Author Archives: Howard

No more alimony deduction? How can that be.

Just finished reading the morning paper about all the lobbying to change the new tax proposal. There was no talk about saving the deductibility of alimony.
I was unaware until the draft bill came out that eliminating the alimony deduction was being proposed. This will be catastrophic for families dependent on receiving alimony or unallocated support. The elimination of the tax deduction will result in billions of dollars of tax savings, the articles say. But those billions of dollars are coming from divided families who are struggling to manage to maintain two households on income that had previously been supporting only one. One might say, why should the tax code favor (mostly) men paying alimony. Divorce lawyers know that the tax break makes it possible for more support to go to the families and children. Statutes will have to be changed: The Massachusetts alimony reform law establishes a range of 30-35% alimony—but that is based upon the presumed tax deductibility of alimony. If it not tax deductible these percentages will need to be changed, but until then it will be up to Judges and lawyers to take tax consequences into account.–All of this results in more costs to the litigants and more work for judges. SAD!

Thinking outside the box about mediation

Clients and family law attorneys are by now very familiar with using mediation as a technique to settle divorce cases. What is less well understood is that there are a myriad of ways to use mediators to make litigation of divorce cases more efficient and streamlined without giving up the right to have their trial… Continue Reading

Award Winning Book on Collaborative Practice

Proud to announce my participation as one of the co-authors of this award winning book on Collaborative Practice published by Massachusetts Continuing Education (MCLE NEW ENGLAND). Thanks to all of the co-authors who participated and to MCLE for their help. The International Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) has announced that Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education… Continue Reading

Merger vs. Survival of divorce agreements in Massachusetts

Separation Agreements either “merge” or “survive” a Judgment of Divorce. When a separation agreement is merged into a Judgment of Divorce, its terms are incorporated into the judgment and are modifiable by the court, because the court always has the power, in the proper situation to revise or modify its own Judgment. A ‘merged separation… Continue Reading

Definition of income under the Massachusetts child support guidelines

The latest version of the Massachusetts child support guidelines contains a long list of items that are to be considered income for purposes of the guidelines. Most people, including lawyers are surprised when they see what is included. It makes no difference if the IRS thinks its taxable income.  There is a catch-all category for… Continue Reading

Your first meeting with your divorce lawyer

For most people the first step they take in getting divorced is contacting a divorce lawyer. A lot has been written on how to choose a lawyer. This article assumes that you already have chosen a lawyer who you think you will be satisfied with. There is a fair amount of anxiety surrounding that first… Continue Reading

Filling out your financial statement

One of the more annoying tasks for someone going through a Massachusetts divorce is to have to deal with the financial statement required by the Court. It is typical that in any divorce this form will be redone more than once, because it is required to be current each time there is an important event… Continue Reading

When should I file for divorce?

New clients often ask the question, “When should I file for divorce?” This seems like a simple question, that should have a simple answer. But it does not. The reason is that every case is different. Here are some reason to file quickly and some reasons to wait. Which of them apply to you? REASONS… Continue Reading

Six Months of experience under the new alimony reform law

We now have been working with the new alimony law for almost six months. What have we learned? Here are my thoughts: The new alimony law has resulted in a sea change. The notion of lifetime alimony in Massachusetts has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Interestingly, the wave of new modifications based upon… Continue Reading

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