Litigation Support - Matrimonial Matters
Litigation support involves working with both the party and attorney to perform such services as may be necessary during a matrimonial proceeding. From a financial viewpoint the termination of a marriage is analogous to the termination of a business partnership; i.e., assets have to be identified, valued and distributed. All property acquired by the divorcing parties during their marriage is marital property regardless of which party owns the property. Separate property is defined as property that was acquired by gift or inheritance from someone outside the marriage (i.e. parent) and has retained his separate property character.
The services that clients or attorneys frequently request are as follows:
- Preparation of valuation report of family closely-held business.
- Preparation of valuation reports for enhanced earnings; i.e., one spouse may have earned an advanced degree or license during the marriage. For example, a medical degree, law degree, nursing degree, etc. In New York State, enhanced earnings are considered marital assets.
- Separate property tracing. Normally, separate property remains with the spouse who owns it without claim for the other spouse. However, it is necessary for the spouse claiming separate property to be able to prove his or her separate property claim. The presumption is that all property is marital property unless the person claiming separate property can prove their separate property claim.
- Asset division. To provide aid to the parties and attorneys in dividing marital assets so that each party receives their respective fair share of retirement assets, brokerage assets, and other assets. Each type of asset may bear different tax consequences to the receiving party.
- Tax Advice. To provide tax advice to divorcing or separating couples. The Internal Revenue Code provides for several exceptions to divorcing couples. For example, in divorce situations the IRS has special rules that govern:
- Tax exemptions for dependent children
- Asset division
- Educational credits
- Qualification rules for alimony payments
- Qualification rules for child support payments