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Divorce and taxes: make sure you truly understand the bottom line

Read the fine print. Don't be caught unaware. Do your homework. Come prepared.

Those quick imperatives can obviously apply in any number of contexts where due thought and an in-advance focus are absolutely required to ensure -- or at least better promote -- a comparatively positive outcome to a new challenge.

Maybe you're buying a new car. Perhaps you are negotiating a higher wage with your employer. You could be in front of a judge, arguing against a levied penalty in a traffic case or other matter.

Or you could be trying to sort through the tax-related implications of your pending divorce, seeking to get a clear and accurate picture of what might be involved and what the costs -- all of them, added up, without murkiness -- will be.

You might reasonably want to have proven divorce counsel at your side when doing this, given that divorce generally in Massachusetts and elsewhere is a complex process, with tax matters in that realm being particularly challenging and sometimes problematic.

Again, do your homework, which is a task that an experienced family law attorney commanding in-depth knowledge of property division-related matters and attendant tax considerations will ensure you undertake methodically and with an unwavering eye on fullest comprehension and an equitable outcome in the divorce process.

As we note in an article on our family law website at the Wellesley Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri, P.C., unforeseen tax consequences are something that must be identified and prepared for in a divorce, especially in a high-asset dissolution.

Did you know, for example, that the IRS requires a divorced party receiving alimony to include maintenance payments on a tax return as gross income? If you're paying maintenance, were you aware that it is generally deductible on a return?

And how about child support? Unlike alimony, support payments are neither taxed nor deductible.

There are, understandably, many -- and complex -- wrinkles in American tax law that can come into play in a big way in a divorce. As we note in the above-cited article, a proven divorce attorney with a deep well of tax-related experience can assist a client "in navigating these legal issues, advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a favorable outcome."

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