Who Gets The Tax Refund?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are going through a divorce, chances are you filed your taxes married filing separately.  This could cost one or the other of you some money.  If you filed married filing jointly, you may be getting a refund.  The refund check will be made out to the both of you, but your spouse can put it into a joint account and then abscond with the funds.

Other things to watch out for is who takes the child exemptions and head of household.  If you are living separately and apart, but are still married, whoever has the children will probably take these exemptions, even if the other spouse is still paying all the bills. 

There are many underhanded things a devious spouse can do with the IRS obligations and refund monies, so be sure to talk to your lawyer and tax advisor in advance.  A written agreement between the parties is the best case alternative regarding tax issues and the IRS.

For more information call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

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Why Prenuptial Agreements Are Expensive And Worth It

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Congratulations! You are getting married.  If you are over the age of 30 you probably have your own assets and debts.  To assure  that your hard earned assets are not lost in a quickie marriage, the first rule of thumb is to keep your assets entirely separate.  That means, don’t use any of it for marital purpose, don’t put your hard earned cash into joint bank accounts, and don’t commingle your funds in any way for joint purchases.   Or if you do, you need to realize that investment is joint and marital.  It will be at issue if you divorce later.  Fully disclose in your prenuptial agreement what  you are going into the marriage with.  That way if you leave the marriage, your assets go with you, unless otherwise intended.

As far as debts are concerned, you need to know what your bride or groom’s credit score is.  You need to be released or held harmless from this beloved’s premarital debts.  In that way, your assets are protected and you are not responsible for your spouse’s debts.

Because premarital agreements deal with the potential for divorce, it is important to realize how extensive the protections can be.  A bride or groom who is waiving marital rights, needs to know what they  waiving in order for that waiver to be valid and enforceable down the road.

Anti-nuptial agreements also deal with death of a spouse and protection for the surviving spouse.  However, it is important to remember, a prenup is NOT a testamentary document.  It does not replace a will or trust document.  Sometimes I engage the expertise of  an estate planning lawyer to assist me with the drafting of death provisions of a prenup.

Also, there are tax implications of any property distribution scheme, or division of assets, so a tax advisor is recommended to work us as well.

In addition to the experts that may be required in the drafting of your prenuptial agreement, we also use videographers to record the actual execution of the document.   The importance of this is to assure that the parties are entering into the contract free of duress, over reaching, fraud or misunderstanding or even sometimes a language barrier.   Any breach here, and your prenuptial agreement can voidable even years later.

If done properly, prenuptial agreements are generally upheld when challenged in court.   Budget  about $10,000 or more, depending upon the complexity of your estate.  This is your future that is at stake, so remember, you get what you pay for.  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish by hiring an attorney who will cut corners to keep the price down.  That is definitely not in your best interests.

Your Financial Life After Divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Divorce is life changing both for husbands and wives, payors or payees.

Considering the payments of alimony, child support, and attorneys fees, in addition to normal mortgage payments or rent, car payments, utilities and other living expenses, divorce can be a frightening thought when it comes to finances.

Also, where there are lump sum settlements, this means that one party pays and the other party receives. No matter what side you find yourself in, how you adjust can mean the difference between comfortable living and living paycheck to paycheck.

So this advice is for both the spouse who has to pay out, and the spouse who receives:  manage your funds wisely.   Get financial advice from an accountant or other financial planner/advisor.  And keep in mind any tax ramifications of any divorce settlement.  For more information, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.

You may need a divorce TEAM to play your hand…

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The divorce process can be more complex than most people think especially when there are children and lots of debts or assets to “discuss”.  Other factors that complicate a case is domestic abuse, hidden money, affairs, mental illness, drug or sex addiction, alcoholism, gambling, income producing real estate, time shares, a business, and frequent flyer miles. 

Divorce cases that have multiple issues are best tried with a team behind you.  The team can include a CPA to trace assets, evaluate businesses, determine real income; a psychologist or THERAPIST to determine what is in the best interests of the children, or to help you deal with the pressures of divorce; a PSYCHIATRIST for extreme cases of addictions, bi polar behavior, and medications; a trained MEDIATOR to facilitate settlement negotiations; a TAX ADVISOR to project tax ramifications of settlement offers;  an INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL to guarantee support payments; a FINANCIAL PLANNER or investment advisor to help you get back on your feet after divorce;  a REALTOR to list or appraise the marital home;  an APPRAISER to value jewelry, artwork, antiques; and of course, your DIVORCE LAWYER to guide you through the court system and the entire process legally. 

Not all cases require all professionals and every case is different.  But when people ask me why a divorce is so expensive, it is because various expert witnesses are needed at a trial, or in preparation for settlement talks.  It is much better to have THE TEAM on your side than to go up against one.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Divorce and taxes…things you need to know.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are contemplating divorce as well as bankruptcy, there are three things that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court, that being alimony, child support and taxes due the IRS.

While divorce lawyers are not tax advisors, there are many tax ramifications of divorce.  It is helpful, almost imperative, to get an accountant on your side.  Certainly where children are involved, there are the child exemptions as well as head of household tax credits.  Usually the parent with whom the children reside most of the time gets the head of household exemption.

By agreement of the parents, or by court order, the child exemptions can be shared.  This can occur in several ways.  Each parent can take one child  exemption per year if there are just two children.  Or they can rotate total exemptions every other year. 

There are also tax ramifications in valuing assets of the marriage.  For example, if a marital home has equity of $100,000 and there is also a bank account for $100,000, depending upon other circumstances, they may not be of equal value after the tax considerations.  What might seem a fair split on its face, may not be after taxes.  So it is important where there are substantial assets of the marriage to consult a tax advisor as well as your attorney. 

For more information on this or other divorce proceedings, click on the Robin Roshkind, P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com or set an appointment to consult with one of the attorneys at the Firm by calling 561-835-9091.

Divorcing before the end of the year…why and why not?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Timing of a divorce often includes many customized factors.  People may wait until the marital home sells before they divorce.  They may wait to divorce when the youngest child goes off to college and is out of the house.  They may wait until just after Christmas???  Yes, often couples decide to divorce at this time of year for tax reasons…or a fresh start to the new year.   It makes life a little simpler for marrieds and singles.

If you are married until December 31, 2008, you must file your 2008 taxes as a married person.  You spent the year married.  You can still file as a couple or as a married filing separately, but you are married in the eyes of the IRS.  If you divorce before the year is out, you must file as a married for 2008, but the good news is in 2009 you can file as a single.  You may also have head of household deductions for children living with you.  And you can tap the child tax exemptions for 2009 if you are the custodial parent, that is the parent with whom the children live for a majority of time. 

Oftentimes, couples rush to divorce court to execute the divorce papers before the year is out.  This also gives a fresh start for the new year.  On the other hand, many couples wait it out…hoping to stay together for the holidays to celebrate as a family, and for the sake of the children.  This puts the marriage into the next year, and couples must file as marrieds even if they are only married for a small portion of the new year.  There are many reasons to divorce before the year is out.  Talk to your tax advisor before you call in the lawyers.  For more information, click on the website of Robin Roshkind, P.A. at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of the attorneys at the Firm by calling 561-835-9091.