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Is Child Support Tax Deductible?

If you are divorced and have a child with your ex-spouse, you are legally obligated to financially support that child, whether you are involved in their life or not. So, does the amount of child support given or received have any effect on filing your tax returns?

Child support payments usually come from the noncustodial parent. This money is to help with everyday costs associated with raising a child, including helping with housing, groceries, education, and any other necessities the child may require. Even though the noncustodial parent is the one sending the support check, that person cannot tell the custodial parent how to spend the money. A new tax law, beginning in January 2019, states that the custodial parent does not have to claim child support as income and the noncustodial parent cannot claim child or spousal support as a deduction for tax purposes.

Which Parent Can Claim Their Child as a Dependent?
Raising a child is expensive so the IRS allows a tax credit when claiming the child as a dependent. It is clear when the parents are living together and married; however, when the child only lives with one parent but the other parent is still providing the support, it gets confusing as to who gets to claim the child as a dependent on tax returns. 

The IRS rules for claiming a child as a dependent by a parent are as follows:

  • The child must have lived with you for the last half of the tax year
  • The child must be under 17 years of age at the end of the tax year
  • The parent claiming the deduction must provide at least fifty percent of the financial support for the child

IRS Exceptions
Noncustodial parents have a hard time claiming the deduction if the child lives with the other parent for most of the year, even though the noncustodial parent provides financial support for the child. This issue is usually addressed with a court order during the divorce, stating which parent, if not both, can take the deduction. Usually, when both parents are providing support, the parents will alternate claiming the deduction, each taking an alternate year. If the noncustodial parent is claiming the dependent as a tax deduction, the IRS requires a release form to be signed by the custodial parent and attached to the noncustodial parent’s tax return. 

Parents Unmarried or Still Living Together
If the parents were never married or lived together in the same home for the last half of the tax year, the parent who provided more than half of the support for the child can claim the deduction as a dependent.

Are There Any Other Child-Related Expenses that Can Be Deducted?
There are IRS deductions available for healthcare, college, and childcare expenses if the financial requirements are met. The deductions will only cover a portion of the expenses.

Delinquent Child Support Payments
The IRS will take money from a parent’s tax refund and pass it along to the agency that handles child support payments if that parent has fallen behind in paying support. An experienced family law attorney, like a child support lawyer in Arlington, TX, can answer any questions about tax issues relating to child support. 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into whether or not child support is tax deductible. 

Could Adultery Impact My Child Custody Case?

If your divorce is due to adultery, you may have questions or concerns about how that may impact your current legal disputes with your spouse. As you are likely aware, adultery does not tend to impact property division matters unless a prenuptial agreement, an at-fault process, or other special circumstances apply to your case specifically. What about child custody, though? There are certain circumstances that child custody could be affected by adultery, but these circumstances are quite rare. Nevertheless, it may benefit you to speak with a skilled child custody lawyer, such as a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD, about your particular situation as they can advise you after understanding your unique family challenges. When preparing for a consultation, please keep the “best interests of the child” standard in mind.

The “Best Interests of the Child” Standard
American family law judges are required to determine child custody orders according to the “best interests of the child” standard. The intentions of this standard are reasonable and noble, but are not uniformly enforced. The best interests of every child are not the same and not every judge’s perception of what constitutes a child’s best interest is the same. As a result, this standard is not applied the same way in every case.

When a parent has committed adultery, it usually does not factor into child custody determinations because it rarely illustrates that a parent is incapable of properly caring for his or her child. However, the particular circumstances surrounding an extramarital affair may demonstrate that a parent has especially poor judgment or otherwise disregard his or her child’s best interest. For example, if the child was aware of the affair and the parent repeatedly told the child to lie about their whereabouts, this decision could prove problematic. Similarly, if the parent threatened the child as a result of his or her knowledge, this could be perceived by a judge as an indicator that the parent is far more concerned about his or her personal well-being than about the wellbeing of the child who has been affected by the affair.

Divorce and Child Custody Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about child custody determinations, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a reputable firm. Every family’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to seek legal guidance related to your specific situation. Although the best interests of the child standard applies uniformly to child custody determinations, that standard is somewhat subjective when applied by individual judges. Once you speak with an attorney and they are better able to understand the details of your family’s circumstances, they will be able to advise you on how that standard may be applied to your situation in particular. Although consulting with a firm and asking questions does not obligate you to take any legal action, if you require support at this time they can also address any concerns you may have about securing representation. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into how adultery can impact a child custody case.

Claims for Wrongful Death Explained

Wrongful Death

The death of a loved one is a tragedy, no matter how it happens. For someone to die at the hands of another person, whether intentionally or through an act of negligence, can be even harder for families or loved ones to accept. The foundation of a wrongful death claim is proof of careless behavior or an intentional act. In addition, to file a wrongful death claim, the death has to harm you. For instance, if you have medical and funeral expenses for your loved one or a loss of income, these damages may be covered through a wrongful death suit.

Damages in Wrongful Death

There are two different types of wrongful death claim categories. The first allows you to recover damages that the deceased experienced from the moment the action that caused his or her death occurred until said person’s death. For example, if a person suffers a fall at work and is ultimately hospitalized for days or weeks leading up to his or her death, then the wrongful death suit covers this time frame. The wrongful death claim may cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and funeral expenses.

The other wrongful death damages category includes losses that you or another next of kin experiences. This compensates the survivors for the loss. In general, these damages include the financial loss that the family suffered due to the death. Some states will allow for a loss of consortium damages. If your spouse dies and you are left without companionship, or if a child lives and a parent dies, then there are grounds for claims.

Individuals in Wrongful Death

When it comes to those who can file a suit or receive claims, courts consider a few factors. The court will consider the relationship of the deceased to different family members. Those who can receive damages may include:

  • Minor children who lost benefits of support and comfort
  • Parents of minor children for lost relationships and are dealing with emotional trauma
  • Surviving spouses who lost companionship or suffered trauma from the death

Those who can sue for wrongful death may also be able to sue for punitive damages if the defendant acted egregiously or intentionally and caused the death. To lose a loved one is always difficult. To lose someone at the hands of someone else’s negligence or actions can feel like even more of an unfair tragedy. Wrongful death suits seek to provide compensation for these events. To find out if you have a wrongful death case, consult with a wrongful death attorney, like a wrongful death attorney in Longwood, FL.

Thanks to David and Philpot, P.L. for their insight into who can file a wrongful death claim.

Legal issues to consider when starting a business

Starting a new business venture can be a challenging journey. Not only are there a sea of managerial decisions to determine but there’s also many legal implications to consider. By covering the necessary legal requirements, you can avoid potential run-ins with the law in the future. The sooner you are able to take care of these issues, the sooner you are able to hone in on the products and services that fuel your business goals. Listed are some of the most important legal steps to consider. Although not all-encompassing, these steps are key in setting up a successful business.

 

  • Determine a business name with consideration for the rights of an already existing business. With a free search through the business named registered with the Secretary of State as well as a trademark search, you can determine if your name is available among all fifty states. A comprehensive search into state and local databases with also prove useful in case someone’s trademark has yet to be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Begin learning about employee laws. Whether it be through research or time with a professional, you should take the time to understand the legal implications that hiring an employee entails. This includes but is not limited to anti-discrimination laws, worker’s compensation rules, OSHA regulations, wage requirements, etc.
  • Decide on the proper business structure. This is a crucial step in that it will be a large factor in determining personal liability, startup costs, tax payments, etc. Typically, the majority of small businesses start as sole proprietorships or partnerships and eventually expand to either limited liability companies or corporations as business grows. This is because they offer more sufficient liability protection compared to sole proprietorships / partnerships. After researching and deciding on the proper structure for your business, you’ll need to officially appoint it through your secretary of state.
  • Get your employer identification number (EIN). (Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs are exempt). Without an employer identification number, you won’t be able to open a corporate bank account or properly file business tax returns. An EIN can be requested from free from the IRS through an application on their website. Make sure to keep a signed copy of the application somewhere safe and accessible.

 

Regardless of how busy startup life can become, allowing for time to address legal matters and obligations with a business lawyer in Arlington, TX is a necessary step toward the foundation of your business. That way, there will be one less obstacle to face in reaching your venute objectives.

 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into business law and starting a business.

 

The 4 Things that Determine a Personal Injury Settlement Timeline

 

While it is understandable that people injured in an accident want to recover and move on with their lives, if they file a claim or get involved in settlement negotiations, then it takes time. Though the extent of their injuries and how the accident changed their life are all factors to consider, it is difficult to narrow down a specific timeline because of the unique nature of every personal injury claim. However, four elements do help to determine that timeline a little more than others.

  1. Treatment and Recovery

The first thing to consider is the injury and the prescribed treatment and recovery time. It is best to wait until you are recovered to file or enter settlement negotiations. The reason it is better is that by waiting, you and your attorney will have a better understanding of your incurred expenses and pain and suffering. Also, you will know if full recovery is even a possibility, which can also inform any future settlement offers.

  1. Compiling of Bills and Records

Once you are fully recovered or have reached maximum medical improvement, you will need to gather all the pertinent bills and records to the accident and the injury. These records will include the accident report, witness statements, doctor’s information and various information about the accident and your injuries, both medical and psychological.

  1. Creation of a Settlement Demand

Next, you and your attorney will sit down and discuss the merits of your claim and what you might expect from a settlement. After compiling all the necessary information and talking with financial and medical experts, your attorney will suggest a number that sounds fair as an initial offer. If you agree with everything, then you sign the paperwork and file the settlement demand.

  1. Waiting for a Response

The last phase of the settlement process is the demand response. Unfortunately, depending on the circumstances and the insurer, a reply can take four to six weeks or more. Every insurer will take time to evaluate the claim and assess the valuation attributed to it by you and your attorney. There are times where an insurer ignores the claim or flat out denies liability. In these instances, your attorney will need to fight to keep negotiations from failing, but if they do fail, then your attorney will probably get your permission to proceed to trial.

While it is not possible to give a definitive timeline to settlement negotiations, it is possible to suggest that most insurers will respond to demand letters in under 60 days. However, to discuss more specific timeline expectations, contact a personal injury attorney.

 

Thanks to David & Philpot, PL for their insight into personal injury claims.

What are some reasons to file a will contest?

Personal Injury Attorney

Every so often people enquire about challenging a will. What a lawyer will explain is that doing so is typically very complicated. In fact between 98 and 99 percent of wills pass through the probate process without any issues. 

In general the court will consider this document to be the voice of the testator, or in other words the voice of the person who wrote the will. Because the testator has died, they cannot actually speak about their true wishes. As a result, the court is typically inclined to adhere to what is written. 

That being said if you might have an interest to gain from a will, or in some cases a living revocable trust, you may be able to contest the will. In general, the most successful contestants is a spouse, and the most successful grounds for a court to uphold the contest is when the testator lacked testamentary capacity or they were persuaded to draft the document in a particular way. 

If you do choose to contest a will, and a judge rules in your favor, it can be voided all together, or partially. For example, if a will has been drafted and updated from time to time, with new provisions, a judge might reinstate a previous provision or part of the will. Should a judge rule that the will is null and void, they will treat the estate as if no will existed. In this case it would follow the laws of intestacy in that state. 

Who Can Challenge a Will?

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

Under all states, a person must be at least 18 years of age to draft a will. The exception to this rule is minors who are enlisted in the military or are married. It will be presumed that an adult has a testamentary capacity to draft a will. However, it is possible to contest a will on the grounds that the adult was not capable of doing so. Typically, this will be on the basis that the adult had dementia, a mental illness,  senility, a severe addiction, or some other condition that prevented him or her from making sound decisions. To prove a lack of testamentary capacity, you must be able to show that the testator drafted the will, but did not understand the consequences of what they were writing at the time of its creation. 

Fraud or Undue Influence

Another way to contest a will is to prove that it was forged or drafted under fraudulent practices or undue influence. Usually in this type of scenario, the testator would have drafted the will while being under the influence of someone who was manipulating them. 

There Exists More than One Will

Sometimes there will be 2 or more wills. If the executor of the will is found to be carrying out the provisions or wishes of the outdated will, the more recent will legally trumps the old one. There are requirements that should be carried out in a destruction of an older will. Usually, the court clerk should be notified, or an estate planning lawyer to assist with this process. 

In the case of a will contest with multiple wills, the court will generally favor the newer will. There may be circumstances to prevent this from happening so you should retain a will contest law firm for further help. 

Before you decide to contest a will or any other part of an estate plan, it is highly recommended to talk with an estate litigation lawyer in Memphis, TN first. 

 


 

Thanks to Wiseman Bray, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and challenging a will.

Can My Claim Be Denied if I Don’t Report the Injury in Time?

If you hope to take advantage of workers’ comp, you need to understand how the process works. One of the most common questions is whether you can be denied workers’ compensation for waiting too long to file your claim. You can have all your questions answered by reading this guide.

The Basics

Workers’ comp is a system for compensating workers for any injuries that happened as a result of performing work-related actions. All types of injuries are covered, including repetitive stress injuries, injuries that you were the cause of, and injuries caused by co-workers or your employer. The only factor that matters is that the injury occurred because you were doing your job. This means that you cannot claim workers’ comp for an injury that happened while you were on break.

All types of financial loss related to the injury will be compensated. This includes:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Other expenses

The Process

  1. The very first thing you should do when injured while working is seek medical aide. If you need to go to the hospital, you should immediately take care of yourself whoever you need to. Do not worry about reporting the injury, clocking out, or telling your employer where you will be at this time. Your top priority should always be your own health and safety.
  2. Once you are no longer in danger, your next priority should be to report the injury to your employer. If you wait too long, you can be denied, so it is important to report the injury as soon as you are able to. Even if it does not invalidate your case, delaying the initial report may hurt your chances of having your case accepted. A delayed report may make it look like reporting it was an afterthought, which makes the injury seem less severe than it is.
  3. After you have reported the injury, you are done. At that point, your employer is legally obligated to file an injury report and begin the process of applying for workers’ comp. No further action is required of the injured individual. Your employer may, however, need you to sign some paperwork. You should listen to your employer’s instructions and follow them carefully, as the specific paperwork requirement will vary from one state to the next. You should hear if your case was accepted within a week or two. If you do not trust your employer to fulfill his or her legal obligation, you should immediately speak with a Hauppauge workers comp attorney.

 

Thanks to Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and reporting the injury in a timely manner.

 

Picking a Fiduciary? Make Sure You Consider These Factors

When picking a financial adviser with fiduciary responsibilities, it’s important to realize the implications of that choice. Fiduciary responsibility is a position of responsibility and trust.

Not All Financial Advisers Are Fiduciaries

It’s a mistake to assume that all financial advisers are fiduciaries in the formal sense of the word. Hopefully anyone that you entrust with investments and estate planning responsibilities will be ethical and honest. But not everyone you do business with has the rights and responsibilities associated with the role. While titles may differ, someone described as a financial adviser generally has fiduciary responsibility, but a financial broker may not. Unfortunately, recent attempts to clarify what role any given financial professional must legally adhere to have been complicated by different presidential administrations.

Fiduciaries Can Buy, Sell and Trade Without Your Express Approval

To allow an estate planner to do their job effectively without taking a lot of your time while managing your affairs, it may be necessary to entrust them with the authority to make securities trades without checking in with you each time. If an estate planner has this authority, they are, or should be, a fiduciary.  This means they have the highest legal responsibility to do transactions in a way that maximizes the benefit to you, regardless of whether it maximizes their profit.

While honesty is paramount in this kind of relationship, it goes beyond that. A fiduciary most also possess the competence to engage in the transactions that they engage in, or advise their clients to engage in.

How Can a Fiduciary Breach Your Trust?

A person acting in a fiduciary role may fail to act in your best interests in a number of ways. For example, they may engage in more transactions than are in your best interests because they make commissions on trades. They may misrepresent an investment either because they are eager to sell it or because they wish to downplay it in favor of a different investment.

Ask Yourself These Questions About a Fiduciary

  • Is the person you are entrusting with this role legally a fiduciary? That is, are they legally bound to act in your best interest?
  • Do you trust this person to act on your behalf?
  • Do they have a reputation for integrity and high ethical standards?
  • Is this person competent to engage in the transactions you are entrusting to them?

 

The fiduciary relationship is complex. Make sure you understand what your financial adviser or broker consider their role to be. Your Sacramento estate lawyer can help explain this with you.

 

Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and picking a fiduciary.

 

10 School Zone Tips for Drivers

Car Accident Lawyers

There are few areas of the road where safety is more important than a school zone. When children are present, utmost care should be taken to drive safely and slowly. Children often move more erratically than adults, and may go into the road unexpectedly. Additionally, children are smaller and harder to see. Here are the top school zone safety tips from a car accident lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT so you can avoid causing any harm.

  • Drive slowly – The single most important thing to remember when in a school zone is to drive slowly. If there are any children present, you should never drive any faster than about 5 miles per hour.
  • Stay perceptive – You need to constantly be on the lookout for children, especially in intersections and on the side of the road.
  • Wait for busses – It is illegal to drive around a stopped school bus. You must wait for it to finish loading and drive off. This is because the bus blocks a large portion of driver’s vision and children often walk out from in front of it.
  • Wait for other vehicles – While it is not illegal to drive around other stopped vehicles, it is certainly safer to take the time to wait for stopped vehicles to be on their way.
  • Be wary of blind spots – If you cannot see somewhere, always approach it slowly. Children may be behind parked cars or other obstructions to your vision. This is especially important when making turns at an intersection.
  • Plan accordingly – If you know you are going to be driving through a school zone, you should leave a little bit earlier to account for possible delays. This way, you will not be in a hurry and make a mistake do to impatience.
  • Watch for special crossing areas – It is common for areas to be designated for crossing even if it is not at an intersection. These areas are usually denoted by a sign or flashing lights.
  • Be careful when backing up – When your vehicle is moving in reverse, you have a higher risk of not seeing someone. Always check your mirrors carefully.
  • Take extra time at stop signs and red lights – Whenever you cross an intersection, you should spend an extra second or two before you start moving. This is when you are in the most danger of hitting someone.
  • Be aware of the time and date – There will be more children in school zones in the morning and early afternoon, and during the months when school is in session.

It is the responsibility of every driver to avoid bringing harm to any pedestrians. This is especially important when it comes to school zones.

 


 

Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into personal injury claims and tips for driving in school zones.

What should I do after an Uber accident and should I hire an Uber accident lawyer?

Personal Injury Attorney

Being injured in any accident can be devastating. Apart from the physical pain, you may be experience severe financial losses that could be having a ripple-like effect on your life and the lives of those around you. When Uber, or any rideshare company is involved, the concern about what you can do to recover your losses may be heightened. Media reports over the years have discussed frequently how these companies have created a system that puts nearly all of the fault on the drivers; thereby, making them responsible rather than Uber. Claims involving an Uber driver can be rife with obstacles. You should consult an Uber accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Simple Steps You Should Take Following an Uber Accident

  1. Call 911 if anyone was injured and contact the police.
  2. Get medical attention and be sure all of your aches and pains are documented.
  3. Ensure the police make a police report.
  4. Take photographs of the scene, cars, road conditions, nearby landmarks, and anything else that might be relevant.
  5. Screenshot your Uber app confirming the ride.
  6. Get the contact details and insurance information of the Uber driver, other drivers, and witnesses.
  7. Call an Uber accident lawyer.

It may be possible that you are so injured you cannot carry through with all of these steps. This is okay. As soon as you, or someone on your behalf, can call a lawyer, you should do so.

What You Should Not Do After an Uber Accident

  1. Do not send a demand letter to the Uber driver or anyone else involved.
  2. Do not accept a cash offer.
  3. Refuse to sign release of liability forms, waivers, or anything you don’t understand.
  4. Avoid speaking to insurance adjusters, especially if they are from the other side’s insurance company, before you have talked with a lawyer.
  5. Do not say sorry or admit fault.

Have You Been Injured in an Uber Accident? Call a Lawyer

If you need an Uber accident lawyer, they are here to help. You can rely on them for:

  • High ratings, reviews, and testimonials.
  • Decades of experience.
  • The patience and skill to negotiate with insurance companies of all sizes.
  • Fought numerous rideshare accident claims and lawsuits.

Most law firms accept 99% of all cases on a contingency fee basis. You won’t owe them anything unless they win. This means you have the chance to take legal action regardless of your financial standing.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may have a limited time to pursue compensation. Lawyers are fast and efficient and can get started with your claim as soon as possible.

For a complimentary consultation with an Uber accident attorney in DC, please call a law firm now.

 


 

Thanks to Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and Uber accident injuries.