Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between Collaboration and Mediation?

In the typical Mediation process, attorneys and neutral consultants are rarely present at meetings. Mediators facilitate the process and cannot provide legal or any other kind of advice. The Collaborative process can incorporate any professional deemed necessary, to help the spouses reach an agreement.

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Is Alimony deductible?

Generally, if all the IRS requirements are met, alimony will be deductible to the spouse paying it and taxable income of the spouse receiving it. There are detailed rules regarding the acceleration and/or reduction of alimony payments during the first three years of the settlement, which can cause a "recapture" of these payments. There are also rules that may cause alimony payments to be treated as child support if they relate to a "Contingency."

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Is Child Support deductible?

Child Support is tax neutral; it is neither deductible by the payer nor includible as income for the recipient.

Will there be any tax relief once I become divorced?

Possibly. If you were unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the calendar year, you may claim Head of Household (HOH) status for the whole year, which generally provides for lower tax rates than for those who file Single or Married Filing Separate. To qualify for HOH status, you must also have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for more than half of the year for you and other qualifying persons.

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Is the transfer of the house taxable in a divorce settlement taxable?

There is no recognized gain or loss on the transfer of property (including your house) between spouses, or between former spouses, if the transfer is incident to the divorce. Once again, there are special rules for nonresident aliens, certain transfers in trust and certain stock redemptions. Also, if you sell property that you own jointly and split the proceeds as part of your property settlement, certain tax rules apply. If the spouse who receives the home pursuant to a divorce decree subsequently sells the residence, he/she may be eligible to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain on the sale (www.irs.gov, publication 523).

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I have a pension. Is there any alternative to splitting the future benefits with my spouse?

There are two ways to split pensions in a divorce settlement, the "as, if, and when" method and the offset method. If there are enough assets to trade, the offset method may be employed to bring you and your spouse to resolution.

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Ok, we've agreed upon the division of all property, including retirement plans and the agreement has been filed. Are we finished?

No, and this is where individuals can really be hurt in the process. No matter what your agreement says about your retirement plans, they will not be divided unless your attorney has filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). We recommend that QDROs be drafted and approved by Plan Administrators prior to signing the final agreement.

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*** This information is provided for general information and may not contain all regulations and provisions. You should seek the advice of a tax professional prior to making decisions pertaining to your personal income tax situation. See www.irs.gov for important details.

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