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Connecticut Family Law Blog

Does your prenuptial agreement hold up to scrutiny?

If you speak to any attorney or simply a person who has experienced divorce firsthand, they will probably tell you everyone who gets married should create a prenuptial agreement before saying their vows. The protections that a prenuptial agreement provides for both spouses are immense compared to just about any other legal tool, They can keep spouses safe from some difficulties even if their marriage does not end in divorce.

However, much like creating a will or an employment contract, it is not enough to simply have a prenuptial agreement. If a couple creates a flawed prenuptial agreement and their marriage fails, it may only prolong the process and still leave one or both spouses frustrated with the outcome.

Amazon founder and world's richest man announces divorce

The world's richest man, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, announced that he and his wife are calling it quits. After 25 years of marriage, four children and the creation of one of the world's largest companies, the couple is seeking a divorce. They said they will leave their marriage on good terms, remaining friends.

The focus of the divorce will undoubtedly be the division of the couple's enormous financial holdings. Unlike Connecticut, which is an equitable division state, the couple's home state is a community property state. Under community property laws, all property acquired after the date of the marriage is considered community property, regardless of how it is treated during the marriage. There is no separate personal property. This means that at the time of divorce the property is usually divided in half between the two spouses.

What outside factors affect one's chances of divorce?

Since experiencing divorce rates of around 50 percent in the 1980s, the nationwide divorce rate has steadily decreased. Several factors can be credited for that drop, including the lifestyle chosen by many millennials. Millennials as a whole have delayed marriage until an older age, at which time they are more certain of their relationships. Age isn't the only factor affecting one's chances of divorce, however. There are several other outside factors that seem to have a bearing on one's likeliness of becoming a divorcee one day.

The first of these factors is where one lives. Someone who grew up in a traditionally conservative "red" state is more likely to divorce than someone who grew up in a more liberal state such as Connecticut. This may be due to the tendency of couples in conservative states to marry at a younger age or simply for their tendency to marry at all. Location in one of these conservative states alone increases one's chances of divorce by 27 percent.

Divorce can be friendly -- 5 helpful tips

There are many stories of terrible divorces full of revenge and hostility. Divorce is an emotional event, but it doesn't have to be a horrible experience. It is possible for a couple to end their marriage amicably while still maintaining a positive relationship or even a true friendship. This is especially important when there are children involved. There are a few tips a Connecticut couple can follow to stay on good terms while dissolving their legal union.

First, a divorcing couple should openly and honestly discuss the actions that led to the separation. When done with a positive attitude and without finger-pointing, this will help the couple understand what went wrong and will allow them to accept their situation so they can move forward in a positive manner. Both parties must be honest and accepting of their own mistakes. This will allow the second step, which is to accept one's own shortcomings and work to correct them. This will have a positive impact on the current relationship as well as future relationships.

Gray divorce is on the rise

When most people think of a couple going through a divorce, they often envision a young couple that made a major decision too young or a slightly older couple that has succumbed to the struggles associated with raising a family. What many aren't aware of is that the age group with the fastest-growing divorce rate is not the young couples in their 20s, 30s or even 40s; rather, it's actually couples over 50. The divorce rate for couples in this age group has doubled in the past 20 years even though rates in other age groups have stabilized or decreased. There are a number of factors leading to the increase of gray divorce in Connecticut and across the country.

The aging population is a contributing factor to the increase in gray divorces. The American population is steadily aging due to increased life expectancies thanks to medical advances. People are now healthier and more active at older ages. There is simply more time at stake that many don't want to waste in a bad marriage.

How to minimize chance of divorce caused by debt

Debt has become a way of life in many Connecticut households. Mortgage, credit card and student loan debts are all common. According to a recent study, more than half of all couples start out with debt, but the problem is that 40 percent of those say debt is a problem in their relationships. Many divorcing couples blame financial issues, including debt as one of the leading factors in their divorce. There are some actions that couples can take to minimize their debt and the stress on their relationships caused by it.

One of the first steps to dealing with debt is to determine how much a couple actually has. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans severely underestimate their amount of debt -- by 37 percent for credit cards and 25 percent for student loans. The couple must gather all financial information so they can clarify balances, interest rates and other important information. From there they can develop a financial plan to get the balance paid off.

Can your ex move and take your kid after a Connecticut divorce?

For many people facing divorce, the prospect of losing their relationship with their children is the most upsetting consideration. They may not worry so much about moving out of the marital home or splitting acquired assets with their spouse as they do about not getting to see their children as often as possible.

The good news for those considering divorce is that, in most cases, Connecticut family courts favor shared custody scenarios. Sometimes, the custody arrangements involve a 50/50 split. Other times, one spouse may have primary custody, with the other receiving fewer total days with the children, as well as an obligation to pay child support.

Child custody during the holidays

Many would agree that the holidays are the time of year with the most traditions. Almost every act during the holidays is based on a tradition. The same decorations are used each year, the same foods are prepared only during the holidays, and the same gatherings are held annually. It provides a feeling of comfort and belonging to practice these traditions with loved ones each year. For separated parents in Connecticut dealing with child custody during the holidays, that comfort and belonging can turn to pain and loneliness if not handled with a lot of careful planning.

If possible, the ideal solution would be for as little change as possible to take place. Some parents, while acknowledging that they cannot continue as a married couple, can still spend time together with their children doing family activities. It is best, if possible, to put differences aside and create a traditional, happy holiday for the children. The children can then continue to experience the traditions they have practiced throughout their lives without having to divide their experiences between two households. Some couples, however, are unable to remain friendly enough to create a happy holiday for their children together, so in this case, it would be best to have separate activities so the children are not subjected to disagreements and bad behavior by their parents during what should be their happiest time of year.

Will new divorce tax rules be positive or negative for couples?

For over 70 years divorcing couples have followed the same alimony tax laws. However, couples in Connecticut and across the country will be following new divorce tax laws beginning next year. While many worry that the changes will cause more of a financial burden on the divorcees, others feel that the change will have a positive outcome. Many of those who fear the tax changes are scrambling to get their divorces finalized before the end of the year so that their agreements will continue to fall under current laws.

The new laws primarily affect how alimony is taxed and calculated. It is going to eliminate the federal income tax deduction for alimony payments. Currently, the paying spouse deducts the amount of the alimony payments from his or her income before taxes are calculated. The burden to pay income on that amount falls to the alimony recipient. Under new laws that is reversed, meaning the paying spouse will pay taxes on his or her full income amount prior to paying the alimony, and the receiving spouse will not have to report the alimony payments as income.

Tips for a budget-friendly divorce

Ending a marriage can have a huge financial impact on a person's life. Divorce in Connecticut can lead to the loss of assets already owned as well as the assumption of future financial obligations in the form of child support and spousal support. With careful planning, one can minimize the negative effect of divorce on one's financial status.

One of the first mistakes many people who find they are going to be getting divorced make is to start trying to find ways to hide assets. They think that by squirreling away money and other assets they can keep a little something extra for themselves that doesn't have to be split with the soon-to-be-ex. This is not a good idea. Most spouses have a pretty good idea what the marital assets are, so if some goes missing, there will be questions to answer and more anger to contend with. It can make the person appear dishonest to the other spouse as well as the judge and can affect the overall outcome of the divorce.

We Listen, We Help, We Care

  • Thank you Jennifer for handling my divorce. Everything is going well. Get to spend lots of time so far with my boys that makes me happy. Thanks to you again; I wish you and your firm lots of success from this day forward. All the best.
  • Wendy helped guide us through a very difficult and emotional process and was really able to provide an even and fair account for both parties. It's quite evident in her expertise in this area but the way she was able to make you feel safe and secure in a very insecure time goes far beyond her legal prowess. If the two parties are really willing to cooperate and collaborate, she's there to help gain the best possible solution for all involved, especially if there are children.
  • Regardless of how committed one is to the fact that divorce may be imminent and necessary, it is truly one of the most emotional and stressful situations one can experience. It can also be daunting. Wendy has a remarkable ability to cut through the noise and help you focus on the big picture while drilling down on what is most pertinent to your particular situation., they are a formidable team who work collectively with your best interests in mind.
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