Bay Area Family Law



Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tax Court Decides 'Family Support' Payments are Tax-Deductible as 'Alimony'

Tax Smart America® reported that an important tax court case heard in San Diego California, the United States Tax Court has held that some portion of family support payments are considered to be tax deductible as “alimony” payments.

In the case, BERRY vs. COMMISSIONER T.C. Memo 2005-91 the United States Tax Court held that some portion of what was defined as family support payments are to be considered tax deductible as “alimony” payments as determined under the facts in this case.The case began with the taxpayer being represented by Tax Smart America® Corporate Offices in the filing of amended tax returns based upon the analysis that some portion of the support payments appeared to represent “alimony.” The refund claim was denied by IRS, and shortly thereafter, San Diego Tax Attorney, Gary M. Erickson was contacted to move the matter into federal tax court.

The case was heard and was decided in favor of the taxpayer, in what many are calling an important case that will have far reaching impact on family law settlements. According to San Diego Family Law Attorney, Robert J. Steinberger, “This case will cause some need for review in support settlements in many divorce cases.”

Tax Smart America® recently announced it is well underway in its nationwide launch of the Tax Smart America® Business Center License Program to tax professionals, as an alternative to old-style franchise models.

The company has created a number of business support programs offered only at an approved Tax Smart America® Business Center. Clients who use an approved tax professional under the program are invited to attend business support workshops to better understand basic operations from payroll to recordkeeping. A business client is then free to select from a variety of business support services and engage the approved Tax Smart America® Specialist to assist in implementing these important services much like a team approach in developing an overall game plan for the business client.

The company’s expansion plans are an effort to give small and mid-sized CPA and Tax Firms with an alternative to the more traditional expensive old-style franchise systems, such as those of H&R Block (HRB), Jackson-Hewitt (JTX), and Liberty Tax Services.

Tax Smart America® released its “Business Center” license program in cooperation with Entrepreneur® magazine with advertising on the popular magazines website. With estimates reported at more than 60,000 to 70,000 new business start ups each month, the company believes its plans are well positioned to attract tax professionals of all types away from competitors who seem to remain fixed on the more traditional franchise and corporate-owned store model, as well as independent tax firms who desire the benefits offered in the business license models.

Local Attorneys Offer Free Legal Help To Hispanic Community

The Wake County Bar Association's bi-annual “This Is The Law” program provides Spanish speaking residents a chance to get answers to their family law questions.

Wake County District Court Judge Salisbury will do a presentation in Spanish regarding family law issues such as child custody, child support and domestic violence. Following her presentation, there will be an opportunity for audience members to ask speaks with attorneys about their exact circumstances and get answers to their particular questions, one-on-one. Translators will be provided, as well as refreshments.

Several attorneys from Rosen Divorce, a Raleigh law firm which practices divorce completely, have volunteered to be on hand to answer questions regarding North Carolina family law. Ketan Soni, one of the volunteers and an attorney at Rosen Divorce, says, “Family law is complex in North Carolina and we want to be sure that everyone, not just those who can afford an attorney, understands their legal rights and responsibilities, especially with respect to child support and child custody issues. We often talk to people who don’t realize that the law provides for immediate spousal support in the case where a dependent spouse is left with bills to pay and children to feed. Or that hitting one’s spouse is against the law in North Carolina and that the victim doesn’t have to press charges in order to get help. The Hispanic community has a right to this information too and we’re grateful to our community partners for providing translators to help us get the word out.”

This free community event is presented by The Wake County Bar Association, The City of Raleigh Department of Community Services, St. Rafael Catholic Church, The Society For Hispanic Professionals, El MEXICAN, and El Pueblo.

Family First party Wakes Up Prime Minister On Family Law Development

Two and a half years before, Prime Minister John Howard was considered by many as the patron saint in waiting for long suffering non-custodial fathers and children of separated families, having promised Australia 'genuine' change to the universally condemned "one size fits all" Family Law system.

But all the promises and hopes have vanished with the realization that the proposed Family Law Amendment Bill (to be debated in the Senate this week), a Bill that had been sold to fathers as the law that would finally make Shared Residence the 'norm' in Australia, was simply re-packaged legislation that has an international track record of failing fathers, failing children, and failing separated families.(1)

In spite of taking control of both houses of parliament at the last election in no small part due to the unparalleled levels of support from traditional blue-collar, Labor voting fathers, fathers have continued to rally behind Howard despite controversial anti-family workplace policies, because Howard was perceived as the only political leader who showed any interest in righting the wrongs in family law. .

On Friday, 24th March, 2006, Steve Fielding, Senator for Family First, indicated that he would table a desperately needed amendment to the current Family Law Bill to comprise a 'presumption of equal parenting time', as a starting point for child custody arrangements.(2) With the government controlling both houses of parliament, an Australian public overpoweringly in support of Equal Parenting Time after separation, (3) and a majority of Senators and MPs confirming that given the option, they would vote for an amendment to the Family Law Amendment Bill for a "presumption of equal parenting time", (4) fathers are now openly stating that if the Family First amendment fails in the Senate, they will be holding one man personally responsible for it. The Prime Minister!

With new disciplinary workplace reforms starting this week placing further pressure on fathers in particular to work longer hours and spend less time with their families, and with the passing of an flawed insufficient Family Law Bill that would continue to allow the Family Court to punish fathers who work longer hours by robbing them of their children, the Prime Minister's legacy will not be one of a patron saint for families, but that of a home-wrecker!

And at the next federal election, fathers will finally have a lawful option at the ballot. The Prime Minister will no longer be able to take father's votes for granted. Whether it succeeds or fails, the Family First amendment to the Family Law Bill will have a resounding impact, and not simply on the families going through separation, but in the minds of every parent and grand-parent come election time.

Federal lawsuit - The Mother of all Lawsuits

On September 17, 2004, representatives from across the country announced that they will concurrently file federal class action lawsuits, on behalf of an estimated 25 million non-custodial parents, demanding that rights to equal custody of their children be restored by the federal courts. In what some are calling "the mother of all lawsuits", the parents will challenge widespread practices by the states in determining care, custody, and support of children. The American Psychological Association, the world’s largest such group, confirmed through an exhaustive study that children in joint custody arrangements have less behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem, better family relations, and better school performance than children who are subjected to sole custody arrangements.

In addition to challenging standard practices pertaining to family law, the coalition also alleges that while nearly every state has recognized catastrophic budgetary failures, the states still recklessly refuse to consider the financial devastation involved with encouraging routine awards of sole custody, reminding that such patterns dramatically increase crime, poverty, drug use, suicides, dropouts, teenage pregnancies, and other forms of direct harm and costs against children, families, taxpayers, and society in general. Professor Stephen Baskerville, distinguished master of political science at Howard University, and one of the world’s foremost experts on various custody and child support issues, explains, “Politicians often spend money to avoid confronting problems. Yet marshaling the government to strengthen families seems especially pointless when it is government that weakened the family in the first place.”

The plaintiffs further claim that the relocation of children away from one parent radically increases the incidence of parental kidnappings, which dwarf all other types of child abductions, and wastes additional tax dollars in the ensuing processes. It’s true that common inequities in state family courts are also directly and indirectly responsible for murders and suicides amongst the most estranged families. Every week, they note, approximately 300 fathers and 75 mothers commit suicide in this country, with the majority of these senseless deaths directly attributable to victimization by family courts.

They also allege that the states are recklessly responsible for much of the abuse and neglect experienced by children in this country. The National Clearinghouse for Child Abuse and Neglect Information, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, consistently reports that, year after year, single parents are responsible for almost two-thirds of all substantiated cases of abuse and neglect committed against children – more than all other classes of perpetrators combined. The national costs of these child abuse and neglect incidents surpassed $94 billion in 2001, according to Prevent Child Abuse America. The Plaintiffs further charge that because parents are generally treated unfairly in family courts, the results are also directly or indirectly responsible for very large, and otherwise unnecessary, additional tax burdens upon every citizen, through increased welfare spending and self-serving enlargement of state family agencies and entities, and that such inequities are also indirectly responsible for vast numbers of personal and corporate bankruptcies, which are absorbed into even more future taxation.

While the current class actions deal exclusively with conventional aspects of child custody, leaders of related parents groups report they have already begun the processes for raising similar legal challenges in the near future, on behalf of alleged victims of Child Protective Services, paternity fraud, and the progressive drugging of children in this nation.

The Marriage Medics provide practical tips and solutions to everyday marital problems

Divorce is almost becoming as common an experience as marriage itself. But divorce can be avoided by everyone who is willing to keep the commitments made when rings were exchanged. Life will be far more satisfying and rewarding for those couples honoring their commitments because a divorce is often followed by a tragic mixture of anger, heartbreak, loneliness and financial loss -- even a questioning of basic spiritual ideals. And when children are involved, the tragedy is compounded. Some couples who face divorce have been able to walk away from the disaster of divorce and invigorate their marriages, building a healthier relationship than what existed before the marital crisis.

The Marriage Medics, (ISBN- 0-9760844-0-6) co-authored by Cynthia Cooper PhD and Scott Lorenz, shares the reasons why some couples fall head-first into divorce and others walk away restored and emotionally healthy. There are several complex and varied issues couples must resolve when deciding whether to divorce or rebuild a marriage. And dealing with different kinds of problems requires different kinds of expertise. The Marriage Medics collects your ideal relationship support network into a single book. Each of the five experts contributing to the book has seen hundreds of divorces from their unique professional perspective, and each knows exactly what factors can determine success or failure.

Cynthia Cooper is a clinical psychotherapist who has counseled couples and families for decades on how better to communicate and relate to each other. She possesses a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, human science research and education, a specialist degree in humanistic psychology, human science research and education, and a Master of Science degree in clinical psychology.

Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. After witnessing several friends and family go through marital difficulties and being surrounded by experts who have counseled thousands of people, he and longtime friend Cynthia Cooper decided to co-author The Marriage Medics to help others recover their marriages.

The other four experts who contributed to Marriage Medics are:

• Daniel B. Smith is a bank executive with Republic Bank. His perspective on how money affects a marriage has been gained from decades of helping couples re-mortgage their houses to divide up assets in a divorce.
• Commander Bobbitti May, U.S. Navy chaplain, counsel’s military personnel who are separated due to longtime oversees assignments helping them with the spiritual aspects of marriage, taking an ecumenical approach to a subject that many couples struggle with.
• Dr. Patti Britton is a nationally recognized, board-certified clinical sexologist and sensuality educator and is the sexuality expert for iVillage.com. For more than two decades she has coached thousands of women, men and on how to overcome the sexual challenges they may face.
• John Hunt, a Las Vegas attorney who specializes in family law, warns couples what they will face if they decide to divorce. Hunt gives practical advice on how to reduce the legal pain as much as possible.

The Marriage Medics comes highly recommended by reviewer Jennie S. Bev, managing editor of BookReviewClub.com who says, “the book teaches couples what to expect realistically from their partners --and themselves-- and how to act, also realistically when it comes to sustaining their marriages. It’s like having a knowledgeable friend who knows the ins and outs of the married life.”

Saturday, March 31, 2007

SearchMothers.com, The Web Portal to Help Mothers

This is an invitation to Family Law Professionals to give their talent and expertise on a well-respected and highly-visited website for Mothers.

SearchMothers.com, an independent information portal launched in May 2001, is a web solution, for all types of mothers that profiles the concerns and issues of child custody, child support, parenting, and working and single mothers. It allows mothers to better identify the right decision to make in their family's future. With SearchMothers.com, users will find a list of prescreened links, message boards, polls and a robust search engine.

It also provides the opportunity for mothers to work with other mothers with similar problems in a collaborative way for moral support and problem resolution. We hope that in this forum we can bring Collaborative Messaging to another level with the help of Family Law Professionals assisting us.

UK’s foremost Internet divorce service

Divorce-Online the UK’s leading Internet divorce service has today launched a brand new divorce service to help consumers achieve their divorce with the minimum of fees and effort with the help of leading Derbyshire family law Bowen’s.

The Solicitor Managed Divorce will cost 450.00 and will enable the consumer to instruct a Solicitor to handle all aspects of the divorce from start to finish. This service compliments the range of self-help divorce services pioneered by Divorce-Online. The service is for those consumers who do not want to handle the administrative elements of their divorce, which they currently have to with our other range of packages.

The consumer pays an upfront deposit of 120.00 to Divorce-Online and is then billed at e conclusion of the case for the balance by our Solicitors. This service is half the price of instructing a Solicitor on the high street but gives the consumer a better service says Divorce-Online.

Contact Divorce With Dignity to book an appointment or get more information.