After the dust settles

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.           3 minute read

Protecting Your Rights Post Divorce

I often get calls from potential clients who are having problems after their divorce decree is signed by the court and entered on their divorce docket. For some reason, their ex-spouse will not cooperate regarding some aspect of their Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) or court order. I have seen cases where one party will not sign over the deed to a piece of real estate, or sign a QDRO to transfer retirement funds even though they are required to do so. If the parties cannot resolve the issue, the courts can usually order compliance. Quite often, the party who is causing the problem is also ordered to pay reasonable attorney’s fees to the other side.

Sometimes people sit on their rights for a long time after a divorce decree is entered before taking action to protect their property rights. Depending on the specific facts of the case, waiting too long to protect one’s rights may cause someone to lose valuable post-divorce property rights. I have seen cases where a party waits many years before demanding the transfer of assets, and in the meantime, the assets have “disappeared”, the ex-spouse disappears or dies, or the assets have lost value.

Do Not Wait to Transfer Assets After Divorce. Be Diligent and Move on.

The longer you wait to transfer assets, the more of a chance something will go wrong, or the asset will “disappear” or your ex-spouse will disappear. If you wait to transfer assets and the asset appreciates, unless there is language to the contrary in your MSA, there is no guarantee you will be entitled collect the appreciation in value. Therefore, the best course of action is usually to effectuate the transfer assets you are entitled to receive as soon as possible after divorce.

A Properly Drafted MSA is Important.

I can’t overstate the importance of having your legal documents drafted by a competent attorney. A Marital Settlement Agreement is not a do-it-yourself type of document for a non-lawyer to draft. In most states, an MSA is interpreted by the courts under contract principles. Unless your marital settlement agreement is properly drafted, certain provisions may not be enforceable. You don’t want to find out the hard way that you saved a few dollars drafting your own MSA only to find out you are not protected. Have an experienced family law attorney draft your MSA. It is worth every penny. Feel free to contact my office to set up a consultation. 610 256 4843. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Why you want a Smart / Savvy Lawyer, not a Rude / Obnoxious Lawyer

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.       5 minute Read

Smart, focused, savvy lawyers nearly always beat rude, obnoxious, bombastic lawyers in Family Court. 

As a family law attorney who has been involved in some epic battles, I want to share some insight. When all is said and done, the smart, focused, savvy and hard working lawyers nearly always beat the rude, obnoxious and bombastic lawyers in family court. Most excellent family law attorneys do not get caught up in the mindless and counterproductive fighting brought on by their adversary. The best lawyers are focused on winning their cases, and achieving favorable outcomes for their clients.

When lawyers fight with each other, progress grinds to a halt. Yet the meter is still running for the client.

When lawyers fight with each other, the client does not benefit. Skilled litigators are not baited by opposing counsel.

I am not sure why some divorce, child custody, and family law attorneys think that they must “put on a show” for their clients. I can’t tell you how many nasty letters and emails I have received from opposing counsel where they make absurd allegations about my client that are neither truthful, nor relevant to the issues in the case. Some letters even make ad hominem attacks on me for skillfully protecting and advancing my client’s rights. I find it interesting that some lawyers actually believe that the nasty, bombastic letters they send me will somehow positively impact the outcome of the family law matter in favor of their client. These letters are nothing more than an ill-advised or ignorant attempt by opposing counsel to demonstrate to their client what a “nasty shark” their client has hired. Then the “nasty shark” lawyer bills their client for the totally ineffective letter. The smart, savvy, and hard working lawyers are not at all impacted by nasty shark tactics. The smart and savvy lawyers can (and do) nearly always beat the nasty shark in every area of family law cases.

Nearly all nasty, obnoxious letters I receive are from opposing counsel who either a) do not know me well, and/or b) they do not know any other way to act. Some lawyers only have one mindset, and they only know one method to approach every case. They cannot understand the difference between motion and progress. Avoid hiring these types of lawyers to handle your family law matter, unless you enjoy wasting time and money.

These attorneys love to “put on a show” for their client. In nearly every situation, the nasty letters do nothing more than inflate the billable time opposing counsel charges their client, while doing nothing to resolve the legal issues in the case. In other words, inflammatory letters exchanged between lawyers are rarely (if ever) effective in resolving important legal issues and moving a family law case forward. They are only an effective tool in costing clients time and money.

Family Law Attorneys who Encourage Fights – A Big Red Flag When Choosing Legal Counsel

Family law cases get emotional. Divorce and child custody issues are rarely easy for either party. Emotions run high. If your attorney is encouraging fights over trivial matters, that is a red flag. Great lawyers can and do make terrific arguments on points that really matter to help you get a favorable outcome in your case. That is the bottom line.