Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dealing with taxes after divorce

Residents of North Carolina who have gone through a divorce may need to adjust their approaches to filing their taxes. Most importantly, a divorced party will file as single, which means that records must be kept separately for use in the process of preparing a tax return. Additionally, it is important to be sure that one’s Social Security number is not being used by an ex-spouse for their return.

A divorce settlement that involves alimony or child support could carry tax implications for either party. For example, the individual paying alimony is able to deduct those amounts, and the recipient will need to report these funds as income. Child support, on the other hand, is not deductible to the paying party and is not income for the recipient. An individual who owes support but falls behind on payments could face problems with collecting an income tax refund as these funds could be intercepted to satisfy outstanding obligations. Legal fees related to divorce are typically not deductible, but legal fees paid to get help in handling divorce-related tax matters could be.

Additional issues that could arise during divorce proceedings include the ability to claim a child on a tax return. In some cases, parents’ returns won’t be helped by claiming a child, which may allow the other party to make the claim instead. If both parents could benefit, however, then a divorce settlement might provide for a rotating schedule allowing parents to take turns in claiming a child.

During divorce proceedings, a parent might be focused strictly on the imminent issues of finances and custody. However, a lawyer may address matters such as rights and responsibilities related to income taxes and other situations to ensure that these factors are considered during settlement negotiations.

Ways a parent can help their child through a divorce

Children of divorced parents in North Carolina often have a hard time understanding their parents’ decision to separate. Many children develop unhealthy thought patterns after the divorce when they start blaming themselves or taking sides with one parent. Parents can help their children through this difficult time by refraining from negative talk about the other parent and reminding their child that the divorce is not their fault.

During a divorce, many children blame themselves for the breakup of their parents’ relationship. A divorced parent should make sure that their child knows that things like the child’s bad behavior, bad grades and refusal to eat vegetables at dinner time had absolutely nothing to do with the divorce. Children of divorced parents also want to hear that both of their parents love them and always will.

Another way that divorced parents can help their children after a divorce is by finding a way to co-parent. Co-parenting can be difficult for divorced parents because it requires them to communicate with each other regularly. However, children will likely experience less stress during the divorce if they know that their relationship with both parents will continue and they will be able to contact both of their parents whenever they want to.

A parent who is going through a divorce may want to talk to a lawyer about their expectations for a child custody arrangement. A lawyer may be able to help the parent understand what factors a judge considers when making a child custody ruling and what outcome the parent can expect. A lawyer may also be able to help the parent improve their chances of achieving their desired outcome by presenting a strong argument for a particular custody arrangement.

The Many Feelings of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day comes a week after this year’s Super Bowl, and rightly so, as it is the Super Bowl of feelings. Whether you admit it or not, everyone has “feelings” on Valentine’s Day. You may be the person with the highest of expectations, demanding roses and chocolates followed by a romantic dinner at a restaurant that only takes reservations a year in advance (better start planning for next year!). Perhaps you are in a new relationship, and are wondering just how obligated you are to celebrate this holiday with your new interest or if you should just call it off February 13th to avoid it all together. Then there are the people who refer to Valentine’s Day simply as “Singles Awareness Day,” also known as SAD. They have no significant other and will flaunt this to the world with pride! They need no help finishing the bottle of wine they will be downing come 8pm February 14th.

For those going through a separation or divorce, Valentine’s Day can be one of the worst days of the year, particularly if it is your first one without your ex-spouse. It is easy to develop negative feelings about the day, as you may be feeling lonely or perhaps old memories resurface of what was, but no longer is. Always remember this: Your relationship status on Valentine’s Day is not a reflection of your value. If you are single this year, treat yourself to a special spa day or order some take out and spend the evening with your favorite movies (I suggest comedies). I personally recommend getting lost in a good book or perhaps freshen up your knowledge on the great suffragette, Anna Howard Shaw, born and celebrated on February 14th. Did you know she was also a physician and an inspiration to the famous comedian, Tina Fey?

Maybe you have already moved on to a new relationship, post-separation, and would like to plan a nice Valentine’s Day for your new interest. Although it is best to stay single during the year of separation, it is typically okay to date as long as the relationship did not exist before the date of separation. Post-separation evidence of sexual conduct and relationships can be used to corroborate theories that the relationship existed before separation, which could affect spousal support or strengthen a claim for alienation of affection. However, even if you did not begin dating someone until after the date of separation, a scornful former spouse may see the new relationship as the cause of the marriage’s end and thus causing you additional problems. But of course, feelings and emotions are not ruled by logic and reason and you may want to date soon after the separation. As always, consult with your attorney about whether or not you should take your date out this Valentine’s Day or perhaps wait for February 14, 2017 to celebrate the special occasion.

Whatever your relationship status is this year, it is okay to carry some feelings about Valentine’s Day. It is also important to remember February 14th occurs just once a year and it too shall pass. Besides, this year February 15th is President’s Day, as well as National Flag of Canada Day, and who can’t get behind that?