The Legal Insider
In this issue:
When Love Doesn't Last: How to Split the House
Buying a house is a big step in anyone's life, but when love doesn't last and you've given back the ring, you're left with a divorce. Dividing up marital assets can be an even bigger and, quite certainly, daunting task. When it's all said and done, how do you even split up the house?
Most mortgage lenders will still consider you married and equally liable, so you've basically got 2 major options when it comes to the house:
- Sell the House and Split the Equity According to Agreement. Of course, you'll want to pay off any remaining debt on the house first. Although states vary, many divide equity equally, but some states may credit percentages. It's important to remember, however, spouses can always agree to divide equity however they want within a settlement agreement.
- One Spouse Refinances and Keeps the House. This can be done a number of ways, whether one spouse "buys out" the other spouse's share of the equity in the house or simply offsets the other spouse's value in another manner. Remember, courts will use a balancing effect when dividing up marital assets and most typically want each side to remain fairly equal (with exceptions).
If on the off chance you and your spouse don't legally own the house together, there are a couple of different ways this can be handled, but it definitely depends on the state you're in and when the house was purchased. If you're in a state that handles all property as marital property, it won't matter whose name is legally on the house because it will be split up according to your state's law. However, if your spouse purchased the house prior to your marriage, that can be a different story entirely and will depend on whether your state considers pre-marital property as one.
How Do You Even Determine Who Owns What?
This can be a tricky one. The general presumption is that if you're both on the deed, then you're 50/50 owners. Fights often arise, though, when one spouse feels they own a higher percentage. Say, for example, you paid the entire down payment on the house, but split everything else equally. Then what? Well, it depends on your state, but typically you will get to count that portion towards your column of assets. It may not be in the form of a greater percentage of equity, it could be offset in the form of immediate monetary compensation or delayed compensation, like a higher share of your spouse's retirement, for example.
Just as you want an expert helping you in the process of buying a house, hiring an attorney experienced in divorce and property settlement will be crucial to ensure a fair settlement.
Election Year: Mike Pence's Policy Positions
With both candidates selecting their running mates, the race to the White House is in full swing. Donald Trump has chosen Hoosier native Mike Pence to run alongside him in his bid for Presidency.
Pence has been serving as Indiana's Governor since 2013 and, prior to that, he represented his district in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years, as well as served as chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011.
No Common Core, Yes to School Choice
Pence voted against No Child Left Behind and withdrew Indiana from the federal Common Core program. Many conservatives feel Common Core is a federal overreach and Trump has repeatedly expressed no different.
Pence expanded Indiana's school choice programs and removed the cap on how many students qualify. As a result, at least 30,000 students received funds to choose private over public schools, increasing the amount of public funds used to an estimated $53 million.
Religious Freedom Bill
Many of you probably heard the news surrounding this one, as it received nation-wide coverage. In 2015, Pence passed a religious freedom bill extending protections to business owners who, citing their religious beliefs, didn't want to participate in same-sex weddings. The law was heavily scrutinized for sanctioning discrimination and, a week after passing the bill, Pence signed an amendment clarifying it couldn't be used to discriminate.
Similar laws, like in Mississippi, have been recently held unconstitutional.
Strict Abortion Bill
Priding himself on being a Christian conservative, Pence began seeking to defund Planned Parenthood in 2007. It doesn't come as a surprise he passed one of the country's strictest abortion laws, placing heavy restrictions on abortions, as well as severely limiting the number of clinics that can operate throughout the state.
The law is temporarily blocked by a U.S. District Court Judge, but the Supreme Court recently struck down a similar Texas law that drastically reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state.
Stands with Trump on Immigration
Pence issued an executive order blocking the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana. After being blocked by a federal judge, he was unsuccessful when he attempted to cut off federal funding to refugees already within the state.
Stands with Trump on Immigration
Pence has been a long-standing supporter of the 2nd Amendment. In 2005, he voted in favor of stopping lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. He's supported efforts for concealed carry reciprocity and is consistently given an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.
Election Year: Tim Kaine's Policy Positions
Hillary Clinton officially declared Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, but who is he? Well, he started his career as acivil rights attorney focusing primarily on death penalty and anti-discrimination cases, but quickly started his career in politics after first being elected to public office in 1994. Kaine served as mayor of Richmond, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and Governor of Virginia, as well as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.
Kaine's no stranger to politics, but where does he stand on the big issues?
Many of Kaine's primary goals were halted by a mainly republican-controlled General Assembly leaving him with less power to make some big changes during his tenure as Governor, but one of his main goals, however, was on education reform.
After his tenure as Governor, Kaine has supported increasing tuition assistance at the state level, supported extending interest-rate cuts on student loans, and opposed school voucher programs allowing parents to choose private over public schools for their children.
He's Pro-Choice and Supports LGBT Community
Although Kaine has expressed being personally against abortion and the death penalty, he has a history of supporting legislation precluding government intrusion into one's personal decisions.
He's also expressed support for the LGBT community, arguing that discrimination has no place in the government. In 2012, Kaine commended Obama for fighting for equal pay for women and fair treatment of the LGBT community. He's also opposed the CC Voters Guide, which defines marriage as between a man and woman.Issues on Crime and the 2nd Amendment
In 2012, Kaine pledged to focus attention on the overuse of incarceration, especially as it applied to African-American males. On the flip side, he supported Project Exile, which was designed to enforce maximum punishments for criminals who commit crimes with guns. Project Exile received praise for helping reduce Richmond's violent crime rate in half. The program has been copied by cities and states alike nationwide.
Although Kaine has expressed strong support for the 2nd Amendment, he also supports restrictions on gun rights. In 2011, he voted yes on limiting high-capacity clips and in 2013, he voted yes to banning high-capacity magazines.
How Do I Sue a Doctor?
If your life has been devastated by a doctor's negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit for damages. Common medical malpractice claims include a doctor's failure to diagnose, improper treatment and failure to warn patients of known risks.
How to Determine If You Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Claim
In order for your medical malpractice claim to move forward, you must be able to prove the following:
A doctor-patient relationship. A doctor's relationship with a patient necessitates the doctor's duty to abide by something called the "duty of care". If a doctor agreed to provide a diagnosis or treatment to you (or if the care was provided without any specific agreement) then the doctor-patient relationship existed.
The doctor's negligence. You must be able to show that your doctor failed to uphold the duty of care he or she had to you. A doctor who has failed to provide reasonable care and treatment to you has breached their duty of care.
A connection between your injury and the doctor's negligence. You must show that your doctor's negligence caused your health condition to become worse (without being attributable to some underlying condition), or resulted in you suffering some additional injury or harm.
Damages. Lastly, you need to be able to provide details of the harm you suffered (in legal terms, your damages) a result of your doctor's breach of duty. Your damages might include the cost of additional medical treatments and lost wages from being unable to work.
If I Do Have a Claim, What Procedures Are Necessary to Get to Court?
You must bring your medical malpractice soon after injury. In many states, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice, or when plaintiffs are allowed to bring medical malpractice claims, ranges from six months to two years following the injury. States vary on when the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations.
You may need to notify the negligent doctor. Some states require plaintiffs to inform the doctor of the malpractice claim before anything can be filed.
You could have to appear before a medical malpractice review panel. In many states, plaintiffs are required to appear in front of this panel of experts before going to court. Review panels hear arguments, review expert testimony and evidence before deciding if medical malpractice has occurred. Information from review panel sessions is often presented in court.