Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

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Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

According to the latest U.S. Census information as recent as 2009, the divorce rate is the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the South. This all comes out of the new report the bureau is now generating, Marital Events of Americans. 2009 was the first year data was collected for this report. This document surveyed Americans 15 and older about marriage, widowhood and divorce.

Divorce rates are lower in the Northeast because people put off first marriages longer and there are less marriages occurring in that region. In the South, more marriages occur so the divorce rate is therefore higher.  The Southern states with the highest divorce rates for men were Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. The Northeastern states with the lowest rates of divorce for men were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Southern states with the highest divorce rates for women were Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Northeastern states with the lowest divorce rates for women were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The report uncovered some other interesting findings. Children of divorced parents were 75% more likely to live with their mother than their father. 28% of Children whose parents divorced in 2009 were more likely to live below the poverty level. 23% of Women were more likely to need public assistance after divorce. 15% of men had a greater chance of needing public assistance. 22% of women who divorced in the last year were more likely to be in poverty, compared to 11% of men.

Previous to this report, information on marriages and divorces was collected at the state level through collecting marriage and divorce certificates. These certificates were passed on to the vital statistics system of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Then in 1996 the NCHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ceased collection of these records. This latest report taken up by the Census Bureau is meant to fill the gap. If you’re going through a divorce and want advice, read the book, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

Should you Google your Date Beforehand?

mid adult man using a laptop

Should you Google your Date Beforehand?

On the one hand, it behooves you to know who your date is before going out with them. If they were say wanted for murder, maybe you wouldn’t want to go out with them. Does that make you an accessory? On the other hand, people have ended relationships solely on what they Googled about the person. Is that fair? Shouldn’t this information be brought forth with context through natural conversation with the person you are dating, and perhaps their friends and family, rather than an impersonal computer and search engine? Isn’t there something lost when we don’t hear it from the person themselves but rather in bits and pieces through social media sites, their blog, and any videos on Youtube or any other websites? Knowing things and hearing things from your date is so much better than judging the person through a third party medium. So should you Google your date beforehand? You should, but reserve your judgment until you get to know the person. Keep it at the back of your mind. But wait for the person to provide context. If it’s something you don’t agree with or don’t understand, why not simply ask the person about it? Get over your aversion to letting them know you Googled them. It’s the modern age. Everyone has the internet. And anyway, it means you are interested enough in them to check them out. How cool is that?

In this vein, here are some rules you can use and think about before Googling your date. First, remember that it’s a mathematical algorithm, not Nostradamus. It can’t tell you exactly anything. All it can do is provide you with some facts and certain points of view. However if you see arrest warrants, mental patient records, outpatient clinic records or something of the like, you may want to mention it to your date. Make sure you meet in public. Googling is something everyone does. It can’t be helped. And it actually means you care about moving forward with this person, and are contentious enough to check them out and protect yourself. Everyone can use a little protection, right? Some people say that the best time to Google someone is when things are already over. That might be true. But why be so shallow? Isn’t it better to leave things cut and dry and move along? Sure a little reflecting now and then is good. But if it’s over and the relationship doesn’t have a chance, what good really is it? Either you are mad because they’ve become successful or found someone else, they are the same, or they are worse and you gloat about it. Whatever path you choose, it isn’t good for you. Google your date, but find out for yourself what kind of person they really are. For more dating advice, read 101 Good Questions to Ask on a Date by M.D. Chuka.

What to do if you think your Spouse has Hidden Assets

Hidden-Assets

There was a woman in California who won $1.8 million in the lottery. She filed for divorce from her husband of 25 years and failed to disclose her windfall. But the husband found out about it and the judge granted him all of her lottery winnings.   Failing to disclose all of your assets during the divorce proceedings in a no-no and you may end up with a far worse judgment than you would have if you were honest. That said, what do you do if you think your spouse has hidden assets that weren’t brought up during the divorce proceedings? One thing you can do is hire a forensic accountant to investigate. You can find them online via a Google search, or even in the phone book. Your divorce attorney or accountant may also be able to recommend one as well. These are special accountants who know how to search for hidden assets. But what if you don’t have the financial wherewithal to hire someone like that? During the discovery process, your divorce attorney can do a lot of things to have these assets discovered. If you can’t count on your ex you certainly can’t rely on their financial affidavit. Your attorney should review the following documents carefully: pay stubs, bank statements,   tax returns, cancelled checks, credit card statements, brokerage statements and any other financial statements.  Each document should be scrutinized carefully to extract the proper information.

Here are some things you can do to make sure you have the best chance of bringing all of your ex-spouse’s assets to light. First, take a good look at the tax return, the 1099 and the brokerage accounts. Has all interest and dividends been disclosed? Next, run a public records search on your ex’s name. Do they own any property that perhaps wasn’t brought up? Now it’s time to look at your former spouse’s pay stubs and other documents. Take a good look at the bank statements. Is all the income accounted for? Does all income have a record of deposit? For example, if your ex makes $10,000 per month but there is only a record of $3,000 being deposited per month, where has the other $7,000 gone? Now it’s time to look at any cancelled checks. Check out the bills which they pay. Look at mortgage or rent payments, credit card payments, auto loans, utilities and others. Are there any bills being paid from a different account than that which you have knowledge of? If you believe the funds for these bills are coming out of a separate bank account of which you have no knowledge, your previous spouse may be hiding assets. Next, have your attorney subpoena your spouse’s employer to request to find out what kinds of benefits your ex has such as stock options, a 401K or some other retirement plan or a deferred compensation plan. These should also be included during the disclosure of finances phase. If they haven’t, let your attorney know and he or she should make sure that it is included.

Check out the monthly income disclosed. Now take a look at the family expenses and add them up. If the income is lower than the expenses, consider whether you and your ex-spouse were dipping into savings or some other area in order to make ends meet. If not, there is likely financial assets that aren’t being disclosed. Look carefully at the account statements. Look for transfers or withdrawals that don’t seem to end up anywhere else. Your attorney may need to subpoena back documentation to see where and in whose account the money ended up. Look over canceled checks, wire transfers, credit card statements, purchases of significant items such as works of art, jewelry, antiques and so on which may not have been disclosed. Look for cancelled checks, wire transfers, or payments on credit card statements that go to insurance or property taxes on a property other than your own home. This can indicate undisclosed real estate. If you discover any of these inconsistencies it may now be time to depose your ex-spouse. They can’t lie under oath or they will face sanctions. Now you can ask about bills being paid out of secret accounts, property taxes being paid on real estate you didn’t know about or whatever you had discovered. Divorce can be a very painful, high anxiety affair. But it pays to keep your head about you and protect yourself. The outcome of the divorce proceedings can affect your life for years to come. So it’s important that you and your attorney have access to all the information you need in order to safeguard the best outcome possible. For more on this topic, read Forensic Accounting for Divorce Engagements: A Practical Guide, Third Edition by Donald A. Glenn and Ezra Huber.