a compromise that both of you can live with that is appropriate for the needs of your entire family.

In the end, after your divorce is finalized it is important that you remember what is important to you. The microwave and sofa might seem like trivial things when all is said and done. Think about the emotional toll that your divorce is having on you and your family when considering what is worth fighting for. From the start consider what you are hoping for by the end and don’t stress over the little things. Everything is replaceable except time with your children so consider that when mediating over each and every other minor detail of your divorce.

Longton DM, a subsidiary of Longton Law Offices is a divorce attorney specializing in Men/Dad’s in divorce. For experienced representation throughout the divorce process in Trenton, Michigan and the surrounding area you can find more information at http://www.michigandivorcelawyerfordad.com.