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Divorce and Your Money - #1 Divorce Podcast

Visit us at www.DivorceAndYourMoney.com Divorce and Your Money is your guide to avoiding costly mistakes during divorce. Shawn Leamon, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and MBA, wants to help you learn the fundamentals of how to get a divorce. Whether you are looking for an uncontested divorce, a do it yourself divorce, or an online divorce, resources are available to offer guidance. Through his divorce podcast and divorce blog, Shawn offers his professional opinion on the best ways to handle the end of your marriage. He covers topics including how to file for divorce, divorcing a narcissist, and finding the best divorce attorney. Even tricky subjects such as a “what is a QDRO?” and “is alimony taxable?” are tackled through these venues. If you need to know what the first steps are or what you should do to head to trial during litigation, you can find resources to give you a step-by-step guide to what comes next. Think of his advice as an alternative to divorce support groups where you can find exactly what you need when you need it. He offers one-on-one divorce coaching to give you a solid grasp on the decisions that are bound to affect your financial future. Before you have a divorce decree in hand, you will likely go through some type of divorce mediation. For any spouse saying, “I want a divorce,” you need to make sure that you are getting the financial future you are entitled to. Do not allow yourself to be blinded by the emotional, legal, and financial burden that divorce can become. Instead, take control of your situation with sage wisdom to help all individuals make better financial decisions for their independent future. If you find yourself asking “where are the best divorce lawyers near me?”, Shawn can help you to recognize the best of the best. Whether you need a divorce in Texas, a divorce in Florida, or a divorce in New York, you will have all the knowledge you need to find the best team of professionals to assist you. You can start from a place of being legally separated or once you have already started to file for divorce using free divorce papers or an attorney. No matter where you or your marriage may be in the process, Shawn Leamon has professional advice to offer your unique situation. A simple no fault divorce or a high-stakes power struggle are all areas he has vast experience with during his work outside of Divorce and Your Money. Let his advice be a guide to help you get all that you need for a secure financial future in your divorce records. It will not make a difference whether you are getting a divorce in Ohio or a divorce in California if you are following the basic principles set out through Divorce and Your Money’s divorce blog, divorce podcast, and divorce coaching.
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Now displaying: September, 2017
Sep 27, 2017
“How much is my divorce going to cost?” 
 
This is one of the biggest questions people wonder about when going through a divorce. In this episode, we’ll talk about four factors that will affect the cost, some of which are out of your control.
 
  1. What you do during the process
  2. What your ex-spouse does during the process
  3. What your ex-spouse’s attorney does
  4. What the court does
 
You have control over your responses and decisions in the divorce process. If you are asked to complete a financial affidavit or if you are questioned in an interrogatory, you are responsible for answering truthfully. If you’re thinking about a settlement, you have to decide what issues are worth fighting for and what issues are worth letting go. This will have a significant impact on the cost of your divorce. Sometimes the smaller issues are worth letting go when you consider the big picture.
 
This is something that you cannot control, but it will certainly affect the cost of your divorce. You may find that your ex-spouse is not truthful or forthcoming during the divorce process. They may omit certain facts, or they may outright lie about what happened in the marriage or their finances. You will have to follow up on those issues, and may even need to hire additional experts like forensic accountants or private investigators. If this is the case, your divorce process will be longer and more expensive.
 
Earlier episodes of the podcast have discussed choosing an attorney, and why you should avoid an aggressive attorney. However, what if your spouse chooses to go that route? Aggressive attorneys lead to more unnecessary conflict, which adds to the expense of the divorce. If both your spouse and their attorney are disagreeable, you will have to spend time and money to deal with the additional conflict they create, even if you are ultimately in the right.
 
Courts are tricky. Every court has different rules and procedures. For example, in Dallas, there are three counties within twenty miles. Each county’s courts have different procedures. If the court needs a status update on your case, one county might just ask for an email, while another requires your attorney to come to the court in person to provide a written and verbal update. Your attorney still has to draft the letter, but now they also need to take the time to go to the court and speak with the judge. This will impact your legal fees as you are paying for your attorney’s time.
 
You will only have control over yourself. Unfortunately, you don’t have control over your ex-spouse, their attorney or the courts. However, you can make the best decisions possible for you given the circumstances. Focus on yourself, and making the best decisions possible with the information you have.
 
Before you go, visit divorceandyourmoney.com:
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
 
Thank you for listening!
Sep 20, 2017
This episode will cover the options you have if you own a business with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Under normal circumstances, businesses are very complicated. When you are getting divorced, it is even harder. Because this is such a complicated topic, this episode will not be able to go in-depth, but we will cover the options that you have for dealing with your business in a divorce:
 
  1. One spouse buys out the other.
  2. Both spouses continue to work in the business together.
  3. Walk away from the business entirely.
 
This is one of the most common options in the divorce world. One person retains ownership in the business, and the other no longer has any ownership, but they receive money for the value of their share. For example, let’s say you and your spouse co-own a gym, and your spouse wants to buy you out. How will that work? In a perfect world, you know the value of the gym, and you know the value of your shares. If the gym is worth $100,000, and you own half, your spouse will write you a check for $50,000. What happens if your spouse isn’t able to pay you $50,000 right now? It will become more complicated. 
 
They may offer to pay you $10,000 a year for the next five years. In that case, you may want to factor interest into the equation. You could also consider taking a portion of the profits each year. You may also be able to pull that $50,000 from another asset, like a retirement plan. There are options for how you structure a buyout. However, with most buyouts, it is difficult to determine exactly what the business is worth. There are experts who value businesses, but it is a somewhat subjective process.
 
This is not a very practical option. It can be difficult to continue to work with your ex-spouse. You may have to be around their new boyfriend or girlfriend. When work-related problems arise, the history that you have with them can amplify the conflict. This option is very difficult to execute, although people do sometimes attempt it.
 
You could sell the business or simply close up shop. There are a number of reasons to consider this option. If it is unfeasible to continue running the business, you may want to walk away. Owning a business can be a burden, and sometimes it is simpler to sell the business or close it.
 
What you decide will depend on what is best for you. Businesses are very complex. There are also legal considerations – is it an LLC, a C-Corp, an S-Corp? Who are the shareholders? What does your operating agreement say? What if investors or employees own part of the company? These are complicating factors that you will have to consider. You will need to understand the various considerations: taxes, employees, investors, etc. Make sure you handle all of these issues as cleanly as possible.
 
Before you go, visit divorceandyourmoney.com:
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
 
Thank you for listening!
Sep 14, 2017
In an ideal world, it would take a minimal amount of time to go through a divorce. Unfortunately, in the real world, divorce is a slow process. Courts are packed, attorneys are slow, and the process often takes a year or two. However, it is possible to drag it out even longer, particularly if your spouse uses delay tactics. It can make your divorce more expensive and puts you in a much worse financial position. If your spouse is out to punish you, they can do so by dragging out the divorce.
 
This episode is about some tricks that your spouse may use to delay your divorce. Also listen to episode 147, where we discussed ways to combat some of these tricks.
 
Be prepared if your spouse uses any of these tactics against you:
  1. Your spouse fails to respond to discovery.
  2. Your spouse changes lawyers.
  3. Your spouse does not communicate at all.
  4. Your spouse brings needless motions.
 
Discovery is one of the most important parts of the divorce process. It is important to understand what each spouse’s financial picture looks like. In a perfect world, both parties would be forthcoming, share their financial information, and be truthful. Unfortunately, your spouse might refuse to share information, delaying the process. They might not complete essential information. They may even lie. If several months have gone by and you still do not know what your spouse’s finances look like, it becomes a real problem. If this happens to you, you can force your spouse to react with a motion to compel.
 
Your spouse has the right to be represented by an attorney of their choosing. However, they may fire their attorney right before important court dates, delaying the hearing. It may take a month or more to get a new hearing. On top of that, the new attorney’s fees may come out of marital funds, so it may cost you money.
 
When your spouse is non-responsive, it slows down the whole process. They may even leave the state or the country. This can be dealt with through the courts.
 
This comes up with aggressive attorneys. It can be very frustrating to be on the receiving end of these motions. It drives up the cost of the divorce and adds unnecessary conflict. They may request continual extensions to drag the process out as long as they can.
 
Tactics like these can make divorce slower and nastier than it needs to be. By keeping a clear head, regardless of what your spouse is doing, you can make the decisions that will be best for you. Eventually this process will be over, so all you can do is control your reactions to end up in the best place possible.
 
Before you go, visit divorceandyourmoney.com:
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
 
Thank you for listening!
Sep 12, 2017

Why You Need a Prenuptial Agreement

You have met the person of your dreams, and you know that they are the one for you. However, now that you are getting married, all of your friends have told you that you might want to look into a prenuptial agreement before saying “I do.” The problem is that you are just not sure if you need one. After all, prenuptial agreements are only for the rich and famous, correct?

The truth is that prenuptial agreements are designed for everyone; not just those with money. In this article, you will learn exactly what a prenuptial agreement is, how they are used, and how they can be beneficial to you.

What is a Prenup?

Prenuptial agreements (also known as prenups or premarital agreements) are legal agreements that are designed to be prepared before you get married. A prenup basically outlines what property each person in the relationship financially gains, should the marriage end in a divorce.

Many people feel that if they do a prenup, they are telling the world that the marriage is not going to work. However, that could not be further from the truth.

Think of it this way: When you get insurance on your car, are you saying that you are inevitably going to get into an accident? No. You get the insurance to protect you in case an accident does happen.

Use this same rationale about getting a prenup. If the marriage ends, then the prenup will outline what you will walk away with. Or if you have assets going into the marriage, it will outline what is protected, and what your spouse will get. It is protection for you both.

What Can Be Included in a Prenup?

Each person will generally come into the marriage with their own belongings (separate property). Then there are those belongings that you accumulate while you are married (community property). Legally differentiating these kinds of property can make it easier on both of you, should the marriage not work out. In most cases, it saves arguments over many assets.

In addition, if you had a lot of assets coming into the marriage, a prenup is a great way to protect those assets. After all, you worked hard for those assets before your future spouse came along.

A prenup is also a great way to protect yourself if your partner has less-than-ideal credit, and a lot of debt coming into the marriage. Your prenup can state that your spouse assumes all responsibility and liability for any debts coming into the marriage. This way, creditors cannot come after you or seize your separate property. Again, it is like an insurance policy.

When it comes to your property, you do not want the state assuming control over determining who gets what, especially if you have separate assets. Therefore, use your prenup to put the power in your hands by stating ahead of time what each person will walk away from the marriage with.

Prenups are also a great way to list the expectations of each other during the marriage. So you can list whether one spouse will pay for the education of another, how much of a spending limit or allowance each person will get, and how access to bank accounts will be handled. If you have businesses coming into the marriage, then a prenup can be used to outline the separation and liability of those businesses.

What Cannot Be Included in a Prenup?

Now that you know some of the things that a prenup can do, let us talk about some of the things that cannot be included in this type of agreement.

Prenuptial agreements cannot dictate child-support amounts. Remember, child support is there to protect and provide for the child. The court is going to work in that child’s best interests, so they will determine what amount of child support, if any, will be received.

When it comes to alimony, most states will not allow a person to waive their right to alimony. Therefore, you will want to check your state’s guidelines, but generally, this waiver cannot be included in a prenup. In addition, prenups are a legal document, so they cannot contain anything that can be construed as illegal. In most cases, doing so would void out the prenup. Also, prenups cannot encourage someone to get a divorce.

In addition, prenups cannot be used to list things for your own personal gain, such as dictating if and when a child will be brought into the marriage, and who is responsible for taking care of that child. For instance, a prenup cannot be used to turn your spouse into your own personal housekeeper.

Remember, a prenup is designed to protect your assets; it is not meant to be used for personal gain.

Do Prenups Actually Work?

The answer is a resounding yes! The key to making any prenup effective is to make sure that you are clear and detailed when writing it. If the prenup is not clearly written and difficult to understand, then it can leave lots of room for interpretation, which is not something you want.

It should clearly outline what each person’s responsibilities and liabilities are regarding financial and property assets (before and during the marriage). Sure, things will change in the relationship over time, and there may be assets that were unpredicted when the prenup was written.

The key is to protect what you are coming into the marriage with, as well as outline the basic responsibilities of money and property in the marriage. Everything else can be handled by your divorce attorney, should that time come.

Can you afford to let the court decide if your spouse gets the house that you paid for before the marriage? What about half of the nest egg that you built up before the marriage, should it all end in a divorce?

Protect yourself, and get a prenup.

Sep 12, 2017

Filing your taxes at the end of the year is an arduous process, even under the best of circumstances. Most taxpayers are filled with trepidation at the very idea of filling out the proper forms, tallying up their total income, then having it reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service. However, the process is made even more complicated by unique circumstances (for instance, if you choose to include your child support as income. Since this form of income plays a large role in your finances, how do you plan to file?

If you are not sure whether your child support is taxable, it is time to begin sorting through the finer details required by the government during tax season. We will take a closer look at three important points that will leave you feeling more confident next tax season.

Child support is based on your income level.

When determining the appropriate level of child support, judges will often base the number on the income of the parents. While specific formulas and calculations vary from state to state, this general rule of thumb will predict the amount of child support you could receive. The income of both parents will typically be taken into account.

Because child support is usually based on your current income levels, it makes sense that many individuals and families believe that it is considered taxable income, but that is actually not the case.

Child support is not considered taxable income.

Child support is not actually factored into your gross income, and should not be added to the rest of the funds you earned that year while filing taxes with the IRS. If you know that your child support should not affect the levels of taxation at the end of the year, it gives you a little more financial security in the present moment, which allows you to more effectively plan and budget your child-support check each month. You should know exactly what the final number will be without having to account for a portion of it being owed to the federal government.

If you are the spouse who is ordered to pay child support, you should know that you will have no significant advantage. Child support is not considered a tax deduction for the party ordered to pay it. Therefore, you cannot deduct the overall amount of the payments from your taxable income when reporting your annual taxes to the IRS. You are required to report your income, including the entire money you paid out for child support to the federal government each year.

Paying child support does not entitle you to claim children as dependents.

Usually, the custodial parent has the right to claim children as dependents, as long as all of the tests from the IRS claiming exemptions are met. In order for the parent who pays the child support to claim them as dependents, additional steps must be followed. If you issue a check to help financially provide for them each month, it does not necessarily grant you the automatic ability to claim that tax credit.

In order for the noncustodial parent to claim children as dependents, they must file a Form 8332, which allows the custodial parent to release their rights to claim them as dependents on that year’s tax return. This form is known as a Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent. Bear in mind that you must have a separate form for each child that you plan to claim as a dependent that year.

The custodial parent can also complete this form for a set number of years into the future. If you do so now, you can prevent hassles and headaches during each tax season. If the plan changes in the future, the custodial parent can also revoke the release of the claim to be an exemption—with a new form for each child.

Prepare for tax season early.

Filing your taxes when you receive child support does not have to be an arduous, time-consuming, and frustrating process, as many may be led to believe. It helps to plan early and know what your rights are, learn the proper process for filing your taxes to claim dependents, and accurately report your income.

If you have any questions regarding the finer details of filing your taxes following divorce, consider hiring a tax accountant to assist you. Search for a professional who is well-versed in handling situations that financially mirror your own. A good tax accountant can help you efficiently and correctly  complete your taxes, which will take away some of the pressure and burden that this time of year can bring about.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

Sep 12, 2017

Vocabulary is a significant part of the divorce process, and knowing what various terms mean can make a huge difference in your progress towards finalizing your divorce. Filing on the grounds of irreconcilable differences seems to be growing in popularity. If your attorney recommends this claim, do you know what it actually means?

Find out if filing for divorce based on irreconcilable differences is the right choice for you and your spouse by understanding the basics of these principles.

Irreconcilable differences means that your marriage cannot be saved.

Every marriage consists of two spouses, each of whom have their own unique habits, opinions, personalities, upbringings, all of which contribute to who they are as individual people. Those items not only contribute to their personality and character, but also can also add up to the breakdown of a marriage. Both spouses could be equally at fault for the end of the marriage in terms of dysfunctional communication.

Common issues that can lead to bigger struggles within the marriage and ultimately lead to irreconcilable differences include parenting, religion, money management, relationships with extended family members, and other day-to-day items. Irreconcilable differences means that the details of a successful, healthy future cannot be worked out between spouses, even with a serious attempt to do so, such as counseling or therapy.

Unfortunately, both spouses do not necessarily need to be on the same page regarding the likelihood of salvaging the relationship. Even if you feel like your marriage is unsustainable based on the issues you are both experiencing, your spouse does not need to agree with you in order to file for divorce due to irreconcilable differences. (This caveat may vary depending on state laws in your area.)

Irreconcilable differences means that no one is at fault.

Filing this status means that your marriage will end in a no-fault divorce, placing equal responsibility for the dissolution of your union on both spouses. Unlike other options for filing for divorce, irreconcilable differences does not place the blame solely on one spouse, or label them as being at fault for the breakup. A fault divorce can be far more difficult and time-consuming than a no-fault divorce, which means that filing with irreconcilable differences can often lead to faster divorce times, depending on your state’s laws.

A faster divorce has more than just the benefit of saving precious time when it comes to moving on with a newly single life. Particularly on behalf of a spouse who was wronged, it can save a significant amount of money on your attorney’s fees. A no-fault divorce allows attorneys to avoid the hefty time investment associated with carrying the burden of proof for whatever underlying reason ultimately contributed to the split, even if the cause was adultery or abuse.

State laws regarding irreconcilable differences will vary.

Keep in mind that each state has its own laws and could possibly even have different terminology for a divorce filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Some states may refer to it simply as a no-fault divorce. Other states may offer irreconcilable differences as the only option for filling for divorce, therefore not allowing one spouse to place blame on the other, regardless of the specific circumstances.

Laws surrounding separation when filing for irreconcilable differences may vary as well. In many cases, these types of divorces can be completed quicker than others, so there will be different separation periods based on state laws before a couple can pursue finalization. While some states offer very quick turnaround times, others require lengthier waits before the courts will accept and finalize your divorce.

In many states, splitting up your assets will not be affected by whether you file for a fault or a no-fault divorce. They are typically divvied up according to the typical standards set for your area and the agreement or negotiation between the two of you, regardless of how you choose to file for your divorce. However, filing for a no-fault divorce (as opposed to a fault divorce) could affect items such as custody, alimony, and child support.

Understand the definition.

In short, filing for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences means that you or your spouse does not believe that the marriage can be salvaged in a way that will result in a successful future together. The implications of filing for divorce based on irreconcilable differences can be far-reaching, including the potential for a faster, less costly divorce process. Be sure to understand all of the state laws for your area before deciding how to file for divorce. This decision could have long-term repercussions for your future, so be certain to do all of the necessary research in advance.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

Sep 12, 2017

Goalsetting is a critical component of having a successful divorce. Setting appropriate goals, even in the middle of your divorce, helps you identify where you are, versus where you would like to be. It gives you an excellent means to realistically evaluate both your present and future, and take the first few steps (be they hesitant or enthusiastic) towards your own success.

How do you go about setting the divorce goals that will lead you toward a successful future as a single individual? Every decision you make regarding your divorce should be made with your goals in mind. As such, it is important to ensure that you know the best guidelines for setting realistic goals for yourself. The following three guidelines will give the building blocks for setting the best goals for your own future.

1. Decide what you want out of life.

Do not allow yourself to get swept up in the minutiae of daily responsibilities, or get to the finish line as quickly as possible. Instead, keep your mind focused on what you want your future to actually look like. While it may seem nearly impossible in the midst of your emotional turmoil, take time to step back from the stress and envision your ideal future.

You should consider each aspect of your life, and take time to consider these kinds of questions:

  • What type of custody arrangement do you want with your spouse?
  • What type of financial supports or arrangements will you need to make, in order to achieve a comfortable lifestyle for yourself and your children?  
  • How much of your joint debt can you afford to assume? How much are you willing to help pay as the future moves forward?
  • What will retirement and investment savings look like as a newly single individual?
     
    Ultimately, you want to consider the real question at hand as you set goals for yourself: If you could live your life in any way that you choose, what would it look like in light of your pending divorce? Deciding what is important to you now can help you begin crafting that life on your own.

2. Create actionable steps for your goals.

Once you decide exactly what you are hoping to achieve, it is time to start putting actual steps in place to reach success. Select a few actionable steps that would allow you to measure progress towards your goals. They could be relatively simple things, or long-term plans broken into several steps. They could be things such as obtaining a job or a better-paying position, setting a stricter budget, reevaluating your retirement savings, or doing something fun with your children over the weekend. Putting a few steps in place (no matter how basic they may seem) gives you the ability to work toward your goals without feeling defeated during the process.

Experts recommend making goals using the SMART acronym; each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Each step that you put in place should correspond to all five of those categories in order to move you that much closer to your overarching goal for long-term success and stability.

In particular, consider setting a deadline on your specific goals, which will force you to act on your progress within a set period of time. This plan is designed to motivate you to achieve progress faster than you may otherwise be able to.

3. Have some flexibility in your goals.

Understand that sometimes things do not work out the way you plan for them to. Be willing to maintain some flexibility within your plan if things go amiss. Many individuals will want to set a few overarching goals that they would like to achieve within their divorce, and acknowledge that there may be multiple ways to achieve the same outcome. The goals may look different in your day-to-day life than you imagined, so your flexibility can come into play.

You may also want to be flexible about the fact that the goals and steps you set for yourself and your family could be more time-consuming than you originally anticipated. Therefore, be patient with the process while you continue to set measurable, attainable steps toward the goals you set for yourself.

Summary

Setting goals for yourself is crucial to helping you determine which decisions within your divorce are in your best interests for the future. Each decision you and your spouse make regarding your split will have some repercussions for your future as an individual. Your goals can help keep you focus on the bigger picture, instead of getting caught up in the details.

Keep an open mind in both your approach to each goal and the results that you achieve along the way. You may find that your goals shift as you get further into the divorce process and begin to get a better outlook at what single life will look like for you. Revising goals that no longer serve you well is acceptable, and you will want to be flexible and open to this possibility.

Goalsetting can certainly be a stressful process, which forces you to consider where you currently are, compared to where you would like to be. However, with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals in place, you can move toward your future in confidence, apart from your spouse.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

Sep 12, 2017
This episode will cover five easily-avoidable mistakes you may make during a divorce.
 
  1. Do not get divorced without getting legal advice.
  2. Do not fail to verify budgets and statements of net worth.
  3. Do not assume your attorney will take care of everything.
  4. Do not try to get through the divorce without a support system.
  5. Do not assume you can change your divorce settlement later.
 
A lot of people think they can do a divorce themselves. Even if you are savvy, and your spouse is reasonable, you should still consult a lawyer. You may be able to hammer out 95% of the details on your own, but you want to make sure that you aren’t missing any steps. It can save a lot of time and headache later on.
 
This goes for both you and your spouse. You cannot guess on your personal statement of net worth or financial affidavit. Find exact, verifiable numbers. If you are incorrect, you could be accused of intentionally misrepresenting your finances, which can damage your credibility. Conversely, if your spouse is manipulating numbers, you will want to address it.
 
You are in charge of your divorce. It’s your life and your future. Your attorney is there to help you with the legal aspects of your divorce: navigating your local laws and formalizing a legal agreement. They are not there to review your financial information or calculate your budget – a certified divorce financial analyst can help you with those things. Your attorney is instrumental to the process, but you are ultimately in charge.
 
One of the biggest issues in divorce is the emotional component. You should have a support system so that you don’t go through it alone. That may mean finding a therapist, going to a support group, or confiding in close friends. Do not try to keep your emotions bottled up, because they may affect decisions you make during the divorce that will impact the rest of your life.
 
Many people think they can make changes later on, but that is not the case. There are limited circumstances where you can re-open certain issues, but it will always be an uphill battle to do so. The legal fees will be expensive, and it will also re-open emotional issues. Make sure that your settlement is right the first time. Sometimes it is helpful to have an outside opinion to review your case before you settle to make sure you are getting a fair deal.
 
Avoiding these mistakes will put you in a strong position to be successful for your life after divorce.
 
Before you go, visit divorceandyourmoney.com:
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
 
Thank you for listening!
Sep 7, 2017
This episode of the Divorce and Your Money Show is about child support. This one of the most essential issues of divorce when children are involved. We will answer some basic questions about child support in this episode.
 
What is child support? 
It is a mandatory payment that occurs during divorce whenever there are minor children present (under the age of 18 or 21, depending upon your state). Child support lasts until the child is an adult. The only exceptions are some children with disabilities who require support into adulthood. From a tax perspective, child support is not taxable income to the person receiving it, and is not tax-deductible for the person paying it. This differs from spousal support – the person who receives spousal support pays taxes, and the person paying it receives a tax deduction.
 
Who gets child support? 
The parent who has primary custody of the children receives child support. In the case of 50/50 child custody arrangements, there is usually one parent who is considered the guardian or custodial parent. The guardian still receives some child support in 50/50 custody arrangements, albeit less than if they had primary custody.
 
Why does child support exist? 
Child support laws were made to ensure that children grow up with all of their needs taken care, hopefully living a similar lifestyle to what they were before the divorce. These laws were created when our society was different – men were the primary income-earners, and women stayed at home and raised the children. If a couple divorced, the woman was often left to raise the children alone, with little job skills to support her family. Before these laws existed, the husband could run off and not be required to pay anything, leaving his children in poverty. These laws exist to ensure children are taken care of.
 
How is child support calculated? 
Every state has specific rules on child support, so you can search online for your state + “child support calculator.” In general, the calculation depends on the spouses’ income levels, how many children there are, and sometimes other factors. These calculations usually don’t allow much leeway, except at high income levels. The laws may dictate a certain percentage of earnings be paid up until a certain income level, say $200,000. If your income exceeds that limit, your child support will be determined either in negotiations with your spouse or before a judge. However, for most people, the guidelines will be pretty firm and you have to abide by those calculations. It isn’t an area that you should fight over, because it’s not going to be flexible.
 
How is child support paid? 
Usually, child support is paid directly from one spouse to the other on a monthly basis. Some people choose to go through an intermediary. If you don’t pay your child support, your employer may garnish your wages. Likewise, if your ex-spouse is not making child support payments, you can file a claim with their employer to garnish their wages.
 
What if you are concerned your child support payments aren’t being used for the children? 
Sometimes, the ex-spouse treats child support like free money that they can use for whatever they want. If this is the case, consult your attorney. There are remedies to ensure child support is being used for the kids. If you receive child support, make sure that full amount goes towards the children’s food, clothes, schooling, etc. Document all of your child support expenses so that if someone were to ask at any point in the future, you could show how much you spent, and on what, in a given month. It can come back on you later if you aren’t clearly documenting everything.
 
This is an important topic if you have minor children when you get divorced. Make sure you know the basics of child support in your state and what to expect.
 
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Sep 6, 2017
This episode of the Divorce and Your Money Show discusses the reasons to consider selling your house when getting divorced. Many people come into the divorce process with strong preferences on this issue because they have an emotional attachment to their house. This episode will help you consider all sides of the issue. It’s a good idea to think about the financial side, because your house is one of your biggest assets. Here are four reasons to consider not keeping the house.
  1. The house is a burden.
  2. Refinancing is complicated.
  3. Homes are expensive to maintain.
  4. You may end up worse off than you would have if you sold the house.
After divorce, your income as a single person will be lower than it was as a couple, but your expenses will be similar. Given this reality, can you really afford to keep the house? A larger percentage of your income will be going towards your home payment. If your home payment is very low or you live very frugally, it may be possible, but for the vast majority of people, it is not a good situation to be in. It may not be financially feasible for you to stay.  
 
If you have two names on the mortgage, it is difficult to take one person’s name off. From the lender’s perspective, they will want both people to be liable to make sure that payments continue to be made. Since your income will now be lower, it will be hard to obtain refinancing.
 
A home is more than just a mortgage. There are property taxes, utilities, maintenance, general upkeep, repairs, etc. Are you able to afford all of the expenses?
 
Sometimes, people want to keep the house to give their kids stability. However, if you are struggling to make payments, will your kids really be better off? Selling the house and downgrading can afford you more financial stability and flexibility. If your home is taking away from your income, it can put you in a tough position. It may do more harm than good.
 
Before you go, visit divorceandyourmoney.com:
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
 
Thank you for listening!
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