Tag Archive for: Divorce

Sam Jones, a much sought after divorce lawyer, took his young clerk, Marcia Green, to the negotiation session with Al Briggs, opposing counsel.

“Look,” said Al, “the most we can pay for the marital award is about a $100,000.”

After the session, Marcia said to Sam, “our client is going to be upset that $100,000 is the most they can pay.”

“It’s not!” said Sam. “Didn’t you hear him say ‘about’ $100,000? That’s means he has authority to pay more.”

“I guess I didn’t hear that.”

“In a negotiation, it pays to listen. Words like about, more or less, or almost are leakage. They are like tells in a poker game. They let you read the mind of your opponent. The truth leaks out.”

The New York Times has an article today about real estate agents and divorce.  In a divorce, someone is moving out, and frequently the house is sold.

Real estate agents and brokers have to represent two people who are sometimes not speaking to each other.  They may have to deal with court orders, half empty closets or a spouse in residence that doesn’t want to sell and move.

They don’t want the buyer to know about the divorce, because then the price goes down.

Sometimes an agent’s most difficult task is not keeping the divorce under wraps, but navigating between the two clients who are in the middle of it.  If you are a real estate agent, tell us some of  your stories about selling a house in the middle if a divorce.

Guest Post by John Ellsworth, Esq.

When a divorce settlement moves property (typically, your house and part of his or her 401-K) from one spouse to another, the recipient doesn’t pay tax on that transfer. That’s the good news.

But it’s important to remember that the property’s tax basis moves with the property. If you get the house, you also get its basis. This means that when you sell the property you get to subtract how much you “paid” for the property from the sale price. The “how much you paid for it” part is called the “basis.”

So, if you get property from your ex in the divorce and later sell it, you will pay capital gains tax on all the appreciation before as well as after the transfer. (“Appreciation” means how much it’s gone up in value.)

That’s why, when you’re splitting up property, you need to consider the tax basis as well as the value of the property. A $100,000 bank account is worth more to you than a $100,000 stock portfolio that has a basis of $50,000. There’s no tax on the former, but when you sell the stock, you will owe tax on the $50,000 profit.

If your divorce lawyer isn’t familiar with how this all works, ask him or her to consult for an hour with a qualified tax lawyer to get the low-down.

The court in Montgomery County, Maryland, will no longer require the parties to submit their marriage certificate in order to obtain a divorce.  This brings our procedure in line with other counties in the state.

Guest Post by John Ellsworth, Esq.

If you’re paying alimony, you can take a tax deduction for the payments, even if you don’t itemize deductions.

Keep in mind, though, that the IRS won’t consider the payments to be true alimony unless they are spelled out in the divorce agreement. This is another rule for you to memorize: unless the divorce decree spells it out, it’s probably not going to be accepted by the IRS as alimony.

Your ex, meanwhile, must pay income tax on those amounts. Be sure you know your ex-spouse’s Social Security number. You have to report it on your tax return to claim the alimony deduction.

The opposite is true for child support: You don’t get a deduction for paying child support and the recipient doesn’t pay income tax.

Guest post by Corina David

Divorce is a traumatic experience, no matter if this happens after 6 or 16 years of marriage. But despite the bitter taste, it might be the only remedy possible to a relation that is anyway doomed to failure.

When children are involved, the situation becomes even more complicated, as many decide to tolerate each other for a few more years until the children are old enough either to understand or leave home and have their own lives. A relationship like this is like a pair of socks that needs constant mending. And the truth is that despite the laudable intention of being economical, you’ll still have to buy a new pair of socks – better quality maybe. This is pretty much the same with a relation – if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work; get used to the idea, do something and don’t use the children as an excuse.

Priority or not?

Children shouldn’t be an excuse, indeed, but should be a priority. Growing up in a medium where tension can be felt might harm them more in the long term than if you were to cut the bad from its roots.

There are many family law professionals who can provide special counselling sessions to couples who want to divorce. The golden rule is to never speak badly of your partner in front of your children. After all, he’s their father, or she’s their mother.

While traumatic at first, children will eventually get used to the idea. Also, when there is more than one child involved, they should not be “divided” between the parents, even if one of the children may be the father’s or mother’s favourite.

Should the in-laws receive counselling?

Divorce affects not only the children, but the grandparents as well. Sometimes, special counselling sessions for the grandparents may be a good idea, as they might be inclined to partner with their own grown-up children and see the former husband or wife as the “enemy”.  Obviously, this will affect the little ones. Grandparents need to understand that while their grown-up children may have had problems, that was just between them and should not let this affect their relation. Family law firms offer advice that can be really helpful. There are also special counsellors that do this.

Remember that words have the power to destroy and to connect, therefore words should only be uttered after they have been wisely thought. And no matter how well you might think you handle the situation, there’s always a case, or someone else’s experience, or words of wisdom that can make a huge difference.

So don’t hide in the closet! Seek advice and talk to people. Divorce happens, the same way life happens, the same way marriage happens. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

The effects divorce can have on older children, especially teenagers, can more often than not be more severe than on the very young. These children, when around the ages of 12 to 16, actively understand what is happening. They can often witness their parent’s distress, can see the disruption in the family unit and ultimately respect the process. This can lead to a fear of commitment and hesitancy when it comes to intimacy. This age range is also more likely to engage in sexual activity at an early age and frequent reports of depression are known to be an outcome. The result of this commonly swings two ways: Either the child matures extremely quickly, becoming a career of sorts for the jilted parent (if there is one), gaining an increased appreciation of money and gaining responsibilities ahead of their years. On the other hand, they can often project their parent’s misfortune on their own future and assume that they will achieve the same, unhappy fate.

When a child grows past these years, to around 16 or above, the effects are often minor. Of course, the child feels jilted and abandoned in some cases and confused as to the causal elements. However, they are mature enough to understand the situation and remove their personal feelings from the equation. Any deep or confusing emotional conflicts will ostensibly only last temporarily, and they will often support the family the best they can to ensure an appropriate outcome.

The single biggest factor, applicable to all age groups, is that of the level of aggression a child may witness between their parents. If there are common verbal fights, or even in severe cases physical outbursts, this will have major effects on all children, often causing permanent damage. If fighting is unavoidable then this should be conducted away from the children as, at the very least, the illusion of a ‘normal’ family unit needs to be partially maintained for the child to appreciate and respect normal human relationships.

Understanding these outcomes and ensuring appropriate steps to prevent them will help children adjust to the drastic changes imposed on them by divorce and help prevent any permanent damage.

Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

The effects of divorce on the very young are still somewhat a mystery. Up until around the ages of 2 or 3, children are not going to remember the separation and show few signs of understanding the process. Therefore, the long term effects are, fundamentally, only conjecture.

Once they begin to age, however, up until around 8 or 9 years old, children will often demonstrate rudimentary and measurable signs of understanding the situation. They often take on board some feelings of responsibility and assume that the reason one of their parents has left falls to them. The consequences of this are a yearning for attention, often combined with a fear that the remaining parent will also ‘abandon’ them. This can result in lowered self-esteem and often cause a problematic sleeping pattern.

Mature children, around the ages of 9 to 12, often shoulder the responsibility of the situation more so than their younger counterparts. A common consequence during these ages is that of an increased imagination. Commonly, the child may imagine their parents are still together and take part in games or act out scenes of denial and a refusal to believe the situation that is unfolding before them; outside of their control. Anger may increase during this age range, whereas younger children may introvert, quietly sob and allow the feeling of abandon to push them into the fringes of their comfort zone, these more mature children will probably become more obvious with their feelings of anger and resentment.

Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

Divorce affects everyone differently. The two main parties, the husband and wife, are of course usually the ones most notably affected. Commonly though, friends, relatives and even neighbors can be drawn into the fray in the face of the developing animosity. However, whereas adults will, more often than not eventually move on and lead normal happy lives again, perhaps with a new partner, children often experience different outcomes.

Divorce and its consequences can leave permanent scars on the psyche of children. The way a divorce is conducted and understanding the short and long-term effects it could have on children is important to ensuring they don’t suffer because of their parent’s personal turmoil.

These effects can vary drastically. However, there are some very important outcomes relative to all age groups that are wholly worth maintaining, especially if you have children and are seeking divorce. The main element to remember when considering how a child may react to divorce, (regardless of age) is always thus:

‘Removing a parent from the equation kills the illusion of the solid family unit the child has been brought up to respect.’

The results of this can manifest in a variety of ways. The most common of these by far, though, is a striking drop in productivity. Children who are raised in divorced families statistically demonstrate a lack in productivity in both school and the home. However,  that’s not to say that all children experiencing divorce will behave in this way but statistically children are more prone to acting out when involved in divorce than those raised in a family where the parents remain married.

Can’t stand living with your spouse for another minute?  Don’t want to start another year with him or her?  Geoff Williams, Reuters, writes on NBCNEWS.Com today that it may be to your advantage to wait a few days until January to file for divorce.  He gives these reasons:

1. Year End Bonuses.  In Virginia, the date for determining marital assets is the date of separation.  In Maryland and DC, it is the trial date, but the court can take into consideration assets acquired after separation.  So you may want to time your separation, depending on whether you or your spouse is receiving the year end bonus.

2.  Emotions.  If your spouse remembers that you ruined Christmas, that may make it harder to settle.

3.  Shopping.  Your credit card bill may be higher in January if your spouse decides to get even with you by shopping.

4. Taxes.  If taxes go up in 2013, you may get a bigger deduction for paying alimony or have higher taxes for receiving it.

5. Planning.  Use the year end to start gathering and organizing all the financial information and documents you are going to need for your divorce.

I guess Ashton Kutcher didn’t read the article.  He filed for divorce from Demi Moore on Friday.