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Charlotte Family Law Blog

Divorce can be costly for senior citizens

Divorce can be costly at any age, but it can be especially hard on North Carolina's senior citizens. Older couples going through a separation will have to split their assets, which must then be used to support two households.

Since the 1990s, the national divorce rate for people over 50 years old has doubled. The rate is even higher for older couples who have been married before.

Divorce and division of retirement accounts

A qualified domestic relations order is a document that allows divorcing couples to split a 401(k) account or a pension plan without paying high taxes and penalties. Usually, an attorney will prepare a QDRO in accordance with a plan administrator's instructions regarding the rules for the plan. A North Carolina couple should review a QDRO with their attorneys and make sure the order demonstrates the same intent outlined in the divorce agreement.

The QDRO should specify whether distributions are being made to a rollover IRA. If this is the case, there will be no taxes or penalties. A recipient can also receive a direct distribution. While a divorce provides an exception to the rule on making an early withdrawal, it will still be necessary to pay regular income tax on the distribution.

How might a vocational expert help your alimony case?

In North Carolina, there are no black-and-white guidelines when it comes to alimony amounts. Rather, judges are tasked with using 16 factors to guide their decisions on post-separation support for divorcing couples. Some of these factors include both spouses' financial needs, their income, the standard of living they are used to and their ability to earn income.

The ability to earn income can be a somewhat subjective area, but a vocational expert should be able to break it down fairly objectively. Whether you are a spouse seeking to reduce the amount of support you have to pay or a spouse who needs more support, a vocational expert may help your case by looking at a wide range of factors and coming up with a practical and realistic picture of your or your spouse's actual ability to earn income. Sometimes, a judge may decide to appoint a vocational expert if both sides present conflicting explanations.

Protecting finances from divorce

North Carolina residents can take steps before and during their marriage to protect their money. Even though it may seem somewhat callous to plan for a divorce, it is a sound financial move and can help secure a financial future if a divorce does occur.

The separation of one's assets from those of their spouse is a key element in safeguarding one's money. Not only does it make estate planning less cumbersome, but it allows individuals to have more control over what happens to their assets after they die.

Dads can get full custody in some circumstances

Once upon a time, North Carolina fathers wanting full or joint custody of their children had little hope unless the mother proved completely unfit as a parent. Evolving societal norms have changed the perception of fathers as co-equal parents, and the judicial system is following suit. The current default position in most jurisdictions does not assume either parent is superior to the other in child custody battles. However, hopeful fathers should definitely take care in presenting their case.

Courts generally begin with the rebuttable presumption that both parents deserve equal time with their children. Research has proven that children adjust better to post-divorce life if they have a close relationship with both mother and father, so in the absence of compelling evidence that such an arrangement is not in the best interests of the children, judges are likely to split custody. The guiding principle, however, is the 'best interests of the child." If a father can show the most beneficial arrangement for children is to be mostly in his custody, he should prevail.

How your divorce will affect your taxes

Tax season is here. This time of year is usually unpleasant and burdensome, but it becomes even more complex if you are getting a divorce. With the additional complications of ending your marriage, you likely have a lot of concerns and questions about your taxes.

It is crucial to understand how the divorce affects your taxes because if you make any mistakes, you may face penalties or an audit. Here are some essential divorce tax tips to consider. 

5 things to consider when naming a beneficiary

The idea of naming a beneficiary seems simple–you just fill in the blank on your account. But whether it is for life insurance, a retirement plan or a bank account, it may be difficult to choose exactly who to name. Designating the right person to get the funds of your account is a crucial decision to get right.

However, naming a beneficiary does not need to be intimidating. Do not worry! Here are some things you should think about to help you select the right individual to receive proceeds from your account.

Business ownership can complicate property division

For North Carolina couples who are going through a divorce, the financial aspects can be particularly worrisome. This is especially the case when the property of the marriage includes a family business that can be difficult to split up using a standard asset division process. Dividing a closely held business can bring with it an array of questions, including establishing a correct valuation, dealing with the business value in relation to other marital assets and handling proper reporting of business-related income.

There are several methods that can be used to establish the valuation of a business, including the market, income and asset approaches. In all cases, the financial statements of the company are analyzed. In addition, during a divorce, if one spouse is less involved in the business, it can be important to do a deeper level of investigation to establish the value. This can include access to the company's facilities, interviews with management and a full review of financial records. On the other hand, if the business predated the marriage, it could be appropriate to restrict the areas of relevant valuation to the increase in value during the marriage.

Why people shouldn't seek revenge in a divorce case

North Carolina estranged spouses who believe that divorce will be a good measure of revenge may want to rethink their strategy. In most cases, revenge may feel good for a little while before causing people to needlessly think about their hurt and anger. By refraining from seeking revenge, it may be able to move past the reason an individual wanted to get back at a spouse in the first place.

Individuals who have children will not want to put them in the middle of an argument between their parents. In some cases, parents may want to try to prove to their kids that the divorce was someone else's fault. In doing so, they could bring them into the drama surrounding the dispute. Furthermore, they may harm their relationship with their children and any relationship that they may have had with the other parent.

You should include a funeral directive in your estate plans

If you are getting ready to make your estate plans in Charlotte, one aspect you might want to include in your provisions are funeral arrangement instructions. Though you have specific preferences for burial, your spouse and family members may have other ideas.

funeral directive can help to prevent conflict and anguish and ensure your funeral wishes are honored. 

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