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Divorce plays a role for couples with student loan debts

In Charlotte, a marital dispute over money may cause an outburst of negative emotions for any married couple. A recent study conducted by Student Loan Hero discovered that 33 percent of people contemplating divorce believed lack of money was the main culprit. One out of eight students who participated in the study blamed their student loan debts for the divorce proceedings. The problem with student loans is that they equal large amounts of money. With the average student loan exceeding $34,000, it is no wonder that divorce is a natural outcome.

The amount of a typical student loan has tripled during the past 10 years. Many students incur $50,000 debts by the time they graduate from college. While some students may find promising jobs right after they graduate, others are left without employment opportunities. Plus, these students are in heavy debt. Students who wish to marry may not know where to turn. Owing money without having any way to pay back a loan can cause stress levels to reach their limits.

The risk of divorce seems higher among successful women

Many North Carolina women who would have been expected to remain home and raise children in past decades are choosing instead to enter the workforce and pursue careers, and virtually all sociologists think that this development is a positive one. However, several studies into the impact that income disparities can have on relationships reveal that successful women are far more likely to see their marriages end in divorce.

If the research behind these studies are correct, then the problem is a serious one. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one in three wives now earn more than their husbands. A Harvard University professor who studied more than 6,300 relationships in 2016 found that men do not react well when they are not the primary breadwinner and they behave especially poorly when they only work part time or do not work at all. In these situations, she found that the likelihood of a marriage coming to an end increased by a worrying 33 percent.

What courts may consider "income" for support purposes

People in North Carolina who are getting a divorce and who expect to pay spousal or child support might wonder how courts calculate what that payment will be. A court will generally look at all sources of income and make a decision that is intended to keep the family at a lifestyle level similar to the one they had during the marriage.

In addition to a person's regular salary, a judge may consider corporate retirement account contributions, dividends from investments, signing bonuses and any other money that is coming in. Courts can look beyond tax returns if a family appears to be living a lifestyle that would not be supported by the income reported there. For example, if the person who will pay support receives money from a parent every month, that amount may be included in the court's calculation. Underemployment should not be viewed as a way to avoid paying support since a judge may also look at how much a person could potentially earn and work from that amount.

Tips for protecting credit scores in a divorce

Some North Carolina couples may suffer a drop in their credit ratings after they end their marriage. This can happen because of the strain of living on a single income or because joint debt is not paid off after the divorce.

Women may suffer larger blows to their credit rating than men. In part, this is because they have lower incomes than men on average. However, an Experian survey also found that half of divorced women reported that their credit was ruined by a former spouse. One of the main issues is that while a couple may agree to split a debt in their divorce agreement, creditors are not bound by this. If the debt is not paid, they will pursue the person the debt belongs to.

Some unhealthy behaviors can lead to divorce

Couples in North Carolina often begin married life with the best of intentions. They truly want to establish a happy home and remain together for the rest of their lives. However, certain behaviors can trigger discontent within marriage and ultimately lead to separation or divorce.

One behavior that often leads to marital issues is conflict avoidance. This may seem contradictory as we often think of conflict as being a bad thing. However, most psychologists believe that there are both healthy and unhealthy types of conflict.

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.

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Are quality legal services available in your Charlotte neighborhood? Yes, our offices are located in Ballantyne, so you do not need to fight traffic driving uptown or deal with the inconvenience of paid parking decks. We are just minutes from the Ballantyne Corporate Park right off of I-485. An initial domestic consultation with Kennedy Law Associates is a positive step toward creating a roadmap to a better future.

14835 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 225
Charlotte, NC 28277

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