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Jefferson County, West Virginia, Family Law Blog

Settling can be good for your divorce

Settling is often given a negative connotation. Teens and young adults in West Virginia are frequently told to not settle when it comes to their dream job, house or partner, giving many the idea that settling in any aspect of life is an inherently bad thing. However, when it comes to divorce, settling is not necessarily a bad thing. 

Unless someone wants to wind up dragging their feet and checkbook through court, negotiating is a necessary part of divorce. However, the point of negotiations is not to wind up with everything that a person wants. Negotiations should instead be viewed as a way to achieve some of what both people want. This means letting go of things that would be nice to get and focusing on what is most important to a person, whether that be keeping the family home or working out a better parenting schedule. 

What grandparents seeking visitation rights need to know

Sometimes, parents have issues or obligations that make it necessary for a grandparent to step in and help with children. Other times, grandparents may have issues with their child or their child’s spouse that make it difficult to visit with their grandchildren.

West Virginia law recognizes visitation rights for grandparents. Courts can order a custody or visitation arrangement to grandparents, depending on the circumstances. Read on to learn more about the factors considered when courts make custody and visitation decisions involving grandparents.

Owning a home after divorce could help women's retirement

Young adults are often told they must work and save with one, final goal in mind -- retirement. Most West Virginia workers dutifully contribute to employer-provided retirement savings accounts and some even establish their own. People spend decades of their lives saving for the period of time in which they will be able to sit back and just relax. But what happens when divorce throws a wrench in your retirement plans? 

In general, women tend to take a harder financial hit during divorce. A 2008 study found that divorced men's incomes typically increase by about a third, while divorced women's incomes fall by nearly a fifth. This can make saving for retirement difficult on more than one account. Not only do divorcees usually divide their retirement savings with their ex, but women have less to save afterwards. Some may even begin to worry that they will never be able to retire. 

For a more successful property division, leave emotions out of it

Property, assets and personal items often have significant emotional value to the owner. However, few people in West Virginia realize just how strongly they feel about their things until they are in the middle of a divorce. Property division can be one of the most contentious issues you will deal with when ending your marriage. 

Although it may feel difficult or even impossible, separating your emotions from the task at hand is important during this process. An easy way to engage in the property division in this manner is to simply set out identifying marital property and separate property. Separate property is anything that is solely yours, such as items you obtained before marriage or were gifted later on. 

Could another state's law set a new precedent in divorce?

When creating and freezing embryos, West Virginia couples typically create an agreement about how they will handle unforeseen incidents, such as the ending of their marriage or a sudden death. However, a new out-of-state law appears to supersede those agreements. Determining how to handle frozen embryos during a divorce has long been a difficult issue in family law, and this new law could potentially set a precedent that other states may follow.

Couples freeze embryos for any number of reasons. Perhaps they are both focused on their careers or are struggling to conceive, but the main goal is usually always the same -- to produce a child. However, couples can agree that if they divorce that they will destroy the embryos or that one or both parties may still use them at any time. For couples in a different state, this decision may be out of their hands.

Millennials head off property division disputes with prenups

Delaying marriage in favor of advancing a career is perhaps as millennial as it gets. Many people in West Virginia want to have a more secure job and stronger financial foundation before tying the knot, which is understandable, but it can present problems. What is a person to do when he or she brings significant assets into a marriage? For most, a prenuptial agreement that addresses property division is the smartest approach. 

A whopping 71 percent of millennials told Wakefield Research for Graebel that they would put off marriage if it meant they could relocate to a more desirable location for their jobs. Another 72 percent reported they would wait to have kids for the same reason. This attitude is a defining feature of the millennial generation, as they work to build their careers and acquire essential life assets, like retirement savings. The idea of suddenly having to take something an individual worked for years to achieve and split it up during divorce is disconcerting. 

The four types of alimony in West Virginia

One of the impactful things that can happen in West Virginia divorces is a party being granted spousal support, also known as alimony, through a court order or a settlement agreement. Under state law, there are four types of spousal support arrangements that can be set up. We’ll now go over these different types.

The first two are relatively self-explanatory. These are temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support. The former is a temporary arrangement generally aimed at covering the period before a divorce is finalized. The latter generally puts a long-term post-divorce alimony arrangement in place.

Research: Long commutes can lead to divorce

Do you have a long commute to work? Spending 90-plus minutes each day in your car can be a pain. Not only may it make you irritable, it means you have less time for your kids, and it can make date night with your spouse nearly impossible. Don’t let your small case of road rage infect the rest of your life.

Too much traveling can put a strain on a marriage. One study conducted in Sweden found that rates of divorce could be connected to the length of couples’ commutes. Specifically, those driving 45 minutes or more one-way are more likely to have marital trouble. The research suggests that the frustration of a long commute is bad for a marriage.

Is there an alternative to divorce in West Virginia?

Divorce is a difficult and significant decision. The transition not only affects you and your spouse, but your children and other family members involved. You might not feel like divorce is right at this time, but separation would be beneficial. West Virginia offers an alternative that is less permanent. Separate maintenance may be an appropriate option for couples who are considering other routes when it comes to the legal aspect of separating.

Grounds for separate maintenance in West Virginia

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