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San Francisco Estate & Family Law Blog

Prenuptial agreement may make divorce mediation even easier

When people are ready to walk down the aisle, a marital breakup is usually the last thing on their minds. However, research shows that almost 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce, so divorce is a real possibility for many soon-to-be married couples. Developing a premarital agreement, though, can make the divorce process easier, whether or not a couple decides to go through a process such as divorce mediation in San Francisco.

Sometimes, young people feel that creating prenuptial agreements is unnecessary because they do not have many assets. This is why many of the couples who develop prenuptial agreements today are those who are older and thus have accumulated more assets over the years. Many of these couples have also been married in the past and are entering their second or third marriages, which means they understand the value of having prenuptial agreements in place before they walk down the aisle.

What if I want my attorney’s help for only part of the divorce?

Preparing for a divorce case can be overwhelming. There are many aspects of your marriage and financial documents to look over before you and your ex take the proceedings to court. Any oversight you made in the process is usable against you, resulting in your ex retaining more assets or child custody.

You want the legal expertise of an attorney, but you might find it to cost more than you thought. There are also actions you feel that you can perform on your own in the proceedings without your lawyer’s help and do not want to incur any additional fees. If you only need partial legal assistance, California offers limited-scope representation. Before you consider choosing this, it is essential to know what this option can do for your divorce case.

Estate planning documents may be stored online

In today's increasingly digital society, some individuals in San Francisco and elsewhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to store their wills online. After all, keeping estate planning documents online in one place can be convenient. However, there are a couple of important considerations for those interested in storing their essential information online.

First, in addition to storing documents such as wills online, it is also critical that asset owners also include their online accounts with their estate planning documents. Likewise, it would be wise to include digital assets such as photos as well. These assets are frequently overlooked during the estate planning process but are just as important to address as other assets are.

Putting off estate planning may be a major mistake

Many consumers in San Francisco still have not created wills and trusts to protect their assets in the event of their deaths. A major reason that estate planning is often delayed is that people simply do not like to discuss death. However, creating an estate plan is critical for a number of reasons.

Estate plans can explain how family assets need to be distributed after the owner of these assets passes away. In addition, an estate plan can highlight who has been selected to carry out someone's final wishes. Estate plans can additionally spell out whether a person should be removed from life support or be kept on life support if life support enters the equation at some point in the future.

Divorce mediation may help address debt division

Going through a marital breakup is tough both emotionally and financially. However, a particular aspect of divorce that can be difficult to address -- even if both spouses are willing to go through divorce mediation -- is the division of debt. Here are a few steps that a divorcing spouse can take to protect himself or herself during debt division in San Francisco.

First, in some situations, lenders may be okay with removing a divorcing spouse from a joint loan or account if the spouse shows them his or her divorce agreement. Of course, not every lender will agree to do this. Still, it may be worth asking, as a lender may be okay with doing this if the other party generates sufficient income for qualifying for the loan or account by himself or herself.

How does limited divorce representation work in California?

If you are about to go through a divorce, you might consider what it will cost to hire a lawyer. You might think that paying a lawyer to take your whole case is the only way to go about a divorce. However, this is something you might not completely need if you are confident in representing yourself for certain areas of the case.

Many people are not aware that they can assign certain aspects of their divorce to a lawyer and handle some segments on their own. If you decide to handle some items on your own, make sure you do plenty of research to ensure you are confident in the areas you would be representing yourself. It is also important that your contract with your lawyer is clear about how you will be handling the case together so you can go through the process as smoothly as possible. Here are several other things to consider.

Estate planning misconceptions may be costly long term

Creating a will is often low on people's lists of things to do in San Francisco. However, estate planning is an incredibly important task for offering loved ones guidance regarding the future. Here is a look at a couple of common misconceptions about estate planning and why completing this task sooner rather than later may be a wise idea.

One of the biggest mistakes that asset owners make when it comes to estate planning is thinking that their wills can oversee their asset distribution when they die. The reality is that wills allow people to explain how they would like their belongings to be distributed. These items may range from family heirlooms to cars and boats, for example. However, wills have specific limitations.

Those going through divorce mediation may not be retirement ready

The dissolution of a marriage in San Francisco can create major financial and emotional challenges short term. However, it can also have long-term effects, especially when it comes to retirement. The sad reality is that, whether divorcing couples go through divorce mediation or litigation, the process can prevent them from being ready for retirement.

Research shows that, today, about 50 percent of households in the United States face the risk of not maintaining their current standards of living when they retire. This risk is worse -- about seven percentage points greater -- for American households that have undergone divorce. But why?

A couple of important tasks involved in estate planning

The process of creating a will or trust can seem like a morbid task, which is why it is often never started. However, estate planning is paramount for ensuring the protection of one's assets long term. Here are a couple of important tasks to complete when embarking on the creation of a comprehensive estate plan in San Francisco.

First, creating a current statement featuring one's net worth is a smart move. This statement lists all of a person's debts and assets as well as his or her life insurance. Assets might include personal property and homes as well as bank accounts and retirement accounts. Meanwhile, debts include credit card debt, a car loan, a mortgage or home equity.

Divorce mediation and arbitration generally faster than trial

Getting divorced is one of the most challenging experiences a person may have. Naturally, divorcing individuals in San Francisco would like the marital breakup process to go as quickly as possible. Here is a look at how long the divorce process may last for those pursuing divorce mediation, arbitration or traditional litigation.

Mediation may be an ideal option for a couple if both spouses are relatively amicable but still have divorce issues to resolve. They can simply depend on a neutral third-party professional, known as a mediator, to help them to address their issues. The goal of mediation is to help couples to communicate effectively and thus reach their own agreements, without further court intrusion. If the two spouses are motivated, the process can be relatively quick. If not, it could take a few years.