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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.

Dividing up credit card debts during a divorce

When people in New Jersey decide to divorce, they may be particularly concerned about the financial effects of the dissolution of the marriage. While many people think first about how to divide assets in a split, it can be just as important to consider how debts will be divided. Credit card debt accrued during the marriage isn't assumed to belong equally to both partners so long as it was accumulated only under one person's name. It should be noted, however, that debt being under one person's name does not prevent it from being considered a marital obligation, depending on the circumstances of the debt.

However, many married people hold joint credit cards, and with those comes joint credit card debt. For people choosing to divorce, eliminating joint debt can be a key priority to prevent future unpleasant surprises and finalize the financial separation between former spouses. Once the distribution of the debt has been agreed upon in divorce negotiations, joint credit card debt can be transferred to accounts in one name only, or the debt could be paid off during the distribution of marital assets.

How to make the holidays easier after a divorce

Divorced and separated parents in New Jersey and throughout the country may face extra amounts of stress this holiday season. This is because they need to figure out how to create a schedule that allows each parent to see the kids in an equitable manner. Even those who have been divorced for many months or years may struggle to come up with an ideal schedule.

Typically, a divorce or separation will change the way that a parent celebrates the holidays with his or her children. However, the best way to celebrate the holidays is the way that benefits the children the most. Ideally, this will be done in an objective manner without regard for any feelings a parent has about the situation. Parents are encouraged to talk with a therapist or trusted friend about any issues that they have as to not put the child in an awkward situation.

5 things to do when asking your spouse for a divorce

The more you think about divorce, the easier it becomes to wrap your head around the idea of going down this path. It's not something to take lightly, but once you're positive that it's the right decision, it's time to take action.

The first step in getting a divorce is discussing your feelings with your spouse. For many people, this is more difficult than the actual process itself.

A post-divorce 'nesting" living arrangement can work

It is often said that the decision to divorce is one of the most difficult ones live can bring. For many, the decision is obviously the right one, but the problems come with trying to figure out how to do it with the minimum amount of harm caused to all those concerned. This is especially true when there are children in the marriage. Some New Jersey families are trying a novel approach that may have some benefits.

An immediate issue that requires the couples' attention is the new living arrangement. It may be stressful for the kids and economically burdensome for the parents if two separate households are established right away. Some family and relationship experts now suggest an approach called "nesting" whereby the parents, although divorced, both remain living with the kids in the family home for a temporary period of time. It is designed to give the family a little breathing room at first, but extending the arrangement indefinitely can cause problems.

Common financial mistakes that could make divorce costly

Ending a marriage in New Jersey can be costly in terms of the emotional impact and the time that's involved in making life adjustments. However, divorce can also be literally more costly than anticipated if significant financial mistakes are made. While every situation is unique, there are some common financial oversights that tend to occur more frequently than others.

Retail therapy during the divorce process, for example, may be a good thing if it involves minor indulgences. However, major investments like a new car or home can present some problems since the resulting bills will no longer be shared jointly.

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