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Divorce marks a giant change in your home life, but it also means change in your financial life. Whenever a divorce takes place you must change how you file for your federal, state, and local taxes. Taxes are a complicated matter, but when a divorce takes place a person’s tax issues become even more complicated. who will pay for taxes, who will receive the tax refund, who will claim any children as independents, and future tax issues. The institution of marriage intertwines a couples’ finances, which makes detangling a couples’ finances during a divorce that much more difficult. This is why it is important to discuss and draft a divorce settlement agreement. You can find new tax laws and guidelines on the IRS website at The IRS has a publication with current federal tax laws called “Publication 504: Divorced or Separated Individuals.”

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Up until 1979, alimony was only awarded to (ex) wives, and not to husbands. Now, you may think that the times were different and women didn’t really have the rights or means to be able to fully support their husbands once divorced. This is partially correct, but this was also the time in which women’s rights were making large moves in the courts and out in society. So doesn’t this seem a little unfair and reversed? William Orr certainly thought so, and he set out to do something about it.  On March 5th, 1979 the Supreme Court ruled that a statute authorizing spousal support for wives but not husbands was unconstitutional. The significance of this judgment is that it rejected the premise that married women are necessarily dependent upon their husbands for financial support. finding that what had been done in the past was an unconstitutional equal protection violation, changed the face of marriage and divorce forever.


Amicable Divorce

Deciding to get a divorce is the first step in a particularly unpleasant process, but who says your divorce has to be painful? True, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may have been a lying, cheating, condescending waste of space, but an amicable, uncontested divorce makes the process easier on you and any children you might have by that waste of space. An amicable divorce just means that you and your ex-spouse sit down and discuss how to divide your property and assets, spousal support, child support, child custody, and everything else the courts would usually discuss. Basically, an amicable divorce cuts out the middleman. Even if things just didn’t work out with your spouse, an amicable divorce is the way to go.

Precision in Division

One major bonus of an amicable divorce that isn’t related to the family unit is the control you and you’re ex will have over the division of assets. In a regular fault-based, or even no-fault, divorce, the judge will be the one to decide which spouse retains which properties and assets. By having an amicable divorce you and your spouse will be the ones to decide who gets what and collaborate on the outcome of your divorce instead of leaving your fates to the courts. As an extra bonus, amicable divorces are usually less expensive and are resolved faster than divorces settled in court.

Meditate on Mediation

Not convinced you can suppress your rage or hurt enough for an amicable divorce? Don’t worry; there are a few ways to go through an amicable divorce even if you’re boiling underneath the surface.

One great resource to help your amicable, or not so amicable, divorce is mediation. Mediation is just the term used when spouses seeking a divorce contract a neutral third party to assist in the divorce. You and your spouse can contract a mediator alone, or contract a mediator as well as hire your own lawyers.


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Remember: Amicable Means Acting Amicably

Always remember when you go the amicable divorce route that you and your spouse must be on the same page before beginning the divorce. Amicable divorce will only work if both spouses acknowledge and act amicably. This means no hiring cut-throat attorneys, no battling for the majority of the assets, and no seeking revenge.

However, if you decide to hire you own lawyers as an extra buffer make sure your lawyers are made aware of the amicable part of the divorce as well. As in any divorce, you should communicate every thought or wish you have regarding your divorce to your lawyer so they are fully aware of your expectations and goals.

Divorce is a harrowing business simply because it signifies a turning point in your life, whether or not you’re ready for it. From this point forward you could choose to turn down a positive, happy path, or down a negative, gloomy path. An amicable divorce could be that segue way you need to find the path that leads to your bright future.

Mediation Helps

The divorce process presents many areas in which discrepancies can arise between a separating couple. Some people can amicably come together to discuss their divorce and how to appropriately divide their assets. Many couples, however, cannot constructively discuss and readily agree to the division of their property and assets.

Mediation can be an option to help further the process by bringing the couples together with a mediator to appropriately discuss and amicably agree on key decisions that are stalling their divorce from moving forward. A mediator cannot give advice to either party nor can they act as a lawyer in each discussion. This frees up an open, honest exchange between spouses, and allows them to confidently and freely discuss the terms they cannot agree upon. On the other hand, litigation ultimately takes the decision out of the couples’ hands and puts it into someone’s hands who may not know them very well. Mediation can also take far less time to reach a conclusion than the process of litigation.

Less Expensive, More Control

This is one of the most common reasons for mediation. Both spouses will hire one individual to assist in the mediation between the spouses. Litigation can often times be an expensive and trying process, whereas mediation is more flexible and confidential. Freeing up a notion of complete trust can be crucial for each spouse to have the confidence to speak freely and clearly, which helps to get everything on the table. The divorce process can be difficult, not only for obvious reasons of separation and the ending of a marriage, but also because some things can feel out of your control. This is already a hard phase to go through as an adult, but when your life is being divvied up by a court system and judge you can feel helpless through the process. Mediation allows you the control to negotiate and express yourself and keep the final decision on your own things, whether it is property, money or other assets.

Mediation Minimizes the Emotional Toll

Divorce always emotionally affects children. The outcome for them will be traumatic enough, but when the parents are bickering visibly and being petty over the children it can cause even more irreparable damage. Mediation can halt the emotional trauma and allow the parents to come together. Seeing this, the children can know their parents can work together when it concerns them, eliminating the notion that their parents are fighting and maybe divorcing because of them.

The emotional toll of divorce is both trying for the children and the parents. Making the divorce process a muddy and mud-slinging affair does no good for anyone involved. Mediation can help lessen the emotional toll on everyone involved in the process, allowing for peace and moving forward.

Mediation obviously is not the only option in divorce, and in some cases it may not be a viable option, but it certainly can be a helpful tool. The way your marriage ends can have a significant effect on how you continue to move forward. If you allow yourself to be dragged down by the process, or allow the process to unnecessarily drag on, it will only hurt you and your children in the long run. Divorce mediation can be a peaceful way to negotiate towards the end of your marriage on a positive note.


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Visitation Rights

You and your spouse may be thinking of divorce, or may be starting the divorce process, and are unsure of what it will mean for your family. Each family is unique in structure, size, and style, but when divorce is brought into the picture one thing is certain: the family will be affected. So how can you and your family try to make the divorce process easier? By learning about relevant things like visitation rights. American courts, from state to state, encourage both parents to be highly involved in their child’s life. Due to this unanimous sentiment, the courts will usually decide in favor of awarding visitation rights to the non-custodial parent on weekends, holidays, school breaks, and more. The courts try not to disrupt the child’s schedule and life style by encouraging a healthy relationship with both parents.

In some cases, however, the courts will either prohibit visitation or order supervised visitation. These cases usually are because of previous incidents of abuse, whether inflicted upon the child or upon another family member. Supervision is conducted by an appointed court officer.

Visitation agreements or rulings are not set in stone, though. If situations change or issues arise, modifications can be made to the visitation agreement. The court will also change the visitation agreement if the court feels that the visitation is not in the child’s best interest.

There are many factors and unpleasant situations involved in divorce, but when children are involved it is especially important to not let your hostility dictate the outcome of a divorce. Instead, try to be as educated about the divorce process as possible, so you can move on with your life. Because each state is different, the visitation rights and divorce process may vary slightly; so make sure to research family law in your state. For more information about visitation rights, and our video series, visit our YouTube channel.

Pre-Marital Cohabitation

It hasn’t changed overnight, but the evidence is now wide spread. The contrast and make-up of the modern family has vastly changed in the last 50 years. The modern relationship make-up has also vastly changed. Many factors can contribute to this change in structure. From the economy to careers, we are seeing more relationships between men and women extend a longer period of time before they decide to marry. Cohabitation has been on the rise since the 1980’s. Many thought this was a sign that it could deeply hurt the institution of marriage in this country. While that turned out to be false there are individual reasons why people are cohabitating before marriage and reasons why people are still getting married. How does this affect their relationship? Is one clearly a better path then the other?

Affects of Cohabitation

A recent government study determined that nearly half of marriages break up within the first 20 years. A statistic that is similar to the largely popular sentiment that half of all marriages will not last. Knowing those odds along with that popularly spoken marriage statistic, some people have taken to cohabitation before they decide to marry. For younger people this has become increasingly more common to the point where it is almost part of the process leading up to marriage. No longer thought of as taboo, cohabitation has become a normal part of the pre-marriage routine. So, does cohabitation have an effect on the future potential of divorce? Apparently not, according to the new study. The new research, made up of a marriage survey that included 22,000 men and women, suggests that living together has not affected the divorce rate either way.

Results of the study

In 1960, only 10% of couples were reported to have lived together before marriage. Today around 60% of couples live together before they marry. Researchers in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were looking for trends with couples who were in their first marriage. Interviewing both men and women between ages 15 to 44 from 2006 to 2010, they discovered around 40% were married. Results found from the research showed that couples who were engaged and living together before the wedding have about the same chance of their marriage lasting at least 15 years as couples who hadn’t lived together.

The study also showed that marriage was less likely to survive to the 10-15 year mark among couples who weren’t engaged when they lived together. Factors thought to explain the increase in cohabitation range from lax attitudes about commitment, lower education levels, previous family history, or just pessimism about marriage.

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