Divorce & Life Insurance

Divorce & Life Insurance

Hello, periodically, we like to update our clients with legal news we think may affect them.

​Today I want to address the issue of life insurance on the other parent.  Some times parents or former spouses receiving spousal support, want the support payments to be guaranteed by life insurance.  Meaning, that if the parent or ex-spouse owing you child support or life insurance dies before their  support obligation ends to you-  you will still have the life insurance benefit to fall back on and will not be totally out of luck if the support payor dies prematurely.

Two things to remember, if you are using life insurance that named you as a beneficiary before the divorce, that life insurance must be updated. The spouse obligated to pay you support must execute a new designation and rename you as beneficiary.

Once the divorce is entered, the divorce automatically revokes all beneficiary designations, including you if you were on the policy. This applies to wills and other beneficiary designations.

Secondly, you should have the other parent’s obligation stated in the divorce decree or paternity Order.  Why?  Because if the other parent fails to keep the life insurance and then dies, you would then have a claim against the deceased parent or ex-spouses estate.   Also, if your decree orders the other party to keep life insurance that may overcome a lack of change of beneficiary.

Privacy

Privacy

We have all read or heard about the telephone number collection and email collection by the government.. Most people’s reaction falls into one of two camps; one says “so what, I have nothing to hide”, the other says “good grief, the government is spying on me.”

The issue of the government spying on its citizens is nothing new. Forty years ago, the FBI was accused of a wide range of civil spying in the SDS and the Civil Rights movement. Okay, so what is legal?. The law is a balancing test of an individual’s right to privacy and what is a reasonable intrusion into a citizen’s privacy for the public good, such as capturing a criminal.

It is legal if the police snoop in windows around one’s house, if the window shades are up or afford a view inside the home. It is legal for the government to go through the trash you set out on your curb. For a long time, the government has been able to obtain from the telephone company a log of all the telephone numbers one calls. ( Perhaps that is why Ernestine used to laugh and say “we are the phone company, ha, ha, on Laugh In”)

The Fourth Amendment says the government may not enter or search a citizen’s dwelling or home on a whim. The British used to go house to house and randomly search the Colonial’s homes. Are we in danger of that again with the government’s reach into cyberspace? That is question for discussion by all citizens.

Seems confusing? It is confusing

Graduation

Graduation

The end of May is graduation time. Our college age children are now magically full adults and self-supporting. (Let’s hope, right?) In June, our high school children graduate from high school. Most are eighteen (18) years of age and are considered adults. Should parents be careful when celebrating the end of high school or college for their children?

In most instances, in Minnesota, when a person reaches the age of (18), that person is legally considered an adult. Whether or not they really are, is another question. The legal fact is, eighteen (18) is the age of adulthood in Minnesota. However, the State believes that only persons age (21) and older are old enough to drink liquor. So, (18) is not full adulthood.

What happens when the parents of an “adult” host a party and allow the adults at the party, to consume alcohol? Many times parents believe that they should allow the young adults (under age 21) to drink at home, rather than drink outside their home.

However, could the host of the part, be held responsible for the actions of the adults after drinking at their home. The answer is, in many instances yes. It is not a good idea for any parent to host and serve liquor to any “adult” that is under the age of (21). The host is committing an illegal act when doing so. The other thing the adult is doing is greatly increasing his/her exposure to damages if that under age (21) person causes harm to another person, and alcohol was the reason or the cause for the harm.

So, it is fund to celebrate and we should, but remember, the kids are adults at age (18) and real adults at age (21).

Boston Bomber

Is the Boston Bomber an enemy combatant or just a common criminal?

The tragedy of the Boston bombing left many legal pundits speculating about the prosecution of the remaining bombing suspect. Is the Boston Bomber an enemy combatant or just a common criminal? What should happen when someone from this Country carries out acts of war or terror, against persons or property in our own Country? Is the suspect in the bombing treated as an enemy combatant i.e.; someone that is waging war against us? Or is Boston bombing a crime that land the criminal in a local prison?

How is it that one person who has caused so much harm and injury and is trained by enemies of our country not be a soldier or terrorist enemy country? Surely the people that died in Boston and lost limbs in Boston deserve to have justice obtained against the bombers. What kind of justice though? A prison or a prisoner of war? It makes a difference in the rights and procedures afforded the bombing suspect. A POW does not get Miranda rights, and does not have the evidentiary rights of a common criminal.

The foundation of our system is that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a suspect committed the crime. The high standard of proof is to protect us, from the government from locking people at will. However, what happens if the Bomber suspect is found not guilty or charges are overturned or dismissed due to a technical default. Was justice then served? These are questions that will be asked again and again and are worth thinking about now in the aftermath of the Boston tragedy