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Fayettville Family Law Blog

Including inherited IRAs in divorce property division

Dealing with property division can be a major concern when North Carolina couples decide to divorce. The asset division process that accompanies the end of a marriage can lead to substantial changes in both parties' standard of living or the loss of certain long-time assets. Some of the most significant types of accounts typically divided in a divorce are retirement funds. While property division is complex for couples of all ages and means, it can be particularly so when a couple has been married for many years or has substantial amounts of property to divide.

While regular IRAs have long been a part of the property division process during a divorce, in an increasing number of cases, inherited IRAs are being used during property division as well. The tax code provides for the distribution of an IRA without a tax penalty during a divorce, once a court order has been issued. However, inherited IRAs are not considered to be covered under the law; while it is an unexplored area, it is becoming a reality in many courtrooms across the country.

Smart homes and domestic violence concerns

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly common here in America. The list of smart home devices out there is continually growing. It includes things such as internet- connected cameras, lights, locks, speakers and thermostats. According to one estimate, 29 million U.S. homes had some degree of smart technology in them in 2017. The same report found that the number of American homes with such technology is growing at a rate of around 31 percent a year.

There are some safety concerns that arise with this trend. This includes domestic abuse concerns. Smart homes could present new vulnerabilities for domestic violence victims.

Toddler tantrums: Helping a young child through divorce

There is no question that divorce is hard on the parties involved, but what about children who have little experience in handling stress or anxiety? How can a child understand and cope with the changes that are happening?

It all comes down to how you and your spouse react to the divorce. Your child relies on you to learn how to respond to life's changes, so the way you treat each other now or react privately to the divorce will make a difference. Here are a few tips for helping your young child understand and adjust to the divorce.

Tax law changes affect alimony after 2019

Spouses in North Carolina considering divorce may wish to learn about the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on their future plans for spousal support and alimony. In the past, the recipient paid taxes on the alimony while the payer could deduct the sum. This situation will be reversed for newly concluded divorces starting in 2019.

Spouses who conclude their divorces in 2018 will continue to pay taxes according to the existing system, a procedure which incentivizes spousal support payments by reducing the tax burden of the higher earner. For divorces in 2019 or later, however, the recipients will no longer pay taxes on the alimony income. While some have promoted this as a positive for spousal support recipients, this is an unlikely outcome. By including the alimony amount in the higher-earning spouse's higher tax bracket, there is less incentive to agree to generous payments.

Custodial parents receive less child support than what's owed

Many custodial parents in North Carolina and throughout the country experience the challenges of raising a child alone. The report "Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support" illustrates the prevalence of child custody and support issues. Courts are more likely to become involved in child support agreements.

Out of all the child support agreements that were studied in the report, 10 percent were developed without any form of court involvement. Nearly 90 percent of child support agreements were formal and developed with the assistance of the courts. The report states that 22.4 percent of parents had to have the courts become involved in enforcement-related activities due to delinquent payments or nonpayment.

Child custody and summer vacation: Have you done these things?

Are you planning a summer vacation? Do you have every intention of taking your child along with you? Are you concerned that doing so could result in an argument with your ex-spouse?

When it comes to child custody and summer vacation, there are many steps you can take to keep the peace. It's not always easy, especially if your ex is generally looking for an argument, but here are some steps you can take:

When parents want to end child support payments

Child support can be necessary for many parents in North Carolina, and determining the amount of child support benefits can be a significant part of any custody or divorce process. Children are entitled to receive financial support from both of their parents until they become adults, and these support benefits can be mandated by the court even when parents do not formally file for support. There are several reasons why the parent receiving child support may want to stop these payments, even if they initially applied to receive them.

There are a number of reasons why child support benefits could be modified, including a change to the child custody and visitation schedule or a change in financial circumstances. However, in some cases, people may want to stop benefits entirely and put an end to the financial obligation registered in the courts. In particular, some divorced or separated parents may reunite and pay their children's expenses out of their common funds. In this situation, child support benefits paid from one parent to the other would be unnecessary and an unwelcome reminder of their previous separation.

Common child support flaws

Many parents in North Carolina struggle with issues of child support. Child support payments are an important part of parental responsibility, but it can sometimes be difficult to make payments. Many parents are also unaware of the details regarding child support, including how it is calculated and what their rights and options are in terms of determining or paying child support.

Low-income individuals disproportionately represent those who owe child support debt. A study by the Urban Institute reported that 70 percent of those who owe child support made less than $10,000 per year. An online article also detailed a documentary focused certain flaws in the child support system that tend to punish parents who are trying to do the right thing. Often, child support cases focus on the deadbeat parents who make little attempt to fulfill their obligations, but the documentary wanted to break away from this stereotype. The film focused on dads in the Philadelphia child support system and the challenges and hardships they endured.

Custodial parents and child support

If parents in North Carolina get a divorce and do not share custody, one parent will generally be considered the custodial parent while the other has visitation rights. Simply being a single parent who has the child living at home while the other parent is largely absent does not automatically make someone the custodial parent, and if this is the situation, the parent may want to consult an attorney about whether it is necessary to establish custodial rights.

Being a custodial parent has advantages and disadvantages. One of the primary advantages is that the custodial parent gets the bulk of time with the child. Even a generous visitation arrangement does not compare to having the child in the home more than half the time and dealing with the daily routine of parenting including helping children with homework or through emotional turmoil. However, being the custodial parent can also mean that a parent is the target of any frustration or other negative emotions the child is feeling.

Advice for keeping the peace while co-parenting

If you're about to start co-parenting with your ex-spouse in a 50/50 joint custody arrangement, you might be wondering what you just signed up for. This is particularly true if you and your ex have a hard time getting along. In some cases, you may indeed have cause for concern.

Co-parenting relationships, in which the children live half the time with one parent and half the time with the other, work best when the spouses can work together and easily come to agreement about various parenting decisions. To help you and your spouse work together diplomatically, we have a few suggestions you might want to keep in mind.

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Hardin Law Firm PLLC

Hardin Law Firm PLLC
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Fayetteville, NC 28305

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