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Top Ten Financial Tips for Women Divorcing in 2013

Forbes Magazine recently posted an article suggesting the "Five Best Financial Tips for Women Divorcing in 2013" We thought we would expand the list to ten. Most are activites to do BEFORE a divorce is filed. 


1.  Gather financial documents, such as tax returns, end of year statements from banks and brokerage houses.  End of year credit card statments may have a whole year of transactions.  Having good information before a divorce commences can make it go easier. 


2.  Assess your credit.  Get a copy of your credit report, and take steps to protect your credit.  The filing of a divorce may prevent you from taking some steps in this area.


3.  Open bank account and credit cards in your own name.  That way you have funds that are not accessible to your spouse, and a credit card he can't cut off.


4.  Begin to assemble a professional divorce team.  Hopefully, you will have something in your estate othe than tupperware and credit card debt.  Consulting with a divorce attorney, and perhaps others if there are assets or other issues that beg for analysis by experts, is a real good idea.


5.  Be watchful.  If you're think about a divorce, your spouse may be also.  And may already be on a missionto hide assets or income.  Look at the documents that come intoyour view, look at computer screens, and generally assess whether the flow of information has become restricted, or you hear cries how how "business is terrible."  The anecdoctal information you gather can help your divorce team immensely when the time comes.


6.  Keep track of and document significant events.  Your notes to yourself can later help construct a timeline that helps you and your team figure out what has been happening.


7.  Remember that you are married until the divorce decree is signed by the Judge.  There is no common law divorce, where you can feel free to take up a new relationship.


8. Get needed medical and dental work done while you still have coverage while you're married.


9.  Have a safe place to keep your documents that are outside the easy access of your spouse.  It doesn't do you any good to collect helpful if not critical documents if they suddenly disappear.


10.  Protect yourself--physically-- and your confidential information.  Don't allow yourself to be initmindated or worse.  911 is there for a reason.  Change your passwords that allow access to your computers, cell phone, social media, email, and finanacial sites.  Don't use passwords your spouse can  maybe figure out. Have your home and vehicle swept for bugs--and not the six legged kind.


The articles on the website explain in much detail what esle to expect in a Plano,  Ft.Worth, Denton or Rockwall divorce.


Most women find that a consultation with one of our Dallas Divorce Attorneys helps guide them through the pre-divorce-planning and information gathering stage of their life.  The Forbes article is here.

Filed under Family LawTags baby boomers, Dallas divorce attorney, Dallas divorce firm, divorce in the news, gray divorce, Ken Raggio, money problems, older Dallas divorce, retirement savings, Technology and Family Law
Amelia Earhart's Premarital Agreement?

Amelia Earhart was an American icon. She is one of, if not the, most famous female aviators in history. It turns out she was a woman ahead of her time contemplating marriage, according to documents released from Purdue University.


The internet has been abuzz about Amelia Earhart's "prenup." While most people don't remember much about marital property law in 1930s Connecticut, it's pretty clear that this document wouldn't hold water as a modern premarital agreement in Texas. The Texas Family Code demands certain formalities, such as the document must be signed by both parties. This document is not signed by either Amelia Earhart or her (future) husband, George P. Putnam.


Premarital agreements in Texas generally deal with the parties' property. The family code allows broad freedom to arrange marital property rights as the prospective husband and wife wish. This document looks like it doesn't deal with property rights, marital or otherwise, at all.


It looks like a letter from a woman who is contemplating a serious change in her life. She wants to continue her remarkable career and to maintain her privacy as she adds another person to it.  She even asks George to "let her go" in a year if they "find no happiness together." She seems to have a rather different view of monogamy than what was dictated by the customs of the times.  After all, adultery was a crime in many states in the 1930s. 


And, it turns out that she was way ahead of Connecticut. Adultery was illegal in Connecticut as recently as 1990, when four people were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Shortly thereafter, the Connecticut legislature voided the adultery criminal statute.


The letter appears below.


Filed under Popular Culture
Operating Your Law Practice from Your Car...Not!

Ken Raggio presented  a paper and spoke to the Texas Bar CLE conference:  Family Law Technology Couse: From No Tech to High Tech in Two Days held in Austin, TX.


Raggio's presentation was:  Being the "Lincoln Lawyer"-Law Practice Management on the Road.  The title was inspired the movie Lincoln Lawyer where Matthew McConaughey played a lawyer who practiced out of his car as he was driven from courthouse to courthouse.


Raggio infused the live presentation with clips from the movie to highlight points made in the paper.  A major takeaway for the audience was that certain law practices may not be required to be physically located, and that all information and other necessaries could travel with--or be available to-- the lawyer, wherever the lawyer may be.



Tags baby boomers, Dallas divorce attorney, Ken Raggio, social media, Technology and Family Law
US Supreme Court to Consider Gay Marriage (and Divorce!)

The Supreme Court on December 7th agreed to consider -- but not necessarily to decide -- cases that present same-sex marriages squarely to the Court. This follows almost two decades of referendums, statutes, and appellate cases throughout the country on the issues. Texas prohibits same sex marriage in the Texas Constitution, and cases are in the appellate courts on issues such as whether Texas will allow a gay couple legally married in another state to divorce in Texas. 


Technically, the Court accepted for review the core questions of the power of states and of Congress to pass laws that either forbid, or discourage, same-sex marriage. One case taken by the Supreme Court is California’s famous "Proposition 8," a ballot measure approved by the state’s voters in 2008 to take away a marital right that the state Supreme Court had given to same-sex couples. The other case taken is United States v. Windsor, et al on the constitutionality of a part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), providing that the word "marriage" in any federal law or regulation — including hundreds that provide benefits — means only a union of a man and a woman.


One Dallas divorce case involving a gay couple is on appeal, as is one from Travis County.  Obviously the US Supreme Court's ruling would have a tremedous impact on those divorce cases.



Filed under US Supreme CourtTags divorce in the news
Texas Supreme Court approves Do-It-Yourself Divorce Forms

The Texas Supreme Court has approved pro se divorce forms for couples without children or property.


The court is accepting public comment on the forms, but substantial changes are not expected, the Austin American-Statesman and Texas Lawyer’s Tex Parte Blog report.


In its order approving the forms, the court said it was confident they would help address the “burgeoning population” of litigants who can’t afford a lawyer or can’t obtain one through a legal service provider.


Three justices said in a dissenting statement that they feared the forms would result in more people representing themselves even when they can afford lawyers. The statement also expressed concern that litigants would be lulled into believing the forms would adequately address their interests.


A problem inherent in the system-with or without the forms- is the inordinate amount of time that Court clerks and the Courts themselves spend dealing with the pro se divorces.  One long time Dallas County Associate family Law Court Judge recently retired, substantailly becuse  the judge felt overrun with pro se litigants seeking divorces, which by experience, was wrongly requested or done.  If the forms eliminate this problem, great!  But the forms are likely to increase the total time and efforts OUR GOVERNMENT has to pay for to guide hundreds if not thousands of people from square one all the way through the process.


An analagy is: you could build your own car, but would you want to drive it?  No, you would want someone who has done it before...


A problem with pro se divorce is the high probablility of fraud--either in procurement of signatures or in the failure to disclose property such as pension plans, or other assets that are not immediately at hand.  The Supreme Court's order say that this should not be possible, but experience suggests otherwise.


We shall see.


Filed under Family LawTags Dallas divorce attorney, divorce in the news, money problems, retirement savings
Danica Patrick Announces Divorce

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and her husband are divorcing after seven years of marriage, according to news outlets. On another end of the spectrum, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman recently announced they were separating after more than 30 years of marriage. Whether you're a race car driver, a teacher, a movie star or a stay-at-home parent, the decision to end a marriage is one of the toughest decisions our clients have to make. When thinking of divorce, consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help a client understand how the law will effect their family moving forward. 


At Raggio & Raggio, one of our attorneys will explain the law to you in understandable terms, not in legal jargon. We'll ask questions to get at the heart of the issue. We'll explain how a Texas divorce works and work to craft a customized legal strategy to help you best reach your goals.


Using Danica Patrick's case as an example, did she and her husband have a premarital agreement? If their divorce were to be in Texas, Texas law generally enforces premarital agreements. We'll see what happens in Danica's case.



Filed under Popular CultureTags baby boomers, divorce in the news, gray divorce
Technology Demo for Family Lawyers

Ken Raggio demonstrated iPad Apps that are useful for family law attorneys to aid their clients at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers held November 6-9 in Chicago.  Ken and two other presenters at the Technology Symposium demoed leading apps such as TrialPad, TranscriptPad,  Quick Office Pro HD, iAnnotate PDF, Noteability, Omnifocus, Skitch, FastCase, and LawBox among other Apps.  Wireless display of an iPad was demoed, and  the wireless display from an Intel notebook computer to a big screen TV or projector in the Courtroom was profiled. 

Tags Ken Raggio, Technology and Family Law
The Whole Family in a Family Law case--with a Twist!

We are a family law firm-- including within our family.  The firm was, as you may know, founded by my brother's and my parents decades ago. And my son is now a lawyer inthe firm--a third generation Raggio.  So we're Family...in Family Law...


But we've found a case where  a couple's son--a lawyer--was allowed to represent his father against his mother in the divorce!


 In Reno, Nevada, Marie Liapis filed for divorce from her husband Theodore.  And Theodore hired THEIR SON Mark to represent him.  Marie didn't like that and asked the trial court to disqualify Mark, which it did.  But, according to the ABA Journal, the Supreme Court of Nevada disagreed, ruling that Mark could represent his father against his mother.


Talk about frosty conversation at the family gathering for Thankgiving!


Filed under Popular CultureTags baby boomers, Dallas divorce attorney, gray divorce, Ken Raggio, older Dallas divorce