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Guide your children through your divorce

Matters of the heart run deep. When you once loved someone, it can be excruciatingly painful to have them leave your life. And that is not necessarily any easier just because the choice to walk away was yours. When you share children with that person, it can be even harder. Completely severing your relationship with him or her is virtually impossible in most cases.

If you truly want to keep the best interests of your children in mind, you must consider they love their other parent – in a different way, though probably just as much as you once did. You will probably need to work through your own anger, disappointment and heartbreak regarding your divorce. But as a parent, you also must help your children understand their thoughts and feelings about your divorce as they deal with their loss.

Smart debt division during a divorce

When a couple in California decides that their marriage is not able to be saved, they must prepare for the process of transitioning to their new lives as two single people. One of the things each spouse should want to avoid is being financially tied to each other in ways that are avoidable. In some cases, this may be impossible especially if minor children are involved. But, there are some areas in which the financial connections can be minimized or eliminated and credit card debt is one of those.

As explained by Fox Business, a creditor will consider both parties on a joint account liable for the debt even after a divorce decree that assigns responsibility to one party has been signed. This means that a divorce decree, while a legal judgment, does not provide much protection to spouses.

How might the new tax law change my divorce?

The beginning of a new calendar year is a common time for couples in California to decide to end their marriages. They have made it through the holidays when keeping marriages together for the sake of larger family gatherings may be important and are now focused on their relationship and future. If you are in this situation, this year puts a new twist on how you might negotiate your divorce agreement thanks to the new tax laws that went into effect January 1.

As reported by CNBC, the shift in tax responsibility on money paid in spousal support from the recipient to the payor may force couples to rethink agreements that include alimony payments. Some people might initially think that this change would be positive for the spouse who would receive alimony but the reality is that instead of reducing their tax burden, it might just reduce their income.

Your estate plan and your divorce

If you are one of the many California residents who has made the difficult decision to separate or divorce your spouse, you may be very focused on the day-to-day logistics of this experience. Things like finding a new place to live, learning how to split time with your kids and ironing out details for your asset and debt division agreement can be very all-consuming. However, there is another part of your life that deserves attention at this time as well - your estate plan.

As explained by Forbes, you probably do not want your estranged or former spouse to be the person responsible for making medical decisions on your part if you are unable to. You also probably do not want that person to have control over your finances if you can't manage them for some reason. These are just some of the things to consider when deciding how to update your estate plan when you separate from your spouse.

What are the different types of alimony awarded in California?

If you were the primary wage earner in your home in Stockton, then you may go in to your divorce proceedings expecting to be asked to support your ex-spouse through alimony. This is understandable, given that the court wants to ensure that both of you are able to enjoy a similar standard of living to the one you achieved while married. However, you likely also expect that your ex-spouse will move on with their life and either re-marry or progress in a career to the point of being able to support themselves. Should you, then, be expected to continue to pay then alimony indefinitely? 

Section 4320 of the California Family Code states that an alimony obligation is created with "(t)he goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time." What qualifies as "a reasonable period of time," however, differs from case to case. The unique circumstances of your case also determine which type of alimony you may be asked to pay. 

When coparenting doesn’t work, try parallel parenting instead

Following divorce, many people hope to be able to co-parent with their ex and put the needs of the children first. Unfortunately this is not always possible. Sometimes an ex-spouse is passive aggressive or openly hostile, putting your kids in the middle and making life unreasonably stressful and chaotic as a result. So, what can you do if you are in the midst of one these situations?

Divorce when bankruptcy may be involved

Many couples in California find that finances are often at the root of their disagreements. In some marriages, financial challenges may be so extreme that they even contribute to the eventual end of the marriage. Anyone who is facing both a divorce and a serious debt problem at the same time may be considering filing for bankruptcy. Before this is done, it is important to understand how to decide when to pursue each of these major events.

As explained by My Horizon Today, one of the first things a couple or an individual should assess is what type of bankruptcy might be right for their situation. There are distinct differences between a Chapter 7 plan and a Chapter 13 plan. If a couple does not own a home and most of their debt is unsecured, such as credit card debt, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be appropriate for them as they may lose any assets.

Uncertain future for divorce settlements

As the end of the year approaches, spouses facing an impending divorce have historically tended to use the holiday season as one last opportunity to hold their families together. This year, however, things might be very different for divorcing or separated spouses. The reason for this potential difference is that the upcoming new year will usher in a dramatic change in how taxes are assessed on spousal support.

Instead of the spouse who receives alimony being responsible for income tax on the funds, Bloomberg indicates that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act shifts that responsibility to the spouse who pays alimony. At the same time, the paying spouse also loses the deduction on their income tax return that they would have enjoyed under the current law that has been in effect for multiple decades. 

Does your child's age matter if you are getting a divorce?

If you and your spouse are looking to get divorced in California, you may be overwhelmed with thoughts of how this dramatic relationship change will affect your child's well-being. Will he or she struggle to form healthy relationships in the future? Will your relationship with him or her struggle? Will you be required to share your child with your former spouse even during times when you wish to be spending time with him or her? 

What you may not have been aware of is that your child's age may play a critical role in how he or she reacts to the changes in your relationship with your spouse. According to Medical News Today, generally speaking, children who are raised in families where divorce has occurred, may have a more difficult time feeling secure in their relationship with each of their parents. However, the younger your child is when your divorce happens, he or she may feel even more insecure than other children about his or her relationship with you and your spouse. These concerns may carry into adult years. 

What are some challenges in co-parenting from different states?

If you are no longer with your child's other parent, then you have to learn how to co-parent from different households. This can be challenging, but it is made even more difficult when the other parent moves out of California and you have to co-parent from different states. While this is a less than ideal situation, you must learn how to deal with it and make the situation the best possible for your child.

Psychology Today explains that if a parent must move to a different state, it is best to do so when the child is three years old or older. At three, your child should be able to handle the situation. Under age three, your child may not be able to adjust as well and may have more difficulties with the new arrangement.

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