We regularly update our blogs. Check out our KalishLawTexas legal blog for posts about family law, wills and trusts and other useful legal information.
The Kalish Law Office blogs are written in-house by our attorneys. Check back frequently for new updates or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a topic!
Below are a few of our most popular blogs which deal with preparing for a divorce, what to do when a loved one dies, splitting assets in a divorce and a checklist for small business owners.
Can you Ever Really Prepare for a Divorce?
Can you really ever prepare for a divorce? Although people handle divorce differently, you can do some advance preparation from a legal point of view. It is harder to prepare emotionally, even if you are the one who desires the divorce, and even you know that it is the only option. Counseling can help prepare you for the emotional ups and downs that follow.
Legally, there are some things that you can do to get ready. Many people try to “tough it out”, not asking for help or advice and hoping that everything will fall into place when the time comes. But having a legal consult well in advance can help make things easier for everyone.
At a legal consult, you can discuss:
1. What are the options for dividing the property?
2. Are any of the property, accounts, or debts likely to be considered one spouse’s “separate property”?
3. How can a family business be divided?
4. How can bonuses that are earned, but not yet paid be divided?
5. What might happen with income tax liability or an income tax refund?
6. What amount of child support am I likely to recieve/be required to pay?
7. What are the options for custody and visitation?
8. What about dating during the divorce?
9. How do I deal with issues of cruelty or infidelity in the marriage?
10. How long does it take to file the paperwork?
11. How will my spouse be notified that I filed?
12. How much does it cost?
13. How long does it usually take to get divorced?
14. How do we do this without missing payments on the house or car?
15. Will I be able to move away with my children after the divorce?
16. Can I buy a home or refinance our home while I am getting a divorce?
17. What if we can’t come to an agreement and have to go to trial?
The initial consult can help you understand all of your options and help you decide if you are really sure that you want to proceed. Everything that you discuss is confidential, and you don’t have to proceed with a divorce. You can go away and think about it and return later, or never.
If you are contemplating a divorce, don’t be hesitant to learn all that you can to help in your decision-making process.
When A Loved One Passes: A Practical and Legal Guide
During a time of grief, it can be difficult to function. This blog entry will serve as a guide to assist the surviving relative or friend, and can be printed and used as a checklist.
Locate the decedent’s Will and Powers of Attorney, if any exist. Read them to see if there are any wishes expressed about burial, cremation or funeral arrangements.
Locate life insurance policies, if any.
Make arrangements for care of decedent’s pets.
Make funeral arrangements (The funeral service will generally assist you with the following:
Decide on burial or cremation, type of funeral service
Decide on obituaries: Local newspaper, hometown newspaper, in professional or trade journal.
Discuss any burial benefits decedent may have, including those for service in the armed forces.
Obtain Death certificates
Notify Medicare/Medicaid/ Social Security/ Pension plans of decedent’s death.
Gather documents which show payment of funeral expenses.
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Make arrangements for care of decedent’s property and for mail pickup.
Have legal consultation:
Bring will, if any exists
Bring copy of death certificate
Discuss generalities of decedent’s family situation, heirs, assets and liabilities.
Get advice on payment of pending bills, dealing with banks or creditors
Bring contact information or names of heirs or potential heirs, if any.
Begin gathering list of property owned and how it is titled
Gather list of debts, including medical debts and funeral expenses.
If the decedent put his/her will in a safe deposit box you may need a court order to open it (unless you have been authorized by the decedent)
If you are going to have to file an action in probate court, you should file within 4 years of the date of death.
There are certain legal requirements under Texas law which relate to notification of heirs and potential heirs, and notification of creditors. There are also laws relating to how a decedent’s estate is handled and persons who accept the responsibility of caring for the assets and debts in an estate can be held liable for wasting or mismanagement of assets in some cases.
It is always advisable to know the laws pertaining to your situation as they will depend on whether you are a surviving spouse, friend, and/or named executor.
How Assets are Split in a Divorce
When a couple is divorced in Texas, both the assets and liabilities are split in a final divorce decree.
A lot of different factors play a part in the decision that is made about how to split the assets. That is why it isn’t advisable to become focused on just one asset or one debt. You have to look at the whole picture.
When the divorce is final, there will be a final court order (decree) that will specify the split. Here are some of the factors that determine how the property and debts will be split:
1. Fault in the breakup of the marriage.
2. Current earning power or earning potential of the spouses. Additional considerations may be physical health or disabilities and whether one spouse supported the other spouse while s/he was being educated or trained, and whether one spouse was a stay-at-home parent.
3. Whether the split is fair to the spouses and the children of the marriage.
4. If there are children from the marriage, where they will be living most of the time, and how the split of property and debts will affect them.
5. Length of the marriage and property and debts accumulated during the marriage.
6. To some extent, whether the spouses own separate property. (Remember, the idea is to look at the “whole picture” and leave the parties in a position to support themselves and the children).
7. Needs of the children. If the children have any special needs these will be considered.
Your attorney will help you in deciding what is best for you and whether it is something you can realistically expect to achieve.
Checklist for Small Business Compliance Issues
It is important to take time to review important deadlines for compliance issues and calendar them on your master administrative calendar. (you should keep both a “paper” and a digital version of the calendar).
Check off each item as you complete it or write “N/A” next to it:
1. I have employees, and I have given Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).my current information. I have an account with TWC and I keep good records of my employees’ hours and pay. ______
2. All of my employees have filled out current I-9 forms, and I know where they are located. ______
3. I will respond promptly to any inquiries from the IRS or TWC, or any filings by current or former employees for unemployment claims or EEOC issues and I have designated someone in my office to be responsible for following up on these. ________
4. I have a business building, and I have an alarm installed. If required, I have gotten an alarm permit from the county authorities so that I won’t be fined later.___________
5. I have business personal property (items and equipment used in my trade) and I know when my yearly county property tax rendition will be due and I have placed that date on my administrative calendar. _________
6. I take credit cards in my business, and I have completed the yearly online certification and will therefore I avoid additional monthly fees for non-compliance. I review my statements every month to be sure that I am aware of any new charges to my business or any changes in policy and I call the credit card company promptly if I do not understand something I read. _________
7. I have a procedure for shredding any documents that have personal information on them, (such as address, social security numbers, health information, background checks, passport information, address and phone numbers, bank account or credit card numbers and the like) whether the information pertains to me or my customers. __________
8. I am careful not to release any personal information about my employees, or potential employees to unauthorized parties and I keep their personal information safe from prying eyes. ______
9. I provide health care services, and I am aware of and I follow all applicable HIPPA regulations, and make sure that my office staff does as well. __________
10. I am informed about online and network security. I have a good virus program and firewall in place and have a trusted IT person to help me maintain that (or am an expert at doing this myself) ___________
11. I have calendared a “yearly review” of my business practices and documents that is separate from my bookkeeping and tax preparation. (tax time may be the most convenient time to perform the review).
12. I have a business attorney who can help me if I get sued, or have questions about business issues and can help me create and update my corporate books, draft and review contracts, leases and real estate documents, help with employment disputes and audits, and help me create a risk management program for my business. ___________
Last updated: February 23, 2016 at 18:02 pm