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Roseville Legal Blog

How do you know when your marriage is over?

For some, the realization that their marriage is over comes easily. Perhaps they have a deal-breaker mentality that makes it easy to know when a spouse has crossed the line. You may be like others, however, for whom walking away from a commitment like marriage is a painful, difficult decision. Even when outsiders can see the unhappiness in your marriage, you may want to hold on a little longer.

If you have invested time and emotions in the relationship, you may be reluctant to give up on it. Still, there may come a time when remaining in a dying marriage is unhealthy, and you may need to face the fact that divorce is in your future.

How to handle the family home in property division discussions

Many California couples and others around the country who get married a second time often develop a prenuptial agreement. The spouses may have children from their first marriage, inheritances, business entities or other assets that they wish to protect should they get a divorce in the future. While prenups eliminate many of the potential conflicts that often arise in property division disputes, some disagreements are still a possibility. A family law expert recently received a question from a woman regarding the difficulties she was experiencing in dealing with dividing the marital home.

After 12 years of marriage, a couple had filed for divorce. This was the second marriage for both of them, and they had a prenup in place. They had specified most details in the agreement; however, they planned to use a formula to divide the family home if a divorce occurred. Both spouses separately filed for divorce, and both asked for their prenuptial agreement to be enforced. Now, they are unable to reach a decision about what percentage of the house each owns.

Divorce: Prenuptial agreements can reduce potential conflict

Prenuptial agreements are rarely thought of as romantic when a California couple is preparing to get married. One or both of the future spouses may believe that bringing up the need for a prenup gives the impression that divorce in the future is a possible outcome. However, financial advisors believe that such agreements can actually strengthen a couple's relationship.

Matrimonial experts acknowledge that, when one person in the couple has a significantly larger income or assets, the issue of a prenup can be a delicate one. The goal is to create an appropriate balance of maintaining the couple's relationship while addressing the financial situation. Advisors cite boundaries, power and giving and receiving as areas at the greatest risk of imbalance.

Social Security benefits and divorce

Social Security payments are an anticipated source of income for most California residents and others around the nation as they approach retirement. Many have worked for years on jobs and have included estimates from the government agency in their projections of retirement income. However, as more older couples decide to end their marriages, those getting a divorce may need to examine how potential Social Security income may be affected. Census Bureau statistics show that over the past 25 years, the divorce rate for those over 50 has almost doubled.

When a person gets divorced after at least 10 years of marriage and is age 62 or older, he or she is eligible to claim benefits using the work record of the ex-spouse. Individuals may claim their own Social Security benefit or use the ex-spouse's work record. However, if the individual remarries, the eligibility to receive a benefit with respect to the ex-spouse's earnings record is gone. If the second marriage ends in divorce or death, benefits could be claimed from that spouse if the marriage also lasted over 10 years.

New tax bill will significantly affect alimony payments

While modifications are made every year that affect how California residents and others around the country pay taxes, there have been some major changes in the federal tax laws, starting in 2018. A significant change is coming for the way alimony payments are taxed effective Jan. 1, 2019. Industry experts predict that these proposed changes will have a profound impact on divorce deliberations throughout the current year.

In the past, the person paying alimony was able to deduct the amount from his or her income taxes. Conversely, the one receiving alimony was required to pay taxes on it. However, this arrangement will be reversed for any divorce that is finalized after Dec. 31, 2018. The payer can no longer deduct alimony payments and the recipient will not have to pay taxes on them.

Things to consider in a divorce

When a California couple or another elsewhere in the country makes the decision to end their marriage, there is often a sense of great relief. However, that feeling of relief may change to one of apprehension when someone realizes all the issues that must be addressed in a divorce. Certainly, if the couple has children, matters surrounding their care and upbringing are first and foremost in the deliberations. Apart from that, questions regarding finances are prominent in most couples' minds.

One of the first issues to address is ongoing financial stability while the divorce is not yet finalized. It is important to determine if both parties have sufficient funds to meet their immediate needs now that they are living apart. The couple may even decide to establish a temporary period of spousal support while the divorce is ongoing.

Addressing reward points in property division process

When a California couple is going through a divorce, there are a multitude of issues they must address in the process. Property division is a major topic of consideration in the end of most marriages. While the home, cars, bank accounts, insurance policies and retirement funds may be the main focus, there is one asset that may be overlooked.

Many couples have racked up a significant number of airline reward points over their years together. According to experts, these miles are a community asset just like the cars or bank accounts.  The reward miles carry a value and must be divided in some manner.

Understanding California child support guidelines

Depending on your experience, you may have already overcome some fairly stressful challenges in life. Some types of situations seem to be stressful by nature, such as divorce. There aren't many people in California or anywhere who make it all the way through the divorce process with zero obstacles arising. In fact, if you do, you should probably write a book on the topic because others will want to know your secret.

It's often possible to achieve an amicable settlement even if a few snags occur along the way. As a parent, your highest priority is undoubtedly the care and well-being of your children. Divorce tends to bring out the worst in spouses if they happen to disagree about child-related issues. You'll likely have to provide certain information and fill out several forms if the court orders child support for your children. Not being forthright in doing so can land you in a heap of legal trouble.

Consider shared parenting in child custody debates

When a divorcing couple has children, the questions about how and where they will be raised are of utmost concern. In fact, the topic of child custody can become a highly charged issue in divorce deliberations. While the situation is personal and unique to every relationship, the issue has become a hot topic in California and other states across the nation. There is a push among several states to make major changes to current custody laws.

One of the recommendations involves shared parenting, where both parents have a relatively equal hand in the day-to-day upbringing of their children. In the past, children lived primarily with one parent, while spending every other weekend and some holidays with the other. However, child experts acknowledge the importance of children having both parents involved actively in their lives.

Carefully consider finances during a divorce

When a California marriage comes to an end, it is common for those involved to be concerned about how their finances will be affected. One household becomes two, then separate budgets, expenses and savings are established as a result of divorce. Experts recommend several steps to take in order to safeguard someone's finances following a split.

Though it can be an emotional time, it is best to remain calm and focused on financial matters at hand. Decisions will be made that will affect someone for many years, so it will be critical to keep a level head. A helpful step will be to create a detailed listing of all income, expenses, property and debt. A budget can be an integral part of the process, as it will show exactly where to focus.

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