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Thinking about filing a "strategic" divorce?

Most couples who go through the marital dissolution process do so because their relationships are not working out as they had hoped. There are, however, more couples choosing to end their marriages for tax and other financial benefits. This is called a strategic divorce, and it is an option for Pennsylvania residents who believe it is best for their family's needs. Still, it is not something a couple should rush into without understanding the potential ramifications.

There are many reasons why a couple may wish to file a strategic divorce. They may have a sick child who, because of their income level, does not qualify for financial assistance. One spouse may become ill and require long-term care, but this spouse may not qualify for Medicaid while married. They may have one or more children ready to go to college but financial aid is out of reach due to their marital income level. Finally, they may simply wish to cut their tax liability.

Pennsylvania probate: Do you need a pour-over will?

Having a will prepared, even a basic one, is better than having nothing. Having a trust created is better still, for Pennsylvania residents who want to make sure their assets are truly protected and passed on as intended. However, a trust is only useful if it is funded. In the event a person fails to fund his or her trust, fully or even partially, a pour-over will can ensure property ends up in the right hands. If this type of will ends up being utilized, probate will be required.

What exactly is a pour-over will? It is different than a standard will. It is written in conjunction will a trust and only addresses the assets to be placed in the trust. The beneficiary named in this type of will is the trust, not a living heir. So, when one passes away, any property that was not adequately funded into the trust will be in the end.

4 positives of gray divorce for women

Divorce is difficult to go through at any stage of life, but it can be especially emotional and challenging with longer marriages. Although the divorce rate has decreased in general, more and more people split up in their senior years. The name of this trend is gray divorce. Many factors contribute to the increasing numbers, from social acceptance of divorce to higher longevity.

Despite divorce being common for your age group, you may still be hesitant to proceed. Consider these four positives of gray divorce for women. They may not make the process easier, but they can give you hope.

Don't let divorce cost you more than it should

Ending a marriage is costly, both emotionally and financially. Most people expect this, but many may not fully realize just how costly it is. From a financial standpoint, it is possible to lessen the blow if one prepares for divorce long before it enters the picture. Pennsylvania residents can do this by having marital contracts created either before or after they say their I do's.

A woman recently shared her story about the monetary losses she experienced because of her divorce. After 15 years of marriage, she and her husband decided to call it quits. When she entered the marriage, she brought with her a home that she bought herself. She assumed that it would be granted her in the divorce; however, at some point, she refinanced the mortgage and included her husband's name on the loan. When all was said and done, her husband was allowed to keep the home, which caused her to walk away without the $250,000 in equity she would have received had she sold the house and split the proceeds.

“Best interests” is key in determining child custody

If you face a divorce, your primary considerations will be the wellbeing of your children and helping them adjust to a new path in life.

In line with those thoughts and the important matter of child custody, the court bases its determinations on the “best interests” of the child.

When parenting through divorce, do what works for your family

Numerous couples in Pennsylvania end their marriages every year. Many of them have children to consider through it all. When parenting through divorce, it is common for people to seek outside opinions on how to do so in a way that will not scar their children for life. While the advice on the subject may prove helpful for some, others may find it useless or even harmful.

There are a lot of books out there that offer guidance on how to help children cope with their changing family dynamic, many with good information. Most people also know someone who has been through a divorce already and is eager to share their advice on the subject. All of the information offered by friends, family and various authors can be overwhelming to take in.

Knowing how debts might affect the outcome of a divorce

Many couples in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may accumulate a significant portion of assets and debts over the course of a marriage. Should a couple decide to take separate paths in life, they may feel it vital to focus a fair amount of their energy into preparing for the process of dividing martial property. Since this process will include marital debts, understanding how outstanding financial obligations will be handled during divorce could prove vital to preparing a strategy for negotiations.

It might not be all that uncommon for a significant portion of a couple's wealth to be tied up in the family home. Mortgage debts continue to be a major concern for many families and understanding how similar obligations might affect the outcome of the situation could be vital to making an informed choice about how to handle this asset. Obligations such as auto loans can also be a major concern for individuals facing a similar life change.

Important estate planning considerations amid divorce

Divorce can, at times, seem all-consuming. If you are in the midst of one, you may focus on matters that may include finding a new place to live or hashing out a new child custody arrangement. While working through these and related matters is certainly important, so, too, is thinking about how you may need to update your estate plan now that your familial situation has drastically changed.

Until your divorce is officially final, your spouse likely has certain rights, some of which could involve having decision-making power over you in certain medical and other situations. If you were to pass away or become incapacitated before your divorce finalized, your former spouse could potentially be the one to make important decisions on your behalf. There are, however, some things you can do to help limit the power your ex would have under these circumstances. For example, you may want to consider:

Challenges of divorce when children are involved

The decision to end a marriage is seldom one made hastily and can be made all the more difficult when there are children involved. While the couple may come to the conclusion that they can no longer remain married and decide to divorce, they will still be parents. Pennsylvania encourages parents to arrive at child custody arrangements that keep the best interests of the child in mind. 

It is widely accepted that maintaining a relationship with both parents is best for the child. Spending as much time as possible with each parent can be critical to healthy physical and mental development. When considering child custody there are two main factors to keep in mind and they are the two different types of custody that must be addressed. These are physical custody and legal custody.

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