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Taxes: a likely discussion topic during the divorce process

We have noted many times in past select blog posts that divorce in Massachusetts and elsewhere is never a typical or boilerplate process. Every dissolution is different, because every family is unique.

Having said that, though, it is certainly true that a few core considerations rise to prominence in many cases. Legions of couples have kids, of course, which obviously pushes to the fore concerns relevant to child custody, visitation and parenting plans. And spousal and child support understandably rise to a high level of importance in many divorces. So, too, does equitable property distribution and related financial matters

In the midst of all those considerations, it is unsurprising that some couples fail to duly note the outsized role that taxes often play in divorce. Indeed, many couples reportedly don’t think much — if at all — about tax matters when they seek to untie the marital knot.

As one tax/business commentator in a recent Forbes article notes, tax is emphatically one area on which divorcing parties should be focused, and keenly so.

That contributor to a special Forbes forum notes that, “Taxation issues are an essential aspect of most divorce cases and must be carefully handled prior to the dissolution of marriage.”

Indeed, tax issues seemingly abound in the divorce arena. The IRS dependency exemption for children is a key matter, for example. So, too, is alimony, which is income for the recipient and deductible for the payer. QDRO court orders must be requested in order for retirement account allocations to take effect without tax consequences. So-called “unallocated support” for a lower-bracket divorced spouse can lower a divorced couple’s overall tax liability through legal income shifting.

Those and additional matters will be considered by a proven family law attorney in the divorce process. Experienced legal counsel knows how fundamentally important tax issues can be in a divorce, and will be sure to timely and fully address them.

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