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Daycare Costs During COVID-19

child care costs

Question:

My ex removed our child from daycare because she’s afraid of safety during the pandemic. Should I be given a credit since a portion of my child support is meant to go toward daycare costs?

Answer:

I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips for this sort of issue.

Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is that it depends. The reason that it depends, is due to how your support order is written. In my state, any daycare expenses are separate and apart from the “base” support order. If, in your state, all of the child support is lumped together, it would be difficult to determine what portion of the support would be considered for daycare costs.

If you cannot determine what portion of the support is for daycare, then it will difficult to determine if you were entitled to a credit. Further, another consideration is if private childcare, like a babysitter is being used. If so, then the daycare costs could be transferred to the payment of a babysitter.

However, if you easily can determine what the daycare expenses are, then, if daycare is not being utilized, then you generally should receive credit for those payments. That being said, all support orders generally will remain at the current levels unless and until a party to the action files a petition to modify support. The court places the burden on the person seeking a change to the support order to take the affirmative steps to file the modification with the court.

Unless and until there is a modification filed, as mentioned above, the current support order, with daycare costs, will remain in place. In most jurisdictions, changes to a support order only will be effective from the date of filing when a change was requested. Therefore, if you are going to address this issue, you should not wait too long to file a petition with the court. 

Further, please note that some courts will not modify the amount or duration of support if it appears that the change is circumstance is considered temporary.

For example, there is case law that states that a 20-month reduction in income only was temporary. Therefore, a reduction in support was not warranted. Since the pandemic presumably is going to be a limited duration event, the court could consider the change in daycare costs as a temporary change and not warrant a change to the support order. 

Another alternative is to attempt to privately negotiate a temporary reduction in support. If you and the opposing party can come to a private agreement, a stipulation, preferably prepared by an attorney, can be submitted to the court encapsulated the terms of the temporary agreement. 

Any stipulation modifying support/suspending daycare payments must be filed with the court, otherwise, the original support order will continue to be in full force and effect, and the court will not know that the terms have been modified.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce attorney Caroline Thompsoncontact Cordell & Cordell.

The post Daycare Costs During COVID-19 appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Preventive Legal Care: Relatively Simple Things Make Large Differences in Legal Costs

Preventive Legal Care: Relatively Simple Things Make Large Differences in Legal Costs

Originally published by Nacol Law Firm – Dallas TX.

A commentary by Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol,
of the Nacol Law Firm PC.

*In our current state of a national emergency in the United States, we feel that this blog rings true for all individuals and families as we enter into a serious unknown territory in your lives.  

During the last 30 years of general practice in a number of civil areas, I have had the opportunity to observe repetitive mistakes and decisions made by clients in regard to whether or not preventive legal care is cost-worthy.

Most prudent people do not think twice about having their teeth cleaned, becoming vaccinated for the flu or other childhood illnesses, going to their doctor if they are dizzy, having speech problems or other symptoms of stroke diagnosed or changing the oil in their automobile.

The average person clearly acknowledges the flu shot is definitely preferable to two weeks in bed.  Basic dental hygiene trumps a root canal every time.  A blood thinner medication is far preferable to paralysis or brain damage, and early detection of cancer or other invasive diseases, may significantly improve prognosis for recovery.

On the other hand, when it comes to the ordinary individual’s legal needs, I have noted throughout the years and continue to note a juvenile and somewhat cavalier attitude.  The result is denial and refusal to consider relatively small fees required to bring preventive legal care into play.

Depending on the size and nature of a man, woman or a couple’s estate, probate planning in the form of wills, durable powers of attorney, medical directives, medical authorizations, medical powers of attorney, testamentary and/or intervivos (living) trusts can avoid future attorney’s fees from 50 to 100 times the amount required for preventive care.  Probate and/or litigation without a will in a large estate, disability, dementia, Alzheimer disease or other medical issues requiring guardianship and/or extraordinary legal procedures vastly exceed the basic costs of preventive care.  The cost of fixing the legal problem after the event is extraordinary versus the simple matter of preventive legal care in the first place.  Fees ranging from $500 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of the estate or matter, at first blush might appear large but may frequently be increased by 2 to 3 zeros in complicated, complex litigation that can last for years.

Marital prenuptial agreements are emotionally delicate, but may be a useful and significant tool to provide creditor protection throughout a marriage and reduce the cost of dissolving a marriage, an unfortunate circumstance, by thousands and thousands of dollars.

A properly prepared and executed contract for the purchase and sale of land or for the purchase and sale of a business when accomplished before the transaction is essential in fixing the rights of the parties, establishing enforceability of their promises and the cost necessary to force compliance with those promises.  Time after time, I find a client who comes into my office and looks at me with dog eyes and says, “Can you help me in this business transaction?  I’ve already signed the contract.”  My response, of course, is “Yes, it is my pleasure.  But, it is going to be far more expensive now than if you had simply prophylactically entered into an enforceable agreement prior to the conduct you allege is fraudulent or the subject of a breach at this time.”

The examples above may be extended into almost every area of the law.  Why in the world would anyone want to market an invention, a well known mark of their business or trade, a manuscript or other written document without first having protected those items through trademarks, patents, copyrights or, at the very least, non-disclosure agreements?  A common complaint echoed throughout the years has been the significant cost of the judicial system and the financial burden of enforcing one’s right in the courts of law of the state or federal government.  With a bit of foresight and ingenuity and the help of an ethical, competent attorney, and the willingness to spend a smaller sum of money, many of the problems, disappointments and disenfranchisement with the judicial system may be bypassed altogether.

In closing, I am reminded of the classical advertisement by Mr. Goodwrench.  “Pay me now or pay me later.”  Preventative maintenance of the most important legal aspects of your life are as important as preventive maintenance of your car.  Have you priced a new engine versus a can of oil lately?

*In thinking about the current National Medical Emergency, now is the time to think about your loved ones and family.  In the case of illness or death, will they be protected or have to experience multiple problems with an old will or, more seriously, no will at all on your estate.  Be proactive and review your legal documents now to help alleviate difficult probate situations.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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The Hidden Costs of Divorce

The Hidden Costs of Divorce

The hidden costs of divorce can be overwhelming when paired with the already expensive standard costs. Read on to learn about the fees you’ll have to pay.

The post The Hidden Costs of Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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reduce costs during divorce

Ways To Reduce Costs During Divorce

reduce costs during divorce

 

If you thought the wedding was costly just wait until the divorce! Though the cost of a divorce can widely range, the average cost is anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000. There is also a huge emotional cost to bear on yourself and your family.

Luckily there are some steps you can take to ease the process on yourself and on your wallet and reduce costs during divorce.

Do your own research, use a lawyer only when necessary

The first step is to do your own thorough research. There are many free resources out there that can give you an edge in your case. For instance, you can find your state’s laws on divorce and understand procedures that must be followed. Know what will be in store for you during the divorce process so you can prepare.

This new found knowledge will not only help you communicate better with your lawyer but also with your spouse when negotiating. It will also help you to better budget when you know what costs you are about to incur.

Though hiring a lawyer may be smart in most cases keep your use of them to a minimum. Lawyers can quickly become expensive especially if you have hired one who works on an hourly wage versus a retainer. Your lawyer may seem like the perfect to person to vent to about your marital issues and while they may offer you some real advice it will certainly not be for free. Additionally, if you have a simple question that can be found online do not waste your time or money seeking this answer from your lawyer.

Be open-minded and do not let your emotions steer you

Of course, going into the divorce process you will have some ideas of what you want and what you think you deserve. But you should not by any means refuse to budge on these concepts. Your spouse is going to go into the process with certain demands as well but you will not be able to achieve anything if you are not willing to compromise. This will also help you save money by shortening the amount of time it will take to sort your issues out.

Furthermore, divorces are a particularly personal subject which means it will be an emotional one. Whether it is only property that needs to be decided or there are children in the mix it will be hard to take an objective perspective on the process. However, the less you let your emotions influence you the easier the process will be in the long run.

Maintain an amicable or working relationship with your ex

This can help significantly with your divorce though it is not always possible in reality. Part of this falls under the same category of relying less on your lawyer. The more details you and your spouse can work out privately the less time you will have to spend going through the same issues with lawyers. Just be sure that you both agree on the issues so there is no misunderstanding later on.

Moreover, divorces are never exactly fair but having an amicable relationship with your ex can help ensure that it is as close as possible. Though your marriage may have not worked it does not mean that the end has to result in catastrophe. It can also help to ease the pressure on children and other family members when going through this difficult time.

Uncontested divorces will save you a large chunk of money in the long run. Additionally, if you and your spouse are open to it, you can explore the possibility of a collaborative divorce which will involve group meetings rather than having adversarial lawyers. This is a great option if it is only the bigger issues you and your spouse are having trouble deciding. All of these routes will save you precious time and money.

Know your finances

If your husband has largely handled most of the money during your marriage it is time to become educated about your finances including your assets and debts. Try to keep track of important records such as tax returns or insurance policies. Otherwise obtaining duplicates may cost you. It will also save you from having to pay your lawyer to spend his or her time finding these types of documents.

If the case proceeds to court it is very important to know your income and report it accurately otherwise you will cost yourself more in the end. If the truth is withheld in court the judge can impose large fines or penalties.

You should also keep track of your finances regarding your lawyer. You should know what each item on your invoice is for and why you are paying for it. Make sure that the bill matches what you have previously agreed upon and that you are not being cheated. While sometimes it can be a simple clerical error it can save you hundreds. Your attorney may charge less for an email versus a phone call so make sure you are clear on this before you choose which you will pursue.

Keep litigation as a last-ditch effort

Lastly, avoid litigating your divorce at all costs. Litigating can be very expensive especially compared to the other options outlined and it may not give you the verdict you desire. Taking your divorce to court will cause the process to be significantly lengthened thus costing you more money in the end.

Other than being lengthy, court can be a very public option exposing you and your family to unwanted attention. It is important to note that litigation should only be used when all else fails because when the case is decided in court it is final. What the judge says goes and you no longer have a say in your personal affairs.

Overall, you should be well educated about the divorce process before you choose a lawyer or your method to resolve your marital issues. Having prior knowledge is the best way to save your time, money and emotional state. Best of luck.

 

The post Ways To Reduce Costs During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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