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Younger people more likely to get a prenup

Millennials in New Jersey and throughout the country are requesting prenuptial agreements in increasing numbers. This is partially because people are getting married later than previous generations. The median age for a man getting married is 29.9 while the median age is 28.1 for women, and this means that individuals tend to have more assets that they want to protect.

Economic and political events that occurred during their lifetimes have also played a role in this trend. Most people who are between the ages of 22 and 37 lived through both the events of Sept. 11 and the Great Recession; the recession occurred while many in this group were in college or had started their careers. Another reason for the rise of the prenuptial agreement among younger people is that women have more earning power. The gender pay gap narrowed to 4.6 percent as of 2018 from 6.5 percent in 2011.

Deciding between mortgage assumption or refinancing in a divorce

New Jersey couples who are divorcing and who decide that one will get the home have three basic options for dealing with the mortgage. One of them, keeping the joint mortgage, may mean less paperwork, but it leaves the person who did not keep the home in a vulnerable position if the other person misses a mortgage payment. This could have a serious impact on the credit of both people.

Couples may prefer for the mortgage to be in one person's name only, and this means either refinancing or a mortgage assumption. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Many people prefer a mortgage assumption because it allows them to keep the same terms. It also means they do not have to pay certain fees associated with a refinance.

Do you want to fight for your home in your New Jersey divorce?

Divorce is different for everyone who goes through it, and many people have unique objectives and goals when ending their marriage and planning for a new future. For some people, retaining the family home becomes the most significant priority in the divorce.

There are a number of reasons why people become attached to the home they shared with their spouse. Perhaps it has been in their family for generations. Maybe there is simply fondness for the memories attached to the property. This is particularly common if you raise your children in the home. Some people even believe that the house is a winner-take-all asset in New Jersey divorces, so they want to have it for themselves.

Age plays a role in overall crime rates

New Jersey residents might be interested to learn that Americans between the ages of 26 and 35 were 3.6 times more likely to have been taken into custody compared to those over the age of 66. This was according to a study called the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which reviewed 35,000 individuals over a period of 50 years. Generally speaking, white men were less likely to be taken into custody than black men at a young age.

However, the number of white males who were taken into custody tripled during the study period. Researchers also mentioned that the rate at which males of either race were taken into custody tended to even out over time. If a person was taken into custody, it tended to have a negative impact on that person's ability to earn a living. Those who were taken into custody as a young person earned about $6,000 less annually.

Spouses get creative when hiding money during divorces

Divorces frequently begin for many reasons, but money and property will become the central focus of settlement negotiations by the end of the process. People in New Jersey might go to extreme lengths to hide money when their marriages end. Their activities to shift money away from spouses might begin years before the actual divorce filings. The desire to reduce alimony payments, child support or other distributions to an ex-spouse motivate these attempts to make income and assets appear low on paper.

In one case, an accountant skipped filing tax returns for two years prior to a divorce. During that time he sent in excessive amounts for his estimated income taxes. He typically owed about $40,000 a year, but he had sent the Internal Revenue Service over $500,000. He planned to file back taxes after the divorce and collect a huge refund as an individual, but his ex-wife's accountant caught the trick.

Study examines factors that lead to divorce

Infidelity, financial issues and getting married too young might all be reasons that couples in New Jersey get divorced, but one study found that three-fourths of participants said a lack of commitment was a factor. Infidelity was in second place, but it was also the issue that most respondents cited as the last straw in their marriages.

The respondents had all been participants 14 years earlier in a premarital counseling program, but they had since divorced. The 52 respondents were asked to identify factors that led to divorce as well as whether one single last straw caused the end of the marriage or if the divorce was due to a combination of reasons.

Designing a successful parenting plan

One of the most important things that divorced New Jersey parents have to do as part of their adaptation during divorce is creating a parenting plan that works. While it might be difficult for ex-spouses to work together after a split, it is possible for them to work toward a successful parenting plan if both are willing to sacrifice.

As parents begin discussing their parenting plan, they should remember that the plan is not about convenience but about arranging their children's schedules as they start a new normal after divorce. As the planning begins, they should consider where the children go to school and how they get there, their children's after-school activities and other needs that might arise. If their kids are younger, they might also need to consider the location of their regular babysitter or caretaker as continuing with this person might help with their stability during a time of major changes.

Are you buying a home? Avoid these home inspection mistakes

A home inspection may not be the most exciting part of purchasing a property, but it's absolutely one of the most important. Without this, you never truly know what condition the home is in.

Here are five of the most common home inspection mistakes that buyers make:

  • Neglecting to ask for an inspection: Even though most people understand the importance of an inspection, some forgo this as a means of saving time and money. It doesn't matter if you're buying an existing home or new construction, you have the right to an inspection.
  • Looking for ways to save: Buying a home is expensive, so it's only natural to seek ways to save money. Don't choose the cheapest inspection option. Instead, choose the one that gives you the best chance of receiving a comprehensive report. An experienced and knowledgeable inspector may have higher rates, but you get more in return.
  • Skipping the inspection: While you're not required to attend the inspection, it's something you should consider. This gives you the opportunity to hear the person's opinion first-hand, ask questions and better understand what's wrong (if anything).
  • Getting in the way: It's okay to attend the inspection and ask questions, but you don't want to get in the way. Give your inspector space to do their job, and only jump in when necessary.
  • Expecting a clean report: Even new construction homes often have things wrong with them. It's unreasonable to expect a perfect report.

Racial disparities in misdemeanor sentencing

About 80 percent of the people arrested each year in New Jersey and around the country are charged with misdemeanors, according to figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The vast majority of these cases are resolved by plea agreements rather than trials. Unfortunately, this often leads to harsher treatment of African American defendants.

Researchers and civil rights advocates who have studied misdemeanor sentencing have discovered that white defendants are 75 percent more likely than black defendants to see the charges against them dismissed, dropped or reduced. They also claim that the fines and fees commonly handed down in these cases unfairly punish poor defendants. Those charged with misdemeanors are routinely ordered to cover the costs of supervision, DNA collection and toxicology testing. If the defendant lacks the means to pay, they're often incarcerated.

How tax law changes can affect divorce

New Jersey couples thinking about divorce may wonder about the impact of new tax law changes that will go into effect in 2019. In late 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While the bill was well-known for its changes to income and corporate taxes, it also contained a provision that made major alterations to the treatment of spousal support payments by the IRS. These provisions will start on Jan. 1, 2019, and they'll apply to all divorces settled on or after that date. Divorces that were already finalized before the end of 2018 were not subject to the changes, a fact that inspired many couples to escalate their timelines to complete their dissolutions before the turn of the year.

These changes reverse decades of settled policy on how alimony payments would be treated at tax time. Historically, spousal support payments were entirely tax-deductible for the payer. On the other hand, the recipient would pay taxes on the funds in their own tax bracket. This produced measurable tax savings for the paying spouse and often served as an incentive to secure generous spousal support payments as part of a divorce settlement.

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