Smart Money: Get a good attorney for best outcome in divorce


DEAR BRUCE >> Can you please tell me how the courts decide figures for alimony? I am divorcing my husband due to infidelity. We have two very young children. I have been a stay-at-home mom for three years. Also, we have been married for seven years.

— Reader

DEAR READER >> Unhappily, there is no set answer for that. The figures come from the judge who is hearing the divorce action. It can go from almost nothing to a whole lot.

The big player here is the attorney who is representing you. Be certain to pick someone who has a good track record in winning these types of affairs.

You're going through a very difficult time right now, and you might not be able to continue being a stay-at-home mom. Hang tough! It may take a couple of years, but you will get through it. I do wish you well.

DEAR BRUCE >> I never made a payment on my student loans and now they've been put in collections. Can they garnish my salary?

— Reader

DEAR READER >> How long has this been going on? Whether or not your salary can be garnished depends in some measure on what type of student loan it is — whether it's a government loan, a college loan, a private loan, etc. You should consult an attorney before you go any further because you should be absolutely sure of your rights and responsibilities.

Furthermore, there are now companies that negotiate with the owners of your loans to either forgive or partially forgive part of the monies owed. I certainly wouldn't ignore that avenue; at least explore your options.

DEAR BRUCE >> You advised in the past not to use CDs because of poor interest rates. You said to put your money in a balanced portfolio. Can you add money to a portfolio every year at a certain time, like for birthdays?

— Lance

DEAR LANCE >> Absolutely! There is no reason why you can't add money at any time, such as birthdays, holidays or just because you want to increase the amount in the portfolio. You simply buy more stock with whatever money you have available. It's not a bad plan.

Send questions to Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.


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