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Brooklyn Family Law Blog

Asset division part of the business end of divorce

Commonly, people expect the end of a marriage to take an emotional toll. After building a life together with another person, and possibly having children or building assets together, the separation can be quite emotionally painful. Additionally, ending a marriage can take a financial toll. The cost of asset division and fees can add up. In New York, a person may make the transition easier by applying some of the most common expert tips. 

Recent statistics suggest that the average cost of a divorce is $15,000. While attorney fees make up a portion of the cost of divorce, these fees do not represent the entire amount of the financial costs. Some individuals choose to hire other professionals to help with the breakup, such as therapists and financial advisors. 

Custody disputes over religious practices

Child custody disputes often make up the most difficult portion of many divorces, and these conflicts only grow more complex when parents do not share the same religious views and preferences for a child's upbringing. Not only is this a very delicate personal issue, it also resides in a tricky legal area, calling on parents and courts to consider several perspectives.

In most cases, courts prefer to not wade into the middle of personal issues such as faith-based parenting, but when religious disagreements are inseparable from a custody dispute, courts may make a ruling that restricts or rewards a parent's preferences to raise or not raise a child in a certain religious practice.

A divorce transition can be easy when dodging common mistakes

There is no right or wrong way to end a marriage. Each divorce is different, with its own set of unique circumstances, but many people have found that certain methods have helped them to avoid problems while going through the process. Individuals facing divorce in New York may be able to take some inspiration from the collected suggestions of a few experts who have gone before. 

Ironically, one of those suggestions is not to be overwhelmed by everyone else's suggestions. When facing the end of a marriage, it can be easy to be swept away by the wealth of information that can be found on the internet. Many people instead choose to rely on people who have become certified in their fields, like therapists. When people are able to choose the right person for their needs, they are less likely to be confused. One can determine exactly the type of help needed, find a person specializing in that type of help, and then vet or interview that person before hiring them. 

Unexpected financial boost after a divorce?

When it comes to money post-marriage, most of the experts advise folks to hunker down and ride the storm out. However, there are some potential financial benefits to divorce, say others. People facing divorce in New York may be pleasantly surprised to hear such news, as they prepare to undergo the transition back to singledom. 

If your marriage had longevity of at least 10 years, you may be looking at a boost to your Social Security benefits, because the lesser-earning spouse is able to file for benefits on the work record of the higher-earning spouse. Additionally, individuals who chose to stay at home and care for children may not miss out entirely on their spouse's retirement investment accounts. Divorce allows for a portion of these funds to be distributed to a non-working spouse. 

Parenting after divorce with shared child custody

A two-house parenting arrangement doesn't need to be a source of upset for the individual co-parent. Even during the holidays, when some people feel the need to have one big happy family, a shared child custody arrangement can come with some unexpected perks. In New York, with careful planning, a person may even find the shared custody to be a blessing that still allows him or her to be fully present for the child's needs. 

Shared custody can allow for an ideal situation, especially if a person has more than one child. One child's preferences may be better served at dad's house, and other preferences are met by mom. This way, everyone can get the most out of shared custody. Some parents use a three days on, four days off custody arrangement, allowing each parent time on with the kids, and then time off to take care of adult needs like shopping for gifts, hobbies and social time with friends without the need to find a babysitter. 

Separation process may include alimony talks

A new change in the Internal Revenue Code may have an effects on couples nationwide. If a married couple chooses to divorce or separate, a proposed change in how the government treats spousal support payments may influence the divorce or separation process in New York. The payments will no longer be allowed to be deducted from the income of the payer, and will they be considered as income by the person who receives the payments. 

Typically, alimony payments were tax deductible dollar for dollar from the payer's income, allowing the support to be less of a financial bite for the person responsible for paying. The new law will make the payments more financially challenging since after-tax dollars will be involved, and may give rise to additional legal roadblocks and negotiation when a person feels that the requested amount is not affordable. The pinch could also be felt by ex-spouses seeking alimony, who will not be as likely to get generous support payments and who may have a tougher time getting by with a lesser amount. 

Financial planning during a divorce

Although rates are declining, many people still must undergo the dissolution of their marriage. For many people, a divorce means an adjustment in their finances. By anticipating the typical changes that happen at the end of a marriage, a person in New York can be better prepared for the new single life that awaits them.

Usually, a person has some period of time in which they are preparing for a divorce. When one knows that the end is near, it can be a good time to start working with a financial professional, especially if one has not worked with one before. A financial planner can assist individuals with understanding their various accounts and use their knowledge to help build a winning strategy for the future. 

Does child custody affect your taxes after divorce?

Parents who decide to divorce face a large variety of issues they must resolve fairly, including everything from property division to child custody and parenting arrangements. If they fail to properly address any one of these issues, one or both of them may miss out on important benefits, or may lose protections and rights. Furthermore, neglecting some important aspect of the divorce process may affect a child's quality of life more than a parent may realize.

As you and your spouse work through the many issues involved in divorce, be sure to consider the tax implications of various custody arrangements. In general, a parent who retains primary custody of a child also qualifies for a number of very useful tax advantages. Unfortunately, these tax advantages are only available to one parent at a time.

Making child support make sense

Many separated parents wonder how they can work together with their ex to help their child thrive. A person in New York who is new to the co-parenting concept may be wondering how to put child support in perspective. What is it exactly, and why is it so important? Answers to some of these questions can be found in a recent article on the topic. 

Child support is a cash payment made by a noncustodial parent. The payment is paid to the custodial parent or other person who is the legal guardian of the child. The child must be a minor, reside with the person who is receiving the payment and a court order must typically be in place. This payment is used to provide basic needs such as food, housing, education and other necessities, as well as being used to provide other lifestyle needs that were present when the two parents were together. 

Don't let asset division fall through the planning cracks

Two recent court rulings illustrate just how tricky it can be to plan after a marriage. Even the best laid plans can become muddled when documents are not maintained after a divorce or major change, and sometimes, asset division can fall into the hands of those to whom it was not intended, if the intentions are not crystal clear and keep within the law. Two cases, one which happened in New York, can help individuals learn about issues that can arise with trusts, divorce and asset division. 

One case was decided in a neighboring state and involved the concept of decanting. Decanting is the process in which a trustee transfers assets of an irrevocable trust into a new trust with different terms. In the case, the man was the beneficiary of a trust established by his father. When facing a divorce, the trustees transferred the assets into a new trust so that the ex-wife would no longer have claim to the funds. The court upheld this use of decanting, and the ex-wife was not able to claim the trust funds.

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