6 Online Resources for Family Law Paralegals

by Jennifer E. Arnold, CP, NCCP

    1. http://www.zillow.com and http://www.cyberhomes.com/ (home values section) – Do you ever need to get a rough value of a home for equitable distribution purposes and don’t have the time for a market analysis or appraisal?  These websites are for you.  The values obtained from these websites are about as reliable as the property tax valuations, but they are a great starting point in the early stages of a case. 
    2. http://www.nada.com/ and http://www.kbb.com/ – Almost every family law case involves automobiles and valuing them.  These websites can provide trade-in values for the family vehicles.  Be sure to obtain the trade-in values from these websites right at the date of separation or you will have to obtain the NADA book from the library to get the value on a previous date.  Your supervising attorney can let you know the admissibility of these print outs for evidence purposes.
    3. http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm – Calculation of alimony and “grossing up” that amount to account for taxes often requires knowing a party’s tax bracket.  This website will provide an estimated tax bracket based on the data you enter for the tax year, filing status and income.  It is almost like having your own pocket CPA!
    4. http://www.dfas.mil/dfas/militarymembers/payentitlements/militarypaytables.html – The Defense Finance and Accounting Service provides the military pay tables for all military personnel.  You should pull the pay tables for any case where a military member is a party.  The Retired Military and Annuitants section of this website also offers valuable information on how military pensions are structured and how survivor benefits are handled.  Impress your supervising attorney by providing this information!
    5. http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.text&cid=131 – This Hague Conference website has valuable information on the Convention On The International Recovery Of Child Support And Other Forms Of Family Maintenance.  Whether it is international child abduction or enforcing child support orders in foreign countries, this is the place to start your research.  Closely follow your review of the HCCH website with http://travel.state.gov/abduction/abduction_580.html which provides valuable information on travel including passports, Hague Countries and child abduction.
    6. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/divspouse.htm – With the rise in long term marriages ending, there is also a rise in elderly clients close to, or already in, their retirement years.  The social security website provides information for spouses who may be entitled to their own benefits or to derivative benefits from their spouse’s social security.  The website provides a retirement calculator and other valuable information.

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    Jennifer Arnold, CP, NCCP, is a family law paralegal with Conrad, Trosch & Kemmy, P.A. in Charlotte, NC. She is past vice-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division, and is currently serving her second term as a Paralegal Division Council member.

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