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Connecticut Family Law Blog

When you divorce, it may be time to review or create a trust

Getting married means that you have someone else to assume responsibility for, which often lends itself to estate planning. After all, when you have family members and loved ones who could benefit from your assets, you have more of an interest in ensuring that those assets smoothly transition to someone else's ownership when you die.

You don't want your family to have to struggle financially while the assets you acquire during your life slowly wind their way through probate court. Instead, you want them to have the comfort that comes from knowing that their financial issues are more or less addressed as part of your estate plan.

Safeguarding a credit rating in a divorce situation

It is never wise for one to leave finances to chance. It's a particularly unwise thing for Connecticut residents to do when they're in the throes of divorce proceedings. It is likely that those who are separating or divorcing will be moving from a two to a one-income household. But there are steps individuals can take to safeguard their credit ratings in order to avoid ending up in financial distress.

It may be a wise idea for those who are divorcing to check their credit reports. There are many companies that allow a couple of checks at no cost. In doing so, individuals will have clearer pictures of their overall financial health and disclosing that to a former partner during divorce proceedings is necessary anyway. 

Family law: Methods of ascertaining paternity over the years

The ways in which a child's paternal father is ascertained have changed over the past decades. Many issues are connected to a child's paternity under Connecticut family law rules, and there are a number of reasons why a child's parentage should be known, especially when it comes to child support. Silent film star Charlie Chaplin knew too well what that could mean having been fingered by his young protégé as being the father of her daughter -- something Chaplin vehemently denied.

Chaplin admitted to having an affair with the 23-year-old woman, but he maintained he did not father her child. This all unfolded in the 1940s when DNA testing was unheard of and the case created a courtroom drama since Chaplin had just wed an 18-year-old woman. The first paternity trial ended in a deadlocked jury. Chaplin's lawyers relied on blood tests: The woman had type A blood, while the child had type B, which meant -- at that time -- that the child's father must have had either type B or type AB blood. Chaplin had type O, so it was thought he could not have been the child's biological father.

Divorce: How to decide if a marriage is really over

People who say I do don't do so with the thought that someday they will be saying I don't. But divorce is a part of life for many Connecticut couples. The decision to part ways does not come easily for many couples, and before deciding to file for divorce, individuals might want to ask themselves some difficult questions that weigh the positives and negatives of their situations.

It is true that divorce may shed a bleak light on various areas, such as relationships with children and other family members and colleagues, and it may also adversely affect a person's health. The question is whether someone is better off staying in a marriage or better off divorcing a partner. The answers may be as unique as the people needing to answer them.

Dividing funds in college savings plans during a divorce process

Many parents start college savings plans for their kids in anticipation of them getting good educations. But when parents' marriages end in divorce and assets and debts are being divided, the question is, what happens to those college funds? The last thing Connecticut parents would want to have happen is jeopardizing their children's educations, so careful consideration should be given to what happens to these funds.

Both parents should have a clear indication of where these funds are being held since there could be more than one college savings fund account such as 529 plans and savings bonds. Account balances, along with who the beneficiaries are for each account should be noted. Beneficiaries should actually be the children for whom the funds are being saved.

Tax strategies that can help in the divorce process

The end of a marriage can be devastating even under the most positive circumstances. Connecticut couples who are going through a divorce can face a number of challenges, one of which can include finances. But there are certain tax strategies that can make the going easier and reaching a settlement less stressful, especially when the process is handled more like a business deal in many respects.

With many tax changes instilled by the federal government in 2019, the financial aspects of divorce have become even more complicated. These changes left many owing more than they initially expected they would owe. One of the pieces of advice experts are suggesting is that those who pay spousal support deposit those funds into a trust account for the payee. Changes that have come into effect mean that those paying support cannot deduct the amount as a business expense, while the payee doesn't need to claim the support as income. This change has made it difficult for some payors financially and trusts may help to offset the financial outlay.

Tips for talking to the kids about an upcoming divorce

No matter how old your kids are, you know that telling them about your upcoming divorce is going to take them by surprise. You don't know how they're going to react to it. This is true for toddlers, teens and even adult children.

So how can you tell them? How can you gently break the news and lower the impact on them? What steps should you take to provide the children with the love and support that they need? Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Pick a time when you know you can stay with your children and have a long conversation. This isn't something you bring up right before they go to school or practice for a sports team. It's not something you say before you head to work. Ideally, pick a time -- like Saturday afternoon -- when you can spend as much time as needed giving them your full attention afterward.
  • Only do it after you know that the divorce will happen for sure. Never do it too early. This just opens the door to a lot of worry on their part, which they don't need if you decide to stay together. Talk to your spouse. Find out that divorce is inevitable. Then tell the kids.
  • At the same time, do not put this off for too long. The children deserve to know. They also need time to process everything. Tell them as soon as you can without doing it too soon. That may be a tough balance to find, but it should be your goal.
  • If you have one child, it's easier. If you have more than one, you should tell them at the same time. This is a family conversation. It may feel easier to have one-on-one conversations, but that increases the risks that the children whom you did not tell first will find out from someone else.
  • Show your kids how much you still care about them. This goes for you and your ex. Regardless of how you feel about one another, show the kids that you love them. Give them your support. If possible, do it together. Reassure them and help them adjust, rather than focusing on yourself.
  • Don't blame your ex. Don't blame yourself. No matter why you think -- or know -- that you're getting divorced, do not get in the habit of blaming anyone when you talk to the kids. You want to protect the relationships they have with both of you.

Family law: Children of wealth and prenuptial agreements

Children who are born into wealthy families may need to take extra precautions when the time comes for them to marry. Connecticut family law has the tools for people to ensure their assets are protected, and when it comes to marriage, such tools include prenuptial agreements. No one approaches marriage with divorce in mind, but sometimes, taking precautions might be a wise move.

Young people of wealth might be reticent about prenuptial agreements, and it is often their parents who bring up the subject. If an adult child agrees to having a prenuptial agreement drawn up, he or she will need to make a full disclosure of assets, which may give them a more comprehensive understanding of what's on the line financially. There may also be a family business involved, which may increase the need for a matrimonial agreement.

Child custody: Fostering relationships with non-custodial parents

Many experts have gone on record to say that children do better emotionally and even physically when both parents play integral roles in their lives. When it comes to child custody in a divorce situation, Connecticut parents need to set aside their differences when co-parenting their children -- whether they have joint custody or if there is one custodial parent with the other having visitation rights. It is incumbent upon parents to do what is in the best interests of their children and barring anything that might endanger a child, that usually means having a meaningful relationship with both parents.

In fact, when a family court judge makes decisions regarding child custody, he or she will use the best interests marker when doing so. In making decisions a judge will weigh in on many variables, including whether a custodial parent acts positively when encouraging a child's relationship with a noncustodial parent. Undermining that relationship may not only be detrimental to the child, but may also not bode well for a custodial parent, either. 

Technology and how it can help in divorce

Technology is everywhere and seems to be rapidly becoming a more ubiquitous presence in everyday life. While many technological advances may not be welcome nor seem useful to many people, apps are developed every day that can make lives easier in Connecticut. One group of apps can actually simplify divorce and relieve some of the stress it can put on one's children.

Divorcing when young children are involved can get very complicated with regards to planning child visitation or joint custody schedules. Children today, in some instances, have calendars that are more crowded than their parent's. With sports and other after school activities, keeping track of it all can be a monumental task. Fortunately, there's an app for that.

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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