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Worried about post-divorce finances? Spousal support may help

You and your spouse married many years ago, but due to irreconcilable differences, you decide to divorce. Though the decision proved extremely difficult, you know that you made the right choice. Unfortunately, you worry significantly about how you will sustain yourself after the divorce settles, as you have not worked a traditional job for many years. You and your spouse shared funds, and you took care of the children or helped maintain the property while your spouse held a job.

Do not worry. In the state of Virginia, spousal support exists, similar to child support, to ensure that divorce does not detrimentally damage your financial security. When dealing with divorce proceedings and assets, it is important to consult an experienced attorney to help you receive the appropriate support. Know that Virginia law works diligently to ensure you do not suffer after divorce without income.

Things to know about creating a parenting agreement

If you decide to divorce, it's critical to immediately turn your attention to the well-being of your children. Even though divorce will impact you in many ways, it's your children who have the most to lose.

Fortunately, through the creation of a parenting agreement, you and your ex-spouse will have a clear vision of what should happen in the future. This doesn't mean you'll never disagree, but it's nice to have something in place to act as a guide.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may bring unwelcome changes

Women divorcing here in Virginia - as well as those in other jurisdictions around the country - could be adversely affected by changes that take place in the new year. Although it is not solely women who will experience fallout from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), more women than men receive spousal support.

The changes could economically impact both sexes who are in the process of divorcing. While the TCJA was signed into law back in December of last year, it will not go into effect until January 2019. Thus, anyone who is not divorced by Dec. 31, 2018, should learn how the Act will affect their bottom lines.

Reasons for gray divorce

Gray divorce, which often happens after couples have been together for decades, has become more common in recent years. If you thought that making it through the seven-year itch meant you would stay married for life, think again.

Maybe you already are. Perhaps you got married in your early twenties, started a family and raised the kids. Now they are all out of the house, starting families and careers of their own, and you and your spouse have started thinking about retirement.

What is an inheritance partition?

You and your brother inherit your parent's home. It is worth at least $500,000 in the current market. While the will divides up a lot of other assets -- life insurance, bank accounts, etc. -- it simply leaves you both the house, so you have a 50 percent share.

You already own a home with your family, however. You do not need a second house. While you have good memories of growing up there, you know that the best thing to do is to sell the house. If you get $500,000, then you can use your $250,000 to pay off the rest of the mortgage on your own home and set up college funds for your children.

How will you handle shared child expenses after divorce?

One of the most contentious matters when parents divorce is how the children's expenses will be split. Even if one parent has to pay child support, there is still a possibility that there will be other expenses like school supplies or fees for extracurricular activities that will need to be divided between the parents.

In order to minimize potential problems later, it is important to have clear plans for these expenses outlined in the child custody and support orders.

Property division matters can be handled in mediation

During a divorce, the property that was accumulated during the marriage will have to be divided. This is a complex part of the split, but it has to be done. The more property you have, the more difficult this will be.

For many people, this matter is handled through mediation. You and your ex can work together to determine what is going to happen with your property. Reaching accord on these matters requires negotiating and a willingness to compromise. Here are some important points to know about the process.

Introducing step-parents into a child's life

Once you are divorced, a step-parent might become an important person in your child's life. Whether you are the parent who is getting married or if it is your ex who is, it is imperative that everyone works together to foster the relationship between the children and the step-parent. This isn't always easy, but your children will benefit if you can make the transition as smooth as possible.

Step-parents are placed in a precarious spot. They have some of the same duties as a parent, but they often have limitations about what they can do. One area that frequently presents a challenge is learning how to balance being an authority figure with trying to earn the child's trust and respect. Here are some tips that might help step-parents to build relationships with the children and how parents can help:

Divorce mediation must be carefully prepared

The thought of working with your ex when you are divorcing may feel odious. There is one good reason why you should consider making a last effort to deal with him or her -- divorce mediation.

When you are working through ending your marriage, you will have to either work with your ex through mediation or battle things out before the court. Both of these options have benefits and drawbacks. Two of the biggest benefits to mediation are that you can usually get the divorce over with faster and with less expense than what is possible if you go through a trial.

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