Unfortunately, divorce in the United States happens on a regular basis. In 2014, divorces and annulments in the US occurred at a rate of 3.2 per 1,000 people. Divorce rates for people over the age of 50 doubled from 1990 to 2010. One of the biggest aspects of a divorce is addressing how to divide up property and money. In South Carolina, how property is divided up is determined by equitable distribution laws. If you are older when you get a divorce, you will want to take extra precautions to make sure you come out of the divorce in a good financial situation because you will have fewer years to get back on your feet if you don’t.
Types of Property
There are two types of property to distinguish between marital property and non-marital property. Marital property is all property that is acquired by the spouses during the marriage and still owned when the divorce is filed. Spouses have a right to all marital property. This is the property that needs to be divided during divorce proceedings.
Non-marital property, on the other hand, is any property that was acquired by a spouse prior to the marriage, given specifically to one spouse during the marriage, or is excluded from marital property as specified by a prenuptial agreement.
How Judges Divide Up Property in South Carolina
There are many different things a judge looks at when determining how marital property should be distributed. Because there are so many factors that can influence the judge’s decision, it would be to your advantage to hire an experienced attorney who can help guide you through how to handle the process and help you win as much of the marital property as possible.
Factors the judge considers include, but are not limited to, length of the marriage, marital misconduct, value of marital property, income of each spouse, non-marital property of each spouse, child custody, if a spouse was awarded alimony, and debt on any marital property.
Things That Are Often Overlooked
There are a few common financial mistakes people make during a divorce. A lawyer can make sure you cover all your bases. Still, it is a good idea to be aware of these often overlooked, yet important, financial aspects of divorce settlements.
Remember that taxes matter. Some assets are taxable, while others are nontaxable. You may have to pay taxes on some assets, which will naturally change how valuable these assets are to you. You might realize having something just isn’t worth it after you factor in how much you’ll have to pay on takes.
Most married couples have joint bank accounts and share the expenses of life. Therefore, you need to take steps to separate your finances as soon as possible; otherwise, you could run into some serious problems. Set up your own bank account in which to put your future income to keep it separate from your spouse’s. Also, take steps to make sure your spouse no longer has access to your credit cards. Sometimes debts show up that you weren’t even aware of. You will be responsible for half your spouse’s debt, whether it’s your fault or not.
Looking into the Future
When negotiating a divorce, you are likely focusing on the here and now. Remember, the future is important, too. Pay attention to future sources of income, such as pensions and stocks. You need to look at your retirement accounts too. You will need a separate order, typically a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, to divide up your retirement benefits
Consider your health care needs. Are you currently on your spouse’s insurance plan or your own? In some cases, a dependent spouse may be able to stay on the other spouse’s insurance plan after divorce proceedings have taken place. If this is not the case, be sure to factor in health care costs into your agreement. If your marriage lasted for more than 10 years and your former spouse is over the age of 62 and unmarried, he or she can still benefit from your Social Security.
Don’t Rush The Process
Because divorce is often an emotional process, you might be tempted to try and move through proceedings as quickly as possible; however, it is well worth it to take your time working through the process. You will need to consult with a financial advisor, an accountant, and your attorney; this takes time, especially if you want to be thorough. These professionals can help educate you on what these are and can work with you so you are able to come out of the divorce in the best financial situation possible.
Considering looking at your divorce as you would a business transaction. If you look at a divorce in a more objective and less emotional way, you will be able to conduct business much more easily. While you want the divorce proceedings to go smoothly, don’t just rush through them, either. If you try to fly through the divorce process quickly, you may end up with less than you deserve.
How an Attorney Can Help
Divorce proceedings are certainly complicated, especially when it comes to the financial side of things. It can be hard to keep up with everything. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Futeral & Nelson can help you navigate your divorce and help you receive everything you deserve. Divorces are already hard enough without the headache of trying to juggle all your assets and finances. Let the attorneys at Futeral & Nelson help relieve some of this stress. These experienced attorneys will work hard to make sure you get fair financial results.