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Stamford Family Law Blog

What makes for a fair and equitable property settlement?

As you prepare for your Connecticut divorce, one of the things you may be concerned about is how you and your spouse will divide up your marital assets between you. Given that Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, you and (s)he can divide your assets however you please in your property settlement agreement as long as the overall distribution constitutes a fair and equitable one.

But what constitutes “fair and equitable” when it comes to dividing the assets you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage? Surprisingly, the one thing “fair and equitable” does not mean is that the two of you must split up your property 50/50. While you certainly can divide your property this way, you do not need to do so if that would be unfair and inequitable to one of you.

Marriage and divorce rates changing nationwide

Divorce and marriage rates are shifting for many states throughout the country. For people in Connecticut, the marriage rate is one of the lowest in the country, while the divorce rate sits at just about the national average. While many people go into a marriage expecting it to last for the rest of their lives, over 1 million divorces are filed every year. Still, the divorce rate has been on the decline in the past few decades. While in 2000, 4 of every 1,000 Americans got a divorce, that number dropped to 2.9 per 1,000 by 2017.

One of the reasons why fewer people are deciding to divorce may simply be that fewer people are choosing to marry. In 2017, 6.9 Americans out of every 1,000 people got married, a decrease from 8.2 per 1,000 in 2000. Across the country, almost half of people aged 15 and up are married, marking 48.2 percent of this population. Almost 13 percent are divorced or separated without marrying another partner, and under 33 percent have never married at all.

Grey divorces demand legal attention

In Connecticut, grey divorce continues to attract older married couples. Today, 25 percent of married couples get grey divorces in comparison with the 1990s when only 10 percent of couples over the age of 50 got divorced. It is a traumatic experience to get a divorce after a lengthy marriage; both spouses can experience psychological problems caused by finances and strong emotional ties.

When a couple gets divorced, each spouse must find a new niche in life. Memories make grey divorces even more difficult. A common challenge experienced by couples getting a grey divorce involves finances. Whether the couple has concerns about Social Security benefits or savings accounts, grey divorces often lead to the dividing of pensions and retirement funds.

Property division in divorce and business ownership

A prenuptial agreement is one method that a Connecticut entrepreneur can use to protect a business in case of a divorce. One way of approaching a prenup is to think of it as making arrangements to divide properly fairly outside of the stressful atmosphere of a divorce. A prenup is not an effort to deny a spouse a fair share of assets but an opportunity for a couple to reach an agreement in a calm environment.

Establishing the business as sole property in the prenup may be the easiest solution since it means the process of valuation can be avoided, but some couples may feel this is not fair. A prenup can propose a range of solutions for ensuring that the spouse gets a share of the company's value. It can also address the issue of what happens if both spouses own the business. The options include keeping the business or one person selling it to the other. Married couples can cover these issues in a post-nuptial agreement.

Do you need a forensic accountant on your divorce team?

Every divorce is different. Just as every couple has different factors that ultimately contributed to the split, every couple also has its own matters to work through with regard to dividing up assets and debts.

In some cases, the process of asset division can prove relatively simple. If, for example, you and your former partner married young and split soon after, you may not have had time to amass shared possessions or otherwise intertwine your financial lives. In other scenarios, however, the process can prove far more convoluted. In such circumstances, divorcing parties are increasingly turning to forensic accountants to help them secure their fair share in the split. So, what types of matters may a forensic accountant help you work through, and when could it benefit you to add this kind of financial professional to your divorce team?

What to consider before getting a divorce

Each year, about two million couples in Connecticut and throughout the country get divorced. Therefore, it may be a good idea to plan for one happening even if it is something that people generally like to avoid. Preparing for a divorce ahead of time allows a person to determine if it is in their best interest to proceed with one. It can also help a person account for the time and money that need to be spent pursuing the end of a marriage.

Parents will need to determine how they will raise their children after their relationship ends. While the law generally prefers to see parents split custody evenly, this is not always the best plan. It is important to consider what life after the divorce will look like financially. Although it seems tempting to keep the marital home, it might not always be the best idea to do so.

How to parent after a divorce

Parents in Connecticut may have difficulty raising their children after a divorce. However, there are strategies that they can use to make the process easier. One tip is to focus less on creating an exact 50/50 split when it comes to time spent with the kids. Instead, parents should think of ways to create a convenient schedule that allows each ex to develop and maintain a relationship with the child.

A parent may feel lonely when his or her child is not around. Instead of wallowing, that person should take classes, catch up on sleep or otherwise learn to take advantage of quiet time. Those who have trouble communicating with their former spouse should think of that person like an annoying colleague. While the relationship may never be warm, it's important to work together for the benefit of the children. This mindset may encourage communication and help each ex get over their personal feelings when solving problems.

FAQs about divorce in Connecticut

Preparing for divorce is never easy. Whether it is amicable or contentious, and no matter who is initiating it, divorcing your spouse is confusing and stressful. You probably have a lot of questions about the process and legal details. 

Divorcing can be complex, but with the right help, you can navigate it successfully. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about divorce in Connecticut

The importance of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

As much as married couples in Connecticut may want to believe otherwise, a lot of marriages end in divorce. After all, feelings change, and as people grow older, they are liable to grow apart. As a result, plenty of couples would benefit from having a prenuptial agreement ironed out while they are both still in a good state of mind; the alternative is to wait till emotions are running hot during the divorce to make critical decisions.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who are about to get married that usually sets provisions for spousal support and details of asset division among other things in the event of a divorce. However, a prenup can also cover other matters such as what happens to the couple's liabilities and future inheritances. In the end, it is the prenup's function that matters more than anything: to help the couple have a healthy and honest conversation about their financials while there aren't any bad feelings festering.

Tips to creating an effective parenting plan

When Connecticut parents get divorced, both they and their children face a period of adjustment. The full ramifications of this should be taken into consideration when creating a parenting plan. Parents should consider that children have never had to live in separate households before. Therefore, it is important to be sensitive to the emotional as well as the logistical hurdles that they may encounter when creating a custody or visitation arrangement.

If the child is old enough, he or she may be able to provide input into how the arrangement is crafted. Hearing a child's concerns directly can make it easier for parents to take them into account. However, if the child is too young to articulate his or her needs or desires, the adults may need to do the best they can and make adjustments as necessary. Children who are in school may have activities that take place either throughout the year or on a seasonal basis.

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Law Office of Robert A. Skovgaard
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