Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Portland Family Law And Estate Planning Blog

Student loans can be an area of contention in some divorces

When you think about the property division process in divorce, you might associate it with splitting up the assets. This is a big part of it, but you also have to address what is going to happen to the debts. For some, student loans are one of the biggest things that they will have to divide.

There isn't a single answer that's always correct regarding student loans. Many variables can impact what happens to student loans during the division of property.

Stacking the deck for successful co-parenting

These days, courts consider the best interests of the child to involve joint custody. The belief is that the more time that each parent gets to spend with the children, the better off they will be as they make the transition from one household to two and beyond.

This shift in philosophy makes a parenting plan one of the most important child custody documents you need. In order to make sure it accomplishes all of the goals you have in mind for your family and meets with the court's approval, you may want to consider what makes a co-parenting relationship effective.

Keep proof that you paid your child support

Paying child support isn't something that most people look forward to doing. If you are ordered to pay, remember that this is a way that you can show your children that you support them even if you can't be there in person on a daily basis. Even if you have a positive attitude about this, you should still ensure that you are taking steps to protect yourself as you pay.

If you are paying via automatic garnishments from a paycheck, you won't have to worry about some of these because you will have the check stubs to show that it was taken out. This is your receipt to show that you are paying it. Once it is taken out of your check, it goes into a clearinghouse where it will be disbursed to your ex.

Tips for sharing news of your divorce with others

The decision to legally end a marriage isn't one that anyone takes lightly. There are usually a lot of things that come together when a couple decides to split. Once you make the decision, you have another difficult task. You have to tell others that you are divorcing.

It is usually a good idea to share the news with those closest to you first. You might want to tell your family members so that they don't hear it from anyone else. Ask them to be there to support you and your children during this big life change. The same thing is true for your very close friends.

Prepare for the emotional journey of divorce

You made the decision to file for divorce, but now you don't know what to do. This is a new experience for you, and it can be challenging. There are some things that you may not realize will happen as you work through the divorce process. Trying to prepare for those surprises can help you get through things with as little stress as possible.

One of the most shocking things for people filing for divorce to experience is the wide range of emotions. You might think that because you are the one who filed tha you will be overjoyed about the legal end of the marriage. But this isn't usually the case. Almost everyone who goes through a divorce endures a period of mourning. It might not necessarily be because of the end of the marriage. You might be mourning the time that you spent and the future experiences you will miss with that person.

Probate serves a variety of purposes

The probate process is one that is often misunderstood. You might think that if your loved one had a will, you won't have to go through probate; however, this may not be the case. The probate process serves a few purposes. One of these is that the will is filed with the court and proven. During this process, the witness of the signing of the will provides testimony or an affidavit that notes the person was of sound mind and understood the implications of the will at the time of the signing.

For some people who are going through the probate process, handling debts is necessary. The creditors of the decedent can make a claim against the estate. These are taken care of in a specific order. If assets remain after the debts are paid, the remaining portion of the estate is passed out in accordance with the estate plan. If there isn't enough to cover the debts, the heirs don't have to pay the difference. Instead, the creditors will absorb those costs.

Keep this in mind when negotiating alimony

Society is changing, and you may have noticed that women are increasingly earning more than their spouses. Men are becoming more active caregivers, too. While the tides are certainly shifting, the reality is still that many husbands are the primary breadwinners in their families. If this is the case for your family, then you may already know that you will have to pay alimony after your divorce.

The prospect of paying alimony may seem overwhelming. After all, you do not have much control over what a judge decides is the most appropriate amount. But did you know that you may not have to leave this decision up to a judge? Instead, you could negotiate your own alimony payments. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when heading to negotiations.

Property division must take your budget into account

When you think of property division, you might think of the large assets like homes and cars. These are often the first assets that are divided so that the smaller ones can be used to balance things out. Many people are tempted to try to hang on to the highest value items, but this might not always be a good idea. We can help you determine what feasible options for dividing property might be in your best interests.

One thing to consider when you are trying to determine what to fight for is that you are going to be solely responsible for paying the related expenses. You must remember that you are relying on your own income at the end of the marriage.

Set your plan for all aspects of your divorce

It is easy to become wrapped up in the practical matters associated with divorce. When this happens, your emotions might be left behind. This can mean that you aren't adjusting well and that you might eventually crash. There are several things that you can do that can help you feel less stress and thrive emotionally even when you are dealing with the end of your marriage.

One of the most important things for you to do is to grieve the end of the marriage. Even if you are happy that you are finally free, you will still have some pangs of sadness over the loss of what you thought would be a forever relationship.

Child support payments can be co-mingled with household funds

As the parent who pays child support, you might want to know where the money is going. Many individuals find it difficult to hand money over to their ex, even if it is for their children. Unfortunately, there might not be an opportunity for you to find out how your child's other parent is spending the money. We know this is difficult to accept, but don't let it stop you from making payments as ordered by the court.

One thing that many people tend to forget about child support is that it can be co-mingled with the recipient parent's other funds. They don't have to hold the financial support for the child in a different account. They are allowed to use the money for anything that is necessary for the child, which can include utilities, mortgage payments, school costs and other expenses. While it might look like your ex is using the money for self-serving purposes, this likely isn't the case.

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

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