Grandparents Supporting Their Child and Grandchild May Be Eligible to Take the Dependency Tax Exemption

Mother and three year old Son live with Grandparents in Oregon.

Mother does not work or receive any child support or public assistance.

Grandparents provide all support for Mother and Son.

Not such an uncommon scenario.

Can Grandparents take the dependency tax exemption for both Mother and Son?

Grandparents may be able to claim the dependency tax exemption for both Mother and Son.

The Internal Revenue Code acknowledges the dependent status of either a Qualifying Child or a Qualifying Relative.

Son may qualify as either one, depending on the applicable facts.

Interestingly, a Qualifying Relative does not necessarily have to live with the taxpayer seeking to claim the exemption.

Read all the details in this Portland [OR] Oregonian column by an IRS consultant: Can we claim our daughter and her son who live with us?.

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Collecting Child Support from Deadbeat Parents Can Be Really Serious Business … in Some States

Parent is ordered to pay child support.

Parent doesn’t pay child support.

For a long time.

Other parent knows Parent has bank accounts and other assets.

Still, for the other parent, enforcing Parent’s child support obligations can be a slow, torturous, expensive and, sometimes, futile process.

In Missouri, though, things sometimes work a little differently.

Child support agency learns Parent has bank account.

Child support agency seizes back child support from Parent’s bank account.

How’s that?

Banks in the state and the child support agency there compare notes for the purpose of identifying deadbeat Parents who have bank accounts which could satisfy their child support obligations.

When a cross-reference (or match) is found, the child support agency has the power under state law to simply seize monies in a deadbeat Parent’s bank account and apply it to their child support arrearages.

The child support agency also compares notes with the federal government, in case Parents in-state deposit their money in banks with operations outside the state.

Missouri availed itself of this effective measure in approximately seven thousand cases (out of 300,000) in 2009.

Read more in this Kansas City [MO] Star article: Nixon seeks to tap bank accounts for overdue Missouri taxes.

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Weighing Settlement Options: Don’t Forget the Tax Impact or the Time Value of Money

Husband and Wife are divorcing.

In settlement discussions, Husband offers Wife her choice of:

  • alimony in the amount of $50,000 per year for each of the next ten years only, plus half of the couple’s investment portfolio OR

  • no alimony, but an additional $400,000 from “his half of” their investment portfolio.

Which is the better option for Wife?

Well, the answer to this question and the evaluation of many other settlement options, turns on the impact of taxes on each option.

In this particular example, a financial planner advises that Wife is better off waiving the alimony and taking the larger investment portfolio, because the alimony is taxable income to Wife but distributions from the investment portfolio are not.

Another important factor in some settlement options requires consideration of the time value of money.

Read more in this Portsmouth [NH] Herald article by a financial planner: Financially Speaking: The time value of money.

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Legislator Proposes Divorce without Sex

Under current Maryland law, couples reportedly have to live separately for a whole year in order to get an uncontested divorce. They also reportedly have to testify that they have not had sexual relations during that year.

A Maryland legislator believes that the requirement of having to live separately for a year makes getting a divorce more expensive than it has to be, than it should be.

And so he has proposed legislation that allows couples who live together, but abstain from having sex with each other for a year, to obtain a divorce. Less expensively.

The so-called proposed “Sex-Free Divorce” is not without critics. They point out that whether a couple has refrained from having intercourse for a year is not verifiable. And, arguably, this new divorce option may induce perjury and circumvention of the year-long statutory “waiting period”.

Still, the “no sex” divorce is not without precedent in the US.

Read more in this [Arlington, VA] WJLA News Channel 8 article: Maryland Lawmaker Proposes ‘Sex-Free’ Divorce.

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Ecuadorian Mother Allegedly Abducts American Daughter from US to Ecuador

Mother and Father have three year old Daughter. Mother and Father divorce.

Mother is from Ecuador. Divorce judgment permits Mother to take Daughter to visit Ecuador, but only upon prior notice to Father.

Father goes to Mother’s house in Michigan to pick Daughter up. And finds house empty.

Then Mother reportedly calls Father to tell him that they are in Ecuador.

In a letter, Mother notes that she feels “alienated” since their divorce. Mother also alleges that Father abuses drugs and that Daughter suffered burns several times while with Father.

Father maintains that child protective services has already investigated and cleared him.

Mother hires Michigan attorney, who contends that Mother is trying to protect Daughter.

Mother faces charges of parental kidnapping.

Father maintains that Mother is unstable and should not have Daughter.

Ecudador is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Father is seeking Daughter’s return under the Hague Convention.

Read more in this WZZM ABC 13 news article: Greenville dad says his daughter was taken to Ecuador illegally.

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Valentine’s Day Revisited

Woman is evidently missing her significant other (Man).

Man is reportedly confined in a Florida corrections facility.

Woman drives to the facility and requests a conjugal visit with Man.

But Woman is late for her appointment.

And, in any event, this facility doesn’t permit conjugal visits.

Woman leaves the facility.

And then returns.

Woman appears to law enforcement officers to be “under the influence”.

Law enforcement officers administer a field sobriety test on Woman.

Woman fails the test.

Law enforcement officers administer a breathalyzer test on Woman.

Woman fails that test too.

Woman is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) … and held in the very same facility where Man is.

Read more in this [West Palm Beach] WPBF ABC News 25 article: Police: Drunk Woman Sought Conjugal Visit With Inmate.

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Domestic Violence Sometimes Happens When You Least Expect It

Valentine’s Day.

Flowers. Candy. Romance…

And domestic violence.

So suggests a UK police department.

The department has been stepping up its domestic abuse awareness and education program in anticipation of more incidents of domestic violence. On Valentine’s Day.

Posters and leaflets encourage victims to report acts of domestic abuse against them.

Trained officers stand ready to help victims from the time of their complaint through the trial of their abuser.

Last year, fifty-eight domestic violence incidents were reported in that county over the weekend of Valentine’s Day.

Read more in this Warrington [UK] Guardian article: Support for Valentine’s domestic violence victims.

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Husband Gets Jail Time for Hiding Assets from Wife During Divorce

Canadian Husband and Wife are married for over twenty years.

Husband and Wife break up.

Husband and Wife agree on the amount of alimony Husband should pay Wife.

Husband allegedly removes $50,000 from his retirement account over a period of time. And transfers his stock in his company to his son.

A year after the divorce is finalized, Husband seeks to modify his alimony obligation based on an alleged drop in his income.

The Ontario, Canadia trial court does not buy Husband’s story, concluding that Husband moved money so that it could not be used for alimony …

And the trial court goes on to sentence Husband to six months in jail for hiding assets from Wife and his noncompliance with the trial court’s order.

Husband declines to pay Wife what he owes her, even to avoid jail.

The Ontario appellate court affirms the trial court’s ruling.

And this is yet another shot fired in Canada which may be heard around the family law universe. (See my recent post Canadian Court Upholds Family Court Damages Award for One Spouse’s Purely Psychological Abuse of the Other Spouse for another recent, high impact ruling from Ontario, Canada.

Read more in this [Canadian] Globe and Mail article: Hiding assets from ex-spouse leads to jail.

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Court-Martial for Mother or Foster Care for Her Baby?

Mother is in the military and is scheduled to be deployed overseas.

Mother arranges for Grandmother to care for Baby during Mother’s deployment.

Grandmother reneges … a few days before Mother’s deployment.

It appears Baby will have to go into foster care if Mother is to deploy as scheduled.

What’s a mother to do?

Mother misses her appointed flight overseas.

After Mother makes other arrangements for Baby’s care, Mother reports for duty.

And, for her trouble, Mother is arrested for dereliction of duty and other charges, and under threat of court-martial and imprisonment.

In the end, the military merely grants Mother an “other-than-honorable” discharge. Mother’s rank is lowered and she is stripped of some of her military benefits.

The military reportedly views Mother as trying to avoid her commitment and not availing herself of alternative options it, presumably, considers adequate for Baby.

In 2009, 10,000 single parents were able to be deployed overseas.

But hundreds, if not thousands, of other single mothers in the military have reportedly been administratively discharged over child care difficulties similar to Mother’s.

Read more in this New York Times article: Single Mother Is Spared Court-Martial.

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Domestic Violence: Still More Evidence It’s Not Just Found Among Those with Lower Socioeconomic Status

Wife seeks divorce from Husband.

Husband allegedly attempts to beat Wife to death – with a metal flashlight. Husband also attempts to strangle Wife.

Husband also threatens to kill himself.

Couple has two young daughters.

Husband is arrested on charges of attempted murder and strangulation.

Oh, Husband was an attorney who served two former Presidents in important roles when they were in office. Husband was also the chief attorney in a large corporation.

And couple has millions of dollars in assets.

Wife has filed a civil lawsuit against Husband for $30 million, of which she seeks an award before final judgment, due to her injuries, which reportedly disable her from working.

Wife also fears dissipation of assets prior to Husband’s anticipated incarceration for what may be a very long time.

And Wife believes she requires bodyguards and other extraordinary security measures.

Read more in this [Danbury, CT] News-Times article: Wife of former White House lawyer sues for $30 million.

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