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Friday, January 02, 2015

Happy New Year!

2014 was a year of growth for myself and my practice. This past year, I expanded my practice to include mediation and parenting facilitation services and completed nearly 100 of continuing education credits which allowed my induction into the prestigious College of the State Bar. All of those hours of training were in family law and alternative dispute resolution which provides invaluable experience in the courtroom and settlement negotiations as well as qualifying me to accept court appointments as a mediator, parent coordinator and parent facilitator in high-conflict divorce cases. I am very excited about what 2015 brings! There will be a shift in the focus of my business from family law and probate to solely family law. I can sincerely say that I love what I do and the people that I have the privilege of serving. As many of you readers know, family law can be difficult at times but also very rewarding because of my passion for the law and helping others. Thank you for such a great year!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Divorce and Taxes

The end of the year is fast approaching which means it's time to start thinking about how a divorce this year will affect your tax return. Most clients prefer to be divorced by the end of the year if at all possible so that they can ring in the New Year with a fresh start and also less tax liability. If you are not married on the last day of the year, then you can file single as if you were single throughout the enter year. If you have children, you need to be aware of who has the right to the claim the dependency exemption, head of household, and/or the earned income tax credit. Ask your CPA to explain which is best for your situation or if you're one of the millions that prepares your own return, go to the IRS website or read IRS publications that explain the differences and eligibility requirements. They have great resources.

I recommend reviewing the following:

IRS Publication 504: Divorced or Separated Individuals;

IRS Form 8832: Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents;

Divorce and Taxes Can Be Complicated;

Taxes and Divorce, What You Need to Know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November is National Adoption Month

This is my favorite time of year because November is the month that my daughter was born and also it's National Adoption Month. In the State of Texas, CPS hosts huge adoption days statewide during the adoption month. Now, adoptions happen year round, but November is when the State and Counties do big celebration days. I had the pleasure to do five adoptions this month to include private adoptions and CPS adoptions. Here's a recap of the forever families:

Family 1 was a relative adoption of a sweet and adorable 18-month old baby girl. She clapped and said yes every time I mentioned her name (which of course was the right answer to the questions I was asking her mom).

Family 2 was a single mom adoption of a fiesty and beautiful two-year old girl. She high fived me when everyone clapped as the Judge granted the adoption. She also high fived the Judge!

Family 3 was a two mom adoption of a happy and healthy 9 month old baby boy who has been with his adoptive moms since birth. He was such a happy baby and so quiet! He charmed the entire courtroom with his chubby cheeks!

Family 4 was a traditional two parent adoption of an 11 year old boy who has resided with his adoptive parents since he was a newborn. His adoption was postponed due to the ups and downs of financial struggles and military service. He proudly testified before the Court (even though not required). The Judge was very impressed with this young man.

Family 5 was a step-parent adoption in which the step-father finally became the legal parent of a beautiful and very creative 7 year-old girl that he has raised with her mom from the tender age of six months old. The family (and I) appeared in our cowboy/cowgirl boots for the finalization. The family was so excited that this day had finally come. And the Judge had a lot of fun too. He was kind enough to allow each member of the family to "bang the gavel" and sit in the Judge's chair at the bench.

I had such an amazing experience working with the each of these families in finalizing their adoptions. It of course brought back sweet memories of the day when my daughter's adoption was finalized.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Today is Adoption Day in Travis County

Today, 44 children were adopted by the forever families! Jennifer Cochran volunteered at the event as an attorney for two of the families. "It truly was a magical day and such a privilege being a part of the celebration."