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Rhode Island Family Law Blog

Why your date of separation matters in a divorce

If you are contemplating a divorce or believe that your spouse is, it's essential to note your date of separation (DOS). This date can have a significant impact on how assets and debts are divided if you divorce.

The DOS is determined differently throughout the country, depending on state law. Here in Rhode Island, it's the date when spouses began living separately.

Focus on the big matters and let the small ones go

For a child, having parents who don't live together is often difficult to handle. If you are a parent in that position, you need to think carefully about how you are going to deal with your child's other parent. It might seem all too easy to just nitpick at everything the other parent does; however, doing this can cause frustration and turn a difficult situation into an even worse one.

One thing that you always have to remember is that parents handle parenting duties differently. The way that you handle something might not be the same way as the child's other parent handles the same matters.

What's the future of proposal to eliminate alimony deduction?

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the tax reform bill that was supported by most of its Republican members. It has now moved to the Senate. The Senate's current version of the bill, however, contains some significant differences.

The House bill includes provisions to eliminate some deductions that many people have counted on -- including that for alimony payments -- that the Senate version doesn't contain. Under the House version of the bill, those who receive alimony would no longer report it as income, as they currently do.

Does it make sense to split custody of the kids between parents?

When married couples split up, they often don't initiate divorce proceedings in an amicable fashion. Especially, when kids are in the picture, the prospect of a parent not getting to spend his or her free time with his or her child may make things quite difficult to swallow.

If you have two kids, it's not unheard of that one parent may suggest that one of you retains custody of one of the children while the other retains custody of another. Studies show, though, that this is a poor choice to make.

Debating the possibility of divorce when you have kids

Nearly all married parents who have serious problems in their relationship debate whether it's better for their children if they remain together or divorce. Divorce is nearly always upsetting for kids to some degree. However, living in a home where parents are constantly fighting or not speaking isn't healthy either.

So how do parents decide whether ending the marriage is best for the kids (and themselves)? Of course, every situation is different. Do the pros of staying together outweigh those of divorcing or vice versa?

Requirements for tax-deductible alimony payments

If your divorce agreement requires you to pay alimony to your ex-spouse, one good piece of news is that it's likely tax deductible for you. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific requirements for alimony payments to be deductible.

These requirements are fairly straightforward and haven't changed in some time. However, there's still confusion for too many people.

Build your social life after divorce at your own pace

Many people don't feel like socializing while they're going through a divorce. You may value the company of a close friend with whom you can share your emotions over lunch. However, getting out there and socializing with larger groups of people -- assuming that you used to do that -- can be difficult.

Following are some important things to understand about your post-divorce social life.

Should you sell the house when you divorce?

One of the biggest decisions couples make in a divorce is what to do with their home. There's no one right or wrong decision that's best for every couple.

Some decide to sell it right away and split the proceeds. One spouse may buy out the other and keep ii or ask for the house in exchange for a reduction in spousal and/or child support.

Asset valuation is important to your divorce settlement

Before divorce, obtaining an accurate valuation of your assets is necessary to make sure you choose the right settlement. If you own a business, it's particularly important to obtain a fair valuation. For example, you may choose to have a fair market value or to use the business's book value. It's a choice you and your spouse should make when hiring someone to evaluate your property.

Remember that there are many different things that need a clear value. For instance, the office space, furniture, computer equipment and even office supplies count in the value of your business property. Any land you own should be valued at its historical cost. If you have an inventory, you need to record the value at its purchase price, not at the price at which you intend to sell. In some cases, it's possible to have the inventory's value lowered, like if it's damaged or obsolete.

Sharing your kids with your ex during the holidays

If you're facing your first holiday season as a newly-separated or divorced parent, you're likely doing so with some sense of sadness and anxiety. No matter what your custody and visitation agreement is with your spouse, the kids are probably going to be spending some part of their Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations with their other parent.

However, you can still make the holidays fun and memorable for the kids as well as for yourself.