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Are family law matters becoming more difficult?

Divorce is difficult for every member of the family, but sometimes North Dakota parents can make this more difficult by fighting and disputing over every detail. For some time now, the trend has been to lean toward joint custody or shared parenting, but this does not always work well for every family. In fact, this may actually give parents more things to fight over. The result is that family law matters may actually be getting more complicated and difficult to resolve.

Experts in the field say they are seeing more cases where there are mental health issues in play. Kids can feel stress and experience emotional upheaval when their parents go through a divorce, but parents can make this even worse by making their kids feel like they are in the middle of the battle. Two people can become entrenched in a custody battle, posting about each other on social media and reaching a point where they are unwilling to compromise on virtually any aspect of custody.

Estate planning and probate considerations for the new year

With nearly a month already gone in 2020, not everyone is keeping up with the resolutions they've made for themselves. It's hard to stick to a diet or other types of self-improvement over time. It may not be easy to create and stick to beneficial new habits, but one thing that can be accomplished and does provide long-term benefits is considering which estate planning and probate steps may be necessary and beneficial.

A good place to start with this process is careful consideration of individual goals. There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan, and each person in North Dakota taking this step will want to craft a plan based on personal objectives, specific needs and more. Through a solid estate plan, it's possible to take care of many things that many people don't want to think about, such as caring for a loved one or providing for the fair distribution of assets after death.

The family law landscape has changed for fathers

Dads play a vital role in the lives of their children, but it can be difficult to maintain this relationship after divorce. In the past, dads had a particularly difficult time securing custody rights as most family courts gave preference to the mothers. Now, however, it is much easier for North Dakota fathers to preserve the relationship they have with their kids and have a strong presence in their lives due to changing family law norms.

Joint custody is now more common than ever, which is where parents share the time they have with their kids. While this may not always be a 50-50 split, it is an arrangement that allows children to have regular access and meaningful time with both parents. In a true joint custody arrangement, parents will also share legal custody, which is where they both have a say in making important decisions in the lives of their kids. 

Give your executor, trustee appointments their due consideration

Estate planning is a very involved process. If you want to create a comprehensive plan, you will likely need to delve deep into your personal matters and think long and hard about what you truly want. Some decisions may come easy to you, but others may give you pause and present you with a need for more information.

In particular, you may go over whom you should appoint to important roles for administering your estate. For instance, you will need an executor to handle the probate proceedings associated with closing your estate, and if you utilize a trust to protect assets or give you more control over property distribution, you will need to name a trustee to manage the trust after your passing.

Bad estate planning and probate choices of the rich and famous

Many people in North Dakota believe that wills and other legal protections are only necessary for people who have a significant amount of money or valuable assets they want to protect. Everyone can benefit from thinking about estate planning and probate issues, regardless of income level and the size of the estate. A person may not be a movie star or a millionaire, but there are lessons to learn by looking at the estate planning mistakes committed by many famous people.

When actor Phillip Hoffman died in 2014, he had a will. However, it was not drafted properly, and it was not updated after the death of his second child. Because of a misunderstanding about the implications of tax laws, it is possible that Mr. Hoffman's beneficiaries could lose up to half of his $35 million estate to taxes. 

Family law disagreements can impact children in the long term

Divorce can cause children to experience emotional and mental duress, but practical and reasonable child custody orders can reduce the stress the youngest members of a North Dakota family may experience during this difficult time. Family law decisions can have a long-term impact on a child, as well as how parents act after their divorce is final. This is particularly true for parental alienation.

Parental alienation happens when one parent tries to harm the relationship a child has with the other parent. Hard feelings between former spouses can carry over into how a parent approaches a custody plan, ultimately causing harm to the child. By making consistent negative comments, interfering in communication and excluding the other parent, it is possible to change how a child thinks about and perceives his or her parent

Considerations for real estate purchases involving older property

Making the choice to buy a home in North Dakota is a major legal and financial decision. The implications of a real estate purchase can be long reaching, affecting a person for years to come. This is one of the primary reasons it is beneficial to be cautious and careful when taking this step, especially if it is an older property. 

Older homes can come with more risk if the buyer is not careful. The person looking to move in will need to check on various things and ensure that there are no unseen issues that could be costly to repair down the road. One of the main things to look for is the presence of lead paint. A lead test is a simple way to find out if there are toxic substances in the home that need to be removed. 

How family law matters can impact a North Dakota business

When a couple makes the choice to move forward with a divorce, both parties will experience changes in their financial lives. They may have to divide property and live with reduced income, but divorce can particularly difficult for people who own their own businesses. A North Dakota business owner going through divorce will not want to underestimate the potential impact family law choices can have on his or her company.

A family-owned or closely-held business can quickly become a source of contention in a divorce. A business owner may find that his or her share of a company could be considered marital property, and therefore eligible for division. Whoever the higher-earning spouse is on paper may have to pay spousal support, even if he or she puts a lot of income and personal profit back into a small business.

You have your estate planning documents. Now what?

More than likely, it took you some time to create an estate plan with which you, and perhaps your family, are satisfied. You made the best choices you could when it came to distribution of your assets and choosing the people who would represent your interests.

Now that you no longer have to contemplate what will happen if you become incapacitated or die, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The question you may have now is what do you do with your documents?

Family law choices and their impact on retirement plans

Divorce will bring significant and immediate financial changes to a person's life. No matter how wealthy a couple is or what kinds of assets someone in North Dakota has, it is likely that the end of a marriage will require adjustments to lifestyle and expectations for the future. Family law choices may require changes to retirement plans, especially if one or both parties are close to the end of their careers.

When a couple is younger, they have more time to recover financially from a divorce. The closer a person is to retirement age, the more critical it is for him or her to secure the right terms to financial settlement. Any funds or savings accumulated over the course of the marriage are eligible for distribution in a divorce, including long-term retirement accounts. This can virtually split in half what a person anticipates having for his or her golden years.

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