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Richmond Virginia Family Law Blog

How to end a marriage in a mature fashion

Virginia residents and others who get divorced may see the split itself as a war to be won. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Instead, individuals can work together to end the relationship in a civil and timely manner. Prior to starting divorce talks, it can be a good idea to think about the types of conflict that occurred within the marriage itself.

The issues that came up the most during the relationship are likely to be the ones that come up during divorce settlement negotiations. Therefore, it is important to learn how to avoid being triggered and instead seek to compromise and solve problems whenever possible. Individuals should also be aware of the verbal and other clues that a person gives when angry or upset. This may help a person change their own tone or body language in an effort to facilitate a healthy dialogue.

Filing for bankruptcy and the IRS

Every year, several people in Virginia decide to file for bankruptcy, be it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and during the process, they try to prepare for every eventuality so as not to be surprised later down the road. Accordingly, they work with their lawyers, trying to make the filing process as smooth as possible, and one of the questions many of them wonder about is whether filing for bankruptcy will cause the IRS to audit them.

As things stand, the IRS does not have an internal policy of targeting people who file for bankruptcy. After all, the IRS has neither the workforce nor the money to audit the tens of millions of Americans who file for bankruptcy every year. Furthermore, the bankruptcy proceedings themselves go through a person's assets and liabilities with the aim of getting the individual back on their feet, so any discrepancy there will probably turn a few heads at the IRS.

Divorce mistakes that could be costly

Getting a divorce in Virginia doesn't necessarily have to be a costly process for couples parting ways. There are many factors that will ultimately determine the financial implications of a split, some of which are unavoidable. Even so, there are certain mistakes that could make ending a marriage a bit more costly than anticipated.

Over-sharing on social media while the divorce process is still going on, for example, may give the other spouse's attorney some unintended ammo. This might involve one party claiming they can't afford alimony payments while bragging about a recent vacation or major purpose. Not initially gathering info on such things as account numbers and balances, Social Security statements, and receipts for home improvements and other joint expenses is another possible misstep, especially since such documents may be difficult to obtain months or years later.

Learning about child support

Virginia couples who split up after having kids will probably need to negotiate child support. This can be complicated for a number of reasons. However, there are some basic concepts related to child support that all parents should know in order to make the process easier.

It is often believed that child support is paid by the noncustodial parent to cover expenses related to the upbringing of their children. But while a custodial parent is easy to define (the parent who has physical custody of the children and spends the majority of time with them), noncustodial parents are harder to define. In some cases, noncustodial parents are quite involved in their children's lives. This may lead to a joint co-parenting situation.

The advantages of a prenup for student couples

Few people want to think about the possibility of divorce and the need for prenuptial agreements while planning a wedding. Students may be even less likely to think a prenup is needed since they may have few assets. However, there are several reasons students in Virginia might want to consider one.

Many students carry significant amounts of debt. This may be particularly true if they are attending law or medical school. A prenup can protect the spouse from taking on that debt, but it can also protect a student's future earnings.

How illness can lead to divorce

A Virginia couple may be more likely to divorce when the wife gets sick. Of course, this depends on what type of illness she has and how strong the marriage was before the illness occurred. However, data from multiple studies suggests that a man getting sick doesn't have the same type of impact on a marriage. Overall, research suggests that a man's health benefits more from being married than a woman's health does.

One possible reason is that females are more likely to be caregivers in a relationship. If a wife is too sick to provide care or other benefits to her husband, he is more likely to leave the relationship. Men are also more likely to leave a marriage because others may still find them suitable for relationships as they age. Researchers say that in same-sex couples, there tends to be less conflict when an individual gets sick.

Finding a new financial team after a divorce

Some former Virginia couples come out of a divorce after having had a relationship where the dependent spouse relied on outside sources for financial advice. When transitioning back to a single life, some dependent spouses prefer to continue to use the same set of financial professionals they relied on when married. However, it's generally advised that former spouses looking to make a clean break select their own financial team post-divorce, especially if it was the other partner who picked the other financial experts in the first place.

One possible source of recommendations for a new set of financial professionals is a dependent spouse's family law attorney. Generally, an ex tends to benefit most from working with a financial team that's a match for their personality and on the same page with their goals. There are several key team members a dependent spouse may want to choose during the divorce process or shortly after a marriage is officially over.

Support modification only for big changes in circumstance

Generally speaking, courts in Virginia will consider modifying an order of child support when there has been a substantial change in the level of need of the child or in the payor's income. People who have been ordered to pay child support might be eligible for a modification if they lose their job or have a reduction in income. For the parent receiving child support payments, modification might be available if the child has increased medical or education expenses.

In some states, reviews for child support modification are limited. For example, the relevant court might only hear a case for modification once every 24 months. If the amount of ordered support was modified in such a state 18 months ago, the parent will have to wait six more months before seeking another review.

How an 'attractiveness gap' could lead to divorce

There are a number of factors that can lead to conflict in a Virginia marriage, and some issues might be more complex than they appear on the surface. According to some researchers, men who marry women who are more conventionally attractive than them may have a higher risk of divorce. While social definitions of attractiveness may vary substantially from person to person, those who are generally considered more "beautiful" receive a large number of approaches and invitations on dating sites and other spaces designed for romantic or sexual interaction.

According to one study, women who say that their partners are much less attractive than themselves are also more likely to say that they flirt with other people. However, this may not necessarily indicate an objective attractiveness gap as much as it belies attitudes of contempt or disinterest within the relationship. Of course, these attitudes are known to lead to a higher likelihood of divorce. In other cases, couples that are apparently mismatched in appearance report issues with jealousy or controlling behavior directed toward the more-attractive partner.

Liquidation vs. reorganization bankruptcy

Virginia residents who are looking to file for bankruptcy will generally consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection. Chapter 7 cases are referred to as liquidation bankruptcies as they involve selling nonexempt property to raise capital to pay off debts. Any balances that remain after assets are liquidated are usually discharged. The entire process takes as little as four months to complete, but not all debtors will qualify for Chapter 7 protection.

Those who cannot pass a means test will be required to apply for Chapter 13 protection. This involves repaying debts over a period of three or five years in accordance with an approved payment plan. The payments are made using regular income, and an individual is also required to stay current on other debt obligations during the repayment period. Regardless of what type of bankruptcy is filed, it's important to be truthful and accurate on documents submitted to the court.

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