Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Untransferred" Property from a Long-Ago Divorce

If you have a final order of divorce in which you (or your spouse) was awarded property, you should make certain that the proper party has actual title. Not only do you want to be sure that you have what you are entitled to have, but you are also going to want to be sure that your name isn’t still on a title that you DON’T want.
Here are some problems than can occur if property from a divorce has not been transferred.
  1. You attempt to sell a piece of property that you were awarded in the divorce and find that your ex-spouse’s name is still on the deed or title, slowing down or negatively affecting the sale;
  2. You apply for a mortgage or loan and your list of assets and debts is not accurate;
  3. Your ex-spouse, who has a terrible driving record, has an accident with a motor vehicle which is still in your name;
  4. A bank account, investment account or retirement benefit that you counted on does not come through because the final paperwork was not completed.
These situations and more can happen. Generally the parties are instructed to appear at the office of one of the attorneys to sign the proper documents by a specific date. However, one or both parties may be feeling such a sense of relief from the divorce being granted, that they are anxious to move on. The lack of follow -through is usually unintentional.
In some situations, there are no additional documents to be drafted, but the divorce decree itself is adequate to transfer title. In this situation, a certified copy of the divorce decree is used and filed or presented in the proper manner (depending on what is being transferred).
In other situations, more extensive documents may be required (such as documents to split retirement accounts).
If your ex-spouse absolutely refuses to cooperate with the transfer, it may be necessary to file an enforcement action with the court.
If you have lingering issues with property transfer, a family law attorney can help you determine your options.

Kalish Law Office - The Woodlands, Texas  281-363-3700
"Passionate Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."  Family Lawyers, since 1984

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A few simple tips to protect your private info

It’s good to be conscientious and to be clear in your writing. However, you should also keep security in mind.   

Years ago, it was common to include complete Social Security Numbers in important legal documents such as powers of attorney, wills, and the like.  These documents then might be filed in the county records.   Then along came identity theft.   A few years ago the Texas county and district clerks began “redacting” (blacking over) the identifying information that was available to the public and made people vulnerable to theft. 
Times have changed. Keep in mind the following tips when you are drafting, storing or using legal documents.

1.       If you don’t need to give the identifying information, don’t.   We often have clients request that we include their entire social security number, passport number, or driver’s license number on important documents that we are drafting for them. When we ask “why”, we find that the clients are doing this “for identification purposes”.  This usually isn’t necessary. For instance, if the intended audience for your document is your family (your will), your doctor (your health care documents), or your bank (your power of attorney), they already know who you are.   You can put your address and the last 3 digits of the identifying number and that will serve the purpose just as well.  A document can be used along with the production of a actual picture I.D. to whoever is examining it.

2.       Don’t file things in the county records that don’t need to be there.   For instance, a will is valid whether it is filed there or not and most people don’t need to file theirs (in rare circumstances it may be advisable).  You especially do not want to file something in the county record that has detailed information about bank and investment accounts, and includes the full account numbers and institutions.  Ditto for any document that contains a listing of “my valuable property” along with where it is stored.

3.       If you are filing something “for public record” it is just that, public record. 

4.       Don’t leave these types of documents lying around where anyone can see them. Keep all your important documents in a safe place, accessible to you, and to your family member(s) or business associate(s) who “need to know”. 

Now, there are times when you may be required to divulge certain information of a private nature.  But don’t be afraid to ask your doctor, lawyer, accountant or realtor why such information is needed and where, how and for how long it will be stored.  Give only as much information as needed.
Following these tips will help you have better control over who sees your personal information.

 Kalish Law Office: The Woodlands Texas - Business & Family attorneys in The Woodlands Texas
Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference! Since 1984

Monday, December 3, 2012

Is your Ex Spouse Ignoring Court Orders? What to do

If you have a final court order and your ex-spouse is ignoring the orders, you should consult a Texas family law attorney to discuss filing a Motion to Enforce.

A Motion to Enforce the court's judgment is available to enforce a prior court order in a divorce case. The enforcement may be about the division of property, for example, turning over certain assets, money, real estate or property to you.

A Motion to Enforce may also be filed when there is a final court order relating to a child-conservatorship (custody), visitation, child support, medical support or other provisions of a final order.

Here are some examples of specific situationas when a Motion to Enforce may be appropriate in a Texas family law case:

1. One Ex-spouse did not pay certain debts or taxes as he or she was required to do in the court-ordered property division.

2. A parent is ignoring court ordered restrictions (is living with a boyfriend or girlfriend in opposition to the court order, is not allowing the other parent to exercise visitation, has not turned over the child's passport as required, is drinking during or before visits with the children when that has been strictly prohibited).

3. A Ex-Spouse refuses to sign documentation that they have been ordered to sign (to transfer an auto or home or split bank accounts, for instance).

4.  A parent is not paying child support, medical insurance, or health care expenses for the child.

There are times when a Motion to Enforce may be combined with, or may include requests that the judge enter a restraining order or find a party in contempt.  Whether or not this is appropriate depends on the type of "disobedience" that is going on, how serious it is, and whether it poses a threat to the health, safety or welfare of the parties or children.

In divorce cases and other cases affecting children, the court which put an order into effect retains the jurisdiction to enforce it. Therefore if you are having problems because your ex is ignoring a court order, you should see a Woodlands Texas Family Law Attorney to find out how what your options are.

Kalish Law Office.  Divorce and Family Law since 1984