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Oneida County Divorce Law Blog

Things to consider before splitting a pension

When you have complicated assets to divide, like a pension, it's important to take a moment and consider all of the different things that your decisions today could affect for years to come.

For example, here are some of the questions you need to think about when you consider the division of a pension:

Remember that debts are divided in divorce

The financial changes that come with divorce are often challenging to handle. As part of the property division process, you and your ex will divide assets, but you will also have to split up the debts. This means that you will have to budget for your own set of household bills while also taking on some other payments. You need to plan carefully so you can ensure everything is going to get paid.

Before the property division happens, you can start setting up a budget. Be realistic about your expenses so that you have an accurate account of what is going out and what's coming in. Once you know what you have each month, you will be able to relay what you can pay on joint debts.

Shared family values can benefit children during a divorce

Many people who are going through a divorce have children, so they have to make sure that they are putting the needs of the children first. One thing that might be beneficial in these cases is to come up with a list of family values that are going to govern life in both homes. These can provide the foundation upon which stability for the child is built so that they have what they need to thrive.

Children who are taught that family values are important can benefit in almost all areas of life, including school and their social lives. Some individuals think that children who have divorced parents are at a disadvantage, but this isn't the case.

Key facts for a successful QDRO

The division of assets is a large part of the divorce process. For some parties, a retirement plan is an important aspect of that process.

To make the process work best for you, it is important that you understand how a QDRO works. There are a few key facts to understand.

Dividing up sentimental items when you divorce

For a lot of couples, it's not that hard to divide the marital assets. They can quickly agree about how to handle the house, the bank accounts, the pensions and any investments. These days, many spouses either enter into marriage with a prenuptial agreement or have roughly equal separate income and investments. The big problem isn't centered around how to split the "big" things. It's the little things -- those with sentimental value -- that become hard to divide.

How can you and your spouse approach the issue of dividing items of sentimental value in a rational, fair-minded way?

View divorce as a fresh start for you and your kids

One thing that you have to remember when you are going through a divorce is that you have to take care of yourself. It is easy to become so consumed with what's going on that you can't focus on making decisions that are in your best interests. If you have children, it is imperative that you take the time to take care of yourself because they need you.

There is a chance that your ex is going to make comments in an attempt to make you look bad. Remember that all parents make mistakes. You can't focus only on what your ex feels is a negative aspect of your parenting. Instead, evaluate the situation yourself and determine what you want to do if the same thing happens again.

Balance property division terms and your emotional health

Trying to figure out how to divide things in a divorce can be challenging. This is definitely the case when you are cutting ties from someone who is controlling. For some people, the reality of their life is that they have been limited in earning and opportunity for the duration of the marriage. Their soon-to-be ex is now using that to try to limit what they can walk away with during the divorce.

One thing that you can remember in these cases is that you have to protect your emotional health, even if that means that you aren't going to get the settlement that you want. A study that was done by an Indiana State University psychologist found that women typically have a more favorable perception of divorce than men. He notes that this is even the case if a man's standard of living rises by 10 percent in the year after the divorce while the woman's decreases by 27 percent.

Some pensions are protected from property division

When you are going through a divorce, you might have to take steps to protect your pension. While there isn't a good chance that you will walk away with 100% of it, there might be some hope for keeping your financial security intact. Before you automatically sign half of your pension away, think about these points.

One important point to remember in these cases is that there are some pension benefits that aren't divisible during a divorce. If you had a pension in place before you got married, this might apply to you. In order to be protected, it must be a defined benefit plan that was established at least a decade before the marriage. In this case, the contributions in the account during that 10-year period won't be divisible.

3 things your decree should address

The end goal in your divorce is the legal severance of your marriage, which allows you and your spouse to regain your single status. At the end of this road is a document called a divorce decree that spells out the terms of your divorce. A judge will enter this decree into the official docket, and this entry means the divorce is final.

When negotiating and drafting the decree, keep these three things in mind.

Children and relocation after divorce

When you decide to divorce, you will have to determine where you are going to live if you are the person who is moving out of the marital home or if that home will be sold. It is imperative that you try not to make any big decisions while you are in the midst of the emotional upheaval that comes in this situation.

If you do decide that you are going to have to move out of the area, which is the case with 17% to 25% of custodial parents within the first two years, you need to make sure that you handle the situation properly. One important step to take is that you alert your ex and the court of your plans. You don't need to move and then find out that you didn't have the legal right to move the children that far.

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