Don’t rush into a December divorce for tax reasons
Nobody likes to rush in a divorce, but frequently things happen that may make a couple want to get it done more quickly than usual.
This year, the reason may be taxes for some couples. Since 1942, the person paying alimony got to take payments off of their income and the person receiving it had to declare alimony as income. This all will change with any divorce finalized on or after Jan. 1, 2019. After this date, neither party’s income will be adjusted for paying or receiving alimony.Lawyers are expecting December to be a busy month for divorces due to the change. Any case settled before the end of the year will continue to follow the old rule.
But that is not as important as taking your time to make sure everything about the divorce is properly handled.
“The few dollars somebody may or may not save on their tax bill is not a reason to rush a divorce proceeding,” said Pegotty Cooper, co-founder of Divorce Coaching Inc., (www.certifieddivorcecoach.com), which both provides divorce coaching and trains divorce coaches. “Frequently, in complicated divorces, issues surface halfway through the proceeding that will take time to investigate.”
Cooper, a co-author of Taking the High Road in Divorce – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce, said it is in the best interest of both parties to focus on the divorce and make sure everything is done properly instead of trying to meet artificially induced deadlines.
Cooper offers the following tips for those about to enter divorce proceedings:
Don’t forget who the decision makers are. The decision maker in the proceeding is not the judge or your attorney – it is you. More than 90 percent of cases never make it to trial, so don’t think the judge necessarily will set all the issues straight.
“My way or the highway” is the wrong attitude. Taking this attitude will be more costly, emotionally draining and time-consuming than you realize. The only one that will benefit is your attorney, who will rack up legal bills fighting tooth and nail for everything instead of negotiating.
Don’t throw in the towel. You may want to quit early in the divorce proceedings just to get it over with. This may result in forgetting about important things that you wanted to be resolved.
Don’t bet the farm on another relationship. Don’t give up on negotiating just because you have met somebody new and you want to end the divorce as quickly as possible. Your focus should be on ironing out the details of an equitable agreement with your spouse, no matter how long it takes.
“While it may be uncomfortable and even distressing to go through a divorce,” Cooper said, “it is rarely a good idea to try to speed up the process.”
About Pegotty Cooper
Pegotty Cooper (www.certifieddivorcecoach.com) is co-founder with her husband, Randall R. Cooper, of Divorce Coaching Inc., a firm that trains and certifies individuals to become personal divorce coaches. She is also a co-author of the recently released best-selling book Taking the High Road in Divorce – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce and of Divorce: Overcome the Overwhelm and Avoid the Six Biggest Mistakes. Cooper started her own coaching practice in 2003, after 25 years working in executive positions in large organizations. She has an MBA from Rutgers University and a BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.