Which Divorced Parent Gets the Dependency Exemption and the Child Tax Credit?

There are special rules for divorced parents who claim the child dependency exemption and the child tax credit.  The exemption is $3,650 for tax year 2009 and is adjusted upward for inflation in subsequent years.  The exemption is phased out as income increases over the threshold of $250,000.00 on a joint return, $208,500 on a head of household return, $166,800 on a single return, and $125,100 on the return of a married person filing separately. The dependency exemption is not available to taxpayers subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax. The parent entitled to the dependency exemption is also entitled to…

Marriage of Valli Court of Appeals of California

Community Property Background In California, community property law governs the division of property upon divorce. All property acquired during marriage and before legal separation is presumptively community property. All property acquired before marriage is presumptively separate property. All property acquired by gift, bequest, or devise is also considered separate property. Finally, property titled in the name of only one spouse is presumptively separate property. Upon divorce, a court will award each spouse his or her own separate property. Each spouse will be awarded one half of the community property. In order to distribute property in accordance with community property principles,…

Documents and Records Your Attorney Will Need To Start Your Divorce

One of the first questions asked by prospective family law clients is “What do I need to bring to my attorney to help start my divorce?”  In order to reach division of the assets and debts of the marriage, as well as to determine support that may be paid by either party, the party’s financial situation must be determined and assets and debts identified. The two basic family law forms used to document assets and debts are the Schedule of Assets and Debts and the Income and Expense Declaration.  Each party will complete each form and exchange it with the…

Bankruptcy and Divorce: Making a Difficult Situation Even More Difficult, or Not

Part of the dissolution process in California is the division of community assets and community liabilities. Often the liabilities far outweigh the assets and a couple on the verge of dissolution is forced to consider bankruptcy as a very real possibility. In some ways, it makes sense to file bankruptcy when a couple is eligible because it can make the dissolution process simpler. Obviously, if there are no liabilities to divide, then half of the divisions in the dissolution are already dealt with. However, there are some difficult considerations to make before deciding to declare bankruptcy. The first is whether…

Spousal Support and Child Support in Bankruptcy

The question asked most about support obligations and bankruptcy is “Are support payments dischargeable in bankruptcy?” This question is rather difficult to answer because there are different types of payments and debts associated with a divorce. But let’s eliminate the easy one first. You cannot discharge domestic support obligations in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies. There really is no need to go into great detail here because any way you slice it these debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, there should be a distinction made here between support and property settlements. While it is true that support obligations are…

Child Support Basics: How Child Support is Calculated

Every child is entitled to financial support from both of his or her parents. As such, if two parents are not raising a child together, child support is generally required. Child support is mandated by law and if there is a support order in place, the support must be paid or there are consequences including the potential for jail time.  Child support may also be required even in cases where the paying parent does not have visitation rights with the child. To ensure that every child gets the support he or she needs, California has established a standard formula that is used…