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Fayettville Family Law Blog

Understanding how military service affects child support

If you are a parent and a member of the military, it is likely that you are aware of the challenges of raising children while serving for your country. If you are no longer in a relationship with the parent of your child, your ex may have requested that child support payments be made to help with the costs of raising a child.

You may be wondering how child support payments are calculated for military members, and whether there are any severe implications for missing child support payments. As a member of the military, it is important that you take an active stance when it comes to learning about your legal obligations.

Making a financial plan for the divorce process

When people in North Carolina get a divorce, they might make some financial missteps that result in the process being more difficult and expensive. For example, some people go out and spend a lot of money. This feels good in the short term, but the bills will eventually be due.

Paying those bills or other bills by selling assets could also be a mistake if the sale will result in taxes. People should also be careful about taxes associated with a distribution from a 401(k). If there must be a distribution because the account has to be split as part of the divorce settlement, the couple will need a document called a qualified domestic relations order, and the distribution will need to be rolled into an IRA. These steps will prevent taxes and penalties.

Put parenting first to ease divorce transitions for children

Every North Carolina family that goes through divorce faces challenges. Unfortunately, children have a tendency to blame themselves for parental separations, but honesty and loving reassurances can counteract these negative feelings. The author of a parenting guide recommends that parents place a priority on their children's relationship with both parents.

Although a parent might naturally want to dispute parenting decisions made by their ex-spouse, they should resist criticizing the other parent in front of the children. Unless a decision has caused emotional or physical harm, a parent should refrain from starting a fight about it. Instead, parents should focus on developing rules and expectations for their children that are consistent across both households.

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects divorce

For couples in North Carolina, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that passed at the end of 2017 may make divorce more expensive. One change is that parents will no longer be able to take turns claiming children as exemptions. Instead, one parent can claim a head of household (HOH) exemption.

However, it is unknown if the Child Tax Credit, which can also be used by the parent claiming HOH, will be tradeable. The IRS has yet to issue guidance. People may want to include enough flexibility in their divorce agreements for it to be traded if that becomes legal.

Chronic stress can be a problem for older divorced adults

Isolation, health problems and financial issues may all affect older adults who get divorced. However, there are also steps they can take to prevent such issues. Couples in North Carolina who are facing what is sometimes called a "gray divorce" should try to exercise and avoid overeating or misusing alcohol in response to chronic stress.

The divorce rate for people 50 and older is twice as high as it was in 1990. Many of these ex-spouses are dealing with isolation, which can contribute to poor health. Depression and anxiety unfortunately keep people from leaving the home. Since women often manage social calendars in a relationship, men are more vulnerable to this isolation. However, financial issues tend to affect women more.

Setting firm rules and expectations makes co-parenting easier

Working together with your ex to raise your children isn't always easy. After all, you both probably have some unresolved issues from your marriage and divorce. However, you should work to set aside your complicated personal history in favor of doing the best thing for your children.

In the vast majority of divorce cases in North Carolina, the courts will order shared custody between the parents. Both parents will need to do their best to make decisions that focus on their children and attempt to minimize the impact of the divorce on the social and emotional well-being of the children.

Guidelines parents should understand about raising children

Trying to raise a child after divorce or outside of traditional marriage may be a challenge for some parents in North Carolina. However, it can be easier when both parents acknowledge that they are acting on behalf of the children and not themselves. Ideally, adults will work together to overcome their issues whether they are related to the children or not. Furthermore, those issues should be resolved in private and not when the kids are around.

Those who are in the middle of a dispute may want to learn how to walk away when the tension is too much to take. This can be better than saying or doing something that an individual may regret in the future. Furthermore, parents should not be afraid to set boundaries for their children that are enforced consistently. Saying no to a child creates a teaching moment that can be beneficial both in the moment and later in his or her life.

Assets, debts and other financial considerations in divorce

People in North Carolina who are getting a divorce will need to take some financial issues into account. In addition to an attorney, they may also want to work with a financial professional, such as a certified divorce financial analyst, to help guide them through some of the more complex aspects of property division.

It is important that the value of assets is assessed accurately, particularly for the spouse who is not working or who earns less since those assets could help ensure that person's financial security after divorce. Taxes can make some assets worth less than they initially appear. For example, people often must pay taxes on retirement accounts when they make withdrawals, so a money market account of equal value might actually be worth more.

Divorced households often struggle during retirement

Divorced households in North Carolina and around the country have about 30 percent lower net worth than married households according to a study from the Center for Retirement Research, and they are also are less likely to have enough money to live comfortably during retirement. The study, which is based on data gathered from the U.S. Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Data, was published online in June.

Figures from the National Regulatory Research Institute are equally grim. The Maryland-based organization says that 53 percent of divorced individuals are likely to struggle financially during their retirement years. Spouses who divorce in their 20s, 30s or even 40s still have plenty of time to rebuild their retirement savings according to financial experts, but those who are going through what is known as a gray divorce may be wise to approach property division negotiations with great care.

When marriage ends, parenting continues

As some North Carolina residents know, divorce is a complex process that can become even more complicated when children are involved. Having children means that the divorce negotiations will not just focus on the division of property. The final agreements must address custody issues and support payments as well. Once the divorce is finalized, then the work of co-parenting begins.

When negotiating child custody, parents should already be thinking about how they will work together to raise the children. As they design their parenting plan, they might also consider how they will communicate with each other when it comes to children-related issues. To avoid serious confrontations, they might choose to use technology such as email, text messaging and apps designed to help families communicate.

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Hardin Law Firm PLLC

Hardin Law Firm PLLC
1314 Raeford Road, Suite D
Fayetteville, NC 28305

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