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Entries in division of assets (9)

Wednesday
Jan022013

Spousal Support | How to Find Hidden Assets

Encino Tarzana Divorce LawyerDivorce Lawyer

 

 

by Vanessa Soto Nellis
818.907.3274

San Fernando Valley Custody Lawyer Los Angeles

 

 

When it comes to spousal support, bitter feelings sometimes prompt people to take negative action. In order to lash out or get back, some spouses will attempt to hide assets or refuse to fully disclose the value of them.

And sometimes, people just forget. (Check out my last blog, Divorce and Money – Overlooked Assets, to get an idea of what you should be looking for in this situation.)

In either case, an experienced divorce attorney can help. You and your spouse will need to draw a complete financial picture of your community and separate property so your attorneys can divide your assets properly.

 

Protecting Your Interests During the Division of Assets Process

 

So what are the most common ways for your spouse to hide funds or property? The most common is collusion – your spouse's efforts to conspire with others to hide money. Opportunities for collusion can come through:

  1. Business: Your spouse may ask an employer to delay payments on bonuses or raises until after your divorce. If your spouse owns a business, s/he could pay salary to an employee who doesn't exist, report purchases for services, equipment or supplies that never get delivered, inflate expenses, or temporarily turn down contracts in an effort to reduce annual earnings. 

  2. Family Members: If blood is thicker than a sense of ethics, your spouse's family could be holding cash, physical assets and other items. They could also be the recipients of a hefty "loan" which won't be paid back until after your divorce. 

  3. Friends: Is your spouse suddenly close to a new friend? A girlfriend or boyfriend may be helping to hide assets. Social media can be helpful in uncovering the truth, and remember that it is important to maintain active relationships with your own friends and family to help in this effort. Now is not the time to withdraw socially, you need to be alert and engaged, especially if you don't trust your spouse to be honest about finances.

Your divorce attorney will know good forensic accountants who can help find hidden assets, especially if your soon-to-be ex owns a business. The key is for you to be proactive in this situation. Stay organized and alert, and you'll minimize the financial consequences of your divorce.

 

Vanessa Soto Nellis is a Divorce and Divorce Mediation Attorney with 10 years' experience at our Firm. Contact her via email: vnellis@lewitthackman.com.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

 

Thursday
Dec132012

Divorce and Money | Forgotten Assets

Encino Tarzana Divorce LawyerDivorce Attorney

by Vanessa Soto Nellis
818.907.3274

San Fernando Valley Custody Lawyer Los Angeles

 

So you're getting divorced and you're worried you might be missing something financially. Maybe you're just worried you'll forget something substantial – something that you don't normally think about every day.

It is important to be careful. And to help you remember some of the more important items, we've created this Divorce Planning Checklist to get you thinking about the more commonly forgotten assets.

This way, you'll be more prepared when you next meet with your divorce lawyer. And if you are more prepared and organized, you'll save your attorney's time, which will save you both time and money too.

 

Most Forgotten Assets When Planning for Divorce

 

We've broken this into four basic categories of overlooked possessions and potential income, because it may be hard to forget that you own a yacht, but it may be difficult to recall that there's 18 months' worth of dock space left on the lease. Remember, if it's "out of sight," it may be especially "out of mind" during a stressful divorce. 

Some of these items, especially in the Earnings or Investments categories, may be critical for couples undergoing a Grey Divorce

Earnings – Everyone remembers the regular paycheck, but don't forget about the other items listed here.

  1. Unused Bonuses
  2. Unpaid Commissions
  3. Medical Benefits
  4. Delayed Earnings
  5. Rental Property Income 

Investments – Where did you put your money 10 years ago? 

  1. Options to Purchase Stocks or Property
  2. Patents, Copyrights or Royalties
  3. Savings Bonds or Securities
  4. Unused Property for future retirement or business
  5. Prepaid Car Insurance
  6. Life Insurance Benefits
  7. Forgotten Credit Union or Bank Accounts
  8. Custodial Accounts set up for children

Entertainment – Relaxation and fun cost money. But did you prepay for some entertainment or invest in a hobby? 

  1. Travel Miles or Points
  2. Timeshare Property
  3. Club or Spa Memberships
  4. Collections, i.e. Art, Toys, Comic Books, Classic Cars
  5. Docking or Hangar Leases
  6. Season Tickets, i.e. Sporting Events, Theaters, etc. 

Miscellaneous – For many couples, every dime will count if they're not used to running two, separate households. Don't forget these:

  1. Moving Costs: Do you need to hire movers?
  2. Security Deposits for the apartment, setting up utilities, etc.
  3. Leased Vehicle: Who will keep it, make payments, and/or benefit from payments already made?
  4. Income Tax Refunds, Carry-Forward Credits, Prepaid Taxes
  5. Business Vehicles for personal use 

Remember: It is important to retain your records (credit card statements, bank statements and tax returns) to thoroughly complete your disclosure forms during a divorce. Mistakes made at that stage of the dissolution process can of course, be costly. 

Vanessa Soto Nellis is an Encino Divorce Attorney with nearly a decade's experience in divorce and divorce mediation. Contact her via email: vnellis@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Wednesday
Apr252012

Grey Divorce | Things to Consider When Divorcing After Decades of Marriage

Encino Tarzana Divorce LawyerSpousal Support Attorney

 

by Vanessa Soto Nellis
818.907.3274

San Fernando Valley Custody Lawyer Los Angeles

 

The Japanese call it Retired Husband Syndrome. Here in America, the phenomenon is not so cut and dried.

We simply call it Grey Divorce, a trend that sees twice as many marriage dissolutions for the Baby Boomer generation now, than there were 20 years ago, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.

You may have seen the trend for a while: Tipper and Al Gore splitting after 40 years of marriage; Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins after 23 years; or even the 99 year old in Italy who jammed the news wires last December because he sought a divorce from his wife of 77 years. (The gentleman cites infidelity as the cause, though his wife's affair occurred in the 1940s, and he himself never knew until recently.)

The reasons are varied, ranging from extra-marital affairs, to more financial independence for women, the restlessness of empty-nest syndrome, or the ever-present "growing apart" phenomenon we hear of so often.  A change in lifestyle (like retirement) can accentuate a marriage's problems, and the differing goals of each partner can put strain on a relationship.

Whatever the cause, couples undergoing a Grey Divorce have unique problems in the dissolution process. Sure, the children may be grown so they won't have to worry about child custody or visitation schedules, but there are other elements to consider.

 

Older Divorcing Couples & More Valuable Assets

 


Spousal Support – Many Baby Boomer couples will live longer than the generations that preceded them, and they tend to be healthier than those generations as well. If the spouses are retired there is fixed income that now needs to be used to cover expenses for two households. Thus, one spouse may need to return to work to make ends meet.

People going through a Grey Divorce should remember to consider their future needs.

Retirement Benefits – Whether a spouse took care of the children or worked outside of the home, both parties in a Grey Divorce will need, and be entitled to, retirement benefits. The retirement accounts will be divided.

Financial Management – It's often challenging for a spouse who hasn't handled the finances before to have to do it all of a sudden. It's important to work with a CPA or financial planner to make sure enough money is set aside for taxes, and that a budget is established to meet living expenses.

There are other considerations as well. Older divorced people who don't have any children should think about updating their retirement and estate beneficiaries…9 times out of 10 the beneficiaries are the ex-spouses.

Whatever the reasons for a divorce, there are always obstacles that will need to be considered carefully before they can be overcome. An experienced family law attorney can help with many of these, and recommend insurance or estate planning professionals to help with the others.

 

Vanessa Soto Nellis is a Divorce and Family Law Mediation Attorney in our Family Law Practice Group. You may contact her via e-mail: vnellis@lewitthackman.com.

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Thursday
Oct132011

California Community Property Law | Marriage and Business

Encino Tarzana Divorce LawyerChild Custody and Support Attorney Los Angeles

by Vanessa Soto Nellis
818.907.3274

San Fernando Valley Custody Lawyer Los Angeles

 

We all love the romance of marriage. If you are thinking of taking the romantic plunge, you should consider community property law, especially if you live in California when you get married – community property law will apply to you. Ultimately, most of us hope that our marriage and business interests will last a lifetime.

With the proper planning and effort, you can keep both marriage and business running smoothly, until death do you part. Hopefully.

But the fact is, approximately 50 percent of first marriages will end in divorce. While it takes two people to get married, it only takes one person to get divorced in California. So it may be some comfort to know you can still save one institution if you can’t save the other. Here’s what you should know about California community property law:

 

1. Community Property Defined

 

Generally speaking, California community property law covers all property acquired during the marriage, unless a spouse inherits property or receives a gift.

Community property includes income, whether it comes in the form of stock instead of salary, company profit-sharing plans, vacation pay, deferred compensation packages, retirement plans, etc. It also includes profits from a spouse’s business whether the business is characterized as a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a closely-held corporation.

It also includes debt incurred after marriage, no matter which spouse acquires the bills.

Separate property usually includes any property owned by a spouse before marriage up to separation, or acquired by gift or inheritance.

 

2. Marital Property Re-Defined

 

Did you know you can redefine your community property? Through a process called Transmutation, you and your fiancé or spouse can define real estate acquisitions as community property or separate property, or convert pension benefits from separate property to community property, or vice versa.

Most people sign prenuptial and/or postnuptial agreements to transmute property. In short, you can redefine all of your property either before or during your marriage, if you and your spouse both agree to written transmutation terms.

 

3. Your Business Protected

 

Some people can mix marriage and business and keep both running smoothly. One way for you to do this is to enter into an agreement with your spouse or fiancé that outlines partnership interests for both of you.

For those of you not in business with a spouse, consider the value of prenuptial agreements. These premarital contracts can:

▪ Protect your business interests, and let you know what to expect in the event of a divorce.
▪ Protect your business partner’s interests, particularly if you are involved in a family owned business.
▪ Protect the growth of your business from becoming community property.
▪ Protect you, if you should contribute to the growth of your spouse’s business.

Because California community property law constantly changes, you’ll want to get expert advice from a family law attorney and/or an estate planning attorney.

At the very least, a prenuptial agreement is the first step in making sure you and your spouse understand your financial obligations to each other, your children and your separate or joint business interests.

 

Vanessa Soto Nellis is a Los Angeles divorce attorney in our Family Law Practice Group. If you have questions about community property law in California, reach her by calling 818.990.2120.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

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