divorce/separation

"Gray divorce" on the rise

A recent Pew Research Center article states that among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s.

"The climbing divorce rate for adults ages 50 and older is linked in part to the aging of the Baby Boomers, who now make up the bulk of this age group. (As of 2015, Baby Boomers ranged in age from 51 to 69.)," according to Research Analyst, Renee Stepler, author of "Led by Baby Boomers, Divorce Rates Climb for America's 50+ Population" published March 9, 2017. 

Noted consequences of these "gray divorces" include becoming less financially secure than married and widowed adults, living alone at older ages, and having less satisfaction with social lives.

Source: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/09/led-by-baby-boomers-divorce-rates-climb-for-americas-50-population/

 

Tax consequences of divorce: Alimony recipients & tax withholding

If you are awarded alimony as part of a divorce settlement or divorce final judgment, typically these monies are not subject to tax withholding. Therefore, there may be a resulting tax liability, which should be looked at by a tax advisor so you are fully aware and prepared to pay the liability. 

Also, due to your status changing from married to single, a tax advisor can adequately inform you of the benefits/or loss of benefits that occurs due to the change in filing status from married to individual or single.

A tax professional can assist you with filling out a new W-4, if necessary. This form instructs your employer to withhold federal income tax from your pay, which may differ post-divorce due to the new status of becoming single.

This blog post is not intended to provide readers with legal advice or tax advice in any way. This does not create a legal relationship or agreement between the reader and Bouchard Law, P.A. Bouchard Law, P.A. and its attorneys and staff do not claim to be experts in tax matters.  Bouchard Law, P.A. recommends consulting a tax professional to fully evaluate your tax implications and consequences of your particular position.

Tax consequences of divorce: Dependency exemption

In Florida, the parent that has the child the majority of the time typically receives the tax exemption from the IRS. However, within marital settlement agreements, the parties may negotiate for the parent with a lesser amount of overnights to alternate the exemption or have this exemption every year. For example, if the parent with the majority of the time does not need to file taxes, that parent may utilize this dependency exemption as a bargaining chip (worth approximately $4,050.00 in 2017 as a deduction).

The IRS requires in these types of scenarios for the parents to file a Form 8332 in order to allow the "noncustodial" or parent will lesser amounts of time-sharing to take the exemption.

Another consideration is the actual value of the exemption. Currently, for every $2,500.00 above $287,650.00 in gross income, the value of the exemption is reduced by 2 percent, up to $410,150.00 total gross income. After that gross income point, the exemption can no longer be taken.

This blog post is not intended to provide readers with legal advice or tax advice in any way. This does not create a legal relationship or agreement between the reader and Bouchard Law, P.A. Bouchard Law, P.A. and its attorneys and staff do not claim to be experts in tax matters.  Bouchard Law, P.A. recommends consulting a tax professional to fully evaluate your tax implications and consequences of your particular position.

 

Why your case is probably not an "uncontested" divorce.

I often have folks visit me and state their case is an "uncontested" simplified divorce. I tell them it probably is not.

What exactly qualifies as simplified under Florida law? 

Generally, most divorces are contested one way or other. Simplified divorce involves no children, no alimony or spousal support, and, generally, no conflict whatsoever. The parties go to the Clerk of Court to jointly file the Petition for Simplified Dissolution. Most of these cases do not involve lawyers. Our firm finds that a simplified proceeding is a useful tool when the parties have not been married long and they do not own any assets nor have any joint liabilities (financial debts). The parties are not required to have financial disclosure, but are required to attend a final hearing. The parties also give up their right to a trial and the opportunity to examine/cross-exam the other parties and witnesses.

From the Florida Bar Consumer Pamphlet: Divorce in Florida

Not everyone can use the simplified procedure. Couples can use the simplified dissolution of marriage only if all the following requirements are met: 

· Both parties agree to the use of this form of dissolution proceeding.
· They have no minor (under 18) or dependent children.
· They have no adopted children under the age of 18.
· Neither party is pregnant.
· At least one of the parties has lived in Florida for the past six months.
· The parties have agreed on the division of all of their property (assets) and obligations (debts).
· Neither party is seeking alimony.
· Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. 


If you and your spouse cannot meet all of the above requirements, you will have to follow the procedure of the regular dissolution of marriage process.

Where people run into problems when filing a simplified dissolution is when they fail to recognize and address their legal needs and rights thoroughly. For example, parties fail to recognize that pets are considered personal property under Florida law. If the parties do not address who retains the pet upon a simplified dissolution, generally, the pro se (the Clerk-provided, do-it-yourself) marital settlement agreement provides that personal property will stay with the person it is currently with. Then, later on, you'll find yourself in small claims court attempting to resolve the issue of who gets the dog, which should have been resolved via your divorce. Other issues that people fail to address involve changing titles/registrations on vehicles, relinquishing their property rights in homes and land, health insurance/care needs, and other types of support.

If you have questions about your case, give us a call at (941) 764-1146 to schedule a free consultation.

What to do with pets when people separate or divorce?

One major concern of our clients is who receives a beloved pet upon divorce or separation. Most people consider their dogs, cats, birds, turtles, horses, and hamsters to be one of the family and akin to another "child." However, under Florida law, pets are treated like personal property, just like a sofa or vehicle.

Our firm has worked with couples to fashion schedules, future expense divisions, and debt associated with pets upon divorce or separation. Yes, dog time-sharing schedules are a thing! Some issues that our clients do not consider on their own include who takes a pet while the other person goes on vacation or up north for the summer, who pays for veterinarian bills and medication, or simply who keeps the crate and dog bed.

This is why you need a firm to make sure these issues are hashed out in any settlement agreement.  If you own a pet, you need a personalized approach. Call Bouchard Law, P.A. today at (941) 764-1146.