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Stamford Family Law Blog

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.

Recognizing domestic abuse

Sometimes, it can be difficult for people in Connecticut to recognize the signs of domestic abuse because it begins slowly. Often there is verbal and emotional abuse before there is physical abuse. This might include include threats, criticisms and accusations of infidelity.

People may also be financially abused. An abuser may control a person's credit cards and refuse the person money for necessities. Abusers may cut a person off from friends and family. Sexual abuse can include coercion and refusal to use birth control. Physical abuse may include being locked out of the house, kicking or punching, or attacking someone with weapons. Abuse can happen to anyone, including to men and within the LGBTQ community. If the abuser is smaller physically than the victim, the latter might be targeted while sleeping or with a weapon.

Steps to take before pursuing divorce

Divorce is a tumultuous process. Compared to other states in the country, Connecticut actually has one of the lowest rates of divorce. In 2014, the state ranked number 37 in the country for divorce, and at that time, 10.6 percent of Connecticut's population had gone through the process. 

Deciding to pursue divorce is a big step. Going through the process hastily can lead to mistakes, and you need to make sure you protect yourself and your assets to the best of your ability. Here are some steps to take before going through with divorce wholeheartedly: 

More money, more problems for married couples?

There is a saying that money can't buy happiness, and any affluent person who has gone through a divorce would likely concur with that statement. Having a lot of money cannot insulate couples from relationship problems.

In fact, according to a recent report, having a lot of money could increase the chances that a couple will divorce.

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect divorce

People in Connecticut might be aware that at the end of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The changes this act makes to exemptions for children and to alimony payments means that divorce may end up being more expensive.

Under the new law, single parents who have a dependent in their home more than half the time and who pay more than half of the household expenses can claim a significant head of household deduction. The IRS has yet to issue guidance on whether the child tax credit, which the parent who takes the head of household deduction can also claim, will be tradeable. Parents can write a divorce agreement that includes the provision that this can be traded if allowed.

Reducing the psychological impact of divorce on children

Your children's experience during your divorce is likely to be vastly different from your own. You and your children's other parent need to ensure that your children receive the emotional and psychological support they need during the proceedings.

Children often feel grief, and it is common for them to lash out at the parents. Divorce is tough, but there are steps you and the other parent need to take to make sure your kids have support to get through this time all right.

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