Newark Family And Estate Law Blog

Here's what you must do to pass on your digital assets

When you create an estate plan these days, you need to worry about more than the money in your bank or retirement account, your house and the things in it.

We own a lot more than what we can see.

California pet owners now can file for custody in divorce

In many families in California, there are two kinds of "kids": the two-legged kind and the four-legged kind.

When it comes to the two-legged ones, parenting plans are set, custody is ordered by a judge and parents arrange pick ups and drops offs of their children.

Are you estranged from a presumed beneficiary?

Despite what we would all like to believe, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to be estranged from a child. As the saying goes, you cannot choose your family. Sometimes people simply don’t get along, and that can breed more problems that eat away at the family tree.

When it comes time to create or update an estate plan, some parents question just how to handle their estranged child in their documents. Here are some considerations.

Do legal changes remove the incentive to pay alimony?

Technically, people should not need an incentive to make their alimony payments and to make them on time. They're legally obligated to do so by the court order. That's all the incentive they need.

However, some experts are worried that recent changes to the law could make people less likely to pay.

Understanding why you want a prenup makes it easier to talk about

Some couples have a very hard time talking about getting a prenuptial agreement. They find it stressful and awkward. Maybe you do not even know how to get the conversation started.

One thing that helps is to understand exactly why you want it. When you can explain this to your spouse, it makes things far easier. It also breaks down the misconception that you already expect the marriage to fail.

Survey shows that most Americans don't get an inheritance

The idea of an inheritance is fairly universal, and most people you ask may say that they expect to get one someday. However, one survey showed that is not the case at all, as most of the people who responded had never gotten one.

In the survey, a mere 22.5 percent of people claimed they had been given an inheritance.

How to tell if you can request a modification of custody

If you're interested in modifying the child custody arrangement that you have with your ex, the key is to focus on your child's best interests when you ask for the change.

The court does not want to change an existing custody order for frivolous reasons. For instance, perhaps you feel angry that your ex has started dating someone new. You decide to seek full custody of your child simply as a way of getting back at your ex for this new romantic relationship.

Sentimental items have a subjective value

When dividing an estate, it is often easiest for children to simply auction off minor assets and possessions that they do not need and that no one really wants. They can then split the money up evenly and ensure that everyone actually gets the same value out of those assets.

However, one major issue is that the true "value" of an item cannot always be determined at auction or by an appraiser. If the object in question has some sentimental value to any member of the family, then the value of that item could be far above the price it would ever fetch on the open market. Additionally, heirs may be hesitant to sell sentimental items, making it impossible to divide that value between multiple children.

Avoiding probate in California

You maybe have heard about probate before. Oftentimes the term holds negative connotations. Many people want to avoid this process, but don’t fully know why. These bring up various questions, and it’s important to learn more about it early on. In doing so, you will know whether it’s necessary or not.

Should you tell your kids about divorce alone?

Your spouse asks you for a divorce. Later that day, while you're at home waiting for the kids to get back from school and your spouse is at work, you start wondering how you should approach this. Do you just tell the kids about the divorce by yourself as soon as they get home, or should you wait for your spouse?

There are a couple of things to consider here. As much as you want to talk about something this big in your life, you also don't want to rush it. Never tell the kids that a divorce is coming before it is 100 percent certain. If your spouse just said it in the heat of the moment, you need to talk about it a lot more before breaking that news to anyone else.

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