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Steps to help prepare your finances for divorce

You have concerns about the divorce process, with many of them tied to your current and future financial circumstances.

Even though your finances are sure to change, there are steps you can take to prepare accordingly and ensure stability during this difficult time.

Avoiding unintended consequences in gray divorce

Older Virginians who decide to divorce often have to contend with more complicated issues than younger couples. This is because older adults frequently have more complex finances than younger people who divorce. Older adults need to be cautious with how they handle property division, spousal support and estate planning during a divorce.

People who are 50 or older when they get divorced will need to be careful about the potential tax consequences that they might face when dividing property. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, new rules apply to spousal support that people should know. In the past, the spouses who paid alimony could deduct their payments on their taxes. Now, however, the spouses who pay alimony are no longer allowed to deduct their payments, and the recipients do not have to pay taxes on the money that they receive.

Consider these points about moving out of the area after divorce

Child custody arrangements are usually set up with the assumption that the parents live within a reasonable distance of each other. While this is the case for many people, there might be instances in which one parent needs to move out of the area. There likely isn't going to be an issue if the person moving is the non-custodial parent but there can be problems if the parent is the one with whom the children live.

A move that will take the child away from one parent is often considered carefully by the court. Just like when the child custody case was first established, the court will still consider what's best for the children. It doesn't really matter what's best or worst for either parent.

Tips for creating a workable co-parenting schedule

Parents in Virginia who are getting divorced may need to create a parenting plan that addresses how much time their children will spend with each parent. Many courts increasingly encourage parents to try to split their time 50/50 or as close to it as possible. Some parents may assume the best approach to this is for the child to spend alternating weeks with each parent, but there can be some drawbacks to this approach.

Alternating weeks may work well for children who are 12 or older, but for younger children, it can create several different problems. A week is a long time for a young child to be away from a parent, and it could create separation anxiety. Children may be happier with a different type of schedule, and parents may find it easier to work around one that is more flexible.

Studies find women more likely to seek divorce than men

Too little help with housework, no career support and poor communication are among the reasons why women in Virginia may be more likely than men to initiate a divorce. The American Sociological Association found in a 2015 study that almost 70% of divorces were initiated by women.

For many women, marriage simply offers too few benefits. Wives are less dependent on men for financial security than in previous generations, so they are more likely to seek divorce from men who are unfaithful or abusive. Men are generally reliant on their wives for emotional support while the reverse is often not the case as women tend to seek emotional support from a number of different sources.

How to co-parent successfully after divorce

Once parents in Virginia have reached an agreement about child custody, they may still have many years of co-parenting ahead of them. They should make an effort to communicate effectively and encourage the child to build a relationship with the other parent.

Communication does not mean they need to speak to one another regularly if this is not comfortable for them. Online tools can help divorced parents communicate, or they may agree to use text or email. Parents should avoid using their children to carry messages back and forth, and they should try to be flexible with the schedule they have agreed upon. While children need consistency, if one parent has something fun planned during the other parent's time, that parent should allow the child to go if it is in the best interests of the child. Parents should also try to work together to create consistent rules and expectations between their households. This reduces stress for children.

Old records and calendars can help in divorce negotiations

When people in Virginia decide to divorce, they may face a range of emotional, practical and financial effects and considerations. While dealing with property division can have long-term financial repercussions, many parents find reaching a solution to child custody questions one of the most emotionally draining parts of the divorce. Most family court judges will encourage divorcing parents to reach a negotiated resolution with the help of their lawyers as they transition to a co-parenting relationship. One of the most important parts of a child custody agreement is the parenting plan and custody schedule.

During a divorce, some parents may feel overwhelmed with all of the issues they must navigate. It can be all too easy to forget about things in a child's schedule. However, those activities may be very important to the child and can easily lead to later child custody disputes when both partners repeatedly ask for changes to the schedule to accommodate activities. Old calendars can be important when preparing to negotiate child custody as they can help to ensure that sports, extracurricular activities and clubs are part of the official parenting plan.

After end-of-year celebrations, increase in divorces

Virginia couples who are considering divorce in the new year might be surprised to learn that divorce filings increase during the first half of January each year. It is a trend that has already been studied because it seems to be happening consistently even as divorce rates in general have dropped by 8% between 2007 and 2017.

There might be several reasons why divorce filings increase at the beginning of the year. One of them might be parents' desire to provide their children with happy holiday memories. This is the same reason parents might put off filing for divorce for even several years, as they are reluctant to take away their children's holiday memories. On the flip side of this, the stress of spending additional time with family during the holidays might become the breaking point for some couples, who might file for divorce early in the new year to avoid another holiday similar to the one they just ended.

Dealing with the financial consequences of divorce

People in Virginia who are going through a divorce may want to consider working with a financial planner or a certified divorce financial analyst along with an attorney. These financial professionals may help in determining what a person's assets are and how to budget for the divorce and its aftermath.

The first step should be listing all assets and gathering documentation on them. Tax returns, bank statements, property deeds and statements from retirement accounts may be among them. It will also be necessary to make a new budget. This could include paying or receiving child support and alimony. Housing costs may change since a person might be moving into a new home. A person who is insured through a spouse may need to seek new health insurance. The budget should also include legal costs. This is a good time for careful spending because of the additional costs associated with the change. Furthermore, people who are expecting child or spousal support cannot always be entirely sure of when that support will start arriving.

How women can face financial challenges after divorce

Women who have gone through a divorce in Virginia know that dealing with financial challenges can be overwhelming. While men can experience financial difficulties after a divorce, women are more likely to experience a decrease in income and live below the poverty line.

As a woman contemplates divorce, it would be beneficial for her to take a hard look at her financial situation. She should gather important financial documents like bank statements, property titles and tax returns. It would be beneficial to save an emergency fund, even if it is just a few dollars at a time. The money that she puts away for herself will need to be disclosed during the divorce proceedings, but it may be enough to help her start the divorce process and cover other expenses. It may also be beneficial for her to open a P.O. box to receive confidential mail.


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