Florham Park New Jersey Family Law Blog

What is a kinship adoption? Is it right for me?

When many people think of adoption, they think of a married man and woman adopting an infant or young child to whom they have no relation. This type of adoption may be the most widely known, but it is not the most common. The most common are kinship adoptions, or adoptions by a relative.

If you are currently considering adopting a relative who is a minor, there are a few important things that you should know about kinship adoptions.

Why women need to ready finances before divorce

A recent study found 46% of women did not expect their divorce to bring the financial circumstances it did. This finding may relate to studies that show women reporting lower financial literacy and confidence than men.

If you are separating from your spouse or considering divorce, it’s important that you are prepared to separate your finances from your spouse, budget for divorce-related expenses and prepare for financial independence. Here are a few tips that can help.

What parents need to do after a divorce

Parents in New Jersey or any other state who get divorced may consider themselves to be in an awkward position. While their marriage is over, their relationship with a former spouse is not. This is because they will need to work together to raise their kids. This can be done by making sure that a child is not placed in the middle of any dispute between the two parents.

It is also a good idea to provide a child with clear boundaries regardless of which parent he or she is with. To prevent confusion, be sure to report any changes to a parenting schedule in a timely manner. Ideally, each parent will have a calendar that clearly marks who the child is staying with at any given time. This can also make it easier for a kid to remember the schedule before making plans of his or her own.

Why millennials like prenuptial agreements

More than half of the attorneys who took part in an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) survey said that more millennials are seeking prenuptial agreements. One of the reasons why this could be happening is that New Jersey residents and others are getting married later in life. Men get married for the first time at age 29 on average while women get married for the first time at age 27 on average.

This means that millennials could have assets, like retirement accounts or stock options, that they would like to protect. Considering that this age group grew up during the Great Recession, those between the ages of 18 and 34 may not want to risk losing hard-earned money because of a divorce. The divorce rate in the United States is around 50 percent, so there is some value in planning for what happens if the relationship doesn't work out.

Finances and divorcing women

New Jersey women who are thinking about getting a divorce should be aware that one aspect of their lives likely to be negatively impacted is their finances. Forty-six percent of the divorced women who participated in a survey reported experiencing financial surprises as a result of their marriage coming to an end.

The survey questioned 1,785 women regarding divorce and finances. The respondents included those for whom divorce was on the horizon, women in the middle of the divorce process and women who were already divorced. Twenty-two percent of the women surveyed were 55 years old or older, and the majority of these women were already divorced.

A responsible conversation: The prenuptial agreement

Upon marriage, no couple believes their romance will end in divorce. Beginning the conversation of signing prenuptial agreements may prove uncomfortable, but the document itself saves many couples from lost assets and confusion in the event of a divorce.

Negative connotations surround signing a prenuptial agreement because some believe it implies a divorce inclination before marriage. Yet a prenuptial agreement may suggest independence and responsibility over individual assets. As long as couples discuss the arrangement as a positive element of marriage preparation, their lives begin on the same financial page.

Solving money problems that can lead to marital breakdowns

It is an unfortunate fact that many people in New Jersey will end up divorcing. One of the biggest reasons why marriages fail is money problems. There are several different money issues that may lead to divorce as well as ways that people can solve them.

One common problem that can lead to marriages breaking down is poor communication about finances. Couples may be able to avoid this problem by scheduling regular discussions with each other about their finances. The discussions should be honest and include shared financial goals. Another problem that can contribute to divorce is not having any savings. People who do not have a cushion saved up may be unable to weather difficult times such as job loss or medical emergencies. People can solve this problem by transferring a small percentage of income from every paycheck into a savings account until they have a reserve of three to six months of income.

Tips for creating an effective parenting plan

Parents know their children's schedules better than anyone else. When a New Jersey couple splits up, however, the most effective way for children to maintain a relationship with both parents is by following a visitation plan. In divorce, this plan could be presented to the court and become a part of the divorce decree. Making significant changes to it might require returning to court. There are some things parents should consider when setting up a schedule for their children after one parent moves out of the family home.

Both parents should consider how the schedule they create might affect their children. Instead of making a plan that's convenient for the adults, parents should put themselves in the child's shoes. To create a schedule that's in the best interests of the child, both parents may need to make some sacrifices. As the child grows, parents should be flexible. It may be much easier to schedule parenting time for a toddler than an active preteen.

How tax law changes can affect divorce

When people in New Jersey decide to divorce, there are a range of financial considerations to keep in mind. Tax law changes could significantly impact when people decide to finalize the end of their marriage. Individuals concerned about these changes may find it advantageous to finalize their divorce in 2018 before the new tax rules begin with the new year on January 1, 2019.

Perhaps the most well-known change to tax laws that impacts divorce concerns alimony and spousal support, especially for wealthy couples in a higher tax bracket. At present, spousal support payments are tax-deductible for the paying spouse, often allowing them a tax savings of up to 50 percent of the total cost of their support payments. In addition, the recipient spouse pays taxes on the income in their own, generally lower, tax bracket. This enables the payments to be directed toward an IRA for retirement.

Potential Impacts of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act on Divorce Settlements

Blog Written by:  Lori B. Shlionsky

On December 17, 2017 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed by President Trump and made a number of significant modifications to the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC") that will either directly or indirectly effect newly divorcing couples. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in all divorces occurring after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony will no longer be tax deductible for the payor, and alimony received will no longer be considered income to the payee and therefore the payee will no longer be required to pay taxes on their alimony.

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