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Reasons to use a prenup for a second marriage

Some older people entering a second marriage in North Carolina might want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement. While this may not be necessary for people in their 20s who are going into a first marriage, people in their 50s and older likely have much more complicated lives and assets.

A prenup is not a guarantee of harmony. In fact, bringing up the need for one could create issues before the marriage even happens. However, a prenup can perform a number of important functions, including protecting children from a previous relationship. People going into a second marriage often have concerns about how to balance obligations to both a new spouse and children. This may include ensuring that the spouse is supported throughout retirement and aging but also making sure the children receive assets if the person dies.

Divorce can disrupt college payment plans

When parents in North Carolina divorce, the decision to end their marriage can have a significant effect on their finances. One of the biggest financial expenditures that can accompany raising children is college or university tuition, especially with the rising cost of college education in the United States. According to the College Board, tuition goes up by around 3 percent every year, leading to a substantial increase over time. The numbers tell the story: it costs over $46,000 each year on average to attend a private four-year university and over $20,000 annually for a public university.

Parents who are married also often struggle to pay for tuition, and many students attend with a mixture of scholarships, grants, student loans and other financial aid in addition to parental support. However, parents often develop a plan for how they will save for their kids' higher education. Divorce can have a major financial impact on all areas of life, and this can include disrupting plans to pay for university. The law mandates that expenses like child support for kids under 18 or spousal support take priority. This is one reason why many parents may want to include a plan to pay for college as part of the divorce agreement.

How much are your antiques really worth?

As half of a North Carolina high-asset married couple, you and your spouse likely own some antiques that you’ve collected over the years or inherited from your respective family members. Should you divorce, you will need to value those antiques for purposes of your property settlement. But just how much are those antiques worth? In fact, are they really antiques at all?

Unfortunately, just because something is old does not necessarily mean that it is an antique. If you are not part of the collecting world per se, it will likely surprise you to learn that old things fall into three distinct categories as follows:

  1. Antique – an object manufactured, produced or created at least 100 years ago
  2. Vintage – an object manufactured, produced or created at least 75 years ago, but less than 100 years ago
  3. Retro – an object manufactured, produced or created during the middle of the 20th century, i.e., in the 1950s or 1960s

Study finds infidelity, substance abuse among divorce factors

A lack of family support, differences over religion and infidelity are all factors that may lead to North Carolina couples ending their marriages. However, commitment was most frequently named as the factor that contributed to divorce in a survey of 52 people.

The study, which was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, surveyed people who had participated in a premarital counseling program. The survey took place 14 years after the program among people who had divorced and asked them what factors contributed to the divorce as well as whether there was a last straw. For example, around one-third of people said substance abuse was a factor in their divorce, but for 12 percent, it was the final straw. Infidelity was commonly named as the final straw.

Selecting a will or a trust: the difference

When creating an estate plan, it is important to select the right elements to meet your specific needs. One of those choices may be whether to use a will or a trust.

In order to make the right choice for you, it is critical that you know what each offers. There are a few important facts and differences to understand about both options.

Selecting a will or a trust: Key factors

Creating a proper estate plan requires making intentional decisions, and in order to do so, one should be knowledgeable about the subject. In a previous blog, you learned about the differences between wills and trusts in an estate plan

Along with knowing the difference between the two, it is important to also consider key factors that affect the use and application of either a will or a trust. Here are a few important factors to be aware of.

The growing popularity of divorce over 50

North Carolina is no exception to the nationwide trend: an increasing number of couples are choosing to divorce later in life. Indeed, over the past 25 years, the rate of divorce for Americans over 50 has grown by more than 100 percent. This change has come even as other age groups have seen their divorce rates fall or remain steady. Indeed, 25 percent of all divorcing Americans are age 50 or over, while that number was less than 10 percent in 1990. While older couples who remarry are more likely to divorce, over half of all of these "gray divorces" involve people married for more than 20 years.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to people's decision to divorce over 50. As people live longer, healthier and more active lives, they may be unwilling to live with an unhappy marriage. Indeed, they may feel freer to go their own ways after their children are out of the family home. Social stigma associated with divorce has decreased dramatically, and more women work, enjoying their own income. As a result, women may feel less pressure to remain in an unhappy marriage due to finances.

How a prenup may help student couples

North Carolina students who are getting married might want to consider a prenuptial agreement. While couples rarely want to think about the possibility of divorce while they are planning a wedding and students might think they have too few assets to make a prenup worthwhile, there are several advantages of these agreements for students.

Many students, especially those in law or medical school, carry large educational loans. A prenup would ensure that one spouse does not get saddled with the other spouse's debts. Furthermore, a prenup can also make plans for property division based on anticipated future earnings. Another advantage of making a prenup is that it gives couples the opportunity to talk frankly about their own financial situations and their attitudes about money. Some young people might not fully understand everything they own and owe until they have this conversation.

What wealthy couples can learn about divorce from Jeff Bezos

There are steps that high-asset couples in North Carolina who are ending their marriage can take to make the process less difficult. The world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, exemplifies this in the statement he released with his wife about their impending divorce that emphasizes cooperation.

This spirit can be important in a divorce that may involve dividing up everything from a business to valuable art collections. Another important element is getting personal, professional and financial priorities in order. People should think about what they want for their families and should continue to maintain social ties. They should also avoid allowing their divorce to interfere with their professional life. Failing to do so could affect the health of a company and could lead to early retirement or termination.

Is mediation right for complex divorce cases?

When you are considering a divorce, part of preparation is researching your options. One you likely have come across is mediation. The goal of this approach is to put you more in control of your divorce and make it a more efficient process. Mediation does this by providing a neutral facilitator who helps you and your spouse communicate and compromise outside of court, costing you less time, money and emotional distress.

This all may sound enticing to you, but how realistic is it, especially when you have multiple children and assets involved? One of the myths of mediation is that it only works for simple cases or couples with modest property. The truth is, however, that mediation not only works in complex cases but can also be the best choice.

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