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Child custody exchanges can be dangerous for some people

In some South Carolina families who share custody of their children, child custody exchanges have the potential to be very volatile. It is important for people to remember that fighting in front of their children with their children's other parent is never in the best interests of the children.

While most exchanges of children happen without incident, they are filled with conflict for some people. Parents sometimes get into arguments about such issues as child support, parenting and school during child custody exchanges. In some cases, the arguments escalate to name-calling, pushing and hitting. There have been incidents in which parents have been shot by the other parent or by the other parent's new partner.

Mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce in January

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, up to 30 percent more couples tend to seek a divorce in January after the holidays have ended. For South Carolina residents who are thinking about doing so, there are some mistakes that they should avoid making.

People should never file for divorce out of anger. Instead, they should treat a divorce as a business deal. Being emotional and aggressive can result in an overly combative situation, which means not only a contentious divorce, but when lawyer fees are considered, a more expensive one than it would have been otherwise.

New regulations for inmate child support issued

After South Carolina courts have issued child support orders, some parents who are ordered to pay end up being incarcerated after committing criminal offenses. When inmates are in prison, they make very little money. Consequently, many inmates who have child support orders leave prison facing substantial amounts of delinquent child support debts.

On Dec. 19, the Obama administration issued new regulations that are aimed at reducing the amounts of child support debts that inmates face. The administration is attempting to do so because of the potential of reincarceration. The rules require that the states let inmates file motions to have their child support payment amounts reduced while they are in prison. Many states view incarceration as a form of voluntary unemployment and do not allow reductions based on it.

Retirement benefits possible even decades after divorce

Social Security rules contain provisions for ex-spouses that allow for the payout of benefits even decades after a divorce. People who had been married for at least 10 years may be missing out on retirement funds by not investigating their benefits compared to those of their ex-partner. Claiming benefits after a divorce requires meeting certain criteria. The formulas determining the benefit totals are complex as well.

Besides the minimum 10 years of marriage, claims on an ex-spouse's work record also require the claimant to be unmarried at the time it is file. In one example, a divorced woman who later remarried may claim benefits on her first husband's marriage as long as her second marriage ended in divorce, annulment or death. The minimum age for claiming benefits is still 62, and the maximum payout requires waiting for full retirement age. .

How divorced parents can compromise if one relocates

One problem a divorced South Carolina parent might run into is the other parent moving to be closer to a new partner. Even if the parent makes an effort to not move too far away, there still may be an additional commuting burden for the other one. The situation may worsen if the parent dislikes the new partner and does not like the child spending time with them. However, the first thing parents must do in a situation like this is set aside their own conflicts and focus on what is best for the child.

The parent who has moved might need to take steps to help integrate the child into the new community. The parent who has not moved may have to give up the desire to see the child's extracurricular activities largely happen nearby. It may also be necessary to compromise on scheduling. There may even be changes in child support as well.

Children benefit from child support agreements

Studies show that single-parent households are more likely to be poor than households with two parents. Receiving child support can help a single parent with expenses, but the number of parents receiving child support is on the decline. Just 49 percent of parents in 2014 had a formal child support agreement in place. This was down 11 percentage points from the numbers a decade earlier. Single South Carolina parents may want to consider getting a formal child support agreement because experts say that children in single-parent households benefit from receiving child support in a number of ways.

There is a link between parents who pay support, usually the fathers, and the amount of time that parent spends with the child. Children benefit from more time with both parents. Child support also means less stress for the custodial parent, and this means a better environment for the child.

Why more younger people want prenups

While there is sometimes a negative stigma attached to prenuptial agreements, there are many reasons that any couple might need one before tying the knot. South Carolina residents might like to know about a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers that found that millennials are entering into one comparatively frequently.

Slightly more than half of the 1,600 AAML members that were surveyed said that more millennials were asking for prenups than before, and 62 percent of members thought that this change happened within the last three years. Prenups help protect individual property acquired before a marriage. Since people tend to marry at older ages than before, millennials have time to accumulate some wealth that they may wish to keep safe with a prenup.

How to handle changes in custody and visitation

Parents in South Carolina who are getting a divorce may face a number of issues regarding visitation, custody and child support in the years ahead. One common situation is that the noncustodial parent may start to want more time with their children. This parent should not withhold child support in an effort to make this happen. Instead, talking with the other parent and pursuing a modification in court is the right approach.

In fact, there are a number of issues that are best handled by negotiating. Common problems include one parent being consistently late for visitation, disagreements regarding religion and education, and one parent feeling as though they are shouldering the bulk of many child care duties despite only having joint physical custody.

In divorce, student loan debt may be divided

When South Carolina couples get a divorce, if one of them has student loan debt, both may end up responsible for paying it off. In general, student loan debt that dates from before the marriage is not considered shared property and will remain the responsibility of the person who originally took it out, but student loans that were incurred by either spouse after the couple were married may be considered shared debt along with things like credit card debt and mortgages.

One way to prevent this may be with a prenuptial agreement. Such an agreement can outline how debt will be handled in the event of a divorce, but people who are marrying often do not want to discuss this possibility. However, couples should always talk frankly about how much debt they are bringing into the relationship.

Expenses a judge might not consider in child support orders

After North Carolina parents go through a divorce, one may begin paying child support to the other. A child support agreement is either negotiated outside of court or ordered by a judge. A judge who makes a ruling on child support will consider the parents' combined incomes and the child's monthly expenses.

A judge will not include every single monthly expense that a child incurs in a child support order, and many items that a custodial parent might consider to be essential are referred to as 'extras" in family law. Some of the extras not covered by child support include the costs of day care, after-school care and babysitting. While school tuition may be factored into a child support calculation, the costs of school uniforms, school supplies and school photos might not be.