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When unmarried parents split, custody poses extra challenges

Like everywhere else, couples in North Carolina often establish a household, share parenting responsibilities, set up joint accounts, and make retirement plans. And they might not marry.

If they separate, reasonably straightforward North Carolina laws guide how the couple can negotiate division of assets. But what about child custody, support, visitation and decisions about the child’s education, health, travels and everything else?

Should I let my spouse keep the house?

If you are like a lot of divorcing spouses in North Carolina, you and your partner own a house together. What has been your family home may now be turning into just an asset on paper and the future ownership of that asset needs to be determined. It is understandable when one person wants to keep the house after a divorce, especially if you have children together. Allowing the kids to stay in their home can provide some stability for them.

However, The Mortgage Reports recommends that you be prudent before allowing your spouse to keep your home after your divorce. The only way this should be done is if your name can be completely removed from the loan or any other financial obligation related to the property. Lenders will always look at whose names are on the mortgage to determine who they can pursue for repayment. Missed or late payments will appear on the credit reports for any party named on a loan, even if a divorce decree indicates only one person is responsible for the mortgage.

Understanding secured and unsecured credit

There are many residents in North Carolina who find themselves facing levels of debt that they are unable to keep up with. For many of these consumers, a personal bankruptcy offers an opportunity to be free of unmanageable debt and get a fresh financial start. When choosing the right bankruptcy plan for their situation, a person should understand the two different types of debt - secured and unsecured.

As explained by NextAdvisor, the terms secured and unsecured are from the perspective of the lender. A secured loan, for example, is attached to an asset that can be seized by a creditor if the debt is not repaid. An example of this is an automobile loan where the bank can repossess the vehicle if the debtor fails to make payments. This reduces the level of risk a lender takes when extending credit.

How should I tell other people about my divorce?

Telling friends and family about your divorce can be challenging, even under the best of circumstances. It's natural that you'll want to keep some personal matters within your closest social circle, but at some point, you will need to make a general announcement to others. Psychology Today offers the following tips on how you can break the news. 

No matter what is going on in your life, you can feel free to define the narrative regarding your divorce. This is especially important if you're going through a contentious divorce, which can be mentally and emotionally draining to talk about with all the people in your life. Instead, decide how you want to frame the divorce before going into the conversation and use that language whenever discussing it. Don't feel the need to provide all the salacious details, as this will only make you feel worse. 

3 Tips for Co-Parenting After Divorce

Divorce can be emotionally exhausting for all parties involved. When it’s all said and done, you may think you never have to see or speak to your ex-spouse again. But if you have children, you and your ex will need to figure out how to co-parent effectively.

Even though you may want nothing to do with your ex, co-parenting is for the sake of your children’s emotional and mental wellbeing. Here are some ways to be a successful co-parent:

How Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 differ

Anyone in North Carolina who is contemplating a bankruptcy plan as the answer to their debt needs should first understand the two types of consumer bankruptcy. Each plan, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the Chapter 13 bankruptcy, has its own set of pros and cons for a consumer based upon their unique situation. The two plans operate very differently but both have the potential to give a person a fresh financial future.

As explained by Experian, a Chapter 7 plan is likely the bankruptcy option that most people think about or know about. In this plan, assets may be sold in order to repay some of the debt that a person owes. For this reason, it is often called a liquidation bankruptcy. There are some exemptions so that people may retain some of their belongings based on value amount and category. This type of bankruptcy can often be completed in just a few months. At the end of this time, all of the debts included in the plan are discharged.

What you should know about student loans and bankruptcy

If you are currently struggling under the weight of enormous debt, you are certainly not alone. In cases where debt becomes overwhelming and cannot be repaid, bankruptcy is a reasonable option to consider. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that some debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy – including student loans.

Millions of Americans take out student loans as a sound investment in their future. But despite our best laid plans, the difference between paying back a student loan and defaulting sometimes comes down to luck. When the economy crashed in 2008, recent graduates discovered that their expensive education could not yield a good-paying job in such a tight recession. This means that those who eventually needed to turn to bankruptcy for relief were unable to discharge perhaps their largest source of debt.

How are child custody decisions made?

Some of the biggest concerns divorcing parents tend to have include who will end up with custody of their child and how that decision will be made. Fortunately, parents are encouraged to work together to find an agreeable custody option, and when parents collaborate, they usually have more control over the results.

If you and your spouse have difficulties working together, mediation or arbitration might be appropriate to try. You may even be required to try mediation before your case can be heard by a judge. Courts often favor alternative dispute resolution techniques for child custody matters because when parents collaborate there is usually less stress for the parents and the child. Also, parents tend to know their child best, so they are positioned well to come up with the arrangement that would be in the child’s best interests.

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Gastonia, NC 28052

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