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February 2012 Archives

Keeping Your Divorce Civil

OK, so things didn't work out, you're getting a divorce (or if unmarried, you are splitting up the household), and you are feeling some enthusiasm over the fact that you are no longer going to have to live with your significant other as a lover.

Health Insurance and Your Divorce

A frequent issue that arises in the context of a divorce is the question of health benefits.  This issue can be acute when a long-term marriage dissolves, as a person previously covered under an employment plan offered by their spouse's employer generally comes to find that the 18 month continuation of COBRA benefits is so costly as to be prohibitive.  Compounding the difficulties for the older divorcing client is the problem of insurance underwriting on policies for those who are sailing headlong through middle age - the underwriters are overly picky, and the product that is offered is expensive.  In that instance, a regular market based policy solution (if available at all) is as financially out of reach as the COBRA benefit.

Alimony and Taxes

In some jurisdictions a monetary transfer to a former spouse for the purpose of meeting ordinary living needs after the dissolution of a long term marriage is known as alimony.  In Kentucky this transfer is known as spousal maintenance, and the establishment of this obligation triggers tax consequences for both parties.  As a matter of tax law, the payment of maintenance or alimony is deductible for the payor and income to the payee and it then becomes incumbent on the parties to consider the overall long term tax costs of the transaction in crafting a resolution to this issue as it arises.

Child Support, College and Kentucky - Are There Obligations?

In a number of states, there are significant battles over the continuation of child support and expense obligations through the college years of a child that has achieved the age of majority. Some of those battles are legislative, inasmuch as advocates are trying to get such a requirement installed; in some jurisdictions, those statutes are being challenged.  I've run across this issue from time to time over the years, sometimes in the course of enforcement, sometimes with parents who ask the question at the onset of proceedings.  Inevitably, I advise people to decline to put college expenses into a Marital Settlement Agreement. 

Why Spousal Maintenance?

A frequent issue that arises in the dissolution of a longterm marriage is that of spousal maintenance.   Practitioners of the law all too frequently present it to clients as an "it exists, live with it" proposition, and laymen understand it only as the nebulous concept of alimony.  Sadly, this conclusive and nonexplanatory concept is constantly reinforced in the opinions of both trial and appellate courts; further obfuscation comes from the earnest efforts of legal scholars in creating voluminous (and largely incomprehensible to anyone outside the legal community) articles on the topic.

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