You may have good reason to want to complete your divorce this year. Your status as married versus single could affect your tax liability, health insurance, pension payments, and other matters. Here is what you need to know if you are getting divorced in 2018.
Understand how the new tax law could affect you
Congress passed a new tax bill in December that could affect your divorce. In the past, the partner paying spousal support could deduct the money from taxable income at the higher tax bracket and, thereby, minimize the impact of the payment on the payor’s after-tax earnings. The recipient spouse did pay taxes, but at a lower rate because the payee would be in a lower tax bracket. Under the new law, spousal support will not be a tax deduction to the payor. Although the payee will be relieved of tax obligation on the money, the net value is greater for both parties combined under the current system.
The provision takes effect on January 1, 2019, so you have one year to divorce under the current system. If you do not anticipate paying or receiving spousal support, this portion of the law won’t affect you. However, if your income is much higher or lower than your spouse’s you should consider how the tax system might impact your negotiations and your future financial position.
Mediate child custody and visitation agreement
If you have children, California law requires you to attempt to negotiate a child custody and visitation agreement through mediation.
Even if not required by law, mediation is an effective process for reaching an equitable divorce settlement. The method can save you money and speed up the process of finalizing your divorce, while helping you reach the best settlement possible. The other advantage to mediation is that you can better plan the timing of your divorce. You may be able to finalize your divorce in 2018 through mediation, but may be delayed if you take your case to court.
Meet the California and Fresno County residency requirements
Did you just move to California? Are you a long-time Californian who just recently moved to Fresno from Madera, Mono, Inyo, Tulare, Kings, Monterey, San Benito, Merced or another nearby county?
You may have to wait to file for divorce. Your spouse or you must reside in Fresno County for at least three months and in California for at least six months before you can file your divorce petition. You also need to present proof of residency, so if you have not updated your driver’s license yet, you should do so right away.
Learn more about legal issues that could affect your California divorce in 2018
Are you planning to divorce in 2018? Schedule an appointment with Fresno, CA divorce attorney Rebecca Medina to learn about the laws and policies that might affect your divorce settlement.