Monday, 07 November 2016 14:38

Family Law In The News

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, and Your Divorce via Time.   This article reminds parties that no matter your financial status it is of the upmost importance to be specific when setting forth terms in an agreement.  Alimony provisions should be specific regarding payment of taxes and receipt of deductions including payments made to third parties.

In a Divorce, Who Gets Custody of Electronic Data? The Lawyersvia New York Times.  A good reminder that you should assume anything you put in a text, email or on social media will show up in court. And, if you have multiple devices that sync, if you leave one device unprotected other persons may gain access to your text, email and other information that you wanted to keep private.

3 Tips For Getting Along With Your Ex-In-Laws via Pop Sugar.   Great tips for getting along with your for in-laws any time of the year but especially during the holiday season.

Published in News

In Virginia, alimony may be terminated if there is clear and convincing evidence that the spouse receiving spousal support (alimony) has been habitually cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage for one year or more, pursuant to Code of Virginia §20-109. This includes the cohabitation of same-sex couples.

Samantha Cucco and Michael Lutrell entered into a Property Settlement Agreement pursuant to which Michael Lutrell paid alimony to Samantha Cucco.  Mr. Lutrell sought to terminate his alimony payments to Ms. Cucco when he learned Ms. Cucco had been cohabitating with her fiancé, another woman, for over a year.

Ms. Cucco argued that because her relationship was with another woman, she was not cohabitating pursuant to §20-109.  In Luttrell v. Cucco, The lower court agreed with Ms. Cucco, stating that “cohabiting in a relationship analogous to marriage” does not include cohabitation by same-sex couples, and the Virginia Court of Appeals agreed.  The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals erred when it concluded that same sex couples cannot cohabit for purposes of §20-109 and the case was remanded back to the lower court.

If you are seeking to modify alimony based on your spouse's cohabitation with another person, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney.  Contact Hess Family Law to discuss your particular situation and goals.

Published in Alimony

Your tax returns provide us with information about your income and the source of income, income producing assets, and your investments, as well as whether you over or under withhold taxes from your paycheck.  This information enables us to provide better advice in regard to division of assets and payment of support. Review of your tax returns is an integral part of your family law case; the attorneys at Hess Family Law ask that you provide us with your past tax returns.  How many years of returns will depend on the issues in your case, but almost always we want at a minimum the past three years.

We can obtain copies of tax returns through the court discovery process if you do not have them.  Other ways of obtaining copies of your tax return may include asking your tax preparer to provide copies, or obtaining copies from the IRS.  To obtain a copy of your previously filed and processed tax return with all attachments, including Form W-2, you should complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, along with a $50.00 fee for each tax return requested.  You have to allow 75 calendar days for the IRS to process your request.  Tax Returns are generally available for returns filed for the current and past six years.  On jointly filed tax returns, either spouse may request a copy and only one signature is required.

Oftentimes we don’t want to wait 75 days for the tax return to arrive, and/or it is cost prohibitive to pay $50 per tax return.   The solution may be to order a Tax Return Transcript instead of the actual Tax Return using Form 4506-T.  You can request your tax return transcript online directly from the IRS rather than making a request by mail.  For a short time the IRS allowed individuals to obtain immediate transcripts of prior tax returns, by online download.  However, due to security measures the ability to download a copy of your tax transcript has been suspected.  It should take between 5 and 10 days to receive your tax transcript through the mail. Click here to learn how to obtain your tax transcript.   

 

Published in Taxes

If you are separated or divorced there may be tax implications related to your new relationship status.  At Hess Family Law we can work with your existing tax preparer, or we can refer you to and work together with a new tax preparer to assist with separate and divorce tax implications. 

Efile.com suggests these tips for you to consider when filing your annual taxes.

Filing Status:

Your marital status as of December 31st of each year controls your filing status for that year.   If you were still married on December 31, 2014, and you do not have an Agreement that specifies how you will file, you have two options:  file a joint return or file married filing separately. If you were divorced during 2014, you cannot file a joint return.  If you do not have an Agreement that addresses who may file as Head of Household, you can file as Head of House of Household (and get the benefit of a bigger standard deduction and more advantageous tax brackets) if you had a dependent living with you for more than half the year and you paid for more than half of the upkeep for your home. Otherwise, you may need to file as a Single tax payer.  Hess Family Law recommends you consult an accountant to determine the best way for you to file your taxes.

Dependent Exemptions:

Who claims the kids?  If you have an Agreement or Court order stating who claims the kids then the matter is resolved.  If you do not have such a document and you are the custodial parent you may claim your children as dependents for tax purposes.  The IRS considers you a custodial parent if your child lived with you for a longer period of time during the year than with your former spouse.  Regardless of your custodial arrangement, you and your ex-spouse can agree who claims the children as dependents.   In this instance the custodial parent must sign a waiver stating that he/she will not claim the deduction. 

Published in Taxes

Mailing Address

Maryland:
Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
451 Hungerford Dr,
Suite 119-307
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Virginia:
Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
344 Maple Ave West,
Suite 355
Vienna, Virginia 22180

Meeting Locations

Rockville, Maryland:
1 Research Court,
Suite 450
Rockville, Maryland 20850
(240) 389-4377
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11325 Random Hills Rd,
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Fairfax, Virginia 22030
(240) 389-4377
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