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Family Law Archives

Impact of New Tax Law Upon Spousal Support

For over seventy years, federal tax law has allowed payors of spousal support to deduct every single dollar of payments from their gross income and has required recipients to declare those payments received as income. The clear policy reason was that payors should not be taxed on income that they received but were legally compelled to give away, and recipients should not receive income completely tax-free. By shifting the tax burden from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse, because of the progressive nature of tax brackets, it also usually kept more money in the parties' hands, as opposed to being taxed by the state and federal governments. As a practical matter, this scheme has made it easier for payor spouse to agree to pay support, knowing precisely what he or she would be giving away.

"Negative Monetary Contributions" in Equitable Distribution

In today's divorces, it is an all-too-frequent scenario where one spouse brings in the money, only to see it recklessly spent just as fast by the other spouse. This phenomenon often takes the form of excessive unnecessary travel; gambling; "loans" to friends or family members; designer clothing instead of "off-the-rack;" expensive lunches/dinners; excessive alcohol consumption; and a myriad of other examples. Invariably, such financial recklessness leads to marital discord, which, in turn, often leads to divorce.

Getting Divorced When Spouse Resides Out-of-State

Oftentimes, issues arise when a spouse lives in a different state than where the other spouse wants to file for divorce. This can arise when a spouse voluntarily leaves Virginia and the remaining spouse wants to file for divorce or when a spouse moves to Virginia from another state to file for divorce.

Documents to Gather Before Your Attorney Consultation

It is axiomatic that the more information your attorney has bout your situation - particularly financial information - the better he or she will be able to identify and evaluate the issues involved in your divorce and appropriately advise you. Thus, the time to begin gathering information and documents is prior to your initial consultation.

My Spouse Wants a Divorce - Now What?

"We need to talk." You don't remember the rest, but you know that your spouse wants a divorce. At this point, you don't know what to do, where to go, or who to talk to. All you know is that your life is about to change forever. The decisions you make in the near future are going to have lasting effects on you and your family. In light of the foregoing, what should you do now?

Inheritance As "Separate" Property

Divorce in Virginia is governed by "Equitable Distribution," which requires that a Judge first determine which of the parties' various assets and property rights are "marital" in nature. Then, the Judge decides the fair, or equitable, manner of dividing those assets/property rights, based upon various statutory factors.

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Fairfax, VA 22030

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