Tag Archive for: divorce

The Growing Issue of Cryptocurrency During a Divorce

While cryptocurrency has brought an entirely new group of investors to the world of finance and provided new investment opportunities, it has also made a number of issues more complicated. In particular, divorce can be especially challenging when one party invests a substantial amount of money in cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is naturally harder to track than more conventional types of currency, and if one partner doesn’t even know that they should be looking for cryptocurrency, they could get a smaller share of the marital assets than they deserve.

That’s why it’s important to work with a Charleston divorce attorney with extensive experience in cryptocurrency and other trends that may affect the outcome of your split. Call Pence Law Firm at 304-345-7250 to set up a consultation with our team at your earliest convenience.

Volatile Value

One of the most difficult aspects of cryptocurrency is its constantly fluctuating value. While stocks are also prone to dramatic drops and increases, these types of drastic changes are far more commonplace across the realm of cryptocurrency. This can make it extremely difficult to get a fair valuation on cryptocurrency, as its value during negotiations could be significantly higher or lower than its value when the divorce is finalized. Any massive change in value could require an entirely new division of assets in order to preserve the split of assets previously agreed upon.

Identification and Tracing

In many cases, even identifying and finding cryptocurrency can be a challenge. This is where it’s often helpful to turn to a forensic accountant with experience in cryptocurrency and digital assets. Those who spend a substantial amount of money and time on their cryptocurrency trades may have multiple wallets in which they keep their crypto, which can make it easy to “disclose” some assets while actually having the majority of them stashed away. 

This is especially risky when one partner is heavily into cryptocurrency and the other knows almost nothing about it. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to trade cryptocurrency multiple times in quick succession, which makes it far harder for outside parties to trace the transactions and figure out where the money ultimately ended up.

Disclosure and Hidden Cryptocurrency

The novelty of cryptocurrency means that the divorce courts haven’t quite caught up with it. Many individuals are relying on their spouses to do the right thing and disclose their assets, including those they would otherwise not know about—and that is not a risk you want to take when your financial future is on the line. 

If you don’t know that your spouse dabbles in cryptocurrency, there could be tens of thousands of dollars of assets that you don’t even know about. The good news is that those who are into cryptocurrency are often fairly talkative about it, so unless they’ve been trying to hide these assets from you from the very beginning, there’s a good chance you’ll know about their investments.

Division of Cryptocurrency

Fairly dividing cryptocurrency can be a point of contention during a divorce. First, there’s the issue of fair valuation, which we discussed earlier. Second, once you agree upon a split, you have to decide what to do with the cryptocurrency. There’s a very real possibility that the spouse who was previously uninterested in cryptocurrency is still uninterested, and they won’t want to go through the steps of making a wallet and getting set up on a trading platform. However, simply exchanging the cryptocurrency for cash can trigger additional taxes for the party who does the trading, which further complicates the division of assets. 

Offsetting the value of the cryptocurrency with another asset is a common solution. Not only does it allow the crypto-interested partner to keep their cryptocurrency and let it keep growing, but the party without any interest in cryptocurrency can get their share without having to learn an entirely new vocabulary.

Choose Pence Law Firm for Your Divorce

Wondering about how cryptocurrency will affect your divorce and the division of your marital assets? The team at Pence Law Firm can help you explore your options and come up with a plan. Reach out online or call us at 304-345-7250 to set up a consultation with our team of experienced divorce lawyers.

Viewing Divorce as a Growth Experience

No one gets married with a plan to divorce in the back of their mind, but divorce is the reality for nearly half of all American couples. While it’s normal to grieve the end of your marriage and the dreams you had for it, divorce can also be a fresh new beginning. Many people give up parts of themselves to help their marriage survive, and the end of the marriage is a chance to bring those parts back to life.

Learn more about treating divorce as a growth experience, and when you’re ready for help with the legal side of your divorce, call Pence Law Firm at 304-345-7250.

Societal Views on Divorce Have Changed Over Time

While divorce has never been fun, it’s definitely easier now than it used to be. In the past, divorce was viewed as such a grave mistake and dereliction of duty that it essentially ended one’s reputation and future opportunities. Now, since divorce is so common and no one’s forced to stay in a relationship that does not serve them, you won’t even get a surprised look when you tell people you’re divorced. In fact, you’ll likely find new friends who have been in the same boat and know what you’re going through. Not one do you have your already-existing support group, but you can actually use this experience to broaden your social circle.

Divorce as a Vehicle for Self-Discovery

Divorce can be a good way to propel your discovery of yourself. Think about your marriage—what did you give up? It may be hobbies, activities, or interests that your spouse didn’t like, didn’t find appropriate, or simply didn’t prioritize. You may have put your own interests to the side to support your spouse in their endeavors, resulting in a slow loss of self. This is your second chance to figure out what matters to you and how you want to use your life. It doesn’t even have to be hobbies and activities you used to enjoy; you could discover something entirely new to you.

Setting Yourself Up for Emotional Healing and Resilience

As you navigate this path, recognize that healing is not linear. You may feel great one day, only to wake up the next day feeling like you took ten steps back. That is completely normal, and you want to set yourself up with the support you need to get through the tough days. That means being gentle with yourself when you take a step backward or understanding when you need to take a day off to cry and lay on the couch. It may also mean getting the mental health support you need. Divorce is a traumatizing experience, and many people benefit from professional assistance as they work their way through it.

Creating Strong Support Networks

The people in your life likely want to support you during this difficult time. It’s normal to want to work through it on your own; some people even feel ashamed of their divorce and don’t want to let other people in. But turning to the people you trust doesn’t just help you process your divorce more easily—it also strengthens your bond with them and gives you the foundation you need for this next chapter of life. Prioritize your friends and family members and don’t be afraid to call someone when you hit a hurdle in your healing.

Building a Future You Can Look Forward To

Life without a spouse means that you have room to grow and build a life that fits your goals. You don’t have to make any life changes right now; in fact, experts often recommend that you don’t. But you do have time to start brainstorming and thinking about what you want life to look like in five, ten, and twenty years from now. You can also start planning the steps you need to take to make this chapter the best one yet.

Find Out How Pence Law Firm Can Help You

At Pence Law Firm, we are committed to helping people like you work through the challenges of divorce. From the division of assets and spousal support to child custody and child support, we’re here for all of it. Set up your free consultation now by calling us at 304-345-7250 or sending us a message online.

How Inheritances Impact Alimony Payments

In West Virginia, the number of factors affecting spousal support can make it hard for parties on both sides to understand their rights and obligations. This issue becomes even more complicated when you throw an inheritance into the equation. Whether you receive or pay spousal support, find out how an inheritance could change your current agreement. For personalized legal advice regarding your spousal support agreement in Charleston, call Pence Law Firm at 304-407-7852.

When an Inheritance is Received Prior to Divorce

In general, inheritances are considered separate property—even when they are received during a marriage. This may change if the inheritance is commingled. For example, let’s say Spouse A receives $100,000 from an inheritance. They do not put it into a separate account that’s only in their name, instead, they put it into their shared bank account. 

The couple draws on it for years to pay family bills and expenses. At that point, the inheritance may be considered commingled and would be divided accordingly during a divorce. But if it is kept separate, it could still affect spousal support. If a lower-earning spouse has an inheritance, that could decrease the amount of spousal support they receive or eliminate it entirely. If the higher-earning spouse has one, their spouse may receive more in the way of spousal support and the division of marital property.

One topic that comes up from time to time is a promised inheritance. For example, imagine that one spouse is set to receive spousal support. The paying spouse insists that they should not have to pay because the receiving spouse will receive a massive inheritance when their family member dies. The court doesn’t consider future or potential inheritances—it will only look at what is already paid out.

Paying Alimony After Receiving an Inheritance

What if you receive an inheritance after a divorce and you’re currently paying spousal support to your ex? Many people worry at this point that their good fortune could mean giving some of it up to their ex-partner. However, it’s unlikely that an inheritance would put you on the hook for more alimony. If the court were to increase alimony, the payee would need convincing proof that their circumstances changed in a way to require an increase.

Another important factor to consider is what happens if your inheritance is enough to live on and you stop working. Even if you no longer have a standard source of income, you will likely still have to make alimony payments per your court order. When you give up your income willingly, the court knows that you are capable of earning what you made at your previous job, and they do not typically adjust spousal or child support accordingly.

Receiving Alimony After Securing an Inheritance

Depending on the terms of your alimony agreement in West Virginia, your alimony payments may change if you receive an inheritance. Rehabilitative spousal support is intended to help the payee make it until they are financially stable on their own. Generally, that means becoming gainfully employed or marrying someone who can support you. However, if you inherit enough to be financially self-sufficient, your ex may have grounds to ask the court to terminate alimony payments.

This isn’t always the case. Perhaps the court-ordered spousal support in gross, and you are entitled to a certain amount. Instead of paying it in a lump sum, your ex chose to have it divided up over 60 payments. Even if you become self-sufficient in the third year, you’re likely still entitled to the lump sum agreed upon in your divorce. In this scenario, the court may not terminate spousal support payments.

It all comes down to when you inherit, how much you inherit, and the specific language used in your divorce agreement. That’s why it’s important to discuss your situation with a Charleston family law attorney and get advice that fits your needs.

Get Help with Your Post-Divorce Issues Now—Call Pence Law Firm

If you or your ex-spouse have received an inheritance and you’re worried about its effect on spousal support, let the team at Pence Law Firm explain your rights and obligations. To schedule your consultation, just contact us online or call us at 304-407-7852.

Navigating the Complexities of Divorce and Pensions

The division of assets can be a challenging part of your West Virginia divorce, particularly if you and your spouse have pensions or retirement accounts. These are often among the most valuable assets a couple has to divide, so they can be the subject of bitter disputes. If you or your spouse have a pension to split, learn what to expect and what your options are.

Having the right legal counsel during your divorce can make a significant difference in the outcome. Call Pence Law Firm at 304-407-7852 to set up a consultation with our team right away.

The Division of Marital Assets in West Virginia

As is the case with most states, West Virginia is an equitable distribution state. Rather than assuming that all property acquired during a marriage will be split down the middle during a divorce, the principle of equitable distribution aims to split up property in a way that is fair to both parties. A number of factors are considered in these decisions, such as both parties’ earning ability, separate assets they may own, and their contributions to the marriage. Since West Virginia is an equitable distribution state, your pension could be split up in any number of ways, depending on what you agree upon.

Issues to Consider with Pensions

Compared to other types of assets, pensions can be fairly complicated. It’s not as easy as splitting it down the middle and giving part to each spouse. The value of a pension may fluctuate, and pensions also have different structures. For example, a defined benefit plan gives the recipient a set monthly amount after their retirement. However, defined contribution plans may fluctuate in value, depending on the investments chosen. These can be much harder to divide. Finally, you have to consider government pensions, which are generally bound by strict laws and regulations that further complicate this process.

There are several ways you may choose to divide a pension during a divorce—we’ll explore some of those options in greater detail.

Splitting Up the Pension

Pension sharing is a popular option for those who want a clean break after a divorce. With a QDRO—or qualified domestic relations order—the person receiving part of the pension must then transfer their share into their own retirement account. If they do not roll the funds into another retirement account, they may be hit with a heavy financial penalty. 

The amount that is up for division depends on how long the pension has been accumulating and the length of the marriage. If the partner who earned the pension started there before getting married, at least part of the pension will not be subject to division. If they were married for the entirety of their career, the entire pension may be subject to division.

Offsetting Pension Shares

It’s common for the person who earned the pension to want to keep it in its entirety. Pensions can be incredibly valuable, as they often grow in value the longer you remain with a workplace. If the person who owns the pension does not want to split it, they may choose to compensate the other party by offsetting their share of the pension. For example, if they agree on the other party receiving $100,000 of the pension, the person who owned the pension may instead give up $100,000 of their share of the marital home to account for that loss. This way, they do not actually have to break up the pension and diminish its value.

Regardless of how you decide to split up a pension, securing a fair valuation is crucial. While some types of pensions are easy to value, others change with time and with changes in the stock market. Both parties benefit from a fair valuation from a qualified professional.

Get the Legal Support You Deserve with Pence Law Firm

Divorce is never easy, but the right legal team can streamline the process and help you move forward. At Pence Law Firm, we help divorcing individuals all over the Charleston area prepare for their next steps in life. To find out how we can help you, call us at 304-407-7852 or send us a message online.

Understanding QDROs and the Division of High Value Retirement Accounts

In many divorces, the division of assets is the most complex and time-consuming part of the entire process. It’s especially hard in long marriages where both partners have built up assets and completely intermingled their financial futures. Retirement accounts can be particularly challenging to divide, due to their significant value and their propensity for growth. The use of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders can streamline the division process and ensure that the divorcing couple doesn’t incur any unexpected penalties or taxes.

If you’re preparing for divorce in Charleston, working with an experienced divorce attorney can save you time, money, and stress. Set up a consultation with Pence Law Firm now by calling us at 304-407-7852.

What is a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a legal order that specifies the way in which pensions and retirement plans are divided during a divorce. This is due to the fact that you often cannot simply withdraw from your retirement account and give your ex-spouse the amount they’re entitled to under your divorce agreement. 

Early withdrawals from retirement accounts can result in heavy penalties and taxes. In this situation, you aren’t taking from your retirement account to use it prior to retirement—you are just giving your ex-spouse what they are entitled to. For that reason, you want to protect the value of your accounts and avoid mishaps by using a QDRO. Furthermore, both state and federal laws have specific rules about how retirement funds can and cannot be accessed. A QDRO ensures that your division of these accounts is compliant with all relevant laws.

When a QDRO Is and Isn’t Required

While a QDRO is a useful tool in a divorce, it isn’t always necessary. It’s crucial to work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can use the right tools and legal orders to streamline your division of assets. In general, accounts that are governed by the ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) do require a QDRO. Per ERISA, retirement interests can be split up only if there is a judgment, decree, or order that can be considered a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. If your retirement account is from an employer-provided retirement plan, there’s a good chance you’ll need a QDRO to split it up without legal or financial issues.

However, there are retirement accounts that do not require a QDRO. In these situations, you can split up your retirement account as long as it is specified in your divorce agreement. Retirement accounts not requiring a QDRO include IRAs, some government retirement plans, and some specific types of pensions and annuities. However, there are rarely hard and fast rules when it comes to money and divorce, so it’s best to discuss your specific accounts with an attorney.

Note that whether or not your accounts require a QDRO, the money transferred between spouses will likely need to be handled in a very specific way to avoid financial penalties. For example, an IRA must be divided up in the divorce decree. The funds that are transferred must then be transferred into the receiving spouse’s own IRA. If the receiving spouse simply takes their share in cash and holds onto it, they will likely owe federal income taxes on it and pay a 10% penalty.

Determining Each Party’s Share

A big part of this is determining what each spouse is entitled to during divorce. Much depends on when the account was created and when money was added to it. If one spouse came into the marriage with money in their retirement account, that amount may be considered a separate asset. However, the rest may then be subject to division. If the entirety of the account was earned while the couple was married, the whole account will likely be subject to division.

Plan for Your Divorce with Pence Law Firm

Divorce can be complicated, and you’re bound to have lots of questions. When you choose Pence Law Firm, you’ll have quick access to experienced attorneys who are ready to help you with your West Virginia divorce. Get started now by calling us at 304-407-7852 or reaching out to us on our website. We’ll get your free consultation scheduled and start planning.

Divorce and Your Children’s College Funding

Figuring out your divorce is one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through. Not only do you have to consider your and your children’s immediate needs, but you also have to plan for needs that are still years away. For example, college funding—the cost of college has risen far more quickly than pay levels in recent decades, forcing parents to save an ever-larger portion of their income to pay for their children’s education if they don’t want them to rely on student loans. Figuring out who’s responsible for what is especially hard during a divorce.

Wondering how to protect your children’s best interests as you negotiate your divorce? Choose the team at Pence Law Firm for your divorce case. Give us a call at 304-345-7250 to set up a consultation with our team of Charleston divorce attorneys.

Negotiations During Divorce

A big part of your divorce is negotiating. You’ll negotiate everything from the family home and your retirement accounts to child custody and child support.

You may wonder how paying for college plays into that. Some states do require parents to fund their children’s post-secondary education as part of their divorce agreement. However, West Virginia is not one of those states. You cannot demand extra money in child support to cover college expenses, nor is either party required to contribute to their children’s college expenses.

However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any options. Almost anything can be negotiated in divorce, and if your children’s college plans are a top priority for you, you can advocate for them. Be aware that you may have to give up other assets or make other sacrifices if you want your ex-partner to contribute to your children’s college fund. For example, you may agree to a smaller share of the marital assets or take less money in alimony to ensure that your children’s educational needs are met.

Saving for College for Your Children

There are several different ways you can contribute to your children’s college accounts. One popular option is 529 plans. These types of college savings accounts have tax benefits, and they can only be accessed for approved educational expenses. This protects both parties from unauthorized withdrawals and ensures that the child can only access the money for their college needs. In many cases, both parents make contributions throughout their little one’s childhood to get the account to where it needs to be by graduation. But if one partner outlearns the other by a significant amount, it may make sense for one parent to pay for college in its entirety.

Legal Concerns

Divorce is rarely easy, but with a little bit of planning and patience from both parties, you can navigate these issues with minimal stress. First, do your best to keep the lines of communication open. You both want what is best for your children, it’s just a matter of coming to an agreement about what that means.

It’s best to protect yourself from every possible negative outcome in scenarios like this. For example, some divorcing couples opt to create a joint savings account to which they both contribute money for their children’s college. This may make sense to you if you believe you can trust your ex-spouse not to touch it. That doesn’t change the fact that legally, both parties can withdraw from the account at any time. Right now, you trust your ex-spouse not to misuse your child’s money—but you never want to find yourself in the position of checking on your child’s college account and finding it empty. Contributing to a fund that can only be accessed by the child for educational purposes is the best way to protect everyone involved.

You should also be aware that college savings agreements require additional communication with your ex-spouse. If you’re in a high-conflict divorce and you want to limit communication as much as possible, a college savings account may just be another way for your ex to contact you.

Protect Your and Your Children’s Future with Pence Law Firm

When you’re ready to move forward with your divorce, make sure you have an attorney you can trust. The team at Pence Law Firm is committed to helping you plan for the next chapter of your life. Call us at 304-345-7250 or reach out online to set up a consultation now.

Dealing With the Holidays After a Divorce

The aftermath of a divorce is incredibly painful, and it’s even harder during the holidays. If this is your first holiday season since getting divorced, you may be wondering how you can navigate this time with minimal stress and sadness. Although this will likely still be a hard time of year, with a little bit of preparation you can make the most of this year.

If you’re still in the midst of figuring out your divorce, don’t tackle it alone. Let the team at Pence Law Firm support you. Call us at 304-345-7250 to set up a consultation with our Charleston divorce team right away.

Preparing Yourself Emotionally

First, it’s important to prepare yourself emotionally for the roller coaster you’re likely to experience this holiday season. It’s completely normal to feel nostalgic about holiday memories with your ex-spouse, the traditions you shared as a family, and the decorations you purchased together. It’s also normal for that to swing to grief and depression as you realize that holidays won’t look like that anymore. 

What’s important is that you give yourself space to feel all of these emotions and let them pass through you naturally. Trying to force the negative emotions down or only allowing the positive emotions to come to light is a sure way to make the holidays even more painful.

Basically, the goal is to have realistic expectations for what this holiday season will look like. Recognize that it will probably not be your favorite year, but that happier years do lie ahead. All you have to do is get through this one, make it as memorable as you can for your children, and give yourself grace.

Reviewing Your Court Documents

Before you get too deep into your holiday plans, make sure you know exactly what your legal rights and obligations are this year. It’s common for ex-spouses to rotate holidays with their children, so ensure that you know whether you have odd-numbered or even-numbered years. If you have a different arrangement, go over it carefully. It can be challenging when the holidays fall on a weekend because weekend visitation can be a sore subject for newly divorced parents. However, holiday schedules generally override the standard weekend schedule. Looking this over now will prevent misunderstandings later.

Appropriate Communication with Your Ex-Partner

Try to limit communication with your ex-spouse. Even if you have an amicable relationship, you don’t want to get bogged down talking about old holiday memories that will leave you sad long after the conversation has ended. Set a standard of friendly, open communication that relates to your children. You should communicate about which gifts the children want and who will get them, as this avoids repeats. 

You can also talk about your holiday plans and ensure that the children get to participate in the events that mean the most to them. If your relationship allows for flexibility, be open to schedule changes that don’t limit your time with your children but do give them the opportunity to attend important events with their other parents.

Establishing New Traditions for Your New Life

This may not feel like a fresh start, but it truly is. This is likely the hardest holiday you’ll have for a very long time, so just do what you must to get through it. Spend some time dreaming about the holiday seasons to come, the memories you hope to make with your children, and the new opportunities that will come your way. This is an excellent time to start thinking about new family traditions you’d like to make part of your holidays moving forward. 

Perhaps a new special meal, community event, or shopping day will become the highlight of your holiday season. There’s room for your children to enjoy their previous holiday traditions, turn them into new ones, and explore fun new things to do with their parents.

Preparing for Divorce? Contact Pence Law Firm

When you choose the team at Pence Law Firm for your divorce, you can feel confident that we’ll advocate for you every step of the way. Explore your legal options now—call our team at 304-345-7250 or reach out online to set up a consultation at our Charleston office.

Can an IRA Be Cashed Out During a Divorce?

You’ll have to make a long list of difficult decisions as you navigate your divorce. A big part of this discussion centers on the division of assets. Retirement assets are often among the most challenging to split, thanks to the immense value they have. Retirement funds have years or even decades left to grow, so you should anticipate some negotiations when it comes to these assets. 

If you have an IRA to split or you’re considering using your IRA to pay for your divorce, here are some things to keep in mind. When you’re ready for more personalized advice regarding your divorce, call Pence Law Firm at 304-345-7250 to set up a consultation.

Using Your IRA to Pay for Divorce

Some people ask this question because they’re looking for a way to pay for their divorce attorney and other fees. It can be tough when you don’t have much in the way of liquid assets—going from one household to two at the same time you’re going from two incomes to one is a huge financial change. However, you may want to explore other options before tapping into your retirement accounts. 

If you are not at least 59 1/2 years old at the time you withdraw from your IRA, it will be considered an early withdrawal. That means you’ll need to pay taxes on the withdrawn amount and a 10% penalty.

That’s a huge loss for your IRA, especially if your IRA isn’t large to begin with—those fees and taxes could wipe out years of gains. On top of that, withdrawing from your IRA to pay for your divorce could complicate the division of assets. There’s a good chance that your IRA will be considered a marital asset and need to be divided accordingly. You may then need to give your ex a greater share of what remains of your IRA to make up for the amount you already withdrew.

Of course, there are cases where you truly have no other option. Even if it means losing some of the value of your IRA, it may be worth cashing out part of it if you have an emergency or have no other funds available.

Dividing Your IRA as Part of Divorce

Like many other states, West Virginia is an equitable distribution state. The assets accrued during the marriage are to be divided in a way that is fair and equitable, which doesn’t necessarily mean splitting things up 50/50. If the division of assets involves transferring part or all of your IRA to your ex-spouse, there are ways to do it that save you from the penalties described above. You don’t want to cash out what you owe and just hand it over. You’ll incur the same taxes and fees we talked about earlier.

The right way to handle the transfer of assets is with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This allows you to transfer retirement funds and certain other assets without taxes or penalties. The person receiving the funds must either transfer them into their own IRA or another qualified retirement fund or risk paying taxes and penalties on what they withdrew. To transfer assets using a QDRO, the details of your division of assets must be outlined in your divorce decree. These aren’t agreements or arrangements you want to make under the table—everything must be done legally and via legally binding agreements.

Factors to Consider

If you will be transferring part or all of your IRA as part of your divorce agreement, there are some factors to consider. First, think about meeting with a financial professional to account for the amount you’re losing. You may need to change your saving or investing strategy to get back on track with your retirement goals. Second, consider alternatives—you may be able to give your spouse another asset of equal value in exchange for keeping your IRA. It all depends on how flexible you are with your retirement accounts.

Discuss Your Legal Options with Pence Law Firm

When you’re facing divorce in Charleston, it’s important to have a strong legal team on your side. Pence Law Firm is here to support you every step of the way. Schedule your free consultation now by calling us at 304-345-7250 or reaching out online.

Adopted Children Might Need Extra Support During Divorce

If you’re facing divorce and trying to figure out what’s best for your children, it’s important to think about the specific needs of each child. When you and your spouse share an adopted child, it’s likely that your child will struggle quite a bit throughout this process. The loss that comes with adoption can often be awakened through the loss of the divorce, and both you and your ex should be prepared to support your child through this time.

There are many factors that may influence how your child responds to your divorce. As you navigate this difficult time, make sure you have the legal support and guidance you need. Call Pence Law Firm at 304-345-7250.

Unique Challenges for Adopted Children

There are several challenges that divorce often brings up for adopted children:

  • Loss and abandonment: Adopted children often have a fear of abandonment and loss, due to the loss of their biological family early in life. Unfortunately, the upheaval of divorce can bring these feelings back to the surface.
  • Instability: Children, and adopted children, in particular, thrive in a stable environment. Divorce is the epitome of an unstable environment. You know that it’s temporary, but to a child, it can feel like their entire world is over. You may see your child act out, regress, or even withdraw from you as they try to process what’s happening.
  • Difficulty with attachment and trust: If the adoption is relatively recent and your child is still figuring out their place in your family, they may experience serious issues with attachment and trust during a divorce. A child who was previously securely attached may suddenly show an anxious attachment style or an avoidant attachment style, making it harder for both parents to bond with them. The child may also stop trusting their parents, making it harder for them to provide support during the divorce.
  • Confusion over loyalty: Children may feel like they have to declare loyalty to one parent during a divorce. This is often seen among adopted children, who may naturally be closer to one parent than the other. It’s crucial to avoid any hint of parental alienation, as the child must be encouraged to maintain a strong relationship with both parents.

Emotionally Supporting Your Adopted Child

Understanding the issues your child may face during this time can put you in a better position to support them as they grieve and heal. Emphasize the need for open communication and allow your child to open up to you—even if what they have to say may be painful or hurtful to hear. Remember that they have no say over what is happening, and it’s natural to feel angry or betrayed.

Protect your child’s routine as much as you can. Even if you’re in a different home, you can allow them to keep their same extracurricular activities, take them to spend time with friends and uphold the traditions you have always shared. Any consistency you can give them during this time can give them a sense of security.

Do your best to reassure your child of your love for them and your ex’s love for them. It may be difficult to talk about your ex in positive terms, but supporting their relationship with your child is truly putting your child’s best interests first. Don’t be surprised if your little one needs more reassurance, cuddles, or affection than usual.

Using Your Resources

You may want to have a therapist lined up before you even tell your child about the divorce. They will undoubtedly have things to work through in the months to come and providing them with support right away will benefit everyone. You may want to look for a therapist with specialized training in working with adopted children and navigating divorce trauma.

Keep learning throughout this time. Learn more about adoption-related trauma, the unique ways divorce can affect adopted children, and the best ways to support your adopted child’s growth and healing.

Facing Divorce? Contact Pence Law Firm Now

With the team at Pence Law Firm, you can work through divorce while giving your children the guidance and help they need. Let us handle the legal aspects of your divorce while you support your family. Set up a consultation with our team of Charleston divorce attorneys by calling us at 304-345-7250 or sending us a message online.

Taking Control of Your Finances After a Divorce

Divorce is a major life event that can derail every aspect of your life while you get it sorted out. Your finances will likely take a significant hit while you work through your split, but that’s temporary. By planning ahead and being honest about your finances, you can take control of your financial situation and plan for life after divorce.

If you’re still reeling from the decision to divorce and you’re not sure what your next step is, it’s time to talk to an attorney who can advocate for you along the way. Call Pence Law Firm at 304-345-7250 to set up a time to talk with one of our experienced attorneys.

Get a Full Picture of Your Financial Situation

This part may be painful, but it is unavoidable if you want to get your money under control. You need an unbiased view of what’s going out, what’s coming in, and what you have left over at the end of each month.

You can start by calculating your sources of income for each month. This obviously includes any income from employment, but may also include child support, alimony, or side gig work. This is where it’s important to be honest—if your ex-spouse is ordered to pay $1,000 in child support but has only made two payments in the last six months, it’s wise not to count on that money coming in each month.

You can also keep track of fixed and flexible expenses. Fixed expenses include rent, mortgage, student loans, and other payments that are the same every month. Flexible expenses may include groceries, gas, utilities, and fun money.

In addition to looking at the monthly payments you have to make, create a list of your debts, how much is owed on each account, and your current estimated payoff date. This will be important if you want to pay off your debts more quickly.

Develop a Realistic Budget

You already have the framework for a budget with your list of income sources and expenses. Now you can tweak it to fit your life a little better. Perhaps you have three streaming services on your expenses list and you know for a fact you only watch one. You can cut the other two and trim them from your budget. 

Maybe looking at the numbers made you realize that you’ve been dipping into savings every month and you need to cut back on discretionary spending. Your budget should account for monthly expenses, as well as those that pop up occasionally or annually—for example, vehicle registration, vehicle repairs, home repairs, and vet visits. Ensure that you are making contributions to savings, so you have an emergency fund.

Leverage Assets and Account for Liabilities

If you were granted a share of marital assets in the divorce, you may have what you need to improve your financial situation. If you took ownership of an investment property, consider finding ways to make more money from it—perhaps your ex-spouse hadn’t increased rent in five years, and the current rent is far below market value. Maybe making a few small updates would drastically increase what you bring in each month.

This is also a good time to look into insurance policies. Your needs as a divorced person may not be quite the same as the needs of a married person. You might be able to trim back some of your policies and add the money you save to your monthly budget.

Take some time to plan for the debts you were left with after the divorce. While you can make minimum payments until everything is paid off, you may want to come up with a more aggressive repayment plan.

Think About Future Plans

Whether your goals are preparing for retirement, funding your children’s college accounts, or starting a new business, don’t put those plans off for “someday.” If you’re already in the middle of financial planning, make space for those goals in your current plans.

Navigate Your Divorce with the Help of Pence Law Firm

Divorce is never easy, but having a compassionate and experienced attorney by your side can help you minimize the stress you face. Schedule a consultation with our team now by contacting us online or calling us at 304-345-7250.