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Blog Topics:

– Four Ways How to Spend Less Money on Your Divorce;
– Questions relating to a Prenuptial Agreement
– Omitted Assets
– Premarital Background checks

1. Four Ways How to Spend Less Money on
Your Las Vegas Divorce

To hire a Las Vegas divorce lawyer is a major financial commitment. A Las Vegas family law can cost you anywhere from $250.00 an hour to $600.00 an hour. Although more money does not necessarily mean you will have the best divorce lawyer, to a large extent, you get what you pay for. While not every divorce action necessitates extensive discovery, expert witnesses and depositions, minimal investigation is required in virtually every action.

Some costs, like filing fees, are fixed no matter which lawyer you use. Additionally, some fees may be out of your attorney’s control. Each judge has his or her own set of rules which may also increase the cost of your litigation.

One of the biggest complaints levied at attorneys is that we do not return telephone calls. While it is our practice to return telephone calls the same day, or at latest, within 24 hours of receiving any message, it must be understood that if we were to take every call from every client every day, we would never have time to do the work you hired us for. To minimize your frustration, let me offer some suggestions:

1. Consolidate your calls. Rather than call your attorney every time you have a question, write down your questions and unless it is an emergency, consolidate your questions into one call, rather than three or four. Most lawyers will charge you a minimum fee for any telephone conversation, so you can save money by calling few times. Most attorneys do not mind taking your telephone calls whenever you have a question, but you may not like it much when you get your bill at the end of the month.

2. Whenever possible, speak with staff. They can generally answer most nonlegal questions and you are billed less for their time than you are for a lawyer.

3. Use email. Rather than call your attorney and not having completely thought out your question, write your question out and email it. Many lawyers charge less for an email than telephone conversations. More important, if your lawyer doesn’t know the answer off the top of his head and must charge you for a second call, he or she can research and email you with an appropriate answer. More important, you don’t have to try to remember what your lawyer told you or misunderstand what you were told, you have a written record.

4. Organize your documents, thoughts and promptly provide your attorney with any information or answers he or she requests. Every time an attorney must follow up or request information a second time, it costs you money.

2. What to Ask Your Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer About
A Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements may not be considered “romantic,” but it is generally easier to address potential problems or issues before marriage rather than after marriage. If prospective spouses cannot agree on terms for a prenuptial agreement, what does that say about their prospective marriage? A properly drafted prenuptial agreement may provide both parties protection under Nevada law.

At the outset, you should know that no prenuptial agreement can address every possible issue that might arise in a divorce. There are, however, typical or reoccurring issues that will arise in the drafting of any premarital agreement that clients often ask:

1. Will existing property remain separate property or become community property? What about debt?

2. Will appreciation of property become separate property or community property?

3. Will earnings or other income be considered separate property or community property after marriage?

4. Will one of the parties to the marriage receive alimony, maintenance, or other compensation in the event of a divorce?

5. To what extent will inheritance rights exist upon the death of either party?

6. Do the terms of the agreement contemplate possible changes in the law, such as tax law?

7. Can a prenuptial agreement address child custody or child support?

8. If I enter into a prenuptial agreement do I have to change my estate plan?

9. During marriage can a prenuptial agreement be modified or amended?

10. After marriage do we file an individual or joint tax return?

11. Can a prenuptial agreement address how expenses will be paid during marriage?

12. What happens if either party doesn’t follow the terms of the prenuptial agreement after marriage?

The Las Vegas Family Attorneys at Pecos Law Group have extensive experience in preparing and reviewing prenuptial agreements.

Omitted Assets in Nevada

You are a homemaker who is divorced after 20 years of marriage. Your divorce proceeding has been concluded for over 2 years. The assets and liabilities have been divided; the minor children have now acclimated to moving between two households; and the divorced former spouses’ financial rights and obligations to each other have long been finalized and implemented. Then one day, a letter arrives in the mailbox at the former marital residence, enclosing an account statement for a work-related retirement account belonging to your ex-husband, which appears to have been accrued during the time of your 20-year marriage. The only problem is that the retirement interest was unknown to you or your lawyer, and was not divided or otherwise addressed in the divorce proceeding. So, what can be done?

Excluding the possibility of fraud (an extremely flagrant circumstance which has its own set of remedies), it is not unheard of for marital assets to be inadvertently forgotten and “omitted” from disposition in divorce proceedings. These types of omitted assets run the gamut, from a small but exceedingly valuable coin collection, to a long-ignored military pension, to a neglected brokerage account. Omitted assets are often unearthed years after the end of a divorce, and sometimes after having increased substantially in value. Fortunately, a long-standing Nevada legal protocol is in place to equitably divide these assets if and when they are discovered.

As to omitted assets in Nevada, it is clear that a Decree of Divorce does not constitute a full and final adjudication where the subject property was not (or could not have been) litigated in court. In Nevada, community property that is left unadjudicated and undisposed of on divorce as a result of mutual mistake is always subject to subsequent partition in a separate, independent equitable action. In such situations, the omitted property is beneficially held by the parties as tenants in common until such time as it is partitioned. In fact, this legal authority is so widely recognized by astute family law practitioners that omitted asset partition actions in Nevada are routinely referred to as “Amie” actions.

Premarital Background Checks

While prenuptial, or premarital agreements, have been popular for years, the Wall Street Journal recently published an article stating that private investigators are increasingly performing background checks on prospective spouses. Investigators around the country report that their business has boomed with people wanting to confirm whether their prospective spouse has any “deal-breaking habits and secrets.”
The new trend is driven by the increase of online dating and online relationships. While many have income or assets to protect, many simply want to make sure that they are getting involved with someone legitimate and not any type of scam. Costs will range depending on how in depth an investigation is sought, but an individual can sometimes learn a significant amount of information just by googling a person. Investigators may find nothing, but in some cases find “undisclosed debt, criminal convictions, hidden addictions and infidelity.”
The article notes that a background investigation on your prospective spouse can raise “moral questions for some couples. If a relationship is based on trust, “what does a background check say about the person pay for it – and the relationship itself.” A background check can be particularly problematic if the person being investigated finds out. For some hopeful, especially those who have had a problem relationship in the past, are better safe than sorry.

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