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Hartford Divorce Law Blog

Can you take a tax deduction for paying alimony?

The end of alimony has hit couples in Connecticut and is starting to make waves, according to a recent report. After an alimony deduction has been available for splitting couples for the last 75 years, it is now no longer available due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Is this a good thing, or could it cause more problems? The reality is that the repeal of the deduction threatens people in Connecticut more than in other states. Prior to the bill, anyone who paid alimony was able to take a deduction for those payments on his or her taxes. That means that the alimony could reduce the amount owed in tax, giving them a break on taxes and helping them make alimony payments in full each month.

Thinking about big-picture finances during divorce

It's easy to look just at the short-term financial picture when going through a divorce, but it can be disastrous. It is critical that you think about every decision through the lens of your big-picture financial plans.

For instance, one woman did not have a job, and she was used to a fairly luxurious lifestyle. She did not want to lose her country club membership. She also decided that, as part of the property division process, she wanted to keep the house.

Setting your child support expectations

If you're considering a divorce in Connecticut and children are involved, you are probably wondering what the outcome of child support payments will be. You might even be wondering what it will take to either not have to pay, or to make sure you are paid.

Fortunately, in Connecticut, there are specific factors and calculations used to determine how much is paid and by whom. The child support guidelines are cut and dried. Your divorce attorney can tell you what the outcome will be if you already know what the child custody agreement will be between you and your spouse. Visiting your attorney and discussing this ahead of filing for a divorce may help set your expectations.

Who gets alimony in a divorce?

When a couple divorces and children are involved, figuring child support is almost always a part of the process. It is based on different factors, such as who earns the most money, who has the children the most time and so on.

Alimony, however, is not always a consideration anymore. In years past, alimony was usually paid by husbands after a divorce because most women were housewives and had no other income. This helped them to survive financially. Now that so many women work outside the home also, it does not rate as much in priority.

What are the Connecticut child custody laws?

If you are considering a divorce in Connecticut and you have children, you should make sure you know the laws regarding child custody. The way that those laws might affect child custody decisions in your divorce will be important and could influence your next move.

The first thing you should know is that in Connecticut, parents are usually allowed to come up with their own custody arrangement if they can agree on one. If your attorney presents an agreement made by both parties to the court and the agreement appears to be in the best interests of the child(ren), the court will usually approve the agreement.

Why you need an experienced attorney

When you are seeking a divorce in Connecticut, a divorce attorney can help you in a number of ways. Divorce laws vary from state to state. An experienced divorce attorney is going to thoroughly know the laws in his or her state of practice.

Here are some things to consider when you are thinking of retaining an attorney.

Division of 401(k) assets and retirement plans in a divorce

When it comes to things that spouses have disputes about in a divorce, it might surprise you to know that the top three are alimony, retirement accounts and business interests. Alimony ranks 83 percent, retirement accounts 62 percent and business interests 60 percent.

If you are in the process of a divorce and you or your spouse have 401(k)s or retirement accounts, making sure no mistakes are made in splitting these accounts is very important. While the way they are divided must be included in your divorce papers, you must also have a separate agreement that you will want drafted by an attorney who has experience in this area.

Dividing marital property in Connecticut

It is always to a divorcing couple's benefit to come to their own agreement on how they want to divide their marital property. If the parties cannot agree on a fair and acceptable settlement, then the courts will be making those personable decisions for them.

Connecticut is an "equitable distribution" state. This means that all property owned by the parties divorcing is under the jurisdiction of the courts. Division will be based on what the Superior Court considers fair and equitable.

Don't make these mistakes when divorcing

Getting a divorce is an important, life-changing event. The divorce process won't last forever before your new life begins. Now you will have to live with the actions you have taken and the decisions you and your ex have made. Below are some mistakes that you should avoid during the divorce process if at all possible:

  1. Making quick decisions: Most people are an emotional mess while in the process of a divorce. Take your time when making decisions. Be sure they are made using reason and not emotions.
  2. Taking advice from family or friends: Clearly you are not the only one divorced in your circle of friends and family, and everyone has some advice to give. Listen if you will, but remember that your situation is uniquely yours. Make your own decisions.
  3. Playing revenge tactics: Decisions made during a divorce can be permanent. Don't put yourself or your children through a nasty divorce. You will only make matters worse; nothing good can come from this.
  4. Making demands that you know are unreasonable: You need to be negotiable. Remember, you are only half of two parties who have to move on with their lives. The more unreasonable you become, the more unreasonable your soon-to-be ex will probably become. Be fair in your negotiations, working toward an equitable distribution of assets and equal custody of children.
  5. Not having a plan: Be thinking about your future and what your needs are going to be. If your divorce is based on just the here and now, your decisions are not going to be realistic. You may give away too much or demand too much. Be preparing for life after.
  6. Comparing your divorce with others: Just because something worked well for another couple doesn't mean it will work for you and your spouse. Everyone's situation is different.
  7. Failing to request security for child support or alimony: If alimony or child support is a part of your agreement, request a backup life insurance policy, trust or other security in the event the payee dies.

Your attorney will probably remind you of many of these tips. Whether you are in a high-asset divorce process or a low-income divorce process, remember to listen to your attorney's advice and take your time making reasonable (and not emotional) decisions.

How much child support goes unpaid?

Your ex has missed the last three child support payments. There's always an excuse, but you're fed up already. You need that money to take care of your child. The court ordered your ex to pay. It feels drastically unfair for him or her to hold that money back for any reason.

In your frustration, you start wondering if you're alone or if other parents deal with these same issues. How much child support goes unpaid in the United States?

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