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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

Tax options for separated and divorcing couples

Tax time is always a stressful time of year, no matter what else is going on in your life. It can become overwhelming if you are going through a divorce at the same time. You have a lot of factors to consider right now. Apart from all the emotional and procedural aspects of ending your marriage, you need to think about how it impacts your tax filing and return.

While your mind may mostly be pre-occupied with child custody and asset division, taxes deserve your attention too. Take a look at some of these tax guidelines to follow as you proceed with your divorce.

Getting organized is key if you're contemplating divorce

When you've come to the decision to end your marriage (or perhaps your spouse has made that decision for both of you), it's only natural to feel stressed out and emotionally fragile. Likely, the last thing you want to do is start combing through file cabinets, drawers and online folders for documents. However, it's essential to start getting documentation of your marital assets and debts organized to bring to your attorney.

Following are some of the documents you should locate:

  • Bank, retirement and investment account statements
  • Mortgage and other loan documents (including credit card statements)
  • Property deeds
  • Estate plan documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

5 ways to improve your child custody case

Like most parents in Tennessee, you want to be a great role model for your kids. If you are in the middle of a messy divorce or child custody battle, though, it can be difficult to mind your manners. Nonetheless, how you behave in your child custody case may have a significant effect on its outcome. 

When you are fighting for custody of your kids, it can seem like life has stacked the deck against you. You should understand, however, that your custody case will not go on forever. Eventually, the matter will be in the past. While no two custody cases are exactly the same, you can rely on the experiences of other parents to improve your situation. 

Divorcing a spouse for whom you're a caregiver

Americans are living longer. However, many are living with chronic and debilitating illnesses. Their marriages often become more of a patient-caregiver relationship than a spousal one. A serious illness or disability can take a considerable toll on a marriage. Divorce rates among couples where a spouse is suffering from a serious chronic illness have been estimated at up to 75 percent.

A serious illness or disability can change virtually everything about a spouse. They may not be the person they once were -- physically or mentally. They often can't reciprocate the care or maybe even the love they're receiving from their spouse.

What people who have been through divorce want you to know

If you have never been through a divorce before, it can be hard to know exactly what you should expect. How is this going to play out? What how are you going to feel? What challenges lie ahead that you haven't even considered before?

Finding specific answers can be hard, as every situation is unique. However, it is possible to look at what other people learned while going through the same thing, and their experiences can be educational. Here are a few things they learned:

  • Money is important, and it drives about 40 percent of the court process. Make sure you fully understand your financial situation. In many marriages, one person has far more control over the money than the other. If you're the person who never thought about money before, it's important to learn all you can.
  • It's fine if you find the process emotionally difficult and you don't recover from it as fast as you want to. Take your time and focus on the future.
  • Changes to living expenses may be a surprise. Remember, you now have one income but you may have most of the same costs. You need to make a budget and have a plan.
  • You're probably going to run into costs you don't anticipate. Don't make your financial plan too rigid. You need to be prepared for the unexpected.
  • If you have kids, the holidays are often one of the most trying times of the year. You'll need to learn how to work with your ex and you may need to accept seeing the kids less than you want.

Helping your teens adjust to your divorce

While divorcing when you have young children can be challenging, so can ending a marriage when you have teenagers. While teens are better able to understand a parental break-up than younger kids, that doesn't make things easier for them.

Some parents make the mistake of sharing too much about the reasons for the break-up with their teens. They aren't your best friend or your therapist. Save the details and the criticism of your spouse for other adults.

5 helpful co-parenting apps

Co-parenting is a challenging process. While you may believe it is best for your children to have close relationships with both parents, it comes with its fair share of frustrations and complexities. You must stay in consistent communication with your ex-spouse, coordinate schedules and switch the kids between houses.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to assist you with co-parenting. Here are a few apps that can help you achieve your co-parenting goals. 

Some simple words can help your co-parenting relationship

Most parents teach their kids at a young age that simple courtesies, like saying "please" and "thank you," are important. However, couples often forget to use these words when talking to each other. If a marriage is deteriorating, such niceties may become nonexistent.

However, as you and your former spouse work to co-parent your children, it's time to bring them back. They can go a long way toward showing respect for your co-parent and make a request seem less like a demand.

What divorced parents need to know about relocation

At some point after a divorce and while their children are still minors, many parents face the issue of relocation. If you're the custodial parent, you can't just pack up and move when a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity comes along in another state, or you need to help care for an aging parent who lives thousands of miles away. Your co-parent (assuming that they have parental rights) needs to approve that move. If they don't, a court will.

The court has a duty to look after the best interests of your children. If you're seeking court approval to relocate with them, you'll have to show that you have a "good faith" reason to do so. Examples of good faith reasons to relocate include:

  • Taking a new job that's already been offered (not just moving and then planning to look for a job)
  • Moving to an area with a lower cost of living
  • Being close to extended family who will help care for your children
  • Seeking a degree or otherwise continuing your education

Common Tennessee child support modification myths

The payor or the recipient may desire post-divorce child support modifications for many reasons. If a recipient notices her spouse, who works at a low-wage job, suddenly drives a red Mustang GT350, brags online about luxury resort vacations and flashes a two-carat diamond pinky ring on Instagram, she may suspect that unknown to the court, his job title changed from fry-cook to master chef.

On the other hand, if a payor notices that her ex-spouse, who cannot work due to a permanent back injury, is the lead story on the local news for winning the state golf championship, she may suspect the father of her children has made a miraculous recovery and should begin paying child support.

The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
503 Madison St.
Clarksville, TN 37040

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