Articles Tagged with california divorce attorney

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Tax and Divorce QuestionsAre you considering a divorce, but concerned about the tax implications? It is definitely a good idea to be aware of the financial fallout associated with terminating a marriage. An attorney experienced in family law and divorce can be of assistance with these and other questions you may have as you approach this life changing and economics-altering event.

If We Owe Back Taxes, Who has to Pay Them?

Regardless of who earned all or most of the money when you filed a joint return, you may be responsible for money owed, even if the divorce decree states otherwise. It may come as a surprise that your tax refunds in the future may be used to pay your spouse’s state or federal tax debts. However, you may file for relief from joint liability under certain circumstances.

Can I File an Individual Tax Return if the Divorce is Not Final?

The short answer is yes, if you have a Decree of Separate Maintenance, Judgment of Legal Separation, or Degree of Separation. However, it may behoove you to investigate the possibility of jointly or filing married but separated. Naturally, once the divorce is finalized, you may file as either single, head of household, or widow.

For Tax Purposes, Who Claims the Amount Paid in Spousal Support and/or Child Support?

When it comes to spousal support, the receiving partner must claim that amount as income, whereas the paying partner may deduct all payments. It is therefore a good idea to keep accurate records of all payments and avoid paying in cash. On the other hand, child support payments do not affect taxable income one way or the other.

Who Claims the Dependents?

By default, the parent who has physical custody of children is allowed to claim them on his or her taxes. That being said, parents may come up with their own arrangements. Some versions may include:

  • Each parent claiming all dependents on alternating years;
  • Each parent claiming one or more dependent every year;
  • Evaluating the tax benefits of each parent’s claim and potentially sharing the savings.
Are Other Expenses Associated with the Divorce Deductible?

In some cases you may be able to deduct fees paid to your attorney, accountant actuary or appraiser. In each case, fees associated with tax advice related to your divorce are deductible.  Additionally, some fees paid related to property settlements, such as costs associated with preparing and/or filing a deed, are deductible.

Who Pays Taxes on Shared Retirement Income?

If you are dividing retirement benefits earned by one spouse, you generally utilize a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This arrangement allows funds to be distributed to two different locations in two separate checks, one for each of you. If the distribution occurs in one check, the retired spouse will be responsible for all taxes on the retirement income. Continue reading →

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support PaymentsSupport payments in California. Leaving a marriage can be a difficult decision. It is not made any easier by the financial constraints associated with dividing a household. Living separately is obviously going to cost more, and in many cases that means both parties are going to have to adjust the living standards to which they have become accustomed. How are the financial decisions made in California divorce cases? If you are seriously considering divorce, it is time to see an experienced family law attorney.

How are Spousal/Partner Support Payments Calculated?

California Family Code section 4320 lays out specific considerations to factor in when determining how much spousal or partner support payment is appropriate:

  • Time: How long has the marriage or domestic partnership existed?
  • Need: How can each partner best experience an equivalent standard of living?
  • Liabilities: What debts will each partner keep?
  • Assets: Who, if anyone, will stay in the home? What other property is being divvied up?
  • Employment: Will both partners be employed, or will one have primary childcare responsibilities?
  • Previous career advancement: Did one partner support the other through school or licensing programs to propel a career?
  • Training: Will on partner need education or training in order to obtain meaningful employment?
  • Age/Health: Do one or both partners have particular health needs that must be addressed?
  • Domestic Violence: Was there mental or physical abuse in the relationship?
  • Tax Impact: Because tax laws do not recognize domestic partnerships, will tax implications be favorable or unfavorable?

Temporary or Permanent Spousal Support Payments

Temporary support payments may be assigned while a case is pending; judges typically use a formula specific to their own county to make a calculation for the appropriate amount. Once the case is finalized, “permanent” support payments may be ordered based on the factors listed above. Do not be fooled by the term permanent. In this case, it simply means the order becomes valid once the divorce is finalized. It may or may not have time limits.

Changing the Support Payments

Imagine that after the divorce, the person paying support loses a job, or the person receiving support payments inherits a windfall. Either individual may, at some future time, experience a significant change in financial circumstances, prompting a request to change the amount of support. If both partners agree to the changes, a simple stipulation written up and given to the court will result in a new order relatively quickly. On the other hand, if there is a dispute, the individual requesting the change must file a motion with the court. This is something that should be done sooner rather than later, as changes to the order cannot be made retroactively. Continue reading →

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Going through a divorce and settling all related issues can be trying. Most people want to put the marriage and legal issues behind them once the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Frequently, a former spouse will return to court in the years following a divorce in order to revisit legal matters or raise new complaints. Each time you return to court can be costly, and acrimonious tendencies may arise again. It is always important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side, one who can help you get the outcome you deserve and make the process of returning to court easier amark sanfordnd less costly.

The Ongoing Case of U.S. Representative Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford is a member of the United States House of Representatives and a former governor of South Carolina. In 2009, Sanford disappeared unannounced for several days; his assistant claimed Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he returned, Sanford admitted to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. Sanford’s wife, Jenny, subsequently filed for divorce. The divorce was granted and finalized in 2010.

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During the divorce process, it is common for one spouse to receive sole ownership of the marital home.

What happens to the marital home in a divorce when an agreement or judgment provides the one spouse is to receive sole ownership? When a couple divorces, one of the common provisions outlined in their marriage settlement agreement or the court’s judgment concerns the award of the family home to one spouse. In order for the spouse who is awarded the marital home to be able to sell, refinance, or borrow money against the property without their former partner’s consent, the spouse who is awarded the marital home must obtain documentation which shows that their former partner has transferred ownership of their interest in the property and that they are the sole owner of the property.

A deed is used to show the transfer of interest in a property from one party to another.

The legal document used to transfer interest in a property from one individual to another is called a deed. There are various types of deeds including: warranty, grant, and quit claim deeds. Warranty and grant deeds come with the transferor’s promise that the title to the property is without any incumbencies such as, another party’s ownership of the property or outstanding taxes or debts. A quit claim deed does not come with these specific promises and only conveys property on an “as is” basis. In most cases, after a divorce, an ownership interest in the marital home can be transferred from one spouse to another using a quit claim deed.

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Each county in California keeps a record of properties and owners within their jurisdiction. A couple that is transferring ownership interest in the marital home will need to conduct a title search in order to determine how the property is held and property’s legal description, prepare and sign the deed as well as, a Preliminary Change of Title Report, and record the documents with the appropriate land records office.

The transfer of ownership in property between spouses is exempt from certain taxes.

According to California law, the transfer of ownership in property from one spouse to another is exempt from transfer taxes. In addition, the transfer in ownership of property from one spouse to another is protected from property tax increases.

Conveying ownership through a deed does not change a spouse’s obligation on a loan. In order for a spouse to end their obligation on a loan, the loan must be paid off or refinanced. In some cases, this is done along with the transfer of ownership during the divorce process.

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