Archive for June, 2014

How to Get Un-Stuck When Divorce Negotiations Break Down

Monday, June 30th, 2014

If you are going through a divorce, there may come a time when you feel stuck, as if you are unable to make any forward progress in negotiating with your soon to be former spouse about how the divorce should be settled. Fortunately, there is a way to get un-stuck so that the conversation can resume. After all, settling a divorce is often quicker and results in better outcomes for both parties than litigation would provide, so why not try to get past that invisible barrier that is preventing you from moving forward in your divorce negotiations.

In case you are wondering how we know about that invisible barrier, it is because many clients encounter it as they move through their divorces. The clients who can get past the barrier often go on to settle their divorce cases, while those who remain stuck behind it usually proceed to litigation.

The invisible barrier that may be holding you back from fully engaging in the process of negotiating an outcome to your divorce may actually be more of a question than an actual barrier. The question often sounds something like this: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” Choosing one response may keep you stuck, while choosing the other is likely to help you move forward.

Sometimes, it is easy to become so concerned with being “right” that you lose sight of what it is that you are trying to accomplish. For example, you may be trying to resolve your divorce in a way that will leave you with a comfortable amount of money to live off of when you retire. However, if you were hurt by your spouse, such as in the case of a marriage that ended because of an affair, you may decline to accept a proposed settlement offer from your soon to be former spouse which would provide you with a very generous portion of his retirement benefits in exchange for forgoing alimony, simply because you want to make him pay the maximum price for hurting you. You may feel as though it is not fair that you would have to choose between receiving alimony now and receiving a generous amount of retirement benefits later on. Unfortunately, your attachment to what you feel the result should be could prevent you from agreeing to a settlement that would give you exactly what you say that you want out of your divorce.

In contrast, when a person chooses to go with an option that will make them happy, even if that means that they cannot claim that they are “right”, they are likely to accept a settlement offer that will help them to accomplish the goals that they have stated that they wish to achieve through their divorce. If you have come to a standstill in your divorce negotiations, try asking yourself whether a need to be “right” is holding you back from accepting a settlement offer that would meet your needs.

While your Mississippi Divorce Attorney cannot make decisions regarding proposed settlement offers for you, they can help you to analyze whether a particular offer will help you to accomplish the things that are important to you. To find out how Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you navigate the divorce process, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.

Why Math Matters in Divorce

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Math. For many people, this four letter word ranks among many of the “other” four letter words that are simply obscene. Whether you are a math whiz or not does not matter. What does matter are the numbers that you see during your divorce, so it is important that you pay close attention to them.

Many clients approach their divorces with at least some idea of what they would like the result to be. They think about what items of property they would like to receive through the property distribution, and they think of other things that are important to them. What may not figure in to these initial thoughts about what a party might wish to accomplish through their divorce is how much all of those things are worth.

A fifty-fifty division of “worth” in a divorce is rare, but the more general idea of “fairness” that is often applied to the process of assessing a proposed division of assets does not preclude worth from entering into the equation. In fact, the numbers which are associated with the various aspects of a divorce can help parties to decide whether a proposed property division or other agreement will give them a fair share of things.

One area in which numbers matter very much is the disposition of the marital home. Couples have options regarding the disposition of their home, which is often their most valuable asset. One spouse can buy out the other at the present time, or can arrange to do so by a later date. The home could be put on the market right away, with the proceeds being split between the parties. There are other options too, such as paying rent or occupying the home for a number of years and then letting the other party occupy it for the same number of years. Since options can be as creative as parties want them to be, it is essential that parties understand the costs of each option that is presented to them.

Unfortunately, when you take a closer look at the numbers in your divorce case, you may find that the set of agreements which would give you the best “deal” financially are not the agreements that you had envisioned yourself making. Things like selling the home and splitting the proceeds often give both parties a better “deal” than either would get with a future buyout. Also, if a party does not take a close enough look at the numbers which are reflected in a proposed settlement, they are in danger of accepting a “deal” that does not give them an equitable share of the assets which are involved in the divorce. This often happens when one party just wants “out” of the marriage and desires a quick settlement. If this applies to you, take the time to check the math, and do not accept a settlement offer which does not give you a fair deal.

While you may need to consult with a CPA to understand some of the numbers in your Mississippi divorce, a Mississippi Divorce Attorney can help you to understand the divorce process and pursue the results that you desire. Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole is an experienced Mississippi divorce attorney who is known for achieving favorable results for his clients. To find out how Matthew can help you, call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.

What is Incurable Insanity?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Mississippi courts require couples to tell them why they should be granted a divorce. The State of Mississippi recognizes twelve grounds, or reasons, for divorce. One of the grounds upon which a divorce may be granted in Mississippi is that one of the parties suffers from incurable insanity.

Unfortunately, when people speak about divorce, they often use exaggerated terms to describe their ex, or soon to be former spouse. They may say “he’s crazy”, or “she is totally insane”. Much of the time, these statements are made based upon the speaker’s opinion of the person that they are talking about, and not on any actual psychological diagnosis.

Since incurable insanity is a legally recognized grounds for divorce in Mississippi, it is important that parties who are thinking of filing for divorce based upon this reason understand the difference between incurable insanity and the more common mental-health themed insults that many divorcing parties sling around carelessly. Incurable insanity is a serious condition and there are strict criteria that the purportedly sane spouse must meet in order to qualify for a divorce due to incurable insanity. For example, one requirement is that the allegedly insane spouse must have been confined to an institution for at least three years, or have been deemed incapacitated as per a diagnosis from a medical professional for at least that long.

In order to qualify for a divorce based upon the grounds of incurable insanity, the purportedly sane spouse must prove that he or she was unaware of the insane spouse’s insanity at the time of the marriage or that the insane spouse started to suffer from their insanity during the marriage. This requirement serves to make this particular reason for divorce unavailable to anyone who was aware of a prospective spouse’s insanity and chose to marry them anyways. Interestingly enough, the definition of insanity varies depending upon who you ask. Some people consider it to be most relevant in criminal matters, for the purpose of determining whether an individual had the capability of understanding that their actions were wrong. To further complicate matters, there is not a “diagnosis” of insanity that comes from the DSM. In fact, psychologists are more likely to diagnose a mentally ill individual with a specific type of mental illness than they are to say that the person is “insane”. For this reason, individuals who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses may qualify for a divorce based upon incurable insanity if their illness has resulted in institutionalization or incapacity.

There are a number of ways in which a divorce based on the grounds of incurable insanity is likely to differ from a divorce based upon one of the other grounds for divorce. One difference is that since incurable insanity makes participating in legal proceedings difficult, a guardian may represent their interests in the divorce case. Also, while awards of alimony are becoming less and less common due to the shrinking income gap between men and women, if your spouse’s insanity renders him or her incapable of providing for his or her own financial needs, the court may award alimony in your case.

If your spouse suffers from incurable insanity, you may be interested in divorcing them. In a matter as important as a divorce, it is essential that you retain an experienced Mississippi Divorce Lawyer who understands the divorce process. To learn more about how Jackson area divorce attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you, call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule your free initial consultation.


Helping Your Mississippi Divorce Attorney Help You

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Hiring a Mississippi Divorce Attorney is by far the best way to ensure that you get what you need out of your Mississippi divorce case. That said, Mississippi Divorce Attorneys are able to obtain better results for some clients than they are for others. This can happen for various reasons, one of which is that an attorney’s ability to help his or her client depends in large part on the client’s willingness to assist the attorney.

The attorney-client relationship is just that, a relationship. Your attorney needs your help in providing them with information, documents, and other things that they need in order to represent your interest in your divorce proceedings. When you do your best to give your attorney what they request of you, within the time frame that they request to receive it, they can do their best work on your behalf.

Being on time is one of the most important things that you can do for your attorney. If you have an appointment, showing up at the appointed time ensures that both you and your attorney will have the full amount of time that you were expecting to have to discuss the progress of your case. If your attorney asks that you provide them with information by a certain date, please be sure that you supply them with all of the information that is requested by the specified date. Divorce cases involve a number of deadlines, and when your attorney needs information from you, they usually need it so that they can prepare and submit important documents to the court in time to meet those deadlines. When you consider the context within which your attorney asks you for information, it is easy to see how your ability to provide the requested information on time directly affects the progress of your divorce case.

As in all relationships, honesty is an essential component of your relationship with your attorney. While you want your attorney to see you and your situation in a positive light, it is essential that you acknowledge that every person has some negative, attributes and that everyone has done some things that they are not proud of. If you disclose both your positive and negative qualities and actions to your attorney, they will have a more complete picture of what is going on in your life. This is important because it helps them to understand your needs and priorities. It also helps to prepare them for the things that they are likely to hear from your soon to be former spouse’s attorney. When your attorney knows about negative things in advance, he or she is able to prepare a strategy for how to handle them if and when they are pointed out by opposing counsel.

With your help, a Mississippi Divorce Attorney can be a powerful ally who can help you obtain a favorable outcome in your Mississippi divorce case. Your divorce case is largely about you, and when you work closely with your attorney, they are able to do their best work for you. Your Mississippi Divorce Attorney will work with the information that you give them to pursue a solution that meets your needs. To learn more about how Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding Mississippi Annulments

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Annulment is one of those legal terms which you may have heard but never really understood. After all, you may not know anyone whose marriage ended in an annulment, because most marriages do not fit the criteria for an annulment. It is far more common for marriages to end in divorce than in annulment, but it is still useful for people to understand what annulment is, just in case their marriage would qualify for it.

In Mississippi, annulment is available in eight different types of marriages. One is where one of the parties suffers from incurable impotence. Another is where the marriage is bigamous, that is, where one spouse was married to someone else at the time of their wedding to the spouse who is seeking annulment. A third situation in which annulment is available in Mississippi occurs when a husband is unaware that his wife is pregnant with someone else’s child at the time of the marriage.

 If one or both parties have been adjudicated as suffering from a mental illness, their marriage is eligible for annulment. The Mississippi Code specifies that individuals who share a certain degree of kinship may not marry. Specifically, according to §93-1-1, “The son shall not marry his grandmother, his mother, or his stepmother; the brother his sister; the father his daughter, or his legally adopted daughter, or his grand-daughter; the son shall not marry the daughter of his father begotten of his stepmother, or his aunt, being his father’s or mother’s sister, nor shall the children of brother or sister, or brothers and sisters intermarry being first cousins by blood. The father shall not marry his son’s widow; a man shall not marry his wife’s daughter, or his wife’s daughter’s daughter, or his wife’s son’s daughter, or the daughter of his brother or sister; and the like prohibition shall extend to females in the same degrees.” If such an incestuous marriage occurs, it is void and qualifies for annulment. Also, if one of the parties lacked the ability to consent to a marriage due to force or fraud being exerted upon them, their marriage is eligible for annulment.

If the parties have not co-habitated and they have not fulfilled the marriage licensure requirements, then their marriage may be annulled. Parties who did not understand that they were getting married, or who were under twenty one years of age, may also qualify for annulment. It is important that parties who believe that they may be eligible for annulment seek it immediately, as there is a six month window of opportunity after the date of marriage which applies to some of the grounds for annulment.

When a marriage ends in annulment, it is as if it never existed, as if the parties were never married. This means that the parties are unable to seek alimony, property distribution, or other remedies that are available to divorcing parties, which can make annulment an attractive choice from a financial perspective. If you believe that your Mississippi marriage should be annulled, it is important that you speak to a Mississippi Family Law Attorney right away. Your attorney can help you to understand the annulment process and pursue the result that you desire. Mississippi Family Law Attorney Matthew S. Poole is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who is known for achieving favorable results for his clients. To find out how Matthew can help you, call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.

How to Stay Afloat Financially During Your Mississippi Divorce

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

For most people, the financial changes that occur during a divorce are difficult to navigate. It is not uncommon for divorcing parties to pick up a second job, or to do other things that they never imagined doing, just to make ends meet. While settling the divorce and distributing the assets may help the parties somewhat in the financial department, they are each ultimately responsible for figuring out how they will make it on their own. There are specific things that you can do to help yourself maintain financial stability throughout the divorce process and use your financial stability to move forward from your divorce with confidence that you can afford all of what you need, and even some of what you want.

Dealing with debts is an essential element of divorce. If debt was a problem during your marriage, you can reduce the likelihood that debt will be a problem for you in the future by not incurring any new debt. Also, try to pay off some of your old debts. Even though you would like to think that having your soon to be former spouse accept responsibility for some or all of those debts as part of the property settlement will solve your financial woes, it could actually make things worse. If your spouse accepts or is assigned responsibility for one or more debts as part of your property settlement or order and they fail to pay it, the creditor can still try to collect payment from you. This can damage your credit. If you pay off some debts before the divorce, they are gone for good and cannot come back to haunt you.

One of the trickiest aspects of finance associated with divorce is going from one household into two. As you make your move, try to find as many ways to save money as you can. If you need to rent an apartment, don’t just grab the first place that you see. Make a list of what you need as far as location, size, amenities, and other things that are important to you. Once you have your list, shop around and visit at least three or four places before you make your decision. When purchasing services like cell phone, internet, and utilities, lighten your financial load by selecting only the products and services that fit your current needs.

If your spouse drafts a property settlement and sends it to you, go over it carefully with your attorney before you decide whether or not to agree to it. Make sure that you fully understand both the present and future costs of accepting the settlement offer, including all tax savings or liabilities that would be associated with dividing the property as proposed. If a settlement looks good to you, you may be able to avoid the expense of costly divorce litigation by accepting it.

While smart money management may help you to get through the lean times that often accompany a divorce, it is essential that you retain an experienced Mississippi Divorce Attorney to help you pursue a favorable outcome in your case. Money that you spend on a knowledgeable attorney is money well spent to help ensure that you get what you need out of your Mississippi divorce. To learn more about how Jackson area divorce attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you, call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule your free initial consultation.