Archive for April, 2009

Life Happens.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

Im not trying to be coy.  But it does.  The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.   Take for example a couple that lives down the street in my neighborhood.  They were lucky enough to come into the market for a new home when the prize of the neighborhood went up for sale.  They bought it and according to both, were prepared to retire in our quaint little hollow.  But somewhere along the way, life happened.  Somehow love turned to disdain, to hate and divorce reared its ugly head.  Now I have a vacant house and an unkept yardto look at until the bank auctions it off.  But we can save our discussion about that topic for a later date.

What I want to talk  about is planning.  Planning for the unthinkable.   No one plans on separating, if they did, they would never enter into the union of marriage.  So we play out our lives as if we will be a family unit forever.  We buy china sets, and furniture, cars, and homes.  A home is in all likelyhood the largest investment that you will make as a family unit.  In most cases that investment is contingent upon the sustained survival of the marriage.  In todays two earner household, rarely can one party finance the home on their own.   To compound matters, when you sign your mortgage documents with your lender, you are agreeing that you will pay back this debt regardless of what may happen in your life.   I can write a Marital Dissolution Agreement that say one party is responsible for the note after the divorce, but if that party defaults on the loan, you are still liable.  This is because back when life was perfect you made a deal with the bank; the bank doesn’t care what agreement you made between yourselves.  

If you or your spouse do default on the note, then the home will be foreclosed.  Lets say that you owe $200,000.00 on your home, but at the foreclosure auction the bank sells it for only $125,000.00.  Guess what, you still owe the remaining balance of $75,000.00.   Here is where Bankruptcy can  be a valuable tool.  If you can pause for a second and rationally consider the possibility of filing a joint bankruptcy prior to the divorce process, you can give back the house to the bank, its called a voluntary surrender.  The nice part is that you wont owe the bank a cent more.  This only works if there is little or no equity in your home.  

There is also an added bonus, once you file bankruptcy you wont need to worry about separating your debts in the divorce.  Most people only consider dividing their stuff, or assests, but you must separate the bad as well.  If there is substantial marital debt, a joint bankruptcy, prior to divorce, could shorten the unholy post divorce debt marriage.

These of course should always be last resorts.  Counseling, be it finacial or marital will be infinetly cheaper.    If you would like a free DVD on bankruptcy give me a call, or watch the readers digest version here.  Your neighbor will thank you.

 

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself….oh..and the media.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

The economy, layoffs, bankruptcy, the stock market, the housing crisis and the bailout.  Turn on your TV and tune into CNN, FOX, HLN and if you don’t hear one of these topics within 10 minutes call me and I’ll buy you a cookie.  Ill even spring for one with macadamien nuts in it.   Everywhere you turn you hear how bad and how scary it is out there.  Tonight I tuned into Dave Ramseys’ Town Hall for Hope and for once, I heard what I’ve been screaming all along.  Yes, we are in the midst of a recession, but it is not the end of the world, so if your a heathen you can stave off that death bed conversion for one more day.

I’m not trying to trivialize the economy right now.  I am seeing 4 times the amount of bankruptcy’s this year that I saw last year.  But I think most of what your seeing is driven out of fear.  People are afraid, and they are afraid because its all that they see.  Once upon a time, when the world was in black and white, before HD and Color-Vision, we found out what to think from the trusty newspaper.  We gathered round the fire and read what was going on out in that big scary world.  

 

When I was a child, Mom and Dad watched the news after I had gone to sleep.  They might discuss what they had heard or read at work or church, but it was a topic of conversation, not a focal point.  The news now is everywhere, 24 hours a day on tv, twitter, facebook, this blog or your iphone.  When the people that are constantly feeding us our news become scared and uninformed, they become part of the fear monster.  When your hear all these stories that the economy is in a downfall, that houses are foreclosing like State fans lose teeth, they cease to be topics of conversation and become focal points of fear and stress.

It was refreshing to hear tonight that I am not alone in this view, that someone else thinks that its not all going down the drain.  That we should tune out and pitch in.  Hope is what we make it, Hope is what America does best, it is what will get us out of this problem.  Listening to these media outlets constantly preach gloom and doom will only bring you down into the fray.  And here’s the shameless plug.  If you think you’ve got it bad, if you think your headed down the path to becoming a statistic that feeds this fear machine, then come in, lets talk.  Let’s see if you are.  There are few problems that can’t be solved, but you cant solve anything if you ignore it and wait for your bailout bill.  

 

If you need hope then help someone that needs it.  It can feed and grow just as fast as fear.

Life, It Seems, Is Not Without A Sense of Humor.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

There are few things satisfying in life.  Sure there are days when the rebels win the cotton bowl, when a client brings you a bottle of fine aged Bourbon or when you win big in Court.   But one of these little pleasantries is when you make a man so mad he loses his composure.  This week I was given just such a pearl.  But let me begin from the beginning.

 

I’m a mild mannered, sometimes mediocre, sometimes brilliant, sometimes vicious and several other adjective and adverbs, Divorce/Bankruptcy Attorney making a living in Memphis, TN.  I take fewer clients and truly get involved in my clients lives.  In doing so, the opposing party’s get angry at times with me.  I wouldn’t say its a perk, but its not a drawback either.  If they are mad, then I’m doing my job.  That’s not always true though.  If I can get a settlement where everybody wins, and no one is angry, that is truly the best that can happen, but if not…then my mission if I choose to accept it, is to piss off someone.  This weeks example is one Robert, whose name, except for his first name, shall remain nameless.  

 

Robert sent me an email telling me that I was a horrible person, that despite the fact he was having an affair with a 20 year old on his wife of 17 years, I had done harm to his family.  He went on to threaten me.  This in itself is not that interesting, this is not that rare.  What is rare is that he sent this letter to me, to his wife, to his wife’s mother, his wife’s father, his wife’s sister, his employees, everyone but his attorney.  Tell me class, what has Mr. Robert done wrong?  If he just told me I was a bad person that’s one thing, but when he called me names and sent it to others, that my friend is a published slanderous remark.  That my friend is Libel.  

 

But the letter, that is a badge of honor.