Divorce Articles Section

Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce

Child Custody

What child custody arrangements will we have?

Debt

Who will pay our debts?

Maintenance

Will I be able to receive alimony?

Pension

Do I have to share my pension?

House

  1. How do I figure out the "market value" of the contents of my home today? How do I figure that out for the year I was married (1994), especially as my spouse and I had lived together for the prior four years?
  2. Should the wife get the house?
  3. What if I bring a house into the marriage that is in my name only, and I add my spouse's name to the deed?

IRA

Is my IRA considered marital property? It's in my name only.

Social Security

I have never worked. Can I get Social Security?

Child Support

How do we figure how much child support should be paid?

Court

Do we have to go to court?

Lawyer

  1. Who will pay the lawyer fees?
  2. Can we use the same lawyer?

Help

Where can I find financial help?

Child Custody

Q: What child custody arrangements will we have?

A: It's a good idea to explore alternatives to your situation. Some holidays are more important to one parent than to the other. Sometimes joint custody works well, sometimes it doesn't. Some parents stay within the same neighborhood or school district for their school-age kids. Some even rotate who lives in the old family residence as the custodial parent so the kids stay put - it's the parent who packs his or her bags.

Debt

Q: Who will pay our debts?

A: It is imperative that you be specific about what is your debt and what is not. Part of your responsibility is to create a plan for repayment of debt that is yours.

Maintenance

Q: Will I be able to receive alimony?

A: There are several tests for alimony:

  • Need (Can you support yourself with earned income plus investment income?)
  • Ability to pay (Does the payer of alimony have sufficient funds to pay?)
  • Length of marriage (A long-term marriage - 10 years or more - is more likely to have longer alimony paid to the lower-earning spouse.)
  • Age and health of both parties

Pension

Q: Do I have to share my pension?

A: Most pensions and retirement plans are considered marital assets in most states. Depending on the state where you file for divorce, the portion earned before your marriage could also be considered a marital asset.

House

Q: How do I figure out the "market value" of the contents of my home today? How do I figure that out for the year I was married (1994), especially as my spouse and I had lived together for the prior four years?

A: Furniture and personal belongings are valued at "garage sale" value in a divorce. The exceptions are certain collections, antiques, art, etc.

Q: Should the wife get the house?

A: It depends on several things:
If the wife has custody of the children, you may want to keep change to a minimum.
She should not depend on alimony to make high house payments.
If the payments are low, she probably should keep the house.
If the equity in the house is all she receives, she may need some liquid funds (cash).

Q: What if I bring a house into the marriage that is in my name only, and I add my spouse's name to the deed?

A: Then the whole house is considered to be marital property. You have made a "presumptive gift" to the marriage. In other words, it is assumed you gave your spouse a gift of half the value of the property.

IRA

Q: Is my IRA considered marital property? It's in my name only.

A: Everything acquired during the marriage, no matter whose name it's in, is considered marital property. In some states, the increase in value of separate property is considered marital.

Social Security

Q: I have never worked. Can I get Social Security?

A: If your spouse has worked and is eligible for Social Security and if you have been married for ten years or more, then you are entitled to one-half of your spouse's Social Security or your own, whichever is higher. It does not lower your spouse's benefit.

Child Support

Q: How do we figure how much child support should be paid?

A: All states now have child support guidelines. You can get a copy by asking your attorney or by contacting the local bar association.

Court

Q: Do we have to go to court?

A: Only if you can't reach an agreement. Then, a court date is set and a judge hears the case.

Lawyer

Q: Who will pay the lawyer fees?

A: Today, the most likely answer is that each pays his or her own lawyer fees. There are always exceptions, with a significant disparity in financial positions. Unless the couple agrees that one will pay the other's attorney bills, the judge will decide.

Q: Can we use the same lawyer?

A: It is not recommended. If you do use your spouse's lawyer, remember that they represent your spouse, not you, if the going gets rough.

Help

Q: Where can I find financial help?

A: Certified Financial Divorce Practitioners are trained to help people through the financial maze of divorce. They sift through the financial issues including incomes, expenses, assets, tax issues, pensions, and division of property to help you reach a financially equitable settlement that is fair to both parties. Call 303-774-1225 or 888-332-3342.


 

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Carol Ann Wilson, LLC
Certified Financial Divorce Specialist
906 Cranberry Court, Longmont, CO 80503
Phone: 720-600-5134
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