Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Portland Family Law And Estate Planning Blog

Think about your options for filing for divorce

With the holiday season right around the corner, it might be troubling to contemplate the need to file for divorce. For some people, there isn't any time to waste on getting things started. For others, it might be possible to hold off until after the holidays. Both options have some pros and cons. You have to decide which is necessary in your case.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, your safety obviously needs to come first. Getting out, seeking a restraining order and filing for divorce are likely your priorities. You don't have to think about much else to decide that now is the time to act.

Divorce settlements must be approved by the court

Many divorces are resolved out of court, which can be done through mediation, alternative dispute resolution and similar methods. Some individuals don't realize that the court will still have to approve the settlement before it is finalized. One reason for this is that the court needs to determine whether the agreement was negotiated in a fair manner.

As you and your ex are going through the property division phase, you need to be sure that you are protecting your rights. When you are dividing assets, thinking logically is imperative. This is because your financial future is likely going to be directly impacted by what you decide in this part of the divorce.

Guardianships are important components in some estate plans

A guardianship is a very important tool for parents who are worried about what is going to happen to their children if both parents pass away. This is a frightening prospect for many parents, but it is one that shouldn't be ignored. Here are a few points to remember about guardianships:

When you name a guardian for your children, you must consider each child individually. Some parents might find it necessary to name one guardian for a child but have a different one for another child. Think about whether the guardian will be able to handle the situation of taking on multiple children. If you don't have someone who can care for all your children, it might necessary to split the caregiving responsibilities.

Does that piece of property go through probate?

When figuring out how to distribute your property after your death, one of the first things you may need to look at is whether a certain piece of property will go through probate as it is currently titled. You may also need to consider whether you want a particular piece of property to go through probate as a way to distribute it to the person you wish to receive it.

The more property you keep out of probate, the more your taxable estate reduces. In addition, if the property you leave to your loved ones does not have to go through probate, then they will have quicker access to it. Below is a look at how your property is titled, along with what that means for the probate process.

Child support payments benefit your children, not your ex

One contentious area of child custody cases is the assignment of child support. The paying parent might not mind supporting their child but might resent having to give the payments to their ex. Still, these court-ordered payments must be made as ordered by the court. Failing to provide the financial support to your children can lead to you being incarcerated.

We know that you might not think that you should have to pay your ex. After all, the children probably spend time with you too. Unfortunately, there is a specific formula for the financial support of children that must be followed. You might realize that you don't need to be cranky with your ex because you have to pay.

Carefully plan what to include in your will

One of the most important things you can do to protect your family members is to have an estate plan in place when you pass away. The cornerstone of this is the will. When you write yours, you don't have to do anything extravagant. It can be fairly simple as long as it has the legally required elements and doesn't contain anything that may have it tossed out.

The will that you write outlines who is going to get which assets when you pass away. You can set this up be specifying each asset individually or you may opt to set things up by percentages so that each individual or entity, such as a favorite charity, will get a specific portion of your estate.

High asset divorces are likely going to be complex

Not all divorces are created equally. Typically, the only thing that you will find universal is that at least one party feels that the marriage should be ended in a legal manner. Some divorces are much more complex than others. High-asset splits fall under this category. We know that you might be ready to get everything over and done with quickly, but there are some issues that you need to handle first.

The property division process is often one of the most contentious of the entire divorce. When you are dealing with high-value assets, neither party might be willing to concede to handing specific ones over to the other party. We are here to review the case and see if we can find a potential solution that will enable you and your ex to come to an agreement about this aspect of the case.

How should child support payments be used?

When one person pays child support to another, the money is meant to be used in the appropriate manner to raise the child or children.

It doesn't matter if you're making or receiving child support payments, it's important to know how the money is to be used.

Why a prenuptial agreement could be beneficial for you

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding agreement that outlines how an Oregon couple will divide marital property in case a marriage ends in divorce. It can also address financial responsibilities over the course of the marriage and more, yet many couples forgo this form of legal protection. While it may not seem like a romantic prospect, having a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial for you.

Most couples can benefit from the protections provided by a strong prenuptial agreement. If you think this could be a beneficial step for you, you will find it useful to understand what you can and cannot include in your contract. This can help you draft an agreement that will withstand scrutiny in the event of a dispute.

Don't let emotions guide your property division settlement

When you're dividing your assets, one of the things you might worry about is that you'll lose something that has sentimental value to you. You're not alone. In fact, many arguments during divorce occur because of people fighting over less-valuable items that have a particular memory attached.

The problem with psychological attachments are that they're not always reasonable. Some people might go as far as to give up everything in exchange for just one asset they covet, but that's not a good idea financially in most situations.

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Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law
1607 N.E. 41st Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

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