Now That You’re Officially a Couple … It’s Time to Review Asset Ownership

Newlyweds and new cohabitants have some big decisions to consider.

Specifically, how to manage their finances and assets.

  1. Do you share everything you both have? Joint ownership across the board. Put everything in both names.

  2. Do you each share part of what you have? His assets and her assets in separate names, but also some joint ownership assets in both names.

  3. Do you share nothing you have? Strictly his and her assets in separate names.

The choices depend in part on the ages of both partners, whether either partner has children from previous relationships, risk tolerance of each partner, the relative incomes of each partner, whether either partner has substantial assets accumulated already.

There are two possible scenarios to consider: separation by choice or by death of a partner.

Last but not least …

  • Prenup?

  • Postnup?

Read more in this Morningstar article: Should Merged Lives Mean Merged Finances?.

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With High Incomes and Low Child Support Calculations, Maryland Legislature Considers Updating Its Two Decades Old Child Support Guidelines

Maryland last reviewed its child support amounts in 1988, twenty-two years ago.

Expenses of childrearing have risen substantially since then.

The state legislature is now considering a bill that would update child support calculations.

The proposed legislation has its political opponents though.

Maryland is one of only nine states that has not re-evaluated its child support figures since the federal government first required uniform guidelines.

Maryland leads the nation in median income.

Yet Maryland trails forty states in child support amounts.

Imagine not getting even a cost of living pay raise for twenty-two years.

Not so good for Maryland’s children.

Read more in this Washington Post editorial: Md. is behind the times and the cost of living on child support.

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Three May Be a Crowd, But They May Have to Co-Parent in California

California lesbian couple have Twins.

Both partners are listed on Twins’ birth certificates and Twins’ have both partners’ names in their hyphenated surnames.

Shortly after Twins’ births, couple breaks up.

Biological Mother (Bio Mom) then takes up with sperm donor-Biogical Father (Bio Dad).

Lesbian couple had made no formal legal arrangements between themselves or, for that matter, with Bio Dad regarding Twins.

Bio Mom’s former lesbian partner (Other Mom) files paternity suit to get visitation with Twins.

California trial court orders shared legal custody of Twins between Bio Mom and Other Mom on a temporary basis.

Bio Mom, Other Mom and Bio Dad settle case, continuing same terms on permanent basis. Bio Dad’s rights, if any, are not known.

Bio Mom reportedly settled the case to avoid costly and drawn out litigation.

Read more in this Santa Cruz [CA] Sentinel article: Former Santa Cruz lesbian partners settle paternity suit.

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Not Quite as Puzzling as With a Sperm Bank Donor But, Still, Four Possible Fathers of Indian Baby in the Eyes of the Law

Nurse and Husband have a Baby.

Only Nurse alleges that she was raped … by Doctor … and his Son … and that Husband is not Baby’s father.

Nurse presses charges against Doctor and Son.

Doctor defends that he donated sperm so that Man could have a child via artificial insemination and a surrogate mother … Nurse.

Doctor is acquitted of rape charges, but there remains the question of: who is Baby’s legal father?

Is it:

  1. Husband
  2. Doctor
  3. Son or
  4. Man?

Indian Court orders DNA paternity test for Father and Son.

Meanwhile, Man presses charges against Nurse for keeping Baby and cheating him out of money.

Doctor seeks a stay of the paternity test, maintaining that the test could prove the child illegitimate and subject him to stigma.

Appellate court agrees and stays paternity testing.

Read more in this [India] Daily News and Analysis article: Can a baby have four fathers? SC stays paternity test.

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Divorces On Hold … Because Legislature in Session

Wife wants divorce.

Wife files for divorce … one year ago.

Divorce is going nowhere.

How come?

Husband is a state legislator in Missouri.

And Missouri state law allows legislators to put court cases against them, even divorce cases, on hold while the legislature is in session … which, presumably, is most of the time.

So, must Missouri children in need of support wait until their parent loses an election then?

Read more in this Kansas City Star article: Divorce, General Assembly style.

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Boyfriend With Extensive Domestic Violence History Faces Life Imprisonment for Allegedly Torturing His Girlfriend’s Cat and Several Violations of Order of Protection Girlfriend Has

Girlfriend has injunction for protection against domestic violence entered against Boyfriend.

Boyfriend allegedly violates order of protection multiple times, showing up at Girlfriend’s home, calling her and threatening her.

Boyfriend is arrested for torturing Girlfriend’s cat and several counts of first degree criminal contempt for violating domestic violence restraining order. Boyfriend is held without bail.

From jail, Boyfriend calls his aunt.

And Boyfriend tells her that, upon his release, he will put five bullets into a gun, one meant for Girlfriend, one for each of Girlfriend’s two children, one for himself and one extra.

Boyfriend has previously been convicted of four felonies and of eighteen misdemeanors, including attempted assault, three times, attempted burglary and aggravated criminal contempt.

Boyfriend faces incarceration for twenty-five years to life if convicted of the current charges.

Read more in this [Rochester, NY] Democrat and Chronicle article: Alleged threats cause bail denial.

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Play It Again, Sam: New York Legislator Proposes No-Fault Divorce

Once again, a New York State legislator has sponsored a bill to allow for no-fault divorce in New York.

New York is the only state that still doesn’t offer an option for a true no-fault divorce.

And even this latest incarnation of a no-fault divorce proposal in New York applies only to uncontested divorces, where the spouses agree upon a settlement.

New York’s current divorce law makes for unnecessarily contentious and expensive divorces. But, despite this, all past efforts to adopt no-fault divorce in New York have failed.

Read more in this New York State Bar Association press release: State Bar Association Commends State Senate Committee on Judiciary for Advancing No-Fault Divorce Legislation.

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Mother Allegedly Solicits Kidnapping of Son from Father

Florida Mother and Father have eight year old Son.

Mother and Father break up.

Mother moves to Seattle.

Father and Son remain in Orlando.

Mother supposedly hears that Father and Son are homeless.

Mother allegedly asks friends in Orlando to “get” Son.

The two men reportedly “get” Son from a motel.

And are arrested for kidnapping Son, a felony.

Mother allegedly tells authorities how to find the kidnappers.

Son is found in good condition.

There reportedly is no evidence of Son’s malnourishment or deprivation.

Mother may also face criminal charges in this matter.

Read more in this Palm Beach Post news article: Police: Men arrested after they kidnapped Orlando child.

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Mandatory Marriage Counseling Prior to Divorce … Oklahoma Considers Taking the Plunge

Oklahoma has the third highest divorce rate in the country.

More than half of all marriages there go by the boards.

In 2007, the state had over 28,000 marriages – and almost 19,000 divorces.

A lot of divorces for a state of reportedly regular churchgoers.

The high rate of divorce in Oklahoma is blamed on widespread poverty, teen pregnancy and early marriages.

In an effort to curb divorce, a conservative state legislator has sponsored legislation to require counseling both prior to marriage and prior to divorce.

Some oppose the legislation as too intrusive.

Others feel the social benefits of the legislation justify the intrusion. For example, divorce and childbirth by singles costs US taxpayers $112 billion per year.

The proposed legislation also includes an option for covenant marriage, in which couples agree upfront to premarital counseling and to restrictions on their own right to divorce.

Read more in this Associated Press article: Okla. conservatives debate divorce legislation.

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Man Accused of Murder of His Son’s Mother and Under Cloud of Suspicion in Their Baby’s Death

Mother and Father have Baby together.

Mother and Father split up.

Mother obtains injunction for protection against domestic violence from Father.

During Father’s timesharing with Baby, Baby becomes “unresponsive” and subsequently dies.

Mother believes Father is responsible for Baby’s death.

Case is still under investigation.

Father allegedly violates domestic violence restraining order, when he goes to memorial service for Baby.

Then Mother is stabbed to death.

Police suspect Father.

Father reportedly violates order of protection again during that incident.

Father has previously served fourteen years in prison.

The judge set Father’s bail at $1,000.

Read more in this [Tampa] WTSP TV 10 news article: Father of Laura Taft’s baby suspected in her murder and this [Tampa] Bay News 9 TV news article: Laura Taft murder suspect reportedly on suicide watch.

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