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Salem Family Law Blog

How do you make divorce easier?

Divorce in Oregon can come with challenges. However, there are ways to make it easier. Forbes lists several tips to make divorce less painful, and therefore, less difficult.  

One suggestion is to adopt a business mindset when it comes to divorce. At the most basic level, you are seeking to terminate a contract. It is imperative that you understand your rights under the law and have an idea of what may happen in court. Your divorce will be easier if you process emotions outside of the business part of divorce.

Significant financial assets may complicate the divorce process

If you are an Oregon resident considering divorce, it is important to understand how your financial situation may affect the process and the settlement. If you and your spouse have financial assets of substantial worth, a fair divorce settlement may require an in-depth examination and valuation of all of your possessions. At Willamette Valley Legal, we have experience assisting high-net-worth clients through their divorce proceedings.

Discovery may be one of the most crucial phases of your divorce. When there are significant financial considerations at stake, it is essential to locate all existing assets and determine their financial values accurately. There are many types of assets that may be part of the divorce settlement: stocks, investments, retirement savings and even businesses that you may own or invest in. If you have physical property, such as boats, luxury vehicles, jewelry and real estate, those assets should also be part of the settlement. Sometimes you may need to work with experts, such as forensic accountants, to ensure that every asset receives a fair and correct valuation.

Splitting up with a financially irresponsible spouse

There may be a handful of reasons behind someone’s decision to divorce, whether they are tired of being subjected to emotional abuse or they cannot move beyond their spouse’s affair. In some instances, a person may be fed up with their spouse’s financial irresponsibility, to such an extent that they cannot move forward with the marriage. If your spouse is financially irresponsible, you may be tired of dealing with constant debt, a gambling problem, unnecessary shopping or any other number of financial concerns.

First, it is important to review property division laws and figure out what will happen to the debt that your spouse may have incurred during the marriage. However, you should not let divorce issues such as property division prevent you from filing for divorce if you are determined to bring the marriage to an end. Aside from being costly, it can be very emotionally draining to feel trapped in a marriage with someone who constantly spends too much. You may lose sleep over your partner’s spending, or you might become angry or depressed, and these emotions can interfere with your life in other ways.

Retirement, finances and divorce after 50

People in Oregon may once have believed that if they were still married by the time they were in their 50s or older that they would no longer have to worry about a divorce. This, however, is quite untrue. In fact, Forbes reports that a Pew Research Center study shows the rate of divorce among people in this age group has jumped a startling 109 percent in the last 25 years. Even for people in their 40s, divorces today happen at a rate 14-percent higher than 25 years ago.

The financial impact of a divorce is real no matter how old each spouse might be at the time. However, for people who are nearing retirement or who may even have already retired, the reality can be even more serious. For most people, retirement is a time in one's life when incomes fall or at least stagnate, so the loss of precious assets and savings can hit hard. For a person who considers staying employed or going back to work, the reality is that there are limited years left to recoup losses compared to getting divorced at a younger age.

Is all property eligible for division in a divorce?

Whether you are currently deep within the divorce process or you have just started filing papers, it is critical to have a firm understanding of property division. Although all factors in a divorce are important, property division may be one of the most intense issues. You may have grown attached to certain items during years of marriage, and it can be difficult to separate that property. You may be pleased to know that not all items are eligible for division in the divorce settlement. While marital property is considered divisible and may be distributed in a fair and equitable fashion, separate property may stay with the original owner even after the divorce is finalized.

Separate property includes property and assets that you owned prior to becoming married. For example, if you owned property before getting married and the title of the property remains solely in your name, it may be ineligible for division in the settlement. Similarly, if you received money and kept that money in your name, it may remain in your sole possession. Personal injury compensation, inheritance money and gifts given to you by a third party are also considered separate property.

What constitutes a fair and equitable property settlement?

When you go through your Oregon divorce, you likely will discover that the property settlement negotiations between you and your about-to-be ex-spouse will consume a good amount of time. Even assuming that both you and (s)he are fair-minded adults, neither of whom wants to deprive the other of what rightfully belongs to him or her, coming up with a fair and equitable property settlement agreement can sometimes be tricky.

Unfortunately, no statute or case law defines precisely what “fair and equitable” means. As the Huffington Post reports, however, the term seldom means that you and your spouse must split your marital property right down the middle. In other words, a property settlement agreement that would be eminently fair and equitable for a couple in your approximate financial situation could easily be highly unfair and inequitable for you and your spouse.

What can you do if your ex-partner is behind on child support?

Oregon courts do not order child support to punish one parent or favor the other, but simply to ensure that children of divorce experience as little adverse effects of their parents' separation as possible. The recipient parent has the right to use child support as he or she sees fit, so long as he or she uses the funds to benefit the child. Common expenses for which a parent may use child support include food, shelter, clothing, entertainment, and recreational activities. If the recipient parent does not receive the support payments, it does not just hurt the parent financially, but also, it hurts the child. For this reason, Oregon takes child support enforcement very seriously. If your former partner is behind on support, the Oregon Department of Justice details what you can do to recover past-due funds.

When a parent fails to make child support payments of his or her own volition, the courts may have no choice but to take legal action. The Child Support Program has several tools and methods it uses to collect overdue support. One way in which it enforces support orders is by withholding federal and state tax refunds and using them to pay overdue support. However, this method often requires a six-month hold, which means you will go another half-year without the funds you need for your child. 

Severing ties with financial advisers can benefit divorcees

When people make the difficult decision to get divorced from their spouse in Oregon, the positives of their choice may be difficult to realize at first as many challenges loom in their immediate future. One of the most time-consuming aspects is the process of separating financial accounts and assets as people prepare to assume independence once again. 

During these difficult times, it is imperative that divorcees focus attention on maintaining finances that are organized and well-documented to regain traction in their efforts to stabilize their financial situation and their retirement future. What many people may not realize at first, is that continuing to use the same financial advisor as their soon-to-be-ex may complicate matters or prevent them from feeling completely independent from their former partner. 

What should you do if you plan to file for divorce?

If you are planning to file for divorce from your spouse in Oregon, you may have had feelings of uneasiness as you face an uncertain future. Despite the apprehension, you may be facing, your efforts to prepare the best you can to make a significant decision regarding your marital relationship may help lessen the difficulty of an often-challenging situation. 

Regardless of if you discuss divorce with your spouse or if it is something that you go about more secretive, it is imperative that you begin planning for your future immediately. One of the areas of your life that may require significant modification is your finances. Depending on your situation, you may need to separate years of shared banking accounts, retirement plans and pensions, and mutually owned investments and assets.

Remember your estate plan when divorcing

If you and your spouse in Oregon have made the decision to end your marriage, you know that there can seem to be no end to the number of decisions you must make and things that will change in your life. This transition includes a mindset shift in which you start assessing many decisions differently, including how you would like your assets handled or distributed after you die. Unless it is stipulated in your divorce agreement, you probably do not want your former spouse to inherit everything. 

It is for this reason that Forbes reminds people not to forget about their estate plans when they get divorced. Some documents and plans might not be able to be changed in any way until your divorce settlement is finalized. This is to protect you and your spouse from each other tampering with any marital assets during the proceedings. Once the ink is dry, however, your will or trust should be updated to reflect your current situation.

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