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Montgomery Family Law Blog

Ensuring the power of a power of attorney in estate planning

Ensuring a power of attorney actually has the power for which he or she has been named is crucial. Good estate planning will make sure that any individuals Alabama residents name as a power of attorney. These individuals have the legal power to make decisions for an individual when that person can't do so him or herself. But there are certain things that should be in place to make sure a POA can act as the individual naming him or her would wish.

POA documents should be reviewed every three years, or more frequently as warranted, to make sure they're in keeping with current state legislation. If they aren't worded in keeping with the current laws, they may be rejected. And as life situations change, a POA should reflect those changes. Circumstantial changes like divorce, death of an already named POA or distance are some reasons a POA document should be updated. 

Child custody rules in Alabama: Can a child be relocated?

Divorces are particularly hard on kids. They essentially have to start a new way of life, and many children don't take kindly to drastic changes in their routines -- especially young children. It's difficult enough on them knowing their parents won't be living together with them, let alone when their parents can't agree on where and with whom, exactly, they're going to be living. Child custody battles in Alabama can be brutal on kids, particularly, when one parent wants to move the kids to a new location entirely. 

But, there may be times when a move is in the best interests of the children. It may be because the custodial parent has been offered a better job, or the children would be closer to extended family. The court always wants to hear that any decision made regarding kids is always to their benefit. Usually the court considers relocation not to fit that parameter and the parent would have to prove that it would be. It is important in any relocation, that the noncustodial parent would still be near enough to his or her children to have regular visitation.

Important divorce steps include paying attention to assets

Millions of people throughout the United States, including Alabama, find themselves faced with the dissolution of a marriage. Unfortunately, this can be one of the most stressful life events one can experience. However, a couple of tips may help with making wise decisions during any divorce proceeding.

First, not making too quick of a decision concerning the splitting of assets is paramount. Those going through divorce might feel tempted to rush through decisions simply because the divorce is contentious. As a result, one spouse might end up keeping the family home, while the other spouse keeps the cash. However, a more expedient decision may be for both parties to sell the house and then split the cash, as a home is considered a hard asset, which means it cannot be converted into cash easily. Having cash on hand is critical in the event of an emergency.

Creating divorce team important process during breakup

One of life's most challenging events is going through a marital breakup, whether one has been divorced for a few years or a few decades. After all, divorce involves untangling two individuals who are tied to each other both financially and emotionally. Having a solid team in place in Alabama to help with this process is essential for achieving one's desired outcome in a divorce proceeding.

A particularly important member of this team is a financial expert, preferably one with experience with matrimonial issues. This person may help with evaluating settlement proposals during a divorce proceeding. In addition, he or she can help with structuring one's financial life in the years following divorce.  

3 reasons to get a prenup

A wedding often takes months and months of planning. You have to choose the ring, scout Montgomery venues, taste various cake samples, and even figure out how to keep Aunt Martha far enough from your mother so that no fights break out. Unfortunately, planning a wedding also means making preparations in case it ends in divorce. Most people say "I do" without any protection in place, but with a little extra time and planning, you can have a prenuptial in place before the big day.

Many people think that a prenuptial agreement will immediately kill the romance or possibly even end the relationship. However, the benefits of having a prenup in place far outweigh the risks. To find out more about why you should have a prenup, read further.

Divorce has consequences for retirement

The dissolution of a marriage in Alabama can be an emotionally troubling experience, but how it financially affects a person's future retirement may also be a reason to worry.  This is a concern that a rising number of individuals have, as the divorce rate has been increasing during the past 20 years for those over the age of 40. A few tips may help those attempting to navigate retirement planning while getting divorced in Alabama.

Those who have been homemakers for an extended period of time might not qualify for benefits from Social Security if they have not participated in the workplace for 10 years or more. However, they might qualify for 50 percent of their spouses' benefits if their marriages lasted more than 10 years. Applying will not decrease the benefit amounts that their spouses will receive, and the spouses will not be notified about it.

Child-related costs may be source of conflict during divorce

Finances remain one of the most important areas of contention during the dissolution of a marriage. However, another critical aspect of a divorce proceeding is child custody. For this reason, matters involving children and finances together can be particularly difficult for a couple to come to an agreement on in Alabama.

Child support, which includes shelter, food and clothing, can be a particular source of acrimony. The spouse who will have custody of the children may be concerned about not receiving enough support for the children. Meanwhile, the spouse who will end up having to make child support payments might be worried about having to pay unreasonably large amounts.

Retirement can be affected by divorce

Retirement may seem so far away for those focusing on getting divorced right now. After all, navigating a divorce proceeding in Alabama requires a great deal of mental and emotional energy due to the many important decisions that must be made regarding the marital home or spousal support, for example. However, thinking about retirement is essential during divorce as well, as the decisions made during a marital split-up can have long-term implications for one's golden years.

Even if a divorce happens decades before a couple had planned to retire, it can still impact their retirement. In fact, a survey from the Insured Retirement Institute revealed that 24 percent of older individuals who are divorced reported being worse off during retirement as a result of getting divorced. Meanwhile, 23 percent said they expected to have to remain in the workforce longer due to ending their marriages.

Divorce and separation are 2 different processes

Getting divorced can be one of the most challenging experiences a person may have in life for both financial and emotional reasons. It can also be difficult from a legal standpoint due to the many steps involved. One area of confusion for some couples in Alabama is the difference between separation and divorce.

With separation, two married individuals essentially decide to stay apart for an extended period of time, rather than immediately ending the marriage. The benefit of a separation is that it gives a couple a break from the fighting and frustration they may have been experiencing while living under the same roof. During this break, they can think more clearly about their marriage and the future before making the decision to end the marriage for good.

Retirement plans can be split during divorce without tax issues

During the process of getting divorced in Alabama, a topic that is often not considered is taxes. After all, dealing with issues such as the division of assets or spousal support can naturally be complex without even addressing the tax aspects of them. Fortunately, couples who are splitting retirement account or pension funds during divorce do not have to worry about the tax consequences of doing this.

According to the Retirement Equity Act, courts can award an employee spouse's pension to the other nonemployee spouse without it resulting in a tax penalty. This is true whether just a part of the pension or the whole pension is being awarded to the nonemployee spouse. In fact, any retirement account may be divided during divorce without having tax consequences.

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