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Wexford Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Dividing 401(k) relatively straightforward during divorce

When people go through marital breakups, an area of confusion and contention may be the division of assets. This is particularly the case if one party has amassed a large amount of money in a 401(k) through his or her company. Here is a glimpse at how divorce courts divide these type of defined contribution plans in Pennsylvania.

A large number of today's workers rely on the 401(k) to help them to save for their golden years. Fortunately, dividing these kinds of plans is fairly straightforward, as the cash value of a plan is easy to find out on any given day. The court, however, will determine the most appropriate way in which to split a 401(k) with a judicial order known as a qualified domestic relations order.

Divorce can affect future Social Security benefits

The majority of United States laborers qualify for retirement benefits from Social Security. However, many individuals who have gotten divorced in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are unaware of how this can affect their Social Security benefit collection process. Let's take a glimpse at some key considerations regarding collecting benefits from Social Security post divorce.

For starters, a man can collect Social Security based on his ex-wife's record if the two were married for one decade, for example. He can do this even if his ex-wife has already married someone else. However, he cannot be remarried, and he must also be 62 years of age. Furthermore, his benefit amount based on his own record has to be lower than the amount he would get based on his ex-wife's record.

Divorce red flags you can spot before a marriage

Relationships are complicated. After people get divorced, they often look back and say they can't believe they missed all the signs and red flags. They should have known the relationship would never work. But, while they're in that relationship, it's very difficult to see these same signs.

Well, here are a few that you can spot even when you're dating, before the marriage. Some of them, naturally, last even after you tie the knot. Either way, they could mean that divorce is in your future:

Spousal support conflict may complicate divorce

When two people decide to end their marriage, spousal support may quickly become a source of contention between them. One party may be worried about having to pay too much in spousal support, whereas the other may be concerned about not receiving enough support. Here is a look at how the courts in Pennsylvania address spousal support during divorce.

The goal of spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, is to financially help a divorcing individual who earned less money than his or her partner did during the marriage. Typically, a judge ultimately determines the spousal support amount that is appropriate in a given circumstance. Specifically, the court looks at a number of factors, such as the recipient's financial need and the ability of the other spouse to pay support.

Switching careers may offer benefits during divorce

The dissolution of a marriage can no doubt have a major impact on an individual's life and emotional well-being. For this reason, some individuals may look down on the idea of starting a brand-new career while going through the divorce process. However, jumping into a new job field may be a wise move for some divorcing spouses in Pennsylvania.

One reason why people may choose to switch careers during divorce is that they prefer jobs that are more family friendly. For instance, they want jobs that will give them the flexibility they need to take their children to the doctor. In some situations, people simply want to get home in a timely fashion for their children.

Cryptocurrency can make property division complicated

During the process of getting a divorce in Pennsylvania, it is natural for two spouses to fight over money. However, in today's high-tech world, dealing with cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, when addressing property division is a completely different matter. For this reason, having cryptocurrency as an asset may make a couple's divorce process more complicated.

Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual currency. This type of currency is surging in popularity. The problem, though, is that the cryptocurrency market is largely unregulated, meaning that owners of this type of currency can easily hide their assets -- including during divorce proceedings.

Prenuptial agreement may help with late-in-life divorce

When individuals in Pennsylvania marry early in life, they often expect to stay married for decades. Because divorce is not readily on their minds, they might not think about drafting prenuptial agreements. However, drafting a prenuptial agreement may especially be expedient if two people with significant assets are getting married later in life.

In a late-in-life prenuptial agreement, two soon-to-be spouses can explain how they intend to financially support themselves going forward. In addition, they can highlight how they plan to withdraw their retirement assets according to their personal wealth levels. As an example, one person might have a big retirement plan, whereas the other person has a small one. They might agree to use the larger of the plans and just use the smaller plan for taking out small distributions.

Your child is entitled to fair child support

Child support is an important financial support given to one parent who has their child in their custody more often than the other parent. For instance, if a mother and father share custody but the father has custody 75 percent of the time, the mother may pay child support to provide for the child while in the father's care.

Child support is used for a variety of purposes. It doesn't have to be used for the child specifically. It may be used toward rent for a better home, to buy groceries or to participate in activities. For the most part, it's up to the parent receiving the funds to decide how they're best used.

More millennials preparing for likelihood of divorce with prenups

The marital breakup process in many cases is inevitable, and it is often painful for those involved. For this reason, it may not come as a surprise that more millennials in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are opting to develop prenuptial agreements, or prenups, before they get married. In fact, new research indicates that more than 50 percent of attorneys recently saw a rise in these types of agreements among millennials, as members of this generation are increasingly interested in protecting themselves in the event of divorce.

In millennials' prenuptial agreements, they often cite their main reason for creating the agreements as the desire to protect their separate property. Other reasons for putting together these types of agreements include property division and alimony. Young adults value prenuptial agreements because they are generally settling down much later in life than previous generations did, so by the time they get married, they often have more assets to bring into the marriage than their parents did.

Bad decisions can haunt a person financially years after divorce

In addition to fighting over the children, fighting over shared assets is a common occurrence during the marital breakup process in Pennsylvania, no matter what a couple's net worth may be. Unfortunately, if a divorcing spouse makes unwise decisions when tackling shared assets, this may come to haunt him or her long term. Two decisions in particular can have ill effects that last years following a person's divorce.

The first of these decisions is not closing joint accounts. Perhaps a woman decides to take on the payments for a certain debt. The woman's future ex-husband may still be held responsible for it if his name happens to be on the debt account. This is the case because the contract that the couple entered into with the creditor predates the couple's divorce, which means the creditor has no obligation to abide by their divorce contract. In light of this, it may behoove the couple to transfer the debt to an account featuring the wife's name only and then shut down the joint account.

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