The Big 3 of Divorce with Jennifer Beckman | RU014

During a divorce process, there are 3 big areas that need to be resolved. Children, Cashflow, and Property Division. Jennifer will discuss each of these Big 3, sharing insights and specifics issues to be aware of that can help you navigate the legal process more effectively and be able to have a clearer understanding of the process when you meet with your attorney. Knowledge is power, and Jennifer shares information that can help you go into your divorce with your eyes wide open!   


About the Guest:

Jennifer A. Beckman has practiced family law for 27 years, and has been selected as a “Superlawyer” for many years. Jennifer guides her clients to work toward a cooperative resolution while educating them as to the intricacies of the law, yet if there is an issue that needs court involvement she will discuss that option as well. Jennifer is compassionate toward her client’s financial needs and emotional struggles, and assists them to leave the process with their dignity intact and as a whole person rather than in fragmented pieces.

About the Host:

Divorced after many years of marriage, Barb Greenberg founded Rediscovering U, a company that provides education, support, and resources for women transitioning through divorce and into a new life. She and her company have been recognized for “…creating equality, justice and self-determination for women…” She is an award winning author of 3 books, Hope Grew Round Me, After the Ball: A Woman’s Tale of Happily Ever After, and The Seasons of Divorce: Insights for Women in Transition. Her books are available at a special price for you at Visit to learn more! Barb would like to thank Joey Greenberg for his technical expertise and creativity. Without him, she’d still be thinking about starting podcast!

You can also find Barb at:

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Barb Greenberg:

Hello, and welcome to rediscovering U where you will find valuable insights, support and education to help you move through the difficult and often painful process of divorce with grace and courage and hope and find the ultimate gift of rediscovering yourself. I'm your host, Barb Greenberg, award winning author and founder of rediscovering you. If I'd had access to a resource like this during my divorce, I would have not felt so isolated, I would have made much better decisions. I still would have breathed for that for so hard for so long. And I wouldn't have eaten so many boxes of macaroni and cheese. When women heal. Families heal when families heal communities heal. When communities heal. The possibilities are endless. Let's get started. I'm so excited to introduce you to family law attorney Jennifer Beckman. I've known her it seems like forever. She's brilliant. she's funny, she's creative. She really helps her clients in any way they need to be helped resolving their issues whether it's through mediation, collaborative law negotiation litigation, she's comfortable one on one with you. She's comfortable in a courtroom. Speaking of one on one, she even has a little sweet little dog in her office. So when you come to visit, and have an appointment in a meeting, it's not so intimidating, which I love. She's been considered a super lawyer in Minnesota for like, ever for years and years and years. She volunteers with a volunteer lawyers network through Hennepin County, she volunteers at Tubman, which is a Minneapolis based resource for families in all sorts of difficult issues. She assists clients who want to be amicable and creative and resolving their divorces. So she's all about doing that first before you have to go forward into the more contentious pieces. And she really tries to help you resolve things outside of the courtroom. She is a joy to work with. She can help you in so many different ways. Welcome, Jennifer. Yay.

Jennifer Beckman:

Thank you, Barb. It's good to be here.

Barb Greenberg:

This really this is fun. I'm excited to talk with you. First, the first thing I want to ask is I love the story of how you decided to become a family law. Attorney. Are you comfortable sharing that because it just always makes me smile.

Jennifer Beckman:l. A very long time. Well, in:Barb Greenberg:

Wow. So she see you've seen a lot.

Jennifer Beckman:

Iv' see a lot, yup.

Barb Greenberg:

And so today we thought we would talk about well, I'd like you to talk about the big three, the top three of divorce and the first one that you mentioned and it's under my piece of paper here.

Jennifer Beckman:hysical where they're sharing:Barb Greenberg:

I can't I you know, I hear stories of that often. That's the biggest, most painful piece for a lot of people is I my kids gonna be okay, how can I protect my kids? How am I how can I make sure that you know, when I send them to my exes, things, they'll be safe, they'll be cared for? They'll be it's very. I just talked to somebody last night she said I prayed for my kids every night during my divorce, that they be safe.

Jennifer Beckman:

And it is a hard area when you think about it. It's such an emotional area and that's the part of the divorce. You forget that a divorce isn't just the finances. It's the emotional part as well in the children always bring out emotions and people and have people act sometimes like they wouldn't normally act and and what you might think is the best interest of the kids is not necessarily what your spouse or the other parent thinks. So it's a tough area, and there is so much people, people will sometimes come to me and say, well, it's just common sense. No, there's so much more the law is so much more than than common sense. So it's it's just encompasses a lot. And our courts, you know, that that's a good thing. Our courts now, you know, practice long enough, that I can see how it's evolved to something much more healthy for parties, but our courts now really are encouraging people to settle their cases, and to not end up in a trial in front of a judge making the decisions for you. So every effort is made to do something called Alternative Dispute Resolution, especially when it comes to issues with the kids. So mediation, or this process called the Early Neutral Evaluation is very, very much so used when we're talking about custody and parenting time. Again, most people do settle. So that's an important thing to know that most people don't end up in front of a judge with a judge making the decisions. Most people settle in one of those alternative dispute resolution ways.

Barb Greenberg:

That's good. That's good. That's really good. Wow, that was a great overview. That was really good information. And big three, number two, the second of the big three, is that custody, right? Which kind of

Jennifer Beckman:% or:Jennifer Beckman:

That's I mean, child support, it sounds simplistic, it's really not, it's pretty complicated, but it's a little bit easier than the second part of cash flow, which is spousal maintenance. Oh, that one is fraught with lots and lots of issues and problems. And there is, first, there's the law that says who's entitled to get spousal maintenance doesn't just mean because I've been married and somebody I've been married five years, and somebody makes 200,000, and somebody makes 80,000 doesn't just mean right away, because somebody makes more than the other that there would necessarily be any kind of spousal maintenance. So first of all, you have to determine if you meet the factors to even look at whether or not spousal maintenance would be part of your pace. And if you do, then it kind of come in, I'm simplifying this, it's anything but simple. There is no calculator. So this is just attorneys or financial people helping you figure out how to get the amount of spousal maintenance, but you're looking at after somebody is entitled to it, you're looking at somebody's ability to pay. And somebody need, the ability to pay is and the need, we're both looking at what are both of your incomes? And what are both of your expenses. And that's reasonable expenses looking, you can also look at the standard of living you had during the marriage. And once you figure out what that need is for somebody meaning the obligation, the one who would get spousal maintenance, then you're trying to figure out what's the amount? So what's the amount we're looking at, based on that person's need? So if their income doesn't, doesn't meet their expenses, or doesn't cover their expenses, then there's a need? And what is that need? Then the next step and spousal maintenance, when you determine there's a need? How long is it going to go for? So what's the duration going to be? And also what is the amount going to be so a mountain duration is what it kind of comes down to. There's many factors that get you there. And and then you're also talking about is it going to be temporary spousal maintenance, something that helps somebody get back on their feet, whether it's through education or some training, or just help them get back on their feet so that they can meet their own needs? Or is it going to be permanent, permanent doesn't necessarily mean until someone dies, the obligor dies, it could mean until that person retires or no longer has income, that would be able to cover their needs as well as their spouses needs. So permanent maintenance just means a longer period of time, it more than likely means you've been married a pretty long period of time. So all of those are things you'd have to go over with your attorney to win. It's it's a really complicated area, extremely complicated. So it's very helpful to sit down and, and understand with your attorney, what it is that your attorney is going to be looking for from you. And what it is that the other side's gonna want to see to.

Barb Greenberg:

Wow, that was really good. And that was for me. That was the issue. Our kids were not minors anymore. And that was the issue that got really, we got really stuck on.

Jennifer Beckman:

Wow. So you know what, it's like Barb. I mean, you know how tough that area is. And you, you know, it's rare that you see the person whose needs to pay like in your case, oh, sure. Barbie, spousal maintenance, I'm gonna pay her. You know, it's rare that you see that so nobody really wants to pay spousal maintenance, but there's definitely a need Like, in your case, long term marriage, kids were growing up and you still needed support. So it's, boy, that's an area that's tough. And it's tough for both sides, you know?

Barb Greenberg:

Because I know now there would, there are women that are asked to, you know, I'm dating myself. It's their responsibility to provide spousal maintenance to their ex. Yeah,

Jennifer Beckman:

I just finished a case like that. I'm just wrapping one up where the wife in the case makes a lot more than her husband and her husband hasn't worked for years and years near squat was home with the children, and then just never really got back to work because his wife made so much money. So it's tough. And trust me, women don't like painted any more than men do. But you are right, you are seeing more and more of that.

Barb Greenberg:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And the last one of the big three letter is property. So yeah, the properties to my property?

Jennifer Beckman:vide that or most of the time:Jennifer Beckman:

Other parts it gets even more complicated in property divisions are things like, somebody works for a big corporation, and they get stock, they get stock options, or restricted stock or, you know, cash incentives, something like that during the marriage. And how do you how do you treat that. So if you get stock options, portion of those options might be marital meaning you received them when you were married, but they vested or they're going to vest after the marriage. So a portion of those stock options could be marital. And a portion could be looked at as non marital. It's it is stock options, restricted stock, all of those things can get extremely complicated. But again, it's why you go to an attorney or, you know, your attorneys often reach out to financial people to figure all that out as well. But debt, student loans typically are non marital meaning they go with the person that incurred them for their for their education, but there could be a marital portion of a student loan. So you were married, you went to school, but you weren't working because you were going to school. So you took out $10,000 And you paid every month for a while your rent or your mortgage, or you paid for groceries, so a portion of that student loan, if you can borrow that could be marital. But most of the time student loans, we look at our for tuition, books, those things that would typically be something that's non marital goes with the person that that went to school and took out those student loans. People sometimes want to fight over personal property, and I tell people just don't do it. You know, you go to court, a car could do a number of things. They could either say, Okay, you're each going to take turns. spouse, one gets to pick the first thing spouse to the second, your alternate every time. Or a court could say we're gonna have a sale, they're gonna sell everything. So you just you, you want to resolve those things. And it's not worth attorneys fees for your attorney to be helping you divide up assets, because we attorneys see often that if you ended up having a garage sale and selling the stuff, it's not what you bought the property for the personal property. So you went out and bought a very expensive piece of furniture furniture. Gabbert and let's say it was a $10,000 Whatever sectional, that is not what it's worth at the time you got divorced, unless you literally just purchased it. And then even probably not usually things or garage sale value. So you can imagine, you know, if you've ever had a garage sale, it's hard to people want personal property for nothing practically. So I'm trying to think of anything else, Barb that a lot of things come up and property off it is well, do I have to sell my house? Not necessarily. Not necessarily the house. If you two can reach an agreement, somebody can keep the house but then you have to figure out, well, there's equity in the house, my spouse might be entitled to or would be entitled probably to a portion of that equity. If it's all marital, then they would be entitled to half of that equity. And how are you going to pay that person know what they're owed. So that's all part of the divorce too. So this area, while it sounds like it's super simple, it's not. The other thing I just said this is kind of important, Barb. Some things are more liquid, like bank accounts, investment accounts or more. You can liquidate them, so you could get cash out of them. But if somebody says, Well, I'm going to keep all the equity in the house and my spouse is going to keep all the retirement plans. That's not apples to apples because your retirement plan plans typically are pre tax. So there's some tax effect to that too. So when you're looking at property division, there can be tax implications that also need to be looked at. So it's kind of complicated. Unfortunately.

Barb Greenberg:

I love that all three of these things All three of the big three. They weren't like they sound simple, but they're not. They sound simple, but they're not. And that's why you need an attorney, to know somebody who really understands why it's not simple. Because on the surface, it looks one way. But when you go deeper, it's it's not bad at all.

Jennifer Beckman:

That's a really good way of putting it on the surface. You know, common sense. People think, Oh, this is simple. This shouldn't be difficult. We could figure this all out ourselves. When you start digging in, it's like an onion, you start peeling back the layers, it gets more and more complicated in our law is complicated. And you don't want to all of a sudden go through a divorce and think you can do it all on your own. And then at the end, come back and say, hey, you know, call me up afterwards. Hey, Jennifer, I need help. We're divorce this, we did everything ourselves. We and now I have some questions or No, I think this isn't right or something and my decree shouldn't isn't written the way I thought it should be written, or that we agreed to well, property settlements are final. So you want to make sure you do it right the first time because that the final, you can't go back and all of a sudden open up your divorce decree afterwards, make changes on things. And other things like custody, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, while you might be able to modify those things in some way, it's very difficult. There's laws that you have to meet, in order to be able to even modify something, and sometimes you can't. So that first shot at your divorce, you better make sure it's done the way the way it should be done to begin with. And I really important to say this. Please don't say I want my divorce to be fair. Because no divorce is necessarily fair, what's fair to you is not necessarily fair to your spouse. So really kind of change your mindset and look at it as being reasonable. Everybody's going to have to give in some way, nobody's going to get absolutely everything they want. Because that's typically not a reasonable divorce.

Barb Greenberg:

Wow, that was really important. That was really important, especially for those of us who are nice girls and want everything to know be nice. Right? That just shifts it. I like that that's that reasonable is a much more workable word to use.

Jennifer Beckman:

That's so true. So true.

Barb Greenberg:

This was so much great information. And she's got more to share. Jennifer has a lot more to share, but our time is just about up. So you have to tune in again, we're gonna have her back as quickly as possible to share some more really important valuable helpful, legal information. But first, I want to have her tell you how to get in touch with her how to contact her. We were trying to figure that out earlier.

Jennifer Beckman:-:Barb Greenberg:

That's really nice. And that's really nice. And we will put that information in our notes too in the podcast notes, Episode notes, so you can find them there. But this was I love listening to you talking mate, you're so real and you're so down to earth. And if I just your wealth of information, if this was a joy, this is a joy.

Jennifer Beckman:

And thank you, Barb, and I can't say enough about you too. So

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