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Understand-Child-Support-FL-blog-300x200When parents are seeking a divorce, some of the biggest issues they will need to resolve involve their children, specifically custody arrangements and child support.

On the most basic level, child support is intended to cover the essential, daily needs of the children: food, clothing, and shelter. But support payments can also extend to cover additional expenses, including those related to education, healthcare, employment-related childcare, and extra-curricular activities. These additional expenses can often be a source of conflict between divorcing parties. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on how to divide these expenses, the court will intervene.

To prepare yourself to negotiate an equitable child support agreement or to better understand the court’s ruling, read “The Ultimate Guide to Child Support.”

stimulus__support_AdobeStock_408400886-300x200The government-issued stimulus checks were intended to help those eligible address some of the financial challenges brought on by the pandemic, but for divorced parents who share custody of their children and pay or receive child support, these payments have proven a major source of confusion in some cases.

Criteria used to determine eligibility in the first two rounds of stimulus payments sometimes resulted in both parents receiving payments for the same child, or receiving a stimulus payment along with additional tax credits for that child. The eligibility criteria surrounding the third stimulus payment has changed yet again, but it still affects those dealing with child custody and support agreements. To learn how read, “Child support and the third stimulus check: Let us clear up the confusion.”

Divorce-and-virus-400-04972504d-300x189

If you filed for divorce immediately prior to or during this time of COVID-19, chances are good that your case is experiencing delays. The restrictions imposed to help stop the spread of this virus have caused the closure of a number of businesses, government agencies and many courts to all but emergency cases. Not only may these restrictions be causing a delay in the final judgement on your divorce, but they are impacting a number of related issues including financial settlements, spousal and child support requests and child custody matters.

The impact COVID-19 is having on divorces and related issues is discussed in more detail in the Forbes article, “6 Ways The Coronavirus Can Infect Your Divorce – And Simple Steps To Protect Yourself.”

spousal-support-400-04593246d-300x200Spousal support, or alimony, is intended to make sure one spouse – usually the non-working or lower-earning spouse – is not unfairly impacted financially as a result of divorce. Although it is an important part of the divorce terms, spousal support generally is not decided until late in the divorce proceedings after other matters, such as the distribution of property and assets, have been settled. How much support is awarded, if any, and the terms of payment are determined according to the specific divorce laws of each state.

Spousal support is one of the conditions of divorce that can be modified after the court ruling if circumstances warrant, and can even be terminated early under certain conditions. For a better understanding of the unique considerations that influence spousal support, read “Determining And Collecting Spousal Support in Divorce.”

child-support-400-08812515d-300x200Divorce may end your relationship with your spouse, but it does not end your role as a parent, and with that role comes the obligation to support your children in all ways — physically, emotionally and financially.

Depending on the type of custodial agreement you and your ex agree on — or the court deems to be in best interest of your children — one of you may be ordered to make child support payments. Quite often it is the father who is responsible for child support, although in today’s age of two-income families, mothers can easily find themselves in this situation, too. That being said, both parents could benefit from reading “What Dads Need to Know About Child Support” to better understand the process.

atty-meeting-prep-400-04880101d-201x300For many people, the decision to divorce comes after months or even years of assessing their situation and giving careful consideration to all other options. But, no matter how long you have lived with the possibility of divorce, taking that first step to end your marriage is very emotional. Emotions can easily cloud your judgment and prevent you from thinking clearly so, before you meet with your divorce attorney for the very first time, it pays to be prepared.

In order for a divorce attorney to successfully defend your rights in a divorce, he or she must be aware of the facts relating to your situation and have a clear understanding of the marital assets and debts involved. Providing your attorney access to this information from the start can help you avoid delays in your divorce proceedings. For an idea of what kind of documentation would be helpful, read “What To Bring To Your First Appointment.”

 

alimony-and-taxes-400-05339705d-300x201Spousal support, or alimony, often can be a point of contention in divorce negotiations. Now, with the recent changes to the tax code, negotiating these agreements may get more complicated.

Presently, spouses who pay alimony can deduct these payments on their income taxes while those who receive such payments are required to report them as income – all that changes at the end of this year however. According to the new tax code, in divorces settled after this December 31 alimony payments will no longer be deductible nor reportable as income on annual tax returns. Currently, there is much speculation regarding who will truly benefit from this tax change – the payer or the recipient – and what effect, if any, the change will have on divorce filings this year. To learn more, read “Alimony tax changes may scorch divorcing couples.”

Tax-implications-400-07978565d-300x200Filing for divorce in New Jersey is not complicated, but negotiating financial matters and property distribution issues in the  divorce proceedings can be. As couples simultaneously close the door on one stage of their life and work toward building the next stage, they face a number of decisions that, if not handled correctly, could have significant consequences later. One of the biggest problems is couples often make these decisions based on emotional reactions rather than a full understanding of future implications. This is especially true when it comes to tax matters.

Tax planning should play a prominent role in the divorce process. Unfortunately, the tax implications of many divorce-related decisions are often misunderstood, if not overlooked, by emotionally wrought couples. A recent Forbes magazine article, “Taxes and Family Law: A Cheat Sheet of What You Need To Know” just scratches the surface of some of the things you should understand about taxes and their impact on your divorce process. After reading the article, it’s easy to understand why some people choose to add a tax professional to their divorce team.

gifted-child-400-07411176dFor many children, extra-curricular activities are a trial-and-error means of discovering their interests and talents. New Jersey’s guidelines for child support recognize this and generally take into account the costs associated with such activities in the basic child support payments. What happens, however, when a child is gifted in a particular area, requiring more extensive involvement to develop his or her special skills?

A New Jersey judge ruled recently that a parent could be ordered to pay additional child support to help cover the costs of his or her gifted child’s endeavors to improve the child’s talents. To learn more read the nj.com story regarding “Divorced parents of gifted children …

surrogacy-400-05337127dWhile they were married, actress Sherri Shepherd and her now estranged husband, Lamar Sally, entered into a surrogacy agreement with a Pennsylvania woman when they decided to start a family. Before that baby was born, however, the couple filed for divorce (he in California and she in New Jersey), and Ms. Shepherd was ordered to pay support the child. Ms. Shepherd sought to have the surrogacy agreement voided. A Pennsylvania court denied her request and, more recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld that ruling. See “Actress Sherri Shepherd loses surrogacy case, paying support.”

For some couples facing fertility issues and other factors that prevent them from beginning a family by traditional means, surrogacy is a viable solution. But it is a very complicated arrangement with many gray areas.  NJ state lawmakers last year grappled with a bill that would have clarified matters for couples entering into “gestational carrier” agreements with persons willing to bear their children for them. See “N.J. Senate approves bill expanding definition of surrogate parenting.” That bill, however, was vetoed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last July, leaving surrogacy arrangements a very tenuous solution.

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