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Linda D. States

Sacramento Family Law

Divorce, single women and retirement

Going through a divorce can have a detrimental effect on one's finances. California residents who get a divorce are likely to need to divide their assets in half, support two households instead one for a period of time and still have to pay costly fees to their attorney. As a result, these individuals may find that they don't have enough financial assets to see them through retirement.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Retirement Research, households that have been through a divorce have a net financial wealth that is 30 percent lower than similar households that have not undergone a divorce. The results of the study also show that divorced individuals have a 5 percent greater chance of depleting their assets. However, these statistics do not seem to apply to single women.

Female breadwinners on the hook for spousal support

Female breadwinners in California are finding that spousal support may be their new reality when the dust settles from their divorce. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, 45 percent of lawyers had seen an increase in female breadwinners being held responsible for alimony over the past three years. An estimated 54 percent of lawyers saw an increase in mothers who were responsible for child support.

Where in the past it might have been the man responsible for paying spousal maintenance and child support, the times have changed. Women in high-paying positions are now seeing the roles reversed as more men take on child care and stay-at-home responsibilities. According to the Pew Research, 40 percent of U.S. families have female primary breadwinners. In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case that alimony could be the responsibility of either party, and this has affected high-earning women.

Can my ex move my kids out of state?

Just when you thought your post-divorce California life was settling into some kind of normalcy, your ex-spouse announced that (s)he just got a big promotion at work that means (s)he must move out of state. Naturally (s)he intends to take the kids with him or her. Now what?

The answer to that question depends on the following three factors:

  1. Which type of custody (s)he has
  2. Whether or not you object to the move
  3. Whether or not the two of you can come to a new agreement with regard to visitation

Negotiating children's college educations during divorce

Concerns of California parents about paying for their children's college education may grow if they get a divorce. Amid worries about child and spousal support, college savings might slip down the priority list, but with colleges costing an average of more than $20,000 per year for a state school and over twice that for a private school, it is likely that help will be needed.

Both children and parents might need to revise their plans. For example, a child may want to consider attending a state school instead of an expensive private one. Parents may want to look into what kind of loans, scholarships and grants might be available. Generally, a parent cannot be forced to pay for graduate school or a particularly expensive education. Divorce agreements that include plans to pay for child support usually limit the time period.

Wealthy children and prenuptial agreements

California residents who have substantial wealth may be concerned about what would happen to that wealth if their children get married and then divorced. The completion of a prenuptial agreement before a marriage can protect financial assets that are intended to remain in the family.

When approaching this subject with their adult children, parents should be aware that their children will be required to make a full disclosure of all the assets they own. In some cases, this may be the first time that the children have a complete understanding of the family's financial situation.

How to financially plan for a divorce

Taking steps to prepare financially for divorce even before it is underway may help some people in California through the process. For people who do not have an income or manage the family finances, some steps may be critical such as applying for an individual line of credit. This is something a person who has always shared joint accounts with a spouse may want to do before leaving the marriage.

People might also want to gather all financial documents and make copies of them. Later, if the divorce become acrimonious and these documents are in the spouse's control, it might become much more difficult to obtain them. People may also want to get copies of credit reports and correct any erroneous information before the divorce is underway. This can also be an opportunity to review joint accounts and ensure that a spouse is not misusing them. If the couple also shares a joint bank account, a person might want to open an individual one.

Child custody can be an abuser's weapon

When survivors of domestic abuse in California make the decision to divorce, child custody can be a particular concern. Because child custody rulings can essentially mandate ongoing communication between parents, it can also provide an opportunity for abusers to continue manipulative and violent behavior against their family members.

Some experts have indicated that many domestic abusers attempt to seek control of the situation by seeking child custody. These experts use the term "coercive control," which can include tactics such as emotional abuse, abuse of the legal process to harass a former partner, financial abuse and stalking. When abusers receive custodial rights, they might hurt or manipulate the child and attempt to alienate them from the other parent. In some cases, the abusive parent will constantly criticize or attack the ex in order to undermine their relationship with the child. In more severe cases, the abuser may threaten to physically harm the other parent.

Millennials considering prenups: what to include, leave out

If you are a millennial and getting married, chances are you approach the event very differently than your parents did. You may be more inclined to have a non-traditional registry, for example, or opt for digital RSVPs instead of paper.

You could also be more likely to have a prenuptial agreement, according to recent statistics. If you are considering this as an option, then you should know what you likely can and cannot protect with a valid prenup.

An overveiw of how to divide child custody

In child custody cases, it is not uncommon for a court to create a visitation schedule. This enables a parent in California or elsewhere to have a relationship with their children whether he or she is granted custody or not. As a general rule, parents are allowed to have a role in a son or daughter's life assuming that they are fit to do so.

A visitation schedule may still be created in the event that parents have joint custody over their kids. This can reduce the odds that parents fight or otherwise have disagreements that could impact the children. Such a calendar will have the dates and times at which a parent will be able to see his or her child. It will also have the location at which the visit may take place, and a judge can stipulate whether it is supervised in nature.

Dividing 401(k) funds properly during a divorce

There are multiple mistakes that California residents can make when dividing their 401(k) assets during a divorce. Unfortunately, oversights can result in high tax bills, excessive penalties and an unfair division of funds. To avoid making such mistakes, it is important that spouses are aware that the various types of retirement accounts are governed by different rules.

Workplace retirement plans, which include conventional pensions and 401(k) accounts, can only be divided through qualified domestic relations orders. Without a QDRO, an ex-spouse would not be able to legally access the portion of the funds to which they may be entitled.

Contact Me To Discuss Your Case Based in Sacramento, my solo practice allows me to give each client the personal attention and care they deserve. To schedule an appointment, call 916-426-9119 or fill out my online contact form.

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