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Impact of Changes in Tax Law on Spousal Maintenance in Arizona

For people that signed a prenuptial agreement before getting married believing that there may be a chance that they and their spouse may divorce in the future, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law on December 22, 2017 can potentially seriously affect the agreement that was reached. A major change occurred with the passage of the law stating that spousal maintenance or alimony is no longer be tax deductible after 2018 to the spouse who is paying it and will no longer need to be claimed as income by the person receiving it.

A separation agreement or a judgment of divorce must be signed within the calendar year of 2018 directing that spousal maintenance will be considered tax deductible in future years according to the new law. Prenuptial agreements can address spousal maintenance in a few different ways, some of which are:

Spousal Maintenance is Waived by Both Parties

In some prenuptial agreements both parties may consent to waive spousal maintenance altogether. If this describes your prenup, then the new law will not have an impact on you.

Spousal Maintenance is Waived Unless a specific Event Occurs

Some prenuptial agreements state that the lower earning spouse will be entitled to maintenance if there are children or if some other event happens during the course of your marriage such as a certain discrepancy in income between both spouses this new law may have an impact on you.

When Spousal Maintenance will be Awarded in a Divorce

A specific prenuptial agreement often states that spousal maintenance will be paid and also states how the amount or duration of maintenance will be determined. In such a scenario this law will definitely have an impact on you.

Read More about Tax Laws and Spousal Support…

Understand the Process of Going through a Divorce without Children

Filing a divorce case is different in different states. Additionally, each case shifts with the different situations including a divorce with children and a divorce without kids.

In spite of the fact that these laws differ from state to state, couples petitioning for divorce, who don’t have resources or kids, might be required to present extra paperwork with their appeal. This may incorporate money related revelations that talk about the couple’s salary and obligations. Likewise, state laws may require the couple to give waivers of administration, which verify that the couple arranged the appeal mutually.

Petition and Extra Paperwork

Some states also offer a simplified divorce process for couples without children to shorten the divorce process. For the most part, the divorcing couple can document a joint request with the court. The two parties will cooperatively sign the appeal, consenting to the disintegration of marriage. This is just for short-term marriages, and the couple may need to defer divorce settlement claims and rights to a trial. This request of will specifies that they don’t have huge resources or obligations, and clearly state that no kids were conceived or embraced amid the marriage. Furthermore, a rearranged separate request will list essential data about the couple, including their names, dates of birth, date of marriage and justification for which they are looking for the breakage of their relationship.

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Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy

The birth of a child is one of life’s greatest joys. When your child has birth injuries, you may also fear for your child’s future and wonder how you will provide the necessary care. Birth injuries are sometimes unavoidable, but are often the result of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor and delivery or shortly after birth. Children with birth injuries may require ongoing medical treatment and have other extensive needs. If you child was a victim of medical malpractice, you may be able to recover substantial compensation that will pay for your child’s immediate and lifelong expenses.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a set of disorders caused by malformation of the brain or brain injury during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or shortly after birth. Each case of cerebral palsy is unique. The effects can range in severity, and each child experiences a unique combination of impairments and conditions. For some, the right medical treatments, therapy, equipment and support can mean living independently and with minimal health problems and pain. Others will require 24-hour supervision and assistance.

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Implications of a Disability

Americans wake up every day to face various challenges, especially those who are faced with a disability. There are many types of disabilities ranging from physical disabilities, mental disabilities, and sensory disabilities; all of which significantly impact millions of lives. A sad fact is that these disabilities can result in people becoming homeless. According to a report by disabilityscoop.com, “more than 40 percent of America’s homeless population are people with disabilities.” So, how does this happen? Consider these contributing factors:

Lack of Opportunity

In order to be able to pay your mortgage and bills you need a substantial income. For people with a disability, finding a job that allows you to work can be difficult if not impossible. Without a steady income, there isn’t a way to be able to sustain a lifestyle that allows you the pleasure of having a roof over your head and food on the table.

Another factor to consider is that many people with a disability simply do not have the means of being able to uphold a steady job. This unfortunate fact keeps their opportunity limited and prohibits any source of income from working.

Lack of Assistance

According to disabled-world.com, “programs such as SSI and SSDI are unable to keep people with disabilities from experiencing homelessness. The average annual payment to an individual on SSI for the year 2009 was $6,048, while the poverty rate of a single-person household is $10,830”. This leaves many wondering how people are supposed to come into their next meal, how they’re supposed to pay rent, how they’re to afford medicine they might require, etc.

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What you should know about a Deposition in Family Law?

In any family law case, clients are advised by their attorneys not to talk to the other attorney, insurance companies, or investigators. That’s because the client can give out information that could make their side of the case weaker. However, in case of a deposition, your lawyer will actually give you permission to talk to the opposing attorney and answer any questions that they have to ask you related to your case. The purpose of a deposition is to allow communication that would likely lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

In most cases, deposition has to be done because the court requires it. It allows the court to know each side and to learn as much as possible about the other side before going to trial. This process is known as ‘discovery.’ The discovery process allows attorneys to analyze the settlement value of the case and it makes the settlement of the case more likely. Since there are thousands of cases that overload the court system, reaching a settlement before trial is usually favored.

What happens at a Deposition?

A deposition gives the other party’s attorney an opportunity to ask questions not only about the incident, but also ask the individual about their education, their work history, any previous injuries they may have sustained, and so on. All these questions and their answers allow the opposing attorney to learn about the person and it gives them an opportunity to talk to them before a trial. The opposing attorney will also look to see if the person is lying during the deposition and then use that against the person during the jury trial.

What should you do during the deposition?

During the deposition, you want to answer all questions asked by the opposing attorney truthfully. Never give away extra information voluntarily. Only answer what is asked. You also want to remain calm during the deposition at all times. A deposition should be treated as an interrogation by a police officer where your interests are not important. The other party’s attorney would be looking for information that can be used to harm or damage your case. The attorney of the opposing party can get you upset during the deposition and they can very well do it at trial as well. Therefore, it is important for you to stay calm and be normal during the deposition.

How to Answer Questions

Pay close attention to each question asked and make sure you understand the question. If you do not understand the question, mention that to the attorney and ask them to explain it to you before you answer it.

  • Answer all questions truthfully. If you know the answer, state it, otherwise, you can say “I don’t know.” Be firm in answering, do not give a confused answer.
  • Wait until the attorney finishes asking the question before answering.
  • Do not attempt to anticipate the question. Never try to answer an unfinished question as it will only lead to confusion.
  • Don’t let the other attorney put words in your mouth. Attorneys have a habit to mention facts and statements in a manner which may not actually be true or correct. Do not be confused by these tactics and don’t be mislead.

If during the deposition you realize that you have given an incorrect answer, stop and correct your previous answer. It is better to correct the deposition at the time it is being taken rather than later.

Child Support: Hidden Income & the Self Employed

Child support calculations in all States are heavily dependent on the income of the parents.  While the income for W2 employees can be relatively straight forward, calculating the income of the self-employed can be substantially more difficult.

A self-employed parent may seek to minimize his income, and therefore child support payments, but hiding his income in his business.  This can mean substantially less support for the child.

An analysis of the income of a self-employed parent’s income must begin with his or her business tax return.  Below are four common places to spot hidden income:

  1.  Office Expenses:  Office expenses are a “catch all” category for purposes of tax returns.  But are the expenses listed really expenses for the business, or are they personal expenses masquerading as business expenses?Look for high dollar items when combing through bank statements.  A common example is writing off a trip and hotel stay as a business expense when it is truly for personal reasons.  Such a trip could be thousands of dollars a year in income missing from a child support calculation.

  2. Home Office Expense:  Like the office expense, “home office expenses” is a common place to hide income.  Furniture or computer equipment purchased for the home or entertainment of the payee parent can be written off as home office expenses for the business. A strong understanding of the purpose of the business at issue is imperative to analyzing the validity of the home office expenses.

  3. Advertising:  Is there a boat other expensive piece of personal property that is in the business’s name?  Check to see if they expenses associated with the property are being paid under the business.  A strange but repeat occurrence is the small businessmen who buys a boat in the businesses name, names it after his business or line of work, and claims it as a business expense.Not uncommon, but equally outrageous:  Watch for the self-employed who records a check to a “big national advertising paper”, when in reality, the parent is writing the check to himself.  Such fake advertising can allow the self-employed to pass large chunks of cash to him-self personally without paying taxes and while keeping it off the books.

  4. Wages:  Check the standard of living of the payee spouse.  Does he have a maid, lawn-care service, or other laborers who work on his home or other personal property?  If so, then check to see if these workers are paid through the parent’s personal income or through the “business”.  If they are paid through the business, then adjustments need to be made to the income of the payor spouse (and his business) to reflect true income.

 

We have had a lot of success in handling complex divorce cases where the spouse is a business owner or self-employed. If you have questions regarding divorce in Arizona and a self-employed spouse, give us a call at (602) 254-8880 to start your free consultation. If you’d like, you can send us a confidential email at your convenience.

 

Can you file for divorce while Pregnant?

A lot of couples going through a rough patch in their marriage are apprehensive about divorce. If the relationship has reached its end, this apprehension can increase tenfold, and more so if the couple is expecting a child. Going through a divorce is a trying time for the spouses, therefore, in some cases, when the couple is pregnant, it may actually be prohibited.

This paves the path to a gray area of the law which is not commonly discussed, unless it becomes necessary; Can you get a divorce while pregnant?

If you are not sure about how to go about your divorce, it is best to hire a divorce attorney as searching over the internet will not get you answers to your questions. Your lawyer will help you understand the divorce laws, which are similar to marriage laws. Your attorney will also talk to you about your options and help you decide which one is best for you. Just like marriage laws, there are divorce laws and these laws vary from state to state and your lawyer will help you understand the divorce laws in your state. You will be surprised to know that it is illegal to get a divorce while pregnant in certain states. However, if you are in the state of Arizona, pregnancy will not prevent you from divorcing assuming you meet the residency requirements.

Deciding to go ahead with the divorce takes strong will and the whole process can be very difficult and frustrating for some people. The process may be even complicated for women who are pregnant as the divorce proceedings will become more difficult once the child is born. Once the birth occurs, your soon-to-be-ex-husband will file for custody claims and there may even be a paternity test involved. The matter can even become worse if you have other children apart from the unborn child. So getting help from a local divorce attorney is the most important step for you.

Moving to another state

Some states prohibit you to go ahead with the divorce while pregnant. In such a case, it may be possible to change your residency, especially if you have only recently become pregnant, and attempt to file for divorce in a different state where it is not prohibited to go ahead with the divorce while pregnant. An attorney in your jurisdiction will be better able to guide you with this.

Divorce is a life-altering event and one that creates a critical transition point in a person’s life. Once you file for divorce, there is no turning back and if you find out you are pregnant, it can be devastating for you and your baby. A baby is supposed to bring joy and happiness in your life, and couples are supposed to welcome the new arrival into a loving environment. Avoid complications and difficulties in your divorce case and hire an experienced divorce attorney.

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