Topic: The Ins and Outs of Divorce – How to Avoid Pitfalls
Divorce reality expert Nan Cohen shares her top tips for those dealing with separation and divorce during the holidays.
1. BE GOOD TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Foremost, patience with one’s self is important for anyone dealing with a divorce, says Cohen. “Keep positive, supportive people near you. Feeling good about yourself is so important, so screen out negative voices.” Cohen’s advice includes building new networks and contacts—both professionally and socially, exercising, resting and eating right. “It all matters”, and will fuel you for what you need to get done—year round
2. PUT THE KIDS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Be there for your children, your nieces and nephews and other children you know. Let go of those simmering emotions and focus on the joys and wonders of the season. Children only get one chance to be children. Let them enjoy every moment they can!
3. DECIDE WHO YOU WILL SPEND TIME WITH
This is as good a time as any to start practicing your new lifestyle. Do not force yourself to endure unpleasant and stressful situations. Surround yourself with those people who you choose, so you can enjoy the holiday season.
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Divorce reality expert Nan Cohen shares her top back to school tips for those dealing with separation and divorce as the children return to school this fall.
- Support your child in feeling good about what they do. Discuss what’s ahead this year and determine what roles each parent can play individually and together. “When you tackle that calendar of carpooling, parent –teacher meetings, arts programs and sports”. Cohen suggests “keep the happiness of your child foremost. These are not chores for parents; these are milestones to share with your children.
- Set Homework Rules. Homework can look very different at Mom’s house or Dad’s home. Cohen suggests that parents discuss guidelines for important issues like homework, curfews and driving. “Kids of all ages benefit from that structure” she says “Having similar rules at each home –if parents live apart- is very helpful to the children. It’s best not to allow children to play one parent off the other with ‘Mom said I could!’ moments.”
- Keep it simple. A favorite reminder from Nan, who insists realistic planning and goals to keep school and all of the other layers of life more manageable. You can be very positive by being realistic in setting schedules, timelines and vacation plans. Sometimes this planning must be less to do about custody agreements and more about what your child needs.”
Topic: Nan discusses her specialty of divorce coaching.
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Child support vs. Alimony.
Alimony is no longer deductible by the payer spouse and includible in income by the recipient spouse. This rule only applies for divorce or separation agreements executed after December31, 2018, and instruments executed on or before December 31, 2018 but modified after that date to include these new provisions. Child support payments are neither taxable nor deductible. Make sure your agreement clearly lists which payments are for which purpose and discuss with your accountant.
Ex spouse Social Security benefits.
As a result of the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015” divorced spouses may collect Social Security Benefits from their ex spouse under certain circumstances. Criteria include the length of the marriage, current marital status, and age to name a few. For full details you should check with your social security office and consult your tax preparer and attorney to get details on eligibility, documentation and tax consequences.
If you have purchased health insurance through the government “Marketplace”, and depending on your income level and marital status this may impact your taxes. You will receive a 1095-A form and must complete and return a form 8692. Form 8692 is quite complex and you should review with your tax preparer. Some of the parameters include taxpayers divorced or legally separated this past year, and taxpayers married at year end but filing separate returns with one spouse filing as Head of Household. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has eliminated the requirement for individuals to carry health insurance (the individual mandate). This is effective Jan 1, 2019.
A child can be treated as a dependent of both parents for medical purposes. Each parent may deduct the medical expenses he or she pays for the child regardless of which parent claims the dependent deduction.
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