An Interesting Approach to Estate Planning
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Paul Sullivan author of "The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of The Super Wealthy" and “Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t” interviews John A. Warnick, founder of the Purposeful Planning Institute.
Massachusetts Bill Prohibiting Divorcing Parents from Having Sex Is a No Go
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Boston Globe recently ran an article reporting that Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) had introduced a bill which would prohibit divorcing parties from having a "dating or sexual relationship" until "a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved." Fortunately, it appears even Senator Ross does not support this Bill and it was merely introduced after receiving a request by one of his constituents. There are so many things wrong with the proposal it is hard to mention them all, but I'll try.
This law would be impossible to enforce. Adultery is already a crime. So, this Bill would not add anything to the law that was not already there. The problem is nobody enforces these laws. Police will not stake out your house to see whether you are committing adultery during the pendency of the divorce.
Divorce cases can unfortunately takes several years to conclude. Not to mention the many cases that are only begun after a married couple has been living apart for many years. The Bill takes none of this into account. It only allows such relationships to begin if court permission is granted - the awkwardness of filing that motion! The Probate and Family Court is already over burdened with too many litigants and not enough judges, to have them deciding when someone may or may not have sex is absurd. In any event, if a relationship is detrimental to the well-being of a child, the court will certainly hear a request that that relationship only be conducted outside of the presence of the parties' children.
In any event, it doesn't seem this Bill will get anywhere and I don't think anyone is debating it. So for now, complex decisions as to what is right for yourself, your children and your family will be left out of the hands of the legislature.
How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer
Friday, March 14, 2014
Divorce is difficult no matter what. But choosing a good divorce lawyer can make the process much easier. What makes a good divorce attorney for you depends on your situation, your needs, and your personality. Do you want a fighter who will never back down and litigate to the end or do you want someone more inclined to settle? Maybe neither of those sound good and you want a skilled negotiator who will know when to fight and when you’ve won.
Divorce can be expensive. Don’t get sucked into the allure of a beautiful waiting room in expensive office spaces. Clients just like you have forked over much more cash than they needed to, to pay for that expensive space. Look for an attorney who you connect with. It is important that your goals are aligned and the attorney takes the time to understand your position.
Everyone wants to know about billing rates and retainer requirements upfront, which is understandable. But also know, just because an attorney asks for a small retainer or quotes you a low rate doesn’t mean they won’t use up that retainer very quickly by billing many hours. Then you're stuck in a terrible position, having to pay more, or worse, start over from scratch with a new attorney. Ask at your initial consultation for an idea of how many hours tasks usually take. Attorneys may be able to give you an estimate of the total cost of the case. Also, ask about flat fee arrangements. Flat fees are a great way to avoid the unpredictability of legal costs. You can plan for, and sleep well at night knowing that your legal costs won’t become unaffordable in the future. Also, ask if a prospective attorney will charge for their initial consultations, and if so how much. If you plan to interview a few attorneys before deciding, a high consultation fee may rule out a couple of options.
Lastly, when you meet with your attorney for the first time, bring a pen, paper and list of question you want to ask your attorney. In addition to the standard questions about billable rate, retainers, and flat fees, make sure you ask some questions about how the attorney would handle your case. Ask about next steps that they would take. Ask about how the attorney usually communicates with his clients. Does he email relevant documents or does he prefer to fax? A computer savvy lawyer will save you money by completing tasks more efficiently and better keep you in the loop with frequent communication.
Ultimately, you need to trust your attorney. Are they someone who will do what the say and achieve the right your result for you without charging ridiculous rates?
"Why Every Woman [and man] Should Get A Prenup"
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The writer of Legally Blonde writes a great article for Cosmopolitan magazine titled "Why Every Woman Should Get a Prenup." The key idea here is you don't know what the future holds. Although you may not have much now, you may be wildly successful, or at least have worked to build something up.
Maybe you agree, but how do you approach the topic with your future spouse? Check out the companion article "How to Ask For a Prenup" by Frank Kobola.