Top 5 To Dos Before Saying “I do”

Written by by Jennifer Coleman, M.S./ Ed.S., N.C.C., Rosen Divorce

Today, nearly half of all marriages don't last. Everyday I work with couples going through a divorce, many times over preventable conflicts. I’ve learned about what needs to be discussed before making a life-long commitment. If you’re planning to get married this spring, here are a few things to do before you say I do. 1. DO allow yourself enough time to make one of your biggest life-altering decisions. Ask yourself why now and why with this person? You should be able to answer this in an affirming and positive way. The relationship should not be reactive to fill an empty space in your life, perhaps a past relationship, a surprise pregnancy, orrepparttar absence of family. Lots of people go into a relationship still having baggage from a previous one. If you deal with your previous relationship losses successfully, they won’t come to haunt you or your future spouse later on. Also, keep in mind that opposites attract, but they are really hard to live with. The more in common you have with your spouse,repparttar 105607 more likelyrepparttar 105608 relationship will last.

2. DO discuss having children and if this is something as a couple you want to do. Also, discuss about how many children you’ll plan to have and when you’ll have them. What parenting practices will you adopt to raise your children? Who will stay at home or will both parties work? You should also define parenting roles as individuals and as a couple.

3. DO create a financial plan together. A lot of times people avoid talking about this, but you need to define financial goals and expectations beforehand. Don’t just know how much your future spouse makes, but knowrepparttar 105609 whole picture. Who will be in charge of balancingrepparttar 105610 checkbook? Will you join your accounts or will they be separate? What are your top financial goals together? People have different spending habits and different financial styles that are often influenced by family. What happens if one spouse starts spending excessively? How will this be handled? Speak with a financial planner and retain one together.

4. DO compare personal goals versus goals as a couple andrepparttar 105611 obstacles that may arise. If one party wants to move to California for a job promotion andrepparttar 105612 other desires to live near family in Florida, that’s something to discuss now. How will you as a couple make life-altering decisions on which you may not agree? Surely, not all your goals will match that of your partner, but there needs to be decision-making beforehand on how to handle these differences. If one party longs to have children shortly after marrying, whilerepparttar 105613 other wants to wait to start a family and hopes to attend graduate school, this could create tension inrepparttar 105614 marriage and lead downrepparttar 105615 road to separation or divorce.

Divorce and Uncle Sam: Top 10 Things You Should Know When Filing Your Taxes

Written by by Jessie Danninger, CPA, Rosen Divorce

If you’ve recently divorced or separated from your spouse, here are a few things you should know forrepparttar upcoming tax season:

1.What is my filing status? (Married, Single, Head of Household) Marital standing at year end determines your filing status forrepparttar 105606 entire year. If you have a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, signed by a judge, you should file as single. Regardless of whether you have a signed decree you may be able to file as head of household. Filing as head of household may reduce your income tax obligation, but to qualifyrepparttar 105607 following conditions must be met: oYou paid more than ½repparttar 105608 cost of keeping up your home forrepparttar 105609 tax year, oYour home wasrepparttar 105610 main home for your child for more than ½repparttar 105611 year, and oYour spouse hasn’t been a member ofrepparttar 105612 household for 6 months. If you can’t file as single or head of household, then you must either file as married filing joint or married filing separate.

6.Should my spouse and I file as married, filing separate or married, filing joint? Filing joint may provide some tax benefits over filing separate. However, by filing separaterepparttar 105613 IRS can’t hold you responsible for any unpaid taxes caused by your spouse’s actions or omissions. The “innocent spouse” rule provides relief from this responsibility in some cases.

2.Is alimony taxable? In general, alimony is taxable torepparttar 105614 recipient (line 11 ofrepparttar 105615 2004 Form 1040) and deductible torepparttar 105616 payor (line 34a ofrepparttar 105617 2004 Form 1040). However, some couples stipulate in their separation agreement thatrepparttar 105618 alimony won’t be deductible torepparttar 105619 payor, or taxable torepparttar 105620 recipient.

3.Is child support taxable? No. Child support is neither taxable torepparttar 105621 recipient nor deductible torepparttar 105622 payor. Ifrepparttar 105623 payor owes both alimony and child support but pays less thanrepparttar 105624 total amount owed,repparttar 105625 payments apply first to child support and then to alimony. Ifrepparttar 105626 separation agreement doesn't delineate separate alimony and child support payments, general "family support" payments are treated as child support for tax purposes, unlessrepparttar 105627 alimony qualifications are met.

4.Who gets to claimrepparttar 105628 dependency exemption forrepparttar 105629 children? In general, as long asrepparttar 105630 parents combined contribute at least ½ ofrepparttar 105631 support ofrepparttar 105632 child,repparttar 105633 custodial parent getsrepparttar 105634 dependency exemption forrepparttar 105635 child. If custody is split or undeterminable,repparttar 105636 parent who had physical custody forrepparttar 105637 greater part ofrepparttar 105638 year getsrepparttar 105639 dependency exemption. Custodial parents can waive their right torepparttar 105640 dependency exemption by filing Form 8332.

5. Who gets to claimrepparttar 105641 Child Tax credit andrepparttar 105642 Household and Dependent Care credit. Onlyrepparttar 105643 parent who claimsrepparttar 105644 exemption forrepparttar 105645 child may claimrepparttar 105646 Child Tax credit for that child. Unlikerepparttar 105647 exemption, it can’t be traded. If you arerepparttar 105648 custodial parent, you can claimrepparttar 105649 Household and Dependent Care credit forrepparttar 105650 child even if you cannot claimrepparttar 105651 child’s exemption. If you arerepparttar 105652 non-custodial parent, you cannot claimrepparttar 105653 Household and Dependent Care credit forrepparttar 105654 child even if you can claimrepparttar 105655 child’s exemption.

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