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Birmingham Divorce Firm

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Category: Tax

FAMILY COMES IN ALL SIZES – ADOPTION FOR ALL

Family-lgbt-compressedSAME-SEX COUPLES ABILITY TO ADOPT. 

Mississippi is the only state left to ban same-sex couples to adopt.  With the ever changing landscape of what family looks like there has been a case to challenge's Mississippi's ban on adoption for same-sex couples.  It is very difficult for me to believe that there would still be a ban in existence for ANY child to be adopted and brought into a loving home regardless of how that home is made up.  The U.S.. Supreme Court ruled over two months ago that same-sex couples were allowed to marry in ANY state.  The inequality challenge to Mississippi's ban will most likely prevail and do away with this prejudicial law.  Interestingly enough Mississippi has the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children within its borders.  New York has been allowing same-sex couples to adopt since 1996. 

In Alabama, Probate Court is the proper place to file an adoption petition.  As of late, there have been several probate judges "called out" in the media for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  These judges have been sworn to uphold the law but even still, the environment in a few select counties is not as friendly as it should be. 

As an attorney who practices family law and sees children in foster care neglected and in need of love, I feel that every child that is wanted by anyone who will provide that love and affection should be able to adopt.  Children must come first and the biases of the prospective adoptive parents needs to be put aside.  There are safeguards in place to ensure that children are being adopted for the right reasons.  These couples seeking children have a real desire to provide a loving home that will nurture the child into adulthood.  They are willing to place their lives on a different track and add new members to their family in a positive way.  No matter what the makeup of their family is, if they are willing to jump through every hoop to adopt a child in need of care, laws like the Mississippi ban are due to be struck down.

At my firm I routinely file adoption cases and those are the most rewarding cases I do in my line of work.  Adoption is a very structured case based on statutory laws that are completely based on the best interest of the child.  Winning an adoption case whether it be for brand new parents or for step parent adoptions is a very satisfying experience for a family law lawyer.  Currently there are tax credits that are awarded in the same year as the adoption is finalized.  These will help you recoup the legal costs of an adoption.  Call us today for help in adding new additions to your family through adoption.  We are always here to answer your questions (205) 623-1001.  Our website www.birminghamdivorcefirm.com can offer more information as well.

 

How Divorce Affects Retirement Plans And Being Financially Savvy.

  Divorce and your retirement savings.

In a recent study by researchers at the University of Connecticut, Social Security Administration, and National Institute of Aging they looked at the Census Bureau and Social Security data for the 40-year period from 1968 to 2008.  They compiled over 2,000 women who divorced from 1968 to 2008.  When looking at the data, the results were surprising.  Those divorced spouses who were forced to enter into the work force were able to save more for retirement years than those who remarried. 

During marriage today couples need to save for retirement individually which is a different mindset than in previous years.  In the years pre 1970 women who stayed at home did not save for retirement and instead depended upon their husband's savings plan for their retirement.  The issue that arises is when that long term marriage ends and the woman has to seek out legal help to get a portion of her husband's retirement so that she will have some savings later in life. 

Married couples who have a plan in place for the wife or husband to stay at home with the children need to formulate a separate savings plan for retirement.  Even the stay-at-home spouse needs to be able to contribute to their own retirement account.  This new financial way of thinking has now been considered the better option.  Then when faced with divorce each party has their own retirement funds and the need to divide one spouse's account is lessened especially in cases where they have even amounts saved and there is not fault in the marriage.

This new financial planning comes on the heels of the study where it was proven that when stay-at-home spouses are forced to enter the work force following divorce, they become financially savvy with savings for retirement.  The now employed spouse has to start fresh most often times with no savings at all.  Only those couples in a long term marriage are those divorcing couples who are looking at separating a retirement account through divorce.  In Alabama a long term marriage is considered to be a marriage over 10 years.  That definition sometimes hurts those couples who live together, raise children together, act as married couples for several years and then decide to formalize their marriage.  The date of marriage then becomes the yard stick at calculating the number of years.  The disadvantage comes in when a spouse has been with their spouse prior to marriage for many years.  Those years are not counted toward that 10 year mark. If then they were not financially savvy enough to save for retirement, they are starting a new post divorce life with no retirement funds.

In the world of divorce, it is vital that you seek legal advice when it comes to the division of assets and financial accounts.  Dividing financial accounts and assets that can turn into a retirement benefit can be very litigious.  Having the right attorney can make the difference in your post divorce retirement funds.  Judge's have the power to enter Orders that divide retirement accounts and ensure no tax consequences for either party if they are rolled over into another retirement account.  Our attorneys have experience with long term marriages and the financial impacts that divorce creates on those spouses.  We have tools to assist you complete your financial picture with a real solution to your divorce issues.  Call us today (205)623-1001 to get real solutions. We have great resources on our site at http://birminghamdivorcefirm.com

 

How assets are divided.

wedding-ringshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/galtime/understanding-how-assets-_b_3441552.html

This article is the best ever.

Which parent gets to claim the child on taxes?

tax-dollars-e1276903266555In years past, this question was an easy answer.  Moms were getting custody routinely and dads were getting the children every other weekend.  Every parent knows the more dependents you are able to claim the lower your tax bill will cost them.  That is the primary reason parents want the ability to claim their children as dependents.

Today with the ever-changing parenting plans that occur in divorce situations, tax exemptions come up over and over again.  Despite how complicated the parenting plan or visitation schedule becomes, the simple rule-of-thumb is the parent with whom the child has more overnights with is the parent entitled to claim the tax deduction.  When this simple formula is put into place, it separates the line of who is the custodial parent and who is the noncustodial parent.

With all of this in mind, there are ways to simply this decision during a divorce.  Should the parties agree to who can claim the child and some times for which years (even or odd, etc), they can enter into an agreement which creates a contract between them.  Parents can even alternate years which will allow each parent to change their deductions on the years they do not claim the child.

A recent decision from the IRS in May 2013 from the United States Tax Court says that the IRS is not bound by state court rulings that allocate which parent may claim the child for a tax dependent.  So, for federal income tax purposes the the IRS rules govern.  The decision sums up tax dependency by saying that it is the IRS rules and state court orders that determine which parent can claim the children.  Since federal law governs a person's federal returns, they should look to IRS rules.  This makes it impossible for state courts to rule which parent may claim the children on their federal tax returns and that is based upon eligibility set out by the IRS regulations. However, state tax returns may be governed by state court orders.

The state of Alabama defines tax dependent eligibility as the parent who supports the child for more than 50% of his or her support during the tax year.  This ultimately puts the tax dependent claim with the custodial parent since even though a parent pays child support that does not cover more than 50% of that child's support.  This is ordinarily the case but not the rule.  There are a lot of considerations to be taken into account before answering this question.  Consulting a family law attorney will be most helpful in this case.  Our firm handles divorce and child custody cases routinely and the tax question is one that we have litigated in several cases.  Obtaining an opinion and order from the court puts the issue at rest.  Plus the parent who claims the child on their taxes has an order to produce in cases of dispute.  If both parents claim the same child as a tax dependent, the one with an order as proof of tax dependency will win the deduction.  Call us today if you need help in any divorce or child custody case (205) 623-1001.  We are here to help you find real solutions.

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