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Long Island Family Law Blog

Having a mortgage can complicate divorce property division

Nearly half of marital unions in the United States, including in New York, end in divorce, and unfortunately, no divorce is without its challenges. A major area that can spark conflict during a marital breakup is debt and property division. When it comes to debt, a couple may especially be at odds regarding how to handle the marital home when a mortgage is still on it.

Unlike with credit card debt, where a married couple can simply split the debt in a fair manner, a mortgage involves an asset -- the couple's home. If two spouses own the marital home together and are both on the mortgage note, then one spouse may decide to simply keep the house. In this case, the couple can see if the mortgage company will allow this spouse to refinance the house in his or her name only.

One's chances of divorce may be tied more to nature than nurture

A recent university study indicated that a person's chances of getting divorced in New York or elsewhere may not be tied solely to his or her environment during childhood. Rather, genetics may have a lot to do with his or her inclination to get a divorce. The results of the study were published in a psychological journal in January of this year.

The study involved investigating about 20,000 adopted children as well as their biological parents. Researchers compared the marital breakup rates of these children with those of their parents, focusing only on children who were adopted before 10 years old. The researcher estimated that the children of biological parents who had split up had about a 20 percent higher chance of getting divorced as well. Meanwhile, having adoptive parents who were divorced did not have any impact on the children.

Gray divorce poses financial challenges

Even the most strategically created retirement plans in New York can end up being derailed by the dissolution of a marriage. This can happen to individuals of all ages, but it is particularly true for those who decide to go through a gray divorce -- a divorce that takes place close to retirement. These individuals find themselves lacking the time needed to restore their finances following their marital breakups.

Divorce can be financially difficult because it involves not only splitting marital assets but also perhaps doubling a couple's expenses. After all, with the divorce, the two parties now have to cover the expenses of two households using the same pot of assets they were using to finance a single household prior to the divorce. The transition to independent living may be especially challenging for those who did not work outside of the home or make a lot of money while they were married.

Selling home during divorce may be challenging

A real estate transaction in New York is about more than just money. For the majority of those selling or purchasing a house, the experience is quite emotional. Property sales may become even more challenging when divorce emotions are added into the mix. A few tips may help those going through divorce to handle their property sales effectively.

First, using a real estate agent who has experience with working with divorcing couples may be particularly beneficial. After all, these type of agents understand that meeting with both parties separately is best to avoid heated exchanges, for instance. In addition, both parties may benefit from agreeing to place trust in the real estate agent they have hired.

Divorce steps can help with protecting financial interests

Going through the dissolution of a marriage in New York is difficult whether one is 22 or 62. After all, the divorce process involves untangling two lives that have become deeply intertwined both emotionally and financially. A couple of tips may help those going through divorce to protect their best interests from a financial standpoint.  

First, creating a detailed inventory of assets as early as possible is critical. These assets include any inheritance funds obtained during the past few years that might have been co-mingled in a bank account that both spouses share. Generally, an inheritance is considered separate property and, thus, does not have to undergo property division, but if it is co-mingled with jointly owned funds, it becomes marital property.

With child custody, putting children first is crucial

The dissolution of a marriage is one of the most challenging experiences a family can have. However, sometimes divorce cannot be avoided. A couple of tips may help New York parents to help their children while navigating potentially sticky issues such as child custody.

First, listening and being patient is critical. Parents may be wise to step back and give the children space and time to process their emotions. During this time, the parents can simply observe their children's behaviors and listen to what they have to share. Then, the parents can reassure the children that they are loved and can talk to their parents anytime about how they feel.

Negotiating divorce settlement does not have to be complicated

Ending a marriage in New York can be an emotionally draining process, just as it can be financially draining. This is particularly true in a divorce situation where the two spouses cannot see eye to eye on how to handle matters such as asset distribution, child support and child custody. However, a couple of tips may be helpful for working toward a settlement agreement with a soon-to-be former spouse.

Some of the most challenging divorce matters include child support and child custody. When dealing with the children, directly negotiating with a future ex may result in a deadlock. However, an attorney may help a spouse to more effectively navigate informal negotiations with the goal of achieving the most personally favorable outcome for him or her.

A business can complicate divorce proceedings

Getting divorced can be financially challenging for any couple in New York. However, divorce can be particularly confusing for spouses where one or both own a business. The value of the business as well as the business's cash flow that can be spent are a couple of the most frequently fought about matters during such a divorce.

The spouses may have different ideas about how much the company is worth as well as the quantity of money it generates. In many cases, the spouse who does not operate the business does not know much about the business finances. However, he or she believes that the company is highly valuable and profitable.

Divorce can impact children long term

The dissolution of a marriage in New York can understandably be hard for two adults to process emotionally. Thus, it may come as no surprise that children may have an even harder time navigating the emotional aspect of divorce. However, parents can try to minimize the negative effects that children experience by being careful how they conduct themselves during the divorce proceeding.

Because divorce information is considered public information, children of divorce can later go to the courthouse where their parents got divorced and pull the parents' divorce files. As a result, they can easily see everything their parents said and did during the divorce proceeding. That includes any lies the parents told in an effort to get their way in the marital split-up.

Financial preparation for future an important focus in divorce

Dissolving a marriage in New York can be hassle at any age and no matter how long a marriage lasted. However, it can be particularly unsettling for those nearing retirement. A few tips might help those going through divorce to prepare for the future financially as effectively as possible.

An important first step is to determine one's available income following divorce. This includes income from a job, from Social Security and from any remaining retirement assets. A financial analyst who specializes in divorce or a financial planner may help with determining how much money can be safely generated from funds in a 401(k) or an IRA, for example.

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