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Arlington Family Law Blog

How to know if a payment is alimony

Virginia residents and others who receive alimony are often required to count it as income. Those who make such payments are generally able to take a tax deduction. Of course, a payment actually has to qualify as alimony before a person can claim that the payments are tax deductible. To qualify as alimony, a payment has to be part of the divorce decree or a similar arrangement.

Payments cannot be made to someone who files a joint tax return with the payer. The payments must also be in cash, check or money order, and the payments cannot be made to someone who lives in the same household at the time that they are made. Payments that are specifically designated as a property settlement, child support or something other than alimony do not qualify. Tax authorities may also look to determine if payments no longer need to be made after the recipient passes away.

Finding a divorce team

Divorce is understandably challenging for many people. However, some spouses have a harder time ending a marriage than others. There are several factors that could make a divorce less or more difficult, but there are some aspects of divorce that a person can control in order to make the process more bearable. Virginia residents may need to take special consideration when building a support team after a divorce.

Not everyone uses the services of a professional for a divorce, but most people still have unofficial support systems like family and friends. Some analysts believe that getting through a divorce relatively unscathed is much more likely if a spouse assembles the correct team to handle emotional and financial matters.

Deciding to get a prenuptial agreement

With a prenuptial agreement, spouses can determine rules for property division if a marriage ever goes south. While some Virginia couples might feel that a prenup indicates that they are preparing to get a divorce, this is not necessarily the case. A prenup simply protects people in the event of separation or the death of a spouse.

For example, a couple might want to specify in a prenup that certain assets remain the property of one spouse and not the other. People who run their own businesses, whether or not they are family businesses, may also want a prenup. Without one, the other spouse might be able to make a claim on the business even if they were not a co-owner and did not work for the company.

How a business might be handled in divorce

Entrepreneurs in Virginia who are getting a divorce might have some additional complications. A person might own the business or be co-owner with a spouse. Before going through the asset division process, the owner(s) should get an accurate valuation of the enterprise. If one spouse owns the company, the other may have a claim on a part of the business or its value. If both spouses are owners, one may want to buy out the other.

Valuing a business is complex. Therefore, an owner might want to hire a professional appraiser. Valuation may include taking tangible assets, such as computers, into account as well as intangible assets such as the worth of the company name. It is important to not hide any assets or the value of the business.

Maintaining your sanity while cohabitating during divorce

Like many individuals who have realized that a divorce is best for them, once you've gotten over the emotional hurdle, the main issue you're left to face may be financial. You're working toward a brighter, happier and more stable future, and you know that it'll be worth it in the long run, but the fact of the matter is that, in the short term, your budget may be tight.

Even the quickest, cheapest, most efficient divorces still cost money, and until you complete the proceedings, you may find yourself shorter on funds than you'd like. To address this issue, many divorcing spouses continue to cohabitate, at least for the time being, until finalizing the divorce process. However, you're getting a divorce because you no longer want to live together, so how can you make this living situation work in the short term and come out the other end with your sanity intact?

Steps in filing for divorce

Some people in Virginia who are considering divorce may wonder what the actual steps are to filing. While every divorce is different, there are a few common denominators to all of them.

First, one person files for divorce, and then the other spouse receives the papers. This is called petition and summons. It is best to proceed with efficiency on any legal issues rather than delaying since a delay could hurt a person's case. The spouse who is served then must file a dissolution response. If a person has not yet consulted an attorney, this might be the time to do so. An attorney could be found through friends or online recommendations.

Predicting divorce

There is no way to say for sure whether a married couple in Virginia or elsewhere will get a divorce. However, there are certain factors that can indicate that it may be likely.

The age at which a couple gets married may influence their chances of getting a divorce. According to research from a University of Utah professor, teenage couples and couples who are at least 32 years of age have a greater chance of getting a divorce than couples whose ages range from their late 20s to early 30s. The risk of getting a divorce increases by nearly 5 percent annually after the age of 32.

Signs a divorce may be the best option

In some cases, it may be best for Virginia residents to get divorced as opposed to staying in the marriages. Although a divorce may mean that a relationship ended, it doesn't necessarily mean that the relationship failed. Instead, it means that the nature of the relationship has evolved into something else and that the love a couple shared in the past should still be remembered fondly.

Divorce may be the best option if a relationship is an abusive one. This may be true whether the abuse is physical or emotional in nature. However, it may also be beneficial for a couple to seek counseling before they choose to end their marriage. In some cases, this is not enough for a couple to work through their issues and continue with their marriage. Those who are thinking about cheating on their partner may be better served by getting a divorce.

Factors that increase the likelihood of divorce

Some Virginia spouses may wonder what makes a couple more vulnerable to divorce. Data from various sources provides some answers. For instance, physically attractive couples are often more likely to get a divorce. Higher divorce rates are also linked to higher wedding costs. Couples who spent more than $20,000 had the highest divorce rate while those who spend less than $1,000 had the lowest.

Women who grew up in religious households are less likely to divorce. If men and women finish college, their marriage is more likely to last at least 20 years compared to those who did not finish college or those with just a high school diploma. Couples who have similar alcohol consumption patterns are also more apt to stay together.

Signs that it's time for a divorce

An outsider may be able to tell a Virginia couple when it is time to quit their marriage. However, it could be more difficult for someone who is actually in a toxic relationship to know when to call it quits. Individuals who are considering a divorce may want to pay attention to some specific signs.

Those who are living with an addict might want to stay true to their vows and not give up on their spouse. Unfortunately, this could be difficult if that spouse carries on his or her addictive behavior in secret after promising to get the behavior under control. In the event that a partner is abusive toward an individual or child, it might be worthwhile to exit the relationship immediately.

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