Getting Prepared When Divorce Is Your New Year’s Resolution

The New Year brings with it a new beginning and renewed vigor to take charge of your life and make changes that shape the future for the better. If you believe your marriage has broken down to a point of no return and that there is no reconciling with your spouse, getting a divorce may not be a bad choice.

You should speak with a seasoned family law attorney in WV, someone who has been through the legal corridors before and knows how to avoid issues for the client in any situation to determine how to go about it. An experienced attorney can protect your rights and interests through the divorce process both as an ex-spouse and co-parent.

Enlist the Support of Loved Ones

Divorce is emotionally and mentally draining, even when you are prepared for it. This is especially true if young children are involved. You need to start building a support structure with your closest friends and family members. Your team will make sure that your morale remains high even during the most tumultuous times.

On a related note, it’s critical that you don’t let their opinions cloud your judgment. You need to be clear about your decision and what you want out of the divorce. In fact, once you get the ball rolling, the only person you should seek advice from is your attorney.

Make sure you don’t disparage or badmouth your spouse. This can easily make an already grim situation worse. Depending on the type of person your spouse is, it may just make it impossible to end the marriage amicably. Moreover, children get confused, depressed, and frustrated when their parents begin blaming each other.

Prioritize Your Children

You need to understand that you cannot get everything you want from a divorce. You will need to make compromises and find common ground with your spouse. This will make things easier for the entire family. Putting the best interests of the children first is a great way of finding common ground.

You should prioritize the long-term interests of your children. This will make it easier for you and your spouse to curb any hostilities. It will also get you to work together and come up with mutually beneficial solutions.

Gather Necessary Documents

Many spouses protest the decision to divorce by destroying valuable documents. You need to prepare ahead of time and make copies of important paperwork. These documents become necessary while you address various aspects of your divorce.

You should gather bank statements, property ownership papers, insurance policies, retirement account documents, vehicle titles, mortgages and deeds, your marriage certificate, your passport, records of investment, records of court cases (bankruptcy), proof of income (pay stubs), and tax returns among other things.

Take Stock of Marital and Separate Property

The next step is to create an inventory of both tangible and intangible property. This should include both marital and nonmarital assets, including money, investments, real estate, belongings, and pets. You need to understand that West Virginia is not a community property state. This means that property doesn’t automatically get divided 50 – 50.

Instead, West Virginia determines property distribution under the equitable distribution doctrine. In addition, there are certain assets and property, such as goods received as inheritance, assets owned before marriage, and items acquired following a legal separation are not considered marital property.

Organize a List of Individual and Joint Debts

You need to assess any debt or liability you jointly owe with your spouse. You should get a clear idea about your own financial affairs as well. You should run a credit report to determine whether the data matches the information you have regarding debts and loans. You should determine whether your spouse or you are responsible for the debt.

You can use this as an opportunity to look for any discrepancies indicating fraud or errors. There have been cases where spouses have fraudulently obtained loans, credit cards, and other liability in their partner’s name. You need to address such scenarios immediately during a divorce proceeding instead of waiting months or years.

Estimating Alimony/Spousal Support

Several factors need to be considered when deciding on spousal support. A court will look at the earning potential, emotional and physical condition, lifestyle during the length of the marriage, and time required for getting a job among other factors.

Your attorney will work with you to determine whether it is appropriate to ask for spousal support and they will help you work out the proper terms and conditions for this type of support if it is granted (in keeping with your best interests).

Evaluate Your Tax Advantage

Spouses filing for divorces in January benefit from filing joint taxes for the prior year. Your marital status on December 31st determines the marital status throughout the year where the IRS is concerned. You can use the tax refund for divorce-related expenses.

Filing for Divorce? Our Reputable West Virginia Divorce Attorneys are Ready to Help You

The family law attorneys at the law office of Hardy Pence are responsive, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and willing to go the extra mile to protect the interests and rights of clients. When you hire us for your divorce, you get an ally that will look out for your best interests, treat you like family, and fight as hard as needed to obtain the best possible outcome.

Our legal advice is based on staunch family law knowledge and a results-oriented approach to help our clients get a favorable resolution. Schedule your confidential consultation with us today. Call 304-345-7250 or write to us online.


What the New Alimony Tax Rules Mean for Divorce Cases

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last year, alimony rules are about to change in the United States. Couples filing for divorce must settle terms before 2018 is over, lest they want to be subject to the statutes set in place by the recent tax reform.

For 70 years, alimony payments have been tax-deductible under federal law. Currently, individuals paying alimony can deduct the amount on their taxes, while individuals receiving alimony must claim payments when filing taxes. This will all change on January 1, 2019. Soon, individuals who pay alimony will not be able to deduct payments on their taxes, and individuals receiving alimony will not have to claim payments when they file their taxes. These changes already have many couples rushing to file divorce papers by the end of the year.

Although the new tax law should, in theory, benefit those receiving alimony, because they will no longer have to pay taxes on it, many are concerned it will actually be worse for those receiving alimony—especially women. Studies have indicated that women often struggle more financially following a divorce, and in many cases, their income drops over one-fifth, while men with children frequently see their income go up by a third. Although statistics show a rise in women becoming the primary breadwinners in their families, the 2010 census indicates that of the 400,000 people currently receiving alimony in the U.S., only 3% are men. Many women who need spousal support after a divorce are now at risk of receiving smaller payments from their partners, who will likely try to negotiate payments down, knowing they will have to pay taxes on them every year.

Many are also wondering how the new rules will affect postnuptial and prenuptial agreements. It is possible that courts will increasingly try to put a cap on payments now that they are no longer tax-deductible. With the shift in policy expected to raise almost $7 billion for the IRS over the next decade, one thing financial experts can agree on is that all parties who are entering into, or have recently entered into, a divorce should reexamine their agreements with an experienced accountant or divorce lawyer to ensure their current arrangement will benefit them in the long-run.

Hire a Charleston, WV Divorce Attorney Today

At Hardy Pence PLLC, we are committed to making sure our clients receive the settlement they deserve. Our Charleston, WV divorce lawyers provide hands-on legal representation and personalized attention every step of the way, so you never have to feel like you are going through this alone. And, with years of experience in equitable distributionspousal support, and high-asset divorce, you can trust that we know how to advocate for the maximum settlement in any case. Don’t let the latest tax laws prevent you from receiving the alimony payments you deserve, contact Hardy Pence PLLC today.

Talk to a divorce lawyer on the phone at (304) 345-7250, or contact us online for a confidential consultation.