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Marlton Family Law Blog

The evolving tax consequences of alimony

Many residents of Marlton, New Jersey, have to pay alimony or face the consequences of ignoring a court order to do so. While not everyone necessarily sees this as a burden, many people do. The silver lining for them is that, at least through the end of this year, alimony payments can be deducted from one's federal taxes.

It is important for those who want to take advantage of this tax deduction to be mindful that certain rules apply to claiming it, and not following these rules can mean a person does not get a tax deduction which he or she expected.

The current status of palimony in New Jersey

Even as more people choose to live together without being married, the law in New Jersey still offers special protections to those who are legally wed.

Unlike married couples, unmarried couples have to go almost piecemeal through a series of legal hoops in the event they should break up, oftentimes even before there is any sign of strife. This is especially true with respect to the couples' property and personal income. Without taking the necessary extra steps, unmarried couples who were in a long term relationship may wind up in a financially bad position after a break up.

Court-ordered custody mediation in New Jersey

Previous posts on this blog have discussed when child custody mediation might be a good idea for New Jersey parents to consider. Other posts have discussed those times in which parents might not want to pursue mediation as an option, such as when one of the parents in an upcoming divorce mediation is possibly the victim of domestic violence.

One thing New Jersey residents need to keep in mind, however, is that New Jersey judges have authority to order parents to participate in a child custody mediation if they are having disputes over custody or parenting time. This is so even if neither parent really wants to mediate their disputes.

Should you consider mediation for your divorce?

If you are facing a divorce, you have many decisions to make, and the entire process can seem very overwhelming. In addition to the emotional stress and turmoil you are going through due to the breakup of your marriage, there are all the questions of assets and property distribution to resolve. If you have minor children, there will be decisions regarding custody, child support and visitation.

In some cases where a couple is able to find common ground and not looking to immediately take things to court, mediation may be a good option. There are several benefits to the mediation process in a divorce.

Obtaining a restraining order in New Jersey

Any married couple in New Jersey, no matter their socioeconomic background, culture or beliefs, is susceptible to domestic violence, whether as a victim or as a perpetrator. Just because it can affect anyone, no one should think domestic violence is "okay" or something someone should just learn to live with.

Indeed, they can and should seek out immediate legal help; they should not try to sweep the issue under the rug or wait for a divorce to go through before doing something about it in the hope the situation will get better. It probably won't get better and may well get tragically worse.

Alimony in a 'bed and board' divorce

Unlike several other states, New Jersey does not have a formal process for legal separation as opposed to a divorce.

Instead, Marlton residents who want something along the lines of a legal separation can file for a "bed and board" divorce. The result of this type of proceeding will mean a couple is divorced with respect to their property and will be treated as if they were single parents when it comes to child custody and support. However, the couple is not free to re-marry until they convert their divorce to an "absolute" divorce.

Placing a value on the family business

Many New Jersey residents own their own businesses or have a share of ownership in a family business. If successful, these business interests can be a source of a great deal of wealth and income for a Marlton couple, especially if they both are involved in running the business.

However, it is always important for both members of the couple to keep in mind how to estimate the value of the business in the event of a life-changing circumstance. A life-changing event could include the complex asset division involved in a high asset divorce, but it also could include other things like the death of one of the spouses or unforeseen economic problems.

How college education expenses get divided in New Jersey

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, New Jersey has child support guidelines that are supposed to help courts come to an amount each parent should be responsible for in order to allow their children to maintain the same standard of living as they enjoyed prior to the divorce.

These guidelines do not account for every expense, however, and one big expense for which the guidelines do not account is college tuition and fees. Courts will generally handle college expenses separately and divide the responsibility for them between the parents, although the division is not always 50-50.

Is mediating child custody disputes always a good idea?

This blog has discussed in previous posts how New Jersey parents should consider mediating like child custody and support instead of just taking the matter before a judge. It is true that when parents get along, at least with respect to the raising of their children, the children do better as a result. Keeping an open mind about mediation is therefore a good thing to do.

However, this does not mean divorce mediation or mediation over child custody in other contexts is the right option for everyone in every circumstance. The decision to mediate or not to mediate is an individual's decision to make and, generally, only after talking to and getting advice from their family law attorney.

Job loss may or may not be basis for child support reduction

It is not unusual for a New Jersey parent who as an obligation to pay child support to fall on difficult times, particularly over the past several years when the economy was not very strong and the job market suffered. A parent who experiences a job layoff, for instance, may experience severe financial troubles, including difficulty paying his or her own basic bills.

Even with unemployment insurance benefits, if available, those amounts are often far less than what the paycheck was. Reduction in income can constitute a change in circumstances that can lead to a court order modifying child support obligations.

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Weinberg, Kaplan & Smith, P.A.
8000 Sagemore Drive, Suite 8202
Marlton, NJ 08053

Toll Free: 866-350-9940
Phone: 856-375-1586
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