Sunday, April 06, 2014

It's Time to Designate Extended Summer Possession

It's that time of year to file tax returns and to designate periods for summer possession and vacation. Most orders read that the non-custodial parent, let's say John, must notify the primary parent, Jane, by April 1st of when and how he plans to exercise his 30 days of summer possession. He can choose 30 consecutive days or he can break it up into no more than two periods such as 1 week/3 weeks or 2 weeks/2 weeks. If John does not notify Jane by April 1st, then his extended summer possession defaults to the period of possession outlined in the order which is normally the entire month of July. Once April 1st passes, Jane then must notify John of two weekends that she wants in the summer during his regular possession and extended summer possession. For example, if John has the kids during the entire month of July, Jane can designate July 4th weekend as the weekend that she chooses to exercise. She can also designate a weekend of John's regular periods of possession (1st, 3rd, 5th weekends) in June or August so long as she doesn't choose Father's Day. Please note that the above is based on Standard Possession language. Refer to your Order for specific provisions related to Extended Summer Possession. And remember, you and the other parent can always agree to a possession schedule above and beyond what is in the order, just be sure to get it in writing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Conscious Uncoupling?

It's the new catchphrase in the world of celebrity separation and divorce and is Gwyneth Paltrow's attempt to coin a friendlier term for divorce. Guess what? It's still divorce. There will still be a separation of the couple's assets, possession schedules for the children, child support possibly, who makes what decisions for the kids or how those decisions are made. The difference that Gwyneth is trying to "make" is that she and her estranged husband are committed to putting the family's needs over the individual husband/wife's needs. Well, that's not a new concept. Everyone attempts to do that but unfortunately, most couples believe that they are. Estranged couples "choose" how they approach a separation and their behavior during the process. But, it's difficult as time goes by, money is spent, the children become angry or do not adjust to the separation well. It will be interesting to follow their journey through conscious uncoupling.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Kids First releases 2014 Parenting Class schedule

For those of you who have children and have a pending divorce or custody suit, most counties require that you must take the Co-Parenting class that is designed specifically to address how divorce and litigation affect children.  Although most prefer to take the class online, if you have a hearing before Judge Brenda Smith in Hays County, she will order you to attend the parenting class in person.  My clients also report that they get more out of the class in person than they did online.  So, why not attend the class and get more bang for your buck and score a few points with the Judge?  Find the schedule http://kidsfirsttoday.com/attend-a-class/.

Attention Adoptive Parents who Adopted in 2013

If you adopted in 2013, then pull those receipts together and review with your accountant for a tax credit of up to $12, 970.   You can get credit for Court costs, adoption charges, attorney fees and travel expenses.  There are some limitations and you must file a paper return.  Read Fox Business's article - IRS Can Help with Adoption - that was published today.