Divorce Blog

Watch For Tax Angles In A Divorce Agreement

This week’s post is by Wendy Knutson, CPA.

If you’re getting a divorce, you’ll have to work through a variety of financial issues governed by prevailing state law. But don’t overlook the federal income tax implications. Advance planning can be critical in the following areas:

Alimony vs. child support. Generally, payments designated as alimony in a divorce decree are deductible by the payer and taxable to the recipient. But the opposite is true for child support; the payments can’t be deducted by the payer and are tax-free to the recipient. Make sure that the decree accurately reflects your intentions.

Filing status. If you divorce before year-end, you must file your 2012 federal income tax return as an unmarried individual. Depending on your situation, you may fare better or worse as an unmarried filer. For instance, joint filers could be hurt by the “marriage penalty” if the income of the spouses are relatively equal. In that case, it may be advantageous to finalize the divorce before year-end.

Dependency exemptions.Generally, the parent who has custody of young children for most of the year is the one entitled to dependency exemptions for the children. However, a noncustodial parent may claim the exemptions if the custodial parent signs…

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How To Stop Negative Thoughts

Last week, I had a song stuck in my head for the whole week! Just about every time I tuned into my background thoughts, there it was taunting me.

After a couple days, I’d finally had enough and I got serious about changing the radio station my subconscious was listening to. I decided to start using some of the same techniques I teach my divorcing clients when their mind gets stuck on a race track of negative thoughts.

Here are the steps for how to stop negative thoughts:

First I tried asking myself why this song was playing virtually non-stop in my head. My answers were that it is a bizarrely catchy tune and that it is pretty popular right now. So I’m hearing this song a lot right now in the real world in addition to hearing it in my head.

Being repeatedly exposed to the song isn’t the best for kicking it out of my head, so my next question was how can I limit my exposure to the song? I thought about avoiding the TV, radio, internet and my family and friends, but that didn’t turn out to be too practical. So, what I did instead was tell my family and friends that…

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My Beliefs Get In The Way

One of the ways I market my business is to attend networking events. In early spring 2011, I attended an event where the featured speaker was a woman named Cricket Lee. Cricket spoke about how she had spent years researching and testing to perfect pant fit for women. She had a great story about her work and I chose to support her by ordering a pair of pants.

Now I’ll bet that just about every woman reading this has a belief similar to mine when I ordered the pants. My belief was that there’s no way that Cricket has really standardized fits in a way that would work for me. Finding pants that fit is almost impossible.

It took a bit longer than anticipated for the pants to arrive – a little more than a year, but I was completely OK with that because I knew that Cricket was attempting something BIG and besides the pants weren’t going to fit me any way.

When the pants did show up, I didn’t even open them. I had a broken ankle at the time and couldn’t put them on any way. And there was no way they were going to fit, so what did it really matter?…

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When Will I Stop Hurting So Much?

Woman sitting on the floor by her bed crying and wishing she would stop hurting.

Loneliness is one of the first most painful emotions to appear when you get divorced. Even if you were lonely in your marriage, it’s just somehow different when you are living alone. (Yes, this is true even if your children are living with you.)

The ways that people express loneliness are unique to each person. You might be like a hermit crab and withdraw into your shell, peering out at the rest of the world with a sad and dejected expression. Or maybe you avoid experiencing loneliness by being with someone, actually anyone either in person, by phone or even via social media, so you don’t have to be alone. Then again, you may experience loneliness by keeping busy – VERY busy – with work, or volunteer efforts, or with your kids and their activities. Or maybe you like the buffet approach and use a little hermit crab and keeping VERY busy with a touch of never allowing yourself to be alone.

What I want you to know is it’s natural to feel lonely when your relationship ends.

At some point you’ll start to realize the pain of loneliness can be an opportunity to rediscover the best of you and heal from the pain…

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21 Tips For Surviving The Holidays

The holiday season is typically a time for celebration with friends and family. Yet, when you’re divorcing, the holiday season can feel anything but merry. To help you enjoy this holiday season instead of dreading it, here are 21 tips you can use today.

1. Be patient

Even in the best of times, the holidays are usually a bit hectic. However, when you’re celebrating the holidays for the first time on your own, they can feel more than hectic. They can feel overwhelming! You’ve got so much going on emotionally with the divorce that the added tasks, events and scheduling of the holidays can all be just a bit too much. Be patient with yourself and your kids as you navigate the holidays. This is new and different for everyone and a little patience will go a long way toward making your first holidays post-separation/divorce enjoyable.

2. Be flexible

The holidays are about celebrating with family and friends and don’t HAVE to occur on only one specific day. I find that people with children who are celebrating the holidays for the first time as a single parent often get tied up in the idea that holidays can only happen on the official day marked on the…

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