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Tips for how to wrap up paperwork after a divorce

Changing names, changing passwords and revising estate plans are among the tasks that may still await some people in North Carolina after they get a divorce. People might need to revise their wills or trusts, change their beneficiary designations and get new powers of attorney.

The couple may have agreed to divide property during the divorce, but some of that property would still need to be retitled. A quit claim deed is a document that can be used to remove an ex-spouse from the title of a home, and refinancing can take the spouse off the mortgage. Vehicles and other assets might also require retitling. A qualified domestic relations order is prepared by an attorney and sent to the plan administrator for dividing non-IRA retirement accounts. IRAs usually have their own rules associated with their division. People may want to roll retirement account distributions from divorce into a new account.

How spousal support is determined and collected

Spousal support is often one of the primary issues decided in a North Carolina divorce. However, it's usually one of the last points that gets settled in court. That's because the division of assets has a big impact on how much support an ex-spouse might need to maintain a decent standard of living. The final figure is often calculated using five different factors: the recipient spouse's needs, length of marriage, age/health, prior lifestyle and the ability of the payer spouse to pay.

Spousal support agreements can be modified after a court decision when financial circumstances change for either party. However, arrangements can also be made to setup non-modifiable support to avoid future court costs. Spousal support almost always has an end date, but the agreement can end early. This happens when one of the spouses dies or when the recipient spouse remarries.

Couples cite top reasons for divorce

When people in North Carolina get a divorce, it may be for one of three main reasons. According to some experts, growing apart, being unable to make up after fighting, and a psychological phenomenon known as "flooding" can all contribute to divorce.

One study found growing apart to be the number one reason cited by couples as leading to divorce. While this can be difficult to define, it basically refers to one or both people no longer being invested in preserving the relationship. These marriages do not necessarily end because one person has done anything wrong but simply because the people no longer wish to be married to one another. "Repair" is a word in the relationship world that refers to a couple's ability to come back together after a disagreement. Some therapists and researchers say that this ability is more important in a marriage's longevity than what the couple are actually fighting about.

Divorce and the family business

North Carolina business owners who decide to divorce may face unique complications and concerns. In many cases, spouses worked together in a number of different ways to build a family business. Determining how to divide a business in an equitable way that satisfies both spouses can be a lengthy process. In order to divide a family business, each spouse should seriously consider their future plans for the company.

Dividing a family business can be especially complex when the company is large and valuable. During a high-asset divorce, both parties can benefit from an objective, formal appraisal conducted by a third party. This can help spouses to negotiate an agreement to divide the business based on its value. In some cases, one spouse may retain the company in exchange for other property or a direct buyout. This can be helpful in terms of taxes because the purchase will be considered a property transfer during divorce and therefore exempted from taxation. In other cases, a couple may structure the sale to move forward over time.

A North Carolina divorce begins with a legal separation

Many people choose legal separation over divorce for various reasons. In the state of North Carolina, a couple must separate before filing for divorce.

If you live in our state and are contemplating divorce, the first step is for you or your spouse to move to a separate residence.

3 experts who may help with your divorce case

Going through a divorce is usually not easy emotionally. After all, splitting property can be tremendously stressful. Often, the best way to reduce stress is to formulate a plan for getting through the divorce process. Focusing on reaching an acceptable settlement may also be a good strategy. 

Unfortunately, when spouses divide assets or think about child custody, arguments often arise. Sometimes, though, there is no clear answer to your disagreements. To bolster your side, you may need a professional opinion. Here are three types of experts who may be helpful: 

What happens to cryptocurrency assets in a divorce

Cryptocurrency may be an asset in the divorce of some couples in North Carolina. While the currency is only about 10 years old, it has become more mainstream, and in the years ahead, it may increasingly become a tool for people to hide assets. The Global Blockchain Business Council found that only 5 percent of Americans surveyed said they owned cryptocurrency, but more than 20 percent said they were considering purchasing some.

One issue is that cryptocurrency is still so new and so rare that regulators, financial and legal experts and laws have not yet caught up with it. One attorney says court forms still do not include places to list cryptocurrency, although clients do include it in their lists of assets. A forensic accountant who specializes in cryptocurrency says he was able to locate a husband's hidden assets, more than $100,000 in cryptocurrency, by looking at his bank statements and following the transactions to a trading platform. However, an expert in cybersecurity and cryptocurrency might pay cash for the asset and hide it in a way that would make it almost impossible to find.

The process of claiming a child as a dependent after divorce

Following a divorce in North Carolina, a child can be claimed as a dependent by only one parent per tax year. Ideally, exes will agree ahead of time on who gets to do this. Usually, it is the custodial parent. If the custodial parent wants to give the other parent the right to claim the child, this can be done with Form 8332. However, if parents disagree about who can make this claim, there could be problems.

The IRS accepts the dependent claim from the first parent who files. In the case of a conflict, the agency uses several factors to determine which parent can claim the dependent. Usually, this is the person with whom the child lives most of the time. For exes who share custody, the IRS will usually calculate their adjusted gross income and grant the claim to the person with the highest AGI. This is based on the assumption that the parent who earns more is also contributing more to the child's support.

Preparing for divorce later in life

The divorce rate for people who are 50 and over has substantially increased over the past few decades. Part of this increase may be attributed to people living longer and couples in second or third marriages that want to get divorced. Regardless of the reasons why older adults in North Carolina might wish to end their marriages, it is important that they are smart about how they get divorced so that they will not derail their abilities to retire.

When older people get divorced, they have to divide their assets and property, and they may also experience a drop in income if both spouses work. If they do not make adjustments, they will still have the same expenses without sufficient income to cover them. People should begin by calculating what their new income will be and deduct their expenses. This may show them that they need to cut their expenses or add an additional income stream to make ends meet.

Divorce and dividing the value of a business

When two people in North Carolina get a divorce and a business is involved, the process of property division can become complex. Establishing a plan before getting married or when setting up the business can help eliminate this complexity and ensure that both people receive what they are entitled to.

With a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a couple who own a business together might agree that they will continue to run the business in the event of a divorce, or they may identify one of them who will buy out the other. If only one person owns the business, the agreement may specify that it is separate property or that its value for purposes of property division will be based on its appreciation in value after the marriage. It might also specify what percent of this value the spouse will receive.

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14835 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 225
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