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Worcester Family Law Blog

How the new tax laws may affect new spousal support orders

Couples divorcing this and last will find themselves in a different taxation situation, thanks to changes to the Internal Revenue Code. The changes impact couples whose divorces were signed after Dec. 31, 2018. This means that Massachusetts couples who divorced in 2019 and beyond will have some different circumstances to work through regarding spousal support and other issues.

Prior to Dec. 31, 2018, spousal support amounts were tax deductible for the payer while the payee had to claim them as income. This had been the case for more than 75 years. Under the new regulations, the opposite is true; those receiving alimony will no longer need to claim it as income, whereas those paying it will. As for child support payments, they are now ineligible for dependency exemptions.

Certain jobs more correlated with divorce, study finds

Stress of any kind can put a strain on a marriage. However, according a study, certain particularly challenging careers may put some Massachusetts couples at higher risk for a divorce. This information has been gleaned by reviewing U.S. census data about career paths and marital statuses side by side.

According to the study, which based its findings on the 2015 American Community survey, came to the conclusion that certain jobs put people at higher risk for their marriages ending prematurely. Among those at higher risk are military supervisors, dancers, choreographers, bartenders and flight attendants. Researchers have come up with several theories about why this might be.

Modification of child support in light of increased au pair costs

Child support payments are often determined by a variety of factors, including the income of the payor parent and the cost of raising a child. But, what happens when the cost of care increases dramatically due to changes in laws or inflation? Modification of child support on the basis of increased child care costs may be an important topic for Massachusetts parents impacted by the new laws around au-pair visas.

Recently, a federal appeals court handed down a ruling that classified live-in au pairs as domestic workers. Au pairs are live-in child care providers that come to the United States on a temporary J-1 exchange visa. Prior to the ruling, families were required to pay a stipend of at least $195.75 per week for up to 45 hours caring for children. While the visa will continue to be available, the current classification of au pairs as domestic workers means that parents must pay minimum hourly wage to their live-in help.

Is shared or single child custody better for kids' well-being?

When couples split up, the issue of where children will live and when they will see each parent can be particularly contentious. What can make this issue even more challenging in some Massachusetts separations and divorces are the conflicting beliefs people may have about child custody. Some people believe that shared custody is best for children, while others adhere to the notion that one parent having sole or majority custody provides more consistency. But, what does the research say?

According to a study from Wake Forest University, shared custody can be lead to better outcomes for children. Even in situations where there is a difficult co-parenting relationship, the study found that children who lived with each parent at least 35 percent of the time tended to do better academically, emotionally, behaviorally and in terms of physical health. Researchers say the results suggest that strong parent-child bonds are important factors in a child's future development and outcomes.

Before child custody talks, decide how to present divorce to kids

It's no secret that when parents choose to part ways, their kids can struggle to adjust to the new reality. One of the earliest challenges Massachusetts parents face when choosing to divorce is how to share the news with their children. Even if there are touchy debates on issues like child custody, support or property rights happening behind the scenes, children can benefit when parents are able to present a united front and not share too many of the conflict-ridden details when breaking this news.

Experts say that being straightforward, factual and gentle is the best tactic when speaking to children about a divorce. It is likely that the children will want to know the reason behind the breakup, so parents should be prepared to navigate this and other difficult questions. In all answers, be sure to avoid bringing them into adult issues and spare them the specifics. It is also important to make sure children know the divorce is not their fault.

How to manage the sale of a house during a divorce

Moving, making a major financial decision and splitting from a spouse are all stressful occasions on their own. But, for many separated and divorcing couples Massachusetts, all three happen around the same time. There are a few things people should expect when selling a house during a divorce, and there are some common challenges to navigate during this time.

It is common for one or both spouses in a divorce to want to keep the family home. However, there are many reasons this might not be possible. Financial constraints are a huge factor here, and coordinating things like changing over titles, or removing someone from a mortgage, can get in the way of a resolution where the home is not sold. As a result, many couples will choose to sell their shared home as part of the divorce. 

Understanding Massachusetts child support laws

Child support can be confusing for those parents who are under court order to pay. While it may seem like punishment, child support is simply a way to meet the needs of one's children when the children live with the other parent. Child support not only provides for the necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing and health care, but it also allows the child to enjoy extracurricular activities and other pleasures.

A Massachusetts parent who is ordered to pay child support will likely continue making payments until the child reaches the age of 18. In some cases, such as if the child goes to college, this may extend longer. If there is a dispute about the paternity for the child, the court will first establish this before calculating a support amount.

Prenuptial agreement may have sped up divorce for Miley Cyrus

When a married couple here in Massachusetts decides to get divorced, they likely know that it isn't a simple process, even in the best of circumstances. For people who are wealthy or famous, divorce can be even more difficult as both parties try to determine a fair settlement under the scrutiny of the public. One thing that can help make the entire matter easier is if the couple had a prenuptial agreement. In the case of pop star Miley Cyrus and her ex-husband, movie star Liam Hemsworth, their prenup may have helped their divorce happen much more quickly than if they hadn't had that legal documentation to begin with.

The couple dated for several years before finally getting married near the end of 2018. They decided to part ways in August of this year and their divorce was set to be finalized on Christmas Eve. Hemsworth is the one who filed for the divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."

Chain-reaction crash results in fatal personal injury for toddler

Likely, most Massachusetts drivers are aware of the importance of following all the rules of the road when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle. Likewise, most drivers would probably agree that, at times, it can be challenging to pay attention to and strictly follow all the rules all the time, as sometimes, distractions can cause a person to overlook a crucial detail. Unfortunately, when this happens, a driver may end up causing personal injury, sometimes fatal, to a person or people nearby.

This is what happened one day last summer on a South Boston street. Reportedly, a 63-year-old woman went through a stop sign and collided with a van. The crash affected the van's steering, and consequently, the van driver lost control of the vehicle and struck a toddler, his sister and their caretaker who were walking on the sidewalk. The 22-month-old boy was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 4-year-old girl was seriously injured.

Retirement plans may need adjusting following divorce

Going through a divorce can naturally disrupt the financial plans of just about anyone in these circumstances. This means that these individuals must also make adjustments to their retirement plans, especially if they are drawing closer to their retirement years. Here are some tips for restarting the retirement planning process after a divorce in Massachusetts.

To begin, individuals who are confronting divorce proceedings may want to scrutinize how much money they bring in and spend each month. This may help them to optimize their savings after the judgment is final. For instance, they should ideally pinpoint both their wants and their needs, then adjust their lifestyles accordingly. The right retirement plan can help a divorcing individual to still accomplish his or her retirement goals, either years or decades from now.

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