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Hartford Family Law Blog

The tax consequences of property division and divorce

Everyone knows that divorce can be an exceedingly difficult experience economically, emotionally and legally. However, what many Connecticut residents do not realize is how divorce can come with some very serious tax consequences. Indeed, many couples are surprised by the fact that taxes can often be more difficult and more costly following a divorce.

Alimony payments, the property division process and child custody arrangements can complicate the tax filing process. For example, for separated couples who have children, which spouse will be claiming the kids? An Internal Revenue Service Form must be signed by a custodial parent in order for it to be used by a non-custodial parent. However, in order to qualify to claim one's child as a dependent, the child must live with the parent for over half the year and be 18 years of age or younger, among other qualifications. Some Connecticut parents might choose to trade who claims the children as dependents from year to year; however, others may create different arrangements depending on their unique tax situations.

Emotional testimony in Connecticut divorce law hearing

In Connecticut, parents who are involved in custody battles sometimes have to deal with many different people during the process. Not only do they have to work with their spouse after a divorce to find a fair division of time and custody, but they also have to work with "guardians ad litem." These are people who are assigned by the state, and they represent the children in these cases. These guardians are essentially supposed to make sure that things work out in the child's best interests, not just the interests of the parents.

A recent hearing addressed some concerns that parents had about this system. They pointed out that the representatives were not being controlled with an oversight committee, and they felt that such a committee was needed to ensure that the costs were not too high for the parents. A task force was designed a year ago to find out what should be done.

Trace Adkins and wife: Children's interests come first

The end of a marriage and divorce are tough enough on a husband and wife, but when there are kids involved, it can be even more traumatic. Most parents look try to maintain at least a semblance of cordiality toward one another during a divorce so that they can work together for the best interest of any children involved. Connecticut fans of country music are reeling at the announcement last week that singer Trace Adkins and wife Rhonda are seeking to end their 16-year marriage.

Through a publicist, the pair made a statement about their divorce on Friday, declaring that they are "united in ensuring" that their children's interests come first. The Brentwood, Tennessee, couple were married in 1997 and have three children together. Rhonda Adkins filed for divorce on March 26, citing "irreconcilable differences" in her petition for divorce.

Custody of Connecticut teen awarded to state of Massachusetts

Losing custody of a child can be heartrending, but in child custody cases, courts are tasked with the job of deciding on an arrangement that looks solely at the best interests of the child.

Such was the case this week when a long-lived custody battle over a 15-year-old Connecticut teen suffering from psychiatric issues came to an end. A juvenile court judge in Massachusetts awarded the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families with permanent custody of the teen, despite her lifelong Connecticut residency. The teen, who was admitted to Boston Children's Hospital more than a year ago for treatment of a psychiatric condition, remained at the facility for over a year amid allegations of parental neglect and medical child abuse that were levied on the teen's parents by social workers with child protective services.

Being organized may help reduce divorce stress

Many Connecticut residents who are contemplating a divorce may be feeling the stress many feel during the emotional and difficult process. However, making the effort to get organized and prepared for the process ahead of time may help many deal with it in a more rational manner. This organization may help many remain focused on dividing up assets and liabilities and getting a fair settlement. The following tips may be beneficial to those who wish to get financially prepared for divorce.

It is important to determine what assets, such as bank accounts, real estate and cash, and liabilities, such as mortgages, student loans and credit card bills, the couple has. While tax returns often provide information about assets, others may need to be determined through recent financial statements. When dealing with liabilities, in many cases, the spouse who gets the property associated with the liability assumes the liability as well. As an example, if one spouse takes a car in the divorce, they will then be responsible for paying off that loan.

Maintaining health insurance benefits post-divorce

Connecticut residents who are facing divorce may be wondering what they are going to do about health insurance after separation. Many people may feel like they will not be able to afford individual health insurance, especially if they have been out of the workforce for years and have no source of income. People who are unemployable may also have no hope of getting insurance through any employer other than their spouses'.

A partner at a law firm in Philadelphia says that it has been usual practice for spouses in need of health insurance to give up their right to things like alimony or other assets in exchange for health insurance benefits. In one case, the woman's client made major concessions in order for his wife to agree to stay married for eight more years; the man was ill and desperate for insurance.

Target of attempted hit still in custody dispute

A Connecticut father continues to seek custody of his daughter nearly two years after his ex-wife reportedly attempted to offer a man money to kill him. His ex-wife was taken into custody in July 2012 after she allegedly tried to hire a maintenance man to kill her ex-husband for $5,000. Throughout the allegations, the ex-wife has retained custody of the daughter.

The girl's father claims that he does not know where his daughter is. On Feb. 27, he filed a complaint with the Statewide Grievance Committee against his daughter's court-appointed guardian ad litem. The role of a guardian ad litem is to serve as an advocate for a minor child in child custody cases. The grievance alleges that the guardian participated in corruption and perjury.

New app helps manage child support expenses

Divorced couples with children in Connecticut may have found an app to help solve their child support payment woes. While it started off as a solution to alleviate the pain of these issues, SupportPay has been also helping other types of households run as efficiently as businesses.

The app's developer, a divorcee whose firsthand experience with child support problems and background in business gave her the idea to launch the subscription-based service, discovered that while much talk and attention were given to parents who failed to contribute financially to their children's upbringing, no one was addressing concerns for parents who were paying, but encountering logistical nightmares. SupportPay, which is available on iOS and Android platforms, allows parents to scan and store receipts to facilitate transparency, so each party may feel safe knowing the money is going to the child.

Move-away custody decisions present difficult choices

Connecticut parents who divorce will sometimes have decisions regarding child custody and visitation made by the court. If one parent wants or needs to move thereby altering the arrangement, the court will have to give its approval. These relocation or "move-away" child custody decisions often have extremely high emotional and financial costs. The parents may be able to agree to new arrangements themselves. In the majority of cases, a judge needs to review the situation. The child's age and wishes are considered, along with the parents' ability to communicate as well as the distance and reason for the move.

All decisions concerning custody are ideally made in the best interests of the child. However, relocation cases often make it difficult to determine what those interests really are. Many legal and psychological experts agree that barring abuse, most children do better when they have access to both parents. Frequent visitation may no longer be possible if the new location is some distance away, and the child may be deeply affected by the loss of time with the non-custodial parent.

John Cleese works hard to pay large alimony bill

Connecticut entertainment fans may be interested in the most recent divorce of British actor John Cleese. The 74-year-old comedian launched a one-man tour a few years ago and called it "The Alimony Tour." His 2008 divorce from his third wife resulted in him having to pay quite a bit of spousal support, so the title was not necessarily a joke. By Cleese's estimate, he will have paid his ex-wife nearly $23 million by the time the alimony ends in 2016.

Under the original terms of the divorce settlement, his ex-wife received $13 million in cash and assets. She also will be receiving $1 million per year in support payments until the year 2016. Mr. Cleese launched the comedy tour to help make the alimony payments. He also said he had to sell some real estate properties in order to meet his obligations.

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