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Anoka Divorce Law Blog

Legal advice and financial decisions for divorce go hand in hand

Unfortunately, divorce is a relatively common occurrence in Minnesota. Nationwide, over 800,000 people end their marriages every year. The desire to exit a relationship might prompt people to focus on the immediate relief of independence, but legal advisers warn that a long-term analysis of finances needs to take place before agreeing to a divorce settlement.

In many cases, financial decisions benefit from legal counsel. Ideally, a person would consult an attorney before moving out of the house or even informing the spouse of the intention to divorce. Furthermore, potential divorcees should also consult financial advisers. They could help people create post-divorce budgets. A financial planner could advise the person about setting up individual accounts and disclosing financial records for court review. Separating the financial lives of the spouses will be essential for the completion of the divorce.

Is Facebook keeping you from moving on after divorce?

If you are one of the millions who stay in touch with friends and family through social media, you may be facing a big challenge as you and your spouse work through your divorce. You may be used to changing your Facebook status several times a day, sharing photos of your latest success or posting memes that express your present emotions.

You may even feel it is within your rights to vent when things get stressful between you and your spouse. However, how far should you go? Is there a chance that your social media presence will do more harm than good?

Keeping the family home in a divorce

During a Minnesota divorce, a former couple will have to divide up any property they obtained during their marriage. For many, this means making decisions about the family home. One person often wants to retain ownership, especially if there are kids involved. However, simply choosing to keep the home may not be as simple of a decision once the financial reality sets in.

While the decision to attempt to retain ownership of the family home is often made due to emotional reasons, it may not be the best one when it comes to finances. The divorce process can have a major impact on a person's ability to afford the family home on his or her own. Even further, if there is still a mortgage on the home, the person retaining ownership will likely have to refinance to get the other party off the loan.

How health insurance impacts divorce

Because of uncertainty surrounding federal health care policy, some Minnesota residents whose marriages are coming to an end might be putting their divorces on hold. In some cases, couples are choosing to stay together while finalizing the terms of an eventual divorce. In others, couples are having divorce papers drafted but are not signing or filing them.

In the past, couples usually separated to enable both individuals to stay on a health care plan. However, many employers no longer allow a separated spouse to be a part of a worker's plan. According to a study from the University of Michigan, 115,000 women lost their health insurance each year prior to 2012 because of a divorce. The Affordable Care Act has made it easier for divorced individuals to find a plan since it took effect in 2014. Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal and replace the ACA with a plan of their own.

The correlation between stressful jobs and divorce

Some Minnesota couples may work in professions that make them more vulnerable to divorce. A study that used census data to examine careers and the likelihood of divorce by the age of 30, the average divorce age, found that of the top 10 jobs that have the highest correlation with divorce rates, three are in the military. Factors such as psychological stress, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, along with moving frequently and deployments were among the reasons cited for the higher rate of military divorces.

First-line enlisted military supervisors, a job that involves coordinating and leading operations, was the profession with the highest divorce rate. It was followed by jobs including mechanics and automotive service technicians. Air weapons and tactical operations were the other two military jobs that appeared in the top 10.

Divorce misconceptions can be costly

Ending a marriage can be a traumatic experience even for Minnesota couples who have been estranged for years, and divorcing spouses sometimes turn to family members or close personal friends for advice or comfort during these difficult times. While these individuals generally mean well, they may not possess the experience or knowledge needed to give sound financial or legal advice. Misconceptions are common in divorce cases, and people often make disastrous decisions because they believe things to be true that are not.

Many divorcing parents believe that child support is calculated using state guidelines that must be strictly adhered to, but family law judges may ignore these rules if they wish to. Judges may deviate from established guidelines when adherence to them could lead to inequitable outcomes. Another common misconception in divorce cases is the belief that no-fault laws render misconduct unimportant. While these laws may allow couples who are unable to establish misconduct to divorce, they do not prevent evidence of adultery, abuse or neglect being admitted during spousal support or child custody hearings.

Families make plans in case of deportation

Those living illegally in Minnesota or throughout America face the possibility of being removed from the country by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. This may mean that they are separated from their children. In Camden, New Jersey, 50 immigrants recently gathered with law students and other volunteers to fill out forms giving custody rights to family or friends if they are deported. Such meetings have also taken place elsewhere in the country since Donald Trump was elected president.

In some cases, parents are making plans for a temporary separation until the child can return home. However, if the child is a United States citizen, he or she is not required to leave the country. One mother wants her child to stay in the country if she is deported because she believes her daughter can have a better future here. That would mean planning for an extended or permanent separation from a child.

Should a prenuptial agreement be part of your wedding plans?

Since the moment you and your beloved decided to get married, you've probably relived the whole proposal experience a thousand times in your mind. You may even remember the first person you called to share your exciting news. Whether you and your soon-to-be spouse planned on tying on the knot within a few short weeks or began working on a longer-range plan, the delight of preparing for your own wedding day likely soared to the top of your "fun things to do" list.

What type of Minnesota wedding would you have -- simple, extravagant, outdoor, in a church? Would you gather only your closest friends and relatives or fill an enormous venue with several hundred guests? What would the food menu include at the reception? What time of year would you celebrate your wedding? These are all typical questions intended spouses ask themselves when planning their big days. There are other important things you might want to consider as well, however, such as whether to sign a prenuptial agreement.

Complications to consider when blending families

Minnesota couples who have been married before and who are planning to blend their families should consider a number of financial issues. It is important that each person understands the other's attitude on money and that the couple discusses plans for saving and spending. They should also talk about longer-term plans and what they want their children to learn from observing their attitudes about money.

It is important to understand and acknowledge that children's needs may differ as may the assets each person is bringing into the relationship. Couples need to be specific about whether they plan to combine accounts or have separate accounts and investments and what they will do if either or both owns a home. For example, if one home is sold, they need to decide whether the title of the other home will be in both names.

Alimony and tax deductions

When a Minnesota couple gets a divorce, one person may be required to pay alimony to the other. In most cases, the alimony is tax-deductible for the person who pays, and the person who gets the alimony must pay taxes on it. However, the alimony will not be considered tax-deductible if it is not part of a divorce agreement.

This was a decision made by the U.S. Tax Court after a husband and wife who were getting a divorce signed an agreement that involved the husband paying a portion of this bonus to his wife. Later, there was a spousal support order dealing with the alimony that the husband would pay each month plus a portion of his income if he earned above a certain amount. The support order did not include anything about the bonus, and as a result, the court said that the bonus could not be deducted.

Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.

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Anoka, MN 55303

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