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5 Things to Know About Filing Tax Returns

Though the taxing process of paying taxes isn’t all too different from the past few decades, divorce is. Joint Custody and several other changes in how property is split has made determining what is owed to the government, and by whom, harder than ever before.

Listed below are tips on five of the most distressing topics for those in a divorce.

1. Marriage Status

If your divorce is finalized between January 1 and April 18, you are still one half of a couple when it comes to filing your taxes. If your divorce is finalized in December,
you can’t file as married even if you were for most of the year and it would save you money. The a third status you can claim besides single or married is called “head of household,” which also save you money. The status was originally meant for single people, but some people in the middle of a divorce may also qualify. To do so, you have to have lived apart from your spouse for the last six months of the tax year; paid over half the cost of keeping up your main residence, and be able to claim your child as your dependent. Also, you have to file a separate tax return from your spouse, even if you are still legally married.

 

For more information, check out: Time 

Wife Sues Husband Over Home-Sale Proceeds

A restaurant owner in Brooklyn is being sued by his wife for allegedly giving his brother too much money.

Alan Harding, builder of the Smith St. restaurant row that included Patois, Gowanus Yacht Club and Pacifico, is accused of cheating his soon to be ex wife, Leslie Parks, on the proceeds from the sale of their home in Carroll Gardens.

According to Parks, the daughter of the renowned photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks, Hardings gave half of the proceeds to his brother, Jeffrey, a share she is rightful to.

“It’s making my life completely difficult,” Parks, 43, said of her husband’s alleged avoidance of court orders. “For some reason he thinks he can do whatever he wants to do.”

She filed the suit against the Hardings in Brooklyn Supreme Court, claiming all parties agreed Jeffrey would not receive any money from the sale of the property, except for “reimbursement for any specific contributions.”

“This was done in order to frustrate her claims in the divorce action,” said Parks’s lawyer, Paul O’Dwyer.

Supposedly, $115,000 was intended to go into an escrow account that a judge would later divide between the warring spouses.Instead, only $28,000 was deposited because of Jeffrey Harding’s cut.

Parks’ suit asks for reimbursements and damages exceeding $1 million. That’s a big jump from $100,000 but if her lawyer is equipped, such a task can be accomplished.

For more information, check out: Daily News

Text Messages and Divorce Proceedings

Text messages are already an integral part of our society so it makes sense that they become important in divorce proceedings. According to a recent study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, text messaging was one of the top three most common forms of electronic evidence.

If you suspect your spouse is cheating, what better way to find out than through his inbox? To do so, you can either read directly off the cell phone while your spouse is distracted or by removing them from the phone.

However, before you snoop, keep in mind, going through someone else’s cell phone is illegal in some states and the information you find may be made inadmissible in court so make sure to act on reasonable suspicion.

But cell phone companies don’t store messages anymore than a guilty spouse would.

Mark Siegel, the executive director of media and industry analyst relations for AT&T Wireless said that he knows of no way to save a text message, other than just not deleting it from the phone. He said AT&T stores text messages for 48 hours to ensure they are delivered, and then deletes them.

Verizon Wireless spokesperson, Deborah Lewis, says her company does not keep text messages on their servers for any length of time but if there are retrievable messages, a subpoena is required to obtain copies.

John Simek, vice president of Sensei Enterprises Inc., a Virginia computer forensics company, says the best chance at getting any text information if through searching the handset. If the messages are deleted, professionals may be called in.

If someone deletes their text messages, a company such as his own can try to retrieve the messages using several programs, such as Sim Card Seizure, Paraben Device Seizure, or BitPim. His company has seen an increase in requests to text messages

When the company gains access to the text messages, it can save them for the client, and then testify in court for the messages’ information, mollifying the worry over inadmissibility.

For more information, check out: divorce 360

Conservative Analyst Admits Divorce, Not Gay Marriage,Threatens Institution of Marriage

Michael Baron, 67, conservative columnist, political analyst, Fox news commentator, and author has come out in support of same-sex marriage, claiming that divorce is the threat to to the American family, not gay marriage.

In the syndicated column, “Our Gay Marriage Experiment,” he stated today, “the institution of the family is less threatened by a few people who want to get married than by the very many more people who get divorced or who have children without getting married at all.”

Barone, noted as the “greatest political observer of his generation,” cited polls finding a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage which he believes is because “people learn that friends and relatives are gay, they become more sympathetic to gay rights.” He states this change is also reflected in voters’ willingness to elect gay candidates for office.

He writes, “The Republicans’ problem is young voters. Huge majorities of them favor same- sex marriage, and for most of them it’s simply a no- brainer. They must have been turned off if they were watching the Republican presidential candidates vie with each other in opposing it in the Fox News/ Washington Examiner debate in Iowa.

“The constitutional amendment banning same- sex marriage that they supported is never going to get a two- thirds vote in Congress or be ratified by three- quarters of state legislatures. Unless the Supreme Court rules there is a constitutional right to same- sex marriage, this is an issue that is going to be decided by the states.”

He concludes his column by stating, “In any case, we now have an experiment going on. Some 11 percent of Americans live in the six states and the District of Columbia that allow same- sex marriage. That would rise to 23 percent if California voters, who narrowly rejected it, switch. Other states may follow. On the other hand, states where blacks and white evangelical Protestants form a majority are unlikely to accept it any time soon”

For more information, check out: The New Civil Rights Movement

10 Things To Do Pre-Divorce To Avoid Bankruptcy

Divorce usually the largest single financial transaction of people’s lives. The following tips offer assistance on how to go about it in the most effective and non-debilitating manner though the most helpful tip is obtaining a divorce lawyer.

1. Cancel ALL joint credit cards

Even if a court rules that you aren’t responsible for charges made by your spouse after you separate, the credit card company can hold you responsible while things are sorted. Better safe than sorry, they say.

2. Use joint funds to pay family expenses

Begin your divorce with these expenses already paid, rather than arguing with your spouse about who should pay them later. This includes automobile repair, clothing, and home necessities.

3. Start what you wish to continue

Judges usually enforce the status quo, so go wild: get braces for the kids, go to school, or receive medical treatments.

4. Open a personal post office box

Confidential information can be sent to you there, and it provides a stable mailing address as your life changes.

5. Open up a separate bank account. 

Accumulate money so you can get through the divorce. However, you are required to eventually tell your soon-to-be ex-spouse about the funds.

6. Apply for credit cards in your own name. 

These cards allow you to establish credit in your own name, to use when you cancel your joint accounts, and during the divorce.

7. For fast cash, borrow from parents, a credit union, or your 401 (k) 

The cost of these sources anvil credit card interest rates

8. Copy ALL papers that do with money now so you won’t have to subpoena them later.

This includes all tax returns, loan applications, wills, trusts, financial statements, banking information, loan documents, credit card statements, deeds to real property, car registration, insurance inventories, and all insurance policies.

9. Gather financial information

Even if you are unsure of divorce, knowing your finances will make you a better partner if the two of you stay together, and will help you get the best settlement possible if you don’t.

10. Copy records that you can use to trace your separate property, such as an inheritance.

If you can document them, the assets remain yours.

For more information, check out: divorce 360

John Mellencamp’s Divorce Finalized

Singer and songwriter John Mellencamp, also known as Johnny Cougar during his rockstar persona, is officially divorced from the model Elaine Irwin after 18 years of marriage.

Though they’ve been separated since September 2010, they filed for divorce in January of this year.

The divorce settlement reveals that the couple reached “an amicable settlement of all issues involving property and maintenance rights, the custody and support of their children, and all other issues.”

The couple has joint custody of their two teenage sons but Elaine holds primary physical custody while John pays for schooling and child support.

This divorce marks his third one, finalized on August 12, 2011. This just reflects how handy it is to have an attorney filed in your address book.

Since the split, this solo artist has been dating actress Meg Ryan and the couple have been spotted around New York City.

For more information, check out: People

Dark Side of the Moon: It Isn’t Just a Pink Floyd Album

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 81, became a space icon as one of the first men to land on the moon, alongside Neil Armstrong.

Since, he has stepped in the limelight with full force, a stark contrast to Neil Armstrong’s preferred state in the shadows. He utilized his fame to build a multi million dollar industry by publishing books, and by doing celebrity appearances and commercial endorsements.

Now, he’s fighting his wife Lois and her daughter Lisa Cannon in a legal battle.

The spaceman accuses Cannon of having deceived him into signing a contract that gives her and Lois a stake in Starbuzz, the business that manages Aldrin and his “Rocket Hero” brand.

He plans to have a judge void the agreement that was contracted in 2007 by Cannon, who was his personal and business attorney, claiming it granted her and her mother the rights to “essentially everything he has other than his clothes, car and home,” as stated by his lawsuit.

Why does he wants to divorce his wife of 23 years, a wife he seemed to adore throughout the course of his relationship?

Since their wedding in 1988, he’s called her “the woman of my dreams” whose love has given him a new purpose in life. In his 2009 autobiography, he wrote “Every Superman needs his Lois” and “Every man needs a woman like her.”

It wasn’t his lunar landing in 1969 and his universal fame that kept him “excited about life,” it was her. Before he met her at a party in 1985, he was struggling with depression, alcoholism, two failed marriages and the loss of his Air Force and NASA careers.

Can one business contract ruin a marriage?

The answer is unknown; the divorce papers only reveal “irreconcilable differences.”

Further information has been denied by the lawyers of the case and by Buzz Aldrin and Lisa Cannon themselves.

However, in a recent letter to Aldrin, Cannon wrote, “There is no such thing as a divorce with regard to Starbuzz,” promising him a strong battle front.

For more information, check out: The Telegraph

 

Daniel Baldwin Drops Divorce Filings

Daniel Baldwin filed for divorce from his wife, Joanne Smith last month, after she allegedly became violent during a drunken binge and threatened Baldwin’s life with knife in front of their two kids.

Logically, Baldwin got a restraining order and custody of their kids on the basis of Joanne being a threat to the family.

Yet, he’s had a change of heart and has reconciled with her, saying she has a significant alcohol and drug issue; one he presumably wants to help her get through.

Baldwin returned to court last week and requested the restraining order to be dismissed, which the judge obliged to do.
He and Joanna have also filed legal documents asking the judge to dismiss the divorce petition.

Now that’s a supportive husband…and possibly self-sacrificing.

For more information, check out: TMZ

“Divorce Sales”

Quite possibly the most entertaining idea to be born from divorce, Divorce Sales is a company founded by the 37-year-old entrepreneur, Jill Alexander. The company was founded to help wealthy divorcees sell down their things, a shopaholic’s greatest dream come true.

This living dream is further amplified by the fact that these sales are being held in chic hotel ballrooms throughout Los Angeles.

Alexander explains the goal of the company isn’t to make a profit but to help women endure a difficult phase. “It is a really cathartic experience. When you clear out your closet, it can be freeing. You are downsizing, but you also don’t want the clothes from your past life,” she states.

 

I think this is an experience we could all understand, regardless of whether or not we are going through or a divorce or even in a relationship. Somewhere, lying in our closets or in our house or car, there is an object that upon visual recognition will assault our memories.

To stay attached to that object is to be controlled by the memory and what better way to relinquish its control than to relinquish the object?

For more information, check out: YourTango

Protect Your Credit During Divorce

We don’t need a professional psychologist to confirm the chaotic reign of emotions during divorce.

As reported by Jennifer Wallis, the vice president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Oklahoma, credit becomes a tool in the war against peaceful separation.

One of her clients‘ ex-husband has destroyed her credit during the finalization of their divorce buy failing to uphold his agreement to pay the credit card companies.

He couldn’t pick a better time too, considering she now needs to establish her own financial identity. Yet, due to his sabotage, bad credit will burden the process of obtaining the confidence of mortgage companies, auto loans, and insurance companies.

To ensure your post-divorce credit status, Bankrate lists five ways.

Create a Budget

Ann Estes, president of the Atlantic and Heartland regions for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, says “You’re moving from a dual-income household to a single-income budget.” The only way to recover from the change is to make difficult financial decisions.

On top of the new budget should be the calculation of an affordable new house with taxes, insurance, and utility bills accounted for.

Know Your Debt and Credit Lines

Pull up a credit report to see the accounts you and your spouse opened, nothing which    are individual, joint, or authorized.

An individual account means sole responsibility for the debt. A joint account means your spouse shares responsibility in the payment. An authorized account means the account is under one individual’s name who allows the other to use card without responsibility for the balance.

Remove Authorized Users 

There’s nothing worse than being required to pay off your ex-spouse’s shopping spree bill at the Home Depot. To avoid this fate, review your credit report for the authorized user accounts, and then call the credit card issuer to ask for the name to be removed.

It’s also important to remove yourself as an authorized user because it can factor into your credit score.

Separate Joint Accounts

“Many people don’t understand that a divorce decree doesn’t change the contract you have with your lender,” says Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. “The only way to remove yourself (from a joint account) is going through the lender.”

He recommends paying off the accounts and closing them before the divorce but an alternative is to transfer them into individual ones.

To do so, transfer the balance of one credit card to another that is in a sole person’s name and close the joint account. Alternately, you can also refinance a mortgage under one name.

If splitting the accounts becomes too difficult, divide the responsibilities of the joint debt according to what works best for your situation. For instance, the person who lives in the house pays the mortgage and the person who gets the car pays the auto loan.

Keep Watch Over Joint Accounts

Ask your lender to send you a copy of the account’s statement each money, even if your spouse has been responsible.

You could also pull a free credit report from a different agency every four months to confirm all accounts are being paid on time. Through AnnualCreditReport.com, federal law allows you to request a free one every 12 months.

If your spouse isn’t making the payments, find a divorce attorney. The court will likely force your spouse to pay the legal fees and reimburse any pocket expenses if the creditor tails you.

For more information, check out: Fox Business