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Highlands Ranch Family Law Blog

Tax changes may affect significant impact on divorce settlements

There was much public debate over the proposed changes when Congress overhauled the tax laws last year. One of the biggest changes was the effect the new laws would have on divorce and the subject of alimony payments. Colorado residents who are preparing for a divorce are advised to take these tax changes into consideration since they may affect a settlement agreement.

Before the tax code was revised, those who were under court order to make alimony payments were permitted to deduct those monies from their income before taxes. Furthermore, spouses who received these payments were required to report them as taxable income. However, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that took effect in January of this year, these payments are no longer tax deductible for the paying spouse. The recipient is also no longer required to count alimony as taxable income.

Divorce can lead to tendency not to discuss money problems

When things are going well in life, people want to share good news with friends and family. On the other hand, when there are difficulties in life, including a divorce, people are less inclined to be open to conversations about financial struggles. Colorado residents who are facing a divorce often worry about their personal finances.

A recent study revealed that people are less inclined to have discussions with family about financial difficulties, especially after a divorce. While it is healthy to have certain boundaries with family, not seeking help during a financial crisis may only may the situation worse, as the troubled individual may not have a clear focus on how to improve his or her situation. One of the reasons that people do not discuss their financial struggles is because they may feel ashamed for getting into a difficult financial position.

Recovery after divorce may mean putting one's self first

The vast majority of people are taught to care for the needs of others while growing up. While this is noble in many aspects, it can cause an individual to forget that he or she also has valid needs and dreams. Both during a divorce and afterward, Colorado residents may find it easier to recover from the ordeal if they work to put their needs and goals first.

Many people may find that they have gotten into a habit of apologizing for even the smallest things in life. Though this seems like a harmless habit, it can lead to a lowering of self-esteem and a belief that one is somehow responsible for every poor outcome, including a divorce. Though friends and relatives try to be supportive, statements that can be interpreted as placing blame can leave one to feel as if he or she is responsible when life does not go as planned.

Prenuptial agreement can provide foundation for future security

Though couples enter marriage with the intention of remaining together, statistics suggest otherwise. While the topic of a prenuptial agreement may be seen as a negative attitude toward "happily ever after," in reality, it is simply a pragmatic approach to the realization that almost half of marriages end in divorce. Colorado residents who are aware of the possibility of a future divorce may see a prenup as tool for financial stability.

Prenuptial agreements ensure that separate assets will remain separate property unless stated otherwise. Those who are starting out with few assets may not see a need to plan ahead, but a well-drafted contract protects future assets in the event of a divorce. States fall into one of two categories when it comes to marital property laws: community property or common law property. In community property states, assets owned before the marriage will remain separate, while assets earned during a marriage will typically become subject to division in a divorce. A prenup can work to safeguard certain assets provided they are included in the contract as being separate property.

Don't forget to clean up electronic footprint during a divorce

The ending of a relationship comes with a list of tasks that need to be completed. One area that should not be overlooked is cleaning up all electronic devices and accounts that were jointly accessed during a marriage. Colorado residents who are preparing for a divorce may benefit better if they ensure that a former partner cannot access electronic accounts and devices. 

Along with the other items on a to-do list, changing passwords is a must. In the majority of marriages, spouses have access to one another's accounts, and in order to protect one's privacy going forward, changing passwords is a good first step. In addition, it is recommended to close shared accounts and open individual ones with secure passwords. This applies to all social media and streaming accounts, not just financial accounts. 

Reality couple's marriage "tanks"; wife seeks divorce

There are many reasons why a marriage may not last. If there are outside pressures such as a family-run business, then it may come as no surprise when one spouse files for a divorce. Colorado residents who operate a company often have genuine concerns over how their business will be affected.

It was recently reported that the couple who star in the Animal Planet reality series "Tanked" are headed for divorce court. The divorce petition was filed by the wife shortly after an alleged incident of domestic abuse. According to an unconfirmed report, during an argument, the wife, Heather King, purportedly slapped and kicked her husband, Wayde King. Ms. King was arrested but was released later that day following a misdemeanor assault charge.

Careful preparation can make divorce less taxing

The decision to end a marriage comes with many tasks and emotional upheaval. While the process of getting a divorce can take a toll, there are steps one can take that may ease some of the stress. Colorado residents who are well-prepared may find the divorce process less taxing when it comes time to work out a settlement agreement.

One of the first tasks that will save time in the long run is compiling all relevant financial documents. This includes all information that helps form a complete picture of the marital assets. Tasks such as including all documents related to the home, such as property taxes, home improvements and loan information, will make accessing information easier. It will be helpful to also gather all documents relating to insurance policies, bank and investment accounts as well as long-term care insurance or pre-paid funeral arrangements in addition to bank and credit card information.

Is a second marriage and a prenuptial agreement a perfect union?

For many couples in their 20s and 30s, the idea of drafting a marital contract may not rank as a high priority in their wedding plans. However, couples who are preparing for a second marriage may find that a prenuptial agreement is the perfect fit for their needs. Colorado residents who are entering into a marriage later in life often have more assets that they wish to protect in the event of a divorce or death.

Couples who elect to re-marry in their later years have different priorities and concerns than a couple who marries earlier in life. Often, these marriages involve spouses who have children from a previous relationship and have accumulated considerable assets during their lifetimes. In addition, older couples may bring unequal wealth into the marriage that could leave one spouse struggling with financial hardships in the event the marriage does not last.

What is the best way to approach the topic of a divorce?

Unlike Hollywood's portrayal of an overly emotional declaration that a marriage is over, there is a better way of stating that one feels a relationship has run its course. The topic of a divorce is best approached in a manner that does not make the other spouse feel attacked or caught off guard. Colorado residents who have reached the conclusion that a divorce is their best option may benefit from carefully considering the time and place for such a discussion.

Marital professionals agree that when to tell a spouse that a divorce is pending can be crucial. This is not a time for angry declarations that the other partner failed. Professionals recommend that the topic is not brought up while one spouse is going through an emotional crisis or is feeling overwhelmed by other difficulties. It is further suggested that the location of such a discussion is also taken into consideration. Choosing a public setting or when children are nearby may only heighten the anxiety and emotional response of the other spouse.

Child custody battle does not have to be a fight

Several states start with the presumption that shared parenting is the default custody scenario, provided it is safe to do so. In light of that fact, many Colorado parents involved in child custody disputes may be more willing to work out a solution that permits fathers more equal time in hands-on parenting with their children. In spite of the change in attitudes, though, it may still be difficult for parents to work together to find a way to get to a shared parenting agreement.

In years past, fathers feared that they would be counted as a secondary caregiver. It is now more clearly understood that children benefit if they have equal access to both parents -- when circumstances permit. There are steps that both parents can take that can ease the stress of a custody battle while demonstrating to the courts that they are dedicated to their children. One of the first is to attempt to see the former spouse as the parent of their child and not the partner who let them down.

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