Couples enter a relationship with longevity in mind. This includes gay and lesbian couples. With legal rights finally being granted to the LGBT community, marriage is now a real possibility, with many families living happily throughout the United States. However, there are times when that initial bliss turns to irreconcilable differences and divorce appears to be inevitable. There are some tricky legal issues involving gay and lesbian couples, and that is why you will want to consult with a law firm that specializes in LGBT family law issues.
Matters Involving Family Law
There are actually quite a few different areas of family law that affect the LGBT community. Our firm is uniquely qualified to handle any of them. There are times when child custody issues enter into the mix. This might involve questions of child visitation, who maintains the parental rights over the children, and what, if any, legal rights the grandparents have after the divorce is finalized. These are all serious matters that affect the well being of a child, so the judicial system often becomes involved at various levels.
In incidences involving spousal or child abuse, a family law attorney should be consulted as well. This is particularly true if you are the one that has been accused of such a crime. You will want legal representation on your side in order to protect your rights. If there are children involved, your rights as the parent could be placed into jeopardy. These are issues similar to that which all married couples face, so the LGBT community is certainly not unique in this regard. At the same time, you will want to have a lawyer who specializes in gay and lesbian family law due to the social stigma that still revolves around those of the sexual minority.
Issues of Divorce
While one should never enter a marriage thinking about divorce, this eventuality does happen to even the intentioned of gay and lesbian couples. Family law will deal with matters related to divorce, and you will want to have a lawyer working with you to protect your financial and other interests. Even in cases where the break up is most amicable, it is helpful to have a family law attorney look through the settlement agreement just to make sure that everything is in order. There are some divorces that are rather complex, and this may require going to court in order to reach a judicially mandated settlement. In order to ensure that it is fair to all parties involved, you will want to have a family law attorney there representing you.
Retaining a LGBT Family Law Lawyer to Assist You
Dealing with issues related to family law can be rather emotional. You may encounter feelings of extreme anxiety, frustration, and a range of other emotions. It is important to remain calm and to approach the issues with the resolve that is necessary. This is why you will want an LGBT family law lawyer working on your case from the beginning.
Consult with our attorneys today to learn more about the many ways that we can help you. Schedule a consultation, ask us your questions, and allow us to advise on the course of action moving forward.
What is a statement of net worth?
A statement of net worth is a summary of an individual’s financial condition at a particular moment in time. Consequently, a statement of net worth can change quite frequently. This statement lists all of an individual’s assets and liabilities. The basic formula for calculating net worth is simply net worth = assets – liabilities.
If a person’s assets exceed their liabilities, he or she has a positive net worth. Conversely, if a person’s liabilities exceed their assets, he or she has a negative net worth.
Assets are simply defined as anything a person owns that has any monetary value. Note that the statement of net worth does not include one’s future income such as annual salary. The statement only includes any liquid assets such as money held in a bank, investment and/or retirement account(s), and the fair market value of non-liquid assets a person owns such as personal property (e.g., artwork, jewelry, vehicles) and real property (e.g., home, rental property, land).
Logically, liabilities are defined as any obligations a person owes to another. Simply put, any financial obligation, which has a balance that exceeds zero, is a liability. Liabilities commonly include mortgages, credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, as well as any other judgment, lien, bill, loan, or line of credit, which an individual is obligated to pay.
Despite being married, a couple’s net worth may not be split evenly. It is quite likely that one spouse may have a greater net worth than the other. As a married couple, it is important to consider the rules of every state in which the couple has lived. Specifically, the statement of net worth must include assets or liabilities that reflect whether the property was acquired when the couple lived in a community property state or a common law state. The following states are community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Alaska allows married couples the option to opt into the community property system.
Common Law States
Property will be divided based on whose name is on the deed or title documents. If such documents only bear one of the spouse’s names, that spouse alone can include the value of the property on his or her net worth statement. However, if the title document bears each of their names, they will split the property’s value evenly when determining each spouse’s net worth.
Community Property States
Generally speaking, any money earned and any property acquired during the course of a marriage in a community property state is split evenly between each spouse. This is done irrespective of how much the spouses earned or contributed individually. Separate property is any property acquired prior to marriage or acquired at any time by either gift or inheritance.
Example: A couple is married and purchases a home in a community property state. The home is worth $100,000 upon dissolution of the marriage. Each spouse’s statement of net worth will include an asset value equal to half the value of the home, or $50,000. Even if the couple originally married in a common law state, a consequent move to a community property state requires the application of community property rules.
Like any general rule, there may be applicable exceptions. Determining how to divide assets and liabilities when preparing a statement of net worth can be a complex tax. It is always advisable to consult a divorce attorney NYC that specializes in family law issues for further guidance.