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Are There Common Misconceptions About Divorce?

Are There Common Misconceptions about Divorce?

Interviewer: I’m sure there are many misconceptions people have about divorce that you have to dispel.

If You Leave Your Home Because of a Dangerous Atmosphere, Is It Considered Abandonment?

Tanya: Actually we just wrote an article about funny and interesting common misconceptions about divorce. Some people think that if you leave the house, for example, if you’re in a dangerous situation and it’s becoming violent, if you leave the house to calm things down, that’s abandonment. You will be punished by the court if you leave. That is not true. There are circumstances where it makes sense to stay in the house and there are circumstances where it makes sense to leave the house. However, it is not abandonment.

Why Can’t We Just Divide Everything in Half? Some People Have a Too Simplistic Attitude toward a Divorce Proceeding

Tanya: There are all sorts of misconception surrounding divorce. I had a client that came in this week and she said, “Isn’t it simple, we can just divide our assets and that’s it?” and I said, “Yes, absolutely, except I have no information about the other person.”

So how am I going to divide something I have no knowledge of? Sometimes people are too simplistic about the process. It’s not immensely complicated, but you really do need to think things out a few steps ahead of time. Accurate information is necessary to make a fair settlement. The process of getting information is called discovery. The lawyer has methods to get the information.

Divorce and Bankruptcy

Another misconception concerns bankruptcy and this is where I have an area of expertise. Twenty-five percent of my practice is bankruptcy work.

Credit Card Debt under the Name of One Spouse but Accrued During a Marriage Is the Responsibility of Both Spouses

Debtor/creditor law is basically the opposite of family law. So if a husband has a credit card bill that he acquired during the course of the marriage, and the debt was on marital expenses, that is part of equitable distribution in a divorce.

If One Party Files for Bankruptcy, the Responsibility Lies with the Party Whose Name Is on the Card

The wife will have to pay a portion of that credit card bill or it will be offset against something else. In bankruptcy law or in debtor creditor law, it doesn’t matter; it’s only that his name is on it. If the wife’s name is not on it, she will not be responsible for part of the debt.

Visa comes after the named cardholder for the bill. Visa is only going after the husband if the card was in his name. Visa is not going after the wife. Whereas in a divorce agreement it may be the wife has to pay him $500 a month to pay this off. That’s between them and the divorce, but Visa is never going after the wife’s money. The credit agreement was between Visa and the cardholder only.

Why Everything Can’t Be Divided in Half: It Is Important to Ensure Accuracy When Determining in Whose Name the Debt Is under and in Whose Name the Property Is under

That means that you do have to be very careful when making a settlement. There has to be clear delineation under which party name is property under and under which party the debt is named. This is because no matter what you do in the divorce, you have to contend with the real life collection agents and creditors.

Interviewer: I never thought of it that way. It’s difficult if you’re going from one household to two, there are budget changes and a large number of financial issues that have to be taken into consideration.

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  • "Without Tanya and her time, the really unpleasant experience of getting divorced would have been even worse. They were able to settle the matter very quickly and helped me fit this into my tight schedule allowing me to leave to move abroad for my dissertation research on time without having to delay the trip because of the divorce. They also did all of it within my very tight budget. Thank you so much for your help and dedication to my legal matter!"  - AG

  • "Tanya and her Associates are outstanding! What I admire most about Tanya is her knowledge of the law with her keen negotiation skills to foster mediation. Her strategies efficiently resolve conflict leading to the resolution of cases. She and her team have an outstanding work ethic, know what data are needed, and get the job done. It is a pleasure to work with such wonderful professionals."  - Tara, Whippany

  • "I found Ms. Helfand's knowledge and tenacity most reassuring during the ordeal of my divorce. She was steadfast in her guidance and was very effective in her negotiations on my behalf. I would recommend her without a second thought. "  -Jonathan

  • "Ms. Helfand was very professional and helpful with our bankruptcy case. Her advice was very useful and helped us make the proper decisions for our situation. In addition, she was very supportive during a very difficult time for us. Finally, she set very specific fee expectations and there were no surprises when it was completed. I would use her services again and would recommend her, without question."

  • "She is Incredible, very quick responding to the other party. Very professional and courteous. I highly recommend her. She has a great passion and love for every single case."

  • "Tanya and her team were very professional handling my divorce proceedings. She was very proactive in making the other attorney finally get the process moving forward. I would recommend her to anyone looking for legal services. "  -Scott

  • "Ms. Helfand strategized & processed, both, my Divorce & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. As both cases were emotionally and legally challenging, Ms. Helfand proved to be an empowering Mentor along the path to clarity for which I am truly grateful. I highly recommend her legal expertise to anyone who is seeking a confident, savvy & caring attorney to become at peace with self and any legal matters."  -Vas

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