Archive for May, 2019

How Will the New Tax Law Affect Me After My Divorce?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Unlike in divorces that were entered prior to December 31, 2018, alimony payments will no longer be tax deductible for the payers moving forward, and the recipients cannot declare the amount they received as taxable income. The law also explicitly authorizes ex-spouses to regroup and modify an earlier divorce agreement, in order to append their agreement with the new law involved. If a pre-2019 divorce is not modified, the previous tax laws that were in place during the divorce are applied.

The new tax law has some positive benefits, such as bringing in nearly $7 billion to the IRS.  Unfortunately, there are serious speculations and concerns that it will inadvertently put the support-receiving party at a disadvantage. Women, who are statistically more likely to be the support-receiving spouse, and at a financial disadvantage during the divorce, are going to see a decrease in the amount of alimony paid.

Because of the new tax rules, there could be less money to go around, resulting in smaller alimony payments. For instance, the monetary amount you receive from alimony might not be taxable to you, but at the same time, the amount that’s going to be paid out may not reflect that at all.

As mentioned earlier, if you were divorced prior to the start of enforcement of the law, you can keep your alimony agreement and utilize the deduction allowed under the old tax rules. However, the option is still available, if desired, to restructure it with the new tax law applied.

What You Should Know About Your Divorce Decree Before Signing It

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

A divorce decree is a document that a judge signs and enters into court that represents the final judgment of the divorce. Within this judgment, you will find the layout for alimony, child support, debt, property division, and parenting issues such as parenting schedule or legal vs. physical custody (please see our blog about the difference between legal vs. physical custody).

This document officially ends your marriage, and it outlines the necessary steps and responsibilities that you and your former spouse must take on as the divorce ends. It also lists the division of assets, which means that you should be extremely diligent and careful with what is included in the decree. Do not casually take on financial responsibilities that you are not completely sure you can handle simply because you want to wrap up your divorce, only to be unable to handle the responsibilities later and have no way out from under them.

On the flip side, don’t assume that what you are offered from your spouse is all that you deserve and have a right to, even if their offer seems “overly generous”. You should have your attorney rigorously go through their financials, as they may be able to spot something that you didn’t notice or something that was withheld. Not only is it possible that they have something you are entitled to a part of, but there might also be something they acquire years later that you could have a claim to.

One of the most common misconceptions is that lawyers are just ancillary to getting their fair cut of the divorce. But what many people who do their own divorces don’t realize until it is far too late, is that if there is something that is left out of “the final divorce judgment”, it is very likely that there will not be any recourse to amend that mistake.

Thoroughness and accuracy are vital when reviewing the final draft of an agreement, as well as a detailed understanding of the law as it applies to your specific divorce. Your attorney is able to represent your best interests, both in the immediate future and down the road.

Can My Social Media Activity Be Used Against Me During Divorce?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Internet privacy is an ever-growing issue in 2019. Far too often, someone’s “private social media account”, specifically what they post on it, ends up costing them everything in court. For example, a photo of a spouse partying with a drink in their hand after they told the judge that they would stop drinking, in the hands of the opposing party’s attorney, can be devastating to your case. It makes you seem less credible with the court, and can even be an influential factor in a custody battle.

The wisest decision would be to remove oneself from social media altogether, or at the very least use it infrequently. What you post on the internet is admissible as evidence, and with that in mind, why put any evidence online at all?

Attorneys are often scouring the web to monitor online activity, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which both utilize photos and captions, and are prime sources for potentially damaging content. Wild behavior, whether in writing or photographs, can be used to support an accusation that this spouse is an unfit parent, or that their “work trips” were more like “vacations”, and that they used marital funds to pay for it. These are all real-world examples that happen far more often than you may think.

However, this means that in a backward way, social media can be useful to you in your divorce – if your spouse is the one who posts something that damages their chances in court.

When it comes to using and posting on social media common sense and good judgment should be exercised, but even more so during the divorce process, when you will already be scrutinized while trying to show your best side in front of a judge. Alternatively, you can simply disable the account until after the divorce is over since you can’t post if you don’t have an account.