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Tax Issues
  • If spousal support is paid to one party by Court order or written agreement, such amounts are taxable income to that party and the amount of such payments are deductible for tax purposes from the income of the paying party.
  • It is generally desirable for the parties to agree as to who will claim the dependency exemption of the minor children for tax purposes. Under existing law, the custodial parent is entitled to claim all children in his or her custody as dependents for tax purposes, regardless of the amount of child support paid by the other party. The parties are still free to allocate the dependency exemptions differently, if they choose to do so. You should seek the advice of your accountant as to specific details concerning tax returns.
  • Each party must keep a record of all support payments made or received, as the case may be, including the date and amount of each payment. In the event of a dispute, those records are indispensable.
  • If you have not received a Judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return (married, filing separately), or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult with your accountant as to the advantages of these alternatives.
  • Certain portions of the fees paid to attorneys and/or accountants may be deductible for federal and state income tax purposes, and clients should certainly ask for advice on such deductibility when preparing annual tax returns.
  • You may obtain from your local Internal Revenue Service Office special information booklets regarding: "Tax Information for Divorced Individuals" (Publication 504); "Personal Exemptions" (Publication 501); "Tax Information on Selling Your Home" (Publication 523); and "Basis of Assets" (Publication 551).


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In a summary dissolution, a hearing with the judge is typically not needed. A marriage of five years or less may be ended by summary dissolution, which is a simplified procedure to terminate a marriage in the state of California. With a summary dissolution, a joint petition is filed when 1) either spouse meets the standard residency requirement, 2) the marriage is irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences, 3) the marriage is childless, 4) the wife is not pregnant, 5) neither spouse owns real estate, 6) there are no unpaid debts greater than $4,000, 7) the total value of community property is less than $25,000, 8) neither spouse has separate property (excluding cars and loans) of greater than $25,000, 9) the spouses have reached an agreement regarding the division and distributions of assets and liabilities, 10) both waive their rights to maintenance and appeal; 11) both have read a brochure about summary dissolution and 12) both desire to end the marriage.
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