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Anoka Divorce Law Blog

Personality traits can be predictive of divorce

Most Minnesota couples enter into marriage with optimism about its long-term success but are likely mindful of the conventional wisdom that about one half of all unions ultimately fail. The desire to succeed may not in and of itself be a difference maker, but an awareness of specific personality traits, which may point to a greater probability of a split if left unchecked, could be useful in tilting the odds in favor of longevity.

Marital experts and professionals report that extremist behavior in either of the two partners is a recipe for disaster. Where marriage is a fifty-fifty proposition, on average, there seems to be a better mechanism in place for conflict resolution. Continued extremism, on the other hand, appears likely to push one partner away, concluding that breakup is inevitable.

The new tax laws make divorce even more costly

It may seem counter-intuitive to suggest to a Minnesota couple to plan their divorce, yet like other significant financial events during one's life, understanding the realities and preparation make the split easier for all concerned. The economic burden of establishing two separate households cannot be ignored, and the Trump administration's Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed in 2017 has provisions affecting divorced couples beginning this year.

The new provisions change the way in which child support and alimony are reported for income tax purposes. As regards child support, the new tax law eliminates dependent exemptions and increases standard deductions. A divorced parent can claim head of household status if unmarried, pays for more than 50 percent of the child's expenses and the child lives with that parent more than 50 percent of the year. With one child, only one parent can claim HOH status.

Possible ways a parent may win back custody of children

Losing custody of a child can be understandably upsetting for any Minnesota parent who has ended a marriage. While it's often the other parent who ends up with custody in situations like this, there are times when a court determines that children will be better cared for by non-parental relatives or the foster care system. Because of the many circumstances that could be involved, winning back custody rights isn't always an easy process. However, there are some ways a parent may be able to convince the court to have a change of heart.

Judges typically make child custody decisions based on what's in the best interest of the child. Therefore, a good starting point for a non-custodial parent could be to determine why custody wasn't granted in the first place. For example, custody may be lost because of violation of an order or untrue allegations of neglect or abuse. In some situations, it may be possible for a parent to regain custody if stipulations were placed on the reconsideration of custody when a temporary or interlocutory order was issued.

Paying or receiving a lump sum of alimony could be worthwhile

Navigating a divorce proceeding can understandably be challenging emotionally. However, it can be just as complicated financially, especially if either you or your future ex-spouse will end up having to pay alimony.

The person whom the divorce court orders to pay alimony may assume that he or she will have to make an alimony payment each month for several years to come, which can be a frustrating thought. However, making or receiving a lump sum alimony payment instead is another option that can present benefits for both sides of the equation.

Divorce can impact health, especially for seniors

A growing movement toward divorcing later in life may have serious impacts on the health and finances of the people involved. Divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can go through, and for older people it can increase the risk of depression or other adverse health conditions. People in Minnesota who are approaching or going through divorce should be aware of the impact it can have on their health. Awareness of psychological conditions like depression can be helpful.

A professor of psychiatry and practicing geriatric psychiatrist said she often encounters seniors who develop anxiety, chronic stress or depression following a divorce. She said it's also common for seniors who divorce to go through symptoms of post-traumatic stress like flashbacks of negative events and nightmares. This is especially true for individuals who have been in relationships that were abusive.

About prenuptial agreements

Couples in Minnesota who are planning to get married should seriously consider completing a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal document with which individuals can specify how assets are to be allocated if a divorce should take place. While the idea of a prenup may have a stigma attached to it, there are number of reasons couples should discuss and complete the document before they get married.

One important reason to complete a prenup is if one person in the relationship has more assets than the other person. These assets may be money or other types of assets that they have accumulated or inherited while single. Generally, if a divorce occurs, the assets that individuals owned when they were single will remain in their possession after the divorce. However, there are exceptions, and individuals may be required to allocate some of those assets to their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Taking some time to specify in a legal document what should happen to their assets should they get a divorce can save individuals significant money and time in the future.

Divorce more common among older Americans

In Minnesota and across the country, divorce is on the rise among the baby boomer generation. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled among Americans age 50 and over. During the same period, the rate has tripled among people 65 years old and above. These statistics are in contrast to the fact that the divorce rate has remained stable or even declined among individuals across all demographic groups. There are a number of factors that contribute to the growing phenomenon that has been termed "gray divorce."

For starters, divorce is more socially acceptable than it was in the past, and closeness to other divorced people can affect family members' decisions. The daughters of divorced parents are 60 percent more likely to divorce themselves while the sons of parents who split are 35 percent more likely to do the same. However, many of the reasons for older people divorcing reflect the fact that people are marrying differently as well. Even among the over 65 age group, individuals in short-term marriages are more likely to split up than those who have been together for decades. In addition, people who have been married once before are 2.5 times more likely to divorce.

Study shows divorced women accumulate wealth better than singles

Many women in Minnesota involved in a divorce will be faced with the financial issue of obtaining the marital home in the settlement. A new study presents data that is contrary to traditional advice of financial planners and has reopened the hotly debated issue.

The study finds that divorced women generally have accumulated more assets than their single counterparts. According to the study, the main reason is obtaining the marital home in the divorce process. This asset has permitted many women to have a substantial retirement asset through home equity.

Asset division for older couples in a divorce

When older people in Minnesota get a divorce, their focus may be more on dividing retirement savings and other elements related to property division compared to younger couples who might be concerned about child custody. People should be aware that there are a number of specific rules for dividing these types of assets. Annuities can pose particular complexities, and some people may agree for one to keep the annuity and the other to take another asset since cashing it out can lead to a significant drop in value.

There are also rules around splitting 401(k)s, pensions and IRAs. For the former two, it is necessary to get a document called a qualified domestic relations order. This allows a tax break because of the divorce, and rolling the money into an IRA also means no penalties will be due. A distribution from an IRA can also be rolled into another IRA without taxes or penalties. There may be additional rules associated with pension plans.

Hiding assets during divorce is both wrong and illegal

Once you decided to divorce, you were hopefully able to set time aside to sit down with your children and talk about the life changes coming their way. The good news in that regard is that kids are typically quite resilient and adaptable barring any extenuating circumstance that would impede their ability to function in a positive manner.

On the other hand, if you're stressed, they will sense it and they may feel stressed too. Various issues can cause stress levels to soar during a divorce, and trying to fight for what's rightfully yours when a spouse is hiding assets is definitely one of them. If you suspect it, make sure you know how to gather evidence and where to seek support in order to bring it to the court's attention.

Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.

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Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.
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Anoka, MN 55303

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