We are delighted to announce that our physical office is re-opening to our existing and new clients. To provide safety to both our clients and staff, we are adapting the CDC guidelines for social distancing while we are in the yellow phase. Rest assured, that we have and will continue to regularly clean all areas of the office especially the high-traffic areas. All attorneys and staff will have their temperature taken daily and will be wearing masks when interacting with clients. Any attorneys and staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will work remotely. They will then be required to follow CDCrecommended steps, including not returning to work until the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.

As the health and safety of our clients and their families is our top priority, we are asking that our clients follow the procedures below during the yellow phase:

  1. Upon entering the building, we ask that all persons wash their hands or hand-sanitize. We will be providing access to soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
  2. We will also be taking temperatures with non-contact thermometers upon entering the office.
  3. Our office is set-up to comply with social distancing of six feet. In the conference and mediation rooms we are asking that each person sit a minimum of one chair apart from attorneys and/or staff at all times.
  4. Masks are available and will be provided open request.
  5. Teleconferences Zoom meetings, and FaceTime are available in lieu of inperson meetings if requested.
  6. We will continue to have the drop-box available for delivery of documents.

In the event that anyone is sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask that you reschedule your appointment or utilize the electronic forums listed above.

As each county determines the procedures that will be followed, please ask your attorney of the specific procedures regarding the county in which your case in pending.

Please note that we will also continue to accommodate the needs of new clients, who are welcome, and as always we encourage and appreciate referrals. During this uncertain and unprecedented time, please stay safe and remember that Sweeney Law Office, LLC will remain by your side for all of your family’s legal needs. We ask that you have patience during this challenging time.

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Handling tax time during the negotiation of a divorce settlement

Putting the words divorce and taxes into the same sentence may make some Pennsylvania residents cringe. However, taxes are an important consideration when negotiating a divorce settlement. The parties may have been living apart for months, but according to the IRS, as long as no final decree has been filed, a couple is still married for tax purposes.

That means that come Dec. 31, if the parties’ divorce is not final, they will need to file as a married couple. This can be done a couple of different ways. The parties can either file as married joint or as married separate. The tax advantages of both statutes vary. Filing married joint may keep the parties in a lower tax bracket, but this also makes both liable to pay any taxes due.

Filing married separate could put each party into a higher tax bracket, but each party is responsible for his or her taxes that may be due. Certain credits and deductions may also not be available under this status. Making the decision as to how to file taxes will need to be part of any settlement negotiations.

However, those negotiations will need to cover more than the current tax year. Some tax considerations will continue to need attention for years to come. For instance, determining which party gets to claim the children in which tax year could require a significant amount of negotiation. Further, a spouse receiving alimony may need to be careful since it is taxable.

Any agreement regarding tax matters should be put into the divorce settlement. This will ensure that if one party fails to comply with the agreement, the other may go back to the Pennsylvania courts to seek relief. Once the settlement is completed, the parties can go their separate ways with some assurances that the IRS has been dealt with.

Source: imperialvalleynews.com, “How Marriage And Divorce Can Impact Your Taxes“, , April 5, 2014


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