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Barboursville West Virginia Legal Blog

Decide to pay child support with time or with money

At Herrenkohl Law Office, we take pride in the fact that we work hard to achieve our clients' goals. We believe that we are some of the toughest divorce lawyers in West Virginia. However, determination alone is not enough to succeed — we also need to truly understand our clients' goals.

If you were going through a divorce, success would be all about what you want. That means you, personally. What is the best situation for your life, right now? Do you want certain items out of your shared property? Do you need certain custody privileges with your children? We know that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions.

Termination of child support

Divorced parents may assume that the child support obligation ends once the child becomes an adult. However, because child support laws vary by state, and there are extenuating circumstances in which the court may either discontinue child support early or extend it past the usual cut-off point, parents in West Virginia should know how the laws apply to their situation.

Generally, the assumption is that once the child becomes 18 years of age (also referred to as the age of majority) and/or becomes self-supporting, the parent paying child support can take steps to discontinue it. However, there are some possible exceptions. For example, West Virginia law stipulates that child support payments can continue past the age of 18, but not extend past the age of 20, if the child a full-time student in good standing in a secondary educational or vocational program, provided that the child resides with a parent or guardian and remains unmarried. In cases where the child has special needs, the court may make an exception and extend child support past the age of majority.

The facts on annulment in West Virginia

Some residents of the Mountain State have probably heard of the concept of annulment. Married couples that are facing a failing marriage may wonder if they can get their marriage annulled, or they may think annulling a marriage is no different than a divorce. While some married couples in West Virginia can get an annulment, it is not the same as divorce and will not be available to everyone who is married.

A simple way to understand the difference between a divorce and an annulment is to think of when problems with the marriage had started. As Findlaw explains, a divorce stems from problems that occur during the marriage itself. These problems can include adultery, financial mismanagement, abuse, a lack of trust between spouses, or if the spouses simply grow apart. By contrast, a marriage can be annulled if there is an issue with the actual formation of the marriage. In other words, the two spouses should not have married in the first place.

How is child custody decided?

If you are getting a divorce and have children, then you will have to figure out custody arrangements. If you and your spouse cannot decide these arrangements on your own, then the court will get involved. When the court makes custody decisions, as explained by the West Virginia Legislature, they do so based on what is in the best interests of the child.

The best interests of a child means that the decision will provide the most stability for the child. It will ensure the child has time with both parents that allows for the cultivation of good relationships. In addition, the court wants to be sure that whoever is awarded custody has the ability to take care of all the child's needs and can protect the child from harm of any kind.

What is the process to adopt in West Virginia?

If you are ready to take the steps required to adopt a child in West Virginia, then it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process. Adoption does not happen overnight.

The state is about to entrust you with the well-being of a child, so it wants to be sure you are ready and able to offer proper care. This means you must go through some steps before you bring your new child home as part of your family.

Is it worth it to hire a divorce attorney?

Unless you happen to possess professional negotiating experience, odds are that you may end up in over your head if you are headed for divorce court alone. You might fear you are about to lose a lot in the divorce anyway, so why spend money to hire an attorney? The answer is because a West Virginia divorce attorney will know what you are in for and how to help you come out of the divorce with more than you expected.

As the Huffington Post points out, divorce attorneys are likely to have prior experience with similar cases as yours, so they can provide legal options that you may not have even known about. The attorney you choose may have already presented cases before the judge that is presiding over your divorce and knows what the judge will and will not accept. The attorney can counsel you against making settlements that will not pass muster in court and wasting time, money and paperwork in the process.

How your use of social media can impact your divorce

If you, like so many across West Virginia, are working through an impending divorce, you may find that your life has changed dramatically from what is was several weeks, months or even years ago. Often, people who are navigating their way through a divorce find that they rely more on social media, whether for entertainment, to make new connections or what have you. If you are not careful when doing so, however, the things you say and do online may come back to haunt you. At Herrenkohl Law Office, we understand how your use of social media can negatively impact your divorce, and we have helped many clients work their way through separations, divorces and a range of related issues.

Per Prevention, one way in which your use of social media may impact your divorce is that your posts could potentially come into play when determining alimony arrangements, child custody decisions and so on. Therefore, it is typically wise to consider taking a “less is more” approach to your use of social media throughout your divorce. Hold off on checking in at a restaurant with someone who might be seen as a romantic interest, and think twice before posting pictures of a dream vacation or other major purchase.

Getting ready for one of the biggest decisions in your life

At Herrenkohl Law Office, we know that the child custody portion of a divorce is the first priority of many people in West Virginia. Our clients' children are almost always considered before liquid asset division, real estate decisions or even spousal support agreements. 

It is no surprise that our clients place their loved ones above material matters. However, in the context of a divorce, a balanced approach is often better than focusing entirely on one aspect. The family unit and the communal property of the marriage are intertwined legally in ways that are sometimes difficult even for family court judges to understand. Changing one aspect often affects the others in unexpected ways.

What you need to know about marital assets

Not all marriages in West Virginia last for a lifetime. For any number of reasons, some couples decide to just call it quits. Inevitably, many divorcing couples will worry about how their assets will be divided. This is where the concept of marital assets come in. Married couples should know what marital assets are and how they may be split in the event of a divorce.

Forbes describes marital assets as assets and property that are accumulated by a couple during marriage. This includes property the couple owns, such as a house, or vehicles like automobiles and boats. Marital assets can also include a bank account held in the names of both spouses, or investments in financial portfolios. Conversely, separate assets are those assets only owned by one spouse. Typically, separate assets are acquired before the marriage, but spouses can still acquire separate assets during marriage if those assets are not co-mingled with existing marital property.

Don't face divorce barriers alone

West Virginia has some beautiful scenery; rivers, mountains and more. While marvelous to encounter when the view is what you seek, those same vistas can be scary in unexpected circumstances. They can be faced and overcome, but most experts would urge against trying to do that alone.

In this blog post, we want to offer the view that the same holds true when it comes to couples facing divorce. Divorce is very much part of the fabric of everyday life today, but that does not mean it is easy. Just the thought of divorce can trigger extreme emotions. Add tensions that can arise while addressing individual family issues and it's easy to begin feeling like you are alone against Spruce Mountain.

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