Concealment and misrepresentation are used very commonly in annulment proceedings as part of the fraud ground. Most of the time, annulments for fraud are not granted as a matter of right and are granted only after close consideration. In most states, the courts require clear and convincing evidence of fraud and a showing that the injured party would not have married but for the fraud.
No-Fault Divorce: Irreconcilable Differences
For purposes of no-fault divorce, states use various terms to describe the basic concept of marital breakdown, including irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, insupportability, and irretrievable breakdown. The realization that existing divorce laws no longer comported with the modern marriage experience and marital life led most states to recognize marital disharmony as a basis for no-fault divorce. Statutes usually provide some definition for the concept, and courts often have discretion to apply the standard in individual divorce proceedings.
In divorce, a critical issue impacting the treatment of insurance policies is whether the policy benefits are separate property or marital property. State divorce courts have reached varied answers on the question of whether a life insurance policy is separate or marital property. In some states, “whole life” insurance contracts have been held to be marital property and generally have been valued at their cash surrender value. “Term life” policies, on the other hand, which lack a surrender value, have not been considered divisible property. In states in which inheritances or gifts are classified as separate property, insurance proceeds usually are not treated as marital property for purposes of property distribution in divorce. Other courts have ruled that the proceeds of a life insurance policy purchased with community property should be treated as community property in a divorce.
Property division between the spouses is an important issue in a divorce proceeding. Ascertaining the correct and proper value of the assets and properties of the spouses is key to ensuring a fair and equitable division of the parties’ assets. The advice of an expert, who is skilled either by training, special knowledge, education or experience in the specific field beyond the knowledge of an ordinary layman, will be of great help for clearly defining and ascertaining the value of property for future divisions and tax procedures, etc. A common example would be an accountant with specific knowledge of the formulas utilized to calculate the present value of various retirement interests.
In a divorce, temporary orders for property protection are designed to prevent irreparable losses from dissipation, concealment, or conveyance to third parties. In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts “automatic orders” are issued simultaneously by the court with the filing of a divorce complaint. Such orders include directing one spouse not to dispose of marital property, encumber marital property, or interfere with property in the other spouse’s possession. Courts also may issue temporary orders to prevent third parties from degrading or dissipating marital property that is in the third parties’ possession or control. The orders also may take an affirmative tone by ordering a spouse to maintain insurance and utility service and continue other routine property-preserving activities. Temporary property protection orders often are necessary whenever invaluable assets are involved. It is common for temporary orders to grant one spouse the right to use an item, and to provide compensating support to the other spouse until the assets are divided and distributed.