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Jefferson County, West Virginia, Family Law Blog

Woman wants to stop paying alimony after ex won lottery

Although divorce formally ends a marriage, there are many factors that might continue to tie two ex-spouses to one another. From sharing children to making child support or alimony payments, many divorced couples are at least temporarily still linked together. However, there might be times when it is appropriate for a person in West Virginia to petition the court in order to have their alimony payments altered or even stopped altogether.

An out-of-state woman is apparently trying to find a way in which she could stop paying alimony to her ex-husband. The 53-year-old woman finalized her divorce in Oct. 2018 and has been paying him monthly alimony ever since. She was the primary breadwinner during their marriage of 15 years and is set to continue paying him support for about five more years.

What happens to my credit card rewards point during divorce?

While people in West Virginia might not be big fans of debt, it might be difficult to find a person who does not have at least one credit card in his or her name. However, having a credit card does not mean that a person has a lot of debt. Indeed, many people use credit cards wisely to take advantage of point reward programs. While this might be advantageous, problems can arise during divorce. How does one even begin to split a credit card rewards point?

First, couples should determine whether the rewards points are separate or marital property. If a person opened a credit card before marriage and earned reward points exclusively before walking down the aisle, then these points are likely separate property. However, points earned after the marriage would be marital property. Even if one person opens up a solo credit card account in his or her name only, points earned during the marriage are generally still considered marital property.

How can I help my kids cope with my divorce?

Sometimes parents who are going through divorce fear that their children will not be able to cope with the change. Although children may initially struggle with their parents’ divorce, research has shown that most children are able to bounce back within the first two years. However, divorcing parents who are concerned about their children’s recovery may consider several actions to help their children cope with the change.

Talk to your kids about the divorce

Child custody and co-parenting -- is it more work?

Effectively co-parenting after divorce can be difficult but worthwhile for parents and children alike. However, working together with an ex-spouse is not always as easy it may seem. West Virginia parents who are considering co-parenting or wondering if they need to modify their child custody agreement should keep some of the following in mind.

Maintaining consistent rules and boundaries across both parents' households is a common feature of co-parenting. This might seem like a good idea until one parent is tired or does not want to upset the children, and gives in. While this should generally be avoided, life does happen, and parents should be ready to address these issues in a respectful manner.

Make sure you are prepared for divorce

Deciding to end a marriage might feel easy enough -- a couple files, divides up their assets and then they are done. However, taking a casual approach to divorce can ultimately lead to disaster. Here are a few things that West Virginia couples may want to keep in mind during a divorce.

Social media commands a lot of time and attention, and it can be difficult to imagine a world where users do not share the smallest details of their day. But what if a person's social media feed does not match the details they provided during a divorce? Take for example a husband who insisted that he could not afford a proposed settlement even though it was fair to both parties. If his social media feeds shows him taking expensive vacations or enjoying an otherwise lavish life, his soon-to-be ex-wife could potentially use these as evidence that he can indeed afford the proposed settlement.

Property division, more affected by tax changes

The month of January usually sees higher rates of divorce than any other time of year. While this spike in filings is normal, the resulting divorce processes might not be. Recent changes to the tax law will affect how West Virginia couples handle things like property division, alimony and other issues.

Although the new tax law passed back in Dec. 2017, many of the rules have been rolled out slowly. The new rule regarding alimony went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 and will probably significantly change people's expectations of spousal support. In the past, the person paying spousal support could deduct the amount on their taxes, so there was an incentive to pay enough to possibly drop the person into a lower tax bracket. That deduction is now gone, meaning that not only did the incentive disappear but some people may not be able to afford hefty monthly payments.

Protect your retirement from your second property division

Finding love after a divorce can be a truly wonderful experience. However, as most people already know, retirement can take a hard hit during that first divorce, sometimes making it feel more difficult for that second marriage to truly succeed. In order to fully protect retirement, West Virginia couples should consider addressing retirement savings, marital assets and property division in a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle.

Second marriages usually come with a bit more baggage than the average first marriage. Many people have financial obligations from previous relationships, such as alimony, already-divided assets, child support and more. In some situations, couples might not realize the reality of their retirement situation until the retirement age is right around the corner, and they do not have enough savings.

Is separate maintenance right for you?

Divorce is not the only option for unhappy couples in West Virginia who are ready to end their relationships. If you and your spouse want to separate but remain legally married, you have the option to do so. The act of separate maintenance has many benefits and can also simplify the divorce process should you later on decide that you are ready to end things for good. 

Separate maintenance is, in many ways, quite similar to divorce. This legal separation will have you living what is basically a divorced life while remaining legally married. You will still have to address many of the same issues, particularly if you plan to maintain separate residences. Common topics you should expect to handle include: 

  • Child support and custody 
  • Alimony 
  • Asset division 
  • Potential grandparents' rights 

Alimony attorneys consider impact of tax law changes on clients

As West Virginia readers know, several new tax laws will be in effect at the beginning of the year. Very soon, couples walking through divorce will have to rethink how spousal support payments will work and what they could mean for a person's taxes. Alimony attorneys understand how important it is to adequately prepare clients for what these changes could mean for them.

For some, it will cost more to divorce in 2019 than it did in 2018. Previously, the person paying spousal support would be able to deduct that amount when filing taxes. Additionally, the party receiving the alimony would have to pay taxes on the amount received. However, that will no longer be the case once the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.

Can a long commute affect my marriage?

Marriage can be an enjoyable prospect, enhancing the quality of your life and making your days better. It can also be a challenge. Added stressors like children, work schedules, household responsibilities, money and extended family can create difficulty in any marriage. But what about your commute time - does that affect your marriage?

An article on Forbes.com says yes. A study mentioned in this story suggests that a 45 minute or longer commute contributes to a higher possibility of divorce by 40%. This might not be true if you’ve been doing it for a long time (five years or longer) or were commuting before your relationship, but the study finds longer commutes do affect marriages.

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