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Fatula
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Roseville Legal Blog

Divorce rate higher for California couples with stepchildren

Becoming a stepparent is normally not easy, at least not at first. There are a lot of adjustments to make. Families in California these days can consist of his and hers or hers and hers or his and his, and according to statistics, couples with stepchildren are more likely to walk the divorce path yet again. But there are ways to avoid becoming another statistic.

There are many challenges facing blended families. There may be a lot of extenuating circumstances embroiled in the mix such as hard feelings with former spouses, jealousy among kids, parenting styles that differ vastly and financial stress. The good news is that with a little patience and flexibility, most hurdles can be cleared.

Property division: States changing the way pet custody is handled

Household pets are often considered to be part of the family for most California residents and others around the country. In fact, many married couples get a pet together before they have children. Certainly, in these situations, both spouses are invested financially and emotionally with their pets. Unfortunately, should a divorce occur in the future, pets often get thrown into the negotiations for property division in the settlement. However, some states are making changes in the way pet custody is handled in divorce cases.

In the past, a pet was viewed as property when it came to determining who retained custody. Typically, the spouse who had shouldered most of the expense and care of the animal was able to keep it after a divorce. However, several states, including California, have begun to consider the well-being of the pets when deciding where they should live. In fact, joint custody arrangements for pets are becoming more prevalent.

Patridge, Bohan agree to use mediation to get through divorce

It may be because celebrities are in the public eye, but often their marital splits seem to be pretty brutal. Such seems to be the case in the divorce of television personalities Audrina Patridge and Corey Bohan. Patridge, 33, a California resident, and Australian-born Bohan, 36, have at least agreed to move forward with mediation in their thus far messy divorce.

The couple has a 2-year-old daughter and one of the contentious issues surrounds her custody. But the two have agreed to working through a mediator, albeit within strict parameters. Apparently, court documents indicate that they aren't to contact each other either directly or indirectly and that means no calls, emails, social media posts, snail mail or by any other means. They have also been instructed not to make derogatory public remarks about each other.

Do you have reason to believe your prenup is invalid?

You may have looked forward to getting married for months or even years before you finally tied the knot. In fact, your excitement may have even overshadowed any concerns you had about saying "I do" as you likely chalked those concerns up to pre-wedding nerves. Unfortunately, that excitement eventually waned, and you wish you had listened to your concerns sooner.

Now, you are facing a divorce, and you have a considerable amount of worry that the prenuptial agreement you signed will ruin your chances of coming out of your case with a fair division of assets. After all, part of your pre-wedding concerns revolved around signing that prenup in the first place.

Important issues to consider in gray divorce

Any time a couple from California or other parts of the country decide to end a marriage, there are always many issues to discuss. Certainly, these issues are more complicated when the couple has been married for many years. Research shows that the divorce rate for couples over the age of 50 has essentially doubled in the past two decades. With so many couples facing a so-called gray divorce, experts have identified some of the most common questions they must address.

Depending on the length of a marriage, someone may be able to receive Social Security benefits based on an ex-spouse's work record. However, if a person gets remarried, he or she would not be entitled to those benefits. When a pension is involved, the administrator of the plan should be notified of the divorce. A QDRO, or Qualified Domestic Relations Order, is required in to transfer to proceeds without penalties or tax consequences.

Is divorce mediation a good fit for my situation?

California residents who are preparing to go through the divorce process may be interested to learn about what options may be open to them. Litigation is not always necessary when ending one's marriage, and there are ways to avoid it if both parties are willing to put some time and effort. Divorce mediation, for example, can work for most couples.

How does divorce mediation work? Couples who go this route agree to meet to negotiate the terms of their divorce. They are not alone during the negotiations process. A mediator is present at all times.

Financial consideration for couples facing a gray divorce

The divorce rate for couples in their 50s and 60s has doubled and tripled, respectively. Changes in the alimony tax laws have led couples to rush to finalize their divorces before the end of year, though those who live in California have missed the chance to take advantage of the current tax laws if they did not file prior to July of this year. Along with alimony concerns, there are other financial matters that require thorough consideration. 

Settlement disagreements often involve the division of retirement accounts. In the case of a 401(k) and similar pension plans, the division requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). These orders may designate either a set monetary amount or a percentage that is to be shared with the former spouse. These orders need reviewed by the employer's human resources department to ensure that it complies with current laws. Once these assets are divided, it is recommended that the amounts are rolled into a separate IRA. 

Millenials view prenups as helpful tools should divorce occur

Millennials in California and elsewhere around the nation have the reputation for thinking independently and often doing things differently than the generations before them. One example of this is that they are waiting longer to get married, according to statistics. With being older, those in this demographic also realize the possibility that a marriage may end in divorce one day. To protect themselves financially, many see the benefits of getting a prenuptial agreement before they get married.

Often, couples come into a relationship with established careers or substantial savings and investments. They may already own property themselves or anticipate an inheritance in the future. For these reasons and others, a prenup can provide assurance that certain assets would remain with an individual should a divorce occur.

Is the divorce rate 50 percent? The answer may surprise you.

Like other California readers, you may assume the divorce rate in the United States is approximately 50 percent. People have often heard and they often repeat the alleged fact that half of all marriages end in divorce. While many marriages do end eventually, understanding the divorce rate is more complicated than you may assume.

In order to better understand the rate of divorce, it may be helpful to look at the reason for divorce for many couples and how different generations view this legal process. If you are considering this step for yourself or you simply want to prepare in case of a contingency, you may have many questions and concerns about what these facts mean for you. It is beneficial to learn about this legal step and how you can learn from others as you make important decisions for your future.

Taking care of finances after getting a divorce in California

Marital splits can cause all sorts of anxiety in many areas of life. One aspect of life that divorce may affect is financial. Suddenly, a two-income household becomes two separate households, usually with one income earner in each place. When a California couple divorces and the financial situation is a complex one, it may take months to reach an agreement. Individuals need to be prepared to deal with the financial picture moving forward as singles.

There are many things to take into consideration such as credit and making sure all joint credit cards are cancelled. Each person should establish a credit rating in his or her own name. Any estate plans should also be updated. Legal documents should also be changed as should the beneficiary of a life insurance policy if a former spouse is named.

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