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July 2012 Archives

Financial Role of Grandparents Can Be Significant, Before or After Divorce

Inevitably, divorce has an effect not only on children, but on their grandparents. The effect is not only emotional, but potentially financial. In the uncertain, post-recession economy, many grandparents are helping cover daily living costs for grandkids. Indeed, a recent AARP survey put the number of grandparents doing this as 37 percent - more than 1 in 3.

Yours, Mine or Ours: Who gets the wedding ring and wedding gifts?

A recently published Oregon opinion found that a wife's wedding ring was her own separate property, and not a marital asset that was "acquired during the marriage." The Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed with the grail court's finding that the $8,320 ring was a marital asset. Although there was scant evidence on the record of whether husband followed the traditional custom of giving the ring to the bride as a gift after the wedding, the parties did agree that the ring had always been treated as "wife's ring." Given the limited amount of evidence, the Oregon court inferred that the ring was a gift received by wife either shortly before or shortly after the marriage. It held that the precise timing was not relevant because in either case the ring should have been treated as wife's separate property. Under Oregon law, had it been given before the marriage, it would have been treated as premarital property.

Governor Signs Revocation of Paternity Act into Law

On June 12, 2012, Gov. Snyder signed into law the "Revocation of Paternity Act," which changed years of firmly established law concerning a putative father's ability to seek custody rights to children born or conceived during a marriage. Under the old paternity act (established in 1956), husbands were given legal rights to the children of their wives, regardless of whether or not the husband was the biological father.  Unless a court had determined that a child was not the child of a marriage, a biological father had absolutely no right to petition the court to seek custody or visitation with his child. The new legislation permits a biological father to establish paternity of a child born or conceived during a marriage provided certain specific circumstances exist. A motion under each section must be filed within 3 years after the child's birth or within 1 year after the date of the order of filiation, whichever is later. Upon request, a court may extend the time for filing an action or motion under this act.

Military Pensions

Mark Sullivan, an attorney who is the "go to" person for all things military, including the Servicemember Civil Relief Act, has recently created a guide to drafting military pension orders. The guide can be easily downloaded at Such a guide is quite useful, since a military pension can be one of the most valuable assets in a military family.

Accepting the Challenges of a Repeat Divorce

It isn't necessarily easier going through a difficult experience again. To be sure, as the philosopher Nietzsche once said, if something doesn't kill you it can make you stronger. But sometimes, when you're facing your second divorce, or even a third, you have to be really strong.

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