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Stamford Family Law Blog

Reasons a child support order may be changed

In Connecticut and many other states, a child support order is based on the amount of money each parent makes. The financial needs of the child are also taken into consideration. For instance, the parent of a child who has special medical or educational needs may be expected to pay more each month. If necessary, a parent can ask for a reduction in the amount of financial support being provided to the child.

Such a request may be granted if there is a change in a parent's financial circumstances or if the child has reached adulthood. It is important to note that a judge is unlikely to alter a child support obligation retroactively. This means that any past due support will likely need to be paid as per the terms of a previous court order. Those who fail to pay child support as ordered could face significant penalties such as jail time or wage garnishment.

Easing family stress during the holidays after a divorce

For many families in Connecticut, the holidays naturally bring a certain amount of anticipation and stress. Emotions like these can be further amplified when divorce is part of the picture, especially when children are involved. The increased transfer of kids between homes also creates more opportunities for tensions to arise, but there are certain steps that may help both parents and children enjoy the holidays after a divorce.

After all legal matters have been settled after a divorce, the first step suggested is to focus on the children during the holidays. This means putting aside lingering bitterness and feelings of animosity. If the end of a marriage is fairly recent, achieving this goal may require support from friends or a therapist. This also means that one former spouse shouldn't punish the other one by restricting access to children. A more productive approach to holiday co-parenting is to have a clear plan in place that both parents can agree on.

How to parent in high-conflict situations after divorce

In general, divorced parents in Connecticut can choose between two child-raising structures -- parallel parenting and co-parenting. The former is the better option for parents in a high-conflict divorce. Research indicates that it is the conflict and not the divorce itself that is most difficult for children to deal with. The aim of parallel parenting is to reduce that conflict even when the parents do not get along. Parallel parents generally agree on major issues, such as religion and education, but they might have little direct communication.

On the other hand, communication is key for co-parents. To achieve this, they will need a detailed, highly structured schedule. Co-parents may also want to agree on alternate ways to share necessary information. This could involve sharing calendars or using email to exchange information.

Tax changes affect divorcing spouses

Some Connecticut spouses have been pushed to escalate their divorce timelines due to changes in tax law that are scheduled to go into effect with the new year in 2019. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, includes changes to the way that spousal support is treated when it comes to taxation. Divorce is always costly, especially for high-income families. When one spouse significantly outearns the other, spousal support is common at least for the period immediately following the separation. This is especially true in a long-term marriage or when one partner has been a stay-at-home parent.

For decades, spousal support has been tax deductible for the payer and taxable, like other income, for the recipient. For the divorced couple, this leads to an overall tax savings as taxes are paid at the lower-earning person's rate. The deduction can also be significant, depending on the amount paid each year. As a result of this tax system, payers have had an incentive to agree to generous spousal support provisions as part of divorce negotiations.

Child support collection in a gig economy

The gig economy has evolved over the last few years due to job market instability and the need for affected Americans to fill in the financial gaps. Gig economy jobs are sometimes called side jobs when the gig worker also has traditional employment.

Technology gives workers increased mobility and the means to find short-term contract work they can perform from any location. They can select temporary jobs from around the world through the internet.

Reasons to get a prenup

Many couples who get married in Connecticut believe that getting a prenup is for wealthy individuals. The reality is that more people than ever before are getting prenups for reasons besides wealth.

Almost everyone has assets that they wish to protect even if they are not rich or famous. A prenuptial agreement offers a person going into a marriage protection beyond what state laws provide in the event of a divorce. Even if it seems clear how property would be divided based on current laws, laws do change with time. Getting a prenup makes what happens in the event of divorce more predictable.

Making the right financial choices during divorce

Connecticut couples who are going through a divorce may be able to reduce the financial burden by avoiding some common mistakes. One of those mistakes is spending too much money. Making large purchases can feel comforting in the short term but less so after the bills are due and there is only one income to pay them.

Another mistake is not realizing that alimony will no longer be tax-payable or tax-deductible if the divorce is finalized after 2018. This may mean less money all around. However, people should not try to avoid paying alimony by quitting a job since this will cost even more over time.

Key aspects of child support modifications in Connecticut

It is a parent's privilege and duty to take care of a child. In the case of divorce, this may include an order of child support.

Whether a parent is paying or receiving support, sometimes modifications to child support payments may be necessary. There are a few key aspects to be aware of when dealing with such changes.

How parents help make divorce easier for the children

Parents of children who have gone through divorce play a pivotal role in making sure that they get through it in a healthy manner. Generally speaking, children in Connecticut and throughout the nation do better when parents focus on their needs in the immediate aftermath. One effective way to help a child after a divorce is to keep things predictable. By sticking to a consistent schedule, it can provide structure in what may otherwise be a volatile time.

It is also a good idea for parents to enforce the rules in both households. While parents may disagree in some cases, they should be able to create a set of overarching policies that the child adheres to.

Research links cohabitation with divorce risk

A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that cohabitation before marriage could increase a couple's chances of getting divorced. There has long been a dispute as to whether the premarital cohabitation effect is real. However, the study authors say that over a long enough period of time, it will have an impact on couples in Connecticut and elsewhere in the country.

The researchers contend that cohabitation before marriage likely decreases the risk of divorce in the first year. However, afterward, the risk of divorce increases for each additional year that the couple is married. One benefit to married couples not living together before marriage is that they have to cooperate to make their household work.

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