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Craig E. Gibbs, Attorney at Law - Criminal, Family Law, Attorney
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Money may increase a couple's chance of divorce

For those who don't have it, or more precisely don't have enough of it, money can seem like a cure to all the world's ills. For those who have experienced how damaging is the blind pursuit of it and the excesses it can lead to, money may truly be considered the root of all evil. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Many married couples have sufficient resources and do not have difficulty paying their bills. Financial observers report that where both work and contribute to the economic stability of the household, they fare better in keeping the marriage on track. Where one of the pair is the primary breadwinner, traditionally the man but not always, there is often more stress on that individual in the form of long hours at work and perhaps extensive travel. That is not a good formula for an enduring relationship.

What do you need to know if charged with domestic violence?

It can be overwhelming and confusing to face criminal charges or allegations of criminal behavior of any kind. Your future and freedom are on the line, and it is in your interests to know how to protect yourself and build a strong defense. This is especially true for Louisiana individuals facing domestic violence charges.

Domestic violence allegations can have immediate repercussions on your life. Meaning, a protective order can go into effect immediately, which may mean you cannot go home, see your kids and do other things. It is smart to take quick action to defend yourself and shield your future interests.

Gray divorce and protecting retirement

Louisiana residents who are at least 50 years old and are thinking about getting a divorce may be concerned about how it may affect their retirement. However, there are steps they can take that can mitigate how much harm a divorce may have on their financial security for retirement.

Before they make any financial decisions, older divorcing adults should be aware of the tax implications. It is important that they know what they have in pretax and post-tax assets and how those assets are likely to be taxed throughout the years.

What happens after the cop pulls you over?

Let's say you've just finished dining out with friends and are on your way home, happy to have spent a lovely evening with people you care about, when you see a police car with flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. You immediately get a pit in your stomach because the last thing you need is a speeding ticket or some other type of citation.  

Since you're not sure why the cop is pulling you over, you figure you should comply as swiftly and safely as possible, hoping that your cooperation prompts the officer in question to speak a few words of warning, then tell you you're free to go without further repercussion. However, if the officer approaches your window and asks you to get out of your car, you can bet that the next request will be for you to take a field sobriety test.  

Reasons for considering a prenuptial agreement

Many people who are contemplating getting married in Louisiana wonder if they should sign a prenuptial agreement. The purpose for getting a prenup is to determine what each party will get in the event of a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, property is divided according to state law.

Many people choose to get prenuptial agreements for financial reasons, especially if they know that their partner has a lot of debt or excessive spending habits. A prenup can help save time and money in the future if one party files for divorce because both parties already know how assets will be divided before they meet with attorneys or spend time in court.

Getting married on Valentine's Day may not be wise

Louisiana residents and others who focus too much on the date that they get married may be focusing on the wrong thing. According to research from Melbourne University, it isn't always the best idea to get married on Valentine's Day or any day that looks cute when read in numerical format. This is reportedly because those who chose these types of dates tended to care more about the wedding than the marriage itself.

According to the study, 11 percent of couples who participated were divorced within five years of their wedding. Within nine years, 21 percent of couples in the study had split apart. Of course, getting married on a specific date doesn't mean that the marriage is doomed. In some cases, it can be a good idea to pick a date when school is out of session or when it may be more affordable to have the wedding ceremony.

Facing alcohol-related problems in Louisiana?

When you celebrated your birthday at age 21, festivities might have included your first "legal" drink of alcohol. In fact, many families consider it a special birthday custom for parents to imbibe with a son or daughter who has come of age. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that idea, it can be problematic for those who are prone toward addiction.  

Alcohol consumption can lead to all sorts of problems if you struggle with substance abuse or suffer a lapse in judgment when it comes time to decide whether or not to get behind the wheel of a car to drive after you've been drinking. You could not only be placing your own and other people's safety at risk, you can also wind up facing drunk driving charges. If alcohol issues have thrown your life off-course, you'll be glad to know there are strong support networks in place to help you get back on track. 

Facing cocaine-related drug charges?

The state of Louisiana does not treat drug crimes lightly. If you find yourself facing drug charges, it could affect your personal and professional life if a conviction is achieved in your case.

While law enforcement officials arrest individuals who possess all manner of drugs, cocaine is said to be one of the most heavily trafficked in Louisiana. For this reason, the penalties associated with possession, sales and trafficking are quite severe.

Tax reforms mean changes in divorce for 2019

Louisiana couples who are getting a divorce will need to be aware of the effects property division and other financial elements will have on their taxes. They should also know that for divorces that are finalized after 2018, tax reform means that there will be some changes compared to previous years.

One of the biggest changes concerns alimony. For decades, alimony has been taxable to the recipient and tax-deductible for the payer. This will change for divorces that are finalized in 2019. It is unclear what effect this will also have on prenuptial agreements that address the issue of alimony including those written with the assumption that alimony would be taxed in the traditional way. The tax reforms will also affect how businesses can be valued, and people should make sure that this valuation is made to their benefit.

Complex retirement account decisions accompany gray divorces

Divorces among people over age 50, also known as gray divorces, have become increasingly common since the 1990s. People in Louisiana who have been married for a long time and perhaps have acquired substantial assets could encounter many issues when splitting their marital property. Retirement savings plans often raise questions about valuation, and distributions prior to age 59-1/2 could trigger taxes and penalties.

The specific rules governing the division of employer pensions vary. A financial professional will likely need to examine the terms of the plan and determine its current value. This process could take weeks or months. The value of a 401(k) might be easier to determine, but people should check to see if their former spouses have taken any loans out against the balances before making decisions about how to split the money. Both of these retirement plans also require a court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order before funds can be distributed to an ex-spouse. The court order could also enable someone below retirement age to avoid the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. Tax law allows exemptions from the penalty under certain circumstances, such as someone buying a home after a divorce.

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Craig E. Gibbs, Attorney at Law
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