Who to claim as a dependent on a tax return can range from being simple to very complicated. The IRS has tests that must be met for you to claim an individual as a dependent. For married parents claiming their children, it can be relatively simple. However, other situations, such as divorced parents, single parents, living with a grandparent, and other unusual circumstances can cloud who is eligible to claim a child. You must have the correct filing status. What do I do if the electronic filing is rejected because my dependent was claimed on another tax return? What tax credits can I claim for my dependents? Can I claim my child going to college? This episode will help to clear up the waters and answer these questions.
Are you going through a divorce? Here is a good guide to help you in the process.
1. Do not Believe What You Might Have Heard
There is a good chance you have heard a lot from friends, family, co-workers, and tv characters. This “legal advice” should be written down then shredded. You should not put any value in such advice. Lawyers are used to hearing people saying “my friend got X amount of money in spousal support, why am I not getting the same” or “my co-worker got sole custody of his children, why can I also get it?”
It is not a good idea to let those who have been through separation or divorce to set your expectations when it comes to legal entitlements and obligations. You will often end up disappointed.
Each case has to be analyzed individually by looking at the unique set of circumstances: the assets and liabilities of this particular couple, their income, and the interest of the children. Cookie-cutter or prototype approaches don’t apply in family law matters. You cannot relate two different cases because the outcome might not be the same. You can still listen to and value what it is they are saying because you can know how they felt about the process.
2. Making Sure You Have a Reliable Support Network
During the divorce process, you are going to need a lot of support; both emotionally and financially. Emotional support can be in the form of counseling, a solid core family and friends you share with, or even an online support group. There are times when you might start feeling like the walls are closing in. When you have the right people in your corner who are ready to listen to you during those bad days, then you can expect to have an easier time. It is advisable to look at any form of emotional self-treatment because it is how you are going to find your happy place. Visit clarityclinic.com for support.
It can be a challenge to deal with the legal fees involved with Divorce and Family Law matters. Make sure you choose a lawyer who is within your financial means. Make sure you have a plan for financing their fees, upfront payments, and other related costs.
3. Choosing the Right Lawyer
The lawyer you are going to work with needs to be someone who is experienced and ready to help you with your case. Take the time to choose the right lawyer because he/she is going to have a big impact on your case. Different lawyers have different levels of experience and also different styles. If you feel like your spouse is going to use the “scorched earth” approach, then it might be better to look for a lawyer experienced in cases involving high conflict matters. A lawyer with a more collaborative style is a great option when you have a good relationship that you want to salvage and cultivate even after you have divorced.
4. Distinguishing Battles from the War
There are Divorce and Family Law issues that might come with a high degree of urgency and have to be resolved in the shortest time possible. There are issues that can be considered as “low-hanging fruit” because the fair and just outcome can be seen by all. It is important to resolve them upfront, even if it is on a temporary basis, as you wait for the final decision.
Talk with your lawyer about your priorities and triage the issues. The genuine impasse is going to reveal itself with merit, urgency, and priority assigned to your case. The remaining part will be about solving these issues.
5. Looking at Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The court is not the only option for solving issues. The best way to look at it is as a final resort. There are many models of ADR out there and they are becoming more and more popular. This is usually referred to as “mediation”, and the forum is going to provide amicable, economical, and emotionally healthier ways for both parties to resolve any issues they might be having.
There are no limits on where ADR can be applied. It is going to be a good option whether it involves child/spousal support, parenting matters, or property division.
Many tax preparers misinterpret court orders and tax law when preparing tax returns. Since 2009 the IRS has taken the position that a county court cannot tell the IRS how exemptions are claimed on a tax return. Attaching copies of a divorce decree are not sufficient to claim the exemption on a child who does not live with you.
Basicly, the parent who has the child in their home for more than half the year and provides 50% or more of the support (this does not include child support) is the parent that can claim the child as a dependent. The dependency can be released to the noncustodial parent if the custodial parent signs form 8332. The noncustodial parent must then attached form 8332 to his tax return. If you are a noncustodial parent, make sure to have the custodial parent sign 8332. If form 8332 is not attached to your return, it can cost you later.
One area where I commonly see mistakes for custodial parents is with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The noncustodial parent is not eligible to claim the EITC, since their child did not reside in their home 6 months or more. Even if the child dependency is released to the noncustodial parent, the custodial parent is eligible to claim EITC if they have earned income. The custodial parent may even be eligible to claim head-of-household filing status. In cases where the parents have joint custody, there are many factors that the tax preparer has to examine before determining who is eligible for the EITC.
I always request a copy of the court documents.
I host a radio weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events (https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3902/life-altering-events). People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this – It can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.
On August 20, 2019 my guest was Latachia Morrissette Harper who is a truly remarkable and inspirational women. You can hear the conversation at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/116498/life-derailed.
Latachia is the author of the book Life Derailed, A Divorced Mom’s Survival Guide. Her inspiration to write this book was to recover from a very traumatic divorce and let other women and men know they are not alone. Latachia addresses that your emotions, feelings, grief, sense of loss, how will I pay my bills, fear of the future are not unique. If you have not read this book – do it today!
Latachia is also a public speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Her passion is to motivate and inspire women, especially women with children impacted by divorce. Being in an abusive relationship is a life altering and divorce can be terrifying and debilitating but which is worse? She equips women to find their independence and strength, learning how to find their voice and love themselves first.
Now men, don’t see this title and think “This is a chick book.” It’s not. Latachia provides a common sense approach at time when common sense is often absent. This common sense applies equally to both men and women.
One powerful piece of advice from her book is:
In dealing with the sorrow of divorce or a major loss in your life/family, take one breath at a time, make one decision at a time, and focus on just the current day and what you can achieve. The saddest thing for a child is to be in your presence and you not really being there. Be in the moment, embrace them. You control more in life when you don’t let the issues, things control you.
Another statement she wrote that I loved and wish I had followed is “Stop Saying you are OK.”
Stop saying you’re OK. Seriously, it’s OK to not be OK. Wait till the kids are away and SCREAM, cry and then get out a piece of paper and write it all down, random thoughts, fears and ideas. Get it out, it’s OK, you have a right to be in this place.
Remember divorce is a legal process. It is a legal process to become married and a legal process to end the marriage. It is a huge mistake to rush through the process or say to your ex “Just get the papers and I’ll sign so we can get this over.” Don’t ignore this step. There are too many important issues regarding finances, property and most importantly the needs of your children. Get it in writing up front because promises made prior to divorce often change afterwards. The children certainly don’t need to re-live these battles over and over.
Another major issue you will likely face is “the call” from your ex, suggesting you try again. Stop! Proceed with caution. Think about why things will be better or different if you jump back in. Really stop and think about it or you may find yourself in a worse situation in the next year or two. Why is your ex asking to get back together when they were so eager to leave?
Picking up the pieces is not easy. It will be the most difficult thing you will ever do, but keep this in mind, stop looking behind you, you’re not going that way. There is nothing new to see in the past so keep moving forward. Believe it or not, better times and better people will come into your life.
The story is too familiar. You are involved in a long term relationship or marriage. It usually starts out wonderful, full of joy and excitement as you pursue your hopes and dreams. You are ready to take on the world together. Then life happens. Stress at work; money issues; children’s needs; losing a job; issues with in-laws; health concerns. The list goes on and on. The feelings of joy starts to fade. You didn’t sign up for this! You stop communicating with each other, I mean really communicating and connecting, not just talking at each other. The relationship and your life become a grind. You start going through the motions.
You start to think, there has to be a better way. Chances are your partner feels the same. One of you finds a kindred spirit, a friend, an associate, someone with whom you can share your frustrations. You tell yourself, it is nothing serious we’re just talking. The more you talk and share with your kindred spirit, the less you share with your partner. Sooner or later you cross the line. You are hoping to make things better, but they are about to become worse. Heart break, separation, betrayal, divorce.
Since my book When the Wife Cheats was released, I have spoken to dozens of men and women whose resolution is simply to “move on” from betrayal. This one is not so easy. Betrayal comes in many forms. We have all been betrayed by a friend or co-worker or a trusted employee. Although these betrayals hurt, we are able to move on fairly quickly. However, it is not so easy when the betrayal is your spouse or life partner. I wish I had the answer—I don’t. I can only share what has helped me.
Whether you want to or not, you cannot escape the grief process (shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and acceptance). I know because I tried. Unfortunately, these stages don’t always go in order. I still find myself going back and forth between them. It’s OK. This process is not an exact science. Spousal betrayal is made more difficult because your heart isn’t just broken, often it is shattered. There is usually a set time to fix a break. A broken bone may heal in six to eight weeks. A shattered bone or heart has no fixed time to heal. It is going to take far more time than you expect. Give yourself time.
Before you can pick up the pieces and start moving forward you have to forgive yourself. Let me say that again; forgive yourself. You weren’t the worst husband or wife ever. While you may have done the best you could to make your marriage work, it didn’t work. You cannot make someone else happy or make them love you if they don’t. You may never forgive your spouse—that’s OK—but forgive yourself.
I used this quote in When the Wife Cheats. It helped me. I hope it helps you.
“There comes a point in your life when you realize: who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore and who always will…so don’t worry about people from your past; there is a reason they didn’t make it to your future.”
Now I know this is far easier said that done. You are going to find yourself in the depths of depression and sorrow; when you don’t believe you have the strength to even get out of bed; when you have no idea how you are going to survive the next hour—let alone raise your children. Believe me, you will have ALL of these feelings. When you feel completely overwhelmed, remember this: Look up… Get up… And never ever give up.
You will recover in time. When you are ready, pick up the pieces and start moving forward. There is nothing new to see in the past, so don’t look behind you; you’re not going that way. Even in your hardest day move forward. Better times and better people will come into your life.
Have you ever found yourself in one of those moods where no matter what your partner says or does, it is all fodder for the fight? Where you are angry, disturbed, and nothing he or she says or does is right or good enough to relieve your sense of aggravation?
We recently met a couple, Hal and Mary, in one of these altered states of consciousness. They came to speak to us about their relationship and how, no matter what they did, it always ended in an upset and distress, and their fight never seemed to completely resolve. Oh sure, it abated from time to time, but the embers of disagreement were always just below a thin skin, ready to erupt at any time.
The funny thing was they were both right—from their individual points of view. From his point of view, “She would always . . . ,” and from her point of view, he was wrong and all of her friends agreed with her. This couple had a list of grievances dating back to early in their relationship, past events over which the two of them continued to disagree.
Hal and Mary had fundamental behavior patterns in their relationship that we have seen in other intimate relationships where nothing seems to resolve. No matter how much they tried to change or fix the situation, it stayed the same or became worse. So they came to us, looking at whether or not they should remain together. Their situation was further complicated by the fact that they had a sixteen-month-old child together. By now, the sense of intimacy between them had completely eroded, and while they were very devoted to their daughter, she had become the focal point for many of their fights.
The real problem was that Mary and Hal, for all of their strife, were obviously still in love. They just couldn’t find a way to sidestep the old grievances that kept resurfacing, incendiary mechanical behaviors that set them battling against their will.
Our usual approach is to find out where it all started and what happened that initiated the fight, but when we asked what had caused this pattern of behavior in the first place, Hal and Mary each had their reasons for what the other did or didn’t do that created the situation, and both of them were “right” from their points of view. Apparently, we had a stalemate. No matter what we came up with, each person felt certain that the other was the cause of their stress, upset, and dissatisfaction. This is normal for most relationships that are in trouble.
In situations like this, where the partners have been together for several years, the starting point of the disagreement is obscured forever. So what do you do to alleviate the pain when you are locked in a habituated way of relating that seems to have no beginning and no end—a way of relating that keeps accelerating in its frequency, intensity, and duration?
At some point, the reasons why you are upset become irrelevant because everything becomes grounds for the disturbance. It has been unresolved for so long that there is no way to go back and fix all of the grievances and transgressions.
So what do you do then? You can leave each other, which is the end result that a lot of loving relationships devolve into — it’s called divorce. You can punish each other perpetually and live a life of complaint and pain. Or you can start over.
There have been times in our relationship when we found ourselves fighting and could not find a way out of the disagreement in which we were locked. Finally, we came up with a device that allowed us to stop fighting. One day, we were driving into New York City, and for whatever reason, we were deeply engaged in disagreeing with each other. It escalated and was like a sore tooth that you worry with your tongue; we couldn’t seem to leave it alone. Our silences were noisy — very noisy. And each of us was certain that we were right in our own perspective and that the other was simply wrong. We each felt picked on and misunderstood. It didn’t feel good, but there didn’t seem to be a way to resolve the conflict. Finally, we came up with the idea of starting over. We picked out an overpass ahead on the highway and said, “When we go under that overpass, the fight is over.” This meant that as soon as our car passed that spot, we were going to operate as if this disagreeable conversation had never taken place. Onward we drove. It took discipline at first to resist thinking about the altercation that had just happened, but we kept bringing our thoughts and conversation back to current things, such as what we could see out the window and our plans for the day, rather than rehashing the past.
We can’t remember now what our fight was about. It seemed so important at the time, but now the details have faded into obscurity. We knew that the fight could fade away for Hal and Mary too, if given a chance, and so we suggested that they try starting over. We warned them it would be challenging not to keep going back to past gripes, but they grew excited and intrigued at the idea.
That night, Hal and Mary had a date. They had not been on a real, live date since before their child was born. The point where they started over was the opportunity for a new beginning. They grabbed this chance with both hands, and intimacy resulted. However, the next time an upsetting event happened between them or a similar type of disagreement cropped up over their child, it took discipline to resist the temptation to revisit old events. With practice, the habit of going back to touch on old events in your thoughts or in your actions can fade away.
Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.
Making Love Radio with Colette Malan is excited to announce that we will be featuring best-selling author Michele Weiner-Davis with her new book: Healing from Infidelity.Read More
Despite statistics, divorce is difficult. Understanding the thoughts and feelings after divorce allows for use of them as lessons learned in going forward. This blog considers why intimate feelings can linger, the cost of re-writing history, the time for grieving, the cost of âtearing upâ the good memories for children and way to find self and a better future.
What does Dr. Virginia Colin, host of “Family Matters” on VoiceAmerica’s Variety channel, do when not on air? As Director of Colin Family Mediation Group LLC (CFMG), she provides family mediation services to families in Burke and other parts of northern Virginia. For 2015, the Best in Burke Award for providing legal services went to Colin Family Mediation Group. The Group is, naturally, proud, and also very happy to be able to provide valuable, low-cost assistance to families making decisions about marriage, separation, divorce, reconciliation, or other family matters.Â
Our first and last love is self-love which is portrayed to the world through actions reflecting self-respect. Clint Eastwood once said, “Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that is real power.”
Now that Iâm a parent, I often reflect on my own childhood and am so grateful for my parents teaching me self-respect from a very young age. It truly is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to their children. I now know that self-esteem is built on self-respect, and showing respect is a skill that takes time to learn. When you are able to love yourself, it is much easier to take on challenges and bounce back from any fall. This resilience enables children to embrace opportunities in their path, and high self-esteem becomes their optimistic fuel for exploring the world. The good news is, itâs never too late to learn or hone this skill. That resilience that grounded me through my early life has been tested many times through parenting, especially now that Iâm a single parent. Parenting through a divorce is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I know there are many of you out there who know that all too well. I recently came across an amazing book on this topic entitled, Get the Behavior You Wantâ¦ Without Being the Parent You Hate by Deborah Gilboa, MD. How many of you can relate to that title? Â Parenting challenges us in SO MANY ways on a daily basis, and a major life transition can really make it difficult to push aside feelings of guilt and continue to discipline children through some rocky moments where it would be so much easier to give in. However, by staying the course, we are able to teach children a monumental lessonâ¦.A lesson in self-respect that will help them practice discipline in life and live a life they are proud to call their own.
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