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Alpharetta Family Law Blog

More men than women handle marital investments

The divorce rate is higher for older adults than it was in the 1990s, and when older couples in Georgia get a divorce, one spouse might not be familiar with the marital finances. In a survey by UBS Global Wealth Management of 2,500 couples and over 600 women who were divorced or widowed with at least $250,000 for investing, more than half of the women said financial planning and major investment decisions were made by their spouse.

Unfortunately, this means there could be surprises ahead for these less-informed spouses if divorce happens. More than half of the divorced or widowed women reported that when their marriages ended, financial information came to light that they were unaware of, and although it was not always negative, they sometimes found out about overspending or debts. Nearly all said that, in hindsight, they would have sought more transparency. Among remarried women, 80 percent actively participated in the marital finances.

Financial preparation can ease divorce process

When Georgia couples are considering a divorce, there are a number of things that may need to be taken care of. Especially after a long-time marriage, the thought of disentangling from one another can raise a host of practical concerns aside from the emotional impact of the end of a marriage. There are some financial housekeeping measures that spouses can take that can help them be prepared to take their next steps towards independence.

One of the first steps is assembling all relevant financial documents, including tax returns, bank account statements, life insurance policies and retirement fund documents. This is especially important in a high asset divorce. Having these documents on hand can prevent an unpleasant or inconvenient search for them later. Another important step for people is to perform an individual credit check on themselves. Moving forward, they will need to rely on their own credit to obtain loans, buy a house or make other major purchases. By requesting a credit report, a person can identify and address errors before they become a problem later.

Conflict over household chores causes some divorces

While it may seem hard to believe, arguments over housework could lead some Georgia couples to divorce. A quarter of divorced couples surveyed in a Harvard Business School study listed household chores as the top reason behind their separations.

Other research supports the idea that household chores can create stress. In 2008, a study found that people with more leisure time have a better sense of well-being. Research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that expenditures of just $100 to $200 per month for services such as laundry or grocery delivery could lead to better relationships. In addition to reducing arguments about who will do these tasks, this also gives couples more time together. However, there are many couples who cannot afford such extra expenditures.

Planning for single finances during a divorce

People in Georgia who divorce face a major impact on their finances. Finances are often the most contentious issues in a divorce. Because many married couples have a deeply intertwined financial life, separating all of their debts and assets can be complex. In addition, it is not uncommon for people to feel as if they are being stripped of hard-earned money and property.

In order to prepare for a single financial future after the divorce, it can be important to take some steps to set oneself on the road to financial independence. Of course, the first step is understanding the breadth of the marital property. Reviewing account documents, bank statements, real estate deeds and retirement fund information can be particularly critical in developing a clear picture of the assets at stake. This information can be of particularly high value to one's attorney when entering into settlement negotiations.

3 ways to protect your business during a divorce

When you're going through a divorce, there are a few things about which you're likely to worry. One of those is protecting your business or your business interests. There are many ways that people handle these issues, ranging from selling their businesses to working together with an ex-spouse to run the business.

Your situation could call for extreme measures, like selling off your portion of the business, or you may not need to do much at all. Here are a few things to consider doing if you have a business that could be divided in your divorce.

How visitation schedules work in a divorce

When Georgia parents of young children get a divorce, they may need some sort of schedule for custody and visitation. This is necessary when one parent has primary custody and the other has visitation rights. If both parents share custody, they need a custody schedule.

A visitation schedule may be decided upon by parents or by a court. It may be difficult for parents to reach an agreement during the emotional upheaval of a divorce. Parents may also struggle to put together a visitation schedule if there is a complication such as one living some distance from the other. In these circumstances, the court will create one. This may be done while the divorce is in progress as parents are negotiating over longer-term child custody arrangements.

Parenting agreements after divorce

When parents in Georgia divorce or stop living together, they will have to make decisions about who will take responsibility for their children. In previous generations, these matters were referred to as custody and visitation rights, but in recent years, these arrangements have also come to be known as parenting agreements.

New understandings of child psychology have challenged the standard notions of what a child custody agreement should look like. Evidence shows that children generally benefit from sustained relationships with both parents. In many cases, parents are urged to work together to develop a flexible schedule of time with their children. Even in cases where one parent has primary custody, the noncustodial parent may still want to spend a significant amount of time with his or her child.

Custodial interference and the law

When Georgia parents divorce, they usually create a child custody agreement that details how much time the child will spend with each parent. If one parent violates it, this is known as custodial interference.

Not returning a child at the agreed-upon time or picking up a child at school when it is the other parent's turn are both examples of custodial interference. While in some cases parents might be able to resolve these issues between themselves, in other cases, a parent might want to go to court and even to law enforcement. Custodial interference is illegal, and a parent can go to jail for it. In order to stop it happening again, the other parent may request a change in the custody agreement such as supervised visitation for the parent who violated the agreement.

Properly dividing retirment plans in a divorce

Georgia couples who get a divorce should know that the different types of retirement accounts that they will have to divide each come with their own rules regarding how they should be divided. If the wrong procedure is used, divorcees may be saddled with very high taxes and penalties. The account holders may also unintentionally give their ex-spouses a larger portion of the retirement funds than to which they may be entitled.

People who may be entitled to a portion of their future ex-spouses' workplace retirement plans should complete a qualified domestic relations order. A QDRO is a legal document that is separate from a divorce decree, and it is required in order for individuals to legally obtain their share of the retirement funds whether it is from a traditional pension plan or a 401(k) plan.

Divorce and dividing retirement funds the right way

Georgia couples going through divorce should be sure to address the division of their retirement accounts in a careful manner. Certain types of retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, are subject to different rules than other types of pensions. Taking the wrong step when dividing such assets can result in high penalties, a large tax bill and problems regarding fund allocation.

One of the most disputed issues during a divorce is the division of money, according to a 2016 survey of the members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. While alimony was noted as the most contentious matter, pensions and retirement accounts were also high on the list.

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