The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Act”) signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017 made many significant changes to the tax code. One of the significant changes made was to the deductibility of spousal support, otherwise known as alimony. Alimony payments used to be deductible; however, as of January 1, 2019, alimony payments are no longer deductible to the payor.Further, the alimony received by the recipient is no longer considered income, thus it is not taxable to the recipient. Any divorce decrees entered prior to December 31, 2018 are grandfathered.
So how does this affect a new divorce case? It will likely result in less money for the divided family, and more money to the IRS.
Previously, the payor could deduct the alimony, and the recipient would pay taxes on the alimony received. Generally, the payor is in a higher tax bracket than the receiving ex-spouse. So the prior law resulted in the payor’s shifting of income to a lower tax bracket, thereby resulting in a reduction in the amount of taxes paid on the amount of alimony.
According to a 2018 Pew Research Study, 68% of adults that are online engage in the use of social media and networking sites, many on a daily basis. For some, checking social media is the first thing they do every morning when they wake up, and something they do a dozen more times throughout the day.
The Popularity of Social Media
Social media has quickly become a platform for adults to share their lives, activities, events, travels, and day-to-day experiences with family and friends at all hours of the day and night. We can simply log on and instantly connect with hundreds or thousands of other users in the social media world. When something happens in our lives, we are quick to jump on social media and share our latest “news,” and then wait for the instant gratification of “likes” and “loves” to come rolling in from our extended network of social media “friends.” We feel loved. Accomplished. Well-liked. And for some—less alone. We seek this attention.
For individuals going through a divorce, the social media world can be a sounding board to receive support from our friends, get advice on what to do, or simply vent about what a jerk our ex is. We love to post first and ask questions later.
Generally, people in Florida have an understanding that if you get divorced, there is a premise that the marital assets and liabilities will be distributed equally unless there is a valid basis for an unequal distribution.
However, a common question is:
What is my equal value of a business that was formed by only one spouse during the marriage?
If only one spouse is involved in the business, the other spouse likely thinks that the business is worth a lot more than it really is. And the spouse that is involved in the business is most likely proud of its financial stability any other day, but come time for divorce, all of a sudden it’s a business that is worth nothing.
Below are four common factors to consider that may help in calculating your business valuation or come into play during your divorce proceedings:
The Florida Legislation is attempting “Alimony Reform” for the third time. On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Representative Burton filed HB 203 and on Friday, January 20, 2017, Senator Passidomo filed SB 412.
Governor Rick Scott vetoed similar efforts in 2014 and 2016, in part, because the bills contained a presumption or premise for equal timesharing, a hotly contested item that has nothing to do with alimony.
So far…this year’s legislation has NO MENTION of timesharing…yet.
Of course politics is politics, and this is subject to change. Stephens’ Squibs will be keeping a close eye on these bills and will report any news as it develops. The last day of the Florida Legislature Session is May 5, 2017. It will probably be a bumpy ride.
Eddie Stephens is a partner at Ward Damon who is Board Certified in Family and Marital Law and has developed a successful family law practice focused on highly disputed divorces. Most importantly to Stephens is litigating in a manner that minimizes the impact of divorce on children. If you need help with marital or family matters you may reach Eddie at EStephens@warddamon.com.
Originally published in the Family Law Section’s, The Commentator (Fall, 2016, page 23).
Stephens: Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a personality disorder defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a pervasive pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others. An impoverished moral sense or conscience is often apparent, as well as a history of crime, legal problems, and/or impulsive and aggressive behavior.
Approximately 3% of males and 1% of females in the United States suffer from this disorder. As with any psychological disorder, the stress of a divorce often magnifies harmful consequences that accompany the behaviors associated with this disorder.
For every 17 divorce cases an attorney handles, 1 of the parties will be affected by this disorder. When an attorney comes across 1 of the 17, it is important for that attorney to have an understanding of the psychopathy in order to navigate the many obstacles this scenario presents. Continue reading →