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The pitfalls of retirement account division

Georgia residents who are looking to save money on a divorce may be tempted to split retirement assets on their own. However, splitting such an asset without the proper authorization could result in taxes and penalties. In one case, an individual withdrew $250,000 from a 401(k) without getting a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). That resulted in $85,000 in income taxes in addition to a $25,000 early withdrawal fee.

If that person had gotten a QDRO first, it may have avoided both the income tax bill and the early withdrawal penalty. For those who are looking to split pension proceeds in a divorce, it can often pay to work with an attorney who understands state law. For example, Massachusetts law forbids anyone from collecting on a former spouse's state pension after getting remarried. It may also be impossible to collect pension funds if a spouse dies before the QDRO is signed.

Parenting after an abusive marriage

In some cases, both parents will be given access to a child even when violence existed within the marriage or during the divorce. The type of abuse and when it took place may play a role in how parents in Georgia or elsewhere work together to raise their children. Researchers at the University of Illinois performed a study looking at the first year after a marriage that involved domestic violence and its impact on co-parenting.

As a general rule, parents who were subject to coercive controlling abuse were more likely to be harassed in the first year after the marriage ended. Coercive controlling tactics include isolating a partner from friends or controlling that person's finances. Parents in such situations were also less likely to receive help from their partner, and they were even less likely to get feedback about issues related to raising the child.

How tax cuts could impact alimony

If the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is passed in its current form, Georgia residents and others who make alimony payments may lose a tax deduction. By eliminating that tax break, it may mean more money going to the government and less money going to individuals. Assuming that the alimony deduction is repealed, it would likely have the biggest impact on divorce agreements involving alimony payments entered into after 2017.

In many cases, an individual receives spousal support after several years of marriage. Furthermore, there generally needs to be a large difference in the earning potential between both parties at the time of a divorce. The IRS says that $12.3 billion in alimony deductions were claimed in 2015. However, some taxpayers may not be claiming alimony received as income on their tax returns.

There are many common factors that push couples toward divorce

While every situation is different, there are a few common reasons that lead many Georgia couples to divorce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-fifth of couples will have a disruption in their first five years of marriage. This could mean a separation, divorce or widowhood. Over the course of 20 years of marriage, 53 percent of marriages face disruption.

Poor communication can influence the likelihood of divorce. When partners in a marriage are able to hear each other with empathy, external pressures can be less overwhelming. On the other hand, when the internal conflicts within a marriage lead to anger and distrust, it can be difficult to recover from pressures and may push couples toward separation.

Asking for a divorce when you’re young can save you time

Many people live their entire life in a relationship that makes them unhappy. Although they think about divorce every now and again, they never move forward with the process.

If you are young and unhappy in your marriage, it may be time to learn more about your options for making things better. If counseling is out of the question, you may have no choice but to learn more about divorce.

Social factors can influence likelihood of divorce

Georgia couples with busy lives and demanding jobs often feel like they have a significant amount of pressure on their marriage, from the need to stay late at the office, go on frequent business trips or bring their work home at night. However, there are a number of risk factors for divorce that stand out even amid the pressures of a successful career. Keeping them in mind can help couples take small actions to improve their partnership.

Parental divorces can have an impact on children, even years later as adults. While social factors including proximity to and acceptance of a divorce as an option are one part of the situation, some scientists say that there could be a genetic factor linked to inherited personality traits as well. And while the ideal age of marriage may vary widely from couple to couple, marrying in one's teens or early 20s increases the risk of divorce above those who wait until their late 20s or early 30s.

Protecting individual finances after marriage

When a Georgia couple gets married, they may be able to protect their individual finances without a prenuptial agreement. This is not just in case of divorce. The couple gets the opportunity to discuss their debts and assets openly, and their finances can be arranged in a way to protect each from the other's debts.

Rather than combining accounts after marriage, the couple can keep their individual accounts and open a joint account. The couple may also want to keep property in their own names. For example, if one person owns a home, that person should also use the individual account to make payments on the home and to pay for any improvements.

Divorce may be unavoidable in some cases

Divorce is not an easy process. It often causes heavy stresses and it can be expensive, in terms of emotion as well as finances. Many Georgia individuals and couples delay the process as long as possible in efforts to avoid these negative effects, but there are certain situations where the only course is to end the marriage. These include circumstances of addiction, abuse or severely poor parenting. Paradoxically, many individuals in such circumstances struggle to recognize them.

Often, serious addictions develop over long periods of time, and the spouse of the addicted person scarcely notices the growing detriment to his or her own life. When the addiction can no longer be ignored, though, it may be time for the non-addicted party to consider divorce. It can be especially difficult to leave the person in a bad situation, but if the addict refuses to get treatment or denies the problem exists, there is little even the most caring person can do.

Large money transfer by spouse is a warning sign of trouble

Married partners in Georgia generally work out how to share income and pay bills. Many people use a joint bank account, but trouble can arise if one spouse starts to act suspiciously with money. Financial advisers warn people that, even when the law could be on their side, recovering money after a spouse has moved it is always more difficult than preventing its loss.

The situation of one man, whose wife removed $130,000 from a joint account to an account in her name, only highlights the problem. In a public advice column, he revealed that he demanded that his wife return the money to their joint account or add his name to her new account. She responded that $100,000 was locked in a certificate of deposit account for a minimum of six months. She claimed to earn $500 monthly from the account. The financial adviser responding to his letter warned that she had to be lying about that figure because it was three times the current rate of return on such accounts.

How divorce can be good for the wallet

In some ways, getting a divorce may be beneficial for Georgia residentslooking to end their marriages. For instance, it may be possible to get better returns on investments as one spouse may have been riskier with a portfolio than the other would have been. It may also provide an individual with an opportunity to reset their financial priorities overall or swap out a house for an affordable apartment.

One of the largest financial benefits to getting a divorce may be that an individual can spend money how he or she sees fit. It isn't uncommon for money to be one of the causes of conflict in a relationship. Without that other person around, there is typically no need for an individual to worry about where his or her money goes. Even those with a lower income may be able to help secure their finances by making smart decisions.

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