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Barboursville West Virginia Legal Blog

What to know about postnuptial agreements

West Virginia couples may have any number of reasons to resist drafting a prenuptial agreement, and while those reasons may have seemed sound at the time, you might find yourself wishing you had done otherwise now that you have tied the knot. However, even though a prenup is no longer in the cards, you can still work out a similar arrangement with your spouse known as a postnuptial agreement.

As FindLaw explains, postnups address mostly the same issues as prenuptial agreements, so it is likely you can still deal with issues that you may have had in mind before you got married. However, postnuptial agreements are also bound by the same limitations as prenuptial agreements. For example, courts generally do not consider child support and child custody provisions in prenups valid and are no more likely to legitimize such provisions in postnuptial agreements.

Giving your children reassurance about shared parenting

As your divorce is moving towards finalization, you are beginning to secure the details of the child custody agreement between you and your ex. While you feel confident about having arranged a workable solution, you are concerned about how to provide your children with reassurance about shared parenting between you and your ex. At Herrenkohl Law Office, we have provided support to many families in West Virginia as they navigate difficult changes in family circumstances. 

While you and your ex have valid reasons for terminating your marriage, it may be difficult or inappropriate to explain these reasons to your children, especially depending on their age and maturity. Navigating the complexities of giving them information without oversharing or encouraging them to form unrealistic or misled opinions, can be difficult and require time. It will also require you to modify your approach and the nature of your content to cater to the individual needs of each of your children. 

When can a guardian be removed?

Some family members need a guardian for a relative who suffers from mental or physical impairment and is incapable of self-care, and perhaps for a while, the chosen guardian fulfills that role with no problem. However, some families find that a guardian is not able to continue to care for their relative or perhaps the guardian is willfully abusing his or her position. If you suspect there is a problem with a guardian, West Virginia law provides for a number of scenarios under which a guardian may be removed.

Medical issues may cause a person to no longer be able to care for a ward. An illness or a car accident can cost a lot of money in medical bills, degrading the guardian's ability to spend on a dependent, or the accident could physically disable the guardian for a prolonged period of time, perhaps permanently. Substance abuse may also disqualify a guardian. In general, if someone simply cannot handle the responsibility of guardianship, a court will allow that person to be removed.

What is a parent education class?

If you are getting a divorce or engaging in a child custody action in West Virginia, you may be told you have to attend a parent education class. There are many different types of parenting classes, but the parent education class a court may order you to take as part of a child custody hearing is unique, according to the West Virginia Legislature.

This type of class is offered through an outside agency that is approved by the court to provide the program. The content of the program is made specifically for parents in your situation. The intention is to help you understand what your child is going through during the process. You will learn how divorce or relationship issues and custody disputes affect a child. You will also learn how to minimize the affects and help make the process easier on your child.

Problems at work and the breakdown of a marriage

From a spouse’s infidelity to couples growing apart over the years, marriages end for many reasons. Sometimes, divorce is brought on by an unexpected problem that arises temporarily, such as a very difficult health condition that is eventually addressed. Or, a marriage may fall apart because of long-term issues, such as a partner’s drug or alcohol problem that they refuse to deal with. Problems at work may also cause a marriage to fail, and there are various ways in which work-related difficulties can affect a married couple and someone who is working through the process of divorce.

Someone who is a workaholic may not spend very much time with their spouse or their kids, and this could cause their partner to decide to end the marriage. Moreover, someone may have an affair with another person at their place of employment, or their job might lead to changes in their personality. Sometimes, people become very stressed out at work and, unfortunately, some bring this stress into their home after their workday ends. For example, someone who had a tough day in the office may take it out on their family members, resulting in domestic violence. Marital problems can also lead to challenges in the workplace.

What are the biggest challenges of international adoption?

Adoption is a wonderful way to welcome a new family member. However, it is not without its challenges. This is especially true if you wish to adopt internationally instead of within the country or within West Virginia. There are some important things you have to know and understand before you embark on this journey. Being prepared for the challenges can make international adoption easier.

According to Adoption.org, one of the first things to realize is you cannot adopt from every country. Plus, each country makes its own rules and regulations that you must follow along with following the rules and regulations of the United States. You will also find the time it takes varies greatly from country to country. Some countries streamline the process and are much faster than others.

Establishing paternity grants children important benefits

Child custody and support arrangements in West Virginia can be complicated if you, as a father, are not legally recognized by the state as the father of your child. Under some circumstances, such as having a child out of wedlock, state law might not acknowledge you as your child’s father. Once your relationship is formally established, you can confer important financial and inheritance benefits to your child, even in the event you pass away.

According to the West Virginia Department of Human Resources, a father will have to take steps to establish paternity if his child is not conceived or born within the confines of marriage. Divorce can also complicate matters. A father might have to get paternity established if his child is born or conceived ten months before a marital separation or a divorce. Legal recognition of paternity can occur any moment before a child reaches the age of eighteen.

Is it worth it to have a divorce attorney during mediation?

Divorce attorneys can assist you in important ways if you end up calling it quits with your spouse before a judge. In some cases though, a couple may try to separate more amicably by forgoing a court proceeding and taking their issues to a West Virginia divorce mediator. However, just because you are not handling your divorce in court does not mean a divorce attorney is irrelevant to your situation.

Remember that a divorce attorney is going to be experienced in family law and will likely know more about your rights than you do. Even in mediation, you should be aware of what you are entitled to so that you do not surrender valuable rights while negotiating with your spouse. And since mediators generally seek to be neutral, retaining your own counsel is a smart option if you want legal advice.

Do not let your former spouse hold you back

Even after your divorce, your former spouse could continue to hold you back in many ways. For example, you would be beholden to the state of West Virginia in many cases to facilitate, as much as possible, the parent-child relationships between your former spouse and any of your children. At Herrenkohl Law Office, we know that people sometimes get opportunities that are too good to pass up. Luckily, there could be a way for you to improve your life and the lives of your children without impediment.

If you were to consider moving to take a job opportunity, to move into more appropriate housing or even to be closer to your own extended family, this could affect the relationship your former spouse has with your children. We often find that the courts recognize that the balance involved between the emotional benefits of dual parental care and the pragmatic advantages of better living situations.

How can I make my medical power of attorney valid?

It is not pleasant to think about you or a loved one becoming so ill or disabled that making medical decisions is not possible, yet it is important to make plans so that you and your family maintain control over your health care choices. Fortunately, West Virginia law provides for people to appoint a medical durable power of attorney (POA) to make medical decisions on their behalf should they end up disabled. However, in doing so you want to make sure the appointment is valid.

According to West Virginia law, when someone signs a medical power of attorney, it should be performed before two or more witnesses. However, those witnesses could be disqualified for a number of reasons. If the witnesses are too young, if they are not at least eighteen years old, their signatures will not be valid.

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