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North Carolina seniors: divorce and divisions can be amicable

The Pew Research Center reports that the divorce rate among older Americans has doubled and even tripled for some age groups over the last 30 years. When it comes to divorce, it can be a lengthier process for seniors because they typically have more complex assets to divide. However, older couples may try to part ways on friendly terms. By following a few tips regarding financial decisions, couples could make the situation end on a more positive note.

A collaborative divorce is an option intended to help couples through the divorce process amicably. As the term implies, cooperation is key to a collaborative divorce, and each person is represented by their own attorney. When it comes to dividing marital property, a collaborative agreement may make the process easier. However, the drawback comes if the divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement. In cases such as this, they must start over with new attorneys.

The Relationship Between Drunk Driving and Divorce

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a problem not just in Charlotte, North Carolina, but also across the United States. The problem has become such a societal burden that Utah has decided to lower its blood alcohol concentration limit to .05%, departing from the .08% limit enacted across much of the country. Additionally, many advocates for safer driving conditions are championing efforts to enforce stricter drunk driving laws and strengthen penalties to include the mandatory installation and monitoring of interlock devices on vehicles operated by offenders.

The Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute has released findings that show as many as 55% of Americans are in favor of lowering legal blood alcohol concentration limits. To add to this, the National Transportation Safety Board has demonstrated that intoxicated drivers are seven times more likely to be involved in an auto accident when blood alcohol concentration levels extend beyond .05%. The Board believes that lowering this limit on a national scale could save nearly 2,000 lives per year.

Should I answer a law enforcement officer's questions?

A law enforcement officer comes to your home and knocks on the front door. You know that you don't have to let them into your house without a warrant, but you step outside to talk to them. You can tell they are suspicious -- there is another officer standing back by the squad car, watching you -- and they start asking you some potentially serious questions.

What now? Do you have to answer? Should you? What is your best course of action?

Safety officials urge adoption of drugged driving standards

People in North Carolina may see escalated attempts to arrest and prosecute people for driving under the influence of drugs, especially as an increasing number of people advocate for legalized cannabis. The decriminalization movement that has spread across the country sparked warnings from the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB. There are no clear standards indicating what level of drug exposure could indicate impaired driving. In addition, there are no standardized devices that police can use to detect the level of drug exposure in a person's bloodstream.

The NTSB urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create national standards for the levels of drug consumption that can lead to unsafe or dangerous driving. The recommendations followed an investigation of a 2017 car crash in Texas. A pickup truck driver hit a church bus, killing 13 people, and testing of the driver later revealed evidence of sedatives and marijuana in his system.

The role of money in divorce

More than one-third of respondents to a SunTrust Bank survey reported that the main conflict in their marriage was over money. The Federal Reserve Board reports that couples who have similar credit scores are more likely to stay together than those whose scores show a greater disparity. People with higher credit scores are also more likely to remain in a committed relationship. Despite this, there is also some evidence that wealth makes people in Charlotte and around the country more likely to divorce.

One reason may be that there is sometimes more income disparity in wealthy couples. Often, one person earns most or all of the money. That person might also spend long hours at the office and traveling for work, and the distance can put stress on the relationship. Some couples may have high incomes, but their expenditures may also be so high that they have put no money away in savings. There could also be issues in two-income couples. Sometimes, they still fall into traditional gender roles, and this can mean that the husband manages most of the finances.

Determining alimony in North Carolina divorce cases

Divorcing couples in North Carolina and around the country are often unclear about how alimony is calculated. This is a contentious issue that can derail divorce negotiations and lead to protracted legal battles, but understanding why alimony is ordered and how judges approach the matter could help spouses to avoid this pitfall. Discussing the topic unemotionally is especially important when the spouse initiating divorce proceedings will be receiving alimony payments or one spouse earns considerably more than the other.

The length of time that a couple was married is a major consideration when determining spousal support payments. Spouses who have only been married for a few years are rarely awarded alimony, but even spouses who have been married for decades may be denied support in some situations. In North Carolina for example, judges may deny alimony when spouses have committed adultery.

Red flags in your marriage: Is divorce coming?

Divorce does not have to take you by surprise, even when your spouse is the one who files the paperwork. Most of the time, you can spot some of the relationship red flags well in advance. You know the marriage is coming undone. You have time to prepare yourself for the next stage in your life.

What should you look for? While every marriage is unique and has its own factors that can play into the decision to end the union, here are a few common warning signs to look for:

Study looks at link between workplace and divorce

Farmers and librarians in the Charlotte area may be among the least likely people to get a divorce while people who work in restaurants and hotels may be among the most. A study by researchers at Stockholm University that appeared in Biology Letters on Sept. 25 looked at the connection between a person's workplace and divorce and found that these were the professions with the highest and lowest divorce rates.

Primarily, the study was looking at whether people in heterosexual marriages who worked in fields dominated by the opposite sex had a higher divorce risk. It found that they did, but the risk was higher for men than women. Men with college educations who worked in fields dominated by women were more likely to divorce than those with less education. In contrast, less-educated women in male-dominated fields were more likely to divorce than better-educated women.

Divorce after age 50 can be hard on someone's health

Divorcing at or over the age of 50 can be bad for a Charlotte resident's health. This is significant because the divorce rate for people in this age group has doubled since 1990.

Researchers at Bowling Green State University have been studying what is called gray divorce for many years and found several explanations for why it is on the rise. These explanations include an increase in the overall U.S. life expectancy, increasing financial autonomy for women and changing societal expectations toward marriage. In addition, researchers have found that divorcing at an older age can lead to some serious health issues.

Why some couples might want a prenuptial agreement

Before getting married, soon-to-be spouses in Charlotte might want to consider the benefits of getting a prenuptial agreement. Despite its negative reputation, a prenup can actually open the lines of communication for a couple. For a prenup to be valid, both people must get legal counsel, and neither may conceal any financial assets.

A prenup can be particularly important for someone who owns a business, has a blended family or is getting married for the second time. The documents can protect the business from the other partner if the couple gets divorced. It can also protect any other assets either person is bringing into the marriage. Furthermore, the prenup may specify that neither spouse is responsible for the debts of the other spouse if the two get a divorce.

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You deserve to have a skilled legal advocate on your side who will protect your best interests. We will do just that. To schedule a consultation, please call our office in Charlotte at 704-323-7833, or contact us online.

Plumides, Romano, Johnson & Cacheris, PC
301 South McDowell Street, Suite 130
Charlotte, NC 28204

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