GOP Tax Proposal eliminates alimony exclusion starting 2019

The new tax bill eliminates the alimony exclusion for the payor of alimony with new or amended agreements after December 31, 2018.

Why does this matter?

For years, alimony paid was subtracted from the payor’s gross income, and was taxable to the recipient.  More most families this lowered the tax bracket for the higher earner, and increased it for the lower earner.  This had the impact in most cases of the parties combined federal tax being lower, and thus more after-tax income available for the needs of the family.

The new law treats alimony like child support:  the payor pays the tax and the recipient pays no tax.

Particularly for families where the higher earner’s income is significantly higher than the lower earner’s income, if divorce is being considered in the short term, you may want to get the divorce finalized in 2018 to maximize the after-tax income available to the family.

Think before you speak…

what to sayDivorce is hard.  So hard that we often forget that our words are powerful and can shape the outcome in an unintended way.  Often we are hurt, angry or grieving, and it is difficult for us not to be hurtful when we speak to our spouse during the divorce process.  I have found that it is helpful to remember this saying, and to meditate on it for a bit before we speak.   We will often have a better outcome overall if we do this.

It is from the book “The Healing Garden: A Place of Peace” by Gwen Nyhus Stewart. The quote: “Eknath Easwarden wrote, “The Sufis advise us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through three gates.  At the first gate, we ask ourselves, Are these words true?  If so, we let them pass on; if not, back they go.  At the second gate we ask, Are they necessary?  If so, we let them pass on; if not, back thy go.  At the third gate, we ask, Are they kind?  If so, we let them pass on.  If not, back they go.”

The Dalai Lama says, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

The Damage Nasty Divorces Do to Children

In this article by Miles Morrison, LCSW we learn about how messy divorces where the parents are fighting to win the divorce cause severe damage to their children.

“Our caseload of messy divorce cases increases year after year, and after a number of years of seeing the remains of these cases, we are beginning to see these children become adults, and the dysfunctions of their own relationships. Like it or not, these children who are now adults and having relationships, have learned the unhealthy ways taught to them by their parents’ actions and words.”

“Quite often, these unnecessarily messy divorces are fueled by a parent or parents who demonstrate narcissistic tendencies, sociopathic behaviors, and vindictive anger. Their children often develop depression, anxiety, separation issues, substance and alcohol abuse, and personality disorders that may not be remedied.”

“Some of the more prevalent signs of the OBSESSED ALIENATORS:

  • They are absolutely obsessed with destroying the other parent’s relationship with the child.
  • They have instilled in the child to express the feelings of the parent instead of the child’s own, based on the alienators’ experiences, not the child’s.
  • They will show up in court with an entourage of family friends, quasi-political supporters and religious leaders to attempt to persuade the judge to be swayed.
  • They want the court to punish the other parent by blocking visitation with the child. They believe in a higher cause that is beyond the understanding of a judge.
  • The court’s authority does not intimidate them.


  • They have an intense hatred toward the other parent.
  • They repeat word for word the words of the alienator.
  • They have unfounded and irrational beliefs toward the other parent.
  • They feel no guilt for how they treat the alienated parent, the parent’s family, or others who are supportive of that parent.
  • They can appear normal UNTIL THE SUBJECT OF THE ALIENATED PARENT COMES UP. Then, the hatred appears.”

Read the article to see what attorneys and therapists can do to help these kids.  But most importantly, be aware that your behavior as a divorcing parent in divorce can not only damage your financial security, but can also damage your children. Is it worth it?

Click here to read the entire article.

For Divorcing Women, Becoming Financially Knowledgeable Is Crucial

By Danielle Andrus in

This article discusses the need for women seeking a divorce to make sure they get solid financial information before consulting with an attorney.

I think that this advise holds for men as well.

Whether you are the primary breadwinner or not (or the husband or wife), getting a solid handle on your financial situation (assets, debts, income and expenses), and understanding how this is likely to impact a financial settlement with your spouse, before you meet with an attorney, can save you a lot of time and unrealistic expectations of what the settlement might end up being.

Click here to read entire article

Divorce Confidential: Silver Linings in Divorce

by Caroline Choi, family law attorney, posted on Huffington Post

“If you’re going through a divorce, there may be many challenges ahead, but regardless of the challenges, there is always a silver lining in every difficult circumstance. ”  The author lists some challenges but also some of the opportunities that may present themselves during this difficult live transition.   She discusses grief, finances and co-parenting challenges.  With a read.

Click here to read full article