Here is a great Q&A from Bankrate.com. The advise in the answer applies not only to student loans, but to overdue child support.
My wife had a student loan, but the school went bankrupt before she could finish the course. She did not get her training and the school kept all tuitions. For the past 17 years when we've filed taxes, the state of Florida has been taking them. The federal government has dismissed the loan, but a company in Florida bought the loan and somehow they got approval to take my tax refund. Can they take my tax refund even if it was incurred before our marriage? How can I make them understand that the student loan has been charged off?
IRS Tax Topic 203 discusses the Treasury Offset Program for past-due obligations. These include amounts owed for child support, federal agency debts and state income tax obligations.
In order for the non custodial parent to take the dependency deduction, it is essential to file the Form 8332 with the tax return
So, make sure you file the proper forms with your tax return if you are planning to take the deduction. In addition, make sure you discuss this issue with your attorney and have the proper language included in any orders or settlement agreements that each party will execute the necessary forms so you can take the deduction.
With all the talk going on right now about collaborative law and mediation, it was great to see my fellow family law blogger, Oklahoma Family Law Blog publish his recent post on the topic. There is a clear difference between the two methods. And this post will help explain the two.
In mediation, there is one 'neutral' who helps the disputing parties
try to settle their case. The mediator cannot give either party legal
advice, and cannot help either side advocate its position. If one side
or the other becomes unreasonable or stubborn, or lacks negotiating
skill, or is emotionally distraught, the mediation can become
unbalanced, and if the mediator tries to deal with the problem, the
mediator is often seen by one side or the other as biased, whether or
not that is so. If the mediator does not find a way to deal with the
problem, the mediation can break down, or the agreement that results
can be unfair. If there are attorneys for the parties at all, they may
not be present at the negotiation and their advice may come too late to
Collaborative Law was designed to deal more effectively with all
these problems, while maintaining the same absolute commitment to
settlement as the sole agenda. Each side has quality legal advice and
advocacy built in at all times during the process. Even if one side or
the other lacks negotiating skill or financial understanding, or is
emotionally upset or angry, the playing field is leveled by the
presence of the skilled advocates. It is the job of the lawyers to work
with their own clients if the clients are being unreasonable, to make
sure that the process stays positive and productive.
Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County had a great post today concerning a win-win custody battle strategy which I think all PARENTS should consider. While it is not something new or really all that different, my fellow blogger actually puts it in writing for all to consider. Below is the meat of his post and I would strongly suggest all of those involved in a custody battle consider it.
Instead of limiting yourself to only two options, winning it all or losing, there is another, more productive way to approach the custody issue. The approach may require more maturity than some parties can muster, but, for those able to shift gears, think rationally and be patient, the following approach can be rewarding for them and their children. These steps can lead to a better solution for all, especially the children.
1.Think about, discuss and decide what your ultimate goals are for the kids. What outcomes would you like to see? Many people would want some of the following (or similar) goals:
The kids having a great relationship with both parents The kids having a great relationship with their extended families Financial security for the children Having a safe, secure home for the children Having good schools for the kids Providing for a college education for the children Providing sports opportunities for the children The opportunity for the kids to learn music, art or other interests
Each parent can decide what he or she thinks would be important goals for their children. Broader, underlying goals are more helpful and meaningful. If both parents think of goals in broad terms, they often can agree on them.
2. Look at the big picture. What are the resources to work with:
Financial abilities of the parents Parental/family member time available What homes and schools are available and affordable What the parents’ neighborhoods are like The existing relationships between parents and children and the roles each parent plays with the children What community resources are available What special needs, if any, a child has What interests the child has
3.Brainstorm options. Think up as many different solutions as you can. Sometimes it is helpful to get help from a parenting expert. Spend some time and try to be non-traditional or unconventional. Don’t limit yourself to ‘standard’ solutions. Open up your thoughts to come up with some crazy ideas because they might just turn into good ideas.
4. Evaluate your options. See if they can help achieve your identified goals. Criticizing and testing your options can lead to the discovery of other ideas and can help you narrow down the choices until you are left with an idea or ideas that work.
Implementation: This process can helpful if just you do it, but it is really better if you can do it with the other parent. Collaborative Law is one way to accomplish that. This is actually a very common approach to problem-solving in Collaborative Law. Even in traditional litigation, you can use this system alone or together with the other parent. If you work on this alone, you can create a better plan to present in court or in negotiations. If both parents work together through this process, there’s an excellent chance they will reach an agreement that will be satisfactory to both parents and to the children.
Please give this a try and let me know how it works for you!
There are some actions anyone can take to improve their chances of having a more favorable outcome and avoid some of the problems that occur during a divorce. Seven of the best tips from Texas family law attorney, Dick Price, are listed below:
Be prepared. If you know ahead of time that you will (or may) be going through a divorce, it really pays off for you to gather documents and information about important issues, such as your finances. You may uncover unknown assets or you may just have proof of the existence and values of assets, which would probably help save quite a bit of money.
Plan for changes and be flexible. Realize that your family will become two separate units and that will stretch your resources. You may have to change your short- and long-range goals. In almost every case, someone virtually 'starts over' and often both parties really struggle. Accept the need to compromise and be open to new ways of doing things.
Be honest with your attorney. He or she can’t do nearly as good a job with faulty information. Virtually everything you tell an attorney is confidential, so don’t hold back.
Prepare to use specialists. Attorneys can be very good helping you with the law, facts and procedure, but they often don’t know as much about specialty areas such as taxation as a CPA or divorce financial planner does. The process can move faster and better if you use (as needed) a:
Counselor/therapist, if you are sad or mad.
Financial planner, if you don’t have much experience in finances.
Business valuation expert for small businesses.
Child specialist to help find solutions for visitation, child support issues, living arrangements, etc.
Look at the big picture. Don’t get lost in insignificant issues or in keeping score to see who wins the most points. If you start to slip into arguing about tiny issues, make yourself go back up to the broader issues and get your spouse off the small stuff. Focus on the goals, needs and interests that are important to you. It doesn’t matter what your spouse is gaining or claiming to gain or wants to argue about. Leave the small stuff alone and stay true to your essential goals. You will be truly successful if you can achieve your important goals and needs.
Practice 'putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes'. Empathy can really help you in a number of ways. Since 90-95% of divorces settle, negotiations are a major part of any divorce. You can better understand and respond to your spouse’s requests and offers if you understand what important to him or her and what factors will motivate them. Being able to figure out what your spouse is motivated by can help you create settlement options that will be acceptable and even welcome to your spouse.
Reduce conflict. The more you fight, the more it costs. That should be obvious. You can choose to start or continue battles, or you can decide to work for solutions.
Following these tips will improve your chance of success, no matter how you define success. At the least, you should have a divorce with less fighting and more attention to the important issues.
How can one parent stop the other parent from taking a child to visit a dangerous country? How can a parent make sure that a child will be returned if the other parent takes the child to visit his or her native country? Many international parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the answers to these questions.
Here are Ten Key Tips for Parents that have been developed as a result of handling these issues on a regular basis in collaboration with local family lawyers across the country.
1. Collect hard evidence of the dangers that the proposed visitation presents.
Any parent who opposes overseas visitation, especially to a parent’s country of origin or current domicile, has a heavy burden of proof. Do not underestimate what you need to do to prove your case. You must go to court with very strong evidence already lined up. You have to be fully prepared to show that there is a very real risk — not simply a suspicion or a fear — that your child will not be returned.
2. Collect evidence to show the court that there is a real likelihood that the other parent will not return the child.
So-called ‘red flags’ include the other parent having:
Previously abducted or threatened to abduct the child.
Taken steps to move toward living in the other country.
Citizenship in the other country and strong emotional or cultural ties to it.
Friends or family living in the other country.
No strong ties to the child’s home state.
Financial ties to the other country.
No financial reason to return the child.
A criminal record.
Jealousy or hatred toward the other parent.
A history of instability.
3. Demonstrate respect for the rights of the other parent.
While the language of state laws varies — some referring only to the best interests of the child with others including a presumption of joint parenting — American courts invariably encourage and impose shared parenting in one form or another. A parent who inappropriately hinders or obstructs the other parent’s involvement in the child’s life will not be viewed favorably.
4. Do not rely on a country’s poor reputation for corruption or danger.
Do not take it for granted that a court will know that a particular country has an ineffective legal system or that the country is a dangerous place for Westerners. You must present evidence to the court — whether through witnesses or through documents — that will allow the court to make a reasoned conclusion based on real and convincing evidence that the requested visitation should be denied.
5. Be calm, not hysterical.
You may be panic-stricken at the thought of your precious one being taken to another country, but you should not come across as over-the-top. You should be prepared to explain calmly to the court the reasons for your grave concern.
6. You will usually need expert testimony.
Parents who know personally just how dangerous a certain country is often believe that they should simply tell the court their stories about the bad things that have happened to people there. This type of evidence is usually worthless and probably inadmissible. You will typically need to retain well-qualified independent experts who can testify as to their personal knowledge of the issues. Some examples:
A mother who had moved here from South America was desperate to prevent the father from having any visitation in that country, fearing that the child would be kidnapped. The testimony of law enforcement experts from that South American country was secured to prove the grave dangers that the child would face there.
A father from an Asian country wanted to take the child from the U.S. to visit his other child in his native country. An affidavit of an expert in international child abduction with specific knowledge of the danger of abduction in that country and the inability of the legal system to provide any protection to the child was submitted.
A mother wished to take a child to visit her family in Eastern Europe. An expert’s affidavit, establishing the failure of that country to comply with its obligations under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, was submitted.
7. Do not take comfort in the mere fact that the child is being taken to a country that is a party to the Hague Convention.
The Convention is a strong international treaty, but countries vary dramatically in their enforcement of it. Countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand typically return children promptly and efficiently, but some act much more slowly (Germany and France, for example) and others act at a glacial pace or not at all (e.g., Mexico, Colombia and Austria).
8. Review with your lawyer whether any conditions can be imposed that will ensure that your child will be returned.
The possibility of using conditions is very much a double-edged sword. Many conditions sound good, but they are worth little or nothing in practice. In fact, they can be dangerous because judges may think that by imposing conditions, they have provided real safeguards when, in fact, they have merely facilitated international child kidnapping. Some typical restrictions:
Requiring that a mirror order be secured from the overseas country. This means that the U.S. court requires the other parent to secure an order from a court in the country to which the child is to be taken that mirrors the American court order. This is often valuable, but it depends on the country in question. A Western European country will typically enforce such an order; many Asian countries may not do so.
Allowing the custodial parent to join the child for the overseas visitation. This is often helpful. However, the ability of the custodial parent to take the child back to the U.S. will depend on the country.
Requiring that the parent who takes a child overseas post a substantial bond. This can be extremely useful if the bond is large enough to act as a real deterrent.
9. Do not rely on the other parent’s promises.
They are basically worthless if he or she keeps the child overseas. (However, if one parent puts a promise to return in writing, it may be of some value in future litigation).
10. Do not leave it to the last minute to seek legal protection.
While the courts can usually make emergency orders, it is far better to prepare and submit a case well in advance of the scheduled departure date. In addition, a judge will be less likely to prevent a trip overseas that has been scheduled for a long time.