expert online series

Carmen Carrozza of Fleet Bank on Financial Survival
Current Time: Fri Apr 25 22:18:44 EDT 1997
MsgId: jcafe(1)
Date: Thu Apr 24 21:43:32 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Stay tuned for an in-studio interview with Carmen Carrozza, Vice President and Branch Manager of Fleet Bank in Chappaqua, NY. Starting at 10 PM, he will participate in a discussion on financial survival post-divorce.
MsgId: jcafe(2)
Date: Thu Apr 24 21:58:07 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Welcome, Carmen Carrozza, of Fleet Bank.
MsgId: jcafe(3)
Date: Thu Apr 24 21:58:50 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What are some of the main financial problems people face when they divorce?
MsgId: jcafe(4)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:01:26 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Credit issues, tax implications, and banking issues. For instance, people may find that they lack credit on their own --or, more importantly, they may not realize that they HAVE credit due to joint mortgage payments.
MsgId: jcafe(5)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:02:25 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: If you do have credit, you may find there are problems with it post-divorce.
MsgId: jcafe(6)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:03:00 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What is the first thing someone should do when facing divorce?
MsgId: jcafe(7)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:03:58 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: One of the most essential things is to order a copy of your credit report. Once you have your copy, it's important to study it. See if there are late payments, or any other adverse information affecting your credit report.
MsgId: jcafe(8)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:04:56 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: If there is adverse information, you must speak to a banker or another financial professional who can help you contact the company or bank that has the adverse information on your credit to rectify it.
MsgId: jcafe(9)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:05:24 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Why is this issue particularly important in the aftermath of divorce?
MsgId: jcafe(10)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:06:22 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Because your ability to move forward --to purchase a car or a house-- could be compromised. This could stop you from moving forward with your life and plans.
MsgId: jcafe(11)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:06:52 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: In the case of divorce, having good credit can be an urgent situation.
MsgId: jcafe(12)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:07:14 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: After you check your credit, what is the next step?
MsgId: jcafe(13)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:08:42 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC:If your credit is good, you must then establish which credit is yours, and which is joint. At that point, you can start to make agreements with the other party as to who is responsible for payments for which credit.
MsgId: jcafe(14)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:09:33 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: If you have NO credit, the issue becomes establishing credit for yourself.
MsgId: jcafe(15)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:10:04 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: How do you establish credit?
MsgId: jcafe(16)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:12:46 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Every question of credit concerns a debt to income ratio. In other words, any party requesting credit looks at your income versus your debt. One of the criteria is based on a ratio of your debt to income.

There are other criteria: One is credit history. Another is length of time at your present job, and yet another, length of time at your present address.


MsgId: jcafe(17)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:13:14 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: So how, finally, DOES one establish credit.
MsgId: jcafe(18)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:13:51 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Usually the best start is applying credit at department stores or gas and oil companies.
MsgId: jcafe(19)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:14:36 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Let's go on to the issue of 401Ks and other pension or retirement vehicles. Do both parties share equally in these?
MsgId: jcafe(20)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:15:45 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

This varies from state to state, but generally there is an agreement between the parties as part of the settlement before the actual divorce decree.
MsgId: jcafe(21)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:16:05 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What if the case goes to court?
MsgId: jcafe(22)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:17:23 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: If the case goes to court, the judge will look at the income of the individual, if there are children involved, if there are disabilities involved. And the judge will look at the income of assets of both parties to see how they and the children can maintain their standard of living.
MsgId: jcafe(23)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:18:20 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What about the instance in which a woman who has been married for 30 years. Children are grown, but she's never worked. In general, is she entitled to half?
MsgId: jcafe(24)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:19:26 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: If she does not have any assets of her own then, in general, she can look forward to a comfortable settlement.
MsgId: jcafe(25)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:20:11 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Let's move on to real estate. What happens in cases where one party has the house in his or her name --how does that work in divorce?
MsgId: jcafe(26)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:21:34 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: If the house was purchased after they have gotten married, and is part of the marital assets, the ownership will not be that important. The judge will look at "equitable distribution." More importantly, the concern is the tax implication.
MsgId: jcafe(27)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:22:58 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: For instance, who will be paying the mortgage, and who will be getting a deduction for it.

If there are children involved, that will determine who actually gets to stay in the house.

Generally, the custodial parent gets to stay in the marital residence.
MsgId: jcafe(28)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:23:33 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Can we discuss, a bit more, the issue of mortgage payments in divorce.
MsgId: jcafe(29)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:25:15 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Mortgages must still be paid as agreed upon with the lender. The person paying the mortgage does not necessarily get a tax deduction. This is based on agreements between the parties attorneys as to who will pay the mortgage and who will get the deductions, based on salaries and living expenses.
MsgId: jcafe(30)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:26:21 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What about other investment properties --boats, planes, second homes, jewelry?
MsgId: jcafe(31)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:29:09 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: The reason these items have such great tax implications is because they may be required to be sold as part of the settlement. Who will get the cash? Who will get the tax deduction based on the sale? These details will all be worked out in settlement, or stipulated by a judge. Anyone considering divorce should first seek the advice of either a CPA or a financial planner so they can best prepare for their future.
MsgId: jcafe(32)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:30:45 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Are there some strategies to protect yourself in light of the settlement you hope to achieve regarding these properties?
MsgId: jcafe(33)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:31:13 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Seek the advice of a financial expert BEFORE you walk out the door.
MsgId: jcafe(34)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:32:01 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Onto another topic, many couples have joint bank accounts. Can one person close the account without the approval of the other?
MsgId: jcafe(35)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:33:54 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Yes, it's very possible, it happens every day. Once an account is joint, one party is able to transact any business without the approval of the other party. If the account is set up individually, then the other party has no right to those moneys.
MsgId: jcafe(36)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:34:45 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Do you mean that if I have been giving my spouse $5,000 a year for an account in her name, she or he can just keep the money?
MsgId: jcafe(37)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:35:24 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC Not necessarily. A judge, unlike the bank, can make a different determination and give some of the money back to the giver.
MsgId: jcafe(38)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:35:52 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: If you know a divorce is imminent, how can you protect yourself?
MsgId: jcafe(39)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:37:58 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: The bank can do certain things if just one of the owners asks. For instance, an account can be restricted if one of the owners requests it in writing. The restriction could mandate that there are no withdrawals from the account. However, the other party can reverse it the next day.


MsgId: jcafe(40)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:38:52 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Well, there's not much protection in this. What is the BEST protection?
MsgId: jcafe(41)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:39:25 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Your best protection is getting to the bank first and withdrawing the money first. There is NOTHING illegal about this.
MsgId: jcafe(42)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:40:55 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What other problems might arise in regard to banking issues --mortgages, loans, savings accounts, credit?
MsgId: jcafe(43)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:43:31 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Don't forget about your safe deposit box. The owner their deputies are allowed in at any time. But if you are an owner, you can put a restriction on all deputies. This might be a protection for you if you are the owner. These boxes are usually owned by just one person. The other is the deputy. So, if you are the owner you can prevent your spouse from getting in. If you are the deputy, again, try to get there first.

This is an important issue that people may easily forget in the face of divorce.
MsgId: jcafe(44)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:44:11 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: What about the issue of inheritance during a marriage. Does this become joint money?
MsgId: jcafe(45)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:45:32 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Generally, if the money is kept separate --in your name only-- it will not be considered part of the marital assets.

Be sure that when you receive such money you keep it in your name. This is also true of assets you bring into the marriage.
MsgId: jcafe(46)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:46:41 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Here's a question from the board: We're in the early stages of separation, most definitely leading to divorce
and I was wondering if I can make any kind of claim on my husband's 401K
earnings as well as his social security benefits since we have been married
for over 10 years.
MsgId: jcafe(47)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:50:28 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: It's tricky because settlement is based on the assets of both parties and their future living expenses. This is something that should be and negotiated --it's possible you can get something, but it will need to be decided equitably in settlement or court. Remember, even if you are not specifically entitled, you may negotiate this from a spouse who is particularly anxious to get out of the marriage. So think things out before you agree to anything.
MsgId: jcafe(48)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:51:24 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Here is another question: I was divorced in California in 1984. My children are grown and out on
their own (youngest is 25). I am still paying spousal support
($1500.00/mo.) per a recent (last month) court order.

Where can I get help to bring this to an end?
MsgId: jcafe(49)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:52:57 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: You must go back to the court and appeal this. If you can show justification as to why you should not be paying this, an appeal would be well worth your while.
MsgId: jcafe(50)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:53:28 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: How can you protect yourself from your spouse running up the credit card?
MsgId: jcafe(51)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:55:01 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: You have some options. First, you can cancel any cards held jointly by both spouses. If both spouses agree, the cards can be transferred to one owner. If you want to keep the cards, but protect yourself temporarily, you can put a temporary restriction on the cards.
MsgId: jcafe(52)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:55:40 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: If parties are not getting along and divorce is in the cards, and one person runs up the bill, is the other person liable?
MsgId: jcafe(53)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:57:12 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

CC: Yes, the lender considers them both liable. But the good news is that when you go in front of a judge and show that one party has put money on the bill, the judgment will generally be favorable to you --the person who has not run up the bill. Nonetheless, no matter what the judge says, the debt will be on both parties credit reports.
MsgId: jcafe(54)
Date: Thu Apr 24 22:58:25 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

DC: Thank you so much, Carmen Carrozza of Fleet Bank. We hope to see you on DC Live again soon.