Archive for the ‘Child Support’ Category
by Tom Hogan
As the time advances toward Tax Day, one of the first questions divorced parents ask is, “Can I claim my child support as a deduction?” Afterall, after spending considerable amounts for the care of children, there has to be some way to get a tax break. Unfortunately, that break won’t come through a deduction of child support. Why?
The IRS does not consider child support to be tax deductible. Child support also is not taxable income and does not have a line item under itemized expenses. However, alimony or spousal support is considered taxable income and expenses related to the collection of those payments are tax deductible.
For the person paying child support and alimony, the IRS does allow tax deduction to be taken for those whose divorce decree wraps those two payments up into “family support” or for those who remit the child support as alimony. The recipient, however, must report this as taxable income. As a word of caution, if alimony is scheduled to end within six months of the child’s 18th or 21st birth date, the IRS may suspect the alimony is disguised child support.
All is not lost. While child support is not taxable income or deductible, being able to claim a child as a dependant does impact tax liability. Only one parent can take the dependency exemption and file as “head of household”. A divorce decree or IRS determination will establish who can take this exemption and get the subsequent benefits.
There are other expenses related to the care of children that do also allow for a tax break. Custodial parents may be able to take child care credits. For parents who have a dependent under the age of 17 and incur work-related expenses, the tax credit can apply to a portion of these costs. Noncustodial parents have the benefit of deducting certain child care and medical fees for minor children. Although the Tuition and Fees deduction has been eliminated for older children, parents of undergraduate students can take the American Opportunity Credit for up to $2,500 for each eligible child.
There are negative tax implications if a person does not pay their child support. If a person fails to pay child support, they may lose their tax refund. The Bureau of Fiscal Services can withhold a portion or all of a tax refund in an effort to collect delinquent child support payments. This is done exclusively under the Treasury Offset Program and if this is to occur, the BFS will provide details on the original refund amount, the amount withheld and information about the agency collecting the payment. If a couple filed jointly but were impacted by BFS action to recover unpaid child support, they may file Form 8379 to request a portion of the withheld payment back from the IRS.
Whereas child support is not able to be claimed as a deduction, there are ways to get tax credits or benefits to offset the costs of caring for dependent children. Whether through a family support agreement, dependent exemptions, or claiming deductions and tax credits on child care, education or medical expenses, divorced parents can benefit from available provisions to tax relief.
To speak with our attorneys, who specialize in both tax and divorce, please call our Modesto office at (209) 492-9335.
by Tom Hogan
If child support or spousal support is not paid, parties often ask their attorney to being a Contempt Action. The actions themselves are not as simple as one might think. Often the result is frustrating for the petitioner as the support due is not readily paid by filing a Contempt Action.
In order to be to successful in filing for contempt(s), one must strictly adhere to rule of procedural due process and the set forth the required elements of proof. As such, there must be a valid underlying order which is clear and unambiguous and it must be in writing; the defendant or citee must have knowledge of the court order; the defendant or citee must have the ability to comply with the court order; the citee must have willfully intended to violate the order; declarations must be provided to outline the issues; the Contempt Action once filed must be personally served; the citee must be arraigned; an arraignment and plea are conducted and a trial if held is subject to strict time limitations. Specific findings must be made at trial as to the facts upon which the court finds the citee guilty of contempt. The court must make a finding that the citee had the ability to comply with the underlying order.
What happens more often than not is that the court imposes purge terms as the citee is not able to pay or has limitations on bringing the outstanding support current. This is the frustrating part for those expecting to receive support is that what is collected to due to be collected is a fraction of what is owed. So the take away, is be careful on filing contempts and to be judicious, because one may well be out attorney fees with little to show for the efforts. Family Law court, despite the wishes of one filing the contempts, will not throw a party in jail for failure to comply.
Thomas Hogan is a Family Law specialist who is prepared to help. Feel free to contact us if you are considering filing for contempt in Modesto CA. Our attorney is a Family Law Specialist in Stanislaus County and is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Call (209) 492-9335 to speak with our Modesto California Family Attorneys.
by Tom Hogan
San Jose, CA — In the ensuing Jackson family feud that involves Michael Jackson’s siblings attempting to grab hold of his estate and take control of his assets and money, MJ’s siblings (Randy, Jermaine, Janet, and Rebbie) allegedly kidnapped their mother Katherine and whisked her to Arizona so that Michael Jackson’s three kids (Prince, Paris and Blanket) would be free for the taking. They apparently wanted the court to declare that Katherine was not in full control of the situation and needs to be put into a conservatorship.
But the plan backfired, enabling TJ Jackson (Tito Jackson’s son) to petition the courts to have emergency guardianship of MJ’s kids. TJ had prior relations with Michael’s children, he has been like a father figure to them since MJ passed away. In petitioning for guardianship, one of the things that the court considers is that the petitioner has genuine interests in the child’s welfare, in TJ’s case, the kids apparently love him and are already accustomed to him.
Going back to Katherine by leaving the children and not communicating with them for 10 days, the court approved the emergency temporary guardianship petition of TJ. But then Katherine resurfaces and claims she was not kidnapped and just needed the break. According to her, she stayed at an Arizona spa where she had no access to a telephone. One thing her lawyer must not have informed her is that being a guardian is a big responsibility, she cannot just disappear on her wards because she felt stressed out. With her recent actions, the court temporarily removed her as guardian and this could further lead to permanently losing the guardianship and an opportunity for TJ to file for permanent guardianship.
Being the Jackson that they are, of course drama is never far behind along with numerous press conferences and public bickering, Katherine taped a segment for ABC’s “Nightline” to state that the ruling on the temporary guardianship was based on lies perpetrated by TJ’s camp. On the other hand, the court documents submitted by TJ stated that Katherine had no objection and wanted him to take custody of the children. The strange thing about the taped segment, Katherine looked like a hostage of her children because Rebbie, Jermaine, Janet and Rebbie’s daughter was behind her as she was reading her comments from a notebook (utterly suspicious).
If Katherine loses the custody of Michael’s kids, she’ll end up losing a lot perks. Though she would still receive an allowance for the estate, she would not be able to grab hold of the big bucks she can dole out to MJ’s siblings. MJ’s siblings were never as successful as him and apparently are constantly asking for dole outs from their money. For example, Jermaine Jackson has been in the news several times for being a deadbeat dad owing back child support payments amounting to more or less $100,000. His license was revoked and the house he was renting in Calabasas went into foreclosure. Also, his ex-wife Alejandra Jackson tried to squat her way into Michael’s home. She and her kids were taken in by Katherine which was supposed to be a temporary arrangement but in the end she insisted that Michael Jackson had given her permission to stay though she could not show any proof of that promise. She and her children were evicted by the estate after the notorious taser incident in the Jackson compound. Long story short, MJ’s siblings are trying to leech their way into the Jackson estate.
The latest on this custody brouhaha is that the judge instructed a probate court investigator to investigate Michael Jackson’s three children and prepare a report on the relationship between Katherine and the 3 kids. The judge has even given the probate court investigator the authority to just pop at the children’s school without prior notice and interview them. This action was taken to determine who should get permanent guardianship.
Apparently, Katherine Jackson’s camp got wind of it and has since stated that she is willing to share custody with TJ Jackson. Signs are again pointing that she is being manipulated by her children which is sad because this is somewhat a form of elder abuse.
And the Jackson family war rages on …