2019 spousal support tax change

On behalf of The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop, Attorney at Law, A California Corporation on Monday, December 17, 2018.

As of January 1, spousal support will no longer be tax deductible

In divorce, spousal support is often a point of contention which takes time to negotiate. However, considering the changes in tax law taking effect the first day of 2019, time is of the essence if you want to use your spousal support payments as a tax deduction.

How the new tax laws will affect you after divorce

Spousal support payments will soon be drastically affected since new laws prohibit their deduction on your tax return. With changes to the law entering into the equation, your divorce may look a little different.

In the past, spousal support payments qualified as a tax deduction, often providing a substantial reduction in tax liability for you, as the payor. Your former spouse, on the receiving end, reported spousal support as income, thereby affecting his or her tax liability as well, though likely to a lesser degree.

However, without the ability to deduct spousal support payments, changes may include:

· You have increased tax liability and, therefore, reduced disposable income

· Your former spouse will likely receive less support

· More money could go to taxes than household expenses, potentially indirectly affecting your children

Though the anticipation is that middle-class families, especially the women, may experience the greatest difficulty with this change, it will affect all couples who divorce.

Compensating this new rule into your divorce

Agreements made after December 31, 2018 may result in a higher tax rate for you, as well as lower payments for your former spouse. As a result, it may be best for you, and for your family, to take a long look at how your taxes will be impacted once you finalize your divorce and begin spousal support.

Protecting your relationship with your beloved pet

By Steven Bishop of The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop, Attorney at Law, A California Corporation on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

Although those who are not “pet lovers” may scoff at the idea, many divorces involve the heartbreaking reality of deciding who gets the family dog, cat, or other pet. It is frequently just as painful as dealing with child custody issues but, until now, the Family Court system in California has treated pets as “property”. Consequently, if the parties cannot reach an agreement the Judge could only award the pet to one party or the other, without any consideration of the devastating impact it may have on the other person.

However, effective January 1, 2019 a Family Law Judge may now make orders which include a “sharing or visitation” arrangement for pets. The Court will determine which party has been primarily responsible for caring for the pet (feeding, vet appointments, etc) in determining “primary custody” but can award the other party shared custody or visitation privileges.

Certified Family Law Specialist Steven M. Bishop not only has over 40 years of experience helping clients navigate all the issues involved in a divorce, he is a devoted owner of Hamilton, a 4 year old Boston Terrier and Beagle mix (a Boogle) and he understands how attached people become to their pets.

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