Divorce and Avoiding the Kitchen Sink Mentality

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Each week we post a blog about relevant legal issues.  Glance through our various topics to learn more about a particular legal situation.

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Posted on: 9/7/2020

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Divorce and Avoiding the Kitchen Sink Mentality
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 9/14/2020

Each divorce is different, but every divorce requires spouses to allocate and distribute property. The purpose of a divorce is to separate community assets, which means that financial accounts must be divided, including checking, savings, retirement, and stocks, etc. Over the years, spouses likely accumulate thousands of dollars’ worth of personal property. Everything from couches, TVs, pots, pans, dishes, and the kitchen sink may be split. Just because they can be divided, does not mean that they should or will be because in the end – sometimes – the more convenient path is the right choice to make.

There is no doubt that emotions run high during a dissolution. Anger, frustration, and even sadness may lead you to decisions you may regret. Fighting over the kitchen sink may fall into that category. Between residential schedules for children, child support, and distributing large scale assets like homes and retirement accounts, there is already a lot to discuss as part of a divorce. Discussions over small items of personal property usually only detracts from the important items and causes more grief.

Fighting over the silverware may also cost you thousands more than letting your spouse keep a few extra pieces of personal property. Attorney fees add up quickly when parties are having a dispute, and if the fight is only over a few odds and ends, between both sides, the costs of litigation will soon outweigh the value of the objects in question. So, while it is certainly possible to fight over these items, often the pragmatic approach is to leave the dishes in the cabinet and instead spend your time more wisely.

Often in a dissolution, personal property is not worth nearly as much as you would hope regardless. That brand-new television you bought for $1,500 a few years ago may only have a market value of a couple hundred dollars now. By the time you add up all the available property, the fair market value as of the divorce may be a fraction of what was paid to acquire the property in the first place. Unfortunately, the fair market value is the only evaluation that matters, which is why most often, fighting over tangible items is just not worth the effort and expense in litigation.

At Magnuson Lowell PS, our experienced family law litigators will help guide you through the divorce process. That includes providing you with up-to-date information and advice to help you make informed decisions about your own case. If that means fighting for the ceramic clown collection that means so much to you, so be it, but it often means taking a deep breath and setting forward the issues that truly matter. Call today for a free case evaluation.


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Car Accident Injuries
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 9/7/2020

Car Accidents and personal injury claims go hand-in-hand. After an auto accident, you need someone to represent your best interests. Call Magnuson Lowell, P.S. for a free consultation!

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How Does Insurance Work in a Friend`s Car?
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 8/31/2020

As with all insurance claim issues, it is extremely important to review the relevant policy before making decisions about processing your personal injury claim. If you are driving or are a passenger in a vehicle owned by another friend or family member, this is especially true. After a car accident, your focus should rightfully be on medical treatment and feeling better. Experienced personal injury attorneys will help ensure that insurance issues are controlled, and your benefits are maximized.

There are four types of car insurance relevant while you are driving in a friend’s vehicle. First is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP insurance acts as a floating layer of coverage that provides medical, wage, and necessary services payments after a vehicle collision. For example, PIP might pay for your hospital bill without copays, your two weeks of wage loss, or your need to hire a house cleaner if you are unable to complete your normal activities. PIP is mandated by the state unless waived in writing and typically provides $10,000.00 of coverage (although more can be purchased).

Fortunately, PIP insurance follows the person. So, if you have your own car insurance, and part of your insurance includes a PIP BLOGPOST_FriendsCarRS.jpgpolicy, your coverage will follow you no matter what vehicle you are driving. Often, if you are driving or a passenger in a friend’s car at the time of an accident, the friend’s PIP policy (if applicable) will provide a double layer of coverage. So, in effect, if two PIP policies are active, you might have $20,000.00 or more in accessible medical, wage, or services coverage.

The second common scenario where insurance is important is liability coverage. If you are driving your friend’s car, state law requires that you have at least $25,000 in liability coverage protecting other drivers from you causing a car accident. With the increased cost of medical bills and wage loss, high liability limits are very important. Liability policies can range into the millions but are most typically under $500,000. If you cause an accident, your assets will thank you by having a larger liability policy.

Third, underinsured / uninsured motorist coverage is a lifesaver as well. If you are driving or a passenger in your friend’s car, both your policy and the friend’s policy might be in play. UIM/UM coverage helps you if the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient or non-existent. If the driver has no insurance, then the UM insurance will step into the at-fault driver’s shoes to make payments to you instead. If both you and your friend have this insurance, it might mean increased limits to cover your damages.

Finally, umbrella insurance is always important, as well. This coverage acts like another floating layer for the person. No matter what car you are driving in, umbrella coverage provides an additional (and often very inexpensive) layer of insurance to protect you and your assets. The umbrella always kicks in last. Meaning that if you cause an accident in your friend’s car, the injured party will need to exhaust the liability limits before they will dip into your umbrella policy.

At Magnuson Lowell PS, we are dedicated to ensuring that our clients are made whole as part of their insurance claim. If our client was driving in their own vehicle or in their best friend’s vehicle, there are many insurance issues that can and will affect a financial recovery. Our experience team of litigators know the ins-and-outs of insurance negotiation. Call today for a free case evaluation!

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