• Important Values in a Relationship

    There are certain values, which when inculcated, will surely lead a person into a successful relationship. So what are these values? This article is dedicated to answering this very question.

    Important Values in Marriage

    Marriage is considered as the most sacred institution of our lives. It is a pillar on which today’s society resides, and this has been the case since the dawn of human history. Sadly, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. It does have a few (if not many) flaws. But those marriages that do work are based on certain values.

    Honesty Much has been said and written about honesty, and it is one of the most important values in a relationship. It is a base on which all other values stand. But does honesty mean that you should simply acknowledge your mistake to your partner? The answer is no. Not only should you accept your mistake in front of your partner, but you should accept a mistake to yourself, and admit that you are not perfect. But the road does not end there. There should be a real effort to improve yourself and not commit the same mistake again, ever.

    EqualityEvery wife feels that her husband does not treat her equally. Most often than not, this is actually what is happening. Most marriages end up in divorce because one of the partners does not think of his or her spouse as an equal. Husbands often think that children are the responsibility of the wives, and wives often think that it is a husband’s job to be the bread-winner of the family. Unless and until you don’t start thinking of your significant other as an equal to you in all aspects, you will have problems in your marriage. Sharing every responsibility equally is the foremost commandment of every marriage.

    CommitmentThis is the most important value in any marriage. When you are committed, only to your spouse, then only can you call yourselves truly married. And if you are not committed to your partner, then what’s the point of your marriage? You are being dishonest, not only to your partner, but also to yourself.

    Important Values in Life

    RespectIf you don’t respect a person, then you wouldn’t notice his good qualities. Respect is one of the most important values in a healthy relationship, in that regard. It is such a value in life, which only increases when you give it to others. You simply cannot expect anyone to respect you or your point of view, if you would not do the same to them.

    UnderstandingUnderstanding is the second most important value in life. To give you a common example, many times, a person knowingly commits a mistake. This could be because he does not have any other choice and has a good reason for committing that mistake. Yet, he comes and confesses that mistake. You should try to understand his mistake and the reason for which he committed that mistake. Holding a grudge permanently is only going to cause you anguish, and also to the person in front of you as well. Understanding and letting go is the mantra for having a peaceful mind.

    Discipline Everyone has many duties in life, which they have to shoulder. You have duties towards your parents, as they have brought you up. You have duties towards your siblings, as you grew up with them. You have duties towards your employers, as they are responsible for your livelihood. The only way to shoulder these responsibilities is to be disciplined in your effort. It is a common notion that being disciplined, is to do your work in a routine fashion. But it is not so. Discipline is following the ideal rules of conduct and duties that I mentioned can only be fulfilled through ones self moral code of conduct.

    The values in the above illustration are not only important values in a relationship, but they are important values in society as well. To be successful in any relationship, the mentioned values need to be adhered to and practiced.


  • Dividing up Marital Debts in Divorce

    In a Divorce, just as a couple must divide what they own, so they must divide what they owe. Generally, only a marital debt is divided during a divorce, which means that debt incurred for the joint benefit of the parties during the marriage. Joint benefit does not necessarily mean joint use.

    It is important to know that whatever debt you incur for the marital benefit or on a joint loan account has the provision of equal division. Not all debts incurred during a marriage, however, are marital. Debt incurred through gambling, high living and reckless investment is not a joint responsibility, even when the obligation occurred during the marriage. In court, and however one must prove that a marital debt exists. Sometimes loan taken by a spouse on a credit card having both the names of the partners then they are liable to pay the debt even after a divorce.

    Marital debts is divided in many ways, couples negotiating a divorce can pay it all off when the property is divided, or, they continue to service it jointly, or, they divide it and each take a share of responsibility. Sometimes it is difficult to go for the first option, since the marital debt may exceed the value of the total property. However, it is wise to do so since it removes any future complications in the matter. The second course of action is opted more often as this solves the problem of complex paperwork and calculation and legal issues. The last option is opted by those who do not have a dispute over the debts incurred during the marriage. The value of Business owned by spouse is an important aspect while filing for division of marital debts. Debts incurred in the business are also questionable. If an individuals spouse fails to pay off a car loan or a credit card bill for which the individual is co-signs then, the creditor can – and will – initiate collections against the individual. Therefore, it is very important that during a divorce settlement regarding the division of debts is completed properly.

    Complications arise when after a divorce one of the spouse files bankruptcy. Loans taken are then screened for personal benefits and marital benefits subsequently. As mentioned earlier, couples are responsible for joint loans. Therefore, even if one files for bankruptcy the other will and has to pay the creditors for the joint loans taken. The division of marital debts must take place under the guidance of expert lawyers to avoid future complications and the process of division is for the optimized outcome for both the individuals involved. Equal division of the liabilities and assets places the responsibility of repaying a marital debt on both the individuals concerned. All home mortgage lenders will require refinancing before removing either spouse’s name from the mortgage. The mortgage lender will look solely at the financial situation and debt-to-income ratios of the re mortgaging spouse in determining eligibility for a new mortgage. Thus, mutual marital debt division is the best way of dividing marital debt.

    Here at www.debtfreeacademy.com we include information on credit and debt. Along with learning about credit and debt, we also include teaching material to help teach debt related money skills.

  • Property Issues in California Divorce

    Steel Panther "Community Property" (Making of) DIRTY – watch more funny videos

    What is Community Property?

    California is a community property state in which spouses are entitled, with some exceptions, to an equal division of community property and debts in a divorce (called dissolution in California).

    Community property is all property, in or out of state, that either spouse acquired during the marriage through the efforts of either spouse or with community property funds. This means that, even if only one spouse worked during the marriage and the other stayed at home raising children, both spouses are entitled to one half of the community property. “During marriage” refers to the time period from the date of marriage to the date when the parties legally separate. The date of separation is often contested because it determines the extent of the community property estate. The courts have said that separation occurs where one spouse subjectively intends to end the marriage and does something to evidence that intent. It could be moving out of the family home, telling your spouse the marriage is over, arranging for a new place to live, etc.

    What is Separate Property?

    The parties are entitled to keep their separate property which is not divided in a dissolution. Separate property is any property that is acquired before the marriage, including any rents or profits received from those items; property received after the date of separation with separate earnings, inheritances that were received before or during marriage; and gifts solely to one spouse.

    Do debts and credit cards also have to be divided?

    Debts are also classified as either community or separate property debts. With few exceptions, debts incurred during the marriage are community property debts that will be divided equally in the dissolution. It does not matter whose name is on the debt.

    For example, credit card debts incurred during the marriage are community property debts regardless which spouse’s name is on the credit card. Student loans are one of the main exceptions to this rule. In certain circumstances, the community may be entitled to a re-imbursement if the couple pays off one spouse’s student loans during the marriage. Debts that you incurred before marriage or after separation are separate property debts.

    What happens to the Family Home?

    The family home in California is often the marriage’s most valuable asset. The division of the family home can be complicated if there are minor children and one spouse wants to stay in the home. The community property interest in the home is further complicated where the property is in the name of one spouse and was acquired prior to the marriage but the mortgage payments have been paid from community earnings. Parties should also be aware that if one spouse remains in the property after separation they may be incurring indebtedness to the other party if the fair rental value of the property exceeds the mortgage, taxes and insurance payments on the home. These are called Watts claims. The reverse may also be true. If the spouse living in the house is paying the mortgage which exceeds the fair rental value, they may be entitled to what’s called Epstein credits.

    Am I entitled to a share in my spouse’s pension?

    Another valuable asset in a marriage is a pension or retiremement plan. The non-employee spouse is entitled to a portion of the plan that was earned during marriage. To ensure that any pension settlement is enforceable it is advisable that any settlements regarding pensions are contained in a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” (QDRO) signed by the Court.

    How do I figure out the extent of my husband or wife’s property?

    Each party is required by California law to file a preliminary and final “declaration of disclosure” with the Court that they have served an Income and Expense Declaration and Schedule of Assets and Debts on their spouses. The final declaration can be waived by the written agreement of the parties. The disclosures will list each spouses community property assets and debts and separate property. Most disputes involve the extent and valuation of community property assets. If a spouse tries to hide assets, your attorney can employ various discovery tools forcing a spouse or a third party to turn over financial records. For example, they can subpoena the records of third parties such as banks and CPA’s. In complicated cases it may be necessary to employ the services of a forensic accountant. It is a good idea to minimize this risk by taking some simple steps as part of any pre-divorce planning. You should make copies of important financial documents such as tax returns, W2′s, bank and brokerage statements and keep them in a safe place.

    The law requires the parties to make full disclosure of all their assets and liabilities and also any business investments and opportunities. The case of Marriage of Rossi, illustrates what can happen when one party tries to conceal assets. In 1996 Denise Rossi won $1.3 million in the California State Lottery. She chose to conceal the winnings from her husband and filed for a divorce 11 days after learning of her winnings. She had been married for 25 years. 2 years after the case was over and a Judgment had been entered, her ex-husband discovered that his ex-wife had won the lottery. He filed a Motion and the judge gave all of the $1.3 million dollar lottery winnings to the husband, since the wife had intentionally not disclosed her winnings in the divorce proceedings. News reports indicate that Denise ended up filing for bankruptcy.

    Don’t forget some often overlooked assets!

    Some assets that are easily overlooked but may turn out to be valuable include:

    o Tax refunds

    o Frequent flyer miles

    o Season tickets

    o Prepaid insurance

    o Vacation pay

    o Club memberships

    Are their tax consequences of a property settlement?

    It’s important that you consider the tax consequences of any property settlements during a dissolution. Generally, IRC section 1041 provides that transfers to a former spouse incident to a divorce are not taxable. However, if either spouse agrees to sell an asset as part of a settlement there may be a tax consequence. For example, if parties agree to sell the family home and divide the net proceeds they may have to pay capital gains tax on any gain. The Tax Reform Act 1997 gives each spouse a $250,000 exemption from gain realized on the sale or exchange of the principal residence. Similarly, the tax consequences of distributions from pension plans now or in the future should also be considered.

    © 2007 Warren R. Shiell. All rights reserved.

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    By Warren R. Shiell Esq., Attorney at law, at http://www.la-familylaw.com