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Rochester New York Family Law Blog

Co-parenting tips during the holidays

Although some areas of New York have seen the divorce rate decline, other areas have increased. For example, Staten Island saw a slight increase in divorces between 2015 and 2016.

If you and a former spouse have recently divorced, then you may wonder how the upcoming holidays will go. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, and there are some helpful tips you can follow to have a more amicable time with your children and your ex.

The importance of a prenup

One reason a New York fiancé may want to consider getting a prenup is to protect any assets that they have saved or inherited before they got married. The assets an individual owns before they get married will typically remain in their possession should they get a divorce. However, there are some exceptions. Substantial money can be saved if couples set aside time before their marriage to complete a prenup that will specify how their assets will be handled if a divorce occurs.

A prenup is also advisable when one partner earns more than the other. For an individual who is not making as much as their future spouse, having a completed prenup can help ensure that they will be financially secure after a divorce. The prenup can be used to dictate the type of alimony, how much will be paid and for how long.

3 reasons every divorce is different

If you are at the point in your marriage where you are considering divorce, it can be overwhelming to explore the options and think about the future. One of the biggest mistakes, though, is making assumptions about the process and following secondhand advice from friends and family. Divorce is not one-size-fits-all, and in fact, there are several factors that make every case different.

The following are three reasons no two divorces are the same. Whether you have been married for two years or 20, the unique factors affecting your separation will also impact how your divorce is negotiated.

Tips for a successful school year after divorce

Many parents who are contemplating divorce in New York have children minor children enrolled in school. One worry that many parents have is how their children will adjust to life after the marriage is over. There are several steps that parents can take to ensure that the upcoming school year is successful.

One consideration for parents is what they expect their children to learn outside the classroom. Having a meaningful discussion with children as well as the other parent to create a plan for the upcoming year about goals and a schedule for extracurricular activities can help reduce stress after divorce.

Why your friends are wrong about divorce

When it comes to getting a divorce, it seems as if everyone has an opinion or a personal experience to share. Although friends and family members want to provide you with help and assistance, often, their advice may actually be counterproductive.

The truth is that every divorce is unique, so you cannot and should not base your decisions or actions during your divorce on the advice and experience of your friends or family. Here are a few common misconceptions that your well-meaning friends might tell you about divorce:

New York divorces: Who keeps the dog?

The divorce rate in the United States has steadily declined over the last few decades. According to a report from the New York Daily Times, one possible explanation for this is that the current generation typically waits longer in life to marry.

In the event divorce does occur, there are numerous factors to settle. For people of all income levels, one aspect that has grown increasingly prevalent in the courtroom is who keeps the family pet. Naturally, courts view animals as different as children. A court is more prone to view a dog or cat as "property" and determine ownership accordingly.

When friends divorce, others may soon follow

People in New York who decide to divorce might be surprised to learn that marriage splits can be almost "contagious" among social groups. This is not necessarily because friends' marital struggles induce conflict in others' relationships. On the other hand, people with existing problems in their marriages may look at their friends' journeys as successful ways out of a difficult situation. By witnessing their friends' experiences, people might see divorce as more of a possibility for them and learn more about how the process works in practice.

One study conducted by researchers from Brown University, Harvard University and the University of California found that people are 75 percent more likely to divorce if they have a friend has already divorced. In addition, when friends of friends divorce, one's own likelihood of divorce goes up by a third. Researchers noted that seeing transformation in others' lives can prompt new thinking about one's own choices and their potential steps forward in the future. Some divorced people have also noted that a certain fear of this effect can drive partnered friends away from them while they are going through the end of a marriage.

Analysis is needed for financial effects of a divorce settlement

When divorcing, both parties are looking for the best deal possible. A near even split of marital assets is often sought, but what may seem to be an even split can also come with consequences. Individuals in New York and elsewhere should consider seeking professional advice before signing a settlement agreement.

Though some assets may appear even on their face, it is not always so. For example, when couples are close to retirement age, there will be a vast difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA beyond the present value. The traditional IRA payments will be taxed, and the Roth will not be. For those in a tax bracket of 20 percent or higher, the difference in net income can be substantial.

3 dangerous misconceptions about divorce

Though divorce rates are on the decline, it is still a common occurrence, and almost everybody knows somebody who has been divorced. If you and your spouse are considering separation, beware of the information you hear from friends, family and others eager to offer their two cents. All of these sources are liable to contribute to misconceptions that skew your perspective.

When misinformation impacts your decision about divorce, it can certainly become dangerous. It is important to consult with a reliable source when you are considering whether divorce is the right option for you and your family. In the meantime, be sure not to fall for these common misconceptions.

Dividing retirement funds in a divorce

Divorcing New Yorkers often find that ending a marriage can have an unexpectedly significant effect on retirement planning. Because retirement funds are often some of the largest assets held by a couple, the division of these savings can form a prominent part of any divorce settlement. After the divorce is over, both partners may have to dedicate themselves to saving in order to rebuild their retirement funds. The expenses that a retired singled person will face can be higher than those faced by a couple sharing one household.

It can be difficult to deal with the division of retirement accounts in a divorce, especially because the accounts are often held in one person's name. Other major assets, like a home or a bank account, are often owned jointly on paper as well as in practice. There are a number of ways in which divorcing couples can manage the distribution of these funds. When most of the couple's savings are held in one person's account, they could opt for a 50-50 division or some alternative. In other cases, each partner may keep only their own retirement funds.

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