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Tulsa, OK Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Child custody and a successful divorce are possible

For whatever reason, January seems to see an increase in filings for divorce. It may be a result of the new year focus on starting fresh, new beginnings or clean slates. It is seldom an easy journey and one made even more difficult when children are involved. There are steps Oklahoma parents can take to lessen the trauma that children can experience with child custody in a divorce situation.

The post-divorce living situation can be a very big factor in how well children weather the life change. One option that is seeing increased popularity is referred to as nesting. Nesting allows the children to remain in their home in familiar surroundings while the parents take turns staying with the kids. Shared custody goes along with this and allows both parents to remain very actively involved in their children's lives, which is known to be one of the best outcomes for the kids.

Splitting an IRA in a divorce

The holidays have passed, the cold of January is settling in and tax season is rapidly approaching. January is also said to be the month when there are more divorce filings than at other times of the year. This can be an issue in particular for older couples who may be contemplating a divorce. As one nears retirement age in Oklahoma, thought must be given as to how best to handle retirement accounts and the tax implications of divorce on those accounts.

IRA accounts may be among the accounts that a divorcing couple need to divide in asset distribution. If both parties are over age 59½ and have not taken any distributions from the accounts the process is straightforward. But if early withdrawals, known as 72(t) distributions, have been made, the situation can get a little more complex.

Family law can help reduce the number or kids in foster care

69456670_s (1).jpgWhat makes up a family and what can happen to the family dynamic has changed in Oklahoma over the years. Sometimes these changes require children to go into foster care temporarily and sometimes the temporary situation becomes permanent. In those cases, the children may become eligible for adoption. A recent report showed that adoption of foster kids is up nationwide. A family law practice can offer assistance in the adoption of foster children.

Two statistics that are heartening concerning the number of children looking for new families is that in 2018 there were over 63,000 foster children adopted and that number was up nearly 25% from 2014. The other statistic revealed that the number of children leaving foster care, from 2014 through 2018, increased from 21% to 25%. One sobering fact is that most families are interested in adopting young children and 50% of the children adopted were under the age of 5.

Mediation can pave the way to a smoother divorce

117670356_s.jpgJanuary has the unfortunate connotation of being known as divorce month by some in the legal community. This is thought to be because of people looking at the new year as an opportunity for new beginnings and fresh starts. The decision to divorce may be a mutual one as couples who may have been married for many years realize they have grown apart. This can be particularly true for many older couples in Oklahoma whose children have grown and they may find they just don't have much in common anymore.

While divorce can still be an emotional and painful process, there is no need for it to be as contentious as it once was. An option now exists that allows for more open communication between parties and allows for the possibility of a settlement without the time and expense of a prolonged court procedure. It is known as mediation and usually takes place largely outside of a court room.

It may help to understand the reasons behind a divorce

50533105_s.jpgMarriage is typically entered into with a vow that is not supposed to be broken except by death. While the overall divorce rate has declined in Oklahoma in recent years, almost half of all marriages still end in divorce. The reasons for divorce may be different in each case and most people acknowledge that a couple should not remain in an unhappy marriage nor remain together for the sake of the children. There are other myths that largely do not hold true.

Property division and finances are among the most important issues to understand when confronting divorce proceedings. It is often recommended that couples who are separating establish separate finances as soon as possible. This can aid in budgeting and financial planning, though money that was earned during a marriage is considered joint property and is subject to property division. Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state, which means assets are to be divided fairly though not necessarily equally.

An amicable divorce can be positive on many fronts

52853146_s.jpgDivorce has been depicted by the entertainment industry for years as a long, drawn out and contentious process as depicted in the 1989 movie "The War of the Roses." In recent years, divorce, even among the wealthy and famous, has occasionally been a more civilized affair. In addition to being more civilized, divorces are frequently not as drawn out in Oklahoma. As such, when children are involved, the impact on them may be less traumatic.

One of the most publicized recent divorces was the Jeff Bezos case. While the amount of money and assets was considerable, the divorce itself was completed in only 120 days, and the split appeared to be amicable. A quick settlement is advantageous in reducing legal costs and can also allow a family to more quickly arrive at a new normal. However, desire for a quick settlement should not distract one from the important issues to be settled. Not least of these is asset distribution.

Child custody can be a challenging issue

94216299_S.jpgThe decision to divorce is seldom made lightly in Oklahoma. When marriage vows are made it is with the intent that the couple will remain together, raise a family and enjoy old age together. When this becomes an unrealistic possibility, the decision to end a marriage can be a very difficult one. It can be made all the more difficult when there are children involved and child custody becomes an issue that must be solved.

In reaching an agreement regarding children it is important to keep the children's best interests at heart. It has been shown that children do best when good relationships with both parents are maintained. In order to facilitate that outcome, it is important that parents remain civil to each other when talking to their children and also when talking to each other in the presence of the kids. It is a good idea to remain geographically close to each other so that family routines are disrupted as minimally as possible. This is important for shared custody arrangements where every attempt should be made to keep kids in the same school and close to their friends.

Divorce over 50 need not decimate retirement plans

132143931_S.jpgWhile the divorce rate in Oklahoma and around the nation is on the decline, it is actually increasing among couples aged 55 and older. As these couples are nearer to retirement age, the issue of retirement and finances becomes a crucial consideration when contemplating divorce. It is certainly more important than for a younger couple who may have many earning years ahead of them.

A late-life divorce can have a significant impact on a couple's retirement plans should they decide to divorce. Maintaining two households is more expensive than maintaining one. Retirement accounts are typically considered marital property unless there is an existing prenuptial agreement that specifies otherwise. If the funds are subject to division that can result in the possible need to work longer to help make up the difference.

Divorce is sometimes the answer

96559041_S.jpgIn Oklahoma and elsewhere, marriage is a contract entered into by two people who are intent on forming a partnership that they believe will endure for the rest of their lives. In roughly 50% of cases, the end comes sooner as about half of all marriages eventually end in divorce. Marriage is hard and full of ups and downs. When do the ups and downs give way to the need for divorce?

The toughest questions can involve the well-being of children. Many couples believe it is better for the children to remain together. If the tension in the home is such that it is impacting the quality of life of the kids, divorce can be better for them in the long run. Prolonged exposure to parental conflict can have a long-term effect on a child's development. Maintaining a healthy relationship with each parent separately is a better option.

Oklahoma has a high rate of divorce

29080773_S.jpgMarriages in Oklahoma are typically entered into with the firm belief that the couple are embarking on a lifetime partnership. All too often, cracks appear in the partnership that may ultimately lead to divorce. While there are multiple issues that can be involved in obtaining a divorce in Oklahoma, there are some basics that a person should be aware of.

Oklahoma recognizes the condition of irreconcilable differences as acceptable grounds for divorce. This allows just about anyone to file for divorce for just about any reason. One of the first steps in the process is typically to notify the court by filing documentation indicating that one is seeking a divorce. If there are no children and the divorce is not contested by the other spouse the process can proceed fairly quickly.

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