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Lincoln Legal Issues Blog

How child support orders are enforced

If a Nebraska parent fails to pay child support as ordered, enforcement mechanisms may be used to compel it. In some cases, a person may have his or her wages garnished, pay a fine or have a tax refund seized to fulfill a support obligation. When wages are garnished, they are removed directly from a parent's paycheck before he or she receives it.

As much as 60 percent of a person's wages may be used to pay back child support owed. Typically, the jurisdiction that is attempting to collect the support will coordinate with an individual's employer to ensure that the garnishment happens. Fines are generally the result of being held in contempt of court for failing to pay as ordered by a judge. The amount of the fine may be determined by the number of missed payments or the parent's attitude toward paying them.

Preplanning for divorce is financially beneficial

Nebraska couples headed for marriage may want to avoid any consideration of divorce, but continually high divorce rates make such thinking questionable. Some pragmatic couples seeking to protect their assets are implementing safeguards in case their marriages fail as a form of insurance they hope to never use.

While there is a variety of strategies couples can employ to protect themselves and their assets from unforeseen divorce battles, the most commonly known is the careful drafting of a prenuptial agreement signed by both parties. Many people are unaware that the same process can be followed even after marriage. The document is called a postnuptial agreement at that point. Other protections include simply maintaining separate accounts. This can be effective but requires strict discipline and recordkeeping from everyone concerned. If individual assets are used for joint purposes, the account can be considered marital property. If joint assets are used to maintain or repair individually titled property, it can also be deemed a joint asset.

Drunk driving charges around the world

Drunk driving is illegal everywhere in the United States, but Nebraska as well as all other states each have their own specific laws. The laws outside of the U.S. vary, but all are based on the alcohol content in a driver's blood. Penalties upon conviction can depend on how far over the legal limit the driver was, and whether it was a first or a repeat offense.

Every state in the U.S. has the same legal alcohol limit, but some places in the world have stricter limits, and some have zero tolerance laws that make it illegal for people to drive with any with alcohol in their blood system at all. In the U.S., the United Kingdom and Switzerland the legal limit is .08 percent. For people under 21 in the U.S. the limit is .02 percent in many states, while some states have zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. Though the legal drinking age varies by country, most countries have lower limits for underage drivers than for adults who are over the legal drinking age.

Plan early for post-divorce finances

Divorcing Nebraska couples may anticipate the signing of the final divorce decree like it is the finish line to a marathon. While reaching the final agreement and getting a court order is a major milestone, there is more to the journey into singlehood. When a judge signs a decree, it is analogous to a general issuing marching orders to be carried out by others with the specter of punishment if disregarded. In order to fully implement the plan for property division and for the parties to protect themselves financially, there are a few key things to address before reaching the actual divorce finish line.

It is prudent to come up with an action plan for implementing the decree prior to signing it. The plan should designate exactly what is to be done by whom. For example, if the home must be sold, someone has to hire a realtor. If retirement plans are to be divided, someone has to contact plan administrators. A small but potentially beneficial thing is to consider automatic bank transfers for child support or alimony payments. This can help limit overdrafts or late payments that have a ripple effect including late fees and impaired credit.

Seeking revenge only hurts kids in divorce court

Nebraska parents going through a divorce might be tempted to use the legal system to get revenge against a cheating spouse, but paying lawyers to fight gets expensive and may not be emotionally beneficial in the long run. The idea of airing grievances and publicly embarrassing a disappointing partner can be appealing, but it is a mistake that can cost everyone involved a lot more than money.

There are plenty of reasons why leveraging the courts to exact revenge is not recommended, but perhaps the most resonant one when kids are involved is that harming a parent usually harms children too. The marriage may be ending, but the parental relationship goes forward, so inflicting emotional and economic harm upon the parent has some impact on the children. It can also complicate matters if a child sees one parent treating the other unfairly. Children should not be forced to pick sides in a divorce, and the quest for revenge puts them in an awkward and unhealthy place.

What to know about getting divorced young

For some young couples in Nebraska, getting married feels like the right thing to do. However, there can be some unique challenges faced by those who also get divorced at a young age. Those who are in their 20s when they get divorced may not have anyone to talk to who can relate to what they are going through.

However, one upside to getting divorced at a younger age is that it often happens prior to having children or developing significant shared assets. Millennials are also more likely to have a prenuptial agreement, which can make the divorce process easier. As a general rule, fewer people are getting divorced before age 30 because they are choosing to wait longer before getting married. In 2016, the median age for a man to get married was 29.5 years while the median age for women was 27.4 years.

Tax law changes could inspire faster divorces

The tax law enacted in December 2017 could be leading a number of Texas couples into ending their marriages more quickly. Approximately 800,000 American couples seek a divorce each year, and a provision in the law that could make spousal support payments more expensive could produce more filings in 2018. The provision will go into effect in 2019.

Divorce lawyers have reported an uptick in calls to their offices as people decide to move forward with formalizing their plans before the changes to the tax code. Especially for divorcing spouses with significant financial assets, the impact could be significant. Under the current system, people who pay alimony can deduct them, which can provide a significant assist to an overall tax burden.

Tech industry divorces can be complex

The end of a marriage is always a challenging time for people in Nebraska. Divorce brings with it a number of personal and emotional difficulties, and ending a marriage with many years behind it or children involved can be a heavy burden. However, the complexities of divorce are not only related to emotions. High asset divorces can be replete with complex financial issues that require significant work to provide proper valuation and ongoing negotiations to secure a fair outcome in a divorce settlement. One sector for a number of complex, high asset divorces has been the tech industry and its start-up culture.

As the U.S. tech industry has a strong focus on innovation, individual development and entrepreneurship, the creation of small, independent start-up companies has been a primary way of making it big in the industry. While tech start-ups can be successful beyond many people's wildest dreams, they can also be risky endeavors. It can be difficult to properly assess the value of a start-up company or an invention that has not been fully monetized. In asset division during a divorce, this can make start-up valuation particularly challenging.

Attitudes toward domestic abuse common in all fields

Although first responders in Nebraska and around the country are tasked with helping domestic abuse victims, they may actually make victims feel worse about their circumstances. To see what their attitudes toward domestic violence were, 403 EMTs took a survey conducted by Florida State and University of Windsor researchers. Of those who responded, 33 percent said that domestic violence is a normal response to daily stress.

Another 21 percent said that abused women actually enjoy being abused. Finally, 46 percent of respondents said that there was nothing that could be done if an abuse victim didn't disclose the abuse. The researchers said that they weren't surprised by the results of the study. One said that the views expressed in the survey tend to be broadly held throughout society. This may discourage victims from seeking help as they may feel judged or as if what happened was their fault.

Abuse takes many forms

There are many ways in which Nebraska residents may be abused by a partner or spouse. The most well-known form is physical abuse, which can include hitting, slapping or strangling another person. In some cases, physical abuse entails the damaging of personal property as well. An individual can also be sexually abused by a partner. This may include actions that cause physical pain to a victim.

Furthermore, sexual abuse might entail being forced to engage in sexual activity of some kind with other people. If a partner sabotages birth control or some kind of sexual protection, that could be a form of sexual abuse as well. Those who are forbidden from working by their partners may be victims of financial abuse. This could include being physically harmed to the point where the injuries make it impossible to work. A partner may also inflict financial abuse on another person by taking control of their assets or trying to ruin a credit score.