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Salem Family Law Blog

Set a positive platform for your child custody relationship

Working through child custody matters can be a challenging situation. There are several things that you can do to try to take the stress out of these cases. Developing a plan ahead of time can help you keep your focus as you're moving through the process.

One of the most important things to do is to take care of yourself. You can't care for your kids or make decisions in your best interests if you aren't in the best place possible. Eating a healthy diet, getting some exercise and taking time to rest are beneficial. Your children can see you taking care of yourself and look up to you as a role model.

Why mistreating a spouse in divorce is a mistake

People in Oregon who are going through a divorce may make the process and outcome even worse by treating a spouse badly. Giving in to the temptation to be rude or unpleasant to the spouse may feel good in the moment, but over time, it will make the divorce more stressful and difficult. In particular, parents should try to get along for the sake of their children.

Some people may phone the other spouse at work or even go to their workplace and make accusations or start a fight. This could start to affect the other spouse's ability to work and their standing among professional colleagues. While it may seem like the other spouse deserves it, people should keep in mind that this could also affect the spouse's earning potential and in turn what happens with property division.

The rise of gray divorce

Couples in Oregon may be surprised to learn that gray divorce - which refers to divorces involving couples over the age of 50 - is on the rise in the United States, according to one study. Although the divorce rate has dropped overall, the rate of gray divorce doubled from 1990 to 2010.

Some people over 50 who are filing for divorce have already been divorced before, meaning they were statistically more likely to go through another divorce. However, there are times when couples have been together for decades and simply grow apart emotionally. It can be easier to notice an emotional divide once children have left the house (and are no longer the center of attention) or after one of the spouses has retired.

Social Security benefits on a spouse's record after divorce

One element of divorce for people in Oregon may be dividing retirement savings. In some cases, people may also be able to claim retirement on an ex-spouse's work record.

The Social Security office does not necessarily keep track of this, so individuals may need to follow up on this themselves. A few conditions must be in place. The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years. The individual must be at least 62 years old although waiting for retirement age will make the checks bigger. The ex-spouse must have begun claiming benefits or the marriage must have been over for at least two years and the ex-spouse must be eligible for benefits. The individual must also not have remarried. Benefits are unaffected by the ex-spouse's remarriage.

How 72(t) distributions may complicate IRA division

Oregon couples who are going through a divorce may need to split a retirement account as part of their agreement about property division. An IRA can be divided with a separation agreement or a divorce decree, but this can be more complex if the IRA owner has begun taking 72(t) distributions before the age of 59 1/2.

While IRA distributions prior to reaching this age are usually subject to a 10% penalty, there are circumstances in which they are allowed. However, IRS regulations also say that if there are modifications to the account, the person will be required to pay the 10% penalty on the distributions taken. While it does not specifically say that dividing an account in case of divorce would be considered a modification, under IRS regulations, it appears to qualify as one.

Parenting time schedules based on age group

Divorce courts typically urge Oregon parents to create a parenting plan to address their custody and visitation issues on their own. Doing so without court involvement allows parents to devise a schedule that coincides with their lives and takes the ages of the children into account.

Babies need to spend most of their time with their primary caregiver. This doesn't mean a noncustodial parent has to wait until a child is older to bond with them. In fact, the more time noncustodial parents can spend with their babies, the easier it will be for them to transition to overnight visits when they get a little older.

What to consider before signing a prenuptial agreement

Romantic partners who decide to share a home together may decide to create a cohabitation agreement. They may also choose to create a prenuptial agreement that serves as a way to exert more control over the terms of a potential divorce. Ideally, couples will create these types of agreements together so that each person gets a chance to express their needs and goals for a relationship.

Working on such a pact in a collective manner may also prevent an individual from feeling blindsided or resentful toward his or her partner. Ultimately, it can help a couple learn how to communicate in a healthy and effective manner. Ideally, each party will have a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement reviewed by their own attorney prior to signing it. It is important to point out that the terms of an agreement can be changed in the future if they no longer meet a couple's needs.

Dealing with insurance during a divorce

When people in Oregon decide to divorce, they may navigate a complex range of issues, including property division and child custody. In the legal, financial and emotional complications surrounding the end of a marriage, it can be easy for people to leave questions about insurance aside. However, insurance policies may need review before, during and after divorce in order for both parties to understand how their coverage will change and what policies they will need to purchase after the dissolution is final.

Health insurance is one of the policies most commonly affected by a divorce. Even when both parties are employed, it is often easier and cheaper for one spouse to provide coverage through their job for the entire family. Divorce is considered a qualifying life event under the Affordable Care Act, so people will be able to enroll in their own employer's policy after the divorce is finalized. In addition, spouses who do not work outside of the home have options. They may access the health care marketplace in their state to select a policy after the divorce. In addition, COBRA coverage can allow people to keep their former insurance if they pay all the premiums. COBRA can be costly, however.

A prenup now can avoid conflict later

People in Oregon considering marriage may not want to think about divorce when they are preoccupied with romantic plans for the future. In addition, many people think of prenuptial agreements as solely a matter for extremely wealthy people or celebrities. However, a growing number of people across the country are choosing prenups for themselves before they marry. There are many reasons why more people are considering prenuptial agreements and why they may be a good idea for people of all financial backgrounds. In particular, many people today marry after they have established careers or bought real estate of their own, a change from people marrying as they just start off in life.

In addition, people may come to the marriage with existing children from a former relationship that they may want to ensure are properly protected. All of these - and more - are good reasons why people may want to agree among themselves about how their property is to be treated later on in case of a divorce. Family courts make a distinction between separate property, that belongs to one party, and marital property, subject to property division. In general, the things that people bring to the marriage are considered separate property, while assets obtained during the marriage are considered marital.

Long-distance parenting after divorce

Long-distance parenting after a divorce can present some challenges for parents in Oregon. However, parents can focus on quality of time together over quantity and still maintain a bond with their children. There are many things they can do to bolster a sense of connection even though they are far away.

Regular postcards, text messages, emails or messages on social media let children know that their parents are thinking about all the time. Parents should ask questions that let their children know they are engaged with their lives, such as how a specific event went. Parents can also call their children outside of the scheduled hours. Children may have their own ideas about how they prefer to stay in touch, and parents should talk to them about what those ideas are.

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