Latest Posts

  • Lower Mileage Rate in 2010

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    The tax deduction for using your car for work is lower this year.  Starting January 1, 2010, the rate for using a car for business is .50 per mile.  The 2009 rate was .55 per mile.

  • Maintenance

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    Maintenance, which was previously referred to as spousal support or alimony, is a payment from one spouse directly to the other.  It is entirely different than child support.  By state statute, a Court can grant an order requiring maintenance payments to either party for a limited or indefinite length of time, after considering the following ten factors:

    1. The length of the marriage;
    2. The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
    3. The division of property;
    4. The educational level of each party at the time of marriage;
    5. The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment;
    6. The feasibility that the party seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and, if so, the length of time necessary to achieve this goal;
    7. The tax consequences to each party;
    8. Any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage, according to the terms of which one party has made financial or service contributions to the other with the exception of reciprocation or other compensation in the future, if the repayment has not been made or any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning any arrangement for the financial support of the parties.
    9. The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other;
    10. Such other factors as the Court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.
  • 11 Tough Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Family Law Attorney

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    1. How long have you practiced law in Wisconsin?
    2. What percentage of your practice is devoted to family law and divorce?
    3. Will you send me a free copy of Divorce Mistakes That Could Cost You a Fortune?
    4. Are you a member of the Wisconsin Association for Justice?
    5. Are you a member of the American Association for Justice?
    6. Have you previously represented people in situations like mine?
    7. Do you have an AV rating, the highest rating offered by the international legal directory Martindale-Hubbell for legal skills, integrity and honesty?
    8. If I ask you to represent me, will you give me your home telephone number and cell phone number so I can reach you any time I have an emergency?
    9. If you’re away from the office, will someone in your office know about my case if I need help in your absence?
    10. Will you discuss my case with me over the telephone?
    11. How many trials have you conducted in the last five years?
  • Maximize Income in Divorce Through the Use of Family Support

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    Characterizing maintenance and child support jointly as family support allows the total payment to be tax deductible by the payor and taxable to the recipient spouse.  The entire payment is treated the same as maintenance.  In order to take advantage of the classification of maintenance and child support as family support, the following criteria must be met pursuant to Sec. 71 of the Internal Revenue Code:

    1. The payments must be cash, i.e., checks or money orders.
    2. The payments must be pursuant to a divorce or separation agreement.
    3. The parties must not be members of the same household at the time the payments are made.
    4. There is no liability to make a payment after the death of the payee spouse.

    A family support agreement must be carefully drafted to avoid future tax consequences.