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Los Angeles Family Law Blog

Important tax change to spousal support is on the horizon

The tax reform which was big news at the beginning of the year, among other things, made important changes to the way spousal support, which is sometimes referred to as alimony, will be treated for federal income tax purposes.

To review, the federal tax code currently allows those who pay spousal support to claim those payments as a deduction on their income taxes. On the flip side, a person who receives spousal support must report those payments as income on his income taxes.

Is it always a good idea to keep the house?

People in the Los Angeles area probably recognize that home prices in Southern California are steep.

While this can pose a real hardship to those who are just getting started out and have to come up with money for a house, for those who have been able to maintain home ownership for quite some time, the house can be a valuable investment. In fact, many couples in California have a lot, if not most, of their net worth wrapped up in their homes.

The risks involved with divorce for older couples

California readers know divorce is a complex process and often leads to financial adjustments for both parties, no matter the age of the couple. However, the financial impact of a divorce is quite significant for couples over the age of 50 as they are closer to retirement and have less time to recoup divorce-related financial losses. Despite the potential risks associated with a later-in-life divorce, gray divorce rates remain high.

Since the 1990s, the rate at which the Baby Boomer generation is divorcing has doubled. Much of the reason behind this is due to the fact that people are living longer than ever, and they often to do not want to spend their remaining decades in an unhappy marriage. If you are age 50 or older and considering divorce, you would be wise to consider how you can make smart and practical financial decisions for the sake of your future security.

Legal separation in California

A resident of the Los Angeles area might come to a point where she recognizes that she must no longer live with her husband, sometimes even for the sake of her own safety or that of her children.

On the other hand, she may have moral or religious reasons for not wanting to end her marriage. She may also wish to keep the marriage intact for financial or business reasons, and sometimes it is just hard emotionally to admit that a relationship is over.

California's protections for domestic violence victims

This month marks over 30 years of commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Despite measures to combat it, domestic violence remains a serious problem that many women in the Los Angeles area, as well as some men, have to deal with on a frequent or even daily basis.

This month is a good time for victims to educate themselves on how to take a stand against the maltreatment they receive. California law offers protections across the board for victims of domestic violence, which is a good thing, but victims need to know something about what these laws are and how they can use them to help their situations.

When can I ask a court to change my custody order?

Many couples in the Los Angeles area who live apart may come to an agreement about their custody and parenting time plans before they ever see the inside of a courtroom, while a handful will ultimately have a judge make such decisions for them.

The good news, or bad news depending on how one looks at it, is that these orders are not as permanent as, for example, court agreements and orders about how a divorcing couple divides up their property.

Does virtual visitation have a place in your custody agreement?

Spending time with your children after your divorce is important, both for them and for you. Life does not always fall into neat, tidy lines though, and you may end up living a significant distance from your child for any number of reasons. However, this does not mean that you will end up with a child custody agreement that ignores your presence.

Virtual visitation is a newer approach to handling visitation in the digital age. It is popular among California parents who no longer live near their children and cannot see them on a regular basis.

How can I put a value on our family business?

One thing that can be very tricky to divide during a divorce, or, for that matter, during a separation between unmarried couples who also were in business together, is a small, privately-held enterprise.

Unlike larger business or those listed on one of the stock markets, it can be very difficult to get an exact price reflecting how much a share of the business is worth. Nevertheless, many couples acquire a great deal of wealth through these small businesses, and they rely on the business for their income.

Myths and truths about offshore accounts

In the movies and other media, one might hear about a villain or even an edgy hero who hides money in an offshore account and then, perhaps at the end of the plot, escapes the country to live in a life of luxury.

In reality, offshore accounts are not as nearly as romantic or mysterious as the movies portray them. For one, offshore accounts are not per se illegal. They are in fact useful investment and banking tools that many people use, including Los Angeles residents without a lot of money, utilize for a variety of reasons.

What exactly is parental alienation and what causes it?

A term that has become more popular of late in the world of family counseling is parental alienation. Parental alienation has also become a buzzword in family law cases, as judges, mediators and the like who work in the Los Angeles area are determined to prevent it.

Parental alienation is actually a term used in psychology as opposed to being a legal term of art.

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