Should I Stay or Should I Go? Three Considerations to Aid Soon-to-Be Separated Spouses


 

Although it is anecdotal, there appears to be an influx of new cases after the New Year.  Practitioners speculate that either (1) spouses wanted to get through the holiday season for the benefit of their families before separating, or (2) the holidays were awful, and if spouses cannot get along during the season of celebration, perhaps it is time to separate.  If you find yourself considering a separation during this holiday season, here are a few tips to ponder before you make your ultimate decision.

  1. Separating during the holiday season can wreak havoc on your children.  If your spouse and you are unable to reach a custody agreement before the holidays your family celebrates, whether you are able to see your children may be determined by a short five-minute argument your lawyer makes to a judge (which is called a motion).  Unfortunately, it can take months before your spouse and you have a comprehensive custody order of court.
     
  2. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will end the alimony tax deduction on January 1, 2019.  However, any support orders established in 2018 will continue to be tax deductible in 2019 and subsequent years.  Presently, practitioners do not know whether interim spousal support established in 2018 will create tax-deductible alimony determined in 2019 or later under the guise of “modification” of the 2018 interim support award. 
     
  3. Remember Pennsylvania treats your post-separation earnings as “your” money, although it will be considered in your support award or obligation. This is especially true for bonuses, as people often receive bonuses at year-end or the first quarter of the following year. If the bonus you received was based on your prior year’s performance, and you were married, it may be considered marital property; however, if the purpose of the bonus is to incentivize you to work hard for the following year, it will likely be your separate asset.

For more information about what to consider when looking at separation and divorce, speak with a member of the Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC  team of experienced family law attorneys.

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