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Omaha Law Blog

Tips for the pre-adoption home study

For would-be adoptive parents, there's seldom anything more anxiety-provoking than the home study that's required before the adoption can be approved.

Keep in mind that the home study isn't designed to make sure that you're perfect people. It's just designed to make sure that you're able to be effective parents. Here are some of the tips that social workers offer about how to prepare:

When your parents die broke

Losing a parent is one of the most difficult things you may ever go through, and it can prove even more emotionally taxing if you are the one in charge of handling your mother or father’s estate after his or her passing. Increasingly, members of the boomer generation are passing away and leaving considerable debt behind, which, in many cases, leaves their loved ones wondering what to do about it, and whether they, themselves, might be on the hook for it. If you count yourself among those who have recently had a parent die broke or without leaving enough money behind to cover debts and financial obligations, here are some key things you should know:

You are probably not responsible for your parents’ debts.

Don't let creditors convince you to pay a deceased parent's debts

It's probably the last thing you expect following your mother or father's death, but don't be surprised if the creditors start calling.

Also, don't let them convince you that you're responsible for your deceased parent's debts, either. Unless you co-signed a loan or took out joint credit cards with your parent, it's not likely that you owe anything.

Keeping social media from killing your marriage

Social media has become intertwined with American lives -- and American marriages may be suffering as a result.

Facebook alone has had a damaging effect on a lot of marriages -- it's mentioned in about 20 percent of divorces. There are also dozens of other social media platforms out there, all begging for attention and distracting from your most important personal relationship. Is there anything you can do to protect your marriage from social media?

When the deceased's will is missing, destroyed or unsigned

You may have asked a relative about their estate plans and heard something like, "Oh, I had a will drawn up years ago. It's all handled." At that point, you probably breathed a sigh of relief and forgot all about it.

Unfortunately, when the time comes and the will is needed, you may not be able to locate the original no matter where you look. What happens next?

Who pays the mortgage after a divorce?

The biggest asset you share with your spouse is probably your home -- so it's important to make the right choice about how to handle the mortgage in the split.

The good news is that you have several different options for your mortgage to consider. The bad news is that your finances may limit which of these are really practical:

How can you pay child support if your income is unpredictable?

You are in the middle of divorce negotiations, and talks have turned to child support. You and your ex have every intention of supporting your child, but the income that comes in is not regular. For instance, you may be self-employed and operate a heavily seasonal business. Alternatively, your ex may be the one who would pay child support, but he or she does freelance work. Some months, the money that comes in amounts to $1,500. Other months, it could be more like $4,000.

What is a good way to calculate child support in such situations?

Protect yourself against guardianship abuses

America has a large population of adults who are approaching advanced age -- and many of those adults are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse through the guardianship process.

In theory, guardianship should be a "last resort" option that's only used when an adult is incapable of making important decisions. No one should be stripped of their rights to make their own personal decisions without an extremely good reason.

Conflicts over control: Guardianship versus power of attorney

When a parent starts to have problems functioning independently, the situation can aggravate tensions between their adult children, especially if there's a dispute over who should be handling Mom or Dad's financial affairs.

Sometimes, one sibling will go to great lengths to try to ensure a "win" over the other. Even if you currently hold your parent's financial power of attorney, there are some underhanded maneuvers you may need to anticipate.

Actor asks judge for jail over spousal support

John Schneider, the actor who has portrayed everyone from one of The Dukes of Hazard to Superman's adopted father on Smallville, has asked a family court judge to send him to jail rather than keep asking him to pay spousal support to his wife.

According to the actor's public statements, he doesn't have the money to pay his wife the spousal support that he owes. He claims that he would pay up if he were able and that his willingness to go to jail instead is evidence that he cannot.