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CA divorce attorneyWhen you decide to get a divorce, the process of separating your life, your home, and your finances from your ex-spouse can become incredibly complicated. During this time, it is important to make the right decisions, especially when it comes to financial matters. Here are some mistakes divorcing couples often make that can negatively impact their finances in the future:

  • Not checking your credit report - During divorce, it is important to get a complete picture your assets and debts and any accounts that are in your name. Obtaining a copy of your credit report will allow you to identify any sole or joint bank accounts and credit cards, as well as any other outstanding debts, and it will help you establish credit in your own name that you can use after your divorce has been finalized. You may also want to consider using an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock to ensure that your ex-spouse does not open any accounts or make any purchases in your name.
  • Not accounting for joint accounts - During divorce, any joint bank accounts should be closed, and their balances should be divided between you and your spouse. If possible, you should try to pay off any joint credit card debt, since both spouses will be liable for this debt, even after divorce.
  • Failing to consider taxes - Be sure you fully understand how the decisions you make during divorce will affect the taxes you pay, including your filing status, dependent tax credits, property taxes, and capital gains taxes. You should also be aware that while spousal support (alimony) is currently tax deductible for the payor and taxable for the recipient, it will be non-deductible for the payor and non-taxable for the recipient for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018.
  • Not understanding retirement accounts - Retirement funds such as 401(k) or IRA accounts that were created during a marriage are considered community property, even if they are in the name of one spouse. When dividing these funds during divorce, spouses should use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to avoid any penalties or taxes.
  • Not following a budget - While you may have become accustomed to a certain standard of living during your marriage, you may not be able to maintain these same standards on a single income. Be sure to create a budget that fully accounts for your income and expenses and allows you to maintain financial stability following your divorce.

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Divorce Attorney

Divorce can lead to financial difficulty for everyone involved, but with the proper planning, you can prepare to successfully move on to the next stage of your life. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can answer your questions about divorce, ensure that community property is divided correctly, and help you complete your divorce as efficiently and effectively as possible. Contact a Los Gatos divorce lawyer at 408-395-8822 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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California family lawyerThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by the States Congress last December, resulting in the most major federal tax reform of the last 30 years. This law affects nearly everyone in the U.S., and discussion of some of its changes, such as a lowered corporate tax rate and an increased standard deduction, have filled the news as financial experts examine its impact. However, one lesser-known aspect of the law is important for divorcing couples to understand, since it will affect how spousal support (which is traditionally called alimony) will be taxed.

How Alimony Is Taxed

Previously, when a spouse who earned a larger income paid spousal support to their former partner, they would be able to deduct this amount from their taxable income, and the payments would be considered taxable income for the spouse receiving them. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes this, so that alimony will now be treated like child support. For divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, spousal support will not be tax-deductible for the payor or taxable for the payee.

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California family lawyerDuring their parents’ divorce, children often experience a great deal of emotional turmoil, and the stress of living in a high-conflict home, uncertainty about the future, and difficulty adjusting to new living arrangements can lead to short-term and long-term physical and mental health issues. Even though parents may disagree about who will have legal and physical custody of their children, they should be able to work together to put their children’s best interests first. When doing so, they should consider recent research which shows that children often fare best in shared custody situations in which they spend near-equal amounts of time with each parent.

Research on Shared Parenting

Until recently, it was often considered best for children to primarily live with one parent after divorce, and experts believed that the stability of a single home was preferable to adjusting to living in two homes. However, a number of recent studies have countered these assumptions and found that children often benefit from sharing time with both parents. Findings of these studies include:

  • Regardless of the level of contentiousness between parents during their divorce, children in shared custody situations (in which they live with each parent at least 35% of the time) experienced less stress than those who live primarily with one parent.
  • When children live in shared parenting situations, they tend to have better relationships with their parents, step-parents, and grandparents.
  • Children in shared custody families show better academic achievement and emotional health.
  • Children in shared parenting situations experience fewer behavioral problems, such as juvenile delinquency, misbehavior in school, bullying, or use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.
  • While many believe that infants and toddlers should primarily reside with their mothers, studies found that their bonds with both parents do not suffer when mothers and fathers share overnight parenting time.
  • The level of parental conflict tends to be a separate issue from parenting time. Children experience benefits from shared parenting, even in high-conflict situations, including when one parent objects to a shared parenting situation.
  • The benefits of shared parenting are not related to parents’ income level.

Ultimately, shared parenting allows children to have a close, ongoing relationship with both parents, and the benefits of these bonds outweigh the problems caused by conflict between parents. While parents should strive to keep their children from being caught in the middle of their disagreements, they should also understand the importance of being a primary figure in their kids’ lives.


Contact a Los Gatos, CA Child Custody Lawyer

In modern divorces, child custody arrangements often reflect the nature of how today’s parents care for their children, with both parents participating closely in guiding their children’s development. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can help you create a child custody agreement which will protect your children’s best interests and help them thrive following your divorce. Contact a Los Gatos family law attorney at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

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California family lawyerToday’s world is more connected than ever, and the internet provides us with the ability to communicate with others no matter where we go or what we do. For many, social media is an essential part of their everyday existence, giving them the opportunity to share their lives with friends, family, and even total strangers.

People who are going through a divorce may be tempted to post details about their situation on social media, whether they are asking others for advice, informing friends and family members about changes to their lives, or simply venting their emotions. However, it is important to understand that there may be legal consequences to doing so. Here are some ways social media can have an impact on a divorce case:

  • Negativity and over-sharing - Complaining about your ex, discussing the reasons your marriage has failed or laying blame for your divorce are all natural impulses, but angry social media posts can be taken out of context and used against you. In some cases, they could even be considered harassment, and they could affect the decisions made in divorce court.
  • Financial information - Even if you do not discuss your income, the information you share could affect financial matters related to your divorce. Posting photos of an expensive item you have purchased or discussing a lavish vacation could impact the decisions regarding the division of property. Mentioning income earned from a side job could affect the child support or spousal support you pay or receive.
  • Child custody - While you may feel that what you do on your own time should have no bearing on your relationship with your children, a judge may feel otherwise. Pictures of parties, nights out on the town, alcohol consumption, or other activities that could be seen as morally questionable could be used to call your judgment and parenting ability into question during child custody disputes.
  • Privacy and permanence - Anything you post online could eventually become a factor in your divorce proceedings. Even if you think a message is private, it could make its way to your ex (and their attorney). A post that has been deleted may still be accessible for people who know where to look. Never post or share anything that you would not want to have to defend in court.

Ultimately, it may be best to avoid using social media altogether during your divorce, but at a minimum, you should avoid discussing the divorce or sharing details about your life that may come into play during divorce proceedings.

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Posted on in Paternity

California divorce lawyerIn California, having a legal mother and father can be very beneficial to a child. But not every child is born to a family with a legal father. California recognizes a child’s legal paternity if the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, or if the father is living with the mother and child in a family-like situation and demonstrates a commitment to the child. But if California does not automatically recognize a child’s paternity, there are two ways to establish it.

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

If a child’s mother and father wish to voluntarily establish the child’s paternity, they may sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP) form, acknowledging that they are the child’s parents. If the mother gives birth in a hospital, the hospital will provide her with the form, and, if the father signs at the hospital, his name will be put on the child’s birth certificate. If the parents sign the VDP later, a new birth certificate, including the father’s name, can be issued.

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