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North Carolina Family Law Blog

Changes in law could affect alimony amounts

North Carolina residents that are considering divorce and might need to negotiate alimony might be affected by a proposed change in the law that could affect payment amounts. The changes relate to the provision that allows those who pay alimony to claim the amount as a deduction while the receivers must include it as income.

The proposed change is part of the larger Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which seeks to eliminate a number of tax breaks. Experts say that the change will mostly affect the payees, who will probably receive less alimony since a greater share will need to be paid in taxes. As a result, the amount available to support two households will decrease.

A parenting plan can help keep divorced dads connected

Many North Carolina dads headed toward divorce are particularly worried about losing their close connection to their children. In fact, some stay in marriages that they otherwise would have left long before in order to protect their relationships with their kids. While divorce can be a daunting time for everyone involved, it does not have to mean a reduced relationship or closeness with one's children.

One of the most essential tools for a successful divorce is knowledge about the custody and visitation options available as well as solid proposals for moving forward. Joint, shared and sole child custody are all options for divorcing families to consider, and there are a number of different types of shared living, custody and visitation schedules that may work for a particular family. While every solution is individualized, having a proposal in mind can help in developing a parenting plan.

Fathers have options when seeking custody of their children

For fathers in North Carolina, facing separation from their children following a divorce or a split can be deeply painful. However, it's important for fathers to know that they have the right to seek child custody or visitation, regardless of whether they were married to their child's mother. Academic studies have repeatedly shown that, absent evidence of abuse or other mistreatment, children benefit greatly from the involvement of both of their parents in their lives.

This is taken into account in family courts, which aim to make decisions in the best interests of the children. In fact, when fathers seek custody in court, they have a strong chance of success. For fathers who were married to the mother of their child, paternity is generally assumed. However, fathers who were not married may need to take steps to establish paternity. In many cases, both parents can simply sign off on an acknowledgment of paternity when the child is born or any time thereafter. When paternity is in dispute, a simple DNA test can lead to a court order recognizing paternity.

Child support lawsuit filed against Miguel Cabrera

North Carolina fans of baseball player Miguel Cabrera may not know that he has been paying child support to a woman in Florida since 2013. Cabrera, who has been married since 2002, has kept the relationship private, but the woman has filed a lawsuit against him alleging that he has reduced the amount of child support he owes to $6,400 per month after helping her buy a home. The woman says the amount is not enough to meet her expenses.

Allegedly, Cabrera has two children by the woman, one born in 2013 and one in 2015. Florida statutes say that parents with two dependents who make more than $10,000 per year must pay 7.5 percent of their income in child support. Since Cabrera makes around $30 million per year, his child support payments should be more than $2.0 million. However, his attorneys say he should pay less or that the excess amount should be placed in a fund for the children's education.

Should parents stay together?

Divorce isn't easy for anyone, but it's especially difficult for teenagers when their parents go their separate ways. Perhaps this is because teenagers are emotional enough as it is, and to have the base of their family structure dissolve takes away some of the emotional foundations they depend on for their feeling of stability.

Perhaps the reason is different for every teen. The bottom line is that teens will be dealing with and processing a lot in the wake of their parents' separation. It's good for parents to take note of this fact, but is it good for parents to stay together for the kids?

When wages are garnished for child support

Some North Carolina employees may be among those whose wages are being garnished for child support payments. On Sept. 27, the ADP Research Institute released a study that was based on date from 12 million workers. The study found that 7 percent of workers have had their wages garnished, and most of those garnishments were for child support.

Workers in the South and the Midwest are more likely to have their wages garnished than workers in other areas. Among men ages 35 to 55 in the Midwest who work in large manufacturing jobs, about one-quarter have their wages garnished. Most wage garnishments are of male workers, and they are most often for child support.

Support issues after a divorce

North Carolina couples who are ending their marriage often have to make difficult decisions about asset division and ongoing maintenance payments. These issues can become even more challenging if they have children.

It is not unusual in a divorce for one spouse to make ongoing payments to the other either to support their shared children or as a way of helping the former spouse maintain his or her standard of living. However, the law treats support payments very differently depending on who they are intended for.

Dividing assets fairly in a divorce

North Carolina couples who are getting a divorce can avoid some common financial mistakes. One of those may be keeping the home in exchange for a more liquid asset of equal value. In looking at the value, people may fail to account for the cost of maintaining the home. Accounting for this means the house might actually be worth less than the retirement account or other liquid asset for which it was exchanged. Furthermore, many people may struggle after a divorce to maintain the family home on a single income.

Another common mistake can be keeping a 401(k) while the other spouse takes an asset of equal value such as a checking account. A withdrawal from the 401(k) will incur a tax while taking money out of the checking account will not. However, if the couple decides instead to divide the 401(k), they will need a qualified domestic relations order. This allows a withdrawal to be made from the 401(k) without a penalty. However, the withdrawal must then be rolled into an individual retirement account within a specified time period.

How is the amount of spousal support determined?

If you find yourself going through the divorce process, it won't be long before you have questions about what will happen to your financial situation.

While you need to handle many of these questions on your own, there are others that will move to the forefront along the way. For example, you may have questions about spousal support, including whether or not you are in position to receive these payments.

David Hasselhoff wants to stop paying spousal support

North Carolina residents who are paying or receiving spousal support might be interested in actor David Hasselhoff's alimony case. The actor, who has been paying support to his ex-wife, has filed a petition in the court to stop paying it altogether.

According to media sources, the actor paid $21,000 monthly or over $2.5 million in alimony payments to his ex-wife for 10 years before successfully arguing to have that amount reduced to $10,000. The actor argued that had only had $4,000 in liquid assets although he was reportedly worth $1.79 million at that moment, and that he had had to withdraw funds from this retirement plan account to be able to pay for living expenses. He has also complained that at 63, he should not have to continue working to support his ex-wife of 16 years and that instead he should be focused on planning his retirement.

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