Getting Divorced While the Housing Market Is Hot
Family lawyers in the Greater Toronto area are feeling the heat as the housing market gets hotter and the divorce rate gets larger. Back in the day when couples got divorced, one person would typically buy the other person’s interest in the marital home. However, things have become quite different.
Understanding Why Things Have Changed
Due to the increased cost of the average home, most separated spouses cannot afford to purchase the interest in the matrimonial property. As a result, couples are often forced to sell their homes instead. Even if the home is sold at an inflated price, couples are still legally required to share the net proceeds.
Unfortunately, that only scratches the surface of the difficulties couples stand to face when they file for divorce while the housing market is hot. In most cases, split-up spouses end up downsizing into smaller residences or moving to less expensive neighborhoods (many of which are much further away from where the family originally lived). If there are children involved, things can get even more complicated, stressful and traumatic.
Many times, divorcing homeowners can’t afford to buy a new home, move out of their neighborhood or downsize into a small residence. Regardless of their marital home’s selling price or the balance in their savings account, the current housing market is so hot that a lot of homes are exorbitantly priced. In fact, the Toronto Real Estate Board reports that the average cost of a new home in the area has surpassed $1 million.
Because of marriage annulment rate spikes and the significant increase in the cost of the average Toronto area home, numerous realtors have begun to focus primarily on divorcing clients. Acting as experienced specialists, realtors who cater to divorcees possess a unique fluency in the legal and financial factors which pertain to the situation.
With divorce being a very large industry that has steadily growing numbers, it’s no surprise to see countless “specialties” being created as a result. From a strictly marketing perspective, attaching one’s self to such an enormous demographic is a wise idea. From a consumer’s perspective, however, this simply means that more diligence is required to find a good real estate agent.
# Tips to Make It Easier
While finding the right realtor may be half the battle, using these guidelines can make selling your home in a hot market while in the midst of a divorce much smoother:
1.Work with your real estate agent to maximize the value of your asset. This is especially important if you plan to liquify.
2.Although you’re probably eager to get this over with, try your hardest not to rush the process.
3.Be sure to go over all elements of the sell, including financial disclosures that could potentially impact the amount of money your spouse receives in the sell.
4.Hire a divorce attorney to resolve any initial issues that could affect how the money is distributed.
5.Avoid having the proceeds from the sale of your property kept in a lawyer’s trust because it will prevent you and your spouse from enjoying the perks of housing market increases.
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MINNEAPOLIS — A man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America is expected to appear in court for a hearing.
Twenty-four-year-old Emmanuel Aranda of Minneapolis is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder. Authorities say Aranda told them he went to the mall on April 12 “looking for someone to kill” and chose the boy at random.
The child plunged almost 40 feet and suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones. His family released a statement in late April saying he was alert and no longer in critical condition. On Monday, the family said he continues to heal.
Aranda is due in court Tuesday for an omnibus hearing. These hearings can cover a host of issues, including a possible plea or setting a trial date. Aranda has been in custody on $2 million bail.
The Associated Press
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Via Joint Custody
Spring cleaning — it’s not just for closets and windows.
Paperwork is one of the easiest areas to let a mess build and one of the more challenging categories to tackle. That’s in part because it’s difficult to make a lot of decisions. And the stakes feel higher when it comes to financial documents, said Gretchen Rubin, a happiness expert and author of a new book Outer Order, Inner Calm.
“You want to err on the side of safety so it mounts up and it gets more and more confusing and discouraging as it builds,” she said.
So here’s some expert help on sorting through it all.
KEEP SHORT TERM
It’s okay to hold on to typically tossable items until they prove to be useful, or not.
So while you can generally jettison receipts, hang on to them if they are for a gift or if you might want to return the item. Bills also can go bye-bye once they are paid, but it may be worth keeping them until the next billing cycle to make sure payment was posted.
One big exception is to hang on to these kinds of items a bit longer if you potentially need them to support taxes, insurance claims or warranties.
KEEP MID TERM
There are some items you’ll want to keep for a bit longer, but not forever.
This includes things such as warranties until they expire, the title for your car as long as you own it, documents for active loans and insurance policies until they expire, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.
Taxes also pose an interesting puzzle. The IRS suggest hanging on to your records for at least three years, because that is how long you have to amend your return and typically the amount of time the IRS has to audit you. However, the IRS says you should keep documents for up to six years if you notably underreported your income and seven years if you file a loss claim from worthless securities or reduction of bad debt. And there’s no statute of limitations for the IRS to take action if you don’t file a return or file a fraudulent one, so if this is your situation, you’ll need those records.
For most folks, NEFE says 7 years is enough.
KEEP LONG TERM
Consider anything associated with a major life event a forever item: birth certificates, death certificates, adoption papers, Social Security cards and proof of marriage or divorce. Other essentials include citizenship documents, proof of military service and passports. There are also your nearly forever items, such as a will or medical directive; replace these when updated.
KEEP IT REAL
It can be tough to decide what should stay or go. If you are unsure, Rubin suggests considering if you could find this information elsewhere. Most bank or retirement account statements, for example, can be found online.
Or try to think through a scenario in which you would actually need it. Can’t think of one? Then it goes.
You don’t need a complicated system to organize things and make sure to keep up with regular purges. And make sure to shred, not throw away or recycle, anything with personal information to avoid identity fraud.
Want to suggest a personal finance topic that Quick Fix can address? Email [email protected]
Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Associated Press
@repost Division of Assets
Via Divorce Forms
CXDACUTA, Colombia — Arelys Pulido had already lost one baby in a neglected Venezuelan hospital where doctors and medical gear are in increasingly short supply, so when she got pregnant again she decided to give birth in a foreign land.
She packed suitcases filled with clothes and a few prized ceramic statues of saints that she hoped would grant her and her unborn child protection as they passed through one of the perilous illegal crossings into Colombia.
Earlier this year, Zuleidys Antonella Primera was born, a lively girl with dark hair and eyes bearing no hint of the odyssey her mother went through so she could deliver her in a hospital across the border in the city of Cúcuta.
Yet little Zuleidys so far has neither the citizenship of the country her parents fled nor that of the nation where she was born. She is one of a growing number of children born to undocumented Venezuelan migrants in Colombia who have been left essentially stateless.
“It’s one more thing to worry about,” said José Antonio Primera, the baby’s father, a former military officer who now paints motorcycles for a living.
While the children born to migrants qualify for Venezuelan citizenship, they would need to formally register at a consulate or travel to Venezuela to obtain it. Both options are out of the question for many families. They do not want to return until conditions improve and consulates are closed after President Nicolás Maduro severed diplomatic relations with Colombia in February.
Colombia’s government grants the newborns full health care during the first year of life and allows them to enrol in school, but experts on statelessness fear that if Venezuela’s crisis drags on for years, they could approach adulthood without key rights such as the ability to travel legally, buy property or get married.
Colombia’s National Civil Registry counts at least 3,290 children born since December 2017 who have been unable to obtain citizenship. Rights groups contend the numbers could be as high as 25,000.
Even by the lowest count, advocates say, the number of children at risk of statelessness now living in Colombia is worrisome.
“It is a significant number when you think of it being created out of one crisis,” said Amal de Chickera, co-director of the Netherlands-based Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. “And if it is prolonged and if it’s not nipped in the bud it can become much bigger.”
Nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans now reside in Colombia, about 40% of whom are in the country without any legal status. Colombia has received more Venezuelan migrants than any other nation, and the numbers are not expected to dip any time soon. Even with the border between the neighbouring countries officially closed, thousands stream into Colombia each day using the same dirt roads that Pulido crossed while pregnant.
Colombia’s constitution only offers birthright citizenship to children who have at least one Colombian parent or a mother or father who can prove legal residency based on visa status.
Many Venezuelan arrivals do not have a passport, let alone a visa. A temporary, two-year visa that Colombia’s government has provided as a stopgap measure to nearly 600,000 Venezuelans does not qualify babies for citizenship.
That has left many babies in a legal limbo.
Colombian officials say it is Venezuela’s fault that a new generation of children born abroad are virtually statelessness, but they are working on finding a remedy.
“We’re all in agreement that exceptional measures need to be taken,” said Alfredo Posada, a spokesman for Colombia’s National Civil Registry.
A government proposal in the works would allow any Venezuelan child born in Colombia since the current exodus began in August 2015 to qualify for citizenship and is expected to be approved in the weeks ahead while legislators are considering a similar bill in congress.
Statelessness first became an international concern between World War I and World War II as the population of those fleeing persecution or excluded from nationality laws rose, said David Baluarte, an expert on statelessness at Washington and Lee University.
The issue caused heightened alarm during World War II when Jews were stripped of their citizenship in Nazi Germany before being sent to concentration camps.
Two United Nations treaties were created protecting the right to citizenship, but today an estimated 10 to 15 million people around the globe are considered stateless.
Statelessness experts say the onus is on Colombia to rectify the status of Venezuelan children born on its territory.
“In the present moment, these children would be stateless in Colombia, so the obligation is on them to grant citizenship,” de Chickera said. “That would be a really strict reading of the law, but I think it’s important to take into consideration that this is quite an extraordinary moment.”
When born in Colombia, the children are given a birth certificate, but it clearly states at the bottom, “Not valid for nationality.”
“The fact that the parent is an undocumented migrant shouldn’t mean that the child is born an undocumented migrant,” lawyer Xiomara Rauseo said.
At the present moment, Venezuelan parents can try going through the courts to get Colombian citizenship for their children, but few have succeeded. Two cases are currently being considered by the constitutional court, said Lucía Ramírez, a co-ordinator for investigations and migration issues at the human rights non-profit Dejusticia.
Others have tried going through the Ministry of Foreign Relations, which must consider any cases in which a foreign consulate does not provide citizenship within three months. Ramírez said Dejusticia is only aware of one case that has succeeded to date. That child, however, was not born to Venezuelan migrants.
“It’s not a pathway that people are using,” she said.
At the Erasmo Meoz University Hospital in the border city of Cúcuta, parents clutching newborns stand outside a registry office, eager to ink their children’s feet and obtain their official birth record, only to find out the country isn’t granting them citizenship.
“The normal thing to do would be for them to all get Colombian citizenship,” said Eduardo Bravo, a former police officer, while bouncing his infant daughter in his arms. “We aren’t here in Colombia because we want to be. It’s out of necessity.”
Pulido, 44, first crossed the border into Colombia four months into her pregnancy for ultrasounds she couldn’t get in her home country. The journey on foot and over a river on a makeshift canoe wore on her, as did painful memories of her last pregnancy: The child died during childbirth after a usually minor complication. Pulido blames that on Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis.
“Several friends died giving birth there,” she said. “I had to come.”
At eight months pregnant, she packed her bags and left for good.
On a recent afternoon, Pulido and her husband Primera examined the piece of white paper with their daughter’s tiny black footprints provided by the hospital. They were at a loss of how to interpret it, at once happy but also confused.
The couple said they didn’t care so much about whether Zuleidys grows up Colombian or Venezuelan so long as one of those two countries recognizes her.
“As long as she has rights like any other human being, as a citizen,” Primera said.
In the meantime, the family is struggling with a host of equally or more pressing concerns as they try to build a new life abroad. Work has been hard to come by for Primera. The couple sleeps with the baby on a mattress on the floor in an apartment with three rooms that house 13 people. And they still don’t have a refrigerator.
The statues of saints that Pulido lugged across the border sit on a concrete cement shelf below reused Pepsi bottles storing water.
“We’re in the hands of God,” Primera said.
Christine Armario on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cearmario
Christine Armario, The Associated Press
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NEW YORK — A businessman described by prosecutors as the “gravitational centre” of a conspiracy to bribe New York police officers in one of the worst scandals to hit the department in recent decades was sentenced to four years in prison Monday.
Jeremy Reichberg, 45, was also fined $50,000 for a nearly decadelong effort in which he and another businessman persuaded police officials and others to respond to their needs, whether it was deploying cars, boats and helicopters for their benefit or providing gun licenses expeditiously.
“The instruments of government became tools for their own advancement,” U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods said before telling Reichberg to report to prison in mid-August.
The judge said Reichberg was the “idea man” who relied heavily on businessman Jona Rechnitz’s deep pockets to bribe over a half-dozen police officers and officials with money and gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Testimony about the pair’s fundraising for Mayor Bill de Blasio cast a negative light on the Democrat, though he was not accused of wrongdoing.
A February 2013 private jet trip for two police officers to a Super Bowl watch party in Las Vegas became a focus of the two-month trial when a prostitute testified that she was brought along to provide her services.
Other trips described at trial included a private jet excursion for two officers and a retired police inspector to the 2013 BCS Championship Game in Florida and a 2014 baseball trip to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for a police deputy chief and his family and friends.
Before he was sentenced, a sobbing Reichberg said he was drawn in by the “glitz and glamour” of a life he didn’t know when he grew up in Brooklyn.
“I allowed myself to become part of that lifestyle,” he said.
In court papers, prosecutors noted that then-NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said after Reichberg’s arrest that the scandal was “historically bad,” and possibly had the widest impact since the 1960s and 1970s scandal that inspired the movie “Serpico,” about a famous police whistleblower, Frank Serpico.
“Jeremy Reichberg was the gravitational centre of the conspiracy. He recruited officers and controlled the details of what they would do and what they would receive,” prosecutors wrote.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell told Woods that the crime was comparable to corruption that has recently led to the downfall of numerous New York state politicians.
He said the NYPD was “an extension of our values” and any effort to corrupt officers or police officials was a threat to the city’s lifeline.
Reichberg’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, requested leniency for her client, citing his many charitable acts and saying the value of government benefits Reichberg improperly received was between $6,500 and $15,000.
A former NYPD deputy inspector was exonerated in January by the same jury that convicted Reichberg on conspiracy, honest service fraud and obstructing justice charges while exonerating him on other counts.
Rechnitz is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to charges and co-operating.
Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
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