Merrell Law Firm, LLC
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Posts tagged "Family Law"

Divorce settlements and stay-at-home mothers

Alabama is not a community property state, so when couples get a divorce there, each spouse is entitled to an equitable but not necessarily equal share of marital assets. How to determine what is equitable can be difficult when one spouse was the breadwinner and the other stayed home to raise children. While it may be fairly straightforward to assess the earnings of the spouse who has worked outside the home over the years, it can be more difficult to put a value on the other spouse's contributions.

Refinancing or assuming a mortgage in a divorce

Divorcing spouses often wish to remain in the family home they have lived in for many years. This presents no challenges when an agreement can be reached and primary residences are owned free and clear, but matters become more complicated when a mortgage is involved. In these situations, Alabama spouses usually decide between assuming a joint mortgage and taking out a new loan. Departing spouses generally require joint mortgages to be assumed or paid off as they would otherwise remain financially responsible and could be pursued for payment if the loan fell into arrears.

Planning for college expenses after a divorce

Alabama parents who get a divorce are generally not required to pay for their children's college educations, but it may be a matter of concern to some parents anyway. Living in separate households can be costly, and parents may need to prioritize day-to-day living expenses and child and spousal support above college. However, there are still steps parents can take to plan for their child's college education.

Divorce mistakes to avoid

Alabama couples who are going through divorce should beware of potentially costly errors. For example, one man who said he could not afford a certain settlement later made financial boasts on social media that hurt his case. Another common error is not getting the financial paperwork necessary when it is available. Information such as how much was paid for the home and account numbers may be useful years after the divorce as well as during it.

A parental arrangement that's best for the children

When couples get divorced in Alabama, they need to figure out how to take two joint lives and separate them. This includes dividing property, assets and any retirement plans. Parents have the additional challenge of figuring out a guardianship arrangement that is going to be in the children's best interests.

What to know about DNA tests

In Alabama and most other states, if a child's parents are not married when he or she is born, no one is assumed to be the father. Instead, a man may be given the title of alleged father. To prove paternity, a DNA test can be conducted by swabbing a person's cheek. This is both painless and considered to be a reliable method of getting an accurate test result.

Tips for navigating the holidays with children after divorce

One of the hardest periods for parents and children in Alabama after a divorce is the holidays. Parents and children may feel a range of emotions including loss, fear, anger and sadness. However, it is the responsibility of the parents to manage those emotions in a way that allows them to focus on the children during the holidays. This means parents must set aside their feelings toward one another to ensure that children are still able to enjoy themselves.

Coming tax changes create urgency to settle divorces in 2018

Alabama spouses who are ending their marriages have new tax laws to consider, especially if alimony could be part of the final divorce settlement. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will end tax deductions for payers of alimony or spousal support. Divorces completed after Dec. 31, 2018, will be subject to this tax rule. Starting in 2019, those with spousal support obligations will pay income tax on those funds before sending the money to former spouses. This could force some payers into a higher tax bracket. This possible outcome has motivated some people to complete their divorces before the year's end.

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