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Tampa Family Law Law Blog

Alimony and tax concerns

Some find it incredibly helpful to have all their ducks in a row when it comes to tax time. A person receiving alimony and/or child support may be wondering how these payments affect their income at the end of the year. A recent news article shares some tips from the experts that Florida families may find enlightening. 

Alimony payments are treated differently than child support payments. A person may be wondering how the different payments will affect them when it comes to tax time. If a person is receiving the payments, then the alimony is counted as taxable income, while the child support is not. The person sending the alimony payments can deduct the amount from their gross income. 

New military retirement policy may affect divorce agreements

This year, the United States military will make a shift in how it offers financial benefits to enlisted service people. The new format, called the Blended Retirement System, offers a different set of benefits from the previous legacy plan. For military employees in Florida with less than 12 years of experience, they will have until the end of next year to decide whether they choose to enroll in the new program or stick with the old one. The change has at least one person speaking out about potential pitfalls of the program as it relates to divorce

The BRS will reduce the pension benefit of the service person, but it makes them eligible for a Thrift Savings Plan. The Department of Defense will contribute automatic and matching funds to the TSPs. The new plan also allows for mid-career bonuses to be given out to individuals. 

Recordkeeping plays role in child custody responsibilities

Families coping with the end of a marriage have many issues to face. Not the least of these are parenting time when kids are involved, and the division of finances. In Florida, a child custody order may call for a very specific co-parenting arrangement. In order to abide by the order, a person going through the divorce may want to track one's own time with the children, as well as that of the other parent. Some individuals are turning to smartphone technology to help manage this type of tracking. 

A divorced father has developed an app that he says will be an aid to families coping with divorce. His app, called FAYR, can help an individual track expenses, events, daily schedules and location, whether the other co-parent wishes to participate or not. That way, when a co-parenting relevant event occurs, it can be quickly and easily documented in the app. 

Are all your assets accounted for?

Your marriage has been on the rocks for a while, but you just didn't want to go through the pain of divorce. You've waited so long that now things are particularly bad between you and your spouse. You are fighting about everything, and you are just ready to call it quits. Before starting the divorce process, make sure all your assets are accounted for.

Some Florida couples go through some highly contentious divorces. It is kind of the nature of the beast. In the midst of such cases, some may find that their soon-to-be exes are doing everything in their power to make sure they walk away with the better settlement. To do this, they may try to hide assets. If this happens, what can you do?

Property division for older divorcees comes with possible expense

A person who has invested heavily in the partnership of a marriage can possibly face a loss upon divestment. Although divorce is an emotional affair, it can also be approached like a business transaction. Rates of later in life, "gray" divorces are rising, and when older individuals divorce, they sometimes face more complicated property division. The longer a pair are intertwined, the murkier are the boundaries of what property belongs to whom. In a recent news article, one expert tries to share helpful information that individuals in Florida may find helpful if they are navigating gray divorce. 

Retirement accounts in particular can be tricky to separate. Certain accounts are taxed upon withdrawal, and the sum on the balance sheet can be quite different than the after-tax amount. These accounts can be rolled over into a separate retirement account without penalty, but a divorcing person can't expect to pull out their "half" in a cashier's check. Brokerage accounts also have fees associated with liquidation.

Divorce and annulment, what's the difference?

Sometimes a person doesn't know how, but they know that they want a marriage to end. Short of disappearing off the face of the earth, what options exist for dissolving the partnership with a spouse in Florida? Some people may have heard of an annulment as an option for breaking up. But what is an annulment, really? And is it different than a divorce

An annulment and a divorce are both options for ending a marriage. The annulment is an option that eliminates the marriage as if it never existed. There is no requirement to divide assets, since the partnership was never valid. In order to be granted an annulment, one must prove either that there was bigamy, insanity, fraud or force. In order to prove the case, the couple must appear in court. 

Does child support affect taxes?

A person facing the end of a marriage has lots of details to manage. One detail that may not immediately pop up is how the breakup will affect future tax returns. Taxes, like divorce, are another one of those intimidating issues that most people will avoid if at all possible. But anyone in Florida going through a divorce will eventually need to understand how the change will affect how they file their taxes from now on. Child support and child custody can affect how one files, as well as alimony and retirement accounts. 

It would be improper for the government to create a situation where it encourages divorce, so child support payments are neither taxable or tax deductible. One parent or the other can claim the child as their dependent, but both parents cannot. The dependency exemption is usually given to the parent who provides more than half of the child's support through the year, but not always. Forms describing the conditions for the exemption, and forms that must be filled out, can be found with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

A look at divorce rates by occupation

Increased availability of data in the technological age has led to increased information about people in general. One researcher has analyzed divorce data and was able to determine how rates differed for individuals by occupation and industry. The results of the analysis may be interesting to Florida residents as they ponder the concept of divorce. 

One amusing result of the analysis, which gathered data from the US Census Bureau's 5-Year American Community Survey of 2015, was that actuaries have the lowest rate of divorce. Since the duty of an actuary is to analyze risk, the conclusion makes sense. The occupation with the highest levels of divorce was gaming manager. Seems like those in the world of gambling are also willing to take more risks in love. 

Research indicates that shared child custody benefits children

Gone are the days when mom automatically got the kids when a marriage ends. Changing attitudes and recent scientific research both bear out the concept of shared custody. Relationships between child and parent overtake parent-parent relationships after a divorce. In Florida, child custody agreements may soon be taking a turn toward shared custody as the new default as more and more individuals feel that this model is generally in the best interests of a child. 

One significant exception to this policy involves, of course, parental abuse or neglect. In cases such as these, it would obviously not be in the best interests of a child to be with both parents. Other than that, though, the latest research suggests that spending equal time with mom and dad is good for kids. When a child is able to have a relationship with both parents, even if there is some conflict between the parents, a child is better adjusted and can cope better with life's challenges. 

Property division: Who gets custody of the pooch?

One may not tend to think of dogs as objects with monetary value. In fact, most individuals think of their pets as treasured members of the family. During a divorce in Florida, however, the dogs are considered property and are part of the property division portion of the divorce agreement. 

Who gets the dogs after the end of the marriage? It will depend on several factors. Did the dog belong to one of the parties before the marriage? Who was the primary caregiver for the dog? A judge will take these facts into consideration as well as who will be better prepared to care for the pets, the safety of the pet and whether the pet should stay with any minor children. 

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