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Stamford Family Law Blog

How to protect assets in a second or third marriage

It is becoming more common for individuals in Connecticut and elsewhere to get married more than once. According to Pew Research, roughly 66% of those between the ages of 55 and 64 who have been married in the past will get married again. Among all married couples, 40% have at least one person who is on a second or subsequent marriage. Those who are married for a second or third time may have a variety of financial issues to consider before the wedding takes place.

A lack of planning could result in money or assets intended for a biological child going to the surviving spouse instead. Money or assets could also be transferred to the surviving spouse's children against a person's wishes. Prior to getting married, an individual should create a prenuptial agreement to ensure that property goes where it should in the event of a death or divorce.

Tips to keep in mind when seeking child custody

When Connecticut parents end their marriage, it can be very important for both of them to preserve their relationship with their children. This can be even more imperative when one parent strongly believes that they can provide their kids with a better, more stable home as a primary parent or even if they want to share joint custody. In many cases, both parents can come to an agreement with shared time for both with the children. However, in other cases, families may head to court to sort out their disputes over child custody. There are several steps that people can take to show that they are a good choice for custody of their children.

It is important for parents who are seeking custody to work together, including participating in negotiations and mediation to reach a settlement. People have lost custody cases over their refusal to work with the other parent. In addition, people who want custody should be able to show that they have repeatedly and regularly exercised their rights to time with the children.

Tips for dealing with student loans in divorce

People who are divorcing may wonder how it will affect their student loan debt. If they went into the marriage with the debt, it will probably be considered individual property and the person who took it out will be responsible for it. However, if the student loan debt was acquired after marriage, what happens to it is less straightforward. In Connecticut, an equitable distribution state, a court will look at several factors to decide whether student loan debt is shared property and how it will be divided.

A debt is more likely to be considered the sole responsibility of the student who took it out if the student used it all on tuition and other school-related expenses than if the couple used the loan for living expenses. A court may be less likely to hold a spouse responsible for the debt if the spouse was very supportive while the student was attending school. The earning power of both spouses may also be a factor in determining responsibility, particularly if a lower-earning spouse put a career on hold to support the spouse in school.

What happens to home equity when you divorce?

When you split from your spouse in Connecticut, you will need to sort your way through a number of important matters, from how you will divide valuable assets to how you plan to share custody of your child or children, if applicable. When it comes to dividing your assets, your most valuable shared asset may well be your home, and you will generally have three different options when it comes to dividing up its equity.

Before you can decide which option best suits your needs, though, you will need to determine exactly how much equity you have in the home in the first place. To do so, you will need to determine its value and then subtract the amount you still owe on your mortgage from its current value. Once you both agree on the amount of equity you have of your home, you can move forward with one of three options.

Co-parenting pitfalls in the teen years

Raising teenagers can be tough in any circumstances, but for Connecticut parents who are divorced, there can be extra challenges. If the parents have been navigating tough co-parenting situations for years, this might seem like the time they can relax a little, but this is the wrong move. Teens need a different kind of guidance compared to younger children, but they still need some.

The parents' instincts to be more flexible is not a bad one. It is important to not be rigid about the parenting schedule as teens become more independent and have more friends, activities, and obligations. However, giving teens more space should not mean failing to keep up with their friends or what they are doing. Too often, each divorced parent will assume the other has taken on this role, and because they are no longer talking as much, they do not realize that this is not the case. Teens left largely to their own devices may be irresponsible with their freedom. Parents should still make an effort to get to know their teens' friends and to communicate with one another about their children.

When student loan debt results in divorce

Money problems often lead couples to divorce in Connecticut. In particular, student loan debt is stressful for younger couples. According to Student Loan Hero, roughly 33% of debtors said their divorce happened because of money disagreements, and student loans were responsible in one out of eight cases.

The size of student loans has skyrocketed in the last decade. Three times more people have more than $50,000 in student loan debt compared to 10 years ago. Over the same time, the average balance has risen more than 60% to over $34,000. A couple saddled with these types of debts may be unable to purchase a home or pay for a wedding.

Insurance needs could change after a divorce

When a couple's marriage is ending, both spouses might be covered by a single health insurance plan. A couple in Connecticut may also have purchased a life insurance policy prior to the divorce. It is important to review these policies and how they may change after a marriage comes to an end. In some cases, a life insurance policy may be considered a marital asset depending on when it was purchased.

Life or disability coverage may also be worth purchasing during the divorce process itself, and it can be especially important for those who will receive spousal support. It can make sure that a recipient is paid even if the payer dies or is too hurt to work. Typically, the recipient will make premium payments as it gives that individual more control over the policy after the marriage ends.

Cooperative parenting isn't always an option

Ideally, parents are able to work together to raise their children. However, there are circumstances in which a parent in Connecticut or another state may need to protect their child from the other parent. This may be true in the event that a parent has threatened another family member whether it is an adult or a child. Parents may also not be able to work together to raise a child if one of them is currently in jail or prison.

In some cases, one parent may try to make the other look foolish or otherwise unfit to raise a child. This is referred to as parental alienation, and it can have a negative impact on both a parent and a child. In such a scenario, a parent may expect a child to favor him or her at all times, which can put a young person in an awkward situation.

These factors may indicate a divorce is inevitable

Connecticut couples who are in committed relationships may truly care for their partners. However, there is no guarantee that their relationships will last forever regardless of their intentions. One problem that could spell the end of a union could be the fact that an individual invalidates the emotions of his or her partner. In some cases, this is not done intentionally, but it can have the same impact on the person who has experienced this.

Another sign that a relationship could end is that one or both parties to the relationship have unresolved trauma. These issues could involve infidelity or anything else that was a problem in past relationships. Lies about money could cause trust issues between romantic partners that they cannot get past. It is important for couples to have common ground when it comes to their finances if they want to be in a strong relationship.

Divorce and your child's college tuition

Forming a divorce agreement has mostly to do with what you and your spouse want, but there are also some requirements the court may order if it does not feel that personal agreement does not go far enough. Education is one of those areas.

Generally speaking, Connecticut courts will order child support for your kids until they complete 12th grade or until their 19th birthdays. There are also some other provisions in this law that concern disabled or married children.

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Law Office of Robert A. Skovgaard
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Stamford, CT 06905

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