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Raleigh Divorce Law Blog

Alimony reforms limit permanent spousal support

Another East Coast state has joined the alimony reform trend that has been sweeping the nation. Although North Carolina has not been in the news for improvements or changes to alimony law, its East Coast companion of New Jersey is being heralded for the passing of several new measures related to spousal support payment. The state Assembly voted almost unanimously to approve a bill that would entirely eliminate permanent alimony from the legal system, among other significant changes.

The bill is designed to prevent the use of permanent alimony, which is a perpetual type of spousal maintenance that continues indefinitely. Provisions in the bill would allow payments to end once the payer reaches retirement age: 67 years old according to the federal government. Accommodations would be made for those who are continuing to work into retirement.

Your social media prenup: A new document for a new generation

You may think you do not need a prenuptial agreement -- and you may be right, at least when it comes to finances. What you may not be thinking about, though, is the potential for your spouse to cause you needless emotional and professional difficulties through his or her social media posts. With social media sites gaining prominence in many North Carolina families, it only stands to reason that couples should prepare for the worst.

That's right: You need a social media prenup.

Bitcoins could facilitate concealment of marital property

Financial experts say that some North Carolina residents will do almost anything to hide assets during their contentious divorce. It used to be that this marital property was shuffled into offshore accounts or transferred to other people before the divorce could occur. Now, though, hiding property obtained during the marriage has taken a decidedly tech-savvy twist: More and more partners are hiding their assets through Bitcoin, a digital currency that is independent from banks and governments.

Many people do not realize that Bitcoin assets do not fall into the traditional listing of cash, real estate, bonds and household items. Although Bitcoins could be listed as a type of "other asset," they are notoriously easy to conceal. This is particularly true if a divorcee is taking gradual disbursements and converting them to Bitcoins before their courtroom proceedings begin. Many people say that Bitcoins are essentially designed to provide anonymous, hidden places for storing variable sums of money.

Mistakes people make during a high asset divorce

People with large bank accounts and financial holdings get married for the same reason as everyone else -- they want to find true love and spend their lives with someone. Statistics in this country show that a significant number of marriages are destined to end, however. When wealthy North Carolina residents are seeking a high asset divorce, they often make missteps that compromise their ability to get their fair share of the marital estate. Today, we offer some guidance for avoiding the most common mistakes during a high asset divorce.

The most important step in most divorces: correctly assessing your financial holdings. Divorce is certain to have a major impact on your finances, so you want to make sure you are starting with complete information. Experts say that it is critical to continue to keep your financial "big picture" in mind throughout the divorce. That is why it can be very helpful to seek the assistance of a divorce financial analyst. These professionals augment a legal team that is led by a divorce attorney. A financial specialist can provide you with the guidance you need to ensure your long-term financial health.

Do not be left out in the cold after divorce; consider a prenup

Becoming a stay-at-home mom may seem like a great idea for many North Carolina parents. Although the allure of staying home with your children can seem enticing, it is critical to remember that the protections that come along with a prenuptial agreement provide an important safety net in case your relationship goes sour. Many people have suffered financial and social difficulties because they were not prepared with a prenuptial agreement, and their career suffered because they took time away from the workforce.

Take this example. Just out of college, a couple both found fantastic jobs in their respective fields for a few years after they got married. When it was time to start a family, the woman chose to stay home with their children; financially, it made sense for the mother to stay home. As the family dynamic continue to develop, however, the man became embittered because he felt pressure to earn a lot of money to support his family. Further, he kept seeing strong, driven women in his profession who managed to have both full-time jobs and children. Why was it important that his wife stay home?

Keep your ex-spouse from dividing assets after your death

Chances are that you do not want your ex-spouse to inherit most of your assets after you die. However, even if you have excluded this person from your will, he or she could still benefit from dividing assets from your estate if you make a few critical mistakes. Experts say you need to carefully review several documents to ensure that your ex does not get a share of the money that should be given to your heirs.

Most people do not realize that their wills do not govern the assets that are contained within their retirement accounts. Those accounts instead have beneficiary designations that supersede any information given in the will. That is, if you list your ex as a beneficiary on your individual retirement account, he or she will get the money -- no matter what your will says.

Clippers team could be considered complex asset in Sterling split

Many North Carolina residents may have learned that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling may be facing divorce from his estranged wife. The woman appears to be holding onto the signed divorce papers, however, after considering some of the complex assets that could be at stake in the split. Attorneys for Shelly Sterling say that the proceeding could potentially interfere with the National Basketball Association's decision to oust the chagrined team owner from his own clubhouse.

The woman actually has a significant amount of leverage in the case. If either she or her estranged husband decide to progress with a divorce, the NBA could find it very difficult to force the sale of the team because it would be tied up in a state divorce court for an extended period of time. The woman may use that leverage to attempt to maintain her 50 percent share in the Clippers franchise.

Financial mogul's prenup up for debate in high-asset split

Couples in North Carolina are often encouraged to consider a prenuptial agreement for a reason -- the document can help speed and smooth a divorce under a variety of circumstances. In other cases, though, the prenuptial agreement can become a bone of contention, especially when it has not been revisited in decades. That is the situation facing the son of billionaire George Soros. The younger man is seeking a divorce from his wife of 22 years, and ambiguous language in the couple's prenup is playing a big role in the split.

The couple's high-asset divorce could involve some serious courtroom maneuvering. The couple lists among their assets a $13 million townhouse on West 11th Street in New York City, in addition to a $9 million cottage in Martha's Vineyard and a country estate. The man is the president and deputy chairman of a multibillion-dollar firm. So far, the divorce is shaping up to be contentious; the woman, age 50, has hired a no-nonsense litigator to review her rights.

No prenuptial agreement in rap artist's $178 million divorce

The end of a marital relationship is an emotional decision with financial consequences. Raleigh spouses who have been together a long time have intertwined finances that need to be separated during divorce. High asset divorces can involve several areas of legal expertise to cover the division of property, businesses, estates and investments.

Many affluent couples sign prenuptial agreements that predetermine how property is distributed in a divorce. The practice helps minimize stress and unnecessary litigation should a marriage not last.

Structure your divorce agreement with alimony taxation in mind

Divorced couples in North Carolina should know that there are a variety of tax implications for both paying and receiving spousal support. Although many couples attempt to come up with clever ways to manipulate the system to their advantage, there is a massive list of legal rules that govern alimony payments. In many divorce agreements, payments that follow certain standards must be considered alimony for tax purposes, even if the couple agrees otherwise. Experts say that the only way around this rule is to make sure that the monthly payments meet certain legal requirements. A clause in the divorce agreement that states the funds are not to be treated like alimony might also be needed.

One recent case illustrates the importance of abiding by certain legal precedents when attempting to claim or deduct alimony expenses. In this case, a woman was receiving payments from her ex-husband, but the divorce decree did not dictate whether that money was to be treated like alimony. When the woman's business was audited, tax officers began to question her decision to designate $50,000 in alimony as nontaxable.

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Breeden Law Office
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Garner, NC 27529

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