I just received a call from a client who is worried about how her two daughters aged 10 and six are handling the fact that their father did has not called them in over two weeks. This is always a hard conversation. Our courts cannot enter court orders requiring love and concern. My thoughts to non-custodial parents who are avoiding calling the children when that parent has left the marital residence (or broken up with a girlfriend in the case of paternity cases) is to roll up your sleeves and engage in uncomfortable task of telling the children that although you and the other parent are not together now, you each love them and that you miss them.
It’s surprising just how much a little attention can do. It goes a long way. You may need those “attention dividends” down the road. Think about it.
Always make sure that you make a provision for having the custodial parent sign and deliver to the non-custodial parent the Internal Revenue Service form 8332 which allows the non-custodial parent to use the child as a tax dependent child exemption on the previous years’ income tax return. Note well, this is vitally important even if your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and/or incorporated Marital Settlement Agreement provides for the exemption. The IRS has issued rulings that confirm that unless the custodial parent releases the dependency exemption for that child or children for that particular year, the custodial parent is continues to be the taxpayer who has the right to claim that child or children for that tax year.
(The above information is intended as informational only and does not constitute the rendering of legal advise on the part of attorney Watts, or the creation of an attorney-client relationship.)
In the first of a series of posts known as “Quick Notes”, remember the following when determining net income for child support payments:
Make sure that the support obligor/payor has not reduced the number of payroll exemptions to 1 or 0 in an attempt to have a higher percentage of tax taken from his or her pay checks, and thereby reducing the amount of net income available for child support deductions. What usually happens is that at the end of the tax season, the support payor has a much larger income tax refund…at the child or children’s expense!
I am always amazed at how husbands and wives embroiled in a divorce action seem to want the benefit of the law applied when it helps his or her case, yet cannot abide by the obligations that are part and parcel of the rules they wish to invoke. Go figure.
In all these years of practice, giving advise and listening to the stories from both sides of the marital fence, I have come to the opinion that there needs to be a mandated class in high school on coping with marriage and interpersonal relationships. What do you think? Are there some things about the opposite sex (or same sex, for that matter) that young people just need to know prior to emparking on the “Great I DO”?