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Edgewood Kentucky Family Law Blog

Marriages that begin unhappily linked to divorce

When people in Kentucky decide to divorce, there may be several issues that led to the end of a marriage. While many people expect that newlyweds are the happiest and that marital satisfaction declines over the years, other research indicates that some people continue to be even happier in their marriages years after the wedding. One study examined the impact of socioeconomic status on marital happiness and the likelihood of divorce. Researchers tracked the feelings of 431 couples living in a relatively low-income area, surveying the couples five times between 2009 and 2014. Participants were asked to answer eight questions where they assessed their happiness in their marriage.

The researchers found that 60% of the couples were initially very happy with their marriages. However, 30% were moderately happy and 10% were unhappy in their marriages from the very beginning. They found that couples that were happy when they were initially married were also relatively likely to remain happy over the years to come. Those that were already troubled at the beginning of their marriages were more likely to become even more unhappy over time and eventually to seek a divorce.

How to help children adjust to a divorce

As hard as a divorce can be on an adult, it can be even more difficult for a child to get through. However, there are many strategies that parents in Kentucky and in other states can use to help their children adjust to their new circumstances. Ideally, parents will not argue with each other in front of their kids. This unnecessarily exposes them to more conflict and lead to feelings of guilt as the fights may be related to their needs.

Parents should aim to be civil around each other when the kids are present even if they don't like each other. If a child thinks that there is an issue between the parents, they may try to choose sides or otherwise feel caught in the middle of the battle. Children should never be made to feel as if the divorce was their fault.

Common reasons women file for divorce

Women in Kentucky may divorce their husbands because of issues such as infidelity, abuse of alcohol or drugs, or domestic abuse. Many marriages also end because of financial issues.

The reason for divorce in many cases may come down to problems with communication. Women may file for divorce if they feel that their husbands are indifferent to their feelings or they feel taken for granted. In some cases, they might try to communicate with their husbands about this. Some men may stop listening to their wives or making an effort in other ways, and women could end up turning to friends and others to have these needs met. However, in other cases, women may not clearly express needs and wants, such as the desire for more romance in the marriage.

Gray divorce rates producing unique challenges

Dissolved marriages involving couples 50 and older are known as gray divorces in Kentucky and other states. These types of separations, which have more than doubled in the past two decades, present a unique set of monetary challenges that can be difficult for the parties involved. According to research from Bowling Green State University, couples who get divorced after 50 can expect their financial wealth to drop by 50%. This can be a major shock so close to retirement.

After turning 50, it can be challenging to build up a healthy retirement account like a 401(k) or IRA. It's also difficult to find employment, especially for a homemaker spouse who hasn't been in the labor market for some time. This age group also often has college-aged children, which can be another financial drain. As the resources of older divorcees are drained, additional financial pressure will likely be put on family and broader public institutions.

What can I do for my taxes since the alimony deduction is gone?

People with significant assets have to consider how divorce will affect their taxes. Previously, when one spouse paid alimony to the other, that alimony was tax deductible for the person paying, and the person who received the payment was responsible for paying tax on the amount. Though it seems like the recipient was at a disadvantage in this situation, it generally worked out that recipients got more money. That all changed with the new tax laws that took effect at the start of this year.

Now that the deduction for alimony is eliminated here in Kentucky, this means the paying spouse will end up paying less alimony because he or she will owe more tax. The recipient may not owe as much tax, but he or she won't receive as much money. If you're in this situation, don't despair. There are other ways to minimize your tax burden. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may want to utilize property division instead of alimony when creating your divorce agreement. Here are some experts' suggestions on exactly how to do that.

Tips for meeting the financial challenges of a divorce

A divorce can create new financial challenges, but there are steps Kentucky estranged couples can take to meet them. People should set aside money for divorce costs and create a short-term budget. This budget needs to acknowledge any new expenses, such as new auto insurance or a new place to live. After a few months, the budget can be revised for the longer term.

The next step is to look at shared assets. People who want the marital home should keep in mind that they may need to refinance it. They will also need enough liquidity to pay for taxes, repairs and other expenses.

Handling the marital home during a divorce

Many people in Kentucky feel deeply attached to the family home, even after they decide to divorce. They may want to keep the home even after the divorce is finalized. It is often important for people to engage in financial planning in order to protect their ability to keep the house after a split. There are several ways that people can handle dividing a home in a divorce, and one of the most common is to simply sell the house, pay off the mortgage and split the proceeds as part of the property division process. When the home is important enough that one person wants to keep it, other solutions may be needed.

In some cases, both parties can come to an agreement to keep the home at least temporarily after the divorce. This can allow kids to go through milestones or finish out a school year. Divorcing spouses could negotiate continued joint ownership of the home with proceeds to be divided later on at the time of a sale.

Voluntary impoverishment and child support

Most parents who owe child support make payments on time and in full, but there are a few bad actors who purposefully under-report their earnings or earn less than their full potential just to avoid payments. This is commonly known as involuntary impoverishment, and it can leave primary caregivers in Kentucky in financial trouble. This can be a particularly difficult scenario to resolve if the parents are in a verbal child support agreement.

Parents who find themselves in this situation should immediately file for a legally binding child support order by contacting their local Office of Child Support Enforcement. These enforcement agencies take voluntary impoverishment very seriously, and they will closely examine the financial and employment records of an ex-spouse to determine exactly how much they should pay. In some cases, they will demand that the ex-spouse should pay what they actually able to earn rather than their reported real income.

How parents can resolve child support problems

Parents in Kentucky and throughout the nation may have difficulty paying child support in a timely manner. In many cases, they are called deadbeats even when they aren't trying to withhold support out of spite or a lack of concern for their children. Those who don't have the income to make a support payment should file a motion to modify the order in the state where it was created.

If a parent can show that his or her financial circumstances have changed, it may trigger an adjustment to the current support order. This is because the original order was created based on the parent's income at the time it was made. A parent doesn't have to lose a job to have a valid change in circumstances; courts may agree to modify a support order if a mother or father incurs a medical debt or sees a decrease in income not related to a job loss.

Is your child showing signs of stress after divorce?

Like all good parents in Kentucky and elsewhere, your children's best interests are your highest priority. You work hard to provide for their needs and create a stable, peaceful, safe and joyful living environment. Going through divorce can definitely derail a family's peace train. Especially if you and your ex disagree about child-related issues, it can cause high levels of stress for your kids.

Between your job (or looking for one if you've been at home and are now seeking post-divorce employment), the kids' activities, household issues and divorce proceedings, you likely have been so busy you've barely had time to think. It's critical, however, to pay close attention to your children's dispositions and behavior in case they show signs that they may not be adapting to post-divorce life as well as you'd hoped.

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Dietz & Overmann, PLLC
130 Dudley Road Suite 150
Edgewood, KY 41017

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