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Marinara Money

 

The legal experts of Twitter and Facebook are discussing Donald Trump Jr.’s* recent request for financial disclosures from his soon to be ex-wife, Vanessa. People are confused and asking many questions, including:

 

  • Don’t they have a Prenuptial Agreement** ? The answer to this is probably yes; and
  • Why would he care what his wife has when he’s the one with the deep pockets? Insert boring legal procedure here.

Massachusetts requires that parties make financial disclosures during the divorce process.*** This is true whether the parties have a Prenuptial Agreement** or the divorce is contested. Parties must fill out and exchange Financial Statements, listing all of their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Parties must also exchange three (3) years of individual and joint taxes, bank statements, investment statements, and inheritances**** (such as Vanessa Trump’s alleged inheritance from her father, who was an investor in a marinara sauce company).

As always, please let us know if we can provide any additional information for you regarding this or any other legal matter.

Warmest Regards,
John and Faye

* This is not intended to be a commentary on any member of the Trump family or their politics. It is merely intended to provide information about divorce procedure.

** For more information regarding what makes a Prenuptial Agreement valid, please see: https://wjslegal.com/category/divorce/page/2/

*** We can’t confirm that this is true in every state in the country, but New York seems to have similar requirements to Massachusetts.

**** For more information on whether inheritances are considered individual or marital assets, please see: https://wjslegal.com/category/divorce/page/3/

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Mmmmm….Donuts….

Do you know what goes really well with chocolate chip waffles and Fruit Loops? Donuts!

Not really, but there are many grandparents who believe “what happens at Nana’s, stays at Nana’s.”  We  know one set of grandparents who have something called “BG Day,” where breakfast with grandparents consists of desserts first, followed by an actual breakfast if the kids have room in their bellies.

Grandparents have certain rights. They get to load them them up on empty calories and sugar then send them home to crash. They get to buy them gifts for the rarely recognized holiday of “Saturday.”  Most importantly, they get to visit with their grandchildren.

It’s not uncommon that grandparents get caught in the cross hairs of divorce. In the most extreme circumstances, grandparents are denied visitation by their “outlaw;” however, unless there is a justifiable reason to deny a grandparent visitation, it is usually presumed that it is in the best interest of the child(ren) to foster that relationship.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about this or any other matter.

Warm regards,
John and Faye

For more information, please see:
https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-law-about-grandparents-visitation-rights

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Ch-ch-changes to Child Support

Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are changing quicker than David Bowie used to transform into Ziggy Stardust. Starting in September, 2017, there will be massive changes to how child support is calculated. There are a lot of changes in store, but some of the highlights that will be most interesting to our clients:

A blanket 25% reduction in support obligations for children between the ages of 18-23;
A presumptive cap on college contributions, for each parent, at 50% of the cost of attending UMass Amherst (aka “The UMass Formula”);
Removal of modified support based on parenting time; and
Acceptance of unreported income, thereby making it easier to “impute” income.

Like all new rules and guidelines, it will take a while to determine how some of the more detailed changes actually get applied in real cases. Please email or call us if we can help you to better understand how the guideline changes might apply to your specific situation.

A helpful link from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/laws-by-subj/about/support.html

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Which is Correct: He, She, or They?

“It depends.”

Yes, that is a very lawyerly answer that we give so often and under so many circumstances; however, we cannot, as lawyers, tell someone whether to identify as a male or female.

People recently highlighted a family with a six year old transgender daughter. The parents made the choice to allow their child, who was assigned male at birth, to fully transition to a female at the age of four. Although it was surprising to read about a child who had transitioned so young, it is not shocking that a child of that age made it clear to their parents who they were and how they identify.

Transgender laws are developing.  Many of the current laws specific to the transgender community involve civil rights, but others include change of name and hate crimes.  We expect that many other areas of law will continue to evolve and change as well.

Some resources that might be useful:

http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/laws-by-subj/about/transgender.html

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.pdf

http://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfaqhttps://

www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/transgender-people-and-law

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Prepare for College Post-divorce

Ahhhh, college.  It was a great time with new found freedoms. We could eat french fries for lunch and dinner, yet not gain any weight. Weekends started on Wednesday and we never went out before 10pm. Our planning for the future consisted of mid-terms and finals, not 401k and flexible health spending accounts.  This wasn’t just us, right?

If we went back to college now, we would be a lot more serious.  The costs have skyrocketed and students are more competitive than ever. Our 40 something year old selves didn’t have the same pressure that the kids today have in part because college wasn’t as expensive. Had we known, we might have done things differently. We might have even start putting some of the money that we earned from part-time jobs into a Roth IRA instead of investing in a long gone 12 pack of beer (probably not).

We always recommend preparing for how you will pay college expenses long before the application process begins. It’s never too early to start planning for your child, especially if you need to prepare for college post-divorce.

The Massachusetts Bar Association provided some useful information about things to consider especially if are divorcing or already divorced:

http://www.massbar.org/publications/lawyers-journal/2015/may/allocating-college-education-expenses-in-divorce

 

Please let us know if we can help you with the negotiation and planning process or answer any questions that you may have. We even know an amazing person to help you select the best college based on family finances and educational goals; we would be happy to refer you in the right direction!