DIVORCE / CUSTODY / SUPPORT
As painful as divorce can be, you can get through it and be stronger on the other side. Our goal is to give you the professional guidance to help you plan for a new life. The area of domestic relations litigation and family law deals with family issues such as divorce, custody actions, child support, alimony, property division, post-decree disputes and pre- and post- nuptial agreements.
Every case is unique, and we have the experience to handle even the most complex asset division. This includes dividing real estate, personal property, valuing businesses, valuing executive compensation and valuing trusts. In addition, we have the understanding and skills to address the complex issue of tracing separate property, separate property reimbursement and community property reimbursement – even if there was no prenuptial agreement.
One of the assets of divorce may be an interest in a business. This could be a single owner small business, a partnership interest, a membership interest in a limited liability company (LLC), or shares in a private company. This business interest must be valued by a forensic accountant using the best standard of value for your divorce. Oftentimes, the business owner spouse does not have enough property to offset his or her business value. In this case, the payout to the non-owner spouse will be in the form of a promissory note paid over time.
Valuing Executive Compensation
Another asset of divorce might be executive compensation such as stock options, restricted share units, stock grants, phantom stock, performance awards, bonuses, executive perquisites, or severance awards. Some of these compensations may be marital property and some may be separate property. The basic dividing line is whether the benefit was awarded for past performance or for future performance (after the divorce). The benefits may also be taxed in different ways. And, some benefits may be included as income for the purposes of determining future child support and maintenance.
To determine a beneficiary spouse’s interest in a trust depends on whether the beneficiary spouse’s interest in the trust constitutes “property” and, if so, whether any part of that interest constitutes “marital property.” The analysis must be conducted by a forensic accountant to determine whether there is any marital property interest. However, even if a beneficiary spouse’s interest in a trust does not constitute “marital property” subject to division it may still factor into the equitable distribution equation as an economic circumstance for the court to consider in making an equitable distribution of marital property.
In a perfect world, cooler heads prevail and both parents agree to do what is in the best interest of the children. Unfortunately, sometimes the reason for the divorce includes whether one parent is fit to have custody. If the parties cannot agree on a parenting plan, then it is up to the judge. Every parent has a story to tell and it is key your lawyer understands and conveys your story effectively. In Idaho, the court is required to determine what is in the best interest of the children. There are two components to custody.
This regards the decision-making rights, responsibilities and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child.
This regards where the children will live and how the parents will share the physical time with the children. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:
Child Custody Evaluations
A child custody evaluator is a licensed mental health professional who becomes “the eyes of the court” when the issues surrounding custody are contentious and there is an issue regarding the best interest of the children. The evaluator performs an evaluation of the situation. This can last several months and include interviews with the parents, the child, the people in the child’s “network”, and observations of the child’s interactions with each parent.
The evaluator will prepare a written report concerning the disputed issues and the evaluator’s recommendations regarding parental responsibility and parenting time. The evaluator will submit the report to the parents and the court. Often, the court will follow the evaluator’s recommendation.