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Having Marital Problems?

Marital problems often come with financial problems. Sometimes marital problems cause debt problems or debt problems cause marital problems.

Choosing an attorney who is familiar with both bankruptcy and marital law can assist you in avoiding some of the pitfalls that result from not considering the implications of or for a future bankruptcy filing in connection with resolving a marriage or considering the implications of a bankruptcy filing on marital rights.

There are several issues a family law court will analyze if the Court is required to resolve your marital dispute. While most cases are resolved by an agreement between the parties, it is important to consider what the Judge will be looking at to resolve the dispute in order to determine the terms of a fair settlement.

If there are minor children, the Court will first consider parental responsibility. The most common option is shared parental responsibility with one party being designated the primary residential parent. This primary residential parent will provide the residence for the child most of the time and the secondary residential parent will be awarded visitation. Both parents should share both information regarding the child and responsibility for making major decisions which will impact the minor child. Standard visitation usually involved alternating weekends and one evening during the week. There are other options such a sole parental responsibility, rotating custody or substantial shared parenting which may be more appropriate for your situation.

If you have a child or children and are having an initial consultation involving issues pertaining to children where you anticipate that you and your spouse will be unable to agree upon with whom your minor child or children will reside, please come to your initial consultation prepared to discuss why the best interests of the minor child would be served by the living arrangement you believe is preferable.

In a paternity case, the issues pertaining to custody of the child should be considered similarly to a dissolution of marriage case except that the Mother is the natural guardian of the child until there is a court determination.

The next consideration is equitable distribution. Assets and debts obtained during the marriage are marital and should be divided between the parties. Each party will not necessarily receive half of each item or debt but should receive the equivalent of half of the net equity of assets or debts of the parties overall. For instance, one party may receive additional assets because he or she is required more debt than the other party. Assets such as retirement and pension plans which were earned during the marriage are marital assets to be divided by the Court.

If you have an initial consultation, you should bring a list of major assets and debts, including with respect to assets what you believe the asset to be worth and the amount and party responsible for any debts owed by you or your spouse, including who is liable for each debt.

Alimony is an additional consideration, for award by the Court where one party has traditionally provided for the support of the other party. Alimony is appropriate under specific circumstances which should be discussed with an attorney. Alimony may be permanent, where one spouse is required to assist the other spouse with support indefinitely, temporary (while the issues are resolved by the court) or rehabilitative which is intended to assist one party until they can become better able to provide for their own support such as to attend school or transition to a different standard of living.

If you or your spouse is the primary bread winner in your family, please come to your initial consultation prepared to discuss the necessary living expenses for both of you such as rent or mortgage payment, utilities, food clothing etc. with a goal of producing a budget which will allocate the available funds in a manner which will allow both parties a reasonable standard of living.

Child Support is awarded to divide the financial responsibility between the parties for raising the children. In most cases, child support is awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines. The guidelines also take into consideration the cost of health insurance for the minor children and seventy five percent of daycare expenses if necessary for one of the spouses to work or attend school. Additional expenses may be included if necessary, generally provided or agreed to by the parties. The parties will typically share the child support obligations, including medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance, in accordance with their respective incomes.

If possible, please come to your initial consultation involving chid support issues with documentation pertaining to the net pay of each party (paystubs are ideal), a breakdown of the cost of health insurance provided by you or your spouse (you or your spouse may have to ask the employer which part of the insurance you pay for is for yourself and which is for dependents) and the cost of daycare.

If your case is a paternity case, the issues relating to child support should handled similar to in a dissolution of marriage case.

Everything Else There may be additional issues which need to be resolved between the parties such as the payment of attorneys fees for the litigation and other matters. If you believe one of these other issues applies to you, please bring the matter to the attention of the attorney during your initial consultation.

Please bring any existing court papers regarding your matter to your free initial consultation with you.

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