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Investments and property division in a divorce

When North Carolina couples are going through a divorce, they may have investment accounts they need to divide. This can be a complex process, and they may want to work with legal and financial professionals, such as attorneys and financial planners.

A person who was not involved in the financial side of the marriage can be at a disadvantage during the divorce. If this is the case, that person should make sure to get information on all assets and how to access them. When deciding whether to sell assets and split the proceeds, people should keep in mind that this could incur taxes or penalties with some investments. For example, there could be penalties for leaving an annuity early and capital gains taxes on the sale of securities. In some cases, keeping an investment and dividing the shares may be the better solution.

What are your child custody options over the holidays?

The holidays are coming, and parents who share custody need to know how they're going to approach this festive family season. Do you know what your plan is or what the court order allows? Have you already talked to your ex to see what they would like to do? Communication is very important. You need to work together to put the kids first, no matter what that means.

So, what options do you have? Here are a few potential ones to consider:

Could divorce help solve a financial problem?

Some couples in North Carolina might still love one another, but divorce can still hold an appeal. For these couples, the financial implications of divorce can be one of the appeals of ending a marriage, rather than the downside that they usually pose. Political discussions have focused on taxes on the wealthy, and if taxes do rise on wealthy families, some people may find that they pay more taxes as a married couple than they would if they were divorced. For taxpayers in the highest bracket in the U.S. - sitting at 37% - they may pay around $900 more each year under current tax laws than they would if each partner filed singly.

However, couples with millions of dollars in assets are unlikely to divorce in order to save under $1000. There are reasons that can compel people of different financial means to separate even when their emotional ties remain strong. With the cost of college attendance continuing to rise, parents might consider that their joint income could harm their child's opportunity for more generous financial aid. In the case of divorce, only the custodial parent's income is considered in financial aid calculations.

Asset division in a divorce can be complex

The division of assets during the divorce process can lead to much contention and disagreement between the two parties. One factor to keep in mind is that an agreement between the two on this issue is likely to be approved by a North Carolina divorce court. Otherwise, the court will impose a ruling, which neither party may be particularly happy about. For most couples, the family home is a significant or the most valuable asset owned by the couple, and any asset division must begin with a proper evaluation of it.

If the couple intends to sell the home, the evaluation becomes what the property actually sells for, and the net sale proceeds can be split between the two. If one party wishes to keep the house, there must be a professional appraisal taken to determine the fair market value. The value of the property is then considered to be the fair market value less any amounts owed on a mortgage. If this path is taken, financial advisers caution that there are other issues to consider.

Credit scores and divorce

When couples living in North Carolina divorce, separating finances is often a top priority. In most cases, a couple will work with a mediator or their respective attorneys to divide assets and debts. However, experts usually advise each spouse to closely monitor their credit during and after a divorce, particularly if the couple held certain debts jointly. This is because jointly held debt could affect the credit scores of one or both spouses long after a divorce is been finalized.

Many couples hold debt in common, such as credit card debt, personal or business loans or a mortgage. Ideally, a couple will seek to pay off this debt before getting divorced. However, this is not always possible, and the debt will become a consideration when splitting the couple's finances. As a result, a divorce agreement will stipulate which spouse is responsible for paying off existing debts. For example, a couple may agree that one spouse will pay off medical bills while the other will assume responsibility for a joint credit card balance.

It may be time to seek a child support modification

It's your hope that you can pay your court-ordered child support until your children reach the age of 18, but you never know what will come your way in the future. It's possible that your financial situation could change for the worse, which makes it difficult to stay current with payments.

If you're no longer able to make your child support payments, here are the steps you can take to seek a modification:

  • Keep paying to the best of your ability: You're required to make child support payments in full until you receive a modification from the court. Even if you receive a modification in the future, you'll still be responsible for any past due payments. You don't want to slip too far behind.
  • Take action: The longer you wait to seek a child support modification, the longer you're required by the court to make your current payment. Once you realize you're in financial trouble, put the wheels in motion.
  • Talk to the other parent: This doesn't always work, but there's nothing wrong with sharing your financial hardship with the other parent. If they're sympathetic to your situation, they may agree to a child support modification for the time being. This makes things much easier when your case reaches the court.
  • Document your change in circumstances: The court won't modify your child support unless you can prove that you're unable to make payments in full. Document your change in circumstances, such as paperwork that shows you lost your job.
  • File your request: There's no guarantee of an approval, but you'll never know for sure until you file your request with the court that originally issued the order. The sooner you do this, the sooner you'll get a final answer.

Prenups, postnups useful divorce planning tools

Going through a divorce in North Carolina can be one of the most difficult, traumatic events in a person's life. While the physical and psychological stresses of divorce can be enough in some cases to seriously impact a person's experience, the financial potentialities can bring on significant unwanted life changes. Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements can operate to protect the parties from financial shock during and after divorce, but they require a bit of planning beforehand.

Prenuptial agreements are entered into by the people in a couple before they get married. They set forth how the couple will divide assets if the marriage ends in divorce. Prenups have been criticized as unromantic legal instruments, but they can work to save the parties from headache and heartache. They can also save the parties a lot of money, as they go a long way toward preventing drawn out, vitriolic fights in court. Prenuptial agreements can also make clear how assets will be distributed on the death of a spouse, which can be important for couples who come into the marriage with children.

Common reasons for divorce: Do you know the red flags?

Divorce happens for a reason. In some cases, it's very stark and obvious, such as when one spouse is unfaithful to the marriage. In other cases, it's not so clear to an outsider, and it may be the result of years of smaller issues. Every relationship is different and so is every divorce.

With that in mind, you want to know what types of issues and red flags to watch out for in your own marriage. Here are a few of the main reasons for divorce other than the oft-cited infidelity:

How gray divorce affects people financially

Divorce for couples who are older than 50 is on the rise. Often known as "gray divorce," it is more than twice as common as it was in 1990. It can cause financial problems for both individuals, but it is more common for those financial problems to fall disproportionately on women.

A sociology professor at Bowling Green State University, where research into the financial impact of divorce on people over 50 was conducted, says that household wealth can decline by 50% after a gray divorce. There are several reasons why it is so hard on people financially. In many cases, there simply is not time to recover financially. People do not have enough years left in the workforce to rebuild their retirement savings and other investments. Older people who need to reenter the workforce after a divorce may struggle to do so.

How to account for the financial impact of a divorce

A divorce can have significant financial implications for North Carolina residents. For instance, a person may have trouble maintaining a current lifestyle while living alone. Ending a marriage could also make it harder to retire on time, and this may be especially true for those who are doing so later in life. Ideally, newly single people will create a budget that will account for the expenses that they will need to pay on their own.

These expenses could include the cost of buying or leasing a car or buying or renting a home. Those who are planning on getting divorced or who already are should also consider how they will pay for medical care, groceries and other essentials. It is also a good idea to make a list of any costs that could be incurred during the divorce itself and keep track of them.

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Protect Yourself, Your Finances And Your Family For The Future. Call Susan Gray Law, P.A. Today:
336-701-6521 or send an email.

110 Oakwood Drive, Suite 410
Winston Salem, NC 27103

Phone: 336-701-6521
Fax: 336-529-6325
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